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September
21

5 Tips for Frugal Urban Living

Urban living is expensive—especially for recent college graduates who are living their dream of getting a good first job in the big city. But successful urban living, financial advisors say, is all about being thoughtful and learning to spend wisely and well.

  • Know the 3 Ns: Necessities, Nest Egg and Non-Essentials – Necessities, like rent, food, clothing and transportation, should take no more than 50% of your income. Aim for a nest egg—savings in an interest-bearing account that includes cash enough for three month's expenses or emergencies, plus a chunk of your monthly income going into a retirement account—and designate no more than 20% of your income for discretionary items such as entertainment, dining out, vacations and other non-essentials.
  • Know the 4 Rs: Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle – Before you buy something, ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can I buy it second-hand or trade for it? Can I recycle or repurpose something I already have? Can I find it on the cheap? Get acquainted with local websites devoted to buying and trading used merchandise.
  • Stick to a List – Resist impulsive buying. Whether it's groceries, clothing, household goods or non-essentials, make a list of what you need and do your best to stick to it when you shop. And a good piece of advice…never do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach!
  • Try Not to Pay Full Price – Clip coupons, download apps and sign up for loyalty programs. Check the internet for books and tips on purchasing almost anything you need at a discount. Facebook Marketplace is a good place to start looking for preowned items at affordable prices.
  • Put People Over Things – Money can't buy relationships. Even casual conversations can lead to friendships, and friends can be your greatest asset. Apart from the emotional support that friends provide, you can live more frugally by cooking together instead of eating out, playing games at home instead of spending on expensive entertainment, and keeping each other on the straight and narrow when it comes to spending wisely.
June
30

5 Lifestyle Trends Embraced by Millennials

Millennials are a driving force in today's luxury real estate market. If you want your house to appeal to this demographic, then it's important to understand how they live and what they look for in a home. Here are a few lifestyle trends that have come to define the real estate preferences of millennials.

Health and Wellness
They've been called the "wellness generation," so it should come as no surprise that millennials enjoy taking good care of themselves. From home gyms and meditation studios to saunas and massage rooms, they pay equal attention to the mind and body when it comes to personal wellbeing. Homes that are designed to accommodate this lifestyle will surely be in high demand among these buyers.

Outdoor Living
Any homeowner can appreciate a luxurious outdoor living space, but for young and affluent buyers, this is frequently the number one priority. This generation has an affinity for spending their free time basking in a private, outdoor oasis equipped with high-end features, such as a resort-like swimming pool, outdoor kitchen and al fresco dining area. 

Convenience
Perhaps more than anything, millennials are defined by how strongly they value convenience. As a generation accustomed to the instant gratification of the digital age, they gravitate toward homes that are optimized for efficiency and provide easy access to nearby amenities. Time is a treasured commodity for millennials, and they want a living space that is designed to protect it.

Socially and Environmentally Conscious
As a generation that came of age just as sustainability became a mainstream issue, millennials have largely embraced the idea of an environmentally friendly lifestyle. They seek to minimize their impact on the planet and, as a result, prefer homes that are designed to lower energy and water consumption. Furthermore, they want to know where their home's materials come from and how they were sourced. Certifications that signify ethical and responsible labor practices are an important part of their desire to live in a socially conscious manner. 

May
1

By: Sara Sawyer 

 

The world has been changing at an alarming rate. We are all getting used to social distancing and learning how to live and work virtually. Seeing our friends, going out to eat and being around crowds of people has been temporarily put on hold. It's a big adjustment for everyone and it can definitely take a toll on your mental health. 

I have found the best way to fight against depression, anxiety and feelings of isolation is to go out and be in nature soaking up the sun!  Although some places like Fort Pulaski, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beaches have been closed for public safety, there are still plenty of places in and around Savannah that you can enjoy the outdoors.

One of my favorite places to go, even before social distancing, is Skidaway Island State Park. Cost for entry is $5 per car to enter. However, the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Annual Pass is only $50, which grants you access to all Georgia State Parks throughout the year. Skidaway has 3 different trails, the Sandpiper Trail (1-mile loop), the Avian Loop Trail (1-mile loop) and the Big Ferry Trail (3-mile loop). There is also a connector trail that gets you from Avian Loop to the Big Ferry Trail. Skidaway Island State Park is dog friendly and you are allowed to ride bikes on The Big Ferry Trail but not the others. The landscape varies depending on which trail you take and there are plenty of places to stop and rest or take photos.

A little less known hiking trail on Skidaway Island is the Moon River at Downing Pier. This trail is a little more difficult to navigate since there are no trail markers, but it's a great, approx. 7-mile, adventure. To avoid getting lost, download the AllTrails app! This free account will allow you to look up your trail! Dogs are allowed on the trail and it is bike friendly, but be aware that wildlife is often seen along the trails. Along with birds and small reptiles, you may run into some deer or an alligator or two.

 

Isle of Hope, is home to the famous Wormsloe State Historic Site. Typically, entry is $10 per person but during this time of social distancing, the fee is $5 per car. Take time to drive down the 1.5-mile beautiful oak lined drive. At the end, hop out to explore the old Tabby ruins of Noble Jones home, the Jones family gravesite, and the colonial life area. Want more adventure? The Battery Trail is 2.9-miles and right off the colonial life section. If you really want to make a day out of it, park at the entrance and walk the entirety of Wormsloe! No bikes are allowed at Wormsloe, but it is dog friendly. 

 

 

Bonaventure Cemetery may not be a place that you think of when social distancing but with 100+ acres and the dead to keep you company it's the perfect place to stay away from others! With countless gravesites, mausoleums, headstones and statues you can admire all the architecture in the cemetery for hours on end. Download the Bonaventure Cemetery Tour App and experience a tour of some of the cemetery's most famous gravesites and learn about Bonaventure before it was a cemetery. Some of the "Must-See Sights" include Johnny Mercer (H-48), Gracie Watson (E-98), and the Lawton plot (H-168). If the dead are something you don't want to experience alone, you can take your canine companion along! On the corner of Johnny Mercer Blvd and Bryan Woods Rd sits the beautiful Whitemarsh Preserve. It's a great place to relax and explore with kids, dogs or by yourself! There is a combination of habitats on the preserve including saltmarsh, tidal and hardwood. Some of the paths are paved and some are not but there are plenty of markers to help you navigate through. There is also a 5-mile mountain bike trail throughout the preserve that is easy to navigate and well maintained. 

 

Just over the border in South Carolina is the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. If you would prefer to enjoy nature from the comfort of your car there is an option here for you. There is a 4-mile-long Laurel Hill wildlife drive which can take anywhere from 30-120 minutes depending on how often you stop. Typically, you will see several alligators, a variety of birds and fiddler crabs all along the shoreline. If you have more time and would prefer to walk or take your bicycle around the refuge, there are over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails. You are very likely to see alligators on the trails so please remember not to feed or harass them in any way!

 

Please remember to observe the 6 feet social distance guidelines when exploring outdoors around others. For any of the dog friendly places listed above, please keep your dog leashed at all times and pick up their waste. And lastly, please be respectful of all the wildlife, do not feed any animals. You are potentially trespassing in the animals home so please leave them be and do not harass them. Above all, stay safe during these uncertain times and take time to enjoy the beauty you are surrounded by here in Savannah!

 

February
28

Venture through the streets of Savannah and you're sure to see this beautiful, timeless tradition: Wrought Iron. It's evident, either on, or in the furnishings of most of Savannah's historic homes. But where does this style and tradition begin?

Cora Bett Thomas Realty took a history lesson and is excited to share it with you! The term "wrought iron" originates from the past tense form of the verb to work. Over time the word "wrought" was replaced by the word "worked." So literally, the term means "worked iron." Which makes sense… because the decorative scrollwork is hammered and worked (or wrought) by hand.

