By Anessa V. Cohen

My father used to have an expression that he used whenever someone did something creative and out of the ordinary–he would call it “using your noodle!” I guess that was a creative statement itself, since a more boring way of making note of an item of creativity would be plain old, “That is using your artistic license!” Somehow, we all felt beyond-Einstein intellect when my father would tell us, “That’s using your noodle!”

My cousin, for instance, has a unique solution to cutting onions without crying–even on a yom tov when cutting dozens of onions at one time might be the norm. She uses the old noodle by wearing a ski mask, which totally solves the crying issue, and she can go through bags of onions untouched by tears.

Dad was also known to take the prize with repairing everything and anything, including cars, with rubber bands. Of course, this trick only worked on cars that were mechanical, without digital parts. The minute cars became computerized and digitally calibrated, he said, “That’s it; I am out of business!”

Creativity is what makes life interesting and brings us novel ways of doing things and enjoying the inventiveness of others. The dictionary meaning of creativity says it all: “The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination.”

You can see creativity simply by looking at the decorating styles incorporated by individual homeowners as you walk down any block in our community, house by house. There is the homeowner that exercised his individuality by painting the shingles on his house a deep purple (yes, really, and I think this makes a statement!) or the guy with a small windmill on his front lawn that quacks as the wind turns it.

How about those homeowners with the intricate miniature water fountains and waterfalls (recycled, of course) cascading at different heights and lengths, and at night different lighted colors merrily shine down on and around their properties. Or the homeowner that has transformed his front and side properties into a fruit-and-vegetable garden instead of a lawn.

All of these homeowners are expressing their personalities through decorative creativity inside and outside their individual homes.

Today, with paint color wheels offering variations for every creative and individual style and craft centers as well as online stores providing access to the unusual and exotic, anyone can reflect their personality or artistic imagination with their own brand of decoration–whether they prefer the bland or the exotic–by choosing colors, styles, custom layout, and accessories to put their creativity in motion and on display on the interior as well as the exterior of their home.

There is always something new out there to be done or to try out or something unusually creative to see that someone else really aced “using their noodle.” The sky is the limit and the houses in the community are our museum to watch and learn from. I think I will take a walk! v

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker and a licensed N.Y.S. mortgage broker with over 20 years of experience, offering full-service residential and commercial real-estate services (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and mortgaging services (First Meridian Mortgage) in the Five Towns and throughout the tri-state area. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to

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