Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/24/2017

Boost Your Brain Power Are there days that you seem just to muddle through, and you do you appear to be able to focus or think clearly? When someone makes a witty remark, do you miss the moment? Do you ever tell yourself you suffer from brain fog or mental fatigue and wish your mind could be a bit sharper? Our brains control how we cope with life – day in, day out, even controlling the way we sleep. This tiny 3lb miracle works 24/7 from the moment we are born until the moment we die. To work most efficiently the brain requires proper nutrition, plenty of water and adequate rest. If you are stressed, tired, overworked and not always eating right, herbs from “Mother Nature’s Cupboard” can improve clarity, mental focus and power up productivity. Before adding herbal therapies to your quest for optimum health, consult your healthcare provider to make sure that the herbs you plan to use will not interact with other medications, or are contraindicate for your health issues or medical condition. Your physician or healing arts practitioner can guide you concerning dosage amounts and if the herbs should be taken with food or on an empty stomach. Vacha Used for centuries to help persons with nervous disorders, Vacha is a widely used Ayurveda herb reported to stimulate and energize and deemed useful for students or individuals attempting to learn a new language or skill. Vacha is recommended to detoxify the brain from the effects of a poor diet and alcohol. Rosemary Rosemary essential oil helps with mental clarity and retention and is widely used in aromatherapy. Dab a bit on your wrist and notice how you feel energized by the herbal scent. Fresh rosemary is a pungent culinary seasoning that stimulates the appetite and was traditionally added to mulled wine as an aphrodisiac. Bacopa Bocaopa, also known as bacopa monnieri, is a brain-boosting Ayurveda herb with a centuries-old reputation as a powerful support for healthy mental function. Bacopa supports learning and improves cognitive skills while aiding in information processing. The herb has potent anti Ashwagandha Another Ayurveda herb held in high regards for thousands of years, Ashwagandha is beneficial when used to treat nervous exhaustion and stress. The potent herb reportedly helps prevent deterioration of brain cells while helping to boost and support the immune system. Gotu Kola Known in the health food industry as a tonic to balance the brain, Gotu Kola is recognized worldwide for its ability to support memory function and to enhance blood circulation in the brain. An adaptogen, Gotu Kola, assists the body in “adapting” too stressful conditions while it sharpens focus and improves mental clarity. Gotu Kola has also proven useful in managing fears and helping persons with phobias and PTSD. Huperzine-A Not a herb, but rather a derivative of a unique type of Chinese moss, Huperzine-A is the study of several ongoing research studies to confirm its reported success as a preventative for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/17/2017

IMG_7400Congratulations. You have welcomed a new puppy into your home. You are excited and likely rushed out to purchase a dog bed, feeding dishes, treats, and toys. Did you remember to pick up a book or video on dog training? Why not? Many new pet owners are so concerned with finding the right comfort amenities; they focus little time on thinking about how they will teach their pup. No matter how old the puppy is when he or she becomes part of your extended family, the time to start training is now. Start teaching your dog to be an obedient and loving companion right from the start. Be A Leader Puppies, born part of a litter, need a strong pack leader. That is you! Be consistent and firm in all your commands. Take the lead. Always have your puppy follow you, not walk ahead when taking him/her for a walk. When you lead, you show your dog that you are the leader of the pack. If you let your dog lead, the puppy will feel that they are in charge. Be the first of “the pack” to go in and out of the door or when entering a room. Remember, you are the leader, not the other way around. By firmly taking charge, you provided you dog with a feeling of security and establish the “ground rules” for being part of your household. Dogs sense confidence and will take control of any situation where they feel the leader is timid or weak. Excessive barking, leash pulling, chewing, resistance to toilet training or other destructive behaviors are evidence of a dog that lacks a leader. For your puppy to become a sociable, obedient and loyal dog, he/she needs to bond with you as a strong leader, not a complacent caregiver. All commands and rewards should remain consistent throughout your puppy’s early training and adulthood. Choose simple commands beginning with “No” for unwanted behavior, “Come” when you want him to follow you, “Down” when he tries to jump up on you or other people, and “Stay” when you want the puppy to remain in place. Discover your dog’s favorite treat and reserve that treat for training purposes only. Establishing Boundaries When you are ready to introduce your dog to your yard, put on his/her collar. When you let him out the door, connect him to the lead. If he starts heading out of the yard, you need to verbally correct him with a “NO” command. If continues to stray correct him with the lead. When he stops on your “NO” command praise and lovingly reward him with a treat. Keep Training Sessions Short The world is an intriguing place full of new sights and smells. A young, energetic and excited puppy has a short attention span, so keep training session short. Rather than have one long session, break up training efforts into several short session each day. Barking If you are concerned about correctly training your puppy to be an efficient and effective guard dog, begin his/her training early by allowing your dog to bark a couple of times when a stranger arrives at your door. Praise him/her for sounding an alarm. Then give the command “stop barking” while you hold out a training treat in front of him. Your dog cannot smell and sniff the treat and bark at the same time so will stop barking immediately. After your dog has quieted down for a few minutes, reward him with the treat.

