Simply Bowie Mid-March 2022

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MARCH 2022 MARCH MARCH 2022 2022

THE THE RF TRANSPORT ISSUE ISSUE THE

Home Home Home ISSUE

RF RF TRANSPORT TRANSPORT

Alexis Streets & Alexis Streets & The Foundation Cupcake Foundation The Cupcake Cupcake The Foundation


"Ownership is power, build a legacy that will last!"

Lisa White Multi-Million Dollar Producer Children's Miracle Agent Marketing Specialist

"Call Me Today for a

FREE Property Analysis!"

Tailored real estate services to meet your needs! • Over 30 years Real Estate Experience • Licensed in MD, VA, & DC • MS Marketing Degree • Certified Project Manager Professional • Real Estate and Transformational Speaker

(703) 307-9913 LisaLovesHomes@gmail.com www.lisawhiterealestate.net

RE/MAX Allegiance Office (202)547-5600


Make Your Vision A Beautiful Reality

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DCRA#: 410521000095

Frame & Drywall

Tree Services

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Welding

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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PUBLISHER’S CORNER Welcome Home

7 9

13

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Your Home Is Your Sanctuary

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ALEXIS STREETS & THE CUPCAKE FOUNDATION

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SAVOR THIS...!

Gourmet Catering For Your Next Event!

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THE HOME RENOVATION BOOM Renovation Lockdown

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RF TRANSPORT

Premier Transportation That Provides Luxury, Style & Safety


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THE BEST HOME DECOR

22

For Your Zodiac Sign

24

24

CHECKLIST AFTER CLOSING

12 Tips After You Close On Your Home

27

FOOD WITH FRIENDS

Chef Justin Bush & Talk of di Town II Caterin

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32

GIVING BACK

Councilman Henri Gardner & Local Business Handout COVID-19 Test Kits

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34

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THE PERFECT HOUSEWARMING GIFT PUBLISHER Veronica Fountain Veronica@simplymagazines.net EDITOR IN CHIEF Alyson Turner Alyson@simplymagazines.net

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS & EDITORS Alyson Turner Courtney Williams Nyah Marshall Kayla-Ajanae Archer-Buckley SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER Ro Moreno

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LAYOUT & AD DESIGN Natthaphon Foithong Natt@simplymagazines.net ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Veronica Fountain Veronica@simplymagazines.net


PUBLISHER’s

CORNER

Veronica Fountain Publisher

Last year was one of the biggest and most successful years for new Home Owners, especially First-Time Home Buyers. Record low interest rates led to many people achieving their lifelong dreams of purchasing their own home. To all new homeowners, we say: Welcome Home! Now, it’s time to invite friends & family over for a great housewarming party. If you want to impress your guests, our March “Home” issue will cover why you should hire a local caterer like Chef Justin Bush, “Talk of di Town II Catering” or Chef Heather, “Savor This...!” for your special event. If you are heading out to celebrate a friend’s new home, find the Perfect House Warming gift on page 34.

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Letter

from the

EDITOR If there is one thing that we have learned over the past two years it is that our homes can truly be a safe haven. When the pandemic began we had no way of knowing how much time we would really be spending at home. If there was one really interesting thing that came from our changing world, it is the amazing ways that people have transformed their homes into their offices, their entertainment venues, their schools and so much more. In our “Home” issue, we hope you enjoy some amazing stories of home renovation projects, tips for after you close on a home, room decor based on your zodiac sign, caterers for your housewarming party, luxury transportation, and the inspiring story of The Cupcake Foundation.

YOUR HOME IS YOUR SANCTUARY

Thanks for bringing us into your home, Bowie. As always, we wouldn’t be here without all of you! Light & Kindness

Alyson Turner Editor In Chief

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Serving Bowie and The Surrounding Areas

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March 2022

We Cover 50 Miles Radius Of Bowie, MD Open Monday to Saturday 9 AM- 5 PM


The Cupcake Foundation Alexis Streets is a creator of delicious desserts with a vision and a giving heart. Article By Alyson Turner Photography By Ro Moreno While running multiple businesses including a dessert shop, balloon décor, bakery, and mobile food truck, Alexis Streets has made it her mission to bring a smile to the faces of children who need it most. Her nonprofit, The Cupcake Foundation (501c-3 pending) was born in 2020 with the dream of creating birthday celebrations for children who are hospitalized, whose parents are incarcerated, who are in foster care and children who are in need. Alexis knew that she wanted to use her own talents to bring joy to those who are facing difficult circumstances.

