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Archive for October, 2010

Shave and a Haircut – California Style

Yesterday I was treated to a shave and a haircut California style.  Actually I didn’t get the shave because the “shave lady” is only available on Tuesday’s but boy, did I get a haircut!

X Shave and a Hair Cut

It’s a bit hard to see but the wording under the pink line was what I loved – Please keep still and do not move during haircut service!

Michael

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Alexandria Author Explores Gentrification of Del Ray

Andrew Wingfield, an Alexandria resident and writing teacher at George Mason University, explores the gentrification of Del Ray in a new book of short stories, RIGHT OF WAY.

Washington Writers Publishing House

Washington Writers Publishing House

Wingfield has lived in Del Ray since 2000 when he and his wife, artist Tania Karpowitz, undertook the renovation of a building that once housed a corner store.

His immersion in the neighborhood, as homeowner, husband, father, fueled his interest in the subtle and not so subtle changes that were taking place in Del Ray.

He talks about those observations in a Wall Street Journal essay and how they became the genesis of “Goodbye,” the last story in the collection.

Alan Cheuse, talking about RIGHT OF WAY on National Public Radio, noted  “Life, like most of the neighborhoods we inhabit, is constantly in transition, a state of being that Andrew Wingfield captures beautifully in his stories about a neighborhood shifting and slouching toward the future.”

Michael


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Good Credit Does NOT Guarantee an Easy Mortgage Approval

My go to mortgage guy, Rob Clark, recently forward an article to me that is a good look at what mortgage brokers are facing on a daily basis.  It is also must reading for any potential buyer.

In what is absolutely fallout from the abysmal headlines of the past two years, banks are now reviewing every mortgage application as if it were life or death.  Bottom line – good credit does NOT guarantee an easy mortgage approval.

On one hand, we applaud the industry for tightening formerly sloppy practices but we wonder if this extreme scrutiny will thwart the progress we have begun to see in home sales.  With interest rates at an all time low buyers should be able to take advantage instead of taking a back seat.

X House BalanceBe prepared.

Talk to a mortgage broker or banker and get a list of everything you are going to need:  pay stubs, tax returns going back at least five years, credit reports and written explanations of any questionable issues; outstanding loans (cars, student loans, credit cards, etc.), etc., etc.

Be prepared to answer the same questions more than once, to sign documents that have already been signed, to maybe even go back ten years on your tax returns.  It’s a whole new world out there.

For the full article, click here.

If you have more questions about the buying process or about getting pre-approved for a mortgage, give me a call at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk it through.

Michael

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Halloween on Lee Street in Old Town Alexandria – 2010

We had quite a few questions this year about Halloween on Lee Street in Old Town Alexandria.  Is it going to be celebrated on Saturday, Oct. 30th or Sunday, Oct. 31st?

X Pirate FamilyWonder no more!  Halloween on Lee Street will take place on Halloween night, October 31st from late afternoon for the little ones to late into the night for more mature revelers.

Still looking for something to do on Saturday night?  Check out the 4th Annual Ofrenda or Day of the Dead Celebration at the Torpedo Factory.

It really doesn’t have a thing to do with Halloween but it’s a great chance to get dressed up and try something new.

We will be out of town on Sunday so we’d love for any of you to send pictures our way.

Michael and Virginia

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Day of the Dead Festival at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria

Ofrenda-new-ad

Ofrenda-new-adThe 4th Annual Ofrenda or Day of the Dead Festival at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria will take place this Saturday, October 30.

Day of the Dead is a centuries old holiday celebrated in Mexico and by Mexican Americans, It  focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died.

Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

The official celebration occurs on November 2 in conjunction with All Souls Day.

YouTube Preview Image

The Day of the Dead at the Torpedo Factory includes an afternoon exhibit of ofrendas or altars by 36 local artists; sugar skull making; a parade from Market Square at 7:00pm; and full blown masquerade ball in the evening.

We’re out of town this year but I’m putting this on my calendar for 2011!

