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]

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]

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

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

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].

The snow last weekend was not an appreciated visitor in my house. I’m looking forward to those 70 degree days ahead.

If you’re looking to explore a new place to dine, these are my personal favorites for best outdoor dining options. If you disagree, please feel free to comment below!

  • Best Ladies Night Out — Bear Branch Tavern
  • Best Date Night — Clarity
  • Best Family Friendly Spot — Taco Bamba/Mod/Foster’s Grille plaza (even the pickiest eaters can find something)
  • Best Place to Watch a Game — Vienna Inn
  • Best Lunch — The Sandwich Shop
  • Best Breakfast — The Virginian
  • Best Coffee — Tie between Simply Social and Caffe Amouri
  • Best Pizza — PizzaRoni, Tony’s or Santini’s (Oakton nod!)
  • Best Margarita — Mama Tigre
  • Best Causal Meeting Spot — Caboose

We’re lucky in Vienna to have so many good restaurants, but not all of them have outdoor seating unfortunately. So there are plenty of other restaurants that I love, but this is just a focus on outdoor seating options.

What did I miss?

Outdoor dining (Photo via Melissa Walker Horn/Unsplash)

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].

There have been a number of different local organized efforts to raise funds to help Ukraine.

Some bakers did a “Bake for Ukraine” fundraiser, which sold out pretty quickly. Bobby’s Bagel Café in Oakton has blue and yellow bagels and cookies for sale (preorder only one day in advance), with a portion of proceeds going to the World Central Kitchen.

If you’re looking for more ways to support our friends in Ukraine, here are a few ideas:

If you’re able to provide items, my company — McEneaney Associates — is working with The St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral to ship the following items:

  • Baby/kids/adults winter clothes
  • All sizes winter shoes
  • Blankets
  • Feminine hygiene product
  • First aid kits
  • Thermal wear kids/adults
  • Baby formula
  • Baby bottles (!)
  • Baby diapers
  • Dry milk
  • Dry potato powder
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Instant pasta/cup noodles
  • Mac and cheese
  • Crackers
  • Coffee/tea

Items can be new or worn.

You can also donate funds to them directly on their website. If you have questions about this fundraiser you may contact Danielle Moran, Agent and Community Support at [email protected]. You can deliver or ship these items to the church at 15100 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20905.

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].

A kind Vienna resident, Shelly Ebert, has organized an awesome opportunity for those who celebrate Easter, and those who want to help others celebrate the holiday.

You can sign up to have pre-filled eggs with toys, candy or stickers delivered and scattered around your yard on April 16 or 17. You can also sign up for an Easter basket instead if you don’t have a yard for the eggs.

Here’s another option — donate the eggs or the basket to a family in need.

The details:

They’re focused on Town of Vienna residents, but you can add your name if you’re close to the town limit and they’ll see if they can accommodate it.

The cost of this is a fundraiser for the One Neighborhood Foundation:

  • 2 Dozen: $25
  • 4 Dozen: $45
  • 6 Dozen: $65
  • Easter Basket: $25

Payment will be collected after the forms are collected. Sign up here for delivery! Orders are open throughout the month of March, but supplies are limited.

Want to sign up to volunteer? You can do that here.

Don’t forget about these other town events:

  • Family Flashlight Egg Hunt: This event is sold out, but take note for next year! Tickets go on sale in early February every year for the April event.
  • Historic Egg Roll: Friday, April 1 at 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Freeman Store and Museum
  • Family Fishing Rodeo: March 26 (varied times, tickets on sale now) at Wildwood Park

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 some pretty interesting and different homes being built around town lately that break away from the craftsman mold. My job consists of keeping up with current design trends to help price a home and sell it for top dollar, while also bringing that info to would be buyers on homes that maybe need a little love.

For this article, I wanted to bring in two experts to share what they’re seeing in 2022 home design trends both for living and for staging a home to sell.

Meet the experts

Jessica Arnold is the owner of J.L. Arnold Designs, which I use for staging homes to sell but she also offers design services.

Kristen Bonney-James is the owner of KBJ Interiors and the principal designer. She can help you reimagine spaces in your home with full service design or help decorate a single room.

Questions:

Are gray walls still the rage these days?

KBJ: When it comes to paint color, I consider grey a neutral but there’s been a shift to white walls. It feels fresh and bright and allows the furnishings and artwork to stand out.  Also, wallpaper is back and is a great way to add color, pattern and texture to a space.  For those who are scared to commit, I suggest a solid grasscloth to add texture or create a single accent wall.

JLA: Gray is slowly but surely making it’s way out. White is the new gray and beige is slowly coming back into popularity in vintage inspired homes. In the next coming years, expect to see darker moody colors and wallpaper trending. All major paint brands named some shade of green as their 2022 color of the year, so expect to see a lot of green in the coming years. Our favorite trending wall colors are Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White XX-20 in Satin and Sherwin William’s Snowbound SW7004 in Satin.

What about flooring? A few years ago everyone was going dark floors — are we still into that?

KBJ: For flooring, I’m seeing a lot more natural wood tones ranging from very light to medium brown tones.

JLA: Light! Light! Light! Light woods with organic texture is taking over the luxury market and Instagram at the moment. Classic Pine, White Oak, White Washed and Bleached floors are all on trend.

What about all white kitchens? For the past few years, white kitchens have been a must-have all around. Is that still true?

KBJ: I’m seeing a shift from the all white kitchen even if it’s a contrasting island color. Navy had been popular but now I’m seeing a lot more greens and black. Light wood cabinetry is also trending. There’s something so beautiful about the warmth of natural wood.

JLA: White kitchens are hard to keep clean. People are looking for much richer, warmer tones in 2022. Natural woods are trending and expected to saturate the market in the next few years. We are seeing light and medium oak cabinets replacing white ones. However, we are seeing subtle hints of warmth being added to otherwise all white kitchens. Just adding a few floating wood shelves or trim to a hood can turn a traditional white kitchen into a warm, modern space. Green is also making waves in kitchen design. Benjamin Moore Salamander 2050-10 is one of our favorites.

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year, here are some tips from Jessica:

What color are you suggesting for those who need to paint their homes to prep it for sale?

White walls in a satin finish. We have our favorite shades of white but matching whites to a client’s existing decor and finishes is tricky in occupied homes. We look for consistent undertones throughout the home and find that white best compliments their home. This is mush easier said than done. White is one of the most challenging colors to get right.

Biggest bang for your buck?

The biggest bang for your buck is usually going to be spent on the kitchen or master bathroom. However, this is NOT always the case. A trained home stager knows how to identify your home’s greatest feature and turn it into a memorable experience for buyers. If a house doesn’t have a best or memorable feature, we know how to create one. That is the power of staging. We carefully study our client’s competition and market trends to ensure that our client’s homes stand out.

One tip you wish you could give?

Not all updates add value. Not all staging adds value. There is nothing worse than walking into an “updated” home where the agent and/or seller marketed the home to the wrong demographic. Social media is steering interior design trends at an unprecedented pace. Every day, a new trend emerges; bigger and bolder than the one before.

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