Starvoice • 02.03.12

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Kathy Najimy turns 55 on Monday. The actress has been making us laugh since her role as Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act to appearances in gay-friendly fare such as Ugly Betty, Drop Dead Diva and Desperate Housewives. She appeared in the Jennifer Aniston-directed TV movie Five last year and is set to appear in BearCity 2, touted as a hirsute Sex and the City.

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THIS WEEK

Venus is entering Aries, good for sports and trashy fun, not so much for emotional and financial investments. But then she aspects Uranus and Jupiter, so be open for some very fun surprises.

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AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Your dazzling brilliance may offend some. Don’t hold back. Just be sensitive and ready to apologize if necessary, or just politic. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but arguing will make it one.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
It’s too easy to say much and give away the store. Let people wonder how much you do know makes you look wiser. Set aside some money for an impulse purchase.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
A new you will break into the open. It could be a daring new look or a talent that refuses to be hidden If you worry about that disrupting your relationships, holding it in will be even worse.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Trust those instincts and intuitions. That voice inside has important messages. Friends will disappoint you. They’re only human, but are they really friends? Keep a shrewd eye on their motives.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Showing off your intellectual brilliance can cause more trouble than it solves. If you want to shake things up, you could be very effective, but the only way you can make peace is to stay quiet.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Remember the soul is eternal. Attend to material realities. Success pulls you away from home and family, but is that so bad? A little separation there doesn’t need to be a complete break.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Winning arguments by intimidation costs you. Gaining allies takes effort and attentive listening. You can change your mind about strategy and details without sacrificing principles.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Be very careful of nervous inflammations, as they may impact the bowels. Cleanliness, relaxation and a healthy sex life are the best care. Improving the work process will irritate colleagues.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Efforts to start or refresh a relationship will open surprises that take you in directions you’re not ready for. Being a control queen will backfire horribly. Just roll with it and see where it goes.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Nobody can be right all the time, but correct your own mistakes. Did your friends really screw up, or were your expectations unfair? What’s right is more important than who’s right.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
You can’t hold back your rebellious streak, but channel it creatively to boost your standing at work and invigorate your partnership. Go ahead and take a chance.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Confusion is good for the soul, provoking you to examine yourself deeper. Changes should feel uncomfortable if they provoke real opportunities. Stay focused on the long haul.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Defining Homes • STAGE fright

Robert Jory offers relief in the daunting task of getting your home ready to sell

The staged living room, left, is both minimal and cozy, while the cluttered home, right, will lack appeal for potential buyers.

By Jonanna Widner

Selling your house isn’t just an ordeal, it’s a competition. As potential buyers head to sites like Inman.com or Trulia.com for research, those sites offer peeks inside to give an idea how the house can be used.  Does yours look like a livable space or is it a click away from missing out?

Dallas Realtor and stager Robert Jory offers tips on both preparing your home to sell and when it’s time to call in an expert. Staging can sometimes be just a deep cleaning and clever furniture rearranging, but Jory points out that every so often he needs to point people in the right direction. And with so many, getting started it can be overwhelming.

“We provide basic staging services free, like arranging furniture and giving color advice,” he says. “We point out to the homeowner what needs to be packed away and which furniture needs to be removed.  A lot of staging is removing and arranging furniture in an appealing way. “

It’s all a trick of the eye. Less furniture makes a room look larger. This is good, but staging should convey something about the house’s character and still resonate with a buyer. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial investments anyone will make and a lot of emotion goes with that.

“If you can create a good emotional feeling then you are 80 percent of the way to selling that home,” Jory says. “Balance is key. You don’t want potential buyers spending all their time admiring items. People feel good about homes where there is no clutter and a minimal amount of decorative items.”

Robert Jory

Clutter is a big issue and Jory stresses that point the most. If but one thing is to be done before anything else, he advises to edit down. Even if there isn’t time to set up or stage everything else.

“De-clutter!” he exclaims. “It is very difficult for people to remove the items they have lived with for years.  They don’t realize how much stuff they have.”

While you create the ideal image of both a house and home, ironically you don’t want it to be too personal. Family pictures, odd souvenirs, religious and political items might steer potential buyers away.

“You don’t want the buyers to be thinking of you,” he says “you just want them thinking of your great home.”
Of course, Jory could just do the work for you. Depending on your budget, his job can be to do the quick stuff of arranging the house, or it can extend to repainting a room and even new furniture of the temporary kind.

“After we provide a free home preparation report which outlines repairs and improvements room by room, then the homeowner can choose what they want to do depending on their budget,” he says. “After improvements are made, we come out and stage the home with either the homeowner’s furniture or sometimes we’ll use rental furniture or provide our own if available.”

For this market, such lengths are worthwhile. The goal is to sell and a nicely wrapped package can do just that.

“Ultimately, if [a buyer] falls in love with the home, it’s sold,” he says. DH

For more information, visit RobertJory.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas