Light Box Realty Real Estate Blog

July 11, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Second Sale Consignment

One of my favorite places for unique pieces for the home is Second Sale Consignment.  It is located near the bridge in Great Bridge at 130 Battlefield Blvd South.  Second Sale Consignment considers their store as “breathing new life into old pieces.”  They offer one of a kind pieces at affordable prices.  Last year I bought a vintage Hoosier cabinet from them to use as a breakfast bar.  You can purchase pieces that are in beautiful shape that need no work or you might see a piece that has potential.  Second Sale Consignment works with their neighbors Lady Antiquity Estate Sales and the Wise Owl Resale Shop located in the same shopping center.  Fresh Vintage Painted Furniture often buys  pieces from Second Sale Consignment and turns them into beautiful, custom pieces.  You can see examples on their blog All of these shops post updated pictures on their Facebook pages as well.


Located across Battlefield Blvd. is 3 Little Black Birds.  It features some of the pieces from Fresh Vintage Painted Furniture and other unique pieces.  Another consignment store in Chesapeake located at the intersection of Greenbrier and Kempsville Rd. is The Red Chair.  This store also has one of a kind pieces.  My friend recently bought a beautiful glass-topped coffee table from them.  When looking to furnish your new home, consider these local shops.  They are also great if you are looking to sell some pieces to free up room for new.  Contact them directly for more information on selling your pieces.

Posted in Home Buyer, Home Seller
July 10, 2014

Specialized Insurance for Luxury Homeowners

As an agent for Keller Williams Realty, I can offer specialized insurance for luxury homeowners through HUB International.  Specialized insurance is available for vacation homes, valuable articles, wine collections and art.  Insurance is also available for boats, planes, collector or antique cars, and high performance vehicles.  HUB International is licensed in all 50 states  which is helpful if you own property in more than one state.  They also offer very competitive rates compared to the standard insurance market.   For more information on specialized insurance for luxury homeowners, contact me Jennifer Smith at Today Homes Realty at 757-735-2937.  I am licensed in both Virginia and North Carolina.  Here a few luxury homes currently available in Virginia Beach. 

July 7, 2014

Middle Plantation - Virginia Beach


Middle Plantation is a beautiful, established neighborhood in the Little Neck section of Virginia Beach.  It is conveniently located near Interstate 264 making it an easy commute to the oceanfront or to Norfolk.  Shopping centers and great restaurants are nearby but you cannot tell once you are back in the quiet, tree-lined streets. Active families will love the bike/walking paths as well as the proximity to the Little Neck Swim and Racquet  Club ( ).  There are numerous churches and preschools in the Little Neck. Middle Plantation has great schools too.  Kingston Elementary, Lynnhaven Middle and First Colonial High School are all highly rated in the Virginia Beach Public School District. For more information on Middle Plantation, Little Neck or another neighborhood in Virginia Beach, please call me, Jennifer Smith, at 757-735-2937.   

Posted in Neighborhoods
July 4, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Fourth of July

Fourth of July took on a new meaning for me this year after a recent trip to Boston.  While there, we took a guided tour of the Freedom Trail.  On this historic trail through Boston, we learned more about the brave people who shaped our nation.  It was interesting to experience these historic sites and learn more about these people than what you can read in a history book.  


This part of Virginia is blessed with history.  It is home to the Historic Triangle comprised of Yorktown, Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg.  We are very fortunate to be in  such close proximity to these historic sites.  Jamestown is the first  permanent English colony founded in 1607.  The Yorktown Victory Center tells the story of  how the American and French forces won the decisive battle of the American Revolution in 1781,  It also chronicles the entire Revolutionary period, from colonial unrest to the formation of the new nation.   Colonial Williamsburg allows you to experience Colonial life.  If you have not visited all of them, go to for more information.  If it has been some time, go again and go often.


Visiting Concord, Massachusetts where the “shots heard around the world” were first fired and walking the Freedom Trail gave me another perspective on how our nation was shaped.  As we celebrate our Independence Day this Fourth of July, we need to remember all of the incredibly brave people who formed this nation and gave us our independence as we are incredibly grateful for all of those who continue to preserve it. 


