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Jutta "Utah" Burden


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 515

Creative Lighting Options That Will Brighten Any Room

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Your mood is greatly affected by light, whether you realize it or not. It's why some people get the winter blues. Is your home like the dark side of the moon? If so, try these five creative lighting options to help brighten any room and your mood.

1. Recessed lighting 

Recessed lights are a perfect way to brighten up a dark hallway or den. Usually found in the ceilings of modern-day kitchens, recessed lights, when spaced correctly and evenly, emanate what feels like natural light. They come in a variety of colors, but white lights are best for brightening up a room.

2. Spotlights

Spotlights are small lights fitted into the ceiling and are similar to recessed lights except that they are meant to highlight or "spotlight" a particular part of a room. Say you are happy with your overhead lights in your living room or kitchen but you want to spotlight the area over the sink or above a nice painting in your den. Using spotlights is a great way to highlight a focal point.

3. Table lamps

It sounds simple, but table lamps not only brighten a room but allow you to control how much light you get. Different colored lamp shades will enable you to create an ambiance depending on whether you want soft lights to relax under or a bright room in which to host company. Use three-way bulbs at different wattages so you can adjust the mood. Turn on just a few lamps—or turn them all on to give the room energy and vibrancy.

4. Faux windows

It's not very expensive to cut out a hole in the wall and install a new window in a windowless room. However, if you don't want to go that route, try faux windows. Faux windows use LED backlighting to create the sense of natural light in a home. You have likely seen these windows in a bar or restaurant, and they usually come tinted or colored.

5. Solar tubing

Finally, solar tubing takes natural light from outside and funnels it into your house through your walls. These are perfect for rooms that don't get any light—like basements. You can get the same effect on a top floor by installing a skylight. The best thing about these lighting options is that they are energy-efficient, and many new models can actually store energy from the sun for reuse.

In tandem with your new lighting options, consider painting your walls light colors and adding neutral-colored furniture. This will boost the impact of your new lighting fixtures. Start brightening your room today!

How to Choose the Right Type of Barbecue Grill

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Lots of people enjoy the flavors of grilling over other types of cooking. It's a tried and true method of getting juicy and deliciously cooked food. If you're thinking of purchasing a grill but unsure about the best option for you, you've come to the right place. Keep reading to learn about the different types of grills on the market right now and which one will deliver you the performance you're after. Although many think of grilling as a summertime activity, you can grill 12 months a year, and many stores have winter clearance sales.

Gas Grills

One of the best outdoor barbecue grill setups you can use to improve your home is a quality backyard gas grill. Widely popular and designed to run on propane, this type of grill can also be converted quite easily to work on natural gas. If you want to fire up your grill on short notice and not worry too much about food preparation or clean up, this is the perfect solution for your home.

Electric Grills

An electric grill is especially convenient since a lot of units can be run both outside and indoors. Safe to use in areas with strict fire regulation codes, electric grills can be a great idea when you don't want city laws to prevent you from having a great time in the summer.

Charcoal Grills

If you long for that genuine, smoky and delightfully flavored barbecue, consider getting a charcoal grill.

These barbecue grills run on charcoal briquettes and are considered to be healthier than regular gas grills. You do need a bit more skill to use it, and the price and maintenance costs may be higher than gas or electric outdoor grills, but it's well worth it, especially if you add a firebox to cook delicious meat at lower temperatures.

All these options are great depending on your budget and lifestyle. If space is an issue, a portable grill running on propane or charcoal will help you minimize the space needed for a fun outdoor barbecue.

Should You Go for Built-in Grills?

A built-in model can be very costly, but totally worth it for those planning to grill all year round. What's more, it can increase your home's value considerably. Portable units are a lot more affordable, but they don't provide the same level of convenience and elegance. An in-between option for those who don't have the budget for a built-in is to go for a freestanding island, which is cost effective and still comes with a lot of features.

All in all, there's really no one best grill—it all depends on your specific situation and needs, so do a little research and find the grill that is perfect for you.

