Friday, July 3, 2020

It’s Fri-yeah, Don't Let FOMO outweigh Staying Safe Over The Weekend and Beyond

It’s Fri-yeah Friday and the start of July 4th weekend.  This is normally a very busy time with large gatherings of family and friends, fireworks, parades, arts & crafts fairs and traffic. 

We are in the middle of a pandemic and our normal behaviors have been put on yield.  Before doing any activities determine your motivation first.  Then ask the following questions as you are tempted to venture out this weekend.  
1)                  Is there any urgency to be anywhere?
2)                  Does risk of exposure outweigh your personal FOMO?
3)                  What behaviors can I conduct to mitigate risk and stress?

I have been extremely alarmed since the start of this pandemic and have been trying to post positive ways to make the best of the situation.  If you follow me on FB or IG I share these with the hashtag  #funthingstodowhilesocialdistancing.


THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Perhaps Dorothy had it right in The Wizard of Oz.  My strongest recommendation is to stay home and watch HAMILTON and other movies streaming this weekend.  The Boston Globe also shares some other safe things you can do here.



In the midst of writing this post I discovered an amazing resource for any Covid questions with links to where one can find potential answers.  CLICK HERE .

No matter what you do this weekend it is imperative to practice smart behavior.  On Morning Joe this morning Health Care Expert Dr. Leana Wen recommended  5 actions to follow.  

I am writing this blog to go a bit more in depth with details.

TRAVEL
Driving your own car is your safest best-wear gloves if you need to get gas and try to minimize restroom usage.   Thus don’t drink too much before your trip. I, personally minimize my travel as I would not use a public restroom.  Bring your own food if possible and if you need to stop try going off the road to a local place with curbside pickup.

Airlines are packing travelers in. It is impossible to stay even 6 ft apart.  There is no way to know who you are sitting near, where your food came from, who touched the surface before you and how droplets travel in such a confined space.  Only travel if an absolute emergency and even then if you it is better to drive.

Buses-check local area for social distancing protocols.  Surfaces and air space are a risk, thus I would not take public transportation.

Ride Share-I would be hesitant.  Think …Who was in the vehicle before you?.  What about the driver? Who has she/he been exposed to? 

HOSTING GUESTS
If you do have company I would verify they have not been near anyone or traveled in a hot zone for at least 2 weeks before even inviting or welcoming them to your home.  I would make it clear that you have been following safe protocols and can not risk exposure. 

Set up chairs that are 6 plus feet apart in your yard.

If they need the rest room,  have them use one dedicated guest facility and clean it after they leave. 

Ideally its best if guests bring their own food and utensils.  If not use papergoods and serve individual portions vs family style. 

GOING TO THE BEACH-
image below says it all


GOING OUT TO EAT
If you comfortably feel you do want to go out to eat here are some recommendations:

I am sharing this post from the Newton Needham Chamber of Commerce newsletter and and have edited it a bit.  These practices/protocols should be followed anywhere you go for services.

10 ways to help
our restaurants this summer

The upcoming three-day holiday weekend provides a perfect opportunity to help local restaurants come back, safely and successfully.

Here’s ten ways you all help our restaurants and their employees while dining out this weekend and all summer long.

1.     Don’t go if you don’t feel well. Don’t risk others’ health for a chance to enjoy a burger and fries.
2.     Wear a mask. Not while eating, but all other times. Face coverings aren’t for your protection as much as they are for the protection of the employees and your fellow diners. Show respect to your server and staff who will be working hard to provide you with a fulfilling and safe experience. They’ll be working hard to ensure your safety. Show that you care about their well-being too.
3.     Keep your distance. Social distancing rules exist for a reason. As happy as you may be to see your long-lost college roommate sitting at another table, wave and make plans to Facetime later.
4.     Go easy on the staff. They’re taking a risk coming to work. They’re cleaning every surface you touch. And it’s hot wearing a mask while working as a short order cook or carrying plates of food outside in the 90-degree heat. Try and place your full order at one time so they don’t have to run back and forth.
5.     Expect to pay more. If you’ve been to the grocery store, you’ve seen how food prices have gone up. Restaurateurs also have a lot of fixed costs (rent, insurance, utilities, equipment) and new added costs, including PPE and cleaning protocols, but fewer customers to cover them. Prices need to go up.
6.     Leave a great tip. Social distancing requirements have reduced the number of seats and, therefore, customers over the course of a shift. Tip 20 percent or more. 25 percent would be appropriate in these times.
7.     Don’t be a no-show. With limited seating, every customer matters. If you make a reservation and can’t keep it, cancel as soon as possible, not ten minutes before. Don’t be the person who makes multiple reservations for the same night, so you can decide where to go later.
8.     Expect that things will be different. The menu may have changed. The silverware may be plastic. Ketchup may come in packets. Certain ingredients may not be available.  Go with the flow and enjoy.
9.     Don’t linger. Enjoy your meal. Enjoy desert. Then let someone else enjoy your seat (right after your hardworking wait person wipes it all down!)
10.  Don’t yap on Yelp. We’re all adjusting to a whole new way of doing things. If you were disappointed by something or have other feedback, talk to a manager.

