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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

October is a ADHD Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mental Illness Awareness Week also runs from Oct. 3 to 9 with World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

I think it’s important to recognize that the pandemic has caused undue stress, grief, anxiety and depression for many, many people. Adults, kids — it doesn’t matter. Everyone has been impacted in ways we probably won’t know for years to come.

We live in an area that has some of the most amazing doctors and medical care. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t forget to get your mammogram — it might just save your life.

Also, don’t rely strictly on the schools to screen your children for learning disabilities or mood disorders — pay attention to them. I’m not an expert, but I am Dr. Mom, so realize kids display symptoms of things like depression, bipolar, ADHD and other illnesses in different ways.

Here are some resources I’d like to share with you:

  • You can ask the school to evaluate your child. They’re required to do so within 60 days, and it’s free. You can also do a private neuropsych evaluation, but that can cost a few thousand dollars.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools has to screen your children for speech, voice, language, fine and gross motor skills, vision, and hearing. But PLEASE don’t just rely on them. I’ve heard so many stories from other parents of missed diagnoses for years. Advocate for your children, because if you don’t, nobody will.
  • If you’ve recently had a baby, please ask people if what you’re feeling is what they’re also feeling. It can be overwhelming, scary, moody and so much more. Talk to someone. Talk until you find the right someone.
  • For a mammogram, Fairfax Radiology Breast Center of Fairfax has weekend appointments available, so you have no excuse not to go.
  • You always have the option of finding a therapist. Fairfax County offers Behavioral Health Services for Adults, and some services are offered through insurance or on an ability to pay scale.

All of this to say, you don’t need to suffer alone. I have noticed the more I talk about REAL issues as a mom, the more other people are willing to share their stories as well. We’re all just looking for connection, and if someone says their life is perfect, you don’t want to be their friend anyway. Perfection doesn’t exist. We all carry something with us. You deserve help in carrying that load.

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Is now a good time to sell? Yes. Is now a good time to buy? Yes. What if you could buy two houses for the same price as your current place…interested? Um… Two for the price of one? Yes please.

Here it is folks: Inventory remains low and, yes — for the millionth time — interest rates are low, too. I sound like a broken record, right?

Let’s really dig into this though…if you own your home, try to think about a time when your equity was higher than it is today. Now think about how your needs are different today versus when you bought this home:

  • Are you still commuting into the office at the same frequency?
  • Do you still have kids living at home?
  • Are you spending more of your time outdoors?
  • Does your current home serve your needs?

Now, combine these ingredients: High equity and low interest rates. Add a dash of a struggling condo market and that primetime opportunity to buy the dream country or waterfront home you have always wanted. Instead of trading up, think about trading for double.

Say your current home could be sold in the $1.2 million and $1.5 million range. What if you could buy the perfect city condo plus a non-city oasis for the same amount… Would you be interested? Here are a few examples, where you can capitalize on real estate’s “2 for 1 Special.”

11 S. Liberty Street, Middleburg, VA 20117, listed for $647,000
1781 Chain Bridge Road #202, McLean, VA 22102, listed for $875,000

6189 Fairview Drive, King George, VA 22485, listed for $650,000
1529 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Virginia 22207, listed for $825,000

214 Magruder Place SE, Leesburg, VA 20175, listed for $800,000
601 Bashford Lane #2, Alexandria, VA 22314, listed for $299,000

37625 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg, VA 20117, listed for $795,000 3267 N. Street NW #1, Washington, D.C. 20007, listed for $659,000

399 Deerpath Avenue SW, Leesburg, VA 20175, listed for $569,000
2125 14th Street NW #320, Washington, D.C. 20009, listed for $699,900

12 President Point Drive #A1, Annapolis, MD 21403, listed for $650,000
3663 13th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20010, listed for $799,000

Are you ready to trade for double? Does a 2 for 1 Special sound like something that you and your family would be interested in? Call me anytime, and we can discuss your next big move (or two). Move with Mackenzie Horne.