The Dessert Junkie proceeds from Alexis’ gourmet milkshakes benefit The Cupcake Foundation. Alexis tells us, “Our job is to bring happiness to these children who are in need with a birthday celebration, an anniversary, or a milestone. We also do this for their parents because they are stressed, scared, and losing sleep. If they get to see their children happy, that makes a difference. My goal is to begin a partnership with Johns Hopkins or Children’s Hospital to bring some joy and lasting memories to these children that they haven’t had before. This includes underprivileged children in group homes or foster homes, and those whose parents are not around. I want to give children these experiences and show them that people really do care about them no matter the circumstances they were born into.” Alexis is known for her laser focus, hard work and ingenuity when it comes to the heart of The Cupcake Foundation (TCF). There are many “[c]hildren who’ve never had the benefit of a personalized birthday experience or other celebratory milestone of achievement hosted in their honor, especially those who’ve spent their years, and sometimes - their entire lives, confined to hospitals. Both the grand flair and opulence befitting a Prince or Princess is no less the gold standard that’s always the proverbial bullseye at the center of the target Alexis aims to hit when it comes to plying her trade and strident efforts in pursuit of the best possible outcome of benefit to her “babies,”” according to the recent press release for The Cupcake Foundation, “There is yet another noteworthy dimension to Alexis’ unique brand of ingenuity that reflects upon the kind of social outreach envisioned for TCF, i.e., successfully galvanizing support, participation and buy-in from among a community of likeminded advocates and stakeholders who see the value in an evidence-based, investment-worthy philanthropic venture that’s addressed to the unique and largely unfulfilled needs of the porously supported segment of our youth population commonly referred to as the Children of Incarcerated and Opioid-Addicted Parents (COIP). The next step in the progression towards improving upon this outcome saw Alexis brainstorming

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with close friend and fiscally sponsored stablemate, Delicia Ennis, the executive director of the upstart Valiant Veterans (VALVET) of Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Staffed with a team of professionals spread across such sectors as criminal justice, mental health, U.S. Military, the Department of Defense, Christian ministry, philanthropy and professional development, VALVET is on a driven mission to harness the central stakeholder interests of the community to influence doable reform of bail release, immigration detention, pre-trial confinement and ex-offender supervision where they intersect and share a common denominator in the communities at-large absorbing them without the benefit of an infrastructure and process methodology for doing so effectively. VALVET [has developed] a disruptive tool and process methodology, the Optimal Community Oriented Management Intranet Connection (OCOSMIC), that is evidence-based as well as built exclusively upon a self-sustaining, cost-savings business model that is sure to upend the predatory bail/bond and private detention industry while reducing violence, improving public safety, creating jobs, and enabling people to succeed at supervision [which in turn has helped to] create TCF’s unique programming solution to a dilemma our children should not have to grapple with alone.” Delicia, serves as the program director for The Cupcake Foundation along with Kaylan Martin, the development consultant. The Cupcake Foundation is physically sponsored by VALVET and Harbor House Crisis in Annapolis, Maryland says, “We have created programs inside of the jails for children whose parents have been incarcerated to keep the parents and children connected; parents can earn tokens to give gifts to their child. One of these gifts is a birthday celebration from The Dessert Junkie. Being able to provide for their child that way is allowing them to do their job as a parent. We want to put this program into different prisons across the country to help parents feel that they can provide this celebration for their child. We are also reforming community supervision and providing support for our law makers. Overall, we are definitely excited to be a part of this mission with Alexis that goes so much deeper. It is an opportunity to give people a sense of self, and a sense of confidence along with support in the community.” In addition, Alexis has partnered with Teresa Thomas and The Confetti Cake Bar in Baltimore, Maryland to provide cakes and cupcakes for The Cupcake Foundation’s programs. Teresa says, “I ultimately think that it is wonderful that someone wants to do this type of work because there is a lot that goes into this. It takes a lot of time and many people don’t want to put in that effort to design cakes or cupcakes for free. It feels great to be part of something such as delivering a birthday cake and custom cupcakes for less fortunate children. So many children have never been invited to a birthday party, or they’ve never had their own parties. All children deserve to be celebrated including the kids who are sick in the hospital who may think everyone forgot their birthday.” For many years, Teresa baked cakes out of her home before opening her brick-and-mortar location, The Confetti Cake Bar (ConfettiCakeBar.com) in September 2021. She creates custom cakes and cupcakes. She feels it is important to donate her time and efforts to support children, and The Cupcake Foundation. She says, “I am a foster parent and have worked with children who have had different circumstances for over 12 years. At my house, they have always gotten a birthday cake and been celebrated, but to them it is not normal or expected. I was really excited when Alexis asked me to be a part of this mission because I love children and want to put a smile on their faces.”

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Basket Treats Basket Treats by Alexis Streets in Laurel, Maryland recently celebrated 13 years last month. It is an exquisite dessert shop that sells gourmet cupcakes, cakes, monster milkshakes, homemade ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, and many more treats. They also sell novelty items and keepsakes.

Primo’s Choice The Dessert Junkie™ will also be selling its exclusive line Primo’s Choice catering to your puppies and dogs for celebrations, birthday parties, and treats.

The Dessert Junkie Mobile Truck The Dessert Junkie™ Mobile Dessert Truck founded in 2017 currently brings treats to Prince George’s County and the surrounding areas including cupcakes and more.

The Dessert Junkie Bakery The Dessert Junkie™ bakery in Bowie, Maryland is a full-service bakery with a state-of-the-art kitchen. There will be baked goods made fresh daily, new products including vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free items. Also included in the menu are the famous monster milkshakes, funnel cakes, donuts, gourmet coffee, and gourmet ice cream. This is also a central location for birthday cakes, specialty cakes, and wedding cakes.

Bougie Balloons Basket Treats subsidiary Bougie Balloons was established in 2018. Alexis desired to use her craft in balloon artistry and wanted to introduce and incorporate her elite balloon company to her events package. Alexis Streets creates vibrant and colorful art like sculptures with balloon designs. Alexis ensures that each client walks away with an experience. Bougie Balloons sculptures has been seen at locations and major brands such as Microsoft, Ulta Beauty and New York Fashion Week 2018.