NETWORKING/MEETING NEW PEOPLE  and even DATING TIPS
Okay I don't have all the answers but the comic at the top basically says most of it.  Zoom, FT and real phone conversations are the best first step.  I am available to meet new clients using any medium and enjoy a first coffee Zoom these days as a substitute for meeting at Starbucks.  


I know I have not covered everything but I wanted to post this blog before the weekend kicks off.   The bottom line is to be SMART, be SAFE and always ask yourself if an activity is worth the potential risk of COVID19. I can’t think of any activity I would want to do where I could answer YES.

I wish you and your family a Happy and Safe Holiday.  This is a time to create new memories under "new normal" circumstances.  It will be a new history to share in the future with your children, grandchildren and generations to come so make the best of it!!

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She enjoys coffee, walking her dog, theater/arts, reading, writing, travel and meeting new people.  She always welcomes the opportunity to have a virtual coffee now that we are amidst the “new normal”.  Check out her website at www.wendybcb.com or her fb page @wendybcb as she posts up to date content to meet the ever changing marketplace.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

WendyBCB Weekend Explorer




Since the start of Covid-19 we have all had to adapt to new lifestyles.  For many of us this has been a challenging time.  Under stay at home orders we have had to adjust to new socially distanced behaviors for how we live, work and conduct our daily lives.  As we are all too aware, this has closed many activities that we normally take for granted such as safely grabbing a cup of coffee, running to the store or even going to a doctor's appointment.  

While this time has constrained much of normal life for those of us who are fortunate to stay healthy and fed this time has also created new opportunities for personal growth.  For me this has been an time to focus and better reflect on my priorities.  I have a very curious mind and love to travel.  Since my travel ventures have been curtailed I have been exploring ways to feed this curiosity through other means such as  reading, webinars and meeting new people.  

I have changed my normal patterns of meeting colleagues and networking at Starbucks to many a Zoom or Google Meet Up.  In addition, I have used this a time to reprioritize and retool my business skills.  Since the start of the pandemic I have begun to attend daily webinars, online exercise programs and start a healthier cooking routine.  I have even learned to make and grow sourdough starter and breads.

As I have been focusing on learning new ways to conduct my real estate business I have taken numerous classes on social media marketing and am learning to create video media as a new form of outreach.  I am having fun with this and am excited to share my new video series called Weekend Explorer.  In this series I will post weekly short videos of new places I have explored.  These will be posted on YouTube and on my Facebook Page.  I hope you have fun watching these and learn something new. I can always be reached for comment.  

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  If you are interested in exploring the local real estate market she is happy to help you get started.  


Friday, June 19, 2020

Working together through Sean Penn's non-profit CORE-Community Organized Relief Organization



I was listening to an interview on the Howard Stern Show, the other day with Actor Sean Penn.  Although I did not know that much about him personally, I learned a lot about his character and have to say I am quite impressed with the work he is doing.  He is not a self obsessed person and is truly using his gifts to make the world a better place.  

I have great respect for people who are working to make the world a better place and follow the concept of Tikkun Olam and are not in it for their own self glorification.  I am writing this post to share information about his important work during this pandemic.  He is extremely humble and I have not seen much information about his non-profit except for learning about it during the interview stream.   As he stated in another part of his interview one is truly blessed when he or she is free to be able to explore one's curiousities.  

Sean has intellectual curiousity and has always been on the fringe of learning about controversial characters through his film work.  He has now taken this to a new level which led him to create a non-profit organization called CORE-  Community Organized Relief Organization to build a network of Covid test sites throughout the country.  Part of his vision is to register volunteers who may have been exploring the world through service in organizations such as the Peace Corps but are currently home due to the pandemic.  The initial focus was in his home state of California but he is now expanding throughout the country and is building the testing infastructure one would expect from our Federal Government n response to the Covid pandemic.  He has taken his innate curiousities and paired them with his skills to make a difference in our country.  For more information about the click CORE.

Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham.  She too has an innate sense of curiousity which she enjoys exploring by meeting new people and learning about life through travel, reading and the arts.   Although limited in ability to meet in person due to the pandemic she is always available to network and meet on Zoom, the phone, email, facetime and any other mean to communicate.  She is always open to chatting over a virtual medium while sharing a cup of coffee. 



Saturday, June 13, 2020

COVIVING under the New Normal

I have come up with a new term #COVIVING (combination term for surviving covid19 and living under the new normal).  I will be using this for my future posts on FB, IG and Linked In when I write and share tips on living in the “new normal”.  

As we venture outside we need to take extra steps and be aware of those who may be around us at all times.  Most of us have followed the social distancing protocols since early-mid March but as the economy has opened and we become exposed to others who may not have been as diligent or may have had different levels of potential expose it will be critical to be extra precautious.  Because there was no national standard of protection the mitigatation efforts across states have been wide in range from full lockdown to re-opening while numbers have increased in cases such as in Florida and Texas.

This is alarming and makes me nervous.  For instance, while I plan to spend time down the Cape this summer there will be many visitors from other states who I may crosspaths with.  I have no way of knowing what their past protocols have been, if they are a-symptomic or had direct exposure while traveling to the Cape (simply by sitting on a plane with someone who may have the virus unknowingly).  Sadly I think we need to be on full alert and assume each contact can be a risk until proven otherwise.

Fortunately, I am able to work from home and have been following recommended protocols.  I am able to incorporate these into my day to day real estate services with virtual tools to help clients as well.  (If interested please let me know as I have started to share tips via Zoom sessions).

Below I have put together a list from an article in today’s Boston Globe written by Amanda Kaufman to follow as we enter Phase 2 and beyond to venture out. It is pretty comprehensive with CDC guidance as its base for basic ventures and as always common sense and responsibility is up to each of us. 
Going to a restaurant
Wear a cloth face covering as much as possible when not eating.

Maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more when in an entryway, hallway, or waiting area, or when dining with people who don’t live with you

Wash your hands when you arrive at the restaurant and when you leave. If you’re not able to wash your hands at a sink, use hand sanitizer

Choose food and drink options that are not self-serve to avoid using shared serving utensils

Call ahead and ask if staff are wearing face coverings

Going to the gym
Try to make reservations and check-in online when possible

Seek out facilities where you can exercise outdoors or gyms that provide virtual training sessions

Use hand sanitizer before using workout machines and wipe down equipment with disinfecting wipes

Don’t share equipment, like resistance bands and weightlifting belts, that can’t be cleaned between uses

Limit attending indoor group training sessions. If you do go to a group class inside, try to maintain as much social distance as possible and wear a face covering if it doesn’t interfere with your workout. Try to open the windows to increase airflow

Don’t hug, shake hands, or bump elbows with others

Wear a cloth face covering when interacting with people

Going on vacation
Book reservations and check in online, and use a mobile room key and contactless payment, if possible

Wear a cloth face covering in the lobby and other common areas

Consider taking the stairs, or wait to use the elevator until you can ride alone or with other people from your household

Request contactless delivery for room service orders

Try to minimize being in areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) with others, like patios, lounging areas, spas, salons, and fitness areas

Ask about the hotel’s policies for cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and items like pens, light switches, remote controls, elevator buttons, and phones

Refer to the CDC’s tips for traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic and cleaning your hotel room or lodgings

Having friends and family over

Try to host your get-together outdoors. If it’s not possible to be outside, make sure the space is well-ventilated by opening windows

Minimize close contact by verbally greetings guests instead of hugging, shaking hands, or bumping elbows

Wear a face covering when less than 6 feet apart from people or if you’re indoors

Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer if you’re not able to access soap and water) when arriving and leaving the gathering. Provide single-use towels or napkins for drying hands so guests don’t share a towel

Arrange seating to allow for 6 feet of space. Those who live together don’t need to be 6 feet apart

Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks

If you plan to serve food, designate one person who serves everyone to avoid multiple people touching serving utensils. If there are sharable items, like condiments, identify one person to serve them, too, or use single-use options, if possible

Wash and sanitize reusable items like napkins and tablecloths after the event

Ask guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food

Use gloves when taking out the trash and wash your hands after taking off the gloves

Provide cleaning supplies so guests can wipe down surfaces before they leave

Keep a list of attendees in case of future contact tracing

Going to a library

Use online reservations and check-out systems, if possible

Choose using a digital reader, like an iPad or a Kindle, when possible, instead of printed materials

