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May 23rd, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 

paleo taco

 

Tacos De Mayo

This first week of May brought about a little foodie realization for me- A paleo diet can make one feel excluded from the festivities of a jovial day like yesterday (Cinco de Mayo), or this past weekend’s taco truck extravaganza in Fremont. It seemed as if everyone ventured out into mexican bars and restaurants to enjoy fun flavors of chilled margaritas and great specials on tacos. But, when trying to adhere to a paleo lifestyle, the taco factor can be a bit of a road block. Even if you weren’t tempted to grab a taco yesterday, May is sure to spawn sunnier skies and the urge for easy summery eats, like the taco. So Happy belated Cinco de Mayo to everyone including the wholesome health-conscious paleolithic community. Because we can most definitely have our tacos and eat them too! Here are a few paleo-friendly ways to indulge…

Head out to to Rancho Bravo Tacos and indulge in a tortilla-less taco or two. There are locations in Wallingford, Fremont, and Capitol Hill, so you can get to one no matter what side of town you are on. Prefer to Order in? Try the pork carnitas from Outside the Box, it’s a customer favorite that is concocted by people who cater specifically to the Paleo diet. If you’re hosting company, or simply more inclined to do it yourself, try out this paleo taco recipe from PaleoLeap.

In whatever way you go about it, I highly encourage you to go for a mouth watering, “south-of- the-border”, treat this summer. Maybe skip on the sugar-filled mixes in the margaritas and opt for your favorite tequila, but have a taco!

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef;
1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped;
2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced;
5 green onions, thinly sliced;
1 bell pepper, chopped; (an orange or yellow pepper adds more color to the dish)
1 cucumber, chopped;
½ to 1 cup homemade Catalina dressing
4 tbsp. Taco seasoning

Catalina Dressing

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil;
½ cup homemade ketchup;
½ cup red wine vinegar;
½ cup grated onion or onion powder;
1 tsp. paprika;
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce; (optional)
1/3 cup. honey; (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper;

Taco Meat Seasoning

2 tbsp. chili powder;
2 tsp. paprika;
1 tsp. onion powder;

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the Catalina sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste. For a smoother sauce, combine in a food processor and blend.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the taco seasoning, season again with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Over a medium-high heat, melt some Paleo cooking fat and toss in the ground beef. Cook until well done (about ten minutes). While the beef is cooking, break it apart with a wooden spoon.
  4. When the beef is almost done, add the taco seasoning and mix well, making sure all the meat is covered. You can also add a little bit of water if it looks dry. Let the meat cool down until it’s at room temperature.
  5. In a big salad bowl, combine the bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, and beef. Top with the Catalina dressing. Gently mix everything and serve.

photo source: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/slideshow/4443/paleo-taco-recipes

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May 18th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 

 

neighbor

Neighbors: The Forgotten Value of a Home

When a client is in search for that perfect place to call home there are numerous details that are carefully analyzed. Number of bed and baths, neighborhood, square footage, commute options, windows, natural light, price, value, flooring, maintenance, location, location, and location, of course…the list goes on. But the most priceless asset or loathsome hindrance about your home is very often the thing that is not pre-considered and is non-negotiable…your neighbors. The relationship or lack thereof, of those who share your community can have an immense effect on making your house feel like a home. Whether you are the ‘new kid on the block’ or the one slowly exhaling as the move-in truck blocks your driveway, I think you will find that being a good neighbor will increase your chances of having good neighbors. And having good neighbors will make home… sweet home. of bed and baths, neighborhood, square footage, commute options, windows, natural light, price, value, flooring, maintenance, location, location, and location, of course…the list goes on. But the most priceless asset or loathsome hindrance about your home is very often the thing that is not pre-considered and is non-negotiable…your neighbors. The relationship or lack thereof, of those who share your can have an immense effect on making your house feel like a home. Whether you are the ‘new kid on the block’ or the one slowly exhaling as the move-in truck blocks your driveway, I think you will find that being a good neighbor will increase your chances of having good neighbors. And having good neighbors will make home… sweet home. being a good neighbor will increase your chances of having good neighbors. And having good neighbors will make home… sweet home.

Here are 5 ways to be a good neighbor whether you’re new in town or a seasoned locale.

Know your neighbors (part 1)- the foundational step can be a tricky one. Don’t worry about who is supposed to introduce themselves first. Bring a gift, or just knock on their door with nothing but your smiling face. Catch them on your way in, or leave them a note. Just let them know who you are and that you are mindful of who they are.
Know your neighbors (part 2)- After you’ve introduced yourself and you know who they are…be mindful of who they really are. An elderly couple that probably would enjoy a bit of company from time to time? Single mom running a few kids up and downtown? Out-of-towners who need some of the local where and how-tos? Paying attention to their typical routine, family size, and obvious details of their life is an easy way to spot opportunities to build a relationship. It can also help you to be prepared for whatever antics may come from their household and spill over into yours. running a few kids up and downtown? out-of-towners who need some of the local where and ? Paying attention to their typical routine, family size, and obvious details of their life is an easy way to spot opportunities to build a relationship. It can also help you to be prepared for whatever antics may come from their household and spill over into yours.
Say “Yes.” when you can. Not everyone can dog sit or move heavy objects, but lend a tool box and make a conscious effort to accept their invitation to dinner if you can. Small kind gestures go a long way. Next thing you know your trash can has already been pulled off the street when you arrive home from work. And whenever you have to decline an invitation or say “no” for any reason, they’re less likely to take it personally.
Be Considerate. Try not to block driveways, have excessive noise during normal resting hours, and maybe offer up your driveway as additional parking space when your neighbors are hosting a party. If ever, you happen to accidentally inconvenience others, they will be less inclined to overreact or be upset when you have a track record of amiability.
Communicate. The magical key to all relationships should come as no surprise- if you can truthfully and tastefully let your neighbors know what’s going on with you, there’s much more room for understanding. Remember that listening is a vital portion of communication. Hearing someone else’s perspective can help you to empathize, or at least, move towards plausible solutions to a disagreement. Hearing someone else’s perspective can help you to empathize, or at least, move towards plausible solutions to a disagreement.

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April 18th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 
Outdoors
Welcome Spring, Welcome New Ways to Get Outside & Stay Healthy
With sunshine (finally!) starting to return to Seattle, there’s no better time to think about refreshing your routine to get outside, and take care of your health.  We all know that just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference in how we feel, so taking the time to invest in our health goes a long way.  Seattle offers some of the best trail systems around for biking and hiking, and there are many options that can be tailored to meet your skill level and desired level of exercise. Whether you’re looking to pick up a new sport, reacquaint yourself with an old one, or rally a group of friends to get out as a group, there are lots of great options to choose from.  Happy Spring!
 
1. The Mountaineers:   for over 100 years, they’ve been teaching skills, sharing adventures, creating volunteers, and conserving land. This is a great way to learn more about the endless trails and day trips available throughout Seattle.
2. REI: while many of us have enjoyed visiting the Flagship store downtown Seattle, not everyone knows the co-op also offer classes, outings and trips to help get you outside. From cycling, hiking to climbing and more, be sure to check your local area to see what’s being offered.  
3. Northwest Outdoor Center:  with so many beautiful waterways around Seattle, exercising on the water is a great way to go! NWOC offers a wide range of activities from stand up paddle board (SUP) rentals to kayaking, this is the place to go if you’re ready to get out on the water
4. Seattle Parks: there’s a whole host of parks suited for all ages and activities from biking to hiking to various ballfields. Take a look to see what’s close by in your neighborhood, or worth a drive to go explore.
5. Camping: if you’re looking to get out and about with the family or perhaps just unplug from city life, this site will give you insight on where to go, and how to make your reservation.
 

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April 8th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 

Garden

Spring is Here, And Your Yard is Calling!
 
Seattle has so much to offer with it’s scenic beauty, and when Spring arrives, there’s no better time to get your yard ready so you and your guests can fully enjoy the warmer weather.  Keeping your garden and green areas looking good keeps you, your neighbors and your home value happy! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are some fantastic resources in town that can help. Here are some suggestions to consider when thinking about what to plant; 
 
1. Understand what kind of soil conditions exist in your yard
You can buy the most beautiful plants ever, but making sure you have the right soil conditions for them to thrive in is essential. 
 
2. Note what kind of conditions the plant/tree/shrub requires to thrive
Most plants (if not all) come with tags on them that tell you if the plant needs full sun, partial sun, etc.
 
