La Brasa- to know it is to ❤️ it

Tucked down low next to the towering new FDA building on Parklawn Drive sits an unpretentious Latin American restaurant you’re sure to love!

Seriously, if you know it, you LOVE it!

steak      shrimp

There is not one item on the menu that has been questionable.  Mike and I visit frequently and order something different each time.  Last night we went pescatarian/vegetarian and La Brasa did not disappoint.  Mike ordered the shrimp fajitas sizzling hot on arrival and I had the veggy chimichanga. We skipped the wine but they do have a nice selection at reasonable prices.

This restaurant is a perfect date spot, friends outing, or family gathering place! La Brasa covers all the bases with its wide variety of menu options- all at a fair price.  The classic Peruvian chicken meals with two sides start at just $7.50 and you can’t beat that.

This would be my order recommendation for dinner for two:

Chips and Salsa – that’s a given COMPLIMENTARY

  • Gambas al Ajillo – shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil $10.95
  • Brasa Salad (add chicken or steak) -Mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, hearts of palm, avocado, and red onions. $9.50
  • Masitas de Puerco – Cuban style morsels of pork, topped with sautéed onions. Served with jasmine rice, black beans and plantains. $14.95
  • tip: ask for the homemade green hot sauce, put it on everything!

Actually, you’d probably want to order another entree if you aren’t in the salad mood.  I’m making myself so hungry!

The environment is friendly and relaxed.  La Brasa is a family owned restaurant and you get all the feels each time you visit for dinner, or for lunch!

What are some of your favorites at La Brasa?  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…xoxo


*La Brasa is located at 12401 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD 20852


Melinda Hines – RE/MAX Realty Services – – 301.806.1171




Imagine minus 220 degrees.  Go outside and think…10x colder than this!

My recent visit to Thrive CryoStudio gave me the opportunity to experience these frigid temps all for the sake of trying something new.  I first heard about whole-body cryotherapy on the show Shark Tank.  Shortly after, I came across Thrive’s Instagram page filled with photos and videos of people freezing themselves in a stand up tube. Enticing, right?

Well, wait a minute, because before I went I read up about the benefits of subjecting myself to this process.  These benefits included decreased inflammation for fitness, faster recovery time from surgery, and alleviated symptoms of anxiety and depression [see the full list on their website].  One session might not produce these exact results but I will tell you about the 3 minutes I endured and the after effects throughout the day.

Brandon, the owner, and Lauren who also works there, explained the steps and prepared me for the next few minutes of my day.  Lauren took my blood pressure first and that’s when I became a little nervous.  She left the room and I stripped down to well…nothing.  No no, you must wear gloves and socks but women can go commando and men must wear a little something “down there”!  I put a robe on and Lauren came back into the room and guided me into the tube where I removed it.  The machine was not even on and I was chilled (aka naked and afraid).

She fired up the cryosauna and instructed me to turn a quarter of the way around every 45 seconds as liquid nitrogen filled the chamber.  I felt ummm COLD!  At one point my legs were shaking and at another I was feeling warmer despite the temperature decreasing.  It was a dry cold and then it was over [full video on Instagram]. I got my robe and immediately felt relieved.  I was warming up and back in my clothes.  When I exited the room, Brandon was there and asked me how I felt.  Brain freeze came to mind because I didn’t feel much different other than being not cold.

As I was leaving, another client was coming for a session dressed in full on business attire. You can go in, do your thing, and carry on with your day.  This is not a messy process and if the benefits are there, this is very easy to fit into your day/week/month.

As I was driving home, I had a calming feeling over my entire body and cruised along in a relaxed state.  Periodically throughout the day I felt this same sensation and attributed it directly to cryotherapy.  I even slept better that night.  I’m sure the experience for each person will be different.  And more than one session could, of course, produce different results.  But I’ll be going back soon!

