Leaf Cleanup Made Safe & Easy

20 Nov

Happy November! Yes, the autumn season is winding down. This means saying goodbye to the beautiful fall foliage.  And with that, our lawns are left covered.  Burning the leaves is not the way to go. It is dangerous & can lead to air pollution as the leaves contain toxic materials that you are omitting into the air.  So, how do you get rid of them?

Let’s tackle that question with these 3 safe & easy cleanup tips.

Pile of fall leaves with fan rake on lawn


1. The Lawnmower
For lawns that do not get an abundant amount of leaves, this is a fast & easy way to go. Drop your mower to the lowest setting without scalping. The mower will take care of any leaves that have already fallen. A mulching mower is even better as it turns the leaves into mulch & helps feed your lawn as you mow. Mulching mowers can be found at most Home-Improvement Stores.
2. Bag Them Up (For covered lawns)
This can be a fun activity for the kids. What kid doesn’t like playing in leaves. Parents, just make sure to check for any debris that may be in the leaves beforehand. Check with your local trash company to see if they require certain colored bags for leaves & then leave them on the curb for trash pick-up.
3. The Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers come with multiple settings & are fairly affordable. Raking can be quite strenuous, so leaf blowing may be the best option. Note: Make sure to NOT blow in the neighbor’s yard & it is advisable to wear eye protection.
In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?
Contact me:
Meryl McGhee, Realtor®- KELLER WILLIAMS Realty
Proudly serving VA. & WV
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“Destination Home”

10 Money Saving Tips for New Homeowners

19 Oct

Congratulations, you’ve purchased a new home!  This is a very exciting time in your life. Being a homeowner is one of the best financial decisions you will make for growing your personal wealth.  Lets keep it that way with these money-saving tips below.


piggy bank on wooden floor


1. Install a Programmable Thermostat
You simply set your thermostat to be more energy efficient. For example, in the summer, you will want to have your thermostat set higher while you are away & have the air set to kick on around or a little before you are scheduled to arrive back home. The same goes for the cooler months, just vice versa. This can be adjusted at any time. It is a terrific and inexpensive way to save on energy bills.
2. Install ceiling fans
Ceiling fans keep air moving throughout your home. Because of this, in the summer months, you can keep your thermostat a few degrees higher, thus saving money.
3. Insulate your pipes
Virginia winters can get very cold. Be proactive & have your home winterized by a professional plumber. During this, request to have your pipes insulated. This will help prevent them from freezing & potentially bursting causing significant water damage & costly repairs.
4. Plant trees
Shade trees can help cool your home during the summer months, thus reducing the amount of sun that gets in heating up your home & causing your air conditioner to overwork.
5. Check toilets & sinks for leaks
A small leak is costing you money every day. Fix them as soon as you can.
6. Check for drafty windows & doors
Make sure the seals are sealed tightly to avoid drafts blowing through & potentially increasing your energy bill.
7. Replace air filters
Clogged air filters will decrease the air flow in your home. This causes your furnace and/or AC unit to work harder. This could cause costly repairs down the road. Air filters are very inexpensive & can be found at most home-improvement stores.
8. Replace regular light bulbs with LED
They are a little more expensive up front, but they last longer & use far less energy.  The investment is well worth it.
9. Choose energy-efficient appliances
Look for the energy star when purchasing new appliances. You will be glad you did!
10. Have spare keys made
This is oftentimes overlooked.  Make sure spare keys are handy. Hiring a locksmith can run  you $30-90 per visit. Having a key made runs around $2.00
In the market to Sell or Buy?  Questions on real estate?

Contact me: MLZ LUXURY SERVICES, Real Estate


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

10 Fun and Interesting Facts about the 4th of July

4 Jul

The 4th of July undoubtedly celebrates the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and our Nation’s freedom, but it is also a time of fireworks, family gatherings and fun.  Below are 10 fun facts about this wonderful American holiday!