3. Look for special characteristics you might enjoy or ones that will compliment your home’s surroundings
Some plants attract butterflies and hummingbirds, some are are annuals, some perennials, some are fragrant, etc. Perhaps you have a favorite color you enjoy or need something that offers a bit of shade on your patio?  Or perhaps starting a vegetable garden has been on your list? 
 
4. Keep in mind what maintenance is required to help the plant/tree/shrub thrive
Many species are drought-tolerant once established, so consider finding plants that are manageable for you to enjoy. Others may require pruning or occasional fertilizing to keep their growth healthy. Know when certain vegetables need to be planted, and when you can expect them to be ripe for picking.
 
5. Consider adding an accessory item(s) to your yard
Wind chimes, hummingbird feeders, colorful pottery, water features and or a small table with chairs can make your outdoor space that much more inviting. 
 
6. Consult with your local nursery to get additional tips and recommendations on making your yard an outdoor oasis. Here’s are just a few to get you started–  happy Spring!

Swanson’s Nursery

Sky Nursery 

City People’s Garden Store

Ravenna Gardens

West Seattle Nursery

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March 21st, 2016 byAnastasios Dragseth 

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5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Instead of Rent
 

Buying a home can seem like a daunting task, but the financial and personal advantages it offers are too many to count! Here are 5 of the top reasons you should buy instead of rent:

 
 
1. Save money month to month: The average renter puts about 30% of their income towards housing, while the average homebuyer spends about 15% of their income on their home. What could you do with that 15% if you weren’t signing it away to your landlord each month?
 
2. Protect yourself from unexpected rent increases: Rents in Seattle rose on average 6.9% in 2015. With a fixed rate mortgage, you don’t have to worry about sudden spikes in the cost of your housing. Though you pay more up front in a down payment, your security over time is greater.
 
3. Unleash your inner interior designer: With a rented home, you’re limited to your landlord’s vision for wall color, installations, and any updates to your space. Owning puts you in control of the appearance of your home, and your options are only limited by your creativity!
 
4. Stop tolerating your malfunctioning appliances: Shower spewing ice cold water in December? Air conditioning struggling on a hot summer day? Stop waiting around on your apartment’s maintenance crew and get your own contractor in there fast! If you own your own home, you can make arrangements to keep it comfortable and well-maintained on your own terms.
 
5. Stop tip-toeing around your neighbor on the other side of the wall: While homeowners still have to be respectful of their neighbors, you’re less likely to be sharing a thin wall with someone. Feel free to throw a dance party at 3 am, have a dog that barks its head off, or on the flip side, enjoy quiet morning meditation without hearing your neighbors’ every move.
 
As you can see, owning a home offers both greater security and freedom than renting. Are you ready to truly feel at home in your space? Call me today at 206.963.5525!

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 March  7th, 2016 byAnastasios Dragseth 
paleo
Eating Paleo in the Neighborhood
 
There are so many factors involved in choosing a home—and not just the floorplan or price point. What lies outside your front door can make or break your experience as much as what’s inside. Schools, parks, transit access, and safety are some of the most commonly cited details.
 
 
But what about food? If you have specific dietary needs, having restaurants or groceries nearby that cater to you makes eating in or out more enjoyable. We all know Seattle is overflowing with diverse and top-notch restaurants for every way of eating out there. As someone who follows a Paleo diet, I’ve found encouragement and support for my lifestyle here.
 
 
Here are a few great spots for Paleo eating and shopping in Ballard and not too far outside the neighborhood:
 
 
Sea Breeze Farm (Ballard Farmers Market, Sundays) – Enjoy a wide variety of grass-pastured and forest ranged meats from this local farm. Whether you prefer beef, lamb, chicken, veal, or even goose, Sea Breeze Farm has your meat options covered!
 
 
La Carta de Oaxaca (5431 Ballard Ave. NW) – This restaurant offers several Paleo seafood options, from a spicy cocktel de camarones (shrimp cocktail) to a filling caldo de pescado (fish and vegetable soup).
 
 
Martino’s (7410 Greenwood Ave N) – Located in nearby Greenwood, Martino’s smoke and cure all their meat in house. They offer steak and chicken-topped salads and hearty egg and meat breakfasts.
 
