to die for garden decor

Some weeks I forget to go outside.


Seriously. I love my PJs. I can waste entire days on the Internet on my iPhone. Siri and I sort of have a thing. Don’t ask.


Despite my budding agoraphobia brought on by my blue-to-Sinead-O’Connor ‘do, I feel a strong pull to dig my hands in the earth.


To grow veggies since there are no sugar white sand beaches to build castles on nearby.


So we spent a stupid amount of admission money just to drool over garden decor today. Please everyone submit this to the Backyard Crashers. We can *wink* pretend to be a random Home Depot customer.


I want a tree fort, a splash pad, wild flowers, a hammock, and a veggie garden. With light blue sea glass pretending to be a stream meandering through it.


And all of these pretties I found today. I am going to turn anything I find into garden decor. And maybe catch a baby bumble bee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?






Bonus: we stopped at the American Pickers’ store Antique Archaeology store. They had one of those seats the queen B sat in while men carried her on long poles on their shoulders. Without over-analyzing the feudal system, that would be so cool just once! But I’ll never be queen (cue Royals by Lorde).




While you’re here, like my Facebook fan page: and follow me on twitter: @crysticaro


And check out my latest Pinterest board with all my backyard space wishes!





Sochi Problems and Quicky Design

For some reason twitter has become a blast lately! I think it has to do with this little thing called tweet chats. Hit me up if you want to know what they are. It really is relevant, but hold your horses. Now let’s move on to Sochi. Specifically #sochiproblems.


Sochi, oh dear. 


I distinctly remember doing practice bomb drills in elementary school. In the Cold War Era. I have zero idea how sitting in a hallway or under my desk was going to protect me from a bomb. But my teacher said so. That was the year  we boycotted the last Olympics in Russia. Then Russia boycotted us back four years later. I can’t remember if we were still hiding under our desks for bombs or wearing swimsuits to school for heat waves that year.


Back to Sochi, twitter is cracking me up! ESPN collected some of the funniest ones here. Apparently sochi problems include half toilets and “ass” food (assortment, get your head out of the gutter) and hotels and roads that are still incomplete. Which leads me back to tweet chats- during #pinchat (about Pinterest!), I learned about the coolest tool for quicky design every. No more photoshop frustration! You have got to check out Canva. I made this little gem for $2.00 to add to the Sochi conversation. You can make a ton of things completely free as well. BEST. APP. EVER.


Sochi was preparing for 2022. Oops.



Have fun!


And don’t forget to follow @sochiproblems or the hashtag #sochiproblems even if you are from Florida and have zero idea what these winter sports are about!

Seriously, as a Floridian, this is my only real memory of a Winter Olympic event.


And yes, the CRE lawyer in me is wondering if there are just things as deadlines enforced with liquidated damages for um, no lobby in hotels, and other minor punchlist items like that. Ha!


And, of course, I found a matching Pinterest board for you to enjoy (the Today’s Show is rocking Pinterest on this one, even kiddie activities):








Applying Mixed Use Development Concept to Social Media

Mixed Use


Before a tumor ate a piece of my spine, my world revolved around commercial real estate development. One “trendy” concept was to go old school and mix it up a bit. I say old school because our immigrant ancestors to America often lived in the space above their restaurant, grocery, blacksmith refinery or other mom and pop business. Commercial real estate has expanded the scale, but basically has loved ways to help people live, work, go to school and play in one area and have called all the varying degrees of this trend “mixed use development.”

These days I am spending time scrolling through various social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest. There are a million new start-ups every single day. And entire ecosystems built around each one. Everyone has a new idea every single minute and it is easy to get overwhelmed.

In this post I would like to focus on just one of these social media avenues, the community facebook groups being sponsored by small businesses. I think you can then extrapolate these points to any other favorite social media addiction you may be nursing.

So these are the ways I think mixed use development concepts lend well to community groups on Facebook. For an idea of what types of Facebook groups I am talking about, check out Hip Franklin, Hip Brentwood, Hip Madison, Hip Mt. Juliet, Hip Murfreesboro.

1) Mixed Use Development Takes Time

If you look at these communities, you will see that some are well established and some are just sprouting wings. All have great potential. Some seriously need more members to generate interest.

2) Mixed Use Development Works

All business advertising and no personality makes for a dead Facebook community group. Zoning that kept houses far away from corporate America make for zillions of missed organic connections. This is the main thing that every moderator of a Facebook community group needs to help facilitate. Encourage people to post about their businesses. And about the fire or the car crash down the road. And about that fabulous purse they want to sell but cannot stomach the vastness of Craigslist. Also, try to talk about meeting up offline for crafts or a beer. Your imagination is the limit.

3) Mixed Use Development is Complicated

Setting down a list of restrictive covenants for a single use development is fairly straight forward by 2014. Setting down a list of restrictive covenants for something like Westhaven was much, much more complicated. While a Facebook community group shouldn’t be as complicated as making the school board, Harris Teeter and homeowners hold hands well, there is always going to be some members that annoy others (at best). Pin a list of community rules. Then actively set up your “owner’s association” to help you monitor the action. So many people think social media is a “set it and forget it” venture. Not true. Unless you want everyone else to forget it too.

Before I take this metaphor any further, I want to give you an easy two-step homework for anyone who runs or participates in a social media community: 1)  Count the last 10 posts and report in the comments how many of each were “commercial”  (selling) or “residential” (not-selling) and 2) in the same comment, tell us what type of post you are going to add to help balance the two in one community. Go!