Simple advice on how to stage your home to sell

Professional home staging has become an integral and effective tool in the home sales process. A survey by the National Association of Realtors© found that 62 percent of  agents said staging a home decreases the amount of time on the market. Buyers agents surveyed also said staging to a broader audience can also increase a buyer’s offer. I enlisted the help of professional stager (and Maryland local) Laura Carr to help unwrap the mysteries of staging your home. Carr says all homeowners can benefit from staging when listing a home for sale or rent.

“Whether a home owner has resided in the home for a few years or 30 years, a stager’s assistance can be valuable in helping to highlight the home’s assets. Stagers can also furnish and accessorize vacant homes to make them more appealing.” Empty rooms can look smaller than rooms of the same size that have been properly staged.

DIY Home Staging!

If you can’t fit home staging into your budget, she has some suggestions for DIYers. Begin by giving the house a deep clean. Dress up rooms with affordable accessories like pillows, candles and greenery. Pops of bright color, including art and rugs can warm up neutral walls and flooring. Avoid using strong air fresheners and sprays. The subtle scent from soaps, unlit candles and fresh flowers will keep the house smelling fresh! For vacant homes make sure all plants and flowers are artificial.

Carr says there are some common mistakes sellers can avoid when staging. Taking de-cluttering too far is one of them.

“If the home has built-in shelves that are an asset, completely emptying shelves won’t draw the attention of the buyers. It’s best to place some knick knacks, books, games, etc. to draw attention to the usefulness of the shelves.” Another common mistake is hanging artwork in the wrong place. Pictures should tie the room together, not float above it. You can also use accessories to draw attention to features like mantels and architectural niches.

If your creative prowess doesn’t lend to staging or you need to furniture to fill a vacant home, you can always contact Laura for a free consultation at (410) 533-4162, or online at

Hotel at Maryland Live! Casino now open

(PRNewsfoto/Live! Casino & Hotel)

New 310-room tower opens for reservations on May 22, 2018

The Maryland LIVE! hotel is part of a two phase expansion project that includes hotel rooms, a spa, restaurants, retail and convention space. The new hotel wing has  standard rooms and a variety of suites including spa, villa, Presidential and penthouse suites. All rooms have amenities like free WiFi, coffeemakers and 24-hour room service. The lobby features a full service bar, 24-7 restaurant and retail store.

The LIVE! SPA offers massages, body polishes and wraps and other anti-aging treatments by Villa Floriani. Treatments are available in the spa or in one of the five spa-level guest suites with private in-room treatment areas. The LIVE! SPA offers manicures, pedicures and hair services in the attached salon. Guests can also get in a workout in the well equipped fitness center.

Next month the Grand Event Center will open featuring more than 20,000 square-feet of event space for meetings, conferences, weddings and corporate retreats. The space will include a large ballroom with six breakout rooms and  a 1,500-seat concert venue with a built-in performance stage. Phase two of the project will add an additional 40,000 square-feet of space, and is to be completed in the Spring of 2019.

As part of the opening of the new hotel and event space, Maryland LIVE! is hiring more than 500 new employees. Visit the website for job postings and career fair information.


Main Event Entertainment opens today at the Columbia Mall

 New entertainment complex opens May 8

The wait is over Columbia ! Main Event Entertainment is opening today, May 8 at 2 p.m. at The Mall at Columbia. The Dallas based entertainment company has more than 40 centers across the nation that combine food, bowling, games and laser tag into a one stop shop. Housed in the old Sears location, the Columbia location is over 50,000 square-feet including 22 lanes of bowling, a laser tag arena, billiards area, arcade game midway and  multiple food and bar areas.

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I got a sneak peek of the new facility and I have to say it’s pretty great. The street entrance of Main Event Entertainment opens into an adult-friendly space with a huge bar, restaurant and billiards area complete with flat screen televisions and shuffleboard tables. In addition to the main restaurant, there is a fast casual pizza place where you can get something quick. Guests can also order food from kiosks at the bowling lanes.