Contest 4 improv4humans - Regional Competition

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Contest 4 improv4humans - Regional Competition


Station Theater is incredibly excited to host the contest 4 improv4humans this February! NINE local improv teams will compete for a chance to join UCB’s Matt Besser for a live recording at the Del Close Marathon in New York City! Competing troupes will be announced January 15. Submission are currently being accepted at 

- February 3 at 8:30pm
- February 10 at 8:30pm
- February 17 at 8:30pm

- February 24 at 8:30pm

improv4humans is a fully improvised weekly podcast on the Earwolf network, featuring UCB’s Matt Besser performing with the best improvisers in the universe.

Each week, Matt and his guests create scenes based on one word Twitter suggestions, YouTube videos, news stories, Earwolf forum arguments, Besser family memorabilia, and live musical performances from artists like Dan Deacon, Waxahatchee and Lydia Loveless.

improv4humans features regular appearances by Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts, Lauren Lapkus, Jon Gabrus, Andy Daly, Horatio Sanz, Seth Morris, Paul Rust, Danielle Schneider, Eugene Cordero, Mary Holland, Jessica St. Clair, Lennon Parham, Gil Ozeri, John Gemberling, and Brian Huskey among many others! Also featuring music by Bobby Matthews and Dragoon.

Listen to improv4humans on Earwolf and iTunes.

Tickets: $8 advance purchase; $10 at the door
Show time: 8:30pm; Doors open at 8:10pm | All shows BYOB

Station Theater
1230 Houston Avenue, Houston, TX 77007
832.786.0413 |

Street parking is available on Dart Street or in the lot in front of Revolution Dojo. Please be mindful when parking in front of area homes as some driveways are difficult to see. General Admission seating.

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before showtime. All shows are BYOB. Shows are recommended for 18+ due to possible adult humor. 17 & under are welcome at the discretion of the accompanying adult. Please see our ticket policies at


Price: $8 - $10 
$8.00 advanced online $10.00 at the door

Is Going Green at Home Saving You Green in Your Wallet?

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

A hot topic these days is transforming your home so that it saves you money while improving the state of our environment. Companies have started to create a plethora of green technologies that supposedly aid consumers in becoming more eco-friendly and economical. 

However, some of these inventions may not be saving you as much as you thought. Read on to see which strategies and gadgets will actually save you money and help you reach your goal of helping the environment.

Hybrid Vehicles

If you're looking to get more fuel efficiency while cutting down on your emissions, hybrids may help but be wary. In some models fuel efficiency may be exaggerated, especially for city driving. Check third-party reviews before making a decision.

By getting your car serviced regularly, ensuring your tires are at the proper pressure and making your trips as efficient as possible, you will maximize your money and get better fuel economy while leaving a smaller footprint on the environment.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

If you're thinking that you need to discard your old appliances and invest in new energy-efficient ones, think again. It is not very good for the environment to trash perfectly good appliances just to go and buy new ones. Even the Environmental Protection Agency believes this to be the case. With proper maintenance and tune-ups, your current machines can be just as effective in saving the planet. Then, once yours have reached the end of their lives, you can invest in energy-efficient models.

The Latest Technology is Great but Not Essential

Even though gizmos and gadgets are important, not all green living is centered around them. Green living is about more efficient construction methods that heighten energy efficiency and promote a healthy environment. But you don't have to be state-of-the-art to go green: If you can learn to better regulate your thermostat and unplug devices that are not being used, you can save the environment and your money.

Existing Homes Can Be Transformed

Conventional wisdom holds that only new builds can be made completely green. However, this is far from the truth. New constructions can actually be detrimental to the environment. New builds take time to overcome any negative effects that they have on the environment, so salvaging your current home is a great idea. Fitting your home with environmental systems can be the key to a better environment and putting money in your pocket.

What steps have you taken to make your home green? Are these steps working for you? Connect with me today to talk more about going green in your home.


Budget-Friendly Curb Appeal Upgrades

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Curb appeal is the first impression that any potential buyer receives, so you should ensure that the front of your home, from the curb to the front door, is in the best shape possible—even if you don't have the budget to splurge on huge upgrades and services. 

With these easy and cost-effective suggestions, you can improve the curb appeal of your home, while giving yourself a lovelier residence to enjoy right now.