Mackenzie Horne, MBA is a licensed REALTOR® in VA, DC and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean, VA. Send Mackenzie a message at 571-594-9136, [email protected] or @MackHorneRealtor.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Next Monday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day and also a three-day weekend for many. I feel like this comes right at a critical point of exhaustion, and the idea of getting away for a day or two sounds really nice.

In this article, I’m throwing out some ideas for nearby getaways for the long weekend, especially since the weather is still so warm.

Outdoor Getaways

  • Colonial Beach, Virginia: Colonial Beach is about 90 minutes away from Tysons. It has easy parking, is on the Potomac River (so very few waves), has shallow water and there’s a fishing pier. You’ll find a cute snow cone and ice cream spot, too. (Try the chocolate éclair ice cream!)
  • Aquia Landing Park in Stafford, Virginia: About an hour from Tysons, this is a popular fishing spot and beach for swimming. Note there’s a fee for parking.
  • Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland: An hour from Tysons, Sandy Point is a popular beach before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with lots of space for distancing. This is a great spot if you just want to escape for a day.
  • Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Virginia: This small hidden gem is located under an hour from Tysons and offers fishing plus canoe and kayak rentals. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation. You’ll also find spots for swimming and walking trails.
  • Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania, Virginia: About two hours away, you’ll find lots of sand and water for swimming and playing, camping grounds for overnight stays, and walking trails. Tents are not allowed on the beach.
  • Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby, Maryland: Located about 90 minutes from Tysons, Calvert Cliffs is a Maryland state park featuring fishing, swimming and walking trails. It’s $7 per car for day use if you’ve got Virginia state plates.
Lake Anna State Park (via Lake Anna State Park/Facebook)

Noteworthy Stays

  • Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia: Here you’ll find a spa, restaurants, wineries, an infinity pool, hiking trails, zip lining and, for golf fans, access to the club at Creighton Farms.
  • The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia: Find a top-rated restaurant at The Inn, and the quaint town of Washington is perfect for exploring.
  • Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland: On the beautiful Chesapeake, Inn at Perry Cabin has a spa, restaurants, pool, fitness center, golf and tennis.
  • The Inn at Vaucluse Spring in Stephens City, Virginia: This is a romantic bed and breakfast perched along the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania: Nemacolin has many types of lodging, a spa, golf, ax throwing, zip lining and tons of restaurant choices.
  • The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia: Filled with historic charm, this huge spa features hot springs, a water park, golf and lots of other family-friendly activities.
  • The Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia: Find a spa, wine trail, sailing school, golf and newly redesigned rooms that open today!
  • The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia: This resort contains a spa, a casino, pool, arcade, bowling and so many other activities to keep you busy!
  • Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia: Located in historic Leesburg, Lansdowne Resort has a spa, golf course and more.
  • Tidewater Inn in Easton, Maryland: Explore the spa, luxury accommodations, historic Easton and Hunters’ Tavern.

Got plans for the upcoming three-day weekend? Share them in the comments below!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

This week is Banned Books Week, where we get to celebrate our freedom to read.

Fairfax County residents are lucky — we have a strong library system to enjoy. We have libraries in Oakton, Vienna, McLean and the Pimmit Hills/Tysons branch. You can visit any of them for internet use, books browsing, returning books to any branch and, of course, getting book suggestions from a librarian. But did you know there are so many more opportunities at the library than just borrowing books?

Take a look:

  • Download the Libby app, and you can borrow e-books to your Kindle or Kindle App for free. Just log in to your Fairfax County library account.
  • Download audio books for yourself or your kids. We use this on road trips — my kids love audiobooks. (The “Dairy of a Wimpy Kid” series is a favorite in my house).
  • Many events are held at the library, including author events, book sales, knitting groups, book clubs and toddler reading time.
  • You can reserve the meeting room space at the library for nonprofit events.
  • Stream kids’ videos on animals, math, science, history and more!
  • STEAM Opportunities for the youth — camps (some virtual during COVID), activities and resources.
  • AP/ACT/SAT test prep materials, plus other homework assistance resources.
  • Tuesday morning classes with a master gardener on native plants and best practices for your garden.
  • Various workshops throughout the year.