Past the food areas is the arcade midway. You’ll find everything from old standbys like skee ball and basketball to high tech multi-player games. Each game costs anywhere from $1.50 to $2.00 and is accessed via a card system. Players can win virtual “tickets” in most of the games and redeem them in the Winners Choice store. Unlike a lot of arcade pavilions, Main Event offers a lot of prizes at reasonable redemption rates. You can get a donut pillow for 500 tickets, a “football” for 175, candy for 10 or a tattoo sleeve for 160.

How much does it cost?

When you purchase game cards, there is a minimum requirement of $25. You can also purchase “Food and Fun” combo packages through the Main Event restaurant:

  • $32.95 for one full size entree and $30 in game play
  • $24.95 for one full size entree and $20 in game play
  • $17.95 for one full size entree and $10 in game play

La Bella’s offers pizza, chicken tenders, gelato and drinks along with kids sizes and family combos. The menu at Main Event has a nice variety including salads, burgers, wings, grilled salmon and it’s signature Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes (very yummy).

Main event also offers birthday party packages (of course) starting at $15.95 per person. Big kids can utilize the private meeting rooms complete with audio/visual equipment, free WiFi (think draft parties) and catering. Head over to the website and enter your email for a free $10 fun card (while supplies last)!




Cinco de Mayo events around Howard County

Cr: Casa Noble

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, giving us all a nice cushion in which to celebrate. The Howard County area has plenty of bars and restaurants holding events if you’re looking for places to go.

La Palapa & La Palapa Too

Both restaurants are holding events on Friday, May 4 and May 5, 2018 for Cinco de Mayo. La Palapa in Ellicott City will be celebrating all day with tents in the parking lot, DJs, live music, food and giveaways starting at 10 a.m.. Visit the Facebook page for details. La Palapa Too in Laurel is also celebrating on a smaller scale beginning at 11 a.m.. Both locations are starting early on Friday May 4 with $3 Dos XX Special Lager, Tecate cans and $5 La Palapa Margaritas.

Looney’s Pub Maple Lawn

Starcrush is headlining on Cinco de Mayo along with $4 Corona Light drafts and $5 Sauza Margaritas.

Facci Ristorante

The Laurel location  is offering up food specials and 5 different 5$ margaritas all day!

Cinco de Mayo

Yes, in case you didn’t know, there is a restaurant chain in Maryland called “Cinco de Mayo“. There are currently three locations; Columbia, Westminster and Martinsburg. Beginning at 10 a.m. on May 5, the Columbia location will be serving up Margaritas and giving away t-shirts and other freebies throughout the day.

Tax Day deals and freebies for 2018 around Maryland

Chuck E. Cheese’s delicious thin + crispy pizza. (PRNewsfoto/CEC Entertainment, Inc.)

The day is finally here, Tax Day. Whether you got a refund or had to pay, local businesses want to help you put this day rear view with these freebies and deals.

Planet Fitness

From Apr. 14-21, 2018, Planet Fitness is offering a free Hydromassage at any one of its 1500 locations. All you need to do is visit the website and a print out a coupon.

Chuck E. Cheese

 Kids get a freebie this year from Chuck E. Cheese. The arcade chain is offering a free large cheese pizza for every for every large pizza purchased between Apr. 17 and 19.


Enjoy a short stack for just $1, Tues. Apr. 17 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Must be a Pancake Revolution member, sign up at Sign up and you’ll get a free short stack upon joining, a free stack for your anniversary and birthday, along with other offers throughout the year.

P.F. Chang’s

Too exhausted to go out after finishing up those taxes? Get 15% off takeout on Apr. 16 and 17 with promo code TAXDAY. Visit to order.

California Tortilla

Get free chips and queso with your meal on Apr. 17 by saying the phrase “chipping in” when you place your order.

BJ’s Restaurants

The day after Tax Day is free Pizookie Day! Head over to BJ’s on Wednesday, Apr. 18 to claim your freebie with a $9.95 purchase, dine in only.

Boston Market

Boston Market is offering a special deal on Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2018. For just “$10.40” you’ll get a half chicken individual meal with two sides , cornbread and a drink.

Sonic Drive In

All day on tax day get half price cheeseburgers at all locations. There is a limit of 5 per person.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Potbelly is using tax day to boost its reward program. The first 75,000 people to join the rewards program will get a free sandwich and current members will get a buy one get one added to their account. Must use the Potbelly app to redeem.