Request curbside pick-up, if available. Wear a cloth face covering during exchanges

Wash your hands before and after exchanges

Clean and disinfect electronics, like laptops or iPads, and materials that are in plastic coverings, like CDs and DVDs during returns and exchanges

Getting your nails done

Call in advance to book an appointment to avoid waiting next to others. If you have to wait, maintain 6 feet of social distance

Wear a cloth face covering at all times while inside

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before receiving your treatment and after touching common surfaces like counters, doorknobs, and faucets

Use cashless payment, if possible

Try to use a no-touch trash can

Wait in your car or outside until the salon can contact you over the phone when it’s your turn, if the salon offers that service

Going to the bank
Use drive-through banking services, ATMs, or mobile banking apps for routine transactions that don’t require face-to-face help

Wear a cloth face covering when doing in-person exchanges, and try to stay 6 feet apart from others

Use hand sanitizer after withdrawing or depositing money or visiting an ATM, and wash your hands thoroughly when you get home

What items to keep on you

The CDC recommends everyone keep on hand a cloth face covering, tissues, and hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

Staying safe during events

The CDC also released guidance for organizing and attending large gatherings, like concerts, sporting events, and political rallies. The guidelines come as people across the country are participating in protests against police brutality and racial injustice that can draw tens of thousands of people.

Public health officials say the “highest risk” of COVID-19 spread is at “large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.”

As the days ahead still challenge each of us under the "new normal" please check my facebook page and linked in for tips and recommendations of dealing with the situation in context of the real estate market and life in general.  I am thinking of tweeting when I go places and don't see long lines to alert my followers with the following #'s (#nameofplace, #coviving).  Feel free to follow my lead and share this to trend as well.  This idea came to me after reading an article in today's WSJ "Is There a Line at Trader Joe's).  Also please follow me on IG and my website.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out directly to me as well at wendy.bornstein@nemoves.com.  

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Home Buying from Home


With interest rates at an all-time low this is a great time to begin the process of a property search.  Many of the home buying steps can be done from the comfort of your own living room. As cited in today's Wall Street Journal buying remotely is becoming a new reality.  As our nation has been dealing with the threat of COVID- 19, Coldwell Banker has updated many of its protocols and thus I am able to virtually offer the following services to maintain client health, safety, and peace of mind.  

Search Preparation
Before beginning a search a buyer should determine his or her goals.  I like to chat to understand the where, what, when and how much they can afford.  For the financing piece I will refer them to a mortgage professional. 

Virtual Tours 
Once a price range, search parameters and geographic areas are determined I can set up an online search to see currently available listings. Coldwell Banker offers a platform called Exclusive Look to share internal listing before they become public.  In addition, I can set up an internal search request for listings that may be coming to market in the future.  Nowadays many sellers prefer selling privately foregoing the open market.  

I can preview listed homes offering virtual tours and gather information to prescreen properties prior to sharing with clients for  review.  In addition I can share live video tours and then send you a recording! 

Email Notes and Seller Disclosures 
Often, there are seller disclosures and notes associated with a listing that are not available to consumers. As I become aware I will share all pertinent information and email you details about your top listings. 

Private Showing 
With regard to social distancing, we can set up a private showing to ensure no other potential buyers are viewing the home at the same time. 

Once you make an offer we can guide you through the other steps including due diligence for the property using inspections and legal consult to close the deal and a move manager to help with the physical aspects of moving.  We are able to handle many steps along the way as virtually as possible.  

With interest rates at an all-time low, it is a great time to buy!  And with today's technology, much of the process can be done from your home. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

Ready to learn more
To learn more please join me and my colleagues Ann Newberry (Move Manager) from Smooth Transitions of Massachusetts and Tom McLaughlin (Mortgage Broker) of Guarenteed Rate for a virtual information on The New Normal-Buying and Selling in Today’s Market presented next Wednesday May 20th at 5:00 pm.    Please email me at wendy.bornstein@nemoves.com for an invitation

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Virtually at Your Service


The market is changing and more of our jobs are being shifted to virtual work from home.  Google recently published an article sharing that this lifestyle trend has been increasing as millennials seek greater balance and quality home time.  This has been accelerated as we have all been thrown into the experience of social distancing home during the current COVID19 crisis.   

