Monday, September 30, 2013

Sell Your Lexington Home This Fall With These 5 Tips!

As you know, fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in Lexington MA!  Visitors find their way to our town to experience the rich history and beauty.  It comes as no surprise then, that buyers will also want to move to Lexington for the same reasons! 

If you’re considering selling your Lexington home this fall, you may be concerned about the activity on the Lexington Real Estate market.   And, while it’s not the busy spring or summer season, selling your home this time of year is not impossible!  In fact, buyers who search for a home during the fall are typically more serious about finding a home and settling in before the holiday season hits.

So, as you begin thinking through selling your home this fall, you may be wondering what you can do to help your home stand out from the competition.  Below are five great tips you won’t want to miss!

1. Create Beautiful Fall Curb Appeal- As we get more into the fall season, lawns and trees can begin to look drab.  Summer flowers are long gone and creating an eye catching home from the curb can be more of a challenge.  To make a solid first impression, be sure to keep leaves raked and debris off the driveway and sidewalk.  You’ll want to add a simple fall wreath and maybe a few pots with brightly colored mums to your front porch.  Also, don’t neglect your home.  Any siding or paint issues will be more easily seen with less foliage, so be sure to power wash or touch up paint before you begin showing your Lexington home

2. Don’t Overdo It- It can be easy to want to over decorate your home with fall themed decorations.  However, if a buyer walks into your home and can only see pumpkins, gords, and other harvest decor; it will immediately take away from the focus on your home.  Adding a few simple touches here and there will be enough to enhance your space without overpowering it.

3. Make Comfort a High Priority- As the days get cooler and drearier, you want people to feel instantly cozy when they come into your home.  Keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, put out a few unlit fall scented candles, and have a fire in your fireplace.  Continue to help buyers envision themselves enjoying cool fall days by having a cozy throw on your couch and even a table with hot chocolate, cider and fall treats.  This will help your home stand out in a buyers mind as you appeal to all their senses!

4. Lighten Up Your Home- With the sun setting earlier, you’ll want to showcase your home in the best light.  If you host open houses earlier in the day, be sure to have curtains open to let in the natural light and keep your home feeling bright and airy.  If you’re showing your home in the later afternoon or evening, you’ll want to have warm light bulbs in every lamp and have as many lights on as possible.  A dark home can feel dreary and buyers will have a hard time seeing all the great features of your home. 

5. Don’t Stop on the First Floor- As you create a warm and welcoming environment in your home this fall, don’t forget to carry that feeling throughout your entire home.  Make sure bedrooms look fresh and clean by switching out an old comforter for a new fall one,  or add a few accent pillows to enhance the feeling of your bedroom being pulled together.  Each room throughout the home should be clean, free from clutter and feel as welcoming as possible. 

As a Lexington Real Estate agent, I want to help you prepare for home selling success!  Hopefully these tips will inspire you to create an environment in your home that buyers can’t refuse.

If you’re ready to get started with the home selling process, or if you’d like to meet up to talk more about getting your home sold; please feel free to contact me today!

Theresa D'Antuono

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Top 10 Back to School Study Tips

Whether you’re headed back to college, high school, middle school, or elementary school, the back-to-school season is in full-swing for Lexington!  To help ensure that students start the school year off on the right foot, StudyPoint’s National Director of Academics, Jamee Wilke, shared her tips and expertise with Philadelphia’s Fox 29 reporter, Jennaphr Frederick. 

Tip #1: Develop organizational systems that will work for YOU. Not all organizational systems will work for all students.  You should choose the ones that will work best with your schedule and needs. Remember, though, that learning to be organized takes time and practice. If a system doesn’t work the first time you try it, try again. You may just need more time to become accustomed to it.

Tip #2: Avoid distractions in your study space. If your study space includes a TV and radio, it’s probably not the best place for you to study.  Your study space should be used for studying and working only. Choose a space that doesn't have a lot of tempting distractions available.

Tip #3: Keep all of your books, notebooks, binders, and folders for each class together on a shelf. Then when you need to grab your math materials for school, they are all in one place, making it less likely for you to forget something. You can even label the shelves to make it that much easier to find the right materials.

Tip #4: Reward yourself! Positive reinforcement is an amazing thing. When you have completed tasks, reward yourself in small ways. This can be anything from allowing yourself to take a 10 minute break to treating yourself to a movie.  This will help to avoid procrastinating!

Tip #5: Schedule time to complete your assignments based on anticipated time on task and urgency. Once you know all the assignments that you need to complete, determine their deadlines and estimate how long it will take to finish each one.  You can then prioritize your tasks and set a clear schedule for completing them!

Tip #6: Use an academic planner to keep track of your assignments, deadlines, and appointments. By having all this information in one place, you’ll know exactly where to look to find out what you need to do.  You can even use your planner to prioritize tasks and set a study schedule.  See the example provided.

Tip #7: Use shorter, less grammatically correct sentences. Since you are the only one who will be reviewing your notes, you need not write grammatically correct sentences. You should do your best to shorten your sentences as much as possible. This will enable you to take notes at a faster speed and will reduce the risk of falling behind. Just make sure that you don’t abbreviate the sentences to the point where you are unable to understand what you wrote when you go back to review your notes.

Tip #8: Divide your study time into blocks separated by quick breaks. It is most effective to study in 30-45 minute blocks of time, allowing yourself quick 3-5 minute breaks in between study blocks. This approach gives you time to focus while also allowing time to relax and re-energize. Be careful though—you need to make sure that your quick breaks don’t turn into longer procrastination breaks!

Tip #9: Create and save study guides and aids. Students often wait until the night before big tests to start creating study aids. Instead, you should create study aids for each quiz and test that you have in a class. Once the quizzes and tests are completed, you should save your study aids. Then when it comes time to study for your big tests and quizzes, you will already have your study aids created, which saves you valuable time that you can dedicate to studying.

Tip #10: Learn how to effectively communicate with your teachers. Your teachers are there to provide guidance and support.  You’ll find that most of your teachers are more than happy to provide additional instruction and extra help.  This also shows that you care about your academic performance. Your teachers want to see that you are interested in the class material and that you are driven to succeed. There’s a good chance that a portion of your grades will be based on your class participation. By effectively communicating with your teachers, you can help maintain and increase your class grades.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Massachusetts Festivals

Fall is fast approaching and Massachusetts is the BEST state to live in this time of year. We seem to come to life. There is great diversity in the fall festivals in Massachusetts available.  The selection of harvest and seafood festivals makes for an excellent second act to follow up on Oktoberfest in Boston 

Below are just a sampling of what the state has to offer. So pack the whole family in the car and hit a fall festivity.

Taste of WGBH Food & Wine Festival – Boston, MA – September 19-21, 2013
The Big E – September 13-29, 2013
Allston Village Street Fair – Boston, MA – September 22, 2013
Boston Harbor Islands Regatta – Boston, MA – September 28, 2013
Working Waterfront Festival – New Bedford, MA – September 28-29, 2013
Higgins Festival of Ale – Worcester, MA – September 21, 2013
Bourne Scallop Festival – Buzzards Bay, MA – September 20-22, 2013
Spirit of Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury, MA – September 27-29, 2013
Grotonfest – Gronton, MA – September 21, 2013
Barnstable County Harvest Festival – Cape Cod, MA – September 28-29, 2013

Honk! Festival – Somerville, MA – October 11-14, 2013
Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Festival and Parade – North Adams, MA – October 6, 2013
Head of the Charles Regatta – Cambridge, MA – October 19-20, 2013
Textile River Regatta – Lowell, MA – October 6, 2013
Filmshift Festival – Somerville, MA – October 11-12, 19-20, 2013
Williamstown Film Festival – Williamstown, MA – October 30 – Nov 3, 2013
Riverside Blues & BBQ Festival – Greenfield, MA – October 11-13, 2013
Wellfleet OysterFest – Wellfleet, MA – October 19-20, 2013
North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Festival – Orange, MA – October 5-6, 2013
National Cranberry Festival – Edaville, MA – October 5-6, 2013
Cranberry Harvest Celebration – Wareham, MA – October 12-13, 2013
Essex Clamfest – Essex, MA – October 26, 2013
Nantucket Cranberry Festival – Nantucket, MA – October 5, 2013
Applefest at Wachusett Mountain – Princeton, MA – October 19-20, 2013
Great Pumpkin Fest | EcoTarium – Worcester, MA – October 19, 2013
Ashfield Fall Festival – Ashfield, MA – October 12-13, 2013
Festival of the Hills – Conway, MA – October 6, 2013
Boston Vegetarian Food Festival – Boston, MA – October 26-27, 2013

Fall festivals in Massachusetts where there were no 2013 dates:
Amherst Apple Harvest Festival
Fall Fest on the Waterfront
Marblehead Spirit Days
HarvestFest – Rockport, MA
Berkshire Botanical Harvest Festival – Stockbridge, MA
Sturbridge Harvest Festival – Sturbridge, MA
Harbor Fall Festival – Weymouth, MA
Salem Harvest Fest – Salem, MA – Last Year’s Date: October 20, 2012
Franklin County Falls Pumpkin Fest – Montague, MA – Last Year’s Date: October 20, 2012

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Lexington High School News

New Families Welcome Packet from the Lexinton High Sschool PTSA.
 The PTSA hopes you find this information packet helpful and informative.  It is filled with tips for new students and families.  They encourage you to join the PTSA because it is a great way to keep up with the activities, events and happenings at LHS and feel connected throughout the school year. ClickHere for Welcome Packet

Underclassmen pictures are scheduled for Wednesday, September 11, 2013. Freshmen parent night is September 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm in the Auditorium.