For more information on The Cupcake Foundation or to get your own sweet treats, please visit TheDessertJunkie.com. You also2022 follow The Dessert Junkie on Instagram. 11 may | March


CALL TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR EVENT, AND TASTE THE SAVOR THIS...! EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF.

(240) 367-9403 SavorThisGourmet.com

CONTACT US about Valentine’s Day dinner packages.

Services Offered: Catering / Holiday Desserts / Healthy Options / Event Supplies

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Housewarming Section Savor This...! Owner and Executive Chef Heather Spears offers fullservice gourmet catering and gift baskets for intimate gatherings and dinner parties as well as larger celebrations. Article By Alyson Turner Photography By Ro Moreno

Executive Chef Heather M. Spears has always had a love of cooking and a desire to create a food experience that hits all of the senses. Savor This...! offers not only full-service catering, but also gourmet gift baskets for your gatherings. What better way to celebrate moving into a new home by catering your housewarming party or presenting your friends with a gourmet gift basket? After graduating from HBCU, Oakwood College [now Oakwood University], in 1999 with a degree in Accounting, Chef Heather realized how strong her passion for food and cooking was. She started Savor This...! in 2003. Later, in 2008, she went on to complete her MBA at George Washington University before attending culinary school at Baltimore International College in 2010. Chef Heather tells us, “I realized I didn’t want to do accounting for the rest of my life it is not my passion, I wanted to learn more about the food side so I went to Culinary School. Savor This...! has been in existence since 2003. My desire is to provide a memorable experience to the customer whether it is friends or strangers. There are some relatives of mine that were infamous in Texas for their BBQ restaurant. As a child, I remember visiting them and eating their delicious food. After doing some research as an adult, my sister found out that they were written about in a book called Legends of Texas Barbecue. I really believe that is confirmation that cooking is in my genes. It is what I was meant to do. The saying goes, ‘Some eat to live, but others live to eat.’ I want to [embody] that whole experience. The name [of the company] originally came from my mother for a business concept that she had thought of. I told her that if she wasn’t going to use the name, I would like to. I set it up with the State of Maryland on her birthday in honor of her coming up with the name. We will celebrate 20 years in 2023. I am very grateful that we are still here through the pandemic. We had started selling our desserts to a restaurant in 2019, and we are fortunately able to continue to do. We do not take it for granted.” Savor This...! does wedding receptions, corporate lunches, dinner parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and more as well as providing individually packaged desserts for various drive by celebrations. During the pandemic, they catered a party to welcome a family’s new puppy to their home with “pupcakes” and other menu items to fit the theme.

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Housewarming Celebrations With the current housing boom, there are many housewarming parties and gatherings happening this Spring. People are becoming more creative with different types of celebrations and intimate gatherings at home. Catered celebrations are becoming increasingly popular so the hosts can enjoy the party as well. Chef Heather says, “There are two different ways that it can be done. We can have someone there passing hors d’oeuvres and serving food with appropriate covid precautions. We can also do a buffet style meal where guests can serve themselves. We can do heavy hors d’oeuvres with finger sandwiches, or we have several different menu options for hot dishes as well such as our sweet chili meatballs. We also offer a spinach artichoke dip. We offer small desserts; cupcakes, and 3-inch individual-sized sweet potato pies or caramel crumble apple pies which are our signature desserts. One of our most popular desserts (which is sold at the restaurant) is the Strawberry Crunch Cake. If a client has a theme [for the party], I can run with it. People love to go out and eat. The pandemic has shown me that people [also] love to eat a catered meal whether it is a social gathering or they just prefer not to cook. We hope to expand our delivery service in the coming months as well.” In addition to full-service catering brought to your home, Savor This...! offers the perfect housewarming present; customizable Gourmet Gift Baskets. They started selling the Gourmet Gift Baskets in 2020 during the pandemic when many people had to pivot and change how they offered their business. “Gift Baskets are not a new thing, but when I thought about the concept, you hand someone a large gift with see-through cellophane covering it, I realized you are seeing gifts upon gifts upon gifts. I just think they are so much fun. The larger the gift basket, the more that you can put in it,” Chef Heather says, “We are a catering company, and we can add our edible products along with other gift items. We have recently partnered with another entrepreneur who sells candles and other self-care products which we can include. We are a Carlson Craft Retailer; they make custom napkins, wedding invitations, favors, graduation items and more. Customers have access to those items to add into their basket. Savor This...! can also customize the wording on the basket including Welcome Home signage, and Home Sweet Home signage.” For Chef Spears, the quality of the food, and the work that is put in to create the entire experience is what matters most. “You are not just eating. You have to eat to live, but it does not have to be a mundane activity. It is something you should be excited about and happy about. A moment to enjoy. The flavors and quality of the food should be memorable. Five years ago, I catered a friend’s wedding reception. They have told me that the guests are still talking about the food. Many people don’t love what they do. I realize that I must love [cooking] because I don’t mind preparing food that takes time and attention to detail. Cooking is how I show love. Everyone wants everything in an instant, but I don’t mind taking time to make something because I want it to be good. For those who say cooking takes too long, I say call Savor This...! because good food takes time.”

