Archive for November, 2010

San Diego December Calendar of Events

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Can you believe it’s the beginning of December and the start of the holiday season already? Is it just me or did this year fly by very quickly? I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season, and a new year filled with joy, good health and lots of laughter. Here are the December happenings…

Throughout December, Holiday of Lights ‚ Del Mar Fairgrounds
Drive around the Del Mar Racetrack and view more than 400 spectacular lighted scenes, from the comfort of your car. Displays are organized into themes including Candy Cane Lane, Toyland,
Twelve Days of Christmas, and more. Open every night including holidays.
Time: Sun ‚ Thurs 5:30 pm ‚ 10:00 pm / Fri & Sat 5:30 pm ‚ 10:30 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit

Throughout December, Temecula Winterfest
The entire city will be decked out for the season. During Winterfest there will be a variety of events for children and adults including visits with Santa and horse drawn carriage rides. The city’s holiday lights are on display and carolers roam downtown. Local shops and restaurants will be featuring Winterfest specials, and “snow” will arrive at the Children’s Museum during the fest.
Time: Refer to website
Location: Old Town Temecula
For more information visit

December 1 ‚ 22, Annual Art of the Holiday
Do your holiday shopping from an abundance of goods created by the regional artists and artisans. Choose from a wide selection of jewelry, perfumes, vases, cookware, wood bowls, leather goods, mosaic boxes, painted silk scarves and clothing, fiber art wall hangings, and so much more. FREE.
Time: Mon-Sat 10:00 am ‚ 4:00 pm / Sun Noon ‚ 3:00 pm
Location: Art Center at Fallbrook, 103 S. Main at Alvarado, Fallbrook
For more information visit

December 3, Coronado Christmas Parade ‚
Open House ‚ Snow Mountain
The holiday season in Coronado starts when Santa arrives by ