Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Source:  Kiplinger.com 
Article by Sandra Block

"Retirees have special concerns when evaluating state tax policies: Are Social Security benefits taxed? Does the state impose its own estate tax? Are there property tax breaks for seniors? The answers can greatly affect the financial well-being of someone living on a fixed income."

Click HERE for Kipplinger article on 

Click HERE for state-by-state guide to taxes on retirees.
You will be able to click on any state. 

You will also find the following information.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Best Wishes for Peace and Joy This Holiday Season

As you are surrounded by family and friends, and as you think about those who may be separated by distance or circumstance during this holiday season, may you find peace and joy in the beauty and blessings of your life.

Best wishes for a holiday season filled with love and a New Year blessed with good health, good friends, and good times.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Remodeling Impact Report

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

This information is only an estimate and actual costs will vary by location and by the specifics of any project.

  • Projects With Greatest Cost Recovery
  • Projects That Make Owners Happiest
  • Projects That Appeal to Buyers

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Guide to Holiday Events Around Charlotte

Thanks to The Charlotte Five and Charlotte on the Cheap for this great guide to holiday events in the Charlotte area!

 You can feel the holiday spirit every day of the week with this day-by-day guide.

Know of an event we missed? Let us know by emailing charlottefive@charlottefive.com. And bookmark this story as we’ll be updating it regularly as we learn about more events.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015


As you are surrounded by family and friends, and as you think about those who may be separated by distance or circumstance on Thanksgiving Day, may you find peace and joy in the beauty and blessings of your life. 

 From my family to yours, best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Fondest regards,
Pook Bellini

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


It is with grateful appreciation that we give heartfelt thanks to the men and women who have served in our armed forces, protecting our nation, and preserving the freedoms we cherish.

When I was a child, we celebrated "Armistice Day" to recognize the signing of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I and to honor those who bravely served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice on foreign soil.  The main hostilities of WWI were properly finished at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, with Germany signing the Armistice.   Red poppies were distributed by members of the American Legion Auxillary, as a remembrance of the sacrifices of those who served during the war.  

The symbolism of the red poppy began with the poem IN FLANDERS FIELDS,  penned by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) of the Canadian Army, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier and being moved by the poppy flowers that grew in the Flanders battlefields on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem, Belgium.  The imagery created by that poem remains an important symbol of the sacrifices of war today.  On June 1,1954, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.  

The following explanation of the poppy story comes from the American Legion  Auxillary website.

The Poppy Story

From the battlefields of World War I, weary soldiers brought home the memory of a barren landscape transformed by wild poppies, red as the blood that had soaked the soil. By that miracle of nature, the spirit of their lost comrades lived on. The poppy became a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in war and represented the hope that none had died in vain. The American Legion Auxiliary poppy has continued to bloom for the casualties of four wars, its petals of paper bound together for veterans by veterans, reminding America each year that the men and women who have served and died for their country deserve to be remembered. The poppy, as a memorial flower to the war dead, can be traced to a single individual, Moina Michael. She was so moved by Lt. Col. McCrae's poem, "In Flanders Fields," that she wrote a response:

. . . the blood of heroes never dies
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders' Fields.

On impulse, she bought a bouquet of poppies – all that New York City's Wanamaker's Department Store had – and handed them to businessmen meeting at the New York YMCA where she worked. She asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen. That was November 1918. World War I was over, but America's sons would rest forever "in Flanders' Fields." Later she would spearhead a campaign that would result in the adoption of the poppy as the national symbol of sacrifice.

In Flanders Fields

"In Flanders Fields" is a war poem in the form of a rondeau, written during the First World War by Canadian physician and Lt. Col. John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died during the Second Battle of Ypres.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lt. Col. John McCrae

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


As in years past, it is my honor to share the annual birthday tribute to the United States Marine Corps presented by Bob Parsons, Founder and former CEO and Executive Chairman of Go Daddy.  Please click HERE to view this 240th birthday presentation.     

In addition to Bob Parson's annual birthday tribute, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, with support from Go Daddy, is partnering with the Semper Fi Fund and  America's Fund to raise money to help critically ill and injured members of all of the United States Armed Forces and their families.  This matching campaign has the potential to raise $20 million for wounded, critically ill and injured veterans.  It is one of the largest matching campaigns in the history of veteran non-profits. Beginning November 5th through December 31, 2015,  up to $10 million in donations will be matched, dollar-for-dollar.

You have the power to make a difference!
Click HERE to help the heroes who have given so much for our freedom.


With love and thanks to my husband and his Marine Corps brothers for their dedication and service, and with heartfelt thanks to all who have served or are currently serving.

Today and always we remember with deep love and affection our dear friend, Bob "Heavy" Petrella, who was a USMC Captain during the Vietnam War and was a recipient of 2 Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for Valor.  

I invite you to check out this website for a painting titled
created by our dear friend, renowned artist, 

Monday, October 26, 2015

2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog
Posted: 26 Oct 2015 04:00 AM PDT
2016: Homeowner’s Net Worth Will Be 45x Greater Than a Renter | Keeping Current Matters Every three years the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400). In a recent Forbes article the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater. The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction: Increasing Gap in Family Wealth | Keeping Current Matters

Put Your Housing Cost to Work For You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings’. Every time you pay your mortgage you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth. The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 80% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:
“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you through homeownership, meet with a real estate professional in your area who can guide you through the process.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

N.C. is becoming a 'craft beer powerhouse'

I've shared information about great BBQ in the area... now it's time to share news about North Carolina craft beer!  

Click HERE for an article by that appeared in The Charlotte Business Journal.  The article called discusses the shout-out given to NC breweries by INVERSE, a Denver-based news and culture website.  The INVERSE blog post, named North Carolina as becoming one of the top 6 craft beer producing "powerhouses" in the country!

Many folks will tell you that there's nothing like BBQ and beer!   

Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts"  (below right) to see more posts.  Alternatively, you can go to the BLOG ARCHIVE on the left sidebar and search for postings by date.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Best BBQ Joints in NC

Courtesy of BHHS Blog
April 10, 2015

Looking for great Carolina barbeque?  See BHHS/Carolinas Realty's take on the top 10 in North Carolina...


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Winter Forecast 2015-16


So where are my friends in zone 6 heading this winter?  Contact me if you want to check out new options anywhere in the country!


Click on this link (or the map) for the breakdown by zone:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Contact your Member of Congress to Stop Patent Trolls

The National Association of REALTORS® is supporting H.R. 9 - The Innovation Act to close loopholes in our legal system that allows patent trolls to thrive.  REALTORS® are targeted by patent trolls at alarming rates for simply using common business technologies like dropdown menus and search functions on websites or scan-to-email technologies found in every office scanner.  Patent trolls exist solely to purchase old patents and to use the threat of expensive lawsuits to extort money from legitimate businesses.  Congress must pass common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect Main Street businesses and REALTORS® from patent troll abuse.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Source:  Oursuncitycarolinalakes community website           

Sales Center Parking Lot Closed begining 7/6
As of Monday, July 6th, the Sales Center Parking Lot will no longer be available for homeowner parking...
Effecting Monday, July 6th, the Pulte Sales Center will no longer be able to accommodate homeowner vehicles due to construction.  This includes daily overflow parking as well as longer-term RV parking.

Thank you to the staff at the Sales Center for making their lot available to the community for the past 9 years.


Best Charlotte Restaurants — A Foodie Guide

The link above is to a great blog by Mary Cowx, the Fervent Foodie.  She does an amazing job of covering the Charlotte food scene!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Homeownership as an Investment: The Role of Price Appreciation

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters / The KCM Blog
Posted: 27 May 2015 04:00 AM PDT

Homeownership as an Investment: The Role of Price Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters
We recently posted on the results from the latest Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) showing where residential home prices are headed over the next five years. Today, we want to show you what the results of the report could mean to you. A good portion of every family’s wealth comes from the equity in the home they live in. As the value of their home (an asset) increases so does their equity. 

