Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Back-To-School

Excerpts From Article By Cynthia Ewer

Move over, summer--a new school year is coming! With the start of school, families face new organization challenges. School bells ring--and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind? Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead:

Create Calendar Central

Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you're drowning in paper? Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You'll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.  Planner users dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while  the tech-savvy store the info in a smart phone and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.  

Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board. Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you'll know at a glance whether you're free to join the group on the bus that day.

Spiff up household systems 

A new school year quickens the tempo of family life. Sports activities, music lessons, church programs and volunteer commitments tap parental time and put new mileage on the mini-van.  Get organized! Spiff up your household systems to meet autumn's faster pace:
  • Take a stab at speed cleaning and whip through household chores in record time.
  • Cut time in the kitchen: create a menu plan and never again wonder "What's for dinner?"
  • Try a session of freezer cooking and stock the freezer with prepared meals for stress-free dinners on sports nights
Happy New School Year! Time to swing into a new school year--from an organized home.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Improvement Loans - They DO Exist!

  While AK does not endorse or recommend any particular loans or loan companies, it's good to know they're still out there! Making home improvements and remodeling aging homes is part of the natural process of home ownership. After having several eager clients ask us about loan possibilities, we thought we'd see what was out there. If you have any recommendations or warnings about certain types of home improvement loans, we'd all appreciate hearing about it!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breaking Down Stereotypes

 To quote Andrew Markel of Tire Review, nothing compares to the stereotypical image of the used car salesman. "Compared to the stereotype of the grease monkey car mechanic, nothing compares to the image of the used car salesman. The stereotypical used car salesman is a slime ball with a fake tan, a fast-talker who is constantly saying 'What is it going to take to get you in this car' and 'How much can you afford a month?'"

  Would you think you had entered the Twilight Zone if we told you that as, now, we may actually use that phrase as a compliment?

  Coming home from a client's home recently, AK's president met a young lady. Unfortunately it came with crashing results! Ed's car was struck on the side as he drove through an intersection on Holcomb Bridge Road, in Roswell. (for you locals) After the poor vehicle was pronounced "totalled" Ed had a momentary panic. AK's business depends on him to be on the go, almost constantly! He had projects that had to be checked on, consultations scheduled and even a single day of delay was unacceptable. What to do...

   He needed a new car - yesterday. But to go to a car lot, and deal with those dreaded (gasp) sales people?

   We pondered something that we had pondered before: Is this how OUR clients feel? Are they at home hating their kitchens? Feeling trapped by that 'honey-do' project that just never got finished? And are they just dreading calling a contractor for help? Because, as we all know, the stereotypical contractor (the burly guy in a holey t-shirt or overalls and a tool belt, driving the pickup truck with mysterious wood supports coming out of the bed) is just going to try to spend as much of their money as possible and the job will take much longer than promised.

   Thankfully for everyone, Ed's need for the car overpowered his worries about the buying process. Ed wound up at All Out Auto, in Marietta. He worked with Doug and John who were completely responsible for his pleasant buying experience! From the start, they were friendly. (We're friendly) There was no pressure. (We don't pressure) Doug talked to Ed about his accident, his old car, what he was looking for...he really got to know his customer. (We love getting to know our customers!) Once Doug knew a lot about Ed, his business, his needs, his wish list and more he assured Ed that he could help him find something that met all of his needs, and hopefully some items on his wish list as well. (Yes! Yes! Yes! We do that too!)

   Doug and John's assurance to help Ed find what he really wanted in a car, or they would not sell him one, created a client for life - not just for the day. These are exactly the principles that AK espouses with each new client we meet. (Maybe this melding of ethical business practices is why Doug, John and Ed got along so well?!) When a client first comes to AK, we take great care to ensure that our company is a good fit to suit their remodeling needs. If we don't think we are the best company for the job, we won't start the project! Our ultimate goal is for our clients to be so satisfied with our work that they recommend us without reservation. We will not do anything to jeopardize this goal!

   In order to be consistently recommended and referred means that AK takes a lot of time to ask questions of the client - to listen and understand their vision for the new space. Once a project scope has been agreed upon, we pride ourselves on our ability to move forward in a timely manner, and complete all projects in the agreed upon timeframe with the agreed upon scope. We know no matter how much people like us and our work, they want us out of their home ASAP! Because AK uses only the finest products and materials we can guarantee impeccable quality on all aspects of all jobs.

   Just like John and Doug turned out not to be greasy haired, fake tanned guys in gold chains, AK is not the stereotypical remodeling company either. We like to think we're a little above the cut - just like our new pals!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Building Moxie...the blog!

  If you haven't seen Jb Bartkowiak's Building Moxie blog - you're missing out. And we're not just saying that because we appeared on it today. This blog is everything that blog's are supposed to be!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

10 Ways To Beat Summer Burnout

Tips Author: Doyle Slayton

  We're not sure about the rest of the country, but here in Atlanta it has been hot, Hot, HOT! It's really hard to be motivated to do much of anything when just stepping out the front door starts the beads of sweat rolling. If you've been feeling tired, or like you've lost your passion for work or life - try these 10 tips to burn down the summer burnout!

  1. Take a Vacation – Why do we always feel guilty about taking a vacation? Most of us have gone years without taking a full week of vacation. That’s part of the reason for burnout.
  2. Get Some Sleep – Lack of sleep turns into fatigue, sluggishness, and headaches. Why put yourself through that? Get at least seven hours of sleep every night this week and see how it affects you mentally and emotionally.
  3. Eat Healthy - It’s easy to get frustrated and irritable because of the way we look and feel. My dad is a former college football coach. I used to love being in the locker room before the game. One of his running backs used to primp in front of the mirror before hitting the field. I remember him saying, “You look good, you feel good, you play good…” It’s funny… but it’s true.
  4. Exercise – This one closely resembles to the last tip. You look good, you feel good, you...
  5. Try Something New - Have you ever had something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got the chance? Go do it!
  6. Strengthen Relationships – There are people who love you. Go spend time with them. Don’t think about anything but strengthening your relationship with them. Enjoy the time. Embrace the process.
  7. Take Some “Me” Time – We all need people, but we also need some time for ourselves. My wife is one of those who feels guilty for needing some “me” time. If you are like her and you give… and give… and give… it’s important to allow yourself to give a little time… to yourself.
  8. Simplify – How complicated is your life and your work. Is it self-imposed? Look at everything that you are doing and get rid of the things that don’t add value.
  9. Have Fun – We’ve heard motivational speakers discourage us from wasting our time watching TV, playing video games, and other mindless activities. Maybe it’s OK to be mindless when we are “resting.” If you enjoy doing those things… then go ahead… RELAX… have some fun!
  10. Get Some Wins – Do all of these things to keep yourself mentally and physically refreshed… you know you are unstoppable when you are sharp… and winning is the best way to burn down burnout!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Boost The CHI In The Heart Of Your Home

 Thank you to Authentic Living Interiors, for hosting AK as a guest blogger this month! Authentic Living Interior's owner, Randi, has been delving into Feng Shui and using it's principles to enhance her client's homes. We wanted to know how it applied to the kitchen - since so much of what we do for our client's is in the kitchen! We came up with some great tips & ways that Feng Shui corresponds with kitchen design principles!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Remembering Our Great Nation's History

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth freedom, and that government
of the people,
by the people,
for the people
shall not perish from the earth."

Abraham Lincoln