Lauren Davis
REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West | 508-254-0449 | [email protected]


Posted by Lauren Davis on 12/2/2015

Each year in the U.S. there are more than five million home burglaries. Most of those crimes were preventable. There are simple steps you can take to make your home less enticing to would-be burglars and reduce your risk of being burglarized. Here are some ways to keep your home safe from thieves: 1. Don't advertise After you buy that expensive new television or computer do not leave the box sitting on the curb. You are telling would-be burglars you have things in your home that could fetch money. Cut the boxes into smaller pieces and put them inside the recycling bin out of plain sight. 2. Pretend someone is always home Typically if burglars think someone is home, they won't attempt to break in. When you leave the house, create an illusion that someone's still there by leaving a light on, or even the television. You can also set timers to set lights to go on and off throughout the home at different times. 3. Secure sliding doors Locks can easily be picked on sliding doors so take extra precaution to secure them. Place a strong dowel, steel bar or two-by-four and slide it into the back groove of the sliding door to prevent the door from being opened even if the lock is picked. 4. Lock it up Forty percent of break-ins happen without the use of force. Lock all the windows and doors and use the dead bolt on the door if you have one. When you leave make sure to lock the door leading from the garage to inside of the home. Even if your garage door is down, someone can easily open it. 5. Don't provide easy access Never leave a spare key hidden outside of your home that's an open invitation for a burglar. Instead, give a spare key to a neighbor or hide a combination lockbox to keep a key in. 6. Trim the shrubs. Don't provide a hiding place for criminals. Keep the shrubs in front of windows low and cut away any tall tree branches that reach upper story windows. 7. Don't advertise you are away If you're leaving town for a while, let the police know and request that they drive by your property to check on things. Break-ins spike during July and August when homeowners are usually away on vacation. Tell your neighbors you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your property. Have a house sitter pick up mail, shovel the driveway or mow the lawn. These are all telltale signs of an empty home.      





Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/25/2015

Old and dried out PointsetaAre you a plant killer?  If so, don't feel discouraged.  Many people looking to add a touch of green to their homes end up on the "most wanted" list.  Luckily for them (and perhaps you as well), plant killing isn't a crime.  Also, there are a few plants that can survive even the most neglectful of plant keepers.  If you think that keeping houseplants healthy is out of your league, then give these hardy friends a chance to shine in your home. Air Plants - Also known as Epiphytes, these plants derive most, if not all of the moisture and nutrients they need from the air.  They can be put almost anywhere in your home, and are virtually indestructible.  These plants don't even need soil.  At most, they'll need a light mist every few months. Succulents - These plants are known for their large, fleshy, unusual appearance.  A common misconception about Succulents is that they are cacti.  While it is true that most cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti.  They are relatively cheap to purchase, and once rooted, can be a beautiful addition to your home.  Given the abundance of varieties to choose from, odds are you'll be able to find a succulent that complements any home style. Aloe - Not only is aloe a succulent, it is one of only a few plants that can be kept for not only decorative purposes, but medicinal as well.  The gel in aloe vera plants has been used for skin irritations, such as cuts and burns.  The gel can also be processed into soaps. Jade - Jade is also a succulent, and can be a beautiful addition to your home.  Many jade plants are purchased as bonsai trees, and upkeep is minimal.  While not as hardy as the other plants on the list, this is a good plant to take a shot at after you've managed to keep a few air plants and hardier succulents alive. Golden Pothos - Not only is this plant incredibly hardy, it also qualifies as an "air scrubber", removing toxins from the air in your home.  Trimmings can easily be cultivated into plants, and the rate of growth can be incredibly fast.  Care should be taken to avoid ingestion by pets and children.





Posted by Lauren Davis on 11/18/2015

There are many ecologically friendly cleaning products available in stores today, however, they can do a number on your wallet. There are great alternatives to these costly store-bought items that you can make in your own kitchen. Orange peels for instance, are an inexpensive and powerful base for an effective all-purpose cleaner. Here is a recipe for an orange peel cleaner: Things You Need:

  • 1 dozen oranges
  • Baking soda
  • 24-oz. or larger glass jar
  • 1 pint white vinegar
  • Strainer
  • Pitcher
  • Spray bottle
  • 1. Scrub a dozen oranges with a solution of 1 part baking soda to 3 parts water to remove pesticides and any trace chemicals. 2. Rinse the oranges thoroughly. 3. Peel the cleaned oranges. 3. Put the orange peels in a clean glass jar, and cover them with the white vinegar. 4. Cap the jar tightly. 5. Allow the mixture to rest in a cool dark place for at least one month. 6. Shake the vinegar concoction vigorously, and strain off the liquid into a pitcher or other wide-mouth, easy-to-pour container. 7. Dilute the mixture with 1/2 cup water; shake or stir again, and strain the cleaner into a spray bottle for convenient use. Note: Lemon and lime peels can also be used with the orange peels.  