Visit www.SavorThisGourmet.com or call to schedule your service at 240.367.9403. You can also check out Savor This...! Gourmet Catering on | March 2022 Facebook,14Instagram, and Twitter.


Savor This...!

Pickup Location

(240) 367-9403

Where Tastebuds Go To Get Pampered!

9701 Apollo Drive, Suite 100, Upper Marlboro, 20774 15 | Maryland March 2022

www.SavorThisGourmet.com


RENOVATION LOCKDOWN By Courtney Williams

Forget ‘home sick’, 2020 made us sick of home when the pandemic forced many into lockdown. Home was no longer just the house. Home was the gym, the movie theater, the classroom and more. This time forced us to reimagine how to make the most of our lives within four walls and to embrace all our homes had to offer. It also made us confront our home’s shortcomings, some of which we hadn’t noticed the extent of until now. Suddenly our home felt smaller than it had before. Suddenly the privacy we needed was impossible to find. Suddenly our homes were in need of a major upgrade. So, what to do when you realize your house is no longer making you feel at home? For some, the answer was to buy a new one altogether. Over six million Americans bought homes in 2020 which according to the Pew Research Center, was near record-breaking. While there were many factors that contributed to a family’s decision to relocate, bigger, newer homes were in high demand. This shift in the housing market is still making some big changes across the nation and even right here in Maryland. With more time being spent in the house, the pandemic was the perfect opportunity to identify things that needed some updating. It was also the perfect time to develop a hobby for home design. For those who still saw their home’s potential, it was nothing short of a renovation boom. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, Americans spent $420 billion on home repairs and improvements in 2020. We weren’t just planning renovations; we were doing them. With the pandemic causing us to think

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twice about stranger interactions, traditional contracting work temporally stalled and was replaced with DIY projects. America’s new obsession for all things home went beyond personal ventures. According to Discovery.com, home design channel, HGTV, accounted for 9 of the top 30 new unscripted series in 2020. The network continues to bring in impressive ratings and a variety of new shows that feature locations across the country. To better understand the craze surrounding home design, we talked to home decor, design and DIY influencer, Stefana Silber. On her Instagram, @Stefanasilber, she shares some of her own DIY projects and elegant styles that could come straight out of a magazine.

March 2022


**A special thank you to Stefana Silber. You can check out her design work on her Instagram- @Stefanasilber and shop some of her favorite designs on her website Stefana Silber.com**

What got you started with design and DIY Projects?

How do you think the pandemic changed the way people saw their homes in terms of design?

“My love for home design started years ago with our first house. I was a newly stay-at-home-mom with a baby and a toddler, spending all my time at home and looking to improve my surroundings on a budget. Watching HGTV all day definitely inspired me too.”

Were there any changes you witnessed in the world of renovation and design during the pandemic? “I’m sure people being forced to stay home had a lot to do with an increased interest in home remodeling projects. Similar to what I did as a stay-at-home-mom, that got me started on this journey. When we spend a lot of time in a singular space, we want it to look pretty and function well for us.”

What would you say to someone who is considering a DIY project but may not be confident in doing one?

With the growing popularity of home design channels such as HGTV and The Magnolia Network, have you seen more people take interest in home renovation?

“I would say start small. The easiest and cheapest thing you can do is paint a room. Then as far as woodworking - picture frame molding for your walls is a great first step.”

“Home remodeling shows on TV are not a new phenomenon. However, it is social media that has a much larger and far-reaching impact than the TV networks and shows.”

Are there any design looks that you have done or see others doing that are inspired from older trends?

“The first thing that comes to mind is dark wall color and ceilings and trim work painted to match. If you’re around long enough, you will see the trends you lived through come back again. You might even have a strong emotional response to them. But just like high-waisted jeans, some of them are worth giving a second chance.”

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“Homes have always reflected the way people use them and live in them as well as societal norms. There was a time when kitchens were these small utility areas hidden from the sight of guests and visitors. We moved towards open concept homes which reflect a casual way of living and hosting that invites guests into our daily life and encourages participation in prep work and entertaining. The latest reflection of a change in social norms is the conflation of work and home spaces. A designated work area is now an essential part of our reality at home. In addition, we might also be looking at a return of more separate spaces that isolate noise and activity, as opposed to the open-concept living.”

No doubt, lockdown changed the way we saw our homes because it changed the way we used them. Since the start of the pandemic, our home has become more a part of our lives than ever. It’s important to appreciate your space and truly make it yours. During this renovation boom, more of us found that it was possible to get the home of our dreams even if it took a lot of planning and a little bit of elbow grease. Whether you are planning a major renovation, or just want to change up your scenery, don’t be afraid to try new things to fit your new needs. However, you use your home, there is no other home quite like it.