If you think back in time, and picture historical architecture, chances are you'll see wrought iron somewhere. It's grandiose! Seen in some of the most beautiful European castles and in America's largest house: The Biltmore. But even more than that, it was used, in history, to build warships, create railways, fight wars and build kingdoms. After centuries of direct exposure to the elements, it is still visible today in historic doors, gates, railings, and fences in some of America's favorite cities: Boston, New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, Charleston, and most especially Savannah. Its strength, durability, and beauty stand out!

In Savannah, the textures and patterns are unique to each home. The wrought iron is used as ornate entryways into lush gardens, entryways into homes, and railings along front porches. Whatever the use, it's breathtaking, it's timeless, and it's SO Savannah! Wrought Iron has satisfied people's styles and needs for thousands of years… We are excited to see the great value it carries for years to come!

 

February
25

Let the shenanigans begin! St. Patrick's Day is a special time in Savannah. The fountains turn green and the locals and visitors, alike, become Irish for the day. But where do these celebrations trace back to? Cora Bett Thomas Realty dug up the details, just for you!

As many already know, in 1733, James Oglethorpe established the first permanent settlement here in Savannah. It is said that at least nine of the settlers here, who were granted land, were Irish. The St. Patrick's Day parade was established as a way for Irish Americans to show their pride. Years later, in 1812, the Hibernian Society of Savannah was formed by 44 prominent Savannah gentlemen to help needy Irish immigrants in the area. The following year, members of the Society came together and marched privately to the Independent Presbyterian Church for the first St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Then in 1824, the first public procession was marked down in the history books. On March 16th of 1824, the Hibernian Society published an article in The Georgian (the local paper at the time) inviting citizens to join the Roman Catholic Church on the Feast of St. Patrick (which was the next day). They invited all local Irishmen to meet for mass and a public parade through the streets. It wasn't until 1870, that the first grand marshal was elected and bands joined in on the march… creating more of what we know today. This year, nearly 300 units will be a part of the parade, marching through the streets of the historic district for hours.

While the celebrations have evolved greatly over time, and St. Patrick's Day has become an even bigger celebration with music, dancing, drinks, and a bustling downtown Savannah, the heritage and culture still remain at the heart of it all.

The festivities have expanded into weeks of celebration. Everything kicks off with the Irish Festival (which happened February 15-16th this year). Then the very first Sunday each March, the Investiture of the Grand Marshal takes place and the parade committee is in full preparation mode. Hundreds of people also look forward to The Greening of the Fountain in historic Forsyth Park (which marks the entire city of Savannah "turning green"), and the Celtic Cross Mass, parade and ceremony (which represents how things originally started nearly 200 years ago).

At Cora Bett Thomas Realty, we'd love to give a special shout out to the Hibernian Society of Savannah, for planting the roots of what we know today! May the luck of the Irish be with you all!

January
23

Hello, 2020! It's a new year, a new decade, and a new chance to be the best version of you. Many new year's resolutions surround a healthier lifestyle. Cora Bett Thomas Realty has compiled a list of some of the trending health habits for 2020: 

 

Home is where the gym is 

 

This year, the fitness trend is ease of access. How can you fit 30 minutes of activity in your day without taking away from other aspects? The answer? Workout in the comfort of your own home. 

Fitness equipment is becoming more and more high tech. From the bikes, treadmills, and row machines to the personalized workout apps on your phone. You get a workout instructor right in your living room, without having that added cost or hassle of going anywhere. 

 

Declutter your house 

 

Spring cleaning is a term we all know very well! But what about a deep clean and declutter this winter? During the winter months, we spend the most time in our homes, so grab your dust cloth and a few trash bags and make your home feel as good as new. 

Make a checklist of things that you don't think about doing regularly: replace your air filters, wash your windows, degrease your oven, clean your gutters, and empty your dryer vents. These are easy tasks that you can assign just a portion of your day to. Then pick a room or a space in your home, and focus on getting rid of items you haven't used throughout the year. The more stuff you have, the more places dust can settle.

