Monthly Archives: January 2015

Mapping the Pizza Places of Rockwall and Heath Texas


Pizza: It has a 1,000-plus-year history, and whether your personal favorite is simple, elevated, thin crust, deep dish, non-gluten, or any other of the various descriptors, what we can all agree on is that we love it. Today, we check out the pizza places of Rockwall, Texas. We’re looking at the various restaurants from north to south in the area and the things that create a following for them. Lucky for us, we have a laundry list to choose from and as you see from the map, you’re never much more than a stone’s throw away from one of Rockwall’s pizza places.

Mogio’s Gourmet Pizza bears a striking resemblance to Palio’s Pizza (with good reason, if you know the history). The All Meat Marvel pizza is highly touted, this is Texas, after all.

Andy’s Pizza is relatively new on the Rockwall scene (opened in 2014) but has had several other locations such as West End in Dallas and Greenville, Texas. It’s located just outside the original entrance to The Shores, off SH 205.


Zanata Restaurant is located in the historic Downtown Rockwall Square, next to the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza. A major catalyst in the revitalization of the Square when it opened in 2007, Zanata for many is like their own version of Cheers. Check out the conversation we had with Kevin Lefere, one of the owners.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Zanata

Napoli Italian Restaurant is located just south of City Hall. It features a robust menu and does delivery as well.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Napoli

Luigi’s Italian Cafe has been here since the ’90s and originally was located where Joe Willy’s is now. It moved to its new location and has not looked back. For many in Rockwall, this is one of their favorite Italian restaurants in town.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Luigis

Mellow Mushroom is also new on the scene and has made quite the splash. From its colorful decor both inside and out to its fun and hip(pyish) food and craft beer menu, it’s truly a free-wheelin’ experience … maaaannn.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Mellow Mushroom

Samee’s Pizza Getti is one of Rockwall’s oldest Italian restaurants. Popular for its family friendly atmosphere in on the restaurant side, it also features a separate bar where the locals frequent. Samee Dowlatshahi is always there making sure everyone has a great time!

Pizza places in Rockwall: Pizza Getti

Campisi’s is one of Dallas’ favorite pizza restaurants, and Rockwall has enjoyed having it in the Harbor District. The Campisi family emigrated from Sicily in 1904 and brought the food they love to the DFW Metroplex in 1946. As they point out on their website, Campisi’s awards include Best Pizza, Best Italian, and recognition from Bon Appétit magazine as one of the best pizzerias in America.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Campisi

Palio’s Pizza Cafe is on the south side of town in the Kroger-anchored shopping center and is great for dine-in or takeaway. Make sure to try their Hawaiian Sunrise or The King pizza! Check out this video we did on location at Palio’s.

Pizza places in Rockwall: Palio

Milano’s Restaurante is the southernmost restaurant on our list. Located in the heart of Heath, catty-corner from City Hall, lots of Heath residents enjoy their food and convenient delivery service.


So the next time you get a hankering for some pizza in Rockwall or Heath, Texas, know that great pizza places abound!

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Tips for Enjoying the Big Game at Home


Now that we have all moved past Deflategate, we can focus on preparing for the Big Game!

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks…


Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

As you set up for your party, be sure you have enough seating for your guests.

Next, be sure to set up snacks…

Lots and lots of snacks!

Seriously, you can’t have enough snacks. Looking for some recipe ideas? Try here.

If you really want to go all out then you can even get your pets ready for the game

Once your guests start to arrive, entrust your remote to someone who will not be tempted to flip through the channels. It’s BIG GAME’s all about the football!

You may be tempted to get up during the commercial breaks, but stick around because sometimes this is the most entertaining part of the day.

Well, maybe not as entertaining as watching Rob Gronkowski.

Don’t forget to catch the half time show. Katy Perry will be rocking the stage.

In the second half…anything can happen. Let’s hope for a close game!

Now would be a good time to put out some desserts.

Last but not least remember, if your team loses the Big Game…don’t be a poor sport.

Need more ideas? Check out “5 football party ideas that will score big”

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Checking in with The Jills of Sunny Miami


It’s been a while since we last checked in with powerhouse real estate duo Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber, also known as The Jills of Coldwell Banker, so we decided touch base to see what they’ve been up to.