Have you been to cryotherapy before or thinking of going? Tell me your thoughts! I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time…xoxo


Thrive CryStudio is located at 5801 Fishers Lane Unit 116  (Inside Symmetry Salon Studios)
Rockville, MD, 20852

If you want to try it, schedule your appointment here. They have new client specials too!



Went to the Barre @ 6am 

BEEP BEEP BEEP!!  Up and at em for my first Pure Barre class at 5:45AM.  I was excited to see what it was all about and if I would feel like a Ballerina! I’ve been into yoga for years and have been going to the gym more often so I wasn’t super nervous about trying something new in the fitness department. My expectation was to get a decent workout and learn something new.

1801 Chapman Ave, Rockville 20852

Arriving at the studio, the instructor Jasmine greeted me and had me fill out the standard paperwork and sign a waiver.  Easy peasy! Socks are required-I purchased their brand of sticky socks because I forgot to bring my own. There were about 10 other ladies of all shapes, sizes, and ages taking class.  We started with a pretty intense warm up of arm raises, high knees and push ups. Jasmine set us up with our props (light hand weights, a small rubber ball, and a couple linked stretchy bands). My blood was pumping and I was ready to plie!


The room in the studio is completely carpeted and lined from floor to ceiling with mirrors. Socks on carpet was a nice change from my (and everyone else’s) usual bare feet in yoga.  As you would imagine, there is a wood bar attached to the mirror around 3 walls of the room just like ballet. On the bar is where I could really tell that this form of exercise requires technique and precision. Jasmine gave cues for small movements with our legs as we held onto the bar on our tippy toes. Left side then right side with floor exercises in between sets.

Okay, stop.  Can you do me a favor right now?  Go stand next to a table, a desk or a counter top.  Place your hand on it, bring your heels together, fan your feet out and lift as high as you can on your toes. Now, straighten your posture, tuck in your pelvis and bend your knees as much as you possibly can. Hold just that and move up and down just a bit bending at your knees.  I claim no responsibility for any tumbles that may occur! That was just moments of the hour long work out we had that day.


I completely misjudged what I was in for and I’m sorry. This post was originally going up yesterday but it’s okay it’s here today because I can surely feel the affects of class on my ENTIRE body.  I have soreness in muscles I didn’t even realize we used. Don’t get me wrong, this is good soreness. Not the kind where your legs collapse and you almost fall down the stairs! I feel good. No, I feel great!

Put simply-go take a class.  First one is $15 and they also have package specials.  See if you can catch a class with Jasmine Altamirano. She has a sweet disposition and was helpful in guiding me and the other students through the exercises.  Instructors are so important to your experience!

I’d love to hear from you! Please tell me about your experience at Pure Barre.           Rockville studios-Twinbrook and  King Farm

Until next time…xoxo



Pure Barre Instructor Jasmine Altamirano

Sticky Socks


It was all a dream: I used to read Gazette Magazine

As the market changed from the early 2000’s, I was sometimes asked “Are you still doing real estate?”.  I don’t blame them for asking. Many agents came in at the height and were gone within a couple years. Becoming a Real Estate Agent was the best ‘accident’ I’ve ever made.

The day before I started at RE/MAX in 2002, I accepted a job at a plastic surgeon’s office. I knew that wasn’t for me-so I frantically skimmed through the Gazette Newspaper that day sitting at my parent’s kitchen table in Rockville. There was an ad for an administrative assistant position so I called right away to set up a meeting. The guy answered and said he’d check with his partner and get back to me. I said okay and we hung up. A few minutes went by and I called him again. Can I please come in for an interview TODAY?? Sure, he said, and asked if I could be there in 20 min.  I put on my new biz suit, hopped in my car, and headed down the road! 

The two agents I interviewed with, Todd Wood and Jeremy Lichtenstein hired me later that day. They helped me to learn the Real Estate business from meeting with first time home buyers to reading and writing contracts. I’m so thankful for those few years with them that allowed me to gain the confidence to go out on my own as a full time licensed Realtor. Now the questions I am asked have shifted from “Are you still in real estate?” to 

I’m thinking of selling/buying, will you help us?

