It’s That Time of Year – Go Apple Picking!

One of the most popular activities in the Fall here in Massachusetts is picking produce. And there’s good news on that front – now is the perfect time for apple picking! Orchards have been open for a few weeks, but we’re hitting peak season to get ripe, perfect apples. So sometime between now and Veteran’s Day, pack up your family and hit your nearest apple orchard to see what fun you’ve been missing.

When you’re picking, make sure to look for apples that are firm and bruise-free. The color of your apple will change based on the variety of apple you’re picking, so you can’t depend on the color of your apple to tell you if it’s ready to pick. It’s also important to remember that apples ripen from the center of the tree outwards.

In addition, some farms will offer much more than just fruit harvesting. If you want a little more excitement, find a place that also has apple cider doughnuts (they’re a Fall favorite here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance), hayrides, or even a petting zoo.

Once you’ve got your apples in hand, you need to decide what to do with them. Sure, apples are great as a snack, but there’s nothing quite like a homemade apple pie that’s made with apples you picked off the tree with your own hands. If you want something a little healthier, try putting your apples in a smoothie or a salad. You can even use them to make apple chips! If you’re a fan of Fall spices, why not try making your own apple butter or an apple cider?

Make sure that you stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog for more ideas about seasonal activities here in Massachusetts. And remember to call 617-298-0655 with your insurance questions and quote needs!

Celebrate Summer at the Neponset RiverFest!

The general public is invited to the first Annual Neponset RiverFest, on Sat., July 22 from 10am-2pm, at the DCR Neponset II Park, Dorchester alongside the Neponset River.

New parks and bike paths line the shores of the River, along with beautiful natural salt marshes and wetlands that support more than 200 species of birds, fish and other wildlife, all right in the City.

The RiverFest is a free, family-friendly,  public event. 

Come out to celebrate this natural wonder and discover all it has to offer.

  • Try out a kayak or canoe on the Neponset River
  • Explore a tide pool with the New England Aquarium
  • Attend a fishing clinic with Mass Fisheries & Wildlife

  • Take a chance on a new fishing rod & reel
  • Walk/bike the Greenway
  • Play in the spray park
  • Eat yummy food
  • Create art – and more…

Bring a blanket and a picnic, and spend the day! Entrance to the park is on Hilltop St. near Granite Ave.

For more information, please contact Nancy Fyler fyler@neponset.org  |  781-575-0354 x307

Sponsored by the Neponset River Watershed Association, Department of Conservation and Recreation, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton, Paddle Boston, DOT Smiles, Whole Foods, and the Cedar Grove Civic Association.

Click here for more details

Happy Presidents Day!

Happy Presidents Day!

Our offices are open today.

“Not in vain has Lincoln lived, for he has helped to make this republic an example of justice, with no caste but the caste of humanity.”  ~George Bancroft

We hope that you are planning a great weekend with your #family and #friends!

Check out all of the goings on in and around #Boston this Presidents Day weekend, Click here

With spring-like temperatures upon us this weekend, please consider reading our blog on how to prevent ice dams. Click here to read our blog.

#HappyPresidentsDay

Friends Are The Most Important Ingredient

“Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life.”
– Dior Yamasaki

I thought this week I would give you a few Facebook tips that I have found very helpful in our business.

In the presentations that I do, I’m often asked for tips and strategies to create and connect with friends and customers on Facebook.

Here’s a few:

  1. When a person “likes” your Facebook post, always respond with a comment with their name in it. Use their name to personalize the comment.

If you start to type their name in, Facebook will fill it in, and it will tag them.  If you want to make it more personal, you can back out their last name, which is what I suggest.

Here are some examples:

Mary, I love that you enjoyed this.

Mary, I knew this message would resonate with you.

Mary, I love it when you like what I share.

2. In the beginning of the post that you do, encourage people to share it with others. What I do is simply write on the top of the post:
“This is worth sharing with your friends.”

Or

“Please share.”

Put a message either at the top of your post or at the end of the post encouraging people to give it away.

  1. When someone shares your post, send them a “private message” thanking them for doing so.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Mary, thank you for sharing my post.

    Mary, I am so glad that you found my post helpful, thank you for the share.

    Mary, thank you for the share! I hope that you are well and business is going well, let’s meet for coffee soon.