 

Take advantage of where you live

 

Take a walk in a new part of town, eat at a restaurant you've never been to before, and be a tourist in your own town! Savannah is the perfect place to do all of these things. Another new year's trend is loving where you are at, so we are taking this quite literally and soaking in the charm, cuisine, and history of the Hostess City

Do you love walks at Forsyth Park? Shake things up a bit and head to Daffin Park or walk along the squares downtown instead. Have you been talking about trying that new restaurant in Savannah? Make a reservation and take your friend there this weekend. Savannah is culturally rich. Have you always wondered what that old brick building is that you pass on your way to work every day? Take time and go on an architectural tour. 2020 is the year to soak it all in! 

 

Meditation

 

Last but not least, make time for yourself. Meditation and yoga aren't just trendy anymore… They are necessary and helpful to your well being. Meditation is different for everyone: write in a journal, listen to the waves crash onshore at Tybee, or head to a yoga class. Whether you choose to do it in the comfort of your own home or find a studio that makes you feel at home, take 30 minutes a day to focus on YOU!

January
22

Savannah is special for so many reasons! It's proximity to some of the most beautiful places in the world is one of them. Here at Cora Bett Thomas Realty, we love to travel, even if it is just a one day trip or a weekend getaway! Here are a couple of our "one tank wonders" and why we love them so: 

Beach Escape: St. Simons

Less than 100 miles away from Savannah, and just south along the coast, sits an inviting island with breathtaking beaches, challenging golf courses, and good eats. St. Simons is the largest barrier island in the Golden Isles. It's great for the whole family, just a girls getaway, or a weekend for those adventurous men. And we of course love St. Simons in the fall!  

Personalize your stay! You could make it as relaxing or on-the-go as you wish! Stay in a rental home or a quaint inn. One of our favorite places to stay is on Sea Island, where southern charm fills the air. Head out early for fishing, golf, or a day on the beach. Soak in the rich history at their heritage center or restored lighthouse. Indulge in some of the best seafood. That's the best part about a weekend getaway to St. Simons, there's something for everyone to enjoy! 

 

Southern Hospitality: Beaufort

Take a short hour drive across state lines, and the charm of this small southern town will make you feel right at home. Voted the South's Best Small Town by Southern Living, this is a must-add to your travel list for 2020. You will be greeted by endless Civil War-era homes, relaxation, and gorgeous trees that have greeted visitors since 1512. Beaufort has a quaint downtown loaded with great resturants and shops

 

The Rhett House Inn is an upscale bed & breakfast you should book for your stay. Take time to shop, relax along the waterfront, and dine with some of the best. 

Explore Bluff Life: Palmetto Bluff

Much different than the rest, and not even an hour away, you will find serenity in a community that's enriched by wilderness, unspoiled rivers, and nature. This is a peaceful and beautiful way to see the Lowcountry. This 20,000 acre community is best known for those that make it home. But there are rooms, suites, and majestic homes for you to stay during a short vacation. Once you've arrived, enjoy a much needed day at the spa, witness the 32 miles of waterfront, and take part in the sporting life. Whatever you decide, don't forget to bring your camera!

 

Have you traveled to any of these places? Be sure to tag us on social to share your experiences with us!

January
21

 

Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, D.C., New York City, Boston, and Miami. What do all of these cities have in common? They are direct flight cities to and from our beautiful home in Savannah. This is just a short list of Cora Bett Thomas' favorites, but there are plenty more. 15 cities to be exact. 

New York City is at the top of her list when it comes to a day or weekend trip somewhere. She loves to shop, grab lunch at Bergdorf Goodman, and meet new people. "You never meet a stranger in the city," says Cora Bett. And that couldn't be more true. She is known for connecting people and places, and becoming friends with everyone.

These direct flight opportunities are good for both tourism and for permanent residents. Visitors are able to get here with ease and fall in love with Savannah. All while Savannahians are able to get out and see the world without having to spend excessive money, or stop in 3 other cities along the way. 

As the hostess city continues to grow, we'll see more and more opportunities for travel. 

