Shad Roe – Disappointment in the Kitchen!

Pretty sure I won’t be trying this after reading Tony’s Blog. I am pretty adventurous but it doesn’t look the slightest bit appealing. Of course….I like anchovies out of the can or jar, so what do I know. 🙂


Shad Roe - A delicacy of spring. Shad Roe – A delicacy of spring.

For years I have seen this seasonal specialty at the fish counter in my grocery store.  I have heard about it in restaurants and food magazines, and I am generally pretty adventurous.  I love soft shell crabs, I eat and love scrapple, In fact I think the only line I have ever drawn is at Rocky Mountain Oysters out of general support for my gender.

If you're thinking it looks like a body part of roughly half the population, I agree. If you’re thinking it looks like a body part of roughly half the population, I agree.

So when I saw the food that Barron’s Food Lover’s Companion describes as “…a much sought-after springtime delicacy…roe encased in two delicately transparent oval-shaped membranes…[with] a rich, slightly sweet nutty flavor” I decided it was finally time to try it.

Nearly every recipe begins with bacon and I was ready with some authentic smokey Virginia bacon. Nearly every recipe begins with bacon and I was ready with some authentic smokey Virginia bacon.

I decided to top it with some caramelized onions. I decided to top it with some caramelized…

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So God made a realtor

I will be the first to admit that before I became one of those people…you know…a realtor I had zero appreciation for what is involved in a transaction. It’s a complicated process and one we don’t get paid for unless there is a completed transaction. Having been in management, and sales, and technology, I thought I was more then prepared but more then anything it was probably my time studying Counseling Psychology that best prepared me to serve my clients and to keep steady in the face of ….well…pretty much anything. Here’s a little video that I thought summed it up. Hope you get a little chuckle out of it.


Open House in Arlington, Va March 29, 2015

455 N. George Mason Dr. Arlington, Va.$825,000 I will be holding open this terrific townhome in Arlington, Va. today. March 29, 2015 from 1-4 This home is located near the Ballston Metro, shopping and restaurants. It shows like new and has some truly coveted features including a first floor bedroom and full bath, large two car garage with room for extra storage, a balcony off the kitchen family room, roof top deck, and three bedrooms on the second floor (four bedrooms total). Spacious and elegant, in a great location and an excellent value (check the comps). You will not want to miss this. If you can’t make the open house, call me for a private showing or with any questions you might have. 455 N George Mason photo-1455 N George Mason photo-37455 N George Mason photo-72

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Open Houses in Arlington, Va March 29, 2015

Here is a list of homes that are open in Arlington today. Prices range from a $148,000 condo on Columbia Pike to a $2,299,000 detached home. If you have any questions about these homes or would like to set up another time to see them, feel free to contact me with. 571-228-5656. Happy house hunting!

Your Arlington Va. Real Estate Assessment

Yesterday evening I was chatting with a friend of mine who happens to be a resident of Vienna and she was expressing some concern over the increase in her property assessment. I told her that the bad news was she would probably have to pay more taxes but the good news is her home was undoubtedly worth more than it was last year. She was pretty firm in her belief that her assessment did not reflect the actual market value of her home. So, I thought I would share a little bit about the process here in Arlington, Va.

Do you live in Arlington?
Do you think your assessment is more than your property value? I know everyone thinks they pay too much taxes. In Arlington you are paying .996 per $100 of assessed value. In Fairfax they are paying $1.090 per $100 of assessed value.

Do you know what your assessment is? The county mails out assessments but if you don’t know what you did with yours go here:
Accept the terms and enter your address and you will see what your property is currently assessed at.

If you are sure your home’s value is less then the assessment then Arlington has an appeals process in place. It does work. I’ve used it myself. If you have questions about how to determine comparable values, you can always contact me and I can probably help you out.


So, here’s the process… hot off the county website (obviously we’ve passed the deadline for this year, March 2 but the process will still be here next year)

“Assessment Appeals

Appeals Filing Period

Individuals and businesses seeking to appeal their property tax assessments to the Department of Real Estate Assessments may do so between Jan. 1 – Mar. 2 for year 2015.

Applications must be postmarked by March 2

As appeal reviews may not be completed prior to the Board of Equalization appeal deadline of April 15, if you have not received your appeal results by April 1, you must file an appeal application with the Board of Equalization to preserve your right for an appeal before the board.

Property taxes are primarily based on assessed value as determined by the County Assessor. If you disagree with the value established by the Assessor, you can appeal to the Department of Real Estate Assessments and the Board of Equalization.

An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. You must attempt to prove that your property’s market value is either inaccurate or unfair. Instructions and deadline dates for appeals are on the assessment notice you receive after Jan. 1.

You may appeal based on the following:

The Department of Real Estate Assessments has incorrect data on items that affect value – i.e. number of baths, error in square footage
You can prove that during the analysis period (September 1, 2013 – August 31, 2014), similar properties sold for less than the estimated market value of your property. Use the Property Data Search feature to compare assessments and view sales.
You can prove that while the estimated market value of your property is valid, it was not appraised in a manner equitable with similar properties during the analysis period.


There are three steps in the Appeal Process

Appeal to the Department of Real Estate Assessments
Appeal to the Board of Equalization
File suit in the Circuit Court

First Appeal: Department of Real Estate Assessments

Your first step is to contact the Department of Real Estate Assessments appraiser assigned to your neighborhood. Call 703-228-3920 for an informal session to find out how the assessment was determined.