    Posted by Lauren Davis on 10/28/2015

    What's for dinner? That is always a tough question when its 5:30, you have just walked in the door and all you can find is a box of cereal. Avoid ordering out or a dinner malfunction by keeping your pantry stocked with a list of staples that will help you make a variety of meals in a jiffy. 1. Canned chicken: At first it may not sound so appetizing but with a storage life of up to a year, canned or pouch chicken can be a lifesaver. Mix it in with casseroles, stir-fries, creamy salads, or even shredded as a topping to a baked potato. You won't know the difference. 2. Pasta: It doesn't matter what kind; spaghetti, linguini, rotini, penne, macaroni,–the list goes on. Pasta is best served to add bulk to a meal. Pasta can be an alternative to rice which can take longer to cook. Add pasta to soups, sauces, with cheese or vegetables and you will have a home-style meal in minutes. 3. Jarred Tomato Sauce: You have the pasta in the pantry so having a quick jar of sauce is a no-brainer. It's not your mother's homemade sauce but it will do in a pinch. Tomato sauce is actually very versatile and can also be used in soups, stews, and chili recipes. 4. Rice and Grains: Grains can be used as a quick side to any meal or bulk up any dinner. Stock up on quick-cooking rice, bulgur, and barley. Serve grains with a simple stir-fry or mixed with veggies and an egg for an easy fried rice dish. Mix flavored rice boxes with ground beef for an easy, one-meal dish. 5. Canned Beans: Beans are high in protein; they have a long shelf life and can be a part of lots of different dishes. Heat and mash them for a filling soup or drain and mix them with canned veggies for a light and flavorful dip or vegetable salad. Any kind of beans will do; Black, Pinto, Cannellini, Great Northern, or Garbanzo, just choose your favorite. 6. Canned Vegetables: It is so difficult to use fresh-bought produce before it wilts. Canned vegetables to the rescue, they last much longer. Combine an assortment with broth and seasonings for an easy vegetable soup or add them to pastas, dry soup mixes, casseroles, or rice. 7. Canned Salmon and Tuna: Protein is good for you and helps fill you up. Canned salmon and tuna can be used for easy meal ideas. Serve in salads, pitas, pasta dishes, burgers, loaded potatoes, croquettes, and even as light appetizers or snacks. 8. Canned Tomato Products: Canned tomato products can be turned into so many things. Stock up on paste, stewed, diced and whole tomatoes. Diced tomatoes make a great queso dip when added to melted cheese. Add to ground beef and taco seasoning for a zesty burrito supper, or to a skillet with seasoning for a homemade pasta sauce. Use stewed tomatoes in soups and stews. 9. Peanut Butter: Everyone loves a PB&J sandwich, but peanut butter can be used on the dinner table for Asian-inspired flavor in dips, sauces, and stir-fry. Try it for a snack spread on celery stalks or apple slices, or as a spread with multigrain crackers. 10. Canned Fruit: Fruit for dinner? Why not? Jarred cherries, canned fruit, including pineapple, mandarin oranges, and even fruit cocktail can be used as a healthy and lean side dish. Try serving grilled pineapple with chicken, add mandarin oranges to salads, and fruit always makes a great dessert.




    Tags: budgeting   pantry   dinner help  
    Categories: Help Around the House  


    Posted by Lauren Davis on 9/23/2015

    According to recent statistics, one in five people suffer from allergy and asthma symptoms. If you are one of these people, chances are that you've had an allergy attack in your home, with no clear definable cause as to what exactly set your symptoms in motion. Reducing the amount of allergens in your living space is not only beneficial from a cleanliness perspective, but in cleaning your home of potential allergens, you decrease the chances of having another spontaneous attack in your home. Floors - If you live in a home with hardwood floors, then consider yourself lucky. They attract much less dust than carpeting, and are much easier to clean and maintain. If you are in a carpeted home, then consider upgrading your vacuum to one that touts itself as being able to remove microscopic particles and allergens from the carpet. An upgrade in vacuums will usually work wonders for a house with allergy sufferers. Plush toys - Whether they belong to your pet or your child, plush toys are often overlooked as potential carriers of allergens. Make sure you wash them thoroughly on a regular basis. The same is true for pet bedding. Create an (almost) allergy-free room - Designate a room in your home to be the go-to place if you need a break from allergy symptoms. Use your bedroom if possible. Purchase allergen covers and casings for your bedding, keep pets from entering the room, and clean the room more often than you do the rest of the house. Curtains - Drapes, while being an attractive addition to the home, can collect dust, pollen, and mold spores. If you plan to add drapes to your windows, or refuse to give up the drapes you have, be prepared to give them the attention they'll need to keep them dust and allergen-free. Air - If you live in a home with central air, be sure to replace your air filters regularly. Keep your windows closed on days that seem to be giving you trouble, and keep your air setting on recirculate. This will ensure that the air in your home is constantly being scrubbed of potential allergy triggers.