Let’s look at a possible case scenario based on the latest HPES. Here is a chart showing the survey’s projections on annual appreciation over the next five years:
Projected Mean Percentage Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters

 We then looked at the five-year impact this would have on the equity of a family that purchased a home in January for $250,000: Their family wealth (based on increased equity) would increase by $47,772 over those five years.
Home Price Appreciation | Keeping Current Matters
Bottom Line If you don’t yet own, perhaps you should be thinking about purchasing. If you already own, maybe it’s time to move up to enjoy your dream home and also ride the increase in equity of the larger asset.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Today's Memorial Day ceremony at SCCL was a lovely tribute to those who died in service to our country as well as to our resident Veterans.  The ceremony included the presentation of colors by the Charlotte Civil Air Patrol, a wonderful performance of our National Anthem, America, and America the Beautiful by the Carolina Lakes Choral Society,  and resident Garland Mitchel eloquently speaking of the history and meaning of Memorial Day.   
Watching our Veterans walk out to the dock together and salute as taps was played as a memorial wreath was put into the water was very moving.  Our resident Vets stood proudly as they honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Also, during the event, residents heard Dan Sadvary, head of the Steering Committee of the Honor Our Veterans / Memorial Interest Group speak about plans for a special area at the second amenities center (The Lodge) that will be dedicated to our Veterans.  Anyone interested in this project can join the Honor Our Veterans group at the SCCL website. As per the website, "The mission of our group is to honor the veterans of Sun City Carolina Lakes by displaying a collection of their military memorabilia in the SCCL Lodge currently under construction.  The Honor Our Veterans group is comprised of four committees – Communications, Physical Space Design, Memorabilia and Fund Raising with oversight provided by a Steering Committee. These committees are currently being developed by the Steering committee headed by Mr. Dan Sadvary."

It is a pleasure to live in a community that appreciates and honors our Veterans!  

A big heartfelt thank you to all our Vets for their service!

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts"  (below right) to see more posts.  Alternatively, you can go to the BLOG ARCHIVE on the left sidebar and search for postings by date.

Friday, May 22, 2015


I've spent the last week doing a lot of yard work... trimming our magnolia tree, removing dead and dying shrubs, removing pine straw and replacing it with hardwood mulch, and planting... lots of planting.  The problem with doing all that trimming and pine needle removal is that you can't put it in your trash can and be done.  Of course you can hire someone to haul away your yard waste (or do the whole landscaping job for that matter), but, being the do-it-yourselfers that we are, we chose to haul ours to the dump.  So, today my husband and I loaded up my car and went to "The Foxhole" with all our yard debris.  The Foxhole is a Mecklenburg County landfill located immediately north of the Walmart shopping center on 521, but, unless you actually know it's there,  you'd never know that there's landfill beyond the lovely entry sign and the meandering driveway lined with a pretty white fence. Once we entered the facility, we waited in line to pay our $8.50 fee (since we had more than a wheelbarrow size load) and then drove down to the yard waste area.  We emptied all of our bags and a rather humongous box and then had an interesting chat with the guy standing by with a bull dozer.  He told us about the compost and mulch that's made out of all the yard waste and about the other areas of the dump where construction and demolition waste go.  In addition to the "dump" areas, there's also a recycling center at the facility, so this place is definitely the place to go if you've got stuff to dispose of.  The Foxhole is easy to get to and pretty inexpensive... just be prepared to wait in line and to empty out your bags or boxes, as they cannot be included in the with the yard waste.  And one more thing, you can't include any stumps, roots, or dirt in with your yard waste... apparently, it screws up the machines that make the compost and mulch. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015


All gave some... some gave all.
I have always found it strange to wish someone a Happy Memorial Day and I can never bring myself to say those words.  Yes, we all look forward to the first long weekend that marks the unofficial beginning of summer and the first barbecue of the season, picnic, trip to the lake... or the Indy 500.  But, while all of those things make Memorial Day weekend a fun time, we need to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day.  As we enjoy time with family and friends, let us be sure to take time to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we cherish.  