Tags: pets   dogs   training  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/13/2017

17 Whipple Road, Lexington, MA 02420



Full/Half Baths
New Construction on a cul-de-sac in the popular Sun Valley neighborhood, ready spring occupancy. This exquisite Colonial is the latest residence in this experienced builder's portfolio. Enjoy 4 levels of gracious living with quality finishes throughout. A welcoming cathedral foyer leads to a richly detailed and finely appointed interior with an outstanding floor plan. Quality craftsmanship includes substantial custom moldings, elegant coffered and tray ceilings, arched entries, wainscoting, "his and hers" closets, warm hardwood flooring and much more. The open floor plan provides an expansive gourmet kitchen with Thermador appliances, huge center island, sunny breakfast area and a beautiful family room with gas fireplace. Coveted first floor bedroom with en-suite bath is ideal for in-laws or guests. 4 bedrooms on the second level include a tranquil master suite with luxurious spa bath - a wonderful place to relax after a busy day. Spacious third floor suite is perfect for an Au Pair.
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Categories: New Homes  

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/10/2017

Credit is tied to most big financial decisions you will make in your life. From things as little as opening up a store card at the mall to buying your first home, your credit score is going to play a factor. When it comes to mortgages, lenders take your credit score, particularly your FICO score, into consideration in determining the interest rate that you will likely be stuck with for years. How is your credit score determined and what can you do to use it to get a better rate on your mortgage? We'll cover all of that and more in this article.

Deciphering credit scores

Most major lenders assign your credit score based on the information provided by three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies report your credit history to FICO, who give you a score from 300 to 850 (850 being the best your score can get). When applying for a mortgage (or attempting to be pre-approved for a home loan), the lender you choose will weight several aspects to determine if they will lend money to you and under what terms they will lend you the money. Among these are your employment status, current salary, your savings and assets, and your credit score. Lenders use this data to attempt to determine how likely you are to pay off your debt. To be considered a "safe" person to lend money to it will require a combination of things, including good credit. What is good credit? Credit scores are based on five components:
  • 35%: your payment history
  • 30%: your debt amount
  • 15%: length of your credit history
  • 10%: types of credit you have used
  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)
As you can see, paying your bills and loans on time each month is the key factor in determining your credit score. Also important, however, is keeping your total amount of debt low. Most aspects of your credit score are in your control. Only 10% of your score is determined by the length of your credit history (i.e., when you opened your first card or took out your first loan). To build your credit score, you'll need to focus on lowering your balances, making on-time payments, and giving yourself time to diversify your credit.

What does this mean for taking out mortgages?

A higher credit score will get you a lower interest rate. By the time you pay off your mortgage, just a hundred points on your credit score could save you thousands on your mortgage, and that's not including the money you might save by getting lower interest rates on other loans as well. If you would like to buy a home within the next few years, take this time to focus on building your credit score:
  • If you have high balances, do your best to lower them
  • If you have a tendency to miss payments, set recurring reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time
  • If you don't have diverse credit, it could be a good time to take out a loan or open your first credit card
When it comes time to apply for a mortgage, you'll thank yourself for focusing more on your credit score.

Tags: Mortgage   credit score   loan   credit   home loan  
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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/3/2017

Despite your real estate agent’s best efforts, you can’t seem to get to the place where you’re ready to choose one house over another. At best, house hunting with your spouse is frustrating. And it’s not that you haven’t already looked at 20 houses; you have. The problem is that your spouse and your tastes in houses are far apart. If you don’t work together and close this preference gap, you could lose out on a rare deal on a new home.

Closing gaps that couples have in housing amenities and structural musts

As awful as it may feel, your situation is not unique. Couples arguing over which house to buy is so common that there are television shows dedicated to the conflicts. Part of the reason why couples may struggle to reach consensus about buying a new house has to do with attachments that one or both people have to their current home.

Let someone be attached to their current house and you can expect that person to find at least one major, seemingly insurmountable, issue with any new house. Psychologists say that moving is emotionally tough on children and adults. Although there are people who move compulsively, packing and moving into a new home once every other year, many people prefer to stay where they are.

If you and your spouse keep bumping heads about which new house to purchase, sit down and talk about special experiences that you have that are tied to your current home. For example, you might have owed the house before you got married and have fond memories of summer backyard cookouts that you had with friends. If you move, you may think that you’ll be losing these special times similar to how people fear that getting laid off from a job will permanently take them away from friends they made at work.

Ways to work through the stress of a house move

Take a few days to talk about experiences you had at your current home. Assure one another that you can continue creating and enjoying great experiences alone and with family and friends at a new house, a place that fits your changing needs better.

Also, take pictures of your current home. Videotaping birthday parties, holiday events and sports and weekend hangouts are great ways to seize moments that you want to not only remember, but take to your new home. Start to take pictures and begin to create videotapes now, if you haven’t already incorporated this memory capturing process into your lifestyle.

Doing so sends a message to your spouse that you share his or her values. It also shows that you do appreciate your current home and agree that it was a smart decision to live in the house for as long as you did.

Look to the future

After you talk about what you appreciate about your current house and start capturing memorable experiences, see if your spouse isn’t more open to looking at new houses without searching for major flaws in the new house. If your spouse is still resistant to moving, create a list of things that your current house is preventing you from doing.

For example, your current house might be keeping you from expanding your family due to lack of space. Due to its design, your current home might be keeping you from building a home office. An aging parent might not be able to move in with you because of the way your current house is structured. Lack of yard space could prevent you from starting your event planning business or from hosting family gatherings.

Take a technical and an emotional approach when choosing a new house. It could help both your spouse and you adjust to the change. It could also help you both capture moments spent at your current house that you want to take to your new home with you.

Tags: houses   homes  
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