Michael


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Sculpture at Del Ray Central Apartments in Alexandria, VA

This concrete and marble sculpture, “Three Eggs in Space” stands at the intersection of Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth, on the site of the Del Ray Central Apartments.

X Back View

Commissioned as public art, the sculpture by artist Karen Bailey, represents motherhood.  The large concrete oval is the mother, the smaller marble egg is the baby.

X Front

An important transition area for the north end of Del Ray into Arlandria, this sculpture is sure to become a geographic landmark as development of the Calvert moves forward.

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Batteries Plus in the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria

Last week the battery in my laptop died – completely.  I hadn’t really thought much about it until I realized I had a long plane trip in my immediate future.

Knowing I didn’t have time to order a battery from Dell, I put out a query on our local neighborhood list serv.  Within minutes I got the same information from about 10 different folks – Batteries Plus in the Bradlee Shopping Center.

X Sign

My experience at the Bradlee Shopping Center – situated between Braddock and King Streets at Quaker Lane – is pretty limited to Pat the Barber and Atlantis Pizza.  How had I missed an entire shop devoted to batteries?  It almost qualifies as a man cave!

So off I went and I am here to tell you that this is a homeowner’s paradise.  The first Batteries Plus store opened in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1988 and sold their first franchise in 1992.  There are now well over 300 stores nation wide.

X Inside

Bright and with well marked categories, Batteries Plus carries everything from watch batteries to tank batteries., literally.

These are just some of the categories I noticed:

Batteries Plus in the Bradlee Shopping Center – is a definite keeper.  In fact, some of my new home owners may be getting gift cards from Batteries Plus.

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

The 14th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade and Celebration in Pictures

There’s really not much to say.  It was a great day, the crowd was the biggest ever – well over 5,000 folks  – and everyone was on their best behavior.

A ferret won the best dressed pet contest, “Alice in Wonderful Del Ray” was a show stopper, nobody got lost and I’ve never grilled as many hot dogs in my life!

Now I’ll let the pictures tell you the rest . . .


2010 Del Ray Halloween Parade
Create a free slideshow with Picnik!

If you happen to see a photo you like, drop us a line or call 703.927.4554 and we’ll send you a copy.

And if you want to buy a house I can help you with that too!

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Del Ray Chili Cook Off is a Raging Sucess

About 150 folks gathered yesterday for the 9th Annual Del Ray Chili Cook Off on LaGrande Avenue.

Just a few of the many

Just a few of the many

Officially slated for a 4-6pm time period, the party was still going strong well past 9:00pm.  And why not – there was great food, music, chairs and hay bales for relaxing and lots of neighbors for visiting.

X Band

Our judge - Alexandria Sheriff and Del Ray neighbor Dana Lawhorne

Our judge - Alexandria Sheriff and Del Ray neighbor Dana Lawhorne

Perhaps the best apple pie I have ever tasted!

Perhaps the best apple pie I have ever tasted!

Neighbors Sharon, AL and Leslie

Neighbors and friends

We still don’t know the official winner but the Chili Calypso, a vegetarian offering and the Chili Cali, with toppings that included avocado and homemade tortilla strips were early favorites.

Now, on to the 14th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade and Celebration . . .

Michael and Virginia

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Visit the 10 Finalists for Best Decorated Halloween House in Del Ray

sponsored by your favorite local Realtor!

sponsored by your favorite local Realtor!

It’s official.  After preliminary judging by a secret cabal of partisan citizens and a ruthless vetting process, the 10 finalists for the Best Decorated Halloween House in Del Ray are:

X Man with drink
Not every nominee is an example of Halloween Gone Wild .
X Cobweb and spider
Some homes were chosen for a classic, well placed witch, an amazing display of cobwebs or even a subtle use of tape.
X Pirate
Together they represent Del Ray at it’s best – involved, generous and fun.
X Witch
Each house received a “finalist” yard sign and the Grand Prize Winner will receive an additional sign on Sunday.
Winners will be announced on Sunday afternoon at the 14th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade and Celebration.
What are you waiting for?  Get your map and your flashlight and visit the 10 finalists for Best Decorated Halloween House in Del Ray.
Michael and Virginia

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