It’s Officially Houseguest Season: How to Cope…and Enjoy!

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Pool & TrendTea Lounge Modern Boca Mom


If you’re a full-time Boca Mom and resident like me, this is the time of year when HO– USEGUEST SEASON gets into full swing. It’s cold pretty much everywhere but South Florida (and fine, Hawaii), so Boca is the place to be!

I’m so glad there’s a place like the Wyndham Boca Raton where I can send my extended family and friends (guilt-free) if our house is overbooked for a weekend (it’s happened!) or the lack of a routine for #dailybabyavery gets to be too much (has also happened).

It’s truly my favorite place to re-charge.

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Case in point: My in-laws visited from Maine last week and they are healthy food and tea connoisseurs, yet wanted to take advantage of the sunshine. What did I have on our to-do list? It was obvious…

Check, check and check! We even brought #dailybabyavery along for the swimming portion of our day. 🙂

*Pool is only available for registered guests

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After a delicious al fresco lunch at Farmer’s Table, we indulged in a little more pool time before heading over to TrendTea Lounge, located on the second floor of the Wyndham Boca.

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There, you can experience organic, loose-leaf teas that are not only delectable and exquisitely prepared, but also healthy. They encompass everything from revitalizing Japanese green teas to soothing lavender and lemon teas to stunningly beautiful blooming teas.

If you are feeling a little hungry, you can select from a range of freshly baked snacks to enjoy with your tea, which is always carefully and lovingly prepared by TrendTea’s ‘tea-tenders.’

Well, all I can say is: huge mistake. Why?

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Because my in-laws wanted to head back every day after having their savory cups of tea! Their tea-tenders definitely know their stuff and were able to answer every question my mother-in-law threw at them. And they were tough ones.

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I personally went the ‘iced blueberry hibiscus green tea’ route and made a beeline for the terrace with a full pool and courtyard view. I’m seriously considering making it my new MBMom home office and meeting place.

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My new mantra for 2015 is less stress and I have to say that the Wyndham Boca Raton is really helping me out with that, especially when it comes to creating an enjoyable and healthful experience for my houseguests! So for that, I salute you.

Until next time.

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Where is your favorite place to take visitors when they come to Boca Raton? Comment below!

Sponsored: This post was sponsored by the Wyndham Boca Raton. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor.  Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I have been compensated or given a product or service free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Why Setting the “Stage” Will Get Your Home SOLD

From Modern Boca Real Estate Mom…

Boca Raton home staging

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For most people, selling their home and moving is a BIG deal. For most of us, the equity in our home is our most significant financial investment. So when the time comes to sell, you’re looking to get the most money from your property in order to move on to the next chapter of your life, as well as keep disruption to your household to a minimum.

You’ve heard stories from your friends, your mother-in-law — maybe you’re going through this yourself right now — with a parade of endless showings, maybe a few “low-ball” offers and mounting frustration with: (circle one) your agent/ your neighbor/ the market/ your spouse.

It’s no secret, selling a home can be STRESSFUL. So, how do we as reasonable, good people who just want to MOVE already, get a home sold fast and for top dollar?

The answer is Boca Raton home staging.

Staging your home for sale is arguably as important in the sale of your home as putting it on the MLS, and should be part of any serious listing plan. In my opinion, it is the most under-utilized but MOST important component of marketing a property.

As a real estate agent, I see the difference first-hand. A staged home consistently sells for closer to asking price and spends less time on the market than one that has not been staged. In fact, I believe in staging so much, that I personally stage all my listings at my own expense, and even launched a separate staging company called ReStyle Home to help folks get the highest possible price for their home.


Let’s back up for a minute. What is “staging”?

Boca Raton home staging (also called real estate styling, house staging or real estate staging) is about visually marketing a property and setting the “stage” for buyers to create an emotional connection to the property.  That emotional connection is what sells homes.

Have you ever been to a model home? Better, yet – have you ever BOUGHT a home after seeing the model? (I have!)

Why do they bother? Why not let the house speak for itself?  They could just have a big empty house. Developers stage because they know that staging homes makes money.

In the same way, staging your home for sale will ultimately make you money.

Boca Raton home staging

Think of Boca Raton home staging as an investment… 

…and one with darn good margins at that. Staging consistently provides AT LEAST a 100% return on investment (and usually more like 300%-400%). A study conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that for every $100 invested in staging, the return is around $400 added on to the value of the home. For example, if you spend $500 to $2,500 on staging, the added perceived value to the property can be $2,000 – $10,000. 

NAR reported in that same study that an average price reduction is between 10-20%. For example, a $400,000 house can be reduced by $40,000 – $80,000 as it remains on the market. In essence, a $500-$2,500 investment in staging to can save you from from a costly price reduction of $20,000 or more if your property doesn’t sell quickly.

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This is just one example of how Boca Raton home staging makes all the difference in the sale of a home:

My clients Randee and Barry had their condo on the market for 9 months (pictured above and below). They took the unit off the market and I was brought on as the new listing agent. They had never considered staging and were willing to give it a try.

We made relatively minor changes using their existing furnishings – we mostly edited and refreshed.  By removing unnecessary furnishings, applying fresh coats of paint for the bedrooms and generally editing and organizing their belongings, we succeeded in re-energizing the apartment and making it fresh and appealing to buyers. We received our first offer within 36 hours and were under contract in 2 weeks.

Boca Raton home staging

This just serves to further illustrate that selling a home is not only about the process (putting it on the MLS, etc.), but also the product. You can run yourself ragged marketing a property, but if it’s simply not appealing to buyers, its likely that it will remain on the market. As it sits on the market, the perceived value to buyers diminishes.

If your goal is to get the maximum return on your real estate investment, staging needs to be part of your toolbox. You only get one chance to make a first impression and the proof that staging works is in the countless stories and testimonials.


Boca Raton home staging

To learn more about home staging, why it works, how it works, or if you need help staging and want to appear as a reader restyle for a future article,  I invite you to contact me or visit my website at www.restylehomestaging.com or call (or text!) at 561.789.7084. 

Margaret Schaffer aka The Modern Boca Real Estate Mom is a home staging expert living, playing and raising two little ones in beautiful Boca Raton.

MOMpreneur Monday: OPTIWOW

MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.

Happy Monday Modern Boca Moms! Welcome to our next installment of MOMpreneur Monday on MBMom, highlighting Florida businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas.
We’re working to bring busi-moms across the state of Florida together to start a MOMpreneur Movement! Why don’t you join us?
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Meet South Florida MOMpreneur and mother of two, Ivonne Goldstein, founder of a childrens’ e-commerce store that sells eyewear for the stylish kiddo, Optiwow.com.

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Ivonne currently works with her husband as the business administrator for a very successful pediatric ophthalmology practice in Miami Children’s Hospital and she also manages their optical shop.
This shop recently expanded into an e-commerce store called Optiwow.com.  Let’s talk about Ivonne’s MOMpreneur story…

What was your motivation to open this type of retail shop?

As a mom of two children who wear eyeglasses due to vision problems, I relate well to the kids and parents who visit us or shop online. I am so passionate about helping children overcome their eye care problems and enjoy seeing their confidence bloom when they find a pair of eyeglasses that make them feel comfortable and happy. 

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How did you begin and launch your business?

In response to seeing many children enter our optical shop at Miami Children’s Hospital in Miami, Fla. wearing ill-fitting eyewear, my husband, Dr. Roberto Warman, and I created a new concept for purchasing optical goods- our online store Optiwow.com.

We are the ONLY online optical shop dedicated exclusively to kids and teens.

Unfortunately there are very little options available for kids and teens in chain optical shops and other retail shops, so we are providing a site that is deeply needed.

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What is unique about Optiwow?

Our business is unique because we only cater to kids and teens both in the Optical Shop and Online.

There are plenty of optical shops and ecommerce sites but no one caters exclusively to infants, kids and teens with the brand selections, expertise and knowhow that we have. We have been taking care of children for over 15 years.

Why should MBMoms purchase their #bocakids’ eyewear from your retail outlets?

They will not find any other store/e-commerce site that delivers outstanding knowledgeable customer service, the largest selection of infant, kids & teens eyewear at reasonable prices, latest styles and highest quality lenses.

Optiwow Home Page Screen Shot Modern Boca Mom

What exciting things are coming up with your business?

Every day is exciting in our business! With technology moving so fast we always are in close contact with our suppliers for the latest new materials and styles – making frames lighter and more flexible, more stylish, colorful, durable and appealing for our children.

Also we are always looking on how to improve our online site with the latest technology.

We are also researching the idea of expanding to another location.

And I always ask…what do you love about living and working in South Florida?

Living is South Florida is like no other place in the world especially when you come from Latin America (editor’s note: Ivonne was born in Caracas, Venezuela), the friendliness of the people, the weather, the mix of cultures, and the food… we have it all.

To be part of a city that is growing every day and being able to grow with it is a great feeling.
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SUBSCRIBE to Modern Boca Mom here!

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Connect with Optiwow on Facebook!
Learn more about this company at: www.optiwow.com

Why Boca Raton is the Healthiest Place to Raise a Child

I’m a mom. And I live in Boca Raton. Hurray! I personally think our town has everything you need (and more) to raise an awesome kid. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. But where do we stand when it comes to health? Is Boca the healthiest place to raise a child?

I reached out to the experts at Boca VIPediatrics to find out the facts.

Here are Dr. Chad Rudnick’s TOP reasons why Boca Raton is the healthiest place to raise a child:
  1. An Abundance of Outdoors

While the rest of the country is shoveling snow and avoiding being outdoors to get out of the cold, here in Boca, we’re flip flop-clad and loving fun in the sun with our kids (wearing sunscreen, of course!).

From Sugar Sand Park, to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, to playing on the sand at some of the best beaches, there are dozens of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors with your family year-round. As a Boca native, I love re-visiting these places as an adult and discovering new spots with my family.

Research has shown that spending more time outdoors and engaging in physical activity can reduce the risk for childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. It can also can boost school performance and standardized test scores. The ability to wear flip flops year-round may have no proven health benefit, but it’s certainly no cause for complaint!

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A Sunday family stroll through South County Regional Park’s “Canine Cove”
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Our daughter loves the carousel at Sugar Sand Park!
  1. The Best Pediatric Care Around

Keeping kids safe and healthy are the most important factors when deciding where to raise a family.

Here in Boca, we’re fortunate enough to have top-notch pediatric care. Boca VIPediatrics is making waves as the future of personalized, pediatric care. With our 24/7 access membership model, we love being able to bring “small town service” together with modern medicine. This allows parents to text, call, email, or even do a virtual visit for the best care when families need their pediatrician the most. I’m excited to bring back the “house call,” something that seems ‘too good to be true ‘ or ‘a thing of the past’ in a time where getting a hold of your doctor can be a real challenge.

We’re also a short ways away from some of the top specialty care and children’s hospitals in the country. Having trained at Miami Children’s Hospital, ranked as “one of the best Children’s Hospitals in the United States” by U.S. News & World Report, I am fortunate enough to know some of the best pediatric specialists in the world in South Florida.

Boca Raton is healthiest place to raise a child

  1. A City That Values Its Future

The Boca Raton City Council, led by Mayor Susan Haynie, is truly a team of leaders who cares about keeping Boca a nationwide front-runner to raise a family.

Through the city’s support of education and afterschool activities, children have the opportunity to play and learn in safe environments provided by the city. Parents can also take advantage of the city’s fire department, which frequently hosts family safety events.

Boca also houses a number of nonprofits that boost education, literacy, and safety. These include The KidSafe Foundation, PJ Library, and Young Entrepreneur’s Academy through the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce.

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The Boca VIPediatrics Ribbon Cutting with The Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and City Councilman, Robert S. Weinroth
  1. Culture for the Kiddos

Bringing up a well-rounded child aids in increasing the emotional, social, and scholastic performance potential.

Here in Boca, we’re fortunate enough to have amazing theatres, museums, gardens, art festivals, and other cultural venues where children can be exposed to a vast variety of arts and culture. On any given weekend, there are a slew of family-friendly options around town to immerse your children in, and help grow their minds.

Whether it’s a class at the Boca Children’s Museum, a leisurely stroll through Morikami Gardens, or the Annual Festival of the Arts at Mizner Park, the more you can expose your children to the arts, the more enriched they can become!

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A daddy/daughter dance at a class at the Boca Raton Children’s Museum
  1. Enviable Education Options

Boca Raton, the healthiest place to raise a child, boasts an excellent public school system, many of which are A-rated, as well as 16 private schools! The right education for your children is available here, no matter which option you choose.

We are also fortunate enough to have two fantastic universities (FAU and Lynn) within our city, which provide higher learning opportunities. Additionally, FAU offers dual enrollment opportunities for high school students to earn college credit. This unique opportunity gives Boca’s students a competitive edge when applying to colleges and universities.

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What are local parents not taking advantage of enough in our area (in your opinion) to help keep our kids healthy?

In my practice, we talk a lot about proactive healthcare and schedule wellness visits for all ages whether in office, over the phone, or virtually to help maintain a healthy lifestyle for our patients.

In a typical high-volume practice, you bring your kids to the doctor when they’re sick, get the treatment plan you need, and you don’t spend the time really developing an overall wellness plan with your doctor. It’s important to talk about sleep habits, eating habits, performance in school, emotional well-being, and even behavior with your doctor to avoid the risk of health problems down the road. 

How is Boca, the healthiest place to raise a child, becoming a leader in the future of healthcare?

The use of telemedicine is a new age phenomenon, even in adult medicine. We’re actually one of the first pediatric offices in the country to offer the access and convenience of using video and photo capabilities to treat children literally on-the-spot.

Boca Raton is healthiest place to raise a child

Boca VIPediatrics is proud to announce a few NEW unique telehealth offerings exclusively for our VIPs:
  1. Special software that uses a cell phone which takes a photo to evaluate nearsightedness or farsightedness, as well as screen for a rare, but serious cause of childhood blindness.
  2. Coming in at second place only to the common cold, the ear infection is responsible for 20 million visits to the pediatrician every year. We rolled out an iPhone attachment that actually allows a parent to safely record their child’s inner ear for assessment of a possible ear infection. The images are sent securely to me for review and treatment can be provided immediately, any time of the day or night.

Boca Raton is healthiest place to raise a child

Want to hear about more of our special technologies and what is coming down the pipeline?

Come for a complimentary “meet the doc” visit to discuss how we are combining old-fashioned service with modern (and future) medicine in Boca Raton, the healthiest place to raise a child: www.BocaVIPediatrics.com or call 561-923-9635.


Sponsored: This healthiest place to raise a child blog post was sponsored by Boca VIPediatrics. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. 

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