antiques legacy pretties terry store

My daughter Adrianna and I have a word we use to describe things we find lovely and worth having. It isn’t technically a real word, but one we use nonetheless. The word? “Pretties”. Don’t ask me where or how it started, all I know is “pretties” is part of our language, and all the people in our lives know it. Stuff is just stuff, but I’m of the opinion we are allowed to like stuff, and we should only surround ourselves with the kind of stuff (and people!) that add joy and value to our everyday lives. “Pretties” are the little joys in life that come in many forms. Maybe for you, it’s a pair of new gold hoops, or a set of detailed napkin rings. For my friend’s mother in law, it’s salt and pepper shakers! She collects them wherever she goes, to commemorate her travels, and because they make her happy.

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decorate for fall hello banner

October has nearly come and gone, and though the Bay Area weather has not yet brought the crisp, Fall air we were all hoping for…my fingers are crossed for November. There is something about Fall that makes me want to be home more. As these later months arrive, I feel the itch to move furniture around, spruce up little corners, add a few new pieces, and settle into a corner chair with a large cup of coffee. I’ve learned to listen to this longing in doses, because my business is busy as ever. I don’t always have a full weekend or even an afternoon to enjoy my home as I’d like, but little moments of caring for it and savoring it, certainly add up.

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Enjoying Home in Busy Seasons

enjoying home yellow chair suitcases

For a long time now, busy has become my normal. As a wife, mother to five children, full-time broker, friend, etc., I am familiar with wearing many hats at once, making my life appear a little (okay maybe a lot) crazy to the onlooking stranger. This life is not for everyone, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love that I get to do what I’m passionate about, while also come home to a husband and family of strong convictions, deep love, and a large dose of goofy. Each journey is different, unique to the individual, and I enjoy the lane I’m in. Every day is filled with its rhythms and curveballs, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that there is always more to learn.

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vintage glass depression glasses cabinet

During a quick scroll on Facebook the other day, I read a quote that resonated with me: “Surround yourself with things you love and discard the rest.” These words reminded me that we can all too often fill up our homes and hearts, with things that don’t add to the general quality of our lives. In our hearts, we can tolerate worry and invite negativity. In our closets, we can accumulate skirts (when we don’t even wear skirts…anyone?), or outfits for “someday.” And within many of our homes and garages, live a million things we never use and don’t really care about. We all get stuck in some way, surrounded by things we don’t love, afraid to discard or perhaps just too busy to. Carving away at this reality can feel overwhelming, but making room for the positive, and for the things that add joy, is truly worth it.

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dinner parties tips bottles

Gathering people around the dinner table is one of my favorite things to do. It’s there, at the table, where I feel people are invited to be their truest selves. With warm food, delicious drink, and good conversation, a single dinner can create memories that last a lifetime. In the Martinez home, I love to cook, and I’ve learned that when people are fed, they feel cared for. That is the power of sitting around a table…a physical need is being met, but an inward one is too. Some of my favorite moments with my family and friends who feel like family, have happened over dinner. I watch the weariness of the day melt off, and as bellies become full, hearts follow.

“The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”
Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine

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summer san leandro farmers market cherries

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”
― Maud Hart Lovelace

In San Leandro, June through August are months of sunshine, ripe, summer produce, and countless ways to enjoy our city. I look forward to summer every year, as I feel it is the time when we all breathe a little deeper, and make enjoying life more of a priority. Why do these warmer months bring out the best in us? For me, it’s the extended family time. From late nights of lawn toss in the backyard, to swim days at my mom’s house, to the week of camping by the lake with friends. I love the togetherness summer brings, and I love celebrating the freedoms we have in this country (two of my sons are US Marines, hoorah)!

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Meet Jeff Mihaly

team jeff mihaly

As a fun feature on the blog, I want to introduce you to our rockstar team. When Adrian and I decided to merge our companies, in a lot of ways it was a fresh start. We knew that those who would come along with us for the journey would need to be some special, gifted, and unique individuals. More than anything, we wanted those individuals to treat you, our clients, with the intention and care you deserve! At Varos Real Estate and Construction, we set a high standard for your customer service experience. Buying and selling homes can be hard enough, and the last thing you need is a difficult personality in the mix! That is why it has been so important to us as business owners, to bring the right people into your brand…the people who will represent the vision and mission of our company with excellence. We are happy to say that we have found those people, and boy, do they make us proud! Let’s meet one of them…

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A Mini San Leandro Guide

san leandro guide aerial

Adrian and I have lived in San Leandro for almost 19 years, and the old adage remains true: “There is no place like home.” With its historic neighborhoods, unique homes, up-and-coming downtown, and countless things to do…it has truly been an idyllic place to live and raise our children. Having been residents for so long, it is exciting to see all of the ways San Leandro is recently improving itself, adding new restaurants, and always setting the bar high at local events. When visitors or new home-owners ask us, “What do you like to do in San Leandro?” We ask them, “How long do you have?” Since the beginning, it has been a priority for Adrian and me to support our community, and to be big fans of local schools and businesses. Almost every day, we frequent our San Leandro CrossFit, pay a visit to one of our favorite coffee shops or restaurants, and have the distinct privilege of seeing many passers-by at our office on MacArthur Blvd. (Come say hi, our door is always open!)


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DIY: A Way of Life

diy way of life garden bicycle

I like to jokingly tell people that I’ve been a DIY person long before Pinterest came around. More specifically, I was a DIY person before “do it yourself” even had a convenient and commonly used acronym. As an only child, and an independent personality, I’ve always felt like I can do anything! Power tools never scared me, big projects did not overwhelm me, and creative ruts only pushed me. Like many, I have had a few different places to call home through the years, and in each one, I’ve aimed to make it feel like a reflection of my family and me. Life has seasons of plenty and of little, and in each one, I’ve learned how simple changes can make a home feel brand new.


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working together terry adrian coffee

Every working relationship is unique, and ours is no different! When Adrian and I got married (what feels like ages and what was 5 kids ago!), we had no idea how great of a team we really would be. Through the years, we have invested in our relationship FIRST, and have grown in the areas of communication, unity, respect, and love. Marriage takes work every day, there is no vacation! But when you marry the right person for you, marriage is also the greatest gift. Our life together has taken on many seasons and adventures…but working together in real estate and construction has been one of the greatest yet! Don’t get me wrong…working with your spouse comes with its own set of challenges…but Adrian and I are truly better together.


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