Depositphotos_2553536_s.jpg July 4th stacey

  1. The 4th of July became a national holiday in 1941.
  2. Over 150 million hot dogs are consumed in the U.S. every 4th of July.
  3. The stars on the original American flag were positioned in a circle so they would appear equal.
  4. There are 31 towns in the U.S. with the word “Liberty” in their name
  5. Thomas Jefferson & John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826.  50 years from the anniversary of the declaration.
  6. 50 American flags are flown 24 hours a day at the Washington Monument.
  7. Only John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.  All other signatures came later.
  8. The NYC Macy’s July 4th parade will feature 1800 shells a minute during its 25 min.  Firework show making it the largest fireworks display by a city.
  9. Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our National bird, but was outvoted by Thomas Jefferson & John Adams who later chose the bald eagle.
  10. Red, White & Blue….What do they mean?

    Red-Hardiness & Valor
    White-Purity & innocence
    Blue-Vigilance, perseverance & justice

What are your plans for this 4th of July?  Please share!

In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?   COMPLIMENTARY STAGING ON ALL OUR LISTING by Bernadette of Kraiman Interiors!!

Contact me: MLZ LUXURY SERVICES, Real Estate


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

New Year’s Resolutions

6 Jan

Happy New Year! 2017 is off to a great start! As you think about ways to improve yourself in the New Year, don’t forget to make travel New Year’s Resolutions!  We share 7 below.

1. I will use my vacation days. All of them.

Don’t be one of the many Americans that leave unused vacation days on the table. Pick a spot, whether it’s the next city over or halfway around the world, and go. (PS – need ideas? We share where to go based on how much time you have!

2. I will stop making dumb travel mistakes.

Forgetting to renew your passport, having to pay excess baggage fees (or load your carry-on with clothes from your checked bag at the counter—the horror!), not telling your bank where and when you’ll be traveling, not buying travel insurance…the list goes on and on. Don’t make these 

3. I will step out of my comfort zone.

Far off destinations sound amazing but many people don’t have the guts to get out of their comfort zone. Skip your go-to spot for somewhere a little more exotic and a lot more exciting. That could mean somewhere within a 2-hour flight or across the world





4. I will make my long term travel plans.

We all have dream destinations, but it takes planning to make those dreams a reality. Look at the next 5-10 years and see where the trips can fit in. When you can see where everyone in your family will be in 5 years (kids graduating college = no more summer, winter, and spring breaks!), you’ll realize that big trip you keep putting off needs to happen sooner rather than later.

And if you’re serious about creating and sticking to a long-term travel plan, ask your me your professional Travel Advisor about the MLZ LUXURY SERVICES Bucket List!

5. I will enjoy the trip and share photos later.

This one is especially hard when we’re all used to being constantly connected with each other. But a vacation is for getting away…from email, social media, text messages, etc. So put the phone down, and take a nap on a beach or go on a hike. You can share photos later!

6. I will embrace different cultures.

Don’t go to a new destination and expect it to be like home. It won’t. The food is different, the customs are different, the dress is different, and the culture is different. And different is good! Don’t compare it to what you’re used to but embrace it. Who knows, you mind discover a new dish, piece of clothing, or custom you want to bring home!

7. I will make travel a priority.

Because material things gather dust, but travel makes memories. Don’t put off getting away and spending quality time with loved ones. Go. Explore. Discover More

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How To Make Sure Your Home-Staging Is Up To Par

6 May

Today I am talking home-staging & how to make sure it is up to par when you prepare to list.


Vintage home decor: houseplants, green succulents, old wooden boxes and vintage blue glass bottles on white wooden board, cozy home interior.

Most important & why it is at the top of my list is to de-clutter your home. Potential buyers do NOT want to see a disorderly home & you run the risk of making your home seem smaller than it is.
Amp it up
Turn on lights throughout the home & increase bulb wattage to 100 watts per room. (Smaller spaces)
Keep it neutral
Keep main furniture pieces in the neutral family. If you are itching for some color, utilize accent pillows & throws to coordinate in the space.
Group in 3’s
Pair accessories in bundles of 3. Mix up how you group them, staying away from straight lines.
Re-purpose a space
If you have a room that isn’t being utilized or is a collect-all. Try to find a creative way to use the space for staging. ie. yoga room, reading room, craft area, home office, etc.
Adding a few simple pieces to a room can transform it in a big way.
Have specific focal points for each sitting room. Note: Group furniture into conversational sections to achieve this balance.