  2. If a person comments, always “like” their comment and respond to it with a question.

For example, if a person says, “That is really cool”, you would comment and ask them what is it about his that you found to be cool?

Just have some fun with it.  When people comment, don’t let them hang, go back and say something about what they said.  You want to encourage and facilitate a conversation and therefore build the relationship with them.

  1. Don’t forget to wish your friends a happy birthday on their birthdays.
  2. Use the list feature to sort our your friends, clients, colleagues, acquaintances, etc.  Learn more about Facebook lists here.

Why is this Key?  I call it the “Law of Familiarity”, the more communication, in whatever form, you have with people, the more familiar they become with you.

The reality is that people love to do business with the people they know, like and trust, and they love to refer others to people they are familiar with. Facebook is the ultimate way to create a high level of familiarity with others.

I LOVE connecting with people. In fact, if there was just one thing I feel that I am THE EXPERT in, it is branding and marketing. I use what I have learned to work with a few local business folks on how to connect and grow their brand both online and offline.

I am so committed to these local business friends that we have a Monday accountability call each week. The good news is that I have room for a couple more of these Monday accountability calls. So, look at 2017 – if you’re trying to START or GROW your personal brand, let me know. We’ll spend a little time together, and I will give you an assessment and a clear direction on HOW TO CRUSH 2017 to BOOST YOUR PERSONAL BRAND. Want to meet in person? We can do that too. All you have to do is comment below now, and I promise to make time for you because you are important to me.

Community Spotlight – Milton Acupuncture

Community Spotlight – Milton AcupunctureHere at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we are blessed to have so many great friends in our community. Occasionally, we like to share Community Spotlight posts in our blog to highlight businesses in the area that our customers should know about. Today, our feature is about Milton Acupuncture.

Daria Casinelli is a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Vipassana Buddhist. She practices meditation as a part of her acupuncture, and has a deep understanding of Eastern philosophies and methodologies. She is able to communicate the benefits of these treatments to her clients through her consultations and treatments.

If you’re not familiar with Japanese acupuncture, it is a treatment for various physical distresses, including soft tissue injury, diabetes, insomnia, fatigue, reproductive issues, and much more. Acupuncture is practiced by placing very thin needles at specific points of the body. According to the Milton Acupuncture website, “Acupuncture works by moving the natural energy of your body through twelve channels that connect your internal organs with your body’s surface. In ancient China this energy was called “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) and was ascribed many spiritual, emotional and physical powers. If Qi is abundant and flowing smoothly, then an individual enjoys good health.” If you have questions about acupuncture, contact Daria or visit www.acupuncture.com.

At Milton Acupuncture, they offer a few different purchase plans for treatments, including three treatment and five treatment packages. They are also sometimes able to take certain health insurance plans, so call ahead and find out if your provider’s insurance can be accepted. You can purchase gift certificates for your friends and family on PayPal through their website.

If you want to learn more about how acupuncture can help you, or if you want to make an appointment at Milton Acupuncture, simply call (617) 312-7650 or email Daria Casinelli at Daria@miltonacupuncture.net. You can find the Milton Acupuncture office at 1197 Adams Street in Dorchester, and they are open Monday through Saturday by appointment only. Also make sure to like Milton Acupuncture on Facebook to receive updates from their business.

Community Spotlight – Eye & Eye Optics

Eye and Eye “I and I” is a popular expression – have you ever heard of it? Besides being a Bob Dylan song, it is also a saying in Rastafari meaning that ‘we are all one people.’ This is where Bobin Nicholson started in 2010 when he retrofitted the shop that used to be Peters Optical, just around the corner from the Vargas and Vargas office in Dorchester. He made a play on words of the phrase that was so popular in his native Jamaica, and named his new business “Eye & Eye Optics.”

While Bobin has been building and growing Eye & Eye Optics for four years, he has also been a acting as a lynchpin in the Dorchester community. He has been serving the Boston area as an optician for over 25 years, and has been an active member of our community. Eye and Eye Optics is even a sponsor of the 2014 Boston’s Best Neighbor contest, run by the folks here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance!

Eye & Eye 2Bobin is very proud of his accomplishments at Eye & Eye Optics, which include winning the Best Eyewear Boutique award from Boston’s A-List in 2014. But don’t even begin to think that Eye & Eye is just a shopping destination – they offer a wide variety of optical services, including selling eyewear, customized no-rim lenses, and contact lenses. They have a huge selection of eyewear brands, including RayBan, Calvin Klein, Versace, Guess, Prada, Lacoste, and more.