Earlier this week, The Jills were all set to travel from Florida to visit Fox’s New York City studios. But then Winter Storm Juno derailed their plans. So instead, they stayed in sunny Florida and stopped by the Miami Fox studios to appear on Fox Business Varney & Company. On the show, The Jills spoke with host Stuart Varney, who dubbed the duo “The Champions out of Miami.”

Here’s a behind-the-scenes shot The Jills took on set and posted to their Instagram.


And below are some of the duo’s current favorite Miami listings. After this week’s storm in the Northeast, a trip to Miami sounds pretty great to us! Check out the listings for inspiration for your next vacation or second home.


1. 5446 N Bay Rd Miami Beach Check out this property on!


2. 26 Indian Creek Dr


3. 7752 Fisher Island Dr


4. 7737 Atlantic WY


5. 85 Palm Av


6. 2920 N Bay Rd

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Hunting: How to Find an Apartment in NYC in the Winter

NYC apartment in winter

You don’t know how you got here, but suddenly, you have to find an apartment in NYC. In the winter. Maybe you had a sudden job transfer. Or perhaps you took over a lease from someone else and it happened to end during the winter months. There are an infinite number of reasons why you’d need to hit the pavement on the hunt for an apartment just as the cold season hits. Here’s what you need to know about the wintertime apartment search in NYC.

Image Source: Flickr/Steve McFarland

I’ve heard that winter is the absolute worst time to look for an apartment; is that true?

Winter certainly presents a challenge for apartment hunters. May through September are prime rental season for most cities, a period when many leases are coming to an end (and many students have left their off-campus apartments), leaving tons of apartments up for grabs. New graduates come to town after June graduations, with many of them looking for leases that start in September. Peak apartment-hunting season means that there’s more inventory for prospective tenants to choose from. Landlords do their best to find new tenants during the summer and early fall months. Once this period is over, the hubbub dies down, and there are fewer spaces available.

Snowstorm in NYC

Image Source: Flickr/Dan Nguyen

So should I even bother looking in the winter?

Absolutely! You should look for an apartment in the winter, and you should take your hunt very seriously.

  • Lower competition. Yes, there are more apartments on the market from May to September, and while that means that there’s a heck of a lot more choice when it comes to available spaces, it also means that there’s a lot more competition for those apartments. In other words, that amazingly priced, ideally located parlor-floor duplex with that cute little garden out back that’d be perfect for Mr. Ciao, your Yorkie? If you’ve stumbled across it during prime rental season, it’ll likely have a zillion other people vying for it. But if you’re looking at the same apartment in the middle of winter, the number of other apartment hunters drastically decreases, giving you a better shot at getting it.
  • Better prices. You may be able to make a deal on the rent. Fewer apartments on the market also means fewer people looking, so in the interests of getting their apartments filled, landlords may be willing to negotiate on the rent.

brownstone covered in snow in NYC

Image Source: Flickr/Axel Taferner

OK, I’m sold! What should my winter apartment-hunting strategy be?

Here are some things to keep in mind when hunting for your NYC apartment in during the winter months.

  • Speak to real estate agents. No … stalk them. They receive desperate calls from owners looking to find tenants for last-minute or hard-to-fill vacancies every day.
  • Put your social media accounts to good use. Instagramming your latest avocado-and-egg sandwich creation or posting another video of Mr. Ciao’s latest shenanigans are truly important tasks, but putting the word out to all your friends and associates that you’re trying to find an apartment is even more important.
  • Talk to the landlord. Many landlords are ready and willing to negotiate in the winter, since there aren’t that many apartment seekers during that time. If you find an apartment you like, find out if the landlord is willing to negotiate. To a landlord, having a good regular tenant paying slightly less rent is better than having no tenant at all.

Main Image Source: Flickr/Marc Cappelletti

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3 Things You Didn’t Know You Need In Your Laundry Room


We’ve shown you what the laundry room of the future looks like after visiting the Consumer Electronics Show in the beginning of January, and it’s clear that we’ll soon start seeing gadgets like the LG Styler in homes across the country. All of this talk about high-tech laundry got me thinking about some of the simpler things in my laundry room I rely on constantly to help keep my clothes clean and organized.

Here’s the three items found in my laundry room that I can’t live without:

1. Grandma’s stain remover
This is a little bottle of pure magic. It takes out virtually any type of stain on clothing – I know because it’s saved a lot of my outfits over the years – including a white sundress! It’s a concentrated formula that you apply directly onto the stain prior to washing, and the stain vanishes completely after washing.