If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, each library has a “friends of” group that helps the library with various tasks like book sales to raise money for the library. Find your local library here.

Additionally, over the summer, the library generally does a reading challenge for school-aged kids and motivates them to complete a reading task in exchange for a reward that’s usually coupons for free items around town (ice cream, mini golf, etc.).

Happy reading!

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The Return to Earn initiative was launched in June of this year to help small businesses find and retain the talent they need while also helping unemployed Virginian’s transition back into the workforce.

As a program incentive, businesses can receive $500 per hire for a maximum of 25 employees. That means your business could receive up to $12,500 depending on hiring and staffing needs.

Basic eligibility requirements for program participation follow.

Employers must:

  • Be incorporated in Virginia
  • Be in good standing with the state
  • Have 99 employees or less

For new hires:

  • Must have been brought on board after May 31, 2021
  • The position must be W2 and come with a wage of $15 an hour or more (tips can be included in wage determination)
  • Must attest to having been unemployed at the time of hire*

The SkillSource Group, Inc. and Virginia Career Works Northern Region are working hard to make this program available to the small business community and to make the application, enrollment and reimbursement process as simple as possible. Stand out from the competition, increase new employee morale and take part in the Return to Earn Program. Click here to access an online application.

*Length of unemployment is dependent on time of hire

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

I am part of a group of women who came together out of the Vienna Moms umbrella to form a weekly group of female entrepreneurs who meet to talk about all things business and motherhood.

I have become friends with many of the women, and I love supporting what they’re doing. This week, I’d like to take the opportunity to highlight two of them for you:

Tangible Designs, Emily Yahn

Emily Yahn is one of the most talented marketing brains I have had the honor of working with.

Full disclosure: Emily did all of my branding — my logo, my slogan, my website, my buyer and seller guides and my brand book so I know what colors and fonts to use when creating marketing materials.

She is amazing. I am wholly left-brained, so I gave her a concept I had in mind, and she ran with it. She’s worked with brands like DirecTV, the Gates Foundation, Bards Alley and DC College Counseling…

DC College Counseling — Colleen Paparella

I’m a few years away from having a kid apply to college, but I will be using Colleen to help when the time comes. She’s commonly featured on USA Today, CNN, The Washington Post and other publications on college admissions topics.

Her skill is combining strategy and execution to help get kids through the college application process. She has different packages depending on your level of need — whether you need a one-time consult, college essay assistance or the full monty of handing over the entire management process.

Follow DC College Counseling on Instagram at @DCCollegeAdvice for weekly college admissions updates, tips and tricks!

Both of these businesses are Vienna based, and both are led by fantastic humans. I hope you’ll consider them for your needs!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

There’s an organization in our community called Food For Neighbors®.

As you can imagine, they help collect food donations for those in need of our community, but what you might not know, is that they specifically support 24 middle and high schools in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. They help provide food for kids.

I’m often looking for ways to teach my kids ways to help out in our community and this is definitely a kid-friendly, family-friendly way to do that. They have a program called the “Red Bag” where they provide you with a tote bag, you to fill it up, leave it out on your front steps, and they’ll come pick it up. They provide a grocery list for you to shop from. All you have to do is remember to put it outside by 8:30 a.m.

Their recent pick up day was this past Saturday, so you have plenty of time to request a bag, fill it up, and put it up. The last pickup for the year is November 6, 2021. They’ve already posted dates for 2022 if you want to plan ahead.

Request a bag here.

*Food for Neighbors® is a 501(c)(3) and provides a donation letter for you to use.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Hello, September!

Following up to last week’s post about nearby apple-picking spots, I had to spotlight some of the fun fall festivals we’re lucky to have in the area. Please make sure you check individual websites for ticket information as many are closed during the week and require advance ticket purchase.