I am excited to share that as a company Coldwell Banker is staying ahead of the curve.  As a whole the industry is adapting to a new reality and requires much coordination with other services to support the needs of buyers and sellers in a socially distanced world.  There are many parties involved in a real estate transaction and the process is extremely complex.  I  work with several colleagues to make the process as seamless as possible. In addition, I have been very busy taking classes to keep up to date on innovative new tools that better serve my clients.  


There are many things that can be done whether one is Buying or Selling to prepare for their real estate needs.  Many of these steps along the journey can now be done without physical contact. 


I work with a great team to provide services that are available with zero physical contact if required due to Social Distancing needs.   


My colleague Ann Newberry who is Senior Move Manager and Owner of Smooth Transitions of Massachusetts, suggests starting to clean out one drawer a day as a start. 



First time Buyers can begin both a search process through my website as well as start to get their finances in order.  Tom McLaughlin at Guaranteed Rate offers a platform that starts the mortage qualification process from beginning through the close of a purchase online..   


There are many small steps that can be done to begin the buying or selling journey.   Ann, Tom and I will be offering a Virtual information session on May 20 at 5:00pm to share ideas on how to begin this process.   If you would like to join us please email  Wendy.Bornstein@NEMOVES.com to receive an invitation link. 


Wendy is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Needham and checks her social media accounts often.   If you have any questions or know anyone thinking about entering the real estate market feel free to share this with them.  



Friday, April 3, 2020

The Show Must Go On While Socially Distancing - part 2 updated



Hi everyone I have updated last weeks blogpost with relevant shows to watch as of this week.   Hope you enjoy reading and streaming this weekend.  
******************************************
If you love theater like I do,  I have been overwhelmed with the amount of content available to watch while being socially distanced at home.  Whether you have a home theater or a laptop there are new show that are both live and previously recorded productions that are posted almost daily.  I started to keep a list of these and wrote a a blog about this last Friday which I posted 2 weeks ago Friday website. .   This is an update to that original post "Live Stage Front Row Seats



Andrew Lloyd Webber shows will continue to stream for free on Friday nights 7pm and be up for one week only.  Appropriately for the holidays this week you can watch Phantom of the Opera if click HERE   For future shows click here  Webber.


FOCUS FEATURE MONDAYS: And lastly through the end of April we can enjoy long weekends as the art-house producer/distributor Focus Features will stream a film from its library of releases on its Facebook page every Monday. (There’s no charge, but there’s a link to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.).  To stream click  Facebook


Improv BostonLive shows- some free some pay or donate. click here

Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies!
Join host Jamie Lee Curtis and special guests for an interactive event with real-time chats, movie trivia, challenges and more.  Every Friday for the next four weeks Lionsgate's will have a free livestram of their most popular titles starting with The Hunger Games, followed by Dirty Dancing, La La Land, and John Wick on www.youtube.com/lionsgatelive at 9PM.
It doesn’t get much bigger than this. On Saturday, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah, Paul McCartney, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo and dozens more stars will be joining together for “One World: Together At Home,” a Global Citizen and World Health Organization special event in support of the fight against Covid-19. The broadcast will also highlight stories from health care heroes around the world, with messages of gratitude from those they’ve treated.
When: Streaming at 2 p.m.

The Billie Holiday Theater is hosting a special online reading of the James Sheldon play “Reparations,” which tells the story of a recently widowed white book editor who invites a younger black writer to her apartment. The show was the centerpiece of the theater’s fall 2019 season, and a majority of its original cast will reunite for this reading, including Lisa Arrindell Anderson, Kamal Bolden and Gys de Villiers. Last year, The New York Times called it “a play that turns expectations on their heads.”
When: 8 p.m.

For the 25th anniversary of the Chris Farley, David Spade comedy “Tommy Boy,” Paramount Pictures will be offering a virtual screening event hosted the film’s director, Peter Segal. (Segal will likely reflect on his experience working with Brian Dennehy, who played Big Tom in the movie. Dennehy died on Wednesday.) Viewers can interact via text and video with other fans as well as with special guest hosts. Tickets are $1.99.
When: 8 p.m.
Where: CYA.live


from last week's post 

The virtual Seder streamed last Saturday and was fun for anyone who missed it.  It is still up and worth watching.


FLEABAG the original London Theater Live show the Netflix series was based on will be streaming for 2 weeks on Netflix for a $5.00 donation to charity .  for more info click HERE.   

Wendy grew up in the MetroWest area of Boston and has been a Realtor for over 10 years now with Coldwell Banker Needham. She loves to write and share her passions about the local community, theater, travel, her dog and much more.  She is now working virtually and would be honored to help with any real estate needs.  She is only a click away.