And, as we remember those who died in service to our country, let us give thanks to those who are serving now and to all our Veterans for their past service to our country. 

Memorial Day History
American Widow Project
The Origin of Sounding Taps 
Arlington Remembrance by Trace Adkins
Buglers at Arlington National Cemetery
God Bless the USA by the Texas Tenors

In June 2014, an 11-year-old boy visited Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  As part of the boy’s personal project, titled “Project Vigil,” this little boy spent four days teaching visitors and tourists about three paratroopers who had been buried in the American Cemetery.
littlethings.com|By Paul Morris

This boy's parents taught him well!

Teach Your children Well by Crosby, Stills, and Nash:

Monday, May 18, 2015

Buying a Home is 35% Less Expensive than Renting!

Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog
Posted: 18 May 2015 04:00 AM PDT
Buying a Home is 35% Less Expensive than Renting! | Keeping Current MattersIn the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, they explained that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The updated numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% in Honolulu (HI), all the way to 55% in Sarasota (FL), and 35% Nationwide!

The other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country (3.9%), they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation (3.7%). “In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.”
  • Some markets might tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if – as most economists expect – mortgage rates rise, due to the strengthening economy.
  • Nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying – and rates haven’t been that high since 1989. 

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Difference Your Interest Rate Makes

Courtesy of Keeping Matters Current/The KCM Blog

Some Highlights:
  • Even a small increase in interest rates drastically impacts your budget.
  • Securing a mortgage now while rates are still low means you can get more house for your money.
  • Spend your money on your dream home, not on interest.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Today I'd like to share a very eloquent Mother's Day message that was posted on Facebook by my friend and Arizona colleague, Kirsten Johnson.   Thank you, Kirsten, for allowing me share this!

I want to share something that comes to mind not only on Mother's Day, but often....

I think of women I know who have not had the opportunity to have children either because of a medical condition or because they have not found the right person to have kids with, like in my situation. Please do not judge these women or ask them why they do not have kids, because I can guarantee it is not because of lack of want, it just is what it is right now. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of these ladies. It is a journey.

I think of people who I have met along the way who did not have a mother who was present in their lives either physically or emotionally. Their stories hurt my heart. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of those who did not have the true presence of a Mother. It is a journey.

I think of many of you who I know who have lost your mother and the "missing" her never goes away. The wanting to pick up the phone and call her to say Happy Mother's Day and I Love You doesn't go away. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of those who have lost their Mother. It is a journey.

I think of those mothers who have lost a child to sickness or tragedy. My heart hurts with you. No Mother should have to feel this pain. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of those who have lost a child. It is a painful journey.

I think of the nearly 17,000 kids in foster care in Arizona and the 500,000 in the United States that are confused and conflicted about their Mother, wondering why she abandoned, neglected or hurt them. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of our Kids in Foster Care. It is a scary and painful journey.

I want to recognize those mothers who have found their way to adopt or foster a child. Thank you for giving a child a sense of family and what it means to have a Mother. Biology has nothing to do with being a Mother. Love has everything to do with being a Mother. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of those who have adopted, fostered or are thinking about doing so. It is a journey. 

To all Mother's....your children are a gift! Thank you for giving them a loving home. Do not ever forget how important your role is to your children. Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of yourselves, other mothers, fathers and your children. It is a journey.

We all have a story when it comes to our mother and our motherhood! Be Kind. Be Loving. Be Understanding. Be Supportive of One Another. It is a Journey.

Friday, May 1, 2015


Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog
Posted: 01 May 2015 04:00 AM PDT
Where Should I Retire [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights From The Report:

  • 80% of all pre-retirees in the South Atlantic region plan to stay there in retirement
  • 4 out of 10 pre-retirees plan to relocate in retirement
  • Retirees in the South Central Region are most satisfied with their Cost of Living
  • For more information or to read the full report: Click Here

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Source:  Fort Mill Times
04/24/2015 2:42 PM

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article19392705.html#storylink=cpy

After years of searching for the perfect piece of land for a new recycling center, Lancaster County Leaders have closed a deal on more tha 4 acres in Indian Land.