In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?   COMPLIMENTARY STAGING ON ALL OUR LISTING by Bernadette of Kraiman Interiors!!

Contact me: MLZ LUXURY SERVICES, real estate


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”






Spring: What Are you Most Looking Forward To?

7 Mar

We made it! March is upon us & spring is right around the corner. This week brings with it temps in the 70’s. Yes!  Just a slight change from last Friday as I watched the snowflakes fall & the picturesque view we were left with in beautiful Northern Virginia. I was reminded how lucky we truly are to enjoy four distinct seasons, each bringing with it its own unique beauty. I can honestly say how blessed I feel to live & work in Virginia.

Gardening tools and a straw hat on the grass in the garden

Gardening tools and a straw hat on the grass in the garden

This spring season, I am most looking forward to gardening in my vegetable & flower gardens, hiking at Great Falls & biking on the W&OD trail with my family & soaking in the radiant sun.
Professionally, I am excited to work with new buyers & sellers coming into the market. I love finding families their forever home & helping sellers move on to the next chapter.
What are you most excited for?  Do you have a fun DIY project that you are eager to try? Or, a trip coming up? I would love to hear about it in a comment below.
Get out & enjoy the fresh air. Feel free to post pics on my Facebook wall of how you are spending the day in the sun!
Talk to you soon, friends!

In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?



Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

5 Ways To Keep Your Home Safe During Winter

30 Jan

We are oftentimes aware of how to keep our house safe in terms of security & upkeep.  But, there are many hidden dangers that can put your home at risk during the winter months.  Below are 5 ways to help protect your most important financial investment.


Depositphotos_21015583_s-2015 shoveling snow

Have your fireplace inspected
Who doesn’t love to cozy up to a warm fire during frigid winter weather? However, fireplace fires have become the #1 cause of house fires during the winter months. Be proactive & have your fireplace inspected & cleaned regularly.
Use caution with candles
Candles can be very important if you lose power & need extra light. But, use extreme caution. Do not place candles near drapes & never leave burning candles unattended. Note: Keep candles out of reach of small children or pets. They could easily bump into them, causing bodily harm or a fire to break out.
Keep walkways clear
Slipping on icy walkways or stairs is the #1 reason for ER visits during the winter months. Keep them salted & shoveled.
Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors
Using alternate forms of heating is very common during the winter season. Fireplaces & space heaters can help keep you warm, but also pose a hidden danger, carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house & change batteries on a regular basis. Also, make sure to test them periodically.
Protect your pipes
The winter season keeps plumbers very busy with frozen/busted pipes. Keep your home protected by properly insulating your pipes & shutting off & draining the water to the outside lines before freezing temps hit. In the event that you lose power, open all cabinet doors leading to piping. This will help keep the pipes warm.


In the market to buy or sell?  Questions on real estate?

Contact me:


Proudly serving VA & WV
Find me on Facebook:
“Destination, Home!”

Important Passport Update

31 Dec




There’s nothing like adding a new stamp to your passport and filling up those pages.  Starting today, December 31, 2015, the US State Department will no longer be issuing additional pages for passports. When you run out of pages, you will need to order a new passport. But rest assured-if you fill up passports quickly (you lucky duck!), all new passports issued starting January 1, 2016 will now be the jumbo, 52-page book.

And remember – renew your passport when it is 6 months from expiration. Each country has different requirements, and you don’t want to miss your trip because your passport is expiring! (Click here for more on that!)

If you have any questions about this passport update, contact me.













2016: The Year to Use Your Vacation Days

31 Dec



Every year, Americans leave 429 million vacation days on the table and are taking the least amount of vacation in over 30 years. However, science says travel makes you smarter and more creative and you should spend money on experiences, not things.  So let’s make 2016 the year to use your vacation days! Whether you plan a long two-week adventure or have a few long weekend trips, take the time to unwind and unplug. We share the top trips for 2016 based on how many days you have below.