December
11

Savannah's restaurant scene is constantly growing and changing, but some of our favorite places to grab a good meal are the ones that are simple establishments hiding in plain sight. Frali Gourmet is located on Liberty, across from the Savannah Civic Center. This family-owned and operated restaurant and food shop offers fresh and dried homemade pastas, homemade sauces, infused olive oil and other authentic Italian pantry items.

Try taking home fresh cut pasta with a jar of house-made sauce at Frali for an easy dinner during the busy holiday season. Frali Gourmet offers fresh, cut-to-order linguine, tagliatelle and pappardelle by the pound. The pasta and sauces at Frali Gourmet are prepared in an artisan way without preservatives or artificial fillers and are made with all natural ingredients.

Frali Gourmet also offers homemade, flavored dry pasta. The dried pasta is naturally dried for 48 hours. This process allows the pasta to fully lock in flavor and yields rich flavors of pasta like Beet Gemelli, Tomato and Basil Pappardelle, and Chocolate Conchiglie. These pastas are available for purchase in the shop and can be bundled in as part of gift sets and baskets.

House-prepared and packed vegetables under oil are also for sale in the shop. These vegetables, which include bell peppers, eggplant, Giardiniera, and Baby Bella mushrooms, are jarred not packed in brine. Instead, the are jarred in high quality olive oil. These jarred vegetables make for great antipasti and salad toppers, and the oils can be used as a dressing to any salad.

The cafe' at Frali Gourmet is open for lunch and dinner, and the menu offers mouthwatering pasta dishes and sandwiches. Stop in for an Old World lunch with the Parma Melt sandwich, made with a prosciutto crudo that has been aged 18 months.

Or, stop in for an authentic pasta dinner, served with homemade bread and house infused olive oil. Our favorite pasta dishes include the Veal-Stuffed Tortellini in butter and sage, and the Georgia shrimp ravioli with lobster cream sauce. If you happen to be unable to find a pasta specialty on the menu, you can create your own pasta dish by selecting pasta, sauce, and your protein.

Visit Frali Gourmet for your holiday needs — you can buy some unique and delicious infused oils, pastas and sauces as gifts, grab a sandwich to fuel up for the rest of your shopping, and take some fresh pasta and sauce home for dinner. If only all holiday planning were this easy!

December
4

It's here! The most wonderful time of the year! Grab a friend to enjoy parades and plays, feasts and opportunities to give back to our community. Here's a list of Cora Bett Thomas Realty's favorites:


Wow! At The Westin, the Boat Parade of Lights entertains thousands with live music, fireworks, and a toy collection for Greenbriar Children's Center. Dozens of vessels decorated in Christmas lights line the waterfront. Grab a front row seat on Saturday, November 30th!

On December 7th, Savannah's Holiday Tour of Homes brings hundreds of people together from far and near to tour the exquisite architecture, beautiful furnishings, Christmas decor, and gracious hospitality inside our homes. 

 

Santa awaits you! Savannah's Waterfront presents Christmas on the River, on December 6th. Shop hand crafted art, live music, and holiday happiness- a family affair.

Enjoy a Coastal Christmas in Richmond Hill! Preparing the floats is almost as much fun as the parade. Saturday, December 7th Santa rides through town in the 24th Annual Christmas Parade. Wear your favorite Christmas sweater and have a blast!

A Christmas classic takes center stage at the beautiful Lucas Theater. The Nutcracker by Savannah Ballet Theatre tells the story of a young girl's dream in which a Christmas gift comes to life. Showings are Saturday, December 7th through Sunday, December 8th. 

Hospice Savannah's annual Tree of Light ceremony is on Sunday, December 8th. The night is spent sharing stories, music and candlelight for hope, healing and remembrance. 

We're going back in time for A Colonial Christmas at Wormsloe. Participate and celebrate with caroling, burning of the yule log, and dancing to live period music. One of the most beautiful sites in Savannah gets in the holiday spirit on Saturday, December 14th.



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