Paint your front door
Giving your front door a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the overall appeal of your house. Make sure that it's a shade that contrasts with the color of the house so that it really pops. This makes a home feel more welcoming, not to mention more stylish and appealing.

Spice up your front porch
After painting your door, don't neglect your front porch. Add small, inexpensive luxuries like metal house numbers or other decorations. Make sure everything is spotless as well. Sparkling windows and a freshly swept porch make for a more welcoming home, and a more welcoming home often sells quickly.

Get your lawn in order
Tidying up your lawn is a given. Making sure it's spick-and-span, regardless of the season, is a great way to improve your curb appeal without spending too much money—or any money at all! An unkempt lawn can make the house seem less appealing overall, so before showings, make sure your lawn has been mowed and edged for a more professional appearance. Also, try to ensure that weeds are pulled. The healthier the lawn looks, the healthier the house looks.

Plant flowers
Having a garden with flowers can really make a home stick out in a buyer's mind. The pops of color can improve even the most immaculately manicured lawn, and a healthy garden can make any house feel more welcoming. It's an inexpensive way to improve your home's overall aesthetic.

Hose off the front of your home and sidewalks

No need to buy a pressure washer—your standard garden hose is usually sufficient to get most of the gunk and grime off your house. You want your house to be as clean as possible for potential buyers and guests.

Touch up your driveway
Repairing the cracks in your driveway can go a long way toward making your house more accessible in the mind of a buyer. Even superficial flaws such as driveway cracks can really sour someone's opinion of an otherwise beautiful house. And a smoother driveway is easier on your car's tires and suspension.

Implement these simple and cost-efficient ideas to help spruce up your home's exterior and attract potential buyers.  

The majority of homeowners choose to use a listing agent to assist them. Moreover, people who don’t use an agent often lose thousands of dollars on the deal. That said, not every listing agent is going to work as hard or know enough to get you a really good deal or even sell your house at all. How do you choose a good listing agent? Ask them these 4 questions.
1. What is the average price of the homes you have sold?
If you are looking to make a particular profit on the sale of your home, it matters whether or not your listing agent typically sells homes in that price range. For instance, if you are selling a luxury home but hiring a listing agent used to selling farmland, they may be out of their depth.
When choosing a listing agent, find out what the average price is of the homes they’ve sold. If they are in the ballpark for what you are looking for, you’re on the right track.
2. What is your marketing strategy?
The internet is littered with homes for sale and MLS sites for homebuyers to sift through. How you stand out from the crowd depends on your listing agent’s marketing strategy. However, not all listing agents have a good strategy that incorporates both online and mobile advertising with good old fashioned marketing.
Before you choose a listing agent, talk to them about their approach to marketing your property. Is it a strategy that would reel you in? Do they seem competent and capable of marketing your property to the best-suited audience? Be detailed and don’t be shy about asking them how they would market your home specifically.
3. How many homes have you sold this year?
A listing agent can have a knockout website, a killer pitch, and an outstanding market strategy, but how many deals have they closed? The reason homeowners choose to pay the commission to allow a listing agent to help them sell their homes is largely for their negotiating abilities.
If the listing agent you are thinking about choosing has all the bells and whistles but nothing to show for it, it’s only wise to ask about it. It could be that they are new agents or that they just left a brokerage to go it alone. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure that it’s not because they are bad negotiators.
4. Are you familiar with my neighborhood?
How well your listing agent markets your property depends on how well they can sell your neighborhood. Your home could be great but what about everything around it? Has the listing agent you are thinking about using even been in your neighborhood?
As you interview listing agents, make sure that they are familiar with the area. The more familiar they are, the more knowledgeable they should be about the local market and how best to advertise to potential buyers.

Homes for Sale Magnolia

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Homes for Sale Magnolia

Magnolia, Texas is the place to live in if you want the comforts of a country home and conveniences of a city lifestyle. Located in Montgomery County, Magnolia is close to Houston and residents enjoy all the amenities of the city. The town of Magnolia has experienced booming growth in recent years and homes in various shapes and styles have been built and this guarantees that whatever your style, you will find a home that meets your.

The town of Magnolia is full of history. In its early days, this was a small industrial town where sawmills was the main activity. Originally known as Mink, the town’s name was changed early in the twentieth century but the industrial past is still evident as a busy railroad is still in use in Magnolia.