 
NICHE (808 12th Avenue) – This gluten-free cafe is worth the short trip to the downtown area if you’re craving something different. All of their Paleo options are clearly market on the menu, and even non-Paleo options can be altered to fit your diet. From hashes to salmon cakes and even a Paleo BLT sandwich, NICHE makes it easy to find Paleo meals on their menu.
 
 
There’s no reason to get bored with a Paleo diet when your city offers so much delicious food to choose from!

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February 29th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 
__2987_ Paleo 3 salmon
Sticking with the Paleo Challenge
 
My journey through the Paleo 30-day challenge has been nothing but positive. Having planned to stick with it for the month of January, I’m delighted to say that due to the results, I’m still going strong. Through interaction with others on the same eating plan and the wonderful results I’ve seen so far, I have been inspired to continue on my journey with Paleo. 
 
Working in real estate, I don’t always have a fixed time for meals. I can be out and about around Seattle at any point during the day – if I’m showing houses in Ballard I don’t carry a kitchen supply with me to prep food, but I got organized and somehow I did it! In part, thanks to the great support I got from those around me. Seattle folks sticks together I guess! Because of this, I feel so much better in myself and have noticed a difference in my general well-being. 
 
It has been a double win with the challenge being achieved but also seeing how much support I got from everyone. That really helps on the tougher days, I can tell you that. At the moment, I feel inspired with the new me and plan to continue on this path for the foreseeable future. Stay paleo isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are 3 easy dishes that I love:
 
 
 
__2987_Paleo 1 beef tacos

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February 11th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 
seattle-downtown-from kerry-park
The top 10 tips for selling your Seattle home
 
You don’t want to just have another house for sale, you want THE house for sale. With a market as crazy as Seattle’s, there are a few tricks you can use to make your stand out from the pack. We all want top dollar for our homes, but for it to sell quickly, it must be up to scratch. Follow our real estate insiders top ten tips on getting your home ready for sale:
 
timetosell
 
10. Find Your Papers – Any warranties you have, all official documents and even swatches of the paint colors within your home. This can really impress an interested buyer.
 
9. Get Estimates – Buyers use little things to try to chip away at your asking price. So get quotes of potential jobs they may try to get a discount for. Does your property need a new fence? Get a quote so when they ask for a large sum off you can bring it in line with the true cost.
 
8. Think about Curb Appeal – You don’t have to have the most beautiful property in Ballard but it really does help to check out your home from the street as a prospective buyer. Gate doesn’t hang properly? House number rusty? Kids bikes strewn across your lawn? Fix the gate, clean up the number and tidy those toys. First impressions count!
 
7. Declutter – Think less “welcome to our beautiful chaotic family home” and more “welcome to our show home” with all of your trinkets and knickknacks safely stored out of sight
 
6. De-personalize – If your home is full of framed family photos scale them down to as little as you can. People need to imagine living there. Too many of your own sentimental items will make this hard for them to do.
 
5. Clean – It’s a simple one, vacuum floors and dust surfaces. Don’t forget kitchens and bathrooms too – you want them to sparkle.
 
4. Landscaping – A freshly mown lawn with bushes and trees trimmed neatly, and any weeds removed shows viewers you really look after your home.
 
3. Hide Pets – If you can get someone to take the dog out for a walk, or if friends can take in a hamster for the duration of the visit do so. Messy food bowl, cat fur on furniture or that chewed up old shoe that Fido loves – out of sight is best. Not everyone is an animal lover and some do have allergies.
 
2. De-Children your Home – Remove the messier side of having kids! Clear up toys/tripping hazards & try to get younger kids away from the house during viewings, you want the buyers full attention on the property not a badly timed toddler tantrum.
 
1. Relax and take a moment to reminisce about the moments you enjoyed in the house. This was your home, embrace the memories and think what lovely memories the new people will make here.

sold 

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January 19th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 

Paleo & Whole30® Program

Our real estate office here in Seattle is abuzz with talk of an interesting new healthy eating plan and we are wondering if we can complete a 30-day challenge based on Paleo.

Paleo provides a model for holistically healthy living. The Paleo diet recommends whole, nutritional foods, combined with honoring the body’s circadian rhythms.

By eliminating many of the causes of allergies and autoimmune disorders, the body is able to detox and naturally reset the basic functions that make breathing, eating and moving effortless in a healthy system.

The Whole30 Program Rules:

Eat real food.
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, or better still, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural.