March 2022


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RF Transport A Premier Transportation Service That Provides

Luxury, Style & Safety

Article By Alyson Turner


Often times, we are in such a rush to get to our destination, we forget to enjoy the journey. RF Transport is an Executive Black Car Service that proves the true meaning of luxury and riding in style. Founder Rico Freeman discusses why he felt called to provide this service to help people get to their destination with true comfort and safety. “I wanted to offer a luxury service that not only helps people, but represents people in their best light. I developed the idea [for the business] as I have had my Cadillac for about a year now. During this time, I have had several people offer to purchase it from me. When [I began to research], people said they preferred the luxury of the Cadillac Escalade for traveling. I also have a Mercedes Benz for those that prefer it. I knew that I could offer a ground transportation service that would stand apart from other companies for luxury events, VIP Executive travel, airport transport, city tours, and more. I have a government clearance and other certifications to offer protection during transport as well as quality customer service. More importantly, I want

to meet people where they are whether they are getting married, having a funeral, traveling for business including high level executives, business owners, and entertainers.” Rico explains the importance of providing executive level service for every client. In addition, RF Transport holds government clearances, and the ability to offer protection during transportation. The mission of RF Transport is to provide luxury service no matter the distance that clients will continue to utilize again and again. “I have a heart for people, and I want to offer my services with courtesy. It is not about me going to an event. It is about me representing the customers that I am transporting whether they are going to a large event or taking a small trip. I am representing them with my appearance and service. I want to do what is right while making moves to succeed. I believe that if you do what is right when no one is looking you will be blessed. I believe that is how I have gotten where I am today.

On Giving Back To The Community Recently, Rico hired Decorator Teanna Freeman Jones (Teannalashea@gmail.com) to plan and decorate the AKA Founder’s Day Brunch as an opportunity for sorority members to come together.

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Additionally, they prepared over 400 meals for the homeless at their home with the help of local volunteers.

Call RF Transport today at (571) 482-0954 to schedule your next trip. You may also email rftsuv@gmail.com or visit RFTSuv.com for more information. 20

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Baby, What’s Your Sign? 2022 Unique Home Trends Based on the

Zodiacs

Article By Kayla-Ajanae Archer-Buckley

• F rom working at home to taking online classes, our traditional home lives have changed significantly. With so many changes going on in the outside world, it makes sense that you’d want to make some changes to your inner world. • Home renovations and decorating can be very exciting, but they can also be a little intimidating. With so many emerging trends in 2022, it can be overwhelming trying to settle on some new additions to your home. From fireplaces to lantern-style lighting, the options are endless! There is no easy way to decide which trends you should take advantage of this year, but we suggest looking to the stars! Your zodiac sign can reveal a lot about your taste, likes, and dislikes! To help with the decorating process, we’ve come up with a list of some trending furniture and décor for 2022 based on your zodiac sign!

Aries (March 21st – April 19th)

Gemini (May 21st – June 20th)

Taurus (April 20th – May 20th)

Cancer (June 21st – July 22nd)

Bold and fiery Aries is known for taking imitative and never backing down from a challenge. This sign is associated with red and all things passion! For this action-seeking fire sign, mundane and boring décor just won’t do! Aries love to stand out and their furniture should do the same. Aries may appreciate an electric fireplace. An electric fireplace is a great alternative to a traditional fireplace because it’s cheaper and requires less maintenance.

Loyal and sometimes stubborn Taurus appreciate the finer things life has to offer. This Venus-ruled sign loves feeling relaxed and at home regardless of where they are. They appreciate shades of green, earth tones, and neutral colors. For this sign, we recommend following the cottage core trend. Cottage core is an aesthetic that incorporates earth tones, nature, and elegance making it perfect for this earth sign! A simple way to incorporate this trend in your home is by adding an in-home garden equipped with plants and beautiful flowers. You can also add some sun-seats for a nice boho feel.

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Intelligent and witty, this dual-natured sign can find joy in almost any situation. Because of their dualistic nature, Gemini’s may appreciate a combination of styles in their home. Most people stick to a modern look or a more vintage style for their homes, but lately, people have been combining the two styles and creating something new! This trendy approach to decorating is perfect for someone who wants to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Cancers are known for being institutive and nurturing. Cancers love to feel protected and sheltered, like their ruling animal, the crab. When overwhelmed, these individuals need a place to retreat. Their home should be very safe and inviting for themselves and their loved ones. Cancers should consider incorporating whites, blues, and pastels into their home. These colors are very soft and relaxing, which is perfect for these individuals!

March 2022


Leo (July 23rd – August 22nd)

Sagittarius (November 22nd – December 21st)

Lights, camera, action! Leo loves the spotlight, and they shine in any circumstance. They are ruled by the sun and are typically very bright and outgoing. Leo is an energetic fire sign that loves good lighting. A Leo’s home would feel incomplete without the perfect set of lights. Lantern-style lights have been trending recently. These large lights will stand out in any room, just like a Leo!

Adventurous and wise Sagittarius is truly larger than life. They appreciate learning new things and seeing what the world has to offer. These individuals love to travel, so they might not stay home too long! But when they do return home, they need space to feel free and inhibited. For Sagittarius, we’d recommend trying an outside living room. This style of outdoor living has become very popular!

Virgo (August 23rd – September 22nd)

Capricorn (December 22nd – January 19th)

Libra (September 23rd – October 22nd)

Aquarius (January 20th – February 18th)

Scorpio (October 23rd – November 21st) Often mysterious and secretive Scorpios tend to be mis-

Pisces (February 19th – March 20th)

Organized and stylish, Virgos tend to be very particular about their space. These individuals are intelligent and have no problem showing it. We’d recommend an eye-catching bookshelf for Virgos. This will allow them to showcase their intelligence while remaining organized.