They also employ an opthamologist on site, so you can have your eye examinations done right there in the shop on Dorchester Avenue. They also offer eyewear repairs, warranties, and dispensation of prescriptions. Their personalized customer service will no doubt leave you satisfied with your experience.

If you would like to check out all of the great offerings at Eye & Eye Optics, you can visit them at 2271 Dorchester Ave in Dorchester. They are open from 9 am until 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am until 6 pm on Friday, and 10 am until 4 pm on Saturday. You can also call the shop at (617) 296-0066, and make sure to stop by and “Like” their Facebook Page for updates about the business.

So, if you’re looking for a new pair of glasses or sunglasses or need a new opthamologist, we would recommend stopping by and visiting Eye & Eye Optics. Their commitment to customer service and top of the line products makes them a cut above the rest, and their dedication to the community is an inspiration to us all.

Update: Eye and Eye Optics is hosting an event that you don’t want to miss! On Saturday, June 6th from 1 pm until 5 pm, you can preview the newest eyeglass styles in Britain from William Morris London. A company representative will be there to answer questions, and they will offer 20% off lens and frame purchases. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to (617) 296-0066.

Eye & Eye Event

Community Spotlight – Carney Hospital

carney hospital 1Here in Dorchester, we are so lucky to have such a great neighborhood. Anything that you could want or need is just a short distance away, including one of the best hospitals in the area. Our friends at Carney Hospital on Dorchester Avenue represent some of the highest quality health care professionals in the country, and we are so glad to work with them. In fact, the folks at Carney Hospital were generous enough to be sponsors of the 2014 Boston’s Best Neighbor contest.

Opened in 1863, some of the first patients at Carney Hospital were Civil War soldiers. They continued their pursuit of excellence when they performed the first abdominal surgery in Boston, and opened Boston’s first skin clinic. In 1974, Carney Hospital introduced Massachusetts’ first helistop, and the accolades continue to flow in. For a complete history of all of the ways they have advanced the study of medicine and the care of patients, just go to their About Us page.

carney hospitalIf you need medical attention for any reason, we encourage you to consider Carney Hospital for your treatment. Here are examples of just some of the services offered at Carney Hospital, along with a short description of what you can expect from each:

Center for Cancer Care – Surgical services, outpatient chemotherapy, oncology and hematology services, health screenings and assessment of hereditary cancer syndromes, clinical research trials, and survivorship programs.

Center for Cardiac and Vascular Care – Prevention and diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertensive heart disease, heart failure, atrial and ventricular arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, and more. Carney Hospital was also recognized with the American Heart Association Gold Award for Stroke Care.

Diagnostic Imaging – Carney Hospital offers state-of-the-art imaging technology, including 24/7 diagnostic services. They also offer MRI services and mobile PET-CT scanning and a staff of board-certified radiologists.

Emergency Medicine – If you have a medical emergency, Carney Hospital will be there to take care of you. They have board-certified physicians available 24 hours a day, and you can always find the current ER wait time on their website’s home page. In addition, they offer non-emergency services from 10 am until 8 pm seven days a week.

Geriatrics – If there is an elderly person in your life, get them the care they deserve at Carney Hospital. They aim to maximize patient independence while trying to understand the disease and disability that so often comes with old age.

Maternity Services – At Carney Hospital, you will find women’s health care providers with a broad spectrum of specializations, including obstetrics, gynecology, infertility, menopause, laser surgery, and more.

Orthopedics – The orthopedic department cares for those people who have been previously  seen in the emergency room, and offers treatment for trauma, fractured and broken bones, ligaments and cartilage injuries, and much more.

Women’s Health – Carney Hospital has a special center specifically attuned to the needs of their female patients. It offers tailored treatments such as annual checkups, mammograms, other screenings. The women of your life will be in good hands with their staff.

Carney Hospital is located at 2100 Dorchester Avenue. Their general phone number is 617-296-4000, and you can find the telephone number or extension number for each of their departments on their Contact Us page.