My favorites are the hayride and slides at Cox Farms, but there are so many to check out, including…

  • Cox Farms Fall Festival: Sept. 18 to Nov. 7
    Admission includes slides, a hayride, farm animals, a cornfield adventure, rope swings, a goat village, live entertainment, apples, cider, amazing donuts and a pumpkin patch.
  • Great Country Farms Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival: Oct. 1-31
    The Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival features pick-your-own pumpkins (also apples), wagon rides, marshmallow roasting, cider pressing, live music, a 5-acre play area, donuts and a market.
  • Fall For Fairfax — KidsFest: Oct. 9 and 10
    This kids fall festival is for elementary and pre-school aged children and includes scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, model trains, rides, and 75 exhibits and food vendors.
  • City of Fairfax Fall Festival: Oct. 9
    The event includes over 400 vendors, children’s activities, three stages of music and entertainment, and carnival rides.
  • Reston Farm Fall Fest: Sept. 24 to Oct. 31 (on Saturdays and Sundays)
    The weekends feature moon bounces, a learning maze, games, train rides around the market, a petting zoo and food trucks.
  • Town of Vienna Halloween Parade: Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.
    This is a fabulous tradition that runs along Maple Avenue from Branch to Center Street. Read my tips on attending the parade from a past year.
  • Whitehall Farms: Oct. 2-31
    Find nature trails, lawn games, a field of pumpkins, animals, picnic tables, a corn maze, a moon bounce, wagon rides and more.
  • Butler’s Orchard Pumpkin Festival: Sept. 25 to Oct. 31
    This festival includes pick-your-own pumpkins, hayrides, jump pads, a tractor pull, animals, a corn maze, music, a playground, a spiderweb, a straw maze, giant slides, corn hole games and more.
  • Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park: Sept. 18 to Oct. 31
    The festival activities include wagon rides, giant slides, a zip line, a corn bin, a hay maze, pony rides, animals, a moon bounce pillow and more.
  • McLean Harvest Happenings: Sept. 25
    This is an indoor-outdoor festival with live entertainment, a petting zoo, crafts and games.
Photo via Gerda/Unsplash
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The 2021-22 school year has officially begun! After the last 1.5 years dealing with virtual learning, cancelled school days, kid-sized masks, too much Zoom, gallons of hand sanitizer, and maybe some grey hairs and/or hair-pulling, I think we all deserve some scroll-worthy study spaces to distract us from our homework.

Here are libraries, study nooks and kitchen islands/tables that will make this school year more enjoyable — no matter what curveballs we face this fall:

507 Arnon Lake Drive, Great Falls, VA 22066, listed for $3,250,000. At home library? Yes, please.

210 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, listed for $1,610,000. Study snacks, anyone?

5128 Beauregard Street, Alexandria, VA 22312, listed for $599,000. No school year is complete without a chalkboard. Why not have it in your kitchen?

7824 Ridgewood Drive, Annandale, VA 22003, listed for $1,414,900. Find plenty of room to spread out and study in this 4685-square-foot new build.

1728 N. Rhodes Street #5-277, Arlington, VA 22201, listed for $294,990. How about reading a good book in this competitively priced condo?

Read More

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

You might think I’m crazy… If the floor really was lava, the air temp would be similar to what it is today. BUT September is just a few days away, and September brings all the fall things — football, apparently pumpkin spice lattes and apple season.

So, with a nod to the coming change in weather and hopefully cooler temps, I bring you a list of places to go apple picking.

Keep in mind COVID protocols might vary by farm and some may require advance purchase of tickets. Check websites for details.

There are also closer in options like DePaul’s Urban Farm, the Vienna Farmers Market or Reston Farm Garden Market. (Check out their weekend Fall Fest… discounted tickets end on Tuesday!)

More details on local fall festivals is coming soon… stay tuned!

Photo by Dan Burton on Unsplash
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