The purchase means residents no longer will have to travel across state lines to the Foxhole Landfill in Charlotte, off U.S. 521. 

District 7 County Councilman Brian Carnes said that about two years ago the county was forced to abruptly close its recycling and solid-waste center on leased land on Jim Wilson Road. The property owner sold the parcel to a developer who built homes on the site.

County officials wasted no time searching for land for a new center, but it wasn’t easy. “There’s not a whole lot of cheap property in Indian Land anymore,” Carnes said.

In the meantime, a deal was worked out for South Carolina residents to take solid waste and recyclables to the Charlotte facility. Carnes said the Foxhole facility recently has considered charging S.C. residents for using the landfill and began limiting the number of bags of garbage that could be brought in one trip.

Over the years, several pieces of land were ruled out because of push back from nearby residents, but county leaders finally purchased 4.61 acres in the 521 Perimeter Commerce Park on Northfield Drive on April 15. County Administrator Steve Willis confirmed the purchase price, including closing fees, was $300,000, and that construction will be paid by property taxes.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article19392705.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, April 24, 2015


SOURCE:  http://www.scstrawberryfestival.com/

The award winning South Carolina Strawberry Festival is definitely one you don't want to miss!  It is Fort Mill's signature salute to spring!  Join us in 2015 for a week of events and activities, culminating in the festival on May 1 and 2.  Admission is free. NO PETS ALLOWED.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Information courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

Home Sales Skyrocketing!! | Keeping Current MattersYesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report. The numbers shocked many analysts as they revealed a 10.4% increase over the same month last year. This is the highest number of sales since September 2013. Sales have increased year-over-year for six consecutive months and the 10.4% increase is the highest annual increase since August 2013. March's sales increase was the largest monthly increase since December 2010. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, explained:
"After a quiet start to the year, sales activity picked up greatly throughout the country in March. The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years."
Here is a graph showing home sales so far this year:
Existing Home Sales | Keeping Current Matters

An increase in sales occurred in every region of the country even the Northeast that experienced one of their roughest winters in years:
Existing Home Sales by Region | Keeping Current Matters




Bottom Line: 
Houses are flying off the shelves. This may be the perfect time to sell yours.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


May we all be inspired to keep our planet beautiful and safe!
My EARTH DAY card for you... CLICK HERE.

Photo source:  Llerrah.com


Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts"  (below right) to see more posts.  Alternatively, you can go to the BLOG ARCHIVE on the left sidebar and search for postings by date.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Source:  Fort Mill Times/The Herald 
Article by John Mark /

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article19078509.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article19078509.html#storylink=cpy

The water slide to end all water slides is coming to town.
Registration should begin at 9 a.m. April 29 for a Slide the City event in Fort Mill, officials said. Local coordinator Scott Bagwell ironed out a few final details with corporate staff last Wednesday night and is confident Fort Mill will host a June 6 event for the Charlotte market.

“The Charlotte market is actually this event,” he said. “This will be the closest event within 130 miles.”

The Fort Mill Town Council voted unanimously April 13 to allow A.O. Jones Boulevard and the parking lot at Nation Ford High School to host a June 6 Slide the City event. The decision allows live music and is similar to other events, like the S.C. Strawberry Festival.

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/local/community/fort-mill-times/article19078509.html#storylink=cpy


Use the tab above that is titled CURRENTLY ACTIVE / UNDER CONTRACT / SOLD SINCE 1/1/18 to view all currently ACTIVE, UNDER CONTRACT, and SOLD properties in Sun City Carolina Lakes.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


It was an exciting day when I saw this beautiful bald eagle while walking with my husband and some friends recently.  A kind gentleman said, "If you'd stop yapping, you'd see the bald eagle up in that tree."  He's right, we would've missed it!  How fortunate that we were alerted to this awesome sighting right around the corner from our home!