Newsletter

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]

ViVA Vienna, the town fair, is my favorite event of the year.

Rides, games, fair food, street vendors and the entire town coming out to have fun. It’s glorious. It’s always hot, but the event takes place rain or shine (lighting is another story). If you’ve never been, please enjoy some of my favorite tips!

ViVa Vienna is made of rides for the kids — some for the smaller crew and some for the older crew who like faster/higher rides, usually games (knock down the clown, pop the balloon, fishing for a duck), vendors (arts, crafts, photos, local businesses), and fair food. Think meat on a stick, turkey legs and fried everything. It’s glorious and fun. They also have shows on the town green in the amphitheater.

You can buy tickets ahead of time (and they’re cheaper through Friday, May 27). This year you can buy an unlimited rider pass for $40 per day or a “mega pass” which is unlimited rides for all 3 days for $100 (if you buy before May 28), but the mega pass isn’t recommended for kids under 36″ tall.

This year they also have a Backstage BrewFest for the 21 and over crowd, held at the Vienna Firehouse. There will be live bands, beer, wine and food on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Here are my tips to make it as fun as possible:

  • Bring water! Bring snacks if you don’t want to buy food. The kids (and adults) get hot and hungry and that’ll ruin anyone’s day.
  • Saturday is the least crowded day because there are no vendors yet. It’s just food and rides/games. If you’re trying to avoid larger crowds, go on Saturday.
  • Sunday/Monday is fun if you want to check out local vendors and companies. Many have fun things to check out, artwork to buy, and freebies to snag.
  • Plan to use porta potties — the local businesses on Church Street shouldn’t be inundated by toilet-goers who are not patrons, but they will line the area behind Vienna Inn with bathrooms and likewise over by the Red Caboose.
  • Bring cash for the games. Everyone’s going cashless these days, but these fair games still usually take cash and you can avoid the ATM fee.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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]

My husband and I got to sneak in a Sunday morning breakfast date where we got bagels at Call Your Mother and sat by the Georgetown Waterfront with the ducks for a few peaceful moments alone (highly recommend if you are looking for some time by a body of water).

Eating that led me to think about the breakfast options in Vienna. We have quite a few!

I’m on the hunt for the best breakfast sandwich in town. I am making a few nominations, but I’d love to hear where you sneak a good egg, cheese or veggie breakfast sandwich in around town. I’ll post the results on my social media at the end of the week!

Photo via Ben Kolde/Unsplash

Follow me on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or on Facebook at Facebook.com/GuidingYourMove.

Nominate your favorite!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

While it may seem inherent that the marriage and divorce rates in the U.S. tumbled during the pandemic with the courts and wedding venues shut down, a new study from Bowling Green State University indicates the impacts of COVID on American couples were even more significant than predicted.

Bowling Green’s Center for Family and Demographic research analyzed five states that released their monthly marriage and divorce rates from last year: Arizona, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

Analyzing the Data

Florida, the largest state in the study, saw a 33 percent drop in the marriage rate and a 28 percent drop in the divorce rate. Although Florida’s marriage and divorce rate decline was the steepest out of the five states analyzed, researchers at Bowling Green were able to aggregate trends from all five states and apply them on a nationwide scale.

Results from this analysis indicate that 339,917 marriages and 191,053 divorces were either canceled or postponed in 2020. Considering that in 2019 there were around two million marriages and one million divorces, this data depicts that the overall marriage rate dropped by over 15 percent in 2020, with the divorce rate declining by nearly twenty percent, an astonishing figure.

Drawing Conclusions

These results contradict a widespread sentiment amongst researchers and academics during the pandemic. Many believed that the complications and proximity forced upon couples in quarantine would compel many more to divorce.

Furthermore, the marriage and divorce rates did not see a sizable rise once restrictions were minimized in most states at the beginning of the summer, suggesting a lack of pent-up demand from quarantine. While this trend is not valid in every state, as Arizona did see a sizable uptick in marriages and divorces after the spring of 2020, it is clear that United States couples felt overall less inclined to commit to marriage or separation once COVID began.

Evaluating the Cause

Although we hope the reason behind the prolonged drop in marriages and divorce is because couples were, and continue to be, happier after lockdown, this is most likely not the case. Many family law attorneys have identified the financial aspect inherent in marriage and divorce as the reason behind the decline. Attorneys and other professionals in the field claim that practical fiscal responsibility dominated couples’ decision-making under the uncertain conditions of the pandemic, supplanting the desire to throw a wedding reception or file for divorce.

Happy couples were willing to wait until life returned to normal before they had their ceremony. Separating couples wanted to ensure their finances were stable before beginning the resource-draining process of divorce. In both cases, couples felt like they were in limbo, ultimately permitting more time to evaluate their initial decision.