Image via

2. Drying racks
I’ve saved a lot of money on dry cleaning bills by simply washing some of my nicer clothing items on a delicate cycle and hanging them up on a drying rack overnight. Drying racks are also helpful for getting that “pressed” look since you can lay clothing out perfectly flat, which sometimes eliminates the need to iron or steam. Talk about a time saver!

Image via

3. A Laundry Sorter
I guarantee you, life gets easier when you sort out your laundry loads prior to washing. This laundry sorter makes it easy to separate whites, darks, and delicate wash items to ensure no clothing items end up in a load where they don’t belong.


Image via

Do you use any of these items in your laundry room to stay organized (and stain free)? Leave us a comment and let us know what else we need to add to this list!

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The 4 Best Rinks for Ice Skating New York City

Ice skating New York City is synonymous with the many pleasures of visiting the Big Apple during the holidays and winter months. Rockefeller Center may be the most famed rink in New York, and perhaps the world, but in addition to the famed Midtown glittering ice stage, NYC residents will also find other ice skating rinks well worth taking a glide onto this winter. Here’s a look at four of our favorites.

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

Even those not actually seeking to step onto the ice can delight in visiting Rockefeller Center’s rink. Open for the winter season through April, the one-and-a-half-hour sessions run daily, 8:30 a.m.–midnight. Tickets cost $27 for adults and $15 for children and seniors.

Watching the ice skaters dancing and listening to the music is an event in itself. After skating get warm inside shopping and dining in the underground concourse. Then take a ride up to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for an amazing view of the city.

600 5th Ave | 212.332.7654 |

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

This more intimate rink, a short distance from Rockefeller Center, has much to offer and has become a favorite destination for its free admission. Skates cost $15–$19, and one can skate until closing with no fixed session times. Even lockers are offered for free for those with their own locks (you can buy a lock for $9). From October 22 to March 1, the rink is open daily, 8 a.m.–10 p.m.

The 170-foot-by-100-foot rink is located within its own winter village. Sit and watch the skaters while sipping a hot drink, or take a break from skating to visit the artisan delights sold in the 125 shop kiosks open within the “village” during the holiday season. Après–skate, enjoy warming up with a nice book by visiting the famous New York Public Library next to the rink.

41 West 40th St | 212.661.6640 |

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

Not just seasonal, the Sky Rink is indoors and ready for action all year. Located right on Pier 61, enjoy views of the Hudson River skating at the twin-rink facility. Families are welcome, and the rink provides skates and helmets for rental. Admission is $10 for all skaters; skate rental is $5. Check their website for specific rink hours.

While at Chelsea Piers, take advantage of the shopping and dining. Take a break from ice skating to enjoy bowling a few games at Bowlmor or hitting a golf ball at the Golf Club.

Pier 61, 23rd St and Hudson River Park | 212.336.6100 |

Trump Rink in Central Park

What could be a more perfect setting for an ice skating rink in New York City than in the center of beautiful Central Park? Originally known as Wollman Rink, Trump Rink is open every day at 10 a.m. (closing hours vary). Call for exact hours and rental fees. Attendees are welcome to enjoy skating lessons, hockey, and figure skating as well — check their site for fees and hours.

After your ice skating New York City adventure, enjoy a visit with the animals at the Central Park Zoo or grab some warmth and culture by visiting a nearby museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Central Park East or the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Historical Society on Central Park West provide a wealth of viewing enjoyment and events.

830 5th Ave | 212.439.6900 |

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Philadelphia Valentines Day Ideas to Make the Holiday Special

Whether you love it or hate it, Valentines Day is almost here. While there are plenty of restaurants in Philadelphia that are offering the traditional prix fixe meals and local florists are getting bouquets of roses ready, there are plenty of other ways to make the holiday truly special this year. Several businesses in Philly have dreamed up creative and unique Valentines Day ideas, so that you can enjoy the holiday in your own special way.

Go on a Cruise (Yes, Really)

Want to use Valentines Day as an excuse to see the city in a new way? Book a dinner-and-dancing cruise on the Spirit of Philadelphia. The Valentines Day weekend cruises offered on the ship include a meal and dancing, plus roses. For an additional fee, you can purchase a bottle of Champagne and a special commemorative flute or a photo package. The cruise route takes you up and down the Delaware River, providing you with a view of the city from the water. Dinner cruises are available on the holiday itself, as well as the night before. If you prefer, you can also book a lunchtime cruise, for a slightly lower price.