3-4 Days


Especially if you’re based on the East Coast, Bermuda is just a quick flight away. If you’re into golf, spas, or just relaxing on the beach, this is the place to be.

Jackson Hole

Ahhh, Jackson Hole: where amazing outdoor activities meet fine dining and five-star hotels. Head here if you need some R&R and fresh mountain air.

Turks & Caicos

Paradise is only a short flight away. Turks & Caicos features pristine beaches, crystal clear water, amazing restaurants, and fabulous properties.


With the vineyards in the north and the sunny beaches in the south, California has something for everyone. Explore one area at a time, or if you have more than 4 days, plan a road trip up the coast.


Thanks to 2 major airports and a central location, Chicago is easy to get to from many cities in the US. And with fabulous shopping, plenty of sports teams, tons of dining options, and top hotels, the Windy City is sure to satisfy everyone!

5-7 Days

Costa Rica

This Central American country is bursting with adventure—surfing, wildlife, volcanoes, and beaches – pura vida!


Though it’s less than a 6 hour flight from New York, Iceland feels like you’re worlds away. The geography, the Northern Lights, and the outdoor activities have kept this chilly destination on the hot list.


And for a less than a 6 hour flight from the West Coast, Hawaii is the place to go. The lush landscape, warm culture, and a myriad of activities keep the 50th state on everyone’s bucket list.


This 90-mile journey from the US will take you back in time. Vintage cars line the cobblestone street and give you the feeling that time stands still in this once forbidden fruit of the Caribbean.


In 2016, Turkish Air will start its direct route from Atlanta to Istanbul—a fabulous way to explore this fascinating city without the hassle of changing planes and dealing with layovers. Added bonus: kill 2 continents with one stone! This cultural hub straddles both Europe and Asia.

8-10 Days


Though you could explore this country in a week, 8-10 days allows you to see the history in Athens and island hop. And this country is as beautiful as the photos. Trust us.


An expedition through the Galapagos attracts travelers of all ages. The wildlife is incredible to behold (penguins, turtles, and iguanas – oh my!) and the landscape is pristine.


Jet down to the Southern Hemisphere, and experience Brazil. You can enjoy city life, explore the jungles, see the famous Iguassu Falls, or relax on the pristine beaches—or do a combination of it all!


Known as the Last Frontier, Alaska beckons travelers to explore her vast landscape. You can travel by both land and sea to experience this gorgeous state.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom goes far beyond just London and is a top family destination. Whether you start or end in the city (or skip it all together) there is much to explore, from golf to falconry, castles to cliffs, whisky to beer.

11-14 Days


If you’ve got more than a week to take off, you’ve got to head down under. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or want to enjoy the cities, Australia is a must-see destination.


In 11-14 days, you can explore much of Chile, the world’s longest country. In the 2700 miles that stretch up the Pacific, there are deserts, vineyards, cities, lakes, mountains, and snow.

South Africa

Though South Africa is known for incredible wildlife and safari, there is so much more to do! After you’ve gotten your fill of lions, elephants, and giraffes, unwind on the coast (and take in other wildlife like whales, sharks, and seals) or explore the winelands.

Portugal & Spain

Spain has always been on the hot list, but adding Portugal takes this trip to the next level. Lisbon’s thriving art and culinary scene and the country’s gorgeous coast paired with Spain’s vibrant cities make this a trip for the bucket list.

Southeast Asia

Focus on one country or experience several during a two-week trip to Southeast Asia. Start in Thailand, seeing the elephants and beaches. From there the options are endless. Cambodia features the famous Angkor Wat, Vietnam has incredible history, and Myanmar offers undiscovered beauty.

So Much To Be Thankful For

26 Nov


Depositphotos_55291589_s Thanksgiving

We have so many things to be thankful for. First and foremost, I am thankful for the love and grace of God who has blessed me with my health, family and friends. I am thankful for the wonderful clients I have been able to work with this past year. I am thankful that we can enjoy our great state of Virginia and the beauty that surrounds us in our nation’s capital.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With love, ~Meryl

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