Going Forward

In the future, it appears as though this drop in the marriage and divorce rate will continue, as many Americans have permanently changed their perspective on traditional marriage. Before the pandemic began, marriage and divorce rates had already been declining for years. Considering that in 1980, the divorce rate was 22.6 per 1,000 married women, and in 2019 it was only 15.5 per 1,000 married women, it is clear younger couples have less of a desire to get and stay married.

Previous studies have also shown that younger couples wait longer to tie the knot. Additionally, those who choose to get married are typically more educated and more affluent than the average American. Ultimately, the institution of marriage is under more scrutiny than ever before, as the pandemic exacerbated the already declining occurrence of marriage and divorce.

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]

May 1st marked the opening of strawberry picking season!

Most of the patches will be open by mid-May for the month and into early June or until everything is picked! Many of these farms also offer other food and treats, so make the most of your adventure!

  • Messick’s Farm in Bealton, Virginia: Check their Facebook page for updates on the availability of U-pick. They don’t require reservations, but you will have to use their baskets for picking which are $4.99 per pound. While Messick’s has their own custard and availability of treats, you can also make a trip to Moo Thru — an ice cream drive-thru.
  • Wegmeyer Farms in three locations in Hamilton, Aldie and Leesburg, Virginia: They have strawberry picking by appointment, which opens up the night before and fills up fast. Make sure you follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date information. Don’t miss their donuts! They hope to be open by Sunday.
  • Hidden Gems Farms in Centreville, Virginia: Their strawberry picking will start soon (check the website for opening info) and they’ll have blueberry picking this summer. They also have other activities like playing with goats, plus food like donuts, bread and cheese.
  • Hollin Farms in Delaplane, Virginia: Hollin Farms will open in late May for strawberries and spring vegetables. They have a lot of other fruit throughout the year as well.
  • Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland: Reserve strawberry picking by appointment later this month. Reservations go live on Sundays and Thursdays at 5 p.m., so keep an eye out on their website! Walk-ins are welcome if there’s availability. Be sure to check their website for more details.
  • Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland: Shlagel Farms is open now for strawberry picking! They update availability on their Facebook page.
  • Swann Farms in Owings, Maryland: This farm is opening in the next 2 weeks for berry picking now! Check their website for updates.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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]om

Maybe you’ve seen them jamming at ViVA Vienna or on their awesome town Halloween Parade float and wondered who they were. Now is your chance to find out!

The Vienna Jammers is a Percussion Ensemble with more than 135 children ranging in age from 8-18 years old from the Northern Virginia area. Their ensemble members are devoted to sharing their passion for music with the community.

The Big Jam is their biggest event of the year! Each of their ensembles will be performing a variety of originals, cover songs, and traditional pieces from around the world, with music guaranteed to entertain audience members of all ages.

Come experience an evening of music with special guest, Grammy-award winning artist, Bakithi Kumalo, at Capital One Hall in Tysons Corner on Saturday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets available at https://www.viennajammers.org/. Prices start at $15 per ticket.

I’m a sponsor of this event and am very much looking forward to celebrating this event IN PERSON this year!

Follow Vienna Jammers on Facebook!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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]

Most real estate agents have a whole life before they start selling real estate — it’s often called a second career.

For me, I took an unconventional path to this career which basically started when I was born. My parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 from Belarus. They started their own business in 1986 and started investing in real estate shortly thereafter. My entire extended family — uncles, aunts, cousins, my brother, etc. all invest in real estate. I do too. Practice what you preach. So I have been involved in conversations about real estate my entire life.

After college, I worked for the government as a budget analyst for a bit, then as a government contractor while getting my masters in Economics from Johns Hopkins. I bought my first rental property when I was 24 in Upstate New York. When I was finishing my Masters, I bought my first Virginia condo in Clarendon that I would go on to sell in 2013. I’ve since sold the New York duplex, bought 3 rental properties in Virginia and bought and sold 3 primary residences — moving is a job hazard for realtors.

I decided to get into the sales side of things because I realized how much information out there is confusing, how many agents do this the wrong way with gimmicks and lies, and I just knew it could be done better. So far, I’ve been right. I don’t use any sales promises, no smoke and mirrors, just good old fashioned hand holding and solid advice.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a career in real estate — please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to answer questions about the job!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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’ve seen lots of spring cleaning posts on the various Vienna Facebook groups, that timed nicely with the luncheon I was invited to attend on Friday in honor of one of our very active local organizations: Women Giving Back.

What they do: Provide women and children in crisis clothing, diapers, shoes and other basic needs at no cost.

