Merlino & Gonzalez - May 2023

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May 2023



Meet the Man Behind Our Landscaping Andrew Bianco Can Transform Your Yard, Too! IN A MANOR OF SPEAKING

college, I took professional education courses at Rutgers University to better serve my clients. Today, I am certified in different aspects of the landscaping business. I enjoy working with my crew during spring and fall on preparing the gardens for the following season. It might sound funny, but I think of pruning back bushes and cutting away dead flowers as therapeutic! To me, turning a straggly, ugly plant into a healthy and attractive one is satisfying. Honestly, the satisfaction of a job well done gets me out of bed every morning. That’s why I teach my staff not to cut corners, always prioritize quality over quantity, and do right by the client, no matter what. More often than not, we get a big “thank you!” from our clients that makes the hard work worth it. Just recently, one was over the moon about a job we did in Jersey City. When we got to her house, we found a sad slope of dirt and weeds. By the time we left, she had a fence, synthetic turf, and a little garden area to enjoy with her family for years to come. Her excitement made my day! We have the best customers — including Merlino & Gonzalez. We’ve been fortunate to maintain their office landscaping for the last two years. My crew stops by monthly to upkeep the gardens, plant seasonal bulbs and flowers, clean the displays, trim, mulch, and more.

I love looking out of our office windows this time of year. The landscaping in our front yard is beautiful and just coming into bloom for the summer. If you don’t have as nice a view as I do, I have good news for you. This month, I’m introducing you to Andrew Bianco, the man behind our landscaping. Andrew and his crew beautify properties all over Staten Island and nearby areas of New York and New Jersey. I’ll let him tell you all about it!

Hey there, this is Andrew Bianco! I’m glad that Ken and John gave me this opportunity to share a little bit about my company with you, Bianco’s Landscaping & Masonry, during one of my favorite times of the year. Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to be a landscaper. My crews and I are currently busy renovating backyards, cleaning up patios, trimming and mulching gardens, and planting summer flowers for our neighbors on Staten Island. I got into landscaping because I love being outside. A neighbor of mine put me to work in the business more than 20 years ago. Mowing lawns and planting gardens helped pay my way through college at Pace University, where I got my degree in business management. After

If you want to give your yard a makeover or are in the market for concrete or stonework (we do steps, facades, railings, fences, patios, and more), check out the Bianco’s Landscaping & Masonry website, You can also call us at 718-420-0901 or come by our office at 660 Gulf Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314. At the office, you might even run into me and my rescue dog, Gucci. His name makes him sound like a Chihuahua, but he’s actually a very friendly 100-pound Italian mastiff.

I hope I’ll hear from you soon!

–Andrew Bianco



We Added a Furry Friend to the Family!


your new pet might be. They will be in a new environment with people they don’t know — so you want them to be as comfortable as possible.

Owning a pet can be fun and exciting for the entire family. However, introducing animals to children can be stressful, and when your children meet your new pet, you want to start things on the right foot (and paw!). So, how do you go about doing this? Educating Children on Pet Care Before bringing your four-legged family member home, it’s best to sit down with your kids and teach them how to treat and care for a pet. They should pet their new friend politely and make sure the animal is comfortable. Teach them what a cat or dog looks like when they’re happy, scared, or annoyed.

First, allow your new pet to venture around the home and check things out. Once they’re acquainted with their surroundings, it’s time for them to meet the kids. If you have multiple kids, have each child meet your new pet one at a time. You also want two guardians involved during the introduction — one can keep an eye on the furry friend, and the other can help the children. It’s also best to keep your new pet on a leash or harness if you need to separate them from anyone.

Next, establish boundaries on what is and isn’t okay for your pet to eat and how to play with and care for them. You can also take this time to discuss the potential risks of owning a pet and what could happen if your child improperly handles them. Don’t forget to talk about dog or cat bites, scratching, and other behaviors. Preparing the Introduction When it’s finally time to bring your new family member home, inform your children about how nervous

Remembering the Acronym PAWS Teach your children to pause before approaching the

animal. Have them ask if they can pet or play with the new four-legged friend. After your child waits for permission, have them gently offer a hand for your pet to sniff to see if they want to interact. If you need further guidance on introducing a new pet to your family or want to know how to train your furry friend, contact your local veterinarian for additional information.


Are You or Your Child Ready for It?

one teen (or both) more on the rebellious side? Assess how your teen’s relationship with their boyfriend or girlfriend is going. Are they respectful of each other’s boundaries and ideals? How comfortable are they going on a trip with the other person involved? Additionally, having a good relationship with your child’s significant other and their family is essential. You want to ensure your child is safe, comfortable, and protected, whether on vacation with you or another family. When making a decision, should you involve your child? While you may have the final say, you should let your teenager know their involvement matters. This will help your relationship tremendously. There isn’t a “right answer” to when your child should go on vacation with their boyfriend or girlfriend’s family or vice versa. But with open communication, you will find the best solution for everyone.