Community Spotlight – Swerling Milton Winnick

SMW - 1As a Boston insurance agency, it is the job of Vargas and Vargas Insurance to make sure that you are financially protected against loss. We couldn’t do that without the insurance adjusters that we work with. When you need to make a claim on your Vargas and Vargas Insurance policy, one of the Public Insurance Adjusters at Swerling Milton Winnick can guide you through the claims process and get you the maximum possible settlement from the insurance provider.

In addition to being a sponsor of this year’s Boston’s Best Neighbor contest, they are also affiliated with several other organizations, including the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), the Massachusetts Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (MAPIA), the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MSCPA), just to name a few.

Swerling Milton Winnick have been in the business of insurance adjustment for over 100 years, so you can feel confident that their staff has ample SMW - 2experience in providing responsive and satisfactory results when performing an insurance adjustment. Their staff will take all necessary steps when performing an adjustment, including:

  • Gathering and analyzing loss data
  • Correlating the data with the terms of your insurance policies
  • Formulating an intelligent claim
  • Carrying the claim to its successful conclusion

They will perform these steps no matter what type of claim you are making. Although by no means an exhaustive list, here are some examples of the types of claims that they can help you with:

  • Property damage
  • Repair or replacement costs
  • Loss from business interruption
  • Impact of building codes
  • Coinsurance and agreed amount clauses
  • Extra expense endorsements
  • And more

In addition, the professionally licensed loss adjustment experts at Swerling Milton Winnick have clients in several different industries, including Real Estate, Accountants, Hotels, Lawyers, Banks, Agents, Restaurants, and Health Clubs, just to name a few. They are able to do insurance adjustments for several different types of insurance claims, including:

  • Real Estate
  • Commercial
  • Institutional and Non-Profit
  • Industrial
  • Professional
  • Residential
  • Condominiums

So if you need to submit an insurance claim for your insurance policies, and you need an adjustment in order to receive the maximum possible payout from your Massachusetts insurance policy, make sure that you contact Swerling Milton Winnick Public Insurance Adjusters.

To schedule a consultation with a New England insurance adjuster, just call Diane Swerling (781) 416-1000 #125. You can find their office at 36 Washington Street, Suite 310, in Wellesley Hills. You can also contact them by email. Just send your question or request to Diane Swerling at diane@swerling.com.

Community Spotlight – MAHA

Have you heard of MAHA? It’s short for the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, an organization that has been active in our area since 1985, with a mission of providing resources to homebuyers and running campaigns that have resulted in affordable mortgages for thousands of homebuyers. In addition, their efforts have created more than $9 billion in public and private investment in affordable housing, and education programs that have graduated over 23,500 individuals.

MAHA 1Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we pride ourselves on helping to sponsor community events, like MAHA’s Pedal Poker River Run in October and their Taste of Dorchester event in April. The folks at MAHA stepped up to the plate in turn and became a sponsor of the Boston’s Best Neighbor contest this year, and we can’t thank them enough.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, here are summaries of just a few of their offerings:

Take a Class

If you’re looking to learn the basics about working with realtors, choosing a mortgage, budgeting, record keeping, home repair, and taxes, look no further than a class at the MAHA office. There, you can take one of three different classes: Buying a Home, Owning a Home, and Owning a Condo. In addition, they offer an Online Homebuying Course.

Take Action

MAHA is always looking for ways to make our community better and to ensure that all banks and insurers treat all neighborhoods fairly. If you want to get involved, they keep a list of their current campaigns on their website. You can also fill out a contact form and a member of their staff will contact you about getting involved.

MAHAFind a Mortgage

The people at MAHA have worked incredibly hard to negotiate Massachusetts’ most affordable mortgage rates with several lenders in the area. On their website, they offer lots of information that is useful for people looking for an affordable mortgage, including mortgage tips and FAQs, and information about the ONE Mortgage Program. In addition, you can visit the MAHA website for more information on their Lender Partners and Real Estate Network individuals.

Find the Facts

As community advocates, the people at MAHA, along with their partner organizations, have done studies that “provide a factual look at the way financial services companies are serving low- to moderate-income homebuyers and communities around the state.” If you want to browse these studies and their findings, visit the “Facts Matter” section of the MAHA website.

If you want to learn more about the great things that are happening at the Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, we encourage you to visit their website or ‘Like’ their Facebook Page. You can also visit them in person at 1803 Dorchester Avenue Monday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm, or call them at 617-822-9100.