Wine and Dine

Perhaps you’d like to stay on dry land, but are still looking for Valentines Day ideas that are a bit more exciting than a basic dinner. One option is to try the Sommelier Challenge Dinner at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. Taking place on February 11, the theme of the evening is “Pink Wines for Lovers.” During the event, you can enjoy a four-course meal, as well as rose wines chosen by the Restaurant School’s sommeliers. What sets the event apart from other Valentines Day meals is that the sommeliers are competing and want diners to agree that the wine they’ve picked is the one that best goes with the food served. Advanced registration is required for the wine challenge.

Get Creative

Valentines Day can also be a great time to try something new, either with people you love or on your own. Gallery Collective, an art gallery in Northern Liberties, is offering a Valentines Day Paint Night. Instead of putting a napkin on your lap and tucking into a meal, put on a painting smock and get in touch with your creative side. The gallery will provide the paints and other supplies needed and will also be serving a selection of wines, cheese, and desserts. Tickets are $50 per person and should be booked in advance.

Living in Philadelphia means you’re never short of things to do a holiday weekend or at any other time of year. Make this Valentines Day one to remember by trying something different and special in 2015.

Image Source: Flickr

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Is Your Home Ready for The World’s First Family Robot?

While I have always been a person who is intrigued by the latest and greatest tech shiny object I recently stumbled on the mother of all shiny objects. It’s called Jibo and for a price tag of $499 you can have the world’s first family robot.

Jibo, who reminds me of a digital cyclops, is a robot servant that can

  1. See: Jibo can recognize and track faces, capture pictures and enable video calling.
  2. Learn: Jibos artificial intelligence learns your preferences. (example Jibo will remember that you like Chinese food or pizza when you tell it to order you take out)
  3. Speak: Jibo will provide reminders from your calendar and read emails, texts and messages to you.
  4. Hear: Jibo’s 360 degree microphone lets you talk to it from anywhere in the room.
  5. Help: Like a personal assistant, this device “makes simpler tasks easier”
  6. Relate: Jibo communicates and expresses using natural social and emotive cues so you can “understand each other better”

Take a moment and check out this promotional video…

While initially I was really impressed I caught myself wondering do we really need a robot to do all of these things?

Is it really that difficult to pick up a phone and order take out?

Can we really not take the time to capture our own memories on our phone’s and camera’s?

Do we truly need robot to entertain us?

The answer is no. Technology is being created to make even the simplest tasks “easier” but in my opinion it just feels like overkill.

Also, is anyone else creeped out by having a robot that can literally follow and listen to you in the privacy of your home at any hour of the day?

Is Jibo cool? Yes. Will I buy it? I doubt it. I feel Jibo is the ultimate shiny object and an item that is simply overkill.

Now when it comes to “Smart Home” technology that DOES excite me I think of all the amazing things our team saw at this years Consumer Electronics show. Here are our top picsk.

Do inventions like Jibo excite or scare you?

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How to Avoid the Top 5 Home Seller Mistakes

Guest post by Cara Ameer with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

When you are selling your home, it can be easy to be in a vacuum. You have a certain idea of what the market should pay for your home and what may or may not be an issue. After all, you are king of your castle, right? Your home has x, y and z . The location can’t be beat. It’s just around the corner from (insert fabulous restaurant, park, coffee shop, school, etc. here).

However, when buyers and agents are coming through your home, it can be where distorted perception meets reality. Here are the top mistakes sellers make and how to avoid them.

1) Overpricing your home.

If your home is overpriced, two things won’t happen: showings or offers. The price is what sets the tone for showings. It is the nonverbal message that either invites or discourages activity. If it is too high, buyers that can afford it may be interested in something else, as they can go higher in price range, and the audience for whom it was intended price-wise are usually shut out. To avoid frustration over offers much lower than your set price, have an open discussion with your real estate agent to set the right price for your home.

2) Making showings difficult.

Restricted showing times, no lockbox or having to be present for all showings can impact the ability of showing traffic through your home. If there are umpteen instructions or restrictions, agents and their buyers will simply move on to those properties with less rules. Work with your real estate agent to find a way to make showings convenient for both you as the seller as well as potential buyers.