Summer is quickly approaching! However, this time it may be different. Your teenager might ask to go on vacation with their significant other, whether with your family or theirs. But is your teen ready for something like this?

A handbook doesn’t exist for this scenario since each family has different circumstances. However, keep a few things in mind when making this decision.

Which values matter most? Every family has different cultures, morals, beliefs, and ways of doing things. First, consider if your child’s request aligns with your family’s values. Likewise, you need to touch base with the parents of your teen’s significant other to see what they think. After gathering all the needed information, process your thoughts and determine if their values align with yours. Do you trust your child and their partner? Your comfort level with your child’s judgment is a significant factor to consider. Are both teens responsible, honest, and conscientious? Or is



4 Reasons to Bump Up Your Asking Price

3. You want to switch price categories. When buyers search on Zillow and other home sites, they typically pick a price range and stick to it. That means if your home is listed at $399,000, buyers searching for homes $400,000 and up won’t see it. A slight price adjustment could give you a brand-new audience and help your home sell. 4. You want to remind interested buyers about your home. When you adjust your home price, many home search sites will notify everyone who has saved the listing. Even a tiny adjustment can trigger a notification and inspire an offer.

Many assume that once they list their home for sale, they can only drop the price — not increase it. But that’s not true! You can and should bump up the price of your listing in certain circumstances to ensure you’re paid what your house, condo, or apartment is worth.

4 Reasons to Hike Up Your Home Price

are illegal in certain circumstances. That’s why we always recommend checking with a lawyer before pulling the trigger. Chatting with our team is the best way to ensure you won’t face penalties for your price adjustment. If you’re selling a property and want to raise the price — or have a friend or family member in that situation — call our team at 718-698- 2200 for help. We’ll walk you or your loved one through the process and ensure you make the switch safely!

1. Your appraisal came back high. If an appraiser walks through your home after you list it and gives you a higher value than your listed price, you may want to adjust things. Just be sure to get a second opinion. 2. You renovated your home. Imagine you’ve added a deck, replaced dingy carpet, or built a shed in your backyard in response to feedback from potential buyers. Those upgrades increase the value of your home, and your price should reflect that!

How to Start the Process

If you haven’t fielded any offers on your home yet, you may be able to adjust your price by calling your listing agent. However, price hikes





• 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced • 3 small radishes, thinly sliced • 2 cups arugula, thinly sliced • 1 1/2 cups cooked lima beans, drained and rinsed • Balsamic salad dressing of choice

• 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed • 1 tsp smoked paprika • 1/2 tsp turmeric • 1/2 tsp cumin • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

• Salt and pepper, to taste • 1 red onion, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. In a bowl, toss sweet potato cubes with smoked paprika, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. 3. Roast for 25–30 minutes until sweet potatoes are nicely browned and fork-tender. 4. In a large salad bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, radishes, arugula, and lima beans. 5. Toss the salad with dressing, then top with roasted sweet potatoes.



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314




Meet One of Our Favorite Local Landscapers Page 1

3 Strategies to Help Introduce Children to New Pets

Advice on Dealing With a Sticky Vacation Scenario Page 2

When to Raise the Price of Your Home

Roasted Sweet Potato Arugula Salad Page 3

Want the Best Sleep of Your Life? Page 4


tailored to sleep tourists, with amenities so popular that their sleep options have become regular offerings.

So, if sleep tourism sounds like something you’d be interested in, here are three hotels that help you catch those z’s.

Park Hyatt New York (NYC): This hotel features a “Sleep Suite” designed by Bryte, a company that uses AI to facilitate sleep. The room touts an intuitive “Restorative Bed,” which adjusts to relieve pressure points and controls climate temperature throughout the night, according to each person’s needs. This suite also includes an array of soothing essential oils, a diffuser, and books about sleep. The Cadogan, a Belmond Hotel (London): This hotel offers a “sleep concierge,” which boasts prerecorded sleep meditations and a pillow selection menu for every type of sleeper. Sleepers can even benefit from the hotel’s weighted blankets, scented pillow mist service, and their proprietary sleep tea. Zedwell (London): The first ever “sleep-centric” hotel, Zedwell uses recycled materials to insulate every door, wall, and floor from sound. This hotel also purifies the air within the hotel and fills every space with ambient lighting.

If you’ve ever planned a vacation, you’ve probably picked a few key places to visit, like a museum, restaurant, or historic site. However, a new vacation trend is becoming increasingly popular: sleep tourism, when a traveler plans their entire vacation to get the best quality sleep during their time away. Before, common goals for vacations were to eat delicious foods, stay up late to see the sights, and fit in as much activity as possible. However, this left travelers completely exhausted. And as our culture continues to understand how important sleep is to our health, more people are prioritizing rest even while they’re away. But being a sleep tourist is about more than going to bed early and ensuring you get your recommended eight hours of rest. It’s about building your vacation around sleep. Some hotels even offer rooms 4

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