Conserving Energy This Winter

Conserve Energy at Home

Winter is just around the corner. A little preparation goes a long way in terms of comfort, and potential savings. Here are some hints for ways to conserve energy at home, and still keep cozy.

Any time of year:

* Unplug appliances and televisions when not in use.

* Turn lights off in rooms that aren’t in use.

* Set the water heater to maintain of temperature between 110 and 120 degrees.

Specifically during the colder months:

* Put storm windows in securely to keep the cold out.

* Leave shades and curtains open by day (to let the sun’s heat in) and closed by night to retain that heat.

* Make sure crawl spaces, attics and basements have good insulation.

* Close fireplace dampers when not in use.

* Place weather-stripping and caulk around all doors and windows.

* Replace furnace filters on a regular basis, and have your furnace serviced as needed.

* Maintain an inside temperature that’s comfortable, but not toasty. Make up for the lower temperature by wearing a sweater, and socks or slippers while inside.

* Use only LED holiday lights.

* For more great tips, check out this Energy Saver Guide developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photography credit:

The South Boston Neighborhood House

One hundred and thirteen years ago a woman named Olivia James had the foresight to found an institution whose mission was (and remains) to develop “the individual and collective strengths of the South Boston community” through support of family and neighborhood life. The South Boston Neighborhood House, which opened its doors in 1901, was originally part of the Settlement House movement that blossomed in the late 19th century in response to growing poverty that resulted from industrialization.

Over the decades, as our world, and our neighborhood, changed, so did some of the specific services of the SBNH, to accommodate current realities and needs. Today, the South Boston Neighborhood House, our community’s oldest continually operating human service agency, touches the lives of more than 2,000 individuals each year through its programs. All Neighborhood House programs– Senior Center, Adolescent Services, and Early Education and Care — are focused on education.

Please join neighbors, family and friends in honoring the invaluable contribution of the Neighborhood House to South Boston by purchasing tickets to their 27th annual benefit and auction, “The House is Where the Heart Is.” The event is set to take place on Friday, April 11th, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Seaport World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., in the Harborview Ballroom on the Plaza level. (The World Trade Center Silver Line T stop is across the street. Complimentary parking will also be available at 145 Seaport Boulevard, courtesy of Boston Global Investors & Seaport Square.)

Splendid food and drink, dancing and a live auction are on tap. The Neighborhood House will be most grateful for your presence, and for your support of their work.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/


Making the Most of Staying Home

Feeling snowed in lately? Hampered in making simple errand runs or more complex travel plans because of the winter weather? Spending more time inside, at home, doesn’t have to come with a sense of claustrophobia. It can offer you a chance to de-clutter a bit, to perhaps take an early step towards spring cleaning.

Here are a few ideas for activities that require no more than what you have on hand already, and that will leave you feeling you have a bit more space (indoor though it is) in which to breathe.

* Grab those old paint cans and put them to use to both organize and store winter weather gear. Mittens, scarves, hats and earmuffs are probably lying all over the place. As wall-mounted cubbies or set on a closet floor, the cans help you keep stuff in one spot and allow family members to easily find exactly what they need.

* Ice cube trays provide great organizational possibilities for small items. Think of the innumerable cords we have from electronic devices. They get tangled; sometimes we can’t locate the one we’re looking for at a given moment. Separate them by cube. Try the same thing with rings, bracelets and earrings. Ice trays are even stackable, which helps save space. Egg cartons are an alternative for storing tiny things.

* Discard outdated medicines from your medicine cabinet. Indeed, some suggest moving all medicines to the kitchen, because bathroom humidity isn’t good for medications. Then, place grooming items in the cabinet, freeing up counter space around the sink.

* Use a serving tray on a tabletop for a collection of disparate articles. This is great for a coffee table as well as a bedside table, which, as we know, can overflow with reading material, drinking glasses, electronic devices, combs and brushes, mail, and everything else! A tray gives you a frame for organizing the “stuff,” and a push to place items that don’t fit on that limited surface elsewhere – or to get rid of them if no longer needed.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Photo courtesy of

Valentine’s Day in South Boston

It might be cold and stormy outside, but on Valentine’s Day, we’ll be feeling warm inside. Perhaps we’ll be sipping hot cocoa – or a hot toddy. Or, maybe, we’ll be in the presence of a loved one and that’ll be enough to take the edge off the winter chill. In South Boston, there are plenty of places where you can drink, eat and be merry on this most romantic of days, and plenty where you can find an extra special gift for that extra special person in your life. (It is Valentine’s Day, after all!) Below are a few of your many choices:

Eat, Drink

Franklin Southie (152 Dorchester Street; 617-269-1003): Pre Fixe menu offering punch bowls for 2; special pricing on 1/2 bottles of champagne; assorted oysters on the 1/2 shell with Champagne Mignonette; lobster fettuccine with melted leeks, shitake mushrooms; slow roasted NY strip steak.

Aura Restaurant (One Seaport Lane; 617-385-4300): A three-course menu of surf  n’ turf, roasted tenderloin, grilled scallops, and many more options.

Give Flowers

Claire Ann’s Flower Shoppe (661 East Broadway; 617-268-8662): Unique and varied Valentine’s Day arrangements and bouquets.

Select a Gift

Dew Luxe (33 A Street; 617-315-7531): Give the lady in your life some designer shoes, and she’ll be yours forever! Also choose from chic handbags, boots, jackets, suits and accessories, including cold weather must-haves. Decorative candles also make for very romantic Valentine’s Day gifts!

XOXO, Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day in South Boston

Some of us love nothing more than to stay home during the holidays. We might welcome a houseful of friends and family for a visit; we might treasure quiet time alone, or with just those closest to us. Others of us can’t wait to go out: Having restaurant staff prepare and serve (and clean up) a meal – in a family-friendly or romantic atmosphere – can be a glorious gift. For those with an urge to splurge on a holiday meal outside the home, here are a few suggestions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day:

Christmas Eve:

All of the following restaurants by the water offer special Night Before Christmas fare:

Feast of the Seven Fishes” at Legal Harborside, 5:00 – 10:00 pm. $75.00 per person / $125 per person with wine pairing. 270 Northern Avenue, Liberty Wharf, Boston, MA 02210; 617-477-2900.

Morton’s The Steakhouse, Seaport, 5:00 – 10:00 pm. Two Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02210; 617-526-0410.

Rosa Mexicano Boston, Seaport, 4:00 – 11:00 pm. 155 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210; 617-476-6122.

Smith and Wollensky Boston, Atlantic Wharf, 11:30 am – 9:00 pm. 294 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210; 617-778-2200.

Strega Waterfront, Fan Pier, from 4:00 pm. 1 Marina Park Drive, Boston, MA 02210; 617-345-3992.

Christmas Day:

Try out the unique Christmas Brunch at Aura, from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Both brunch and dinner menu items will be featured as guests are entertained by the Lance Houston Jazz Trio. $71 for adults; $25 for kids 7-14. Kids 6 and under eat for free. Santa will be in the house, ready for visits and conversations. Kids are also invited to make crafts with Samara Lamm of The Kids Place 4 Fun. 1 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02210; 617-385-4300.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team

Helping For The Holidays

The holidays tend to have the lovely side effect of bringing out the generous spirit in us all. If you are looking for ways to help our community of South Boston this holiday season, the opportunities are endless!

Helping Animals: There are always multiple opportunities to help animals in need at The Alliance For Animals, located on Silver Street in South Boston. Donations can be made, and there are several volunteer opportunities available, in areas such as fundraising, assisting in the shelter, and providing transportation for animals going to and from the shelter or vet’s office.

Helping Veterans: As Christmas approaches, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV) trusts in the continued generosity of Bostonians. Every year a number of them provide veterans who live at the Center with gifts through the Center’s Adopt-A-Vet program. Each of the Center’s 300 veterans completes a wish list. Each list (along with instructions) then goes to a sponsoring individual, family or business or other organization, by email. And, ultimately, homeless veterans feel connected to the broader community by receiving useful and fun presents from caring people across the city.

Helping the Homeless: Friends of Boston’s Homeless works with Woods Mullen Shelter in Boston’s South End and Long Island Shelter on Boston Harbor. This group has “Operation Sock Drop” and “Warms Hands Warm Hearts” initiatives underway for the holidays, which will help the homeless in our community stay a bit warmer and safer this winter. All you need to do to support these programs is to donate at least one new clothing item such as a hat, undershirt, underwear, socks, mittens, or gloves. Tell your friends, or even organize a drive!

Helping Children: The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program is always a great way to help around the holidays. Their mission is “to collect new, non-violent, unwrapped, toys each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the Greater Boston community.” They are located at 23 Drydock Ave on the 8th floor, and toys can be brought in for donation between 6:00am and 2:00pm Monday – Friday.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team.


Giving Thanks – for South Boston

What are we thankful for this year (and every year)? South Boston! Here are some of our favorite things about Southie that we will be celebrating this Thanksgiving:

The Waterfront! Have you been there recently? Sometimes called the South Boston Waterfront or the Innovation District, this gem, now being touted as Boston’s New Waterfront, includes chic as well as family-friendly eateries, outstanding art, cutting-edge fashion, high-tech firms, green spaces and more. You can take a bike tour, attend concerts and meet amazing entrepreneurs. 38 miles of the Harborwalk, giving public access to the coast, wind through incredible neighborhoods. And then there’s the water: spectacular views, harbor cruises and islands galore.

The Shopping! Celebrate tradition at Southie’s Own
 at 396 West Broadway. Original Irish imports and custom gifts are a centerpiece of this family-owned shop. In addition to selling Irish goods, Southie’s Own serves Irish tea and freshly baked bread. Yum.

Celebrate the contemporary at Dew Luxe
  at 36 A Street. Consigned and new unique finds – clothing and accessories, home and bath items, cosmetics, and more — line shelves alongside collars and leashes for your beloved pet. Here you’ll find goods from Gucci, Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Stella McCartney, Missoni, Tom Ford, Clarisonic, Smashbox and Stila, among other renowned brands.

The People! More than 35,000 people call South Boston home, and among them are many doing good for their neighbors. We give thanks to the staffs of the South Boston Neighborhood House (helping seniors, adolescents and whole families become self-sufficient and prosper, since 1901), the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston/South Boston Club (providing after school educational and character development programs), the South Boston Branch Library (with a film series, book discussion groups, and children’s “story times”), Planet Southie (an all-volunteer organization uniting to build a greener and healthier South Boston) and those at many other institutions who go the extra mile to make sure our community members live with dignity and bright options for the future.

What things about Southie are you thankful for?

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team.

Taxi Safety

The advice we’ve heard about taking a taxi from an airport or train station is relevant when we’re trying to hail a taxi along the street as well: Never ever get into an unmarked cab. Unfortunately, there are people out there, friendly though they may appear, who are connivers and schemers, figuring out ways to fool those in need of a ride. They might end up ripping you off (because there’s no meter and they demand an outrageous sum), or worse.

You have every right — and should take the responsibility to — look for the metal badge on a taxi that shows Boston Police Department registration (it reads: Boston Licensed Taxi) before sliding into the vehicle. If there are words on the side of the car, check to be sure that the lettering is permanent, and not on a removable magnet.

All legitimate taxi drivers post their official photo identification for passengers to see.

Taxis ordered by phone are a safer bet than those stopped on the street. When you are requesting a cab, ask for the car’s license number and the driver’s name. When it arrives, start with, “What’s your name, please?” rather than, “Are you so-and-so?” to be sure this is the cab from the company you contacted. Some smartphone apps allow you to request licensed cabs, too. Whether you use an e-hailing app or not, keep your cell phone in your hand at all times while riding.

Blog post by the Joyce Lebedew Real Estate Team.