The town has special appeal for horse owners and there are many outlets supplying stock feed and supplies and there are many horses for sale. If you are looking for a home that will accommodate not just you but also your horses, the one town where you can never go wrong is Magnolia. In Magnolia, the country and the city blend naturally.

If you are looking for the traditional single family home, you will find such a home in the Hidden Cove Drive, Magnolia. This magnificent home is one storied and has a fenced backyard. The home has three bedrooms and two baths, a kitchen that leads to the family room and a fireplace. Hidden Cove Drive is close to the Woodlands so as a resident here you will have access to all the facilities that the Woodlands is endowed with.

Horse owners will find their ideal home at Timber Oaks Court, Magnolia. These homes are built on close to seven acres of land which is vinyl fenced and has pastures and barns. The traditional single family home here has four bedrooms and three and a half baths plus a spacious kitchen.

On Monarch Oak Dr, Magnolia TX are many prime and newly constructed homes.  An example is a new construction on 1023 Monarch Oak Dr Magnolia, TX 77354. This single family home has three bedrooms and three baths and is built to allow for owner customization as much as possible. It has high ceilings and blinds for the rear door. This all-brick house has ceramic tiles and granite countertops. The kitchen is spacious and the outdoors allow for the creation of a flower garden.

The range of properties available for sale in Magnolia Texas is vast and every taste is catered for. Whether you are looking for a single family home or a Townhouse, you will find one in Magnolia. For this town which has a dual country and city complexion, there are also plenty of country homes, complete with facilities for horses. For the last category of homeowners, it should be gratifying to know that even vets are easy to find here. When you are looking for homes for sale Magnolia, always seek the services of a realtor who has experience selling homes in the area.

How to Choose the Right the Woodlands Realtor

by Jutta "Utah" Burden
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
by Jutta "Utah" Burden

How to Choose the right Woodlands Realtor

There has never been a better time to buy a home, provided you have the money to. The market is down and shows absolutely no sign of rising any time soon. Homes have been sitting on the market for months without a single buyer showing the slightest bit of interest. The only thing that could possibly help you make sense of all of this bedlam is a good the Woodlands realtor.

If you are looking to successfully sell your home, the first step is to pick a realtor that is right for you. You can primp and preen your house until the cows come home and you still won’t get far without a realtor. The problem arises, though, when it comes time to picking the right the Woodlands realtor. With so many available picking one may seem impossible; to help you through this difficult time however is this article. Read and learn.

Licensing and Membership: When you first start approaching realtors, the first thing you need to check is the state of their real estate license. The decent ones will possess fully active and updated licenses; you should be able to check this against whether they are a member of a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and online listing database.

Education and Designation: It pays to be educated, especially in the realtor business. So, when looking around, it’s important to discover if they still regularly attend workshops and seminars. This will give them a much higher grasp of strategy and will enable them to put your home in the best possible light. If at all possible, go for brokers instead of agents, as brokers have to undergo more rigorous training to achieve their title.

Time Commitment: The amount of commitment a realtor has should also pay a factor in whether they are worth hiring or not. Full-time agents will be able to put in more effort in to presenting and selling your home - time that a part- time agent just doesn’t possess. It helps to see it in this light; would you rather sell your house part of the time, or all the time?

Reputation: Word-of-mouth is just as important as they say it is. Having a good reputation will speak volumes for the Woodlands realtor that you are thinking about selecting, so it never hurts to ask friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors if they have any suggestions. Chances are ,one or two people will have a recommendation and you can start your search from there. All of the training and licensing doesn’t necessarily make a good realtor, though. Instead, trust is the most important factor as you have to be able to trust them to sell your house; this is where a good reputation will come in.

Technology Savvy: This is the 21st century, the age of technology, insuring that your the Woodlands realtor is up with the times is essential in order to achieve maximum exposure for your house. The technology savvy realtors will be able to create web listings and social media sites in order to get the greatest benefits from this huge market.

You can always reach me on my cell 713-515-7847


by Jutta "Utah" Burden

The tax code hasn't been thoroughly reformed since 1986, but the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act impacts every facet of real estate. We'll touch on some of the key highlights here.