Student Schedules are available to view
Schedules will be ready for students to view on Tuesday, August 20th.  The active link of Schedule Information 2013 will provide you with an explanation of how to read your schedule.  The link of 2013-2014 Schedule Request Form contains instructions on how to inquire about resolution of conflicts and schedule request changes.

Remember to check out LHS Homeroom Announcements to find out about the most up to date information announced in Homeroom.  Also, remember to check out the latest Community Service Opportunities.

Bus Riders--Transportation registration for the next school year is open.  Click here for Transportation.
Student Charlie Cards are available in Room 145 from Mrs. Carcione.

All custodial and second custodial parents and families new to Lexington High School in the current school year should have received Aspen Parent Portal information.  If you did not, please send us an email  with your name and the student's name.  For families new to LHS, you must return your Emergency Contact Form for this information to be created.  For students registering now for Fall enrollment, your Aspen Portal information will be sent during the first week of school.

Important Links

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

7 Tips to Prepare Your Lexington Home for Fall!

It’s hard to believe that Labor Day is behind us and we’re quickly moving into the beautiful fall season here in Lexington MA!  Autumn is a wonderful time of year with the vivid colors of orange, red and yellow coloring the leaves and the crisp blue sky.

For those of you who currently live in Lexington, you know that the weather can quickly change from the warmth of late summer to the crisp chill of the fall. Because of this change, it’s important to ensure your Lexington home is ready to adapt to the coming season.

As a Lexington Real Estate agent, my goal is to not only provide with you with tips on buying your dream home in Lexington, but to also get the most out of your home and lifestyle in our charming town.  Below are seven key tips for preparing your Lexington home for fall you don’t want to miss! 

1.  Inspect your roof and chimney- If your roof isn't too steep, and isn't covered with slate or tile, you may be able to carefully walk on it on a dry day. Look for broken or missing shingles, missing or damaged flashing and seals around vent pipes and chimneys, and damage to boards along the eaves. Also peer down your chimney with a flashlight to make sure no animals have set up house in it. If you can't get on your roof, perform this inspection with a ladder around the perimeter.   Some patches and roofing cement now can prevent thousands of dollars of water damage later in the winter.

2.  Check gutters- Do a quick visual check to make sure gutters are clear; they'll be performing double duty soon with rainstorms and falling leaves.

3.  Check storm windows- If you have storm windows that are cracked or dirty, repair and clean them now; prior to autumn installation.

4.  Add weatherstripping to doors and windows- Weatherstripping can be plastic, foam, felt or metal; its job is to seal small gaps, keeping moisture and cold air outside where they belong.  Newer, energy-efficient windows generally don't require added weatherstripping, but if your windows are older, weatherstripping can keep drafts at bay and energy costs down.

5.  Insulation speculation- This is a good time to check the condition of insulation and see if you need more, especially if you live in an historic Lexington home. You can purchase un-backed or loose-fill insulation if you are just beefing up what is already there. If your walls lack insulation, consider having a professional install blown-in insulation foam. The energy savings will probably offset the cost of the procedure in a couple of years.

6.  Keep mice out- The fall inspires nesting in mice as well as humans. Mice are looking for a warmer home now, and that newly insulated attic would be just the spot. Mice can squeeze through 1/4-inch openings. Make sure all exterior vents are screened, and that there are no gaps underneath garage doors.

7.  Caulk exterior- Think of caulk as weatherstripping in a tube. Any gap on the outside of your home can be a candidate for caulking. Look at transition spots: corners, windows, doors, areas where masonry joins siding, or places where vents and other objects protrude from walls. Carefully read manufacturer's directions to make sure the caulk you buy will work where you plan to use it, and don't forget to purchase a caulking gun. Early fall is a good time for this task because caulk becomes difficult to apply when the temperature falls.

I hope these tips inspire you to begin prepping your home for the coming season!  You’ll be glad you took the time to prepare so that you can thoroughly enjoy all that the fall season in Lexington has to offer.

If you are interested in relocating to the area or have questions about the Lexington Real Estate market, please contact me today!  

Theresa D'Antuono

Monday, September 2, 2013

The History of Labor Day

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Founders of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Have a Wonderful Labor Day Lexington!