2016 marked my best year yet, making the Top Sales list at RE/MAX Realty Services!! Thank you to my wonderful clients, friends, my family, and my work family! Thank you for seeking my advice and real estate knowledge to have smooth and successful moves for you and your families. I’m here to stay!

Until next time…xoxo


last minute LOVE (or not)

If you’re anything like me, you wait until a few days before or the day of to decide where to eat or what to do for Valentine’s ❤ Day.  Hence this impromptu post!  Here is a list of 5 great Valentine’s Day ideas in Rockville depending on your mood and relationship status.

  1. Rockville Town Center Outdoor Ice Skating

Forecast for Tuesday in Rockville is 52 degrees and sunny! $9 Adults, $8 Kids and $4 skate rental.  This will be FUN! They are open until 10PM.  What says LOVE more than falling on your butt together?!

2. Kidville’s My Big Messy Valentine’s Day Party

[EVENT no longer available] Get your tickets now ($25) because this one starts Saturday at 10:45AM!  Sounds like a blast for the kids and kids are LOVE! There will be painting and creating, a rock climbing wall and glitter tattoos (yep!). EVERY child leaves with a balloon too!

3. Romantic Dinner at Il Pizzico

Get out early if you can. #NoReservations for this insanely delicious Italian Restaurant. I recommend the Ravioli Di Funghi Al Pistacchio.  Fellas, there’s not mushroom to go wrong. I guarantee you’ll be a fun guy if you treat your date to this meal!  Appetizers range from $7.99 to $12.95 and main courses from $16.95 to $28.95. Bon Apetito!

4.  New Orchestra of Washington @ AMP by Strathmore 

We just ordered our tickets. Awwwwww ❤  I’ve never seen an orchestra and I haven’t been to AMP yet either.  Trying something different at Pike & Rose.  The theater is a sit down venue that serves food and drinks while you enjoy the show.  Tickets are $30. A cheese plate is $14 plus a bottle of wine for about $35.

5. Anti-Valentine’s Day @ Gringos & Mariachis

Head down the Pike to Cordell Avenue in Bethesda for the Cupido Es Estupido night-filled with specials and laughs.  Specials include 2 dates for $2 “chorizo stuffed”, $3 “luv sux” shots, $3 “stay single” shots.  And to top it all off, you’ll get a FREE MARGARITA if you bring in a pic of your ex and tear it up! (is there a limit?) LOVE LOVE LOVE!

What are you doing on the 14th? I’d love to hear from you 🙂


Until next time…xoxo



20855 Der-what?

In talking with one of my colleagues about this week’s Post, I told him it was going to be about Derwood, MD.  Silence…then he replied:

Ohhh, the other Rockville. The forgotten town.

And that’s exactly why I wanted to discuss this unincorporated area that lies just North of Rockville, East of Gaithersburg and West of Olney.  Derwood was originally put on the map as a train stop on the B&O Railroad in the 1800’s according to the Wiki info. Let’s get it back on track today!


A recent home search for my clients led me to find a number of listings labeled ‘Rockville’ with a 20855 zip code (a zip code exclusive to Derwood, MD).  Local Realtors are changing the automated information in a new listing when they enter it in our MLS (Multiple Listing Service). It has become commonplace to override the city input box of Derwood and replace it with Rockville. Why??

While we have many residents originally from the area, we also have a huge number of transplants that are unfamiliar with the smaller parts of Montgomery County.  Because of that, larger cities like Rockville will get more exposure & traffic on Real Estate websites as well as with searches set up by Realtors.  I don’t blame other Agents for taking on this strategy when marketing a house for sale in Derwood.  You want the most Buyers to see your client’s house for sale! Makes sense.


My suggestion to Buyers currently looking in the Rockville area; ask your Realtor to include Derwood/20855 in your search.  For Sellers; see if your home is listed as Rockville or Derwood and discuss what you feel is best for your specific property.


LOCATION! Derwood offers easy access to Rockville Pike, Shady Grove Road, Rio Washingtonian Center and the new Downtown Crown development.  There are condos, townhomes, and single family homes for fantastic prices-more bang$ for your buck$!   Right now, there are 29 Active Listings for sale in 20855.  Don’t sleep on these houses.

North Rockville? Should we call it Rockwood? Or maybe Derville? Whatever you name it, or however you label it, Derwood is a wonderful town to call HOME!  Plus, you have the infamous bar and restaurant Outta The Way Cafe named a “hidden treasure” by The Washington Post.  And that’s exactly how I feel about Derwood.  Find your hidden treasure right Up the Pike!

What are your thoughts on 20855? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…xoxo



what’s good @ Pike & Rose

There’s already a ton of development at Pike & Rose and I want to tell you about my favorite places so far! Pike and Rose is located at the old site of Mid-Pike Plaza. Remember that place? So long Geoffrey!

Typically, we (Mike, my fiancé, and I) walk over from the White Flint Metro across Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road to grab a bite and a drink or catch a movie every so often. iPic is quite unique for a theatre and offers some luxurious amenities for watching the latest films. I tend to doze a bit because the seating is so comfy but definitely worth an afternoon/evening out (or a nice nap Zzzzz).

Friday and Saturday are the best nights for having a nice dinner and drinks at City Perch Kitchen + Bar. Stay for the DJ and “throw back” 90’s and beyond music. The bar is packed and has great energy!

When you’re feeling like a day outing or a brunchy weekend, check out Summer House for its handmade cocktails and fresh decór. Or head to the newest spot, Owen’s Ordinary to try some of their continuously changing list of craft brews. I didn’t like beer. And then I did! You MUST get the soft pretzel with mustard. Oh em gee it’s good!

A little birdie told me Anthropologie clothing is going in sometime soon and the huge building that faces the main strip of the pike is REI-outdoor clothing, gear, footwear. Judging by its size, I’m guessing they will have a climbing wall. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just a guess [and a wish]!

There are currently 2 apartment buildings up and running; The Residences-PerSei and Pallas, with another one on the way called The Henri. According to their website, rental rates start at $1596/mo for PerSei and $1795/mo for Pallas.  The Henri plans to open Spring 2017. There are also a number of condos for sale in the area if you’re feeling more permanent.

Below are some pics of the many businesses that already exist.  Find out more information about upcoming retail and restaurants @ the Pike & Rose page.

*FREE two-hour plenty of parking-BOOM!

What do you like best at Pike & Rose? I want to hear from you!

Until next time…xoxo


Melinda Hines-REMAX Realty Services 301.806.1171



Do you even kabob? 

It’s official. Yekta (yum-ee) Restaurant is my favorite place to eat in Rockville! My friend CJ first introduced me to this Persian spot last year and I’ve been hooked.  Yekta sits on the end of the Mi Rancho and Party City strip across from Congressional North Shopping Center.

After a few meals here, I realized I spent many a Cinco de Mayos in this space when it was an extension of On The Border back in the day.  Nice upgrade for the area!

Hummus and herb appetizers

Mike and I love to come here for dinner during the week.  Upon sitting down, we are brought paper thin pita with raw onion and butter.  I make a nice little plate of buttered pita with salt and pepper and roll up a slice of onion inside. Am I doing this right?  We order the salad shirazi and a hummus appetizer in most cases.  They have so many delicious small dishes for starters, but those are our faves.

Celebrating my future mother-in-law’s birthday last night

Whoops! I’m hungry right now so I went straight to the food and didn’t say how beautiful it is inside!  The space is not too big and not too small, not too warm or cold.  Goldie locks would be all over it!  Beautiful paintings cover the walls and there is an impressive dome in the center of the restaurant.  So pretty!