How you can help: donate clothing, donate hours volunteering, or donate money

Where you can donate: Donate at their office at 20 Export Drive, Sterling, VA 20164 or one of their partner locations.

This Friday (April 1), they held their annual luncheon at Westwood Country Club to help raise funds for their mission.

They had a phenomenal speaker, Linda Rabbitt, of Rand Construction who gave the most vulnerable, authentic and inspiring speech I’ve heard in a long time. I was left in tears.

The other very moving quote I hear was this:

“Clothes aren’t going to change the world. The women who wear them will.” — Anne Klein

Imagine how a new, correctly fitting suit empowers you to go on a job interview. Or leaving a domestic abuse situation with nothing but the clothes you’re wearing could leave you depressed, but a bag of new clothes could give you hope. Instead of selling random clothing online for $5, consider donating it instead.

Also, I want to give a huge, public shoutout to the woman who owns, First Excel Title, Lauren Kinnard. Lauren is one of the most philanthropic humans I know. She serves on multiple boards, including Women Giving Back, and she also handles many of my real estate settlements. She’s kind, generous, and really good at her job.

If you need a title company recommendation for a refinance, settlement, or deed transfer, please consider this local Vienna women-owned company.

Follow Women Giving Back and First Excel Title on Facebook!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

A highly-anticipated new community has entered the Northern Virginia market. Hudson Quarter is now selling a carefully curated collection of just 18 luxury homes from a sought-after area in Sleepy Hollow.

The homes at Hudson Quarter offer a spacious retreat from the hustle and bustle of popular nearby destinations. This remarkable community has been designed with a keen eye by the Gulick Group, a local builder renowned for their unique and artistic approach to building distinctive new homes.

Homeowners at Hudson Quarter will be able to select from three exceptional single-family home designs and customize with all of their desired features and finishes. Each available homesite sits on up to a third of an acre to ensure ample privacy. Inside the homes you’ll find plenty of room to unwind, with four to five bedrooms, three to four and a half baths and 4,200 to 8,000 finished square feet. Prices start from the $1.5Ms.

Equally as impressive as the homes themselves is the premier location that the neighborhood offers. Tucked away perfectly in Sleepy Hollow, residents will find themselves in a close-knit enclave without having to sacrifice any of the regional access desired for work and recreation.

In just moments, a short drive will take you from Hudson Quarter to nearby retail and dining hubs at the Mosaic District and Downtown Falls Church. Local farmers markets, grocery stores and outdoor recreation are even closer. Homeowners will also be able to get to Washington, D.C., Tysons and more with ease via nearby commuter routes.

Interest in Hudson Quarter has been steadily growing since the community officially opened for sale. Prospective home shoppers can find additional information at HudsonQuarterInFallsChurch.com or schedule a private appointment with Iman Elagazy at [email protected] or 703-844-8440.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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].

Peak cherry blossom viewing is underway in D.C., which means lots of visitors and no parking.

If you’re thinking of visiting the blossoms, here are some tips to help make the visit enjoyable and easy.

Go early. Crowds start to form throughout the day, especially on weekends, so early birds get to see the sunrise along with the blossoms.

You can book parking in advance using the SpotHero site. It will tell you the price and distance in advance. Be prepared for traffic though.

You can take the metro, a fun bonus if you have kids who haven’t taken the metro in years or ever due to COVID. You can get off at the Smithsonian or L’Enfant Plaza stops and walk.

Another easy way is to valet park at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. I believe it’s $39 and cash only, but they have an easy access that’s 1 block to the Tidal Basin.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowd, don’t forget that Meadowlark Botanical Garden also has cherry blossoms that bloom a few days after the D.C. ones.

Other events if you’re really into the Cherry Blossom Festival:

Do you have another insider tip? Please share it below!

With March 20 as the first official day of spring, cherry blossom season has arrived (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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 is your friendly reminder to take care of your home. Here’s a handy checklist of things I recommend to keep your house humming along smoothly:

Clean your gutters

Clean your windows and screens

Mulch, weed, prune trees

Service your HVAC System

Recommended vendor: Mannix HVAC

Check your chimney (it should have a cap on it which can sometimes blow off if it’s really windy like we’ve had this winter)

Reseal driveway if you have an asphalt driveway

Don’t forget you can always download my free vendor guide if you have other repairs you want fixed!

Photo via CDC/Unsplash

One other thing… if you’re waiting for spring to list your home, don’t. The market is moving very quickly right now for a seller and with more inventory usually coming on the market in April and May, don’t wait. I met with someone this morning to list their home and it’s going to be on the market next week. That’s how fast I can turn it around. The only market we can predict is the one we’re in!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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