Charming and balanced Libras are also ruled by Venus. They have a strong appreciation for anything they deem beautiful. A Libras home should be aesthetically pleasing and complete with the latest trends. Velvet has seen a resurgence in popularity, and this material would be the perfect addition to any Libras home. Velvet couches, accent chairs, or comforters are a great way to add velvet.

understood, like their ruling planet, Pluto. Scorpio is often associated with its darker characteristics, but this water sign can be very intuitive and emotional. These individuals may appreciate a freestanding bathtub. Scorpios love their privacy, and this trendy bathtub offers the perfect private escape.

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Hard-working Capricorn’s are the go-getters of the zodiac. These self-drive individuals always have a plan! Capricorn’s need somewhere to decompress and get work done. A Capricorn may appreciate the addition of a personal home office.

Innovative and unique Aquarius always remain ahead of the tends. If an Aquarius, did it first, others will follow their steps soon after. For these individuals, standing out is extremely important. Aquarius can spice up their home while maintaining their individuality by incorporating curvilinear furniture into their home. This is a more recent trend, so your home is sure to stand out! Consider adding a curvy couch, curved island, or curved entryway to your home.

Dreamy and gracious Pisces are known for being kind and emotionally aware. Pisces appreciate their alone time and often need space to decompress. For Pisces, we’d recommend adding an activity space in the home. An activity space can be a small room for exercise, dancing, or yoga.

March 2022


Top 12 Things You Should Do After Closing on A Home! By: Kayla-Ajanae Archer-Buckley

Congratulations! After searching high and low for a new home, you’ve finally found the one. Buying a new home comes with big responsibilities, but rest assured the hard part is over! Now that you’ve signed your paperwork and have been handed the keys, you’re probably ready to begin moving in. But before you start unpacking and settling in there are a few important things you may want to take care of first. Below, we have created a list of the top 12 things you should do after closing on a home, as well as some advice from the Director of Operations at EXIT Right Realty, Sandy Toussaint.

Safety First

Safety should be a priority when you’re moving into a new home. It’s a good idea to change any locks or security codes in your new home for security, and some peace of mind. After all, you never know who may have access to the previous owners’ keys. You can hire a professional locksmith or change the locks yourself. In addition to changing locks, you may want to install a security system for added protection.

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Secure Important Documents

Keep all your important documents together in a secure location like a briefcase or a lockbox. This will help you stay organized and prevent you from losing any paperwork you may need in the future. We recommend storing your closing papers, mortgage, deed, and any other personal documents in one place. If you’d prefer the paperless route, you can scan your closing package and other documents onto your computer. Once they’ve been uploaded to your computer you can email yourself an electronic copy, or you can upload your documents directly to a cloud service system like Google Drive or Dropbox.

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Test Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Deep Clean

Check Smoke Detectors

Painting

Check if your new home came equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. If not, you should purchase one right away. The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends placing the detector on a wall at least 5ft from the ground and away from any flame-inducing appliances. Remember to test your CO detector regularly!

Most homes have smoke detectors installed, but you should check to ensure that it’s working. You may need to replace the batteries or the smoke detector entirely.

Transfer Utilities

Don’t assume that your utilities will be working as soon as you move in! If the previous owner already canceled their services, you may run into some issues. Call utility companies in advance to guarantee that everything is working by the time you move in.

Clean and Service HVAC systems

Check your HVAC system to ensure that it’s running. You may also want to clean your vents or have them serviced so they’re ready when you want to use them.

Update Your Address

It’s important to notify certain people and institutions about your move. Try to get this done as soon as possible to avoid delayed or misplaced mail. You should update your address with the post office, the bank, utility companies, insurance providers, subscription services, loan providers, the DMV if you’re moving out of state, and of course, your friends and family!

Give your new home a nice deep clean before settling in. The previous owners may have cleaned before your arrival, but this isn’t guaranteed. You should take some time to wipe down all surfaces, vacuum, sweep, and mop. Another option is to hire a cleaning crew, or you can check with your realtor and ask if they provide any cleaning services.

A fresh coat of paint can transform your new home significantly. If you plan on painting, try to do it before unpacking or moving anything in the house. Painting can be a fun D.I.Y project, or you can hire professionals.

Quick Fixes

Before you move in all your furniture, look around the house and take note of any things that need maintenance. To stay organized, create a list of things you may need to fix. Pay close attention to windows, doors, vents, outlets, light fixtures, and other household things that need regular maintenance.

Energy Audit

An energy audit provides home buyers with an analysis of the energy flow and conservation in the house. An audit typically costs around $300 - $500, but it’s a worthwhile investment. According to Newhomesource.com, The United States Department of Energy estimates that energy audits may cut energy bills by 20 to 35 percent!

Meet your Neighbors!

Last, but certainly, not least introduce yourself to your new neighbors. Often, neighbors will be curious about a new addition to their neighborhood. If you’re feeling anxious about introducing yourself, consider hosting a small event, delivering some baked goods next door, or scheduling a play date if you have kids.

