Light Box Realty Real Estate Blog

Sept. 18, 2014

Virginia Beach Events

Virginia Beach is hosting several big events this weekend.  The skies will come alive with the NAS Oceana Air Show.  The Blue Angels will fly on both Saturday and Sunday at 3:00.  They will be practicing on Friday so may seem some of them if you are near Oceana.  For a complete list of events, go to


If you prefer an alternative event, although it may be noisy too, the Virginia Beach Pet Expo is Saturday, September 20 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.  The show is free and runs from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Pets are welcome.  There will be demonstrations, vendors, rescue groups with pets for adoption and so much more.  For more information,  go to


Next weekend is the Neptune Festival.  Mark your calendar for this event.  You will not want to miss this!  Go to  My favorite event of the festival is the International Sandsculpting Championship.


Posted in Attractions
Sept. 12, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Animal Rescues

If want to add a pet to your family, the area animal rescues are a great place to start.  Just about every city has a SPCA.  Most cities also have animal control or animal management for strays or owner surrenders.  There are also privately run shelters and rescues in the area.  Some of them have an actual location where you can visit the animals.  Others have animals housed exclusively with fosters.  You can check sites like for pets online.  If you are on Facebook, many of the rescues and shelters keep their Facebook sites more up to date with available animals.  Be sure to read the requirements for each rescue or shelter.  Some require home visits and some require fenced yards for dogs.  Others just require a completed application. Below I have listed some of my favorite rescues where I have rescued a pet or have friends that have.  Check them out if you are looking to add a pet to your family. 


Hope For Life.  Located in Virginia Beach, Hope for Life has both dogs and cats.  You can take the pet on a home visit to see if it is a good fit.  Their web site is

Virginia Beach SPCA.    They also offer reasonably priced medical services.

 Norfolk SPCA.  The Norfolk SPCA is a no-kill shelter.

K9 Justice League.  This is a foster based rescue.  The animals are in homes until they are adopted.

Beagles to the Rescue.  They are located in Chesapeake.  If you are looking for a beagle or a beagle mix, visit their site.


Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 11, 2014

Caring for Your Fall Yard in Hampton Roads

As much as we enjoy summer in this area, the cooler nights mean we need to think about fall for the yard.   Hampton Roads is classified zone 7B which means we enjoy a longer growing season here.  Many people plant mums and pansies  now to add color to their yard.  There are other plants to consider for your fall yard : Aster, Goldenrod, Russian Sage, Perennial Sunflower, Colchium, Helenium and Fall Crocus. 



Another way to improve the look of your yard and protect your plants from colder to weather to come is to apply mulch.  Mulch also reduces weeds and keep the mositure in the ground near your plants.  You should maintain a three inch layer of mulch year round.


Be sure to deadhead your flowers to reduce the chance of a mold or fungus growing.  You don’t want to discard them in the yard.  This can also encourage fungal growth.  Instead, toss them in the trash or compost.  if the plant is diseased, be sure to place the diseased part in a plastic bag in your trash.  This will reduce the chance of it spreading to other plans.


If you need a little extra help with your selections, McDonald Garden Center is offering a Flowerbed Design Class this Saturday, September 13.  Go to for more information or to register.


Source:  McDonald Garden Center


Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 5, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Virginia Zoo

We are fortunate to have the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.  It is a great place to visit with or without the family.  You can check out the animal families there too.  The new arrivals (like the recently born Red Panda cubs) are listed on the web site.  You can even adopt some of the animals.  The Zoodoptions make great birthday or holiday gifts.  The Zoo also allows private events and functions.


Some of my favorite animals are the Red Pandas, Masai Giraffes,  African Elephants and tiny Blue Duiker.


Upcoming Events


On September 5, they are offering Zoovies.  Beginning at 6:30 p.m., bring the family, spread a blanket under the stars and enjoy the movie Jungle Book at the Zoo.  Refreshments will be available for purchase.


Senior Wednesdays.  Senior Wednesdays allow seniors ages 62 and over free admission through the month of September.


ZooBoo.  Mark your calendar for the ZooBoo on October 25.  More information is available online.




Posted in Attractions
Sept. 1, 2014

History of Labor Day

We observe Labor Day the first Monday of September each year.  Do we really know the orgin of the holiday?  It is more than just a long weekend or the unofficial end to summer.  In this area, many people view Labor Day Weekend as the end of tourist traffic.  A time for locals to enjoy less traffic and congestion.  Labor Day actually dates back to 1882.  It was created to honor the labor unions, the labor movement and American workers with parades and picnics.


According to the Department of Labor, 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.  The legalized celebration of Labor Day began as individual state celebrations. In 1887, New York, New Jersey and Colorado were among the first states to approve state legal holidays. Then other states joined in to create their own state Labor Days. Finally, in response to a groundswell of support for a national holiday celebrating the nation’s workers, Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to the 53rd Congress to make Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of September each year. It was approved on June 28, 1894.


Currently, the emphasis is not as focused on the labor movement or unions.  There are not as many parades or picnics.  This Labor Day, while many offices are closed and kids are getting ready to head back to school, remember all that the American Worker has accomplished.  Be especially kind to the workers who do not have the day off and be nice to the tourists as they head home.




Posted in Uncategorized
Aug. 27, 2014

Labor Day Weekend in Va Beach

Labor Day Weekend in Virginia Beach has two big events to celebrate the end of summer.  The American Music Festivals starts Friday, August 29 to August 31.  The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon is also this weekend.  It is billed as a Running Festival and starts Friday as well.


According to Beach Street USA, The 21ST Annual American Music Festival, presented by Chevrolet, August 29-31, will feature four major headline bands on the 5th Street Main Stage between Aug. 29-31.  Train, Hunter Hayes, Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Blues Traveler will bring the most diverse array of talent in years spanning young country to classic and contemporary rock, and featuring plenty of hit songs everyone will recognize.  – For more information and the show line-up, go to:


The Running Festival starts on Friday, August 29 and the main event, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, is Sunday morning.  The 5k race is sold out; however, the half marathon, 2 person relay and Mile in the Sand are still open for registration.  For more information and route details, go to


Keep in mind these two events attract thousands of people to the oceanfront so plan accordingly and enjoy the last weekend of summer.


Jennifer Smith, Today Homes Realty.


Posted in Attractions
Aug. 25, 2014

Financing Investment Properties

How many investment properties does your mortgage lender allow you to finance?  Most only allow four investment properties.  Atlantic Bay Mortgage will allow up to 10 properties for investors if they are putting down 30% on a one unit with a fixed rate.  They even will make exceptions for 25% down under certain circumstances.  On these investor loans the seller can also contribute 2% toward closing costs.


Contact Cara Hunt at Atlantic Bay Mortgage for more information. Her direct number is 757-348-2262 or contact her at

I can help you find the right investment property.  Contact me, Jennifer Smith, at Today Homes Realty.  My direct number is 757-735-2937.


Aug. 19, 2014

Waterfront Homes in Hampton Roads

If you area looking for a waterfront home, Hampton Roads is a great place to find one.  Hampton Roads is the name of the area that comprises the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk.  All of these cities offer beautiful waterfront homes.  Hampton Roads has the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, Elizabeth, James, Lynnhaven, Nansemond and Lafayette Rivers in addition to smaller rivers and lakes.


Whether you are looking for a vacation home, new home or investment property, I can help you find the perfect waterfront home for you.  Let me know if you are looking for a condo at the oceanfront or a stately historic home in Norfolk.  There are wonderful waterfront homes in neighborhoods like Riverfront at Harborview in Suffolk, Larchmont and Lochaven in Norfolk, and  Little Neck and Broad Bay in Virginia Beach.  East Beach in Ocean View is a quaint bay-front community on the Chesapeake Bay.


For more information on any of these communities or homes available, contact me, Jennifer Smith at Today Homes Realty at 757-735-2937.


Posted in Luxury Homes
Aug. 15, 2014

Favorite Fridays Update

I have been featuring my Favorite Fridays for several months now and want to give you a few updates.


A. Dodson’s just opened their third store (the first one in Virginia Beach).  You can visit their new location at 500 Laskin Rd – at the corner of Holly. They have great gifts, unique apparel and items for the home.


Amazing Glazed Donuts, located in the Great Bridge section of Chesapeake, has served over 20,000 donuts in the past 11 weeks.  They make them fresh and are served hot.  Amazing Glazed also serves Italian gelato, sorbet and custard.  Can’t decide between custard and donuts?  No problem.  You can order a donut ice cream sundae or a donut ice cream sandwich.  Check their Facebook page for flavors of the day.


Buttercream Cupcake Cafe has fantastic cupcakes.  Flavors change daily so check their Facebook page as well.  One of their new cupcakes is a Chicken and Waffle Cupcake.  Let me know if you try it.  My favorite flavor is Peach Cobbler.  A new menu will start in September.  Buttercream Cupcake Cafe is located in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake at 732 Eden Way.


Second Sale Consigment, The Wise Owl, Lady Antiquity, and 3 Little Blackbirds are consignment  stores selling unique, antique and affordable home furnishings.  A new shop, Refreshed Coastal Inspired Living, is opening this weekend in the same shopping center.  Be sure to support these local businesses.


Posted in Uncategorized
Aug. 11, 2014

Funds Available for Favorite Charity

Atlantic Bay Mortgage (ABMG) has established ABCares.  ABCares is a two pronged approach to helping our local community.  The first aspect is Atlantic Bay Mortgage employees working in the community to help those in need.  The other aspect involves giving to the community.


Each month ABMG donates $5,000 to those in our communities who are in need of financial assistance. Nominations are received and through a public voting process, five recipients are given funds to support their organization.  Past recipients are: Speak Up 5K, Missing in America Project, The Family of Officer Brian Jones and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


According to their website, you can decide who may receive the $5000  donation.   Mark your calendars and nominate your favorite charity.  Additional information follows:




Any organized non-profit event/cause/need (i.e. walk/run, structured events, fundraising, planning/organizing)


Any organized school activity (i.e. PTA, room parent, Volunteers in Education)


Any organized event for a specific cause (i.e. A fundraising event for health related causes, memorial fund, team sports event)


Any person or family (other than ABMG relatives) who have been affected by a major disaster (i.e. flood, hurricane, fire, major accident, etc.)




Any activity or organization which solely benefits ABMG employees or relatives of ABMG employees


Time used for personal events/relatives


Any activity or organization that doesn’t align with our giving philosophy




Nominations will be accepted the 1st Monday of the month thru COB 2nd Monday of the month and must be submitted to


Beginning the 2nd Friday of the month, Top 5 voting is open to the public to determine the amounts donated


Voting concludes at noon on the last Friday of the month


The order of beneficiaries will be announced by 4pm the last Friday of the month



Voting takes place through ABMG

Voting is open to the public and allowed to vote once daily

The organization receiving the greatest number of votes will receive $2500

The organization receiving the second greatest number of votes will receive $1000

The three organizations receiving the remaining number of votes will each receive $500



A Top 5 organization cannot be nominated within twelve months of receiving ABCares donations

A nominated organization which is not selected for the voting process one month, will remain in the nomination pool for the following six consecutive months

ABMG reserves the right to change these policies for giving monetary donations or Paid Time Off without notice or reason


Posted in Uncategorized