Maegann Yarbrough

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What not to do during Food Prep

Posted On: January 31st, 2017 3:38PM

This blog is called East Valley Living, and living refers to healthy activities too! I’m sure if you are working, running a business or busy family, it seems like there just isn’t any time to make sure everyone is eating healthy. Here is a behind the scene view of what a busy Realtor on the move does to stay firing on all cylinders! I’m sure this technique can help you too!


The term “Food Prep” refers to the act of meal planning and preparing ahead several meals at once, or batching meal preparation, so foods are ready to eat or quickly heated up. There are several reasons people Food Prep: to measure correct potion sizes for a healthy eating lifestyle, to have food to quickly prepare while zipping around a busy lifestyle, and to save money by buying in bulk and freezing meals for future use. There might be more, but these three come to mind as I tasked myself today to get a whole lotta cookin’ done.


My husband and I try really hard to eat a healthy diet. We like a Paleo plan involving humanely prepared foods, organic and grass-fed if possible, and we like butter in our coffee (Bulletproof coffee!). To achieve this, it takes some selective grocery shopping and preparation.  We are also constantly on the move and on the road. We pack lunches to eat in the car and take vitamins and eat simple prepared meals at home. Sometimes after an especially long day, we don’t feel like cooking and if there is not food already prepared, we run to a restaurant. What a waste of money and burned calories!


We decided to do “Make Ahead” meals, which kept us on track but were prepped out for a whole month. After scouring books and websites, we had around 12 entrees to prepare, and several meals worth each. We made a loooonng list and made several stops to make sure we got everything we needed. After driving from Phoenix to our local grass-fed butcher, then to Gilbert with our favorite grocery stores, back home to East Mesa it was already after noon. I followed up with some clients then ran to the kitchen getting pressure cooker, slow cooker, oven, food processor, blender, and multiple pieces of cast iron warmed up. Then there was the vacuum food saver bags. We just got the food saver and I had no idea how to use it. But we needed to freeze things, so we figured it out. I’ve never made such a mess of my kitchen.


Seven hours later, my feet are killing me. I’m glad I wore the new running shoes I got for the Phoenix Half Marathon. They definitely got broken in today. My back is killing me, but I got to play with all my favorite kitchen appliances and dance to some Spotify. The fridge, freezer, and deep freeze are full, and that’s a blessing that keeps us closer to our goals. I learned something new that intimidated me…I am a vacuum bag food saver Queen! We definitely felt epic today!


So, here’s what NOT to do during Food Prep: Plan 12 entrees with enough servings to feed a family of eight. Especially if you are a family of two. After seven hours we realized we had six entrees we just can’t cook because we have no more room and we have enough food for at least a month. And we were just too tired to keep going. The WIN of the day is now we have tons of ready made food so we don't have to think about where our next meal was coming from.


Do a little research on make ahead meals and try new things. You may not be perfect at first, but making changes in life involve small changes and correct for what works for you and your family.

And if you want an awesome cookbook with yummy Paleo recipes, check out Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong!

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Five Tips to Help a Home Seller Get the Best Price

Posted On: January 16th, 2017 5:41PM

One of the most important goals a home seller has is getting the price he or she needs to sell the house. This sounds like a simple task, but has several variables including location, how the housing market is doing, how other properties in the neighborhood are doing, and so on. There are a few simple tips a home seller can do to ensure he or she gets the right price and the right buyer.

Curb Appeal

When a potential buyer drives up to the home, how the home looks on the outside makes a huge first impression. Even if a home is in a great neighborhood or has wonderful upgrades inside, a potential buyer may drive away without looking inside due to the home’s exterior. There is no second chance to make a first impression! Make sure trees and bushes are trimmed, clean up any weeds or clutter, and make sure the exterior of the home is in good repair. This may mean you hire a landscaper or handyman, but it is not necessary if the home and yard looks neat and clean.

Remove All Clutter

The primary goal is to find a buyer who walks into the home and can envision the home belonging to him or her right away. You want the home to be inviting, but neutral. This is really what the term “staging” means. Put away your family pictures and personal collections. You may be very proud of your Hummel collection, but buyers want to visualize their things in the home. Pick up the everyday things that may be left around like papers, backpacks, and dishes. Make sure your furniture is clean and tidy.

Small Home Improvements

In some cases, small home improvements can mean a big difference in home value. Perform small repairs, like nail holes in the wall or caulking around the bathtub. A new coat of paint, in a neutral color, makes the home feel fresh. Updated fixtures like lighting and fans will make the home feel more modern, and don’t need to cost and arm and a leg. New carpeting may be a little costly, but can bring a great return on the investment in the final price of the home.


Friendly family pets are wonderful, but not all potential buyers are pet lovers. Be sure your pets are put away or looked after while showing the home. Clean up toys, dishes, and litter boxes and try to discreetly keep them from view. Be sure all fur is cleaned up to be tidy and to respect those potential buyers who may have allergies.


Good lighting is a great way to make a home feel warmer, larger, and more inviting. Take down heavy curtains and open the blinds. Make sure bulbs are replaced and turn lights on all over the house. If you upgraded some lighting fixtures, be sure they accent special areas of the home. Good lighting will also accent those areas you might have missed while cleaning, so again, be sure to go through the home as a potential buyer and notice what they might see.

These simple tips do not need to be costly, but could mean thousands of dollars in your home’s final value.

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Now that we brushed away the holiday cobwebs, it's time to Level Up!

Posted On: January 5th, 2017 4:58PM

Every year, it's the same thing. The holidays come in with a WHOOSH! If we have been dedicated to our Level Up Your Lifesuccess (diet, gym, business goals), then we tend to allow some wiggle room around the 

holidays. Our family joke around Thanksgiving is "Get your fat pants on!". We allow small, or large, indiscretions. We can miss one day at the gym because we burned so many calories running around and shopping. We allow a cookie or three. We overindulge at the holiday party, then sleep in the next day when we were supposed to work on our budget. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, we look back on the year and wonder where the time went and why we didn’t reach those goals we set for ourselves last January.

January is here again! What are your goals or resolutions for this year? Do you actually have a system in place to achieve them? If not, can I make a suggestion?

Turn your life into a game.


In Steve Kamb’s book, Level Up Your Life, Kamb outlines how to create your “Alter Ego” superhero who tackles your goals fearlessly, goes on Epic Quests, and builds you a body for adventuring. While you are doing this, you are “leveling up” and building strong, long-term habits that help create the perfect You. The You that you have always dreamed of being.

Anyone who is a fan of video games, board games, or choose your own adventure books will grasp the concept immediately. You create a character, gain loot, recruit allies, level up and get stronger so you can tackle more difficult challenges. This concept can be applied whether you are young, or more mature, whether you are single or running a busy family. The key is to set very specific goals (one of mine is to attend a noodle festival in Japan

My Character

 I saw on the Travel Channel), then break that large goal down into smaller “quests” and assign point values to them (like find the date/place of the noodle festival, get passport, figure out costs). As you complete smaller

 quests and gain points, you level up!

The more quests you tackle, the closer you are to being more physically fit, traveling more, spending more time with your kids, doing the work you love, and building better habits. The main thing is to DO something. Learn from DOING, not just dreaming.

You don’t have to be an expert at Dungeon and Dragons or World of Warcraft to understand and use the concepts. Everyone should have goals. Goals get us to bigger and better things in our lives. If you have tried vision boards and checklists and The Secret and you keep coming back to January with very little accomplished, maybe you need a different vehicle.

Turn your life into a game.

Ready to play?


Steve Kamb is the founder of Nerd Fitness. His book Level Up Your Life is available through Rodale Books

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