If, after speaking with the appraiser, you still think the assessment is incorrect, you can submit a formal appeal form application.

An appraiser will contact you to schedule an inspection of your property. During the inspection, you may point out any information you believe should be factored into the value. You will receive a written notification of the decision by mail.

Second Appeal: Board of Equalization

If you disagree with the value established by the appraiser, your next appeal is to the Board of Equalization, which conducts hearings on assessment disputes. After weighing evidence submitted by both the property owner and the Department of Real Estate Assessments, the Board must make a fair, impartial decision.

State law puts the burden of proof on the property owner to show that the assessment is incorrect. You must have strong enough evidence to show that the Assessor’s value is incorrect. Stating that your property taxes are too high is not relevant testimony.

The best way to judge the assessment of your property is to compare it to recent sales and and assessments of surrounding properties. Since all real estate assessments are a matter of public record, you can find the assessment of any property and a list of recent sales in the neighborhood using the Property Data Search site.
Establish what you think your property is worth by comparing recorded arm length transaction sales (those sales where the buyers and sellers have no relationship to each other) of similar properties between September 1 2013 – August 31, 2014 of the year in question.
Show that similar properties have inequitable values.
Submit all supporting evidence to the board by April 15, 2015.
Appeal Application Forms

Third Appeal: Circuit Court

If you do not agree with the decision from the Board of Equalization, your final step is to file suit in Circuit Court. This will usually involve hiring an attorney to represent you. For more information, contact:

Arlington County Circuit Court
1425 North Courthouse Road
Arlington, VA 22201
Phone: 703-228-7010”

Ok, so now you know the process. However….before you go through all this, keep in mind that if you are going to be selling your house in the near future you may just want to suck up the higher taxes for a bit. Even though assessed value rarely mirrors market value, your buyer will be asking their agent about the assessment. Having your assessment at a higher level may give you a edge (even if it’s psychological) in negotiating for a higher price.

Sometimes it’s best to leave those sleeping dogs lying.

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* Thumbs up image courtesy of

Open House In Arlington, Va. March 22, 2015. Better than new townhome.

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Jane Jensen

Open 1-4 3/22/2015 Better than new townhome near Ballston. Beautiful…in a quiet courtyard location – $825,000

455 N. George Mason Dr., Arlington, VA 22203


Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.5
Parking Spaces: 2
Year Built: 2008
Subdivision: Buckingham Commons
Attached on: 2 Sides
Garage Size: 2
School District: Washington Lee
Square Footage: 2864
Agent Name: Jane Jensen
Broker: Century 21 New Millennium
MLS #: AR8573601


This home is better than new. Kitchen/Family room with large breakfast bar and small balcony. Separate dining room and living room with gas fireplace. Two car garage with extra room for storage. Large playroom/office/rec room/guest room on top level with access to rooftop terrace for entertaining and barbecues.  Near Ballston metro, shopping and restaurants. Not just a pretty face either….check the comps and you will find this to be an excellent value.


  • Range/Oven
  • Full Refrigerator
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Dishwasher
  • Sink Disposal
  • Microwave


  • Fireplace
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Security System
  • Kitchen Island


Arlington Real Estate –

A night at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va.

Last month Conde Nast listed Washington, DC as the best music city. In the 23 years I have lived here, this area has become a mecca of great venues for music. Take that NYC, and Seattle and well….the rest of you.

Here’s what they said:

“Despite its staid reputation—or maybe because of it—the nation’s capital has fostered thriving underground music scenes for decades, including go-go (the funky genre’s driving force, Chuck Brown, was from D.C.) and hardcore, led by bands like Bad Brains and Fugazi. Today there are plenty of places to see live music in D.C., including legendary venues like Bohemian Caverns, where Miles Davis and John Coltrane once played; the 9:30 Club has hosted everyone from Arcade Fire to Rob Zombie. D.C.’s museums are also filled with music history: The National Museum of American History, for instance, has old cassettes and other pop-culture ephemera in its collection”

One of my favorite music venues in this area is the The Birchmere located at 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria VA 22305.


Not every one loves the seating arrangement they have implemented over the last several years. The box office opens at 5:00 and it’s a first come first served on getting a seating #. When the music area opens at 6:00 everyone is let in in the order of their #. Some folks don’t like it, but I think it has made things more orderly. If you want to get there at 5:00 they have a bar and some limited food items and lots of seating where you can hang out with your friends for an hour.


In the photo above I am standing in line waiting for my Blue Moon draft. Took awhile to get to the front of the line but since there wasn’t anywhere else to get to…it didn’t really matter.

What I like most about the the venue is that it is so intimate and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The acoustics are suprisingly good.  The Birchmere has never been known for their fabulous food.. but alot of it has actually gotten “ok” over the years. $15.00 is alot for an “ok” spinach salad but if don’t mind the carbs their flatbreads are actually pretty good.

Recently some friends said they were getting tickets to Three Dog Night. Even though they are a little piece of life starting in my preteen years.. the $69.00+ fees price tagged seemed pretty high for a bunch of old guys. Well…shame on me for my ageism. Those guys totally rocked. Unfortunately they very recently lost their original keyboardist (he was living in Potomac, Md) but his replacement didn’t miss a beat.

Here’s an early version of Shambala and a snippet from last night. I think they acquittted themselves very well.

And yes….I did sing along to Jeremiah was a Bullfrog.

See you next time at the Birchmere