Brooks & Crowley - March 2021

Review Brooks & Crowley

March 2021


439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

*Services Throughout Massachusetts


Since we write the newsletters over a month ahead, I occasionally think about the potential of a new crisis or disaster arising before the next newsletter comes out. Whenever you consider “risks,” you weigh everything going right and wrong in your life and the world. But here’s the thing: Even when everything is going wrong, there are people who will always be there for you to help make it right. Those people can be friends, family, or even just your partner. But with March being Optimism Month, I started thinking about one particularly optimistic friend who helped us get through the very start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve ever had a friend who knows how to make the most out of a bad situation, then you probably know how awesome it feels when they do that for you and your family. That’s what my friend Eddie did for us. As schools and workplaces suddenly shut down, the world immediately felt like a very unstable, even scary place. Our closest friends were isolated from each other; we didn’t know how to proceed with spending time together. But Eddie, the husband of my great law school friend Steffani, opened up his large, private backyard for friends and family so we could spend time in a safe way. Around his firepit, we’d drink and talk about how we’re all coping with the pandemic. Eddie, by far the eldest of the group and a man who suffered through many tough experiences while making his way through the gritty streets of Swampscott, was always a steady hand. Thankfully, everyone stayed healthy throughout those early days. I think fondly of those nights with their sense of normalcy despite the chaos that surrounded us. Eddie and Steffani’s hospitality and optimism aren’t reserved for buddies only, either. Within our circle, many volunteer for the Brookline Food Pantry. During the fall, they became the host committee for a virtual fundraising event. The fundraiser was a massive success, with many people coming through to send their support for local families — that was definitely a fall highlight for all of us. If really good things like that can happen during a pandemic, I think there are still plenty of reasons to look forward to the future. Plus, as of this writing, vaccines are starting to roll out. We’re truly beginning to see

the light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-19 pandemic. Events like the Boston Marathon and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are being moved to this fall. That’s a heck lot better than being canceled. Although I know the vaccines will take a while to come around to everyone, I’m not too worried. I may not be a doctor, but I can say with fair certainty that sharing a Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey with a friend is the second-best medicine you can get. –Steve Brooks


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A Little Distraction

This One Small Thing Is Killing Your Productivity

Distractions in your workplace destroy your productivity, regardless of where you actually work. But here’s the kicker: Some distractions don’t always register as distractions because they’re often minor, like a knock at the door or a conversation you can hear from two cubicles over. However, even when a distraction doesn’t feel like a distraction, it still kills your productivity. But one distraction in particular can absolutely ruin productivity. It isn’t as obvious as an unexpected phone call or a meeting that could have been an email. It’s a small, normal part of our everyday lives: the notification . We get notifications on our phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even our smartwatches. Notifications are everywhere, and we’re conditioned to accept them. Take email, for example. You’re likely in the habit of checking email periodically — or whenever you get a notification. It can feel natural to quickly check your email and then get back to what you were doing. Except that never happens. When an email, text, or other random notification distracts you, it completely diverts attention away from what you were doing. If it’s spam, you may delete the email. Or, if you need to respond, it might take a few

minutes or more. You may spend anywhere between 20 seconds to 20 minutes on any given email. However, this isn’t where time is lost. If you’re responding to a customer email, for instance, that is part of your productivity. The time is lost when you attempt to get back to what you were doing before checking your notifications.

A University of California, Irvine study found that it takes an average of 23 minutes to get back to your task after every distraction, not just email. Over the course of a day, that adds up to a significant amount of wasted time. How do you overcome this? Your best bet is to turn off notifications. Most devices let you customize your notifications so you can turn them off during working hours. Here’s another quick tip: Set aside time during the day to check emails, texts, and other messages. You will significantly reduce the amount of time spent trying to refocus on the important tasks at hand.

How Can Real Estate Law Help You? Don’t Wait — Get the Legal Advice You Need Today

Condominium conversions. If you want to convert apartments to condos, we can help every step of the way, including providing engineering referrals and coordination of site and floor plans, condominium documentation preparation, and sales of units. Private financing. We represent both borrower and lender clients in all aspects of private financing for residential and commercial real estate transactions. Real estate development. We assist commercial developers, owners, and lenders with the acquisition, permitting, sales, and leasing of major real estate projects. No project is too big or too small. Commercial real estate. We counsel our business clients on commercial real estate issues, including financing, development, entity formation, buy-sell agreements, and more.

At Brooks & Crowley LLP, we work closely with clients to understand their needs and respond to changing circumstances and demanding time requirements. We ensure all deadlines are met so you are protected if something goes wrong with the deal. Our attorneys have conducted thousands of real estate transactions at our offices, clients’ homes and workplaces, and registries of deeds. Our real estate services include: Purchase and sale agreements. Real estate deals often rely on fill-in-the-blank agreements, but we draft various types of custom agreements for buyers and sellers and will negotiate to get you the best deal before signing an agreement. Title and settlement services. We manage all aspects of real estate closings, including representation of lenders, preparation of settlement documents, and handling of the closing.