Avoid for 30 days.
More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat: legumes, dairy products, sugar, alcohol or processed foods. Omitting these will help you regain a healthy metabolism and help you discover how they are truly impacting your health and quality of life.

Together with the diet, Paleo seeks to address ailments caused by modern life:

Fitness
Be active and compete in a sport, play with the kids or go for a walk.

Sleep
Sleep for at least eight hours whenever possible.

Sun
A little sun every day boosts mood and overall health.

Community
No man is an island! Face-to-face conversations, physical touch and emotional exchange are all valuable.

Technology
Use social media but make a point to regularly “unplug”

Stress
Stress reduction: deep meditation, yoga, a church service or even a hug.

 

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New Year Resolutions

 
January 14th, 2016 by Anastasios Dragseth 
 
Once again, we start a New Year with fresh intentions, ideas and plans with the aim to make our lives better. New Year resolutions are pinned to the fridge door, listed in diaries or posted on Facebook. Goals are set, ambitions are noted and wishes listed.
 
Among the most popular New Year resolutions are to give up smoking; to lose weight, to reduce debt and to exercise more. Perhaps we sometimes find these resolutions a chore. It becomes easier to stick to them if we think of the positives.
 
 
  • Quitting smoking means better health and more money
  • Reducing debt is easier if you see the fun in the challenge. Get your friends to join in with you and instead of night outs in Seattle try hosting nights in in your homes. There is no reason a night entertaining at home in Ballard can’t be as entertaining as a night out in Capitol Hill!
  • Exercising more doesn’t have to be done in the gym, why not take the dog for a walk and see what real estate is available locally. Maybe it’s a new home for new year!
 
 
If you want to try something different here are a few ideas:
 
  • Decide to “pay it forward”. This could be as simple as making time to chat to a lonely neighbor or buying a homeless person lunch.
  • Look for the good in people and spread positivity by helping others.
  • Give yourself time to enjoy nature. You can get a bird-feeder and watch them flock to your garden or enjoy what Seattle has to offer by exploring outdoors with friends or just you and your dog!

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FOMC Minutes: Low Inflation Rates Won’t Delay Rate Hikes

January 8th, 2015

 

The minutes of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) indicate that Fed policymakers aren’t concerned about low inflation rates as an obstacle to raising the target federal funds rate.

The national inflation rate was 1.50 percent for the 13 months ending in October. The inflation rate as reported in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) dropped to 1.25 percent in November.

The Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes food and energy sectors, showed an inflation rate of 1.75 percent. The Fed has repeatedly cited a target of 2.00 percent inflation, but inflation rates have remained consistently lower.

Recent freefall in fuel prices is keeping inflation below the Fed’s target range, although long-term indicators for inflation remained stable.

Fed Says Economy Increasing at “Moderate Pace”

Committee members noted that economic conditions improved at a moderate pace during the fourth quarter and that labor conditions also showed additional improvement. Non-farm payroll reports expanded in October and November and exceeded third quarter growth rates.

The national unemployment rate edged down to 5.80 percent in October and held steady in November. FOMC members established a national unemployment rate of 6.50 percent as a target rate for removing accommodative measures such as its asset purchase program that concluded in October.

Labor force participation rose, while the number of those under-employed in part time jobs declined.

Private sector hiring and quits increased, although job openings remained elevated in November and maintained levels seen in September and October. Stronger labor markets typically support housing markets as more families can afford to buy homes when hiring and employment rates are stable.

Housing Markets Remain Slow; May Inspire Would-be Buyers

The FOMC minutes noted that committee members viewed housing markets as housing starts and building permits saw slight increases. Construction of single-family homes increased while multi-family construction decreased. Ongoing shortages of rentals are seen as a factor driving renters into the housing market.

Sales of new and existing homes rose “modestly” in October. Slowing home sales will likely drive prices down as inventories of available homes increase. Mortgage rates are expected to rise, but analysts don’t expect mortgage rates to rise much beyond five percent, which remains historically low.

In spite of low mortgage rates, the Fed characterized mortgage refinance activity as “subdued” and said tight mortgage credit conditions continue to inhibit mortgage approvals for all but those with “pristine” credit.

Surveys of economic and financial analysts indicated that the Fed may raise its target federal funds rate mid-year instead of initial projections for raising the rate in late 2015. The target federal funds rate is currently 0.00 to 0.25 percent.