Moving into a new home can be nerve-racking, but it doesn’t have to be! This list is not the end-all-be-all, but it does include some key tips you may want to follow after closing on your home. Although this list isn’t in any specific order, Sandy Toussaint believes safety should be a top priority for homebuyers. “The number one thing you should do when moving into a new home is changing the locks and updating any security measures on the home.” Toussaint also advises new home buyers to “be optimistic about your first home and understand that your first home doesn’t necessarily have to be your dream home.”

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March 2022


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FOOD FOR FRIENDS Chef Justin Bush, of Talk of Di Town II Catering, shares his love of food, family and creating an experience to remember. Article by Alyson Turner Photography by Ro Moreno


When friends and loved ones gather around a table, joy is abundant. Even more so when we come together to celebrate a personal milestone like a housewarming to welcome everyone to visit your new home. Chef Justin Bush owns and operates Talk Of Di Town II a full-service catering company comprised of an elite team committed to equip and manage special events. He shares with us the wonderful feeling of providing custom dining experiences that people will remember for a lifetime. “For me, I really enjoy the intimate, personal chef experiences because they allow us to personalize our services by creating custom dishes beyond a standard menu of items from which to choose. You can see the instant gratification for the high-quality food, service and unmatched hospitality. Also, I am a people person which shows through the passion I have engaging my clients from our initial consultation to discuss the details of their event. My focus is to encourage innovation and originality – all while providing a fun experience to our clients. From the latest trends in event catering to functional tips for food displays, we provide creative menu choices to our clients. We offer a variety of food with distinct flavor. This is what makes us, the Talk Of Di Town!” he says.

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Chef Justin discovered his love for cooking at a young age growing up in South Carolina. His interests were reinforced during his collegiate years at Johnson and Wales University where he earned degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. He has over 20 years’ experience and culinary training in fine dining, corporate catering, and restaurant management. After gaining a wealth of experience throughout the world, Justin felt it was time to do something for himself…. Talk Of Di Town Catering was born in 2012 as following a trip Justin took with his wife, Tamika, to Jamaica to visit her family. While in Jamaica, Justin enjoyed working alongside his brother-in-law as he created delicious food masterpieces from his jerk chicken hut in St. Elizabeth. He knew then that he would infuse Caribbean flavors into the meals he made. This experience in Jamaica reinforced his serious interest diversifying the food he offers. In the months to follow, Justin would incorporate authentic Caribbean seasonings from Jamaica into his food and preparing traditional Jamaican dishes for his family and friends. The response was overwhelmingly positive and prompted start of Talk of di Town II Catering. We would participate as a food vendor in

March 2022


large scale festivals throughout MD, DC, and VA such as The Maryland Wine Association events, DC Wine Festival, Black Owned Spirits and wine festival and Linganore Wine Festival. As our popularity and the food began to speak for itself clients started requesting our services for weddings, birthday parties and other private events. As my company grew, I then was able to leave my full-time job to focus on providing catering services to my clients in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. The name Talk of Di Town II Catering pays homage to my wife’s family. Her brother’s restaurant in Jamaica is called ‘Talk of Di Town’. It is the original and I wanted to thank him for the time I spent learning the traditional ways to prepare Jamaican food with his guidance.” While the original concept started with Jamaican cuisine and a Caribbean theme, Justin has been through culinary training in a variety of cuisines. With this level of experience, Talk of Di Town II Catering offers expansive custom menu options. Chef Justin tells us, “One element that separates us from a lot of other companies is that we customize the menu to our client’s preference. I believe that no two events or no two menus should be the same.

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We make customer individualization and convenience the cornerstone of our service. It is our goal to provide customers with an experience that reflects their personal taste and style. We can do so by ensuring quality of food freshness, preparation, style, and delivery. We also provide ample planning time with our customers to understand their needs. We create dishes specific to events and go beyond a standard menu of items and services from which to choose. We might do an avocado toast and bruschetta for one client. If another client wants to do a Spanish theme, we can do tacos and empanadas, for example. It allows us to be creative and to achieve the client’s vision.” From weddings to corporate events — Talk of Di Town II Catering can create a dining experience in your private residence or any event space. Depending on our client’s needs, our signature services include fully staffed parties of all sizes. Our flexible catering and service options are designed to accommodate each individual requirement whether the event calls for a white glove service or delivery on disposables. From intimate dinner parties to lavish galas, our teams progressive, professional attitude along with attention to detail sets us apart.

March 2022


You can reach Chef Justin, and Talk of Di Town II Catering, at 202-681-2874 to schedule a time to talk about your upcoming housewarming, celebration, or event. You can also email Events@TalkofDiTown.com or send a message through Instagram. Visit their website at TalkOfDiTown.com.

Chef Bush’s Sweet & Spicy BBQ This famous BBQ sauce is a sweet and spicy creation that is inspired by Chef’s Southern Roots. Each bottle shares the history of the award-winning BBQ Sauce by Chef Justin Bush, “I was raised in Bluffton, South Carolina by a family of farmers and cooks. The scents and tastes of BBQ have been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. After meeting my wife, we embarked on a journey to incorporate her Jamaican heritage with my Southern foundation.”

Talk of Di Town II Catering Chef Justin Bush (202) 681-2874 Events@TalkofDiTown.com TalkOfDiTown TalkofDiTown.com PO BOX 7118 Landover, Maryland

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March 2022


GIVING BACK GIVING BACK GIVING BACK Councilman Henri Gardner and local businesses including Madeline Long and MEACO Connect LLC, Simply Bowie Magazine, and Ruby’s Southern Kitchen committed to a day of service assisting with COVID-19 testing, distributing athome test kits, and K95 masks to 500 Bowie Residents at Party HQ in Bowie Town Center.