Whether you are looking for office space or developing a major project, we have the legal knowledge to help. Reverse mortgages. A potential source of much-needed income for elderly clients, reverse mortgages can be hard to understand. We advise seniors of their options and help them decide if a reverse mortgage to access the equity in their home is right for them. As real estate attorneys, we understand the real estate market in the Boston area and beyond, and we are connected to a network of mortgage lenders and real estate professionals — including out-of-state and specialty attorneys — to ensure all of your bases are covered.

Got a real estate concern or question? Don’t hesitate to give us a call today!


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When you're preparing food, the last thing you want to use is a dull knife. Not only does it make cutting more difficult, but it's also dangerous. That’s because you have to apply more force with a dull knife than a sharp one, which can lead to serious injury if your hand slips. Here a few sharpening methods to consider if your kitchen blades are getting dull. Honing Steel This tool is commonly misunderstood. While a honing steel won’t sharpen your knives, it is a crucial part of the sharpening process and caring for your knives. Honing steels are used to realign knife blades, which begin to bend over time. Straightening the blade with a honing steel will make cutting with and sharpening the knife easier. Whetstones A whetstone is one of the most reliable ways to sharpen your knives because it gives you control over the process. Though you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions on your particular stone, you need to saturate most whetstones with water before use. Once saturated, place your knife at a 20-degree angle at the top of the coarse side of the whetstone. Drag the blade down the length of the stone in an even sweeping motion.

Repeat this several times on both sides of the blade, then flip the whetstone and repeat the process on the side with the fine grain. Professional Sharpener The best and safest way to get your knives sharp is to let a professional do it. Not only will they keep your blades straight and perfectly sharp, but they also understand how to care for your knives and ensure their longevity. Even if you sharpen your knives at home occasionally, take them to a professional at least once a year. Knife Sharpeners If you do use a manual or electric knife sharpener at home, use it on cheaper knives and not your most treasured chef ’s knife. Knife sharpeners may be inexpensive and easy to use, but they can also grind the blade down, which can harm it rather than sharpen it. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll keep your knives as sharp as they were the day you bought them.


English Ground Beef Pasties


• • •

3/4 lb ground beef

• • •

1 tsp dried parsley

1 medium onion, diced 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 2 sheets store-bought puff pastry dough

Salt and pepper, to taste 1/4 cup beef broth (as needed)


1. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, onion, and potatoes. 3. Roll out the pastry dough into roughly 10-inch circles or squares. 4. Spoon 1/2 of the beef mixture onto each sheet of dough, then top the mixture with parsley, salt, and pepper. 5. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pinching

each pasty shut and tucking in both ends. 6. Transfer the pasties to the prepared baking sheet, then cut several small slits in each pasty for ventilation. Bake for 45 minutes. 7. Remove the pasties from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 F. Spoon 1 tsp beef broth into each slit, then bake for an additional 15 minutes.

8. Serve and enjoy!

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439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026 Inside This Issue

1 How Friends Help Us Stay Optimistic 2 Don’t Let This Tiny Distraction Destroy Your Productivity

How Can Real Estate Law Help You? 3 4 Methods to Keep Your Knives Sharp

English Ground Beef Pasties

4 Good News in Boston

Good News in Boston Best Coffee Spots to Brighten Your Month

Tough week? Get your morning started on the right foot with a perfect cup of coffee! Here are the best spots to sneak in your caffeine fix before your first Zoom call of the day. Café Landwer 900 Beacon St., Boston, 857-753-4035 383 Chestnut Hill Ave., Brighton, 617-383-5786 Israel’s first coffee roasting business chose Boston to be its first American location in 2018, and now it’s grown to two locations! While its coffee is the main attraction, you can also find freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, and a wide variety of Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Enjoy your coffee with a tasty, healthy meal, too. Revival Cafe + Kitchen 103 Newbury St., Boston, 617-665-5899 197 Elm St., Somerville, 617-665-5899 125 Cambridge Park Drive, Cambridge, 617-665-5899

As the coronavirus economy came crashing down on the restaurant industry, chef Steve “Nookie” Postal put his Cambridge restaurant Commonwealth into “hibernation” until an unannounced date in 2021. However, you can still pick up great pastries, sandwiches, and coffee at his trio of coffee shops he founded with Crema Cafe’s Liza Shirazi. Enjoy their curbside pickup and golden crema (double shot of espresso with honey and cinnamon) on the go! Recreo 1876 Centre St, West Roxbury, 617-553-2379 1 City Hall Square, Boston, 857-233-2747 You love your local farm-to-table restaurants — what about a farm-to-cup coffeehouse? Recreo Coffee & Roasterie was recently voted best coffeehouse in Massachusetts, located near our office! You'll get premium Nicaraguan coffee that supports and practices social and environmental stewardship. Their incredible cup of joe is made with single-origin coffee grown at their family farm in Jinotega,

Nicaragua. Don't want to walk in? Enjoy their affordable weekly or monthly coffee subscriptions to prepare your locally roasted coffee at home!


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