It’s gorgeous in here!

For our main courses we typically go the kabob route.  You CANNOT go wrong! Try the koobideh meal that comes with rice or you can opt for 1/2 rice, 1/2 salad.  If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll order one of the stews.

Kabob koobideh with rice and salad
These are the kind of eats that you won’t feel like rolling yourself out the door at the end of the meal. Wednesday is half price bottle of wine night so book a rezi on Open Table.

What do you like best at Yekta? I want to hear from you!

*don’t forget to visit the fresh Market attached to the restaurant!

Until next time…xoxo


Market & deli right next door
Future father-in-law ordered the lamb and loved it
Salmon for the birthday girl 🎈

5 Little TIPS: Get Your House Ready to Sell in 2017

If you’re planning on selling your home in the Spring, start NOW and start with some smaller things that can be done from inside the house.  We still have time to hibernate and this is our opportunity to get it together, bit by bit, from the inside out.  Refer to these EASY steps to make for a painless prep!

1. LIST BEFORE YOU LISThome-improvementsStart jotting down improvements you have made since you first purchased your house. Include major and minor updates (i.e. replaced bathroom faucet 2009, refinished hardwoods in May, installed new HVAC 2012).  Anything you can think of, write it down! Also, write down features of the house that potential Buyers will enjoy just as you do (i.e. bathroom heat lamp, secret storage closet, laundry chute). The more the better.  Provide this list to your Realtor and go over it with them so they can know the ins and outs of your house to market most effectively.  Help me help you!

2. LET THERE BE LIGHT Conduct your own mini Home Inspection!  Take 15 minutes and go through your house to check that all light bulbs are in and on, all outlets are working, and all switches are properly covered. Attention to detail is important and Buyers notice missing bulbs, exposed wiring, or even just one missing cover plate. While you’re at it, take a peek under your sinks to make sure everything below is dry!  Buyers are mentally subtracting value for each potential problem they see. Don’t let that happen- you’ve got this one!

3. KNOW YOUR NUMBERSIt is very important to know what selling will COST at the end of the day.  Now is the time to call a Realtor so you are ahead of the game to avoid any surprises come closing day! Do you know how much you owe on your mortgage(s)?  What are the State and County transfer and recordation fees? Does your HOA require anything specific for the sale? There is a lot involved in selling your home even after the beautiful photos have been taken, the Open House is over, and a Contract is in place. Realtors have resources and relationships to get the answers you need.  Know this upfront.  Gather the best information, see if you think they’d be a good fit for you, and build trust with the person that is handling your biggest investment.  Ring Ring, CHA-CHING!

  • ask your Realtor for an “Estimated Net Sheet” or “Prelim Closing Disclosure”

4.  WATCH MORE TELEVISION  hgtvNow this is a fun one! You likely watch HGTV already, but when you are preparing to sell your OWN house, you may absorb the information in a different way.  This is a good thing! Many of the shows reinforce what you have heard about the positive impact of de-cluttering, cleaning and staging your home (in most cases, you can work with the furniture and home accessories you already own).  All three have a direct affect on the amount of money you will Net from your sale.  Sit back, relax and….take notes!

5. DON’T CRY, SAY GOODBYE!bye.jpgA client of mine once told me about how she took principles from Marie Kondo’s book on tidying up to prepare for the market.  She went room by room, item by item asking herself “Does this bring me joy?”.  If she hesitated to say YES or if she said NO, she put it in a trash or donation pile.  She had lived in her home for over 25 years and was able to get through the process using this simple tool.  When cleaning out my closets last year, I personally found this method both enjoyable and gratifying.  Try it-let me know how it works for you:)

**If you need somewhere to donate your clothes, I recommend Interfaith Clothing at 751 Twinbrook Parkway in Rockville, MD.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Leave a comment-I’d love to hear about other ideas you have for home prep in the winter months!

Until next time…xoxo