Posted in Attractions
July 2, 2014

New Technology for Hurricane Planning

With our first tropical storm warning of the season, Hampton Roads is preparing.  There  are new technologies and apps  to help you plan for a hurricane.  You no no longer have to rely on a printed hurricane tracking guide.  Old Dominion University has recently created an app for Android users. HEED (Hurricane Evacuation Encouragement Demonstrator) has a list of shelters and evacuation routes close to you.  It also has a storm tracker and open gas stations.   


The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has a web site and  a new app for hurricane preparedness.  Go to  or download the mobile app Ready VA.  If you live in Currituck or Camden Counties, you would need the Ready NC app.  Both of these sites have great information for preparing for a hurricane (or tropical storm).  You are encouraged to have a family emergency plan and familiarize yourself with all of the possible evacuation routes.  There is a list of what you should include in your hurricane kit.   


If there are voluntary or mandatory evacuations announced, you need to evacuate as quickly as possible.  This is where planning is helpful.  Once there is a mandatory evacuation (more typical in coastal counties), you will not be allowed to re-enter until the emergency management allow.  Keep in mind most shelters do not allow pets so you have to make arrangements for them.  Do not leave them outside during a storm. 

Posted in Uncategorized
June 29, 2014

Great Neck in Virginia Beach

Are you looking for a home in the Great Neck section  of Virginia Beach?  This is a beautiful area with a variety of homes.  Many waterfront homes are available as well as contemporary homes that were recently built or majestic homes with modern updates.  The schools in Great Neck are some of the most sought after districts in the area.  One of the top rated elementary schools is John B. Dey and Frank W. Cox High School is given a score of 8 out of 10 from Great Schools.


Great Neck offers wonderful shopping centers with some unique stores and restaurants.  It is also close to the interstate and the oceanfront. Golf courses such as Bayville  Golf Course and Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club are nearby.  Great Neck also offers a library, hospital (Virginia Beach General) and a Recreation Center.  The Great Neck Recreation Center is located behind Cox High School and has the amenities of a gym with activities too.


If you are looking for a beautiful home in Virginia Beach, please call me, Jennifer Smith at Today Homes Realty.  I can show you what makes Great Neck a beautiful place to live.


June 27, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Buttercream Cupcake Cafe

One of my favorite places for dessert or a sweet treat is Buttercream Cupcake Cafe located in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake.  There are several great cupcake cafes in Hampton Roads, but I really adore Buttercream Cupcake Cafe.  They have flavors like Apple Pie, French Toast, Canadian Bacon Maple, Elvis and of course Red Velvet.  These cupcakes are so moist and delicious!  You can call ahead to pre-order for a special event.  Or you can simply stop in to get your treat.


They are located at 732 Eden Way Suite F in Chesapeake.  Hours are Monday – Thursday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.

Posted in Uncategorized
June 25, 2014

Charter Boat Fishing

If you want to go fishing on a charter boat, Hampton Roads and Northeastern North Carolina are ideal places to start.  Rudee Inlet Charters is just one of the companies that leaves out of Rudee Inlet.   There is a website devoted just to Virginia Beach sport fishing:   It lists over 12 charter boat companies and what is biting now.  Most importantly, it has an article on how to choose a charter boat.


Private charter boats, carry up to 6 anglers for one set fee on a custom fishing trip either inshore or off. These boats do mostly trolling, however they do bottom fishing also. Trolling is where the boat puts out up to 7 lines at varying depths & lengths and is moving the whole time dragging baits. On a offshore trip you can catch such species as Blue Marlin, Blue Fin & Yellow Fin Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin, King Mackerel, Blue Fish, Spanish Mackerel. While bottom fishing inshore you can catch Stripers, Croaker, Spot, Flounder, Trout, Drum, Cobia, Amberjack, Sharks and Spadefish. Offshore, Tilefish, Grouper, Seabass.


Guides services, specialize in custom trips and cater to small groups, usually 1 to 3 anglers. This type of chartering is up close and personal, lots of one on one instruction from your guide. They offer a hands on experience, from rod handling to bait rigging. Most guide trips are inshore but some guides offer offshore trip as well. Guides sometime offer additional fishing techniques on request, like saltwater fly-fishing.


Head boats, sometime called party boats, take 30 to 60 fishermen on a bottom or drift fishing trip lasting from a half day to whole day. Anglers pay on a per-angler bases, and the boat usually has room for walk ups. The trip includes bait, tackle, someone to gaff and take your fish off, and great help when lines break or get tangled.  Source:


There are also charter boats based out of the North Carolina Outer Banks.  This area is very popular because you can reach the Gulf Stream in less time than if you leave from Virginia Beach (sometimes in just over an hour).  The Gulf Stream are where the larger species of fish like tuna, dolphin and billfish are found.  The Outer Banks Fishing Guide lists more than 14 different charter boat fishing companies.


Posted in Attractions
June 21, 2014

Official Start of Summer

Today, June 21,   is the official start of summer.  It also happens to be the summer solstice  and the first time the longest day of the year has been on a Saturday since 2003. The day, which marks the time at which the sun is at its most northern point in the sky and will offer up approximately 16 hours of sunlight (if it not blocked by all of the clouds today).  A more scientific explanation courtesy of USA Today is June 21 at 6:51 a.m. EDT is the summer solstice, the moment the sun is directly shining down on the Tropic of Cancer, an imaginary line north of the equator. This is the longest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere and marks the beginning of summer. Because of the Earth’s tilt, this day marks the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Because of this tilt, we have seasons.


The summer solstice is known for its celebrations all over the northern hemisphere, but take the opportunity to make your June 21 special — after all, it is the official start of summer.Here are some suggestions for ways to celebrate the summer solstice (or first official day of summer):


Go for a swim.  If you do not have a pool, there are plenty of pools in the area or you can head to the beach.  Dip your toes in the water.

Eat outdoors.  Enjoy a later evening meal as a picnic or on your deck.

Grill something today.

Walk barefoot in the grass.

Eat ice cream.  If not ice cream, try one of the great frozen yogurt places like Sweet Frogs or Skinny Dip.

Go for a swing or lounge in a hammock.

Plant something.

Ride your bike.

Read a book outside.

Go fishing – be sure to have an appropriate fishing license.

Wear flip flops or buy a new pair.

Enjoy a slurpee or fruit smoothie.

Posted in Uncategorized
June 17, 2014

Outdoor Kitchens

Hampton Roads is the perfect environment for an outdoor kitchen.  With our warm climate and great outdoor spaces, an outdoor kitchen is a great addition to many luxury homes.  It will also add value to your home when it is time to sell.  Here are a few things to consider when adding an outdoor kitchen.


Consider how you use your outdoor space.  Do you have a pool or do you have a waterfront home?  Would you use your outdoor kitchen mainly in the evenings for dinner?  Do you have strong late afternoon sun on your deck or patio?

What would you cook in the outdoor kitchen?  Some people like the idea of a pizza oven but in reality, how often would  you use it?  Now if you enjoy cooking fresh fish, it makes sense to do that outside to reduce the fish odors in the home.  Do you fry the fish or grill it?  This would make a difference in your planning.  If you like to have oyster roasts or crab parties, consider adding a high powered burner for the large stock pots.

Greg Schaumburg of Hursthouse Landscape Architects & Contractors says an outdoor kitchen is most efficient when it’s zoned into logical uses. According to Greg, your cook space should have plenty of prep space, room to set down utensils and stage ingredients, and a comfortable buffer from the seating island to keep guests protected from the heat.


According to This Old House, you’ll need a food-prep surface, good lighting to keep the party going after nightfall, shelter for the chef (whether it’s a pergola or market umbrella), and if you want to go all out, a sink and some appliances.  With an outdoor kitchen you can prepare meals and be around your guests with minimal time spent running back inside for plates, beverages, or tongs. Source


You can find inspiration for outdoor kitchens on web sites like, and

Posted in Luxury Homes