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March 2022


The Perfect Housewarming Gift Article By Nyah Marshall It’s that time again. Are you trying to figure out the perfect gift to get that friend or family member who’s moving into their new home? Are you looking for a nice, welcoming gesture to greet your new neighbor with? Or are you looking to bring some coziness and warmth into your own new home? The word housewarming alone dates back to the 16th century, proving that moving into a new home has always been a momentous occasion that calls for finding the perfect gift. No matter your situation or the type of person receiving the gift, a housewarming gift should be the perfect mixture of uniqueness and utility. The goal is to find that stylish, special item that your new homeowner will fall in love with and will be able to use. Everyone deserves a little luxury in their lives, especially a new homeowner; for that reason we’ve curated a list of five luxury gifts worth splurging one for that new homeowner in your life.

Wine Basket: California Grandeur and Luxe Champagne Box Yes, wine is a common gift for many occasions, but it’s a gesture that never loses its value, especially when being presented as a housewarming gift. Wine is often presented as a traditional housewarming gift with thee symbolic meaning : “May you always have joy and never go thirsty.” To give this traditional gesture a twist with a hint of grandeur, try gifting a wine gift basket. If they’re not already, your new homeowner will convert into an experienced wine lover after having a taste of the California Grandeur Wine and Gourmet Gift Basket, With this Californian wine-selection you’re sure to bring warmth into any new homeowners life. The basket includes five devious bottles of California wine (2 white, three red) and an array of elegant goodies.

Price: $300 > Where to find: WineExpress.com A more modest, and yet still elegant version of popular wine gift sets is the Luxe Champagne and chocolate pairing box. This is the perfect “Congrats” gift box that can be directly shipped to a new homeowner. It features your choice of Champagne or sparkling wine and handmade chocolate truffles, both packaged in a beautiful keepsake box.

Price: $200 > Where to find: Gift #22603 at gifttree.com

Rogaska Crystal, Brilliance 10’’ Crystal Vase Decorating a new home often comes as an afterthought for new homeowners who often have a million other priorities on their mind. For this reason, we’ve selected a Rogaska Crystal Vase as an exemplary, grand housewarming gift for those still in need of a center piece or room accent. Preserving items that are often viewed as the showpieces in Slovene culture, Rogaska trademark is at the highest level in terms of price, quality and design innovation in crystal ware. Though Rogaska creates dozens of uniquely crafted vases, The Rogaska Crystal, Brilliance 10’’ Crystal Vase, in particular, is a definite showstopper that will add luxe, culture and art to any new home.

Price: $450

Where to find: Item #122677RG on crystalclassics.com

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Fine Art: Overdue Recognition in Bowie, MD Speaking of luxe and culture, another way to help add these elements to a new homeowner’s home, is by gifting them fine, luxury and local art. Why purchase a painting from Nordstrom or Bloomingdales when you can support your community by collecting one of a kind, original fine art. Gifting someone wall art as a housewarming gift can be a daunting task that requires an eye for talent and a personal connection with the new homeowner. However, if carefully selected, this can be an amazing, memorable housewarming gift. Located in the Bowie Town Center, Overdue Recognition Art Gallery specializes in original paintings, sculpture and limited edition graphics. The gallery is distinguished by works of art by William Tolliver, Anthony Armstrong, James Denmark, John Holyfield, Deborah Shedrick and many others; making the gallery a great place to find an original piece of art for a new homeowner.

Price: varies > Where to Find: Overdue Recognition in Bowie, MD

Candles Galore: Ambre Nuit, DIOR; Cire Trudon Gabriel For the DIY and crafting fanatics out there, one way to make your housewarming gift as special as the occasion is to create your own gift assortment of your favorite candles, including some of our luxurious favs. The Ambre Nuit Candle by DIOR creates a sensual Rose scent, by combining it with Ambergris. It’s a scent that’s sure to fill an entire newly bought home with a lavish, peaceful scent.

Price: $95 > Where to Find: dior.com Cire Trudon Candles have been referred to as the «Rolls Royce» of candles. The Gabriel Candle is a limited edition scent and one of Cire Trudon’s most popular fragrances. Beautifully woody, it blends top notes of “candied chestnuts and fresh birch with smoky cashmere and moss,” with a gorgeous exterior. Direct your new homeowner to place the candle in their hallway or living room to add warmth to a crisp afternoon.

Price: $125 > Where to find: Item #6246987 on nordstrom.com

Demeyere Atlantis Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set Depending on what your new homeowner needs, it may be a great idea to gift them something more practically for their housewarming— especially when it’s the Demeyere Atlantis Stainless-Steel 10-Piece Cookware Set. This elegant Belgian stainless-steel cookware enlists the latest culinary innovations to guarantee flawless heat distribution and control. The set includes an essential fry pan, saucepan, sauté pan and Dutch oven. This is the ultimate gift for the new homeowner who loves to cook, or needs to cook more!

Price: $1,500 > Where to find: SKU #3023124 on https://www.williams-sonoma.com

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MARCH 2022

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