3) Not countering an offer.

While everyone would love to get the most for their home, a seller also needs to keep a realistic balance. It is too easy to get hung up on the starting number in an offer when the focus should be on what the end result is. The opening offer is simply that –a starting point. It gets a conversation going and results in hopefully a happy medium that is amenable to the buyer and seller. Not countering an offer is like having a one way conversation. It won’t work. How can you move to sold if you can’t have a dialogue of back and forth? It doesn’t mean that the buyers aren’t serious, they are simply being conservative in their first offer to get a feel for how the negotiation is going to go. It doesn’t mean that is the most they are willing to pay unless the offer was positioned that way. Failure to counter sends a discouraging signal to the buyer that can create an uncomfortable situation, perceived or real. Buyers want to do business with sellers who are eager to do business with them. You don’t have to give away the store to do so, but certainly responding with a number in good faith is a step in the right direction.

4) Property Condition Denial.

Would you as a buyer pay top dollar for a home with original systems approaching the end of their life? In today’s real estate climate, buyers, lenders, appraisers and inspectors are more scrutinous than ever. It is not only the buyer, but the lender, appraiser and the buyer’s insurance company that could be making the call on a home’s condition. Before you sell, be realistic about the condition of your home. Unless the home is deeply discounted below market value, which realistically means it would be far too low pricewise that you would agree to accept, the buyer will care about it and if they don’t, their home inspector certainly will!

5) Selective Memory.

Sellers often fear that if they disclose too much or provide too many details, that it could affect their ability to sell for top dollar; however, failure to disclose could open you up to liability after the sale. Leaving questions blank, or not being clear on the age of certain things only creates more red flags and concern for a potential buyer. If you answer the questions honestly and fully disclose any known issues or repairs that were made (with receipts to document and provide a history) it will eliminate buyer fear and doubt.

For more seller resources, or to find a real estate professional in your area, visit

Cara Ameer is a Broker Associate with Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. She serves as a real estate media commentator/contributor on a variety of topics both locally in the Northeast Florida marketplace as well as nationally.

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Fun Kids Activities (That Are Totally Free!)

Okay, Dallas-Fort Worth parents: Are you in need of some fun kids activities that’ll cost you absolutely nothing? You’re in luck. The Metroplex is packed with great family-friendly things to do that won’t cost you a dime. Gather up your crew, and try out these frugal and fun kids activities.

Fort Worth Water Gardens

You wouldn’t think there would be a serene park with gushing waterfalls and hidden springs right in the middle of downtown Fort Worth, but there is. The Fort Worth Water Gardens are an urban oasis right across from the Fort Worth Convention Center. There are three pools of water to check out — aerating, quiet, and active. If your kids are old enough, venture with them down a series of steps to the bottom of a crashing waterfall.

Build and Grow

If your kids enjoy getting crafty and building things, this is one of those fun kids activities you don’t want to miss. The home improvement store offers Build and Grow clinics on Saturday where kids get to make something out of wood and take home their newly built projects — all for free. Everything is provided at no cost: building supplies, tools, aprons, and goggles. Your kids can get hands-on constructing fun projects like helicopters, bird feeders, and treasure chests. It’s a great Saturday-morning activity that won’t cost you a thing.

Nash Farm

There’s history (and free fun) in the heart of the Metroplex at Nash Farm, Tarrant County’s oldest intact farmstead. Take your family for a tour and various hands-on activities. You can go for a hayride, do some crafts, pet the sheep, and then enjoy a picnic lunch.

Frisco Fire Safety Town

Turn a safety lesson into fun by planning an outing to Frisco Fire Safety Town. Here, kids get to explore and learn in classrooms, an interactive fire engine, and safety house. They also get to participate in hands-on activities — things like driving battery-powered jeeps through the streets of Safety Town, and riding bicycles while wearing helmets.

Cedar Ridge Preserve

Who knew that more than 600 acres of preserved wilderness is so close to downtown Dallas? Have your kids put on their sneakers and head over to Cedar Ridge Preserve for some outdoor fun. There are seven miles of hiking trails, native-plant nurseries, and an area that’s perfect for a picnic lunch.

There are fun kids activities aplenty in Dallas-Fort Worth. DFW residents, do you know of a hidden gem for free family fun? Leave a comment on this post!

Image Source: Flickr

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