The advocacy of National Association of Realtors' (NAR) members, and consumers, bore fruit. The legislation will benefit many homeowners, homebuyers, real estate investors, and NAR members as a result. Two important wins include the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home, and preservation of the like-kind exchange for real property.

  • Most individual provisions take effect for the 2018 tax filing year and expire on December 31, 2025. 
  • The new legislation provides generally lower tax rates for individual tax filers. Not everyone will pay lower taxes, but the great majority will. The total size of the tax cut from the rate reductions equals more than $1.2 trillion over ten years. The tax rate schedule retains seven brackets with slightly lower marginal rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%.
  • The law keeps the  maximum previous rates on net capital gains (generally, 15% maximum rate; 20% for those in the highest tax bracket; 25% rate on “recapture” of depreciation from real property).
  • Exclusion of Gain on Sale of a Principal Residence: The new law keeps current provisions, so to qualify for a capital gains exclusion, homeowners must live in their home 2 out of the past 5 years. The Senate-passed bill proposed a change to 5 out of the past 8 years.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction: The law reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans after 12/14/17. Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered in, and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap. 
  • The legislation repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through 12/31/25. Interest is still deductible on home equity loans (or second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  • Deduction for State and Local Taxes: The new tax law allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. This $10,000 limit applies for both single and married filers.
  • Standard Deduction: Standard deduction will be $12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns. By doubling the standard deduction, Congress has greatly reduced the value of the mortgage interest and property tax deductions as tax incentives for homeownership. Congressional estimates indicate that only 5-8% of filers will now be eligible to claim these deductions by itemizing, meaning there will be no tax differential between renting and owning for more than 90% of taxpayers.
  • Child Credit: The final bill increases the child tax credit to $2,000 from $1,000 and keeps the age limit at 16 and younger. The income phase-out to claim the child credit has grown from $55,000 single/$110,000 married under current law to $500,000 for all filers in the final bill.
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction: Current law remains, allowing deductibility of student loan debt up to $2,500, subject to income phase-outs. The House bill would have eliminated the deduction for interest on student loans.

Winter Home Staging Tips

5 Container Garden Designs

by Jutta "Utah" Burden

Don't limit greenery in your home design to only your outdoor garden. Container gardens are the newest trend in home design that can be implemented just about anywhere in your home. Not only do container gardens add a touch of nature to your home, they also create unique and intricate designs that don't require a lot of maintenance. Take a look at these container garden designs to add to your home for spring.
Mint Chandelier
Grouping together different containers of mint plants will create a mint chandelier for just about anywhere in your home! The smell of mint is sure to give your home a feel of nature, you can snip the mint leaves to create a refreshing garnish for spring and summer drinks, and the chandelier keeps the herb within arm's reach!
Lush Succulents
Succulents are lush and striking but many are small, making them hard to notice and appreciate when planted in soil in the ground. By planting a mix of beautiful succulents in a hanging sphere, you can enjoy these beautiful plants in a new light. First, work from a wire form with soil, then press down each individual succulent into holes no deeper than the roots. You will need to make sure to hang the hanging sphere securely in a place where the spiky silhouettes and colors and textures can be enjoyed closely. As the new offshoots begin to grow, they should be pinned to the surface with a hairpin or bent paper clip to keep the tight, compact profile intact.
Fern Container
Take a trip to your local flea market and pick up a few old-fashioned milk pails to add greenery with rustic charm. Sword ferns can be placed in 10-inch pots inside the milk pail to give your kitchen or dining room a rustic look with a touch of green!
Modern Container
Purchase steel utility boxes from your local hardware store to create a sleek and modern container for your plants. You can select a range of shapes and sizes and turn them so that the side with holes is at the bottom and plant low-growing succulents, then top with gravel. To create a unique and exotic centerpiece, arrange several succulents in a tray full of grit.
Go for the Green
You can transform a run-down atrium, like Chip and Joanna Gaines did on the "Fixer Upper" television show, into a plant-centric greenhouse that is busting at the seams with herbs and other plant life. Line the walls of the atrium with cedar planters and white chalkboard labels to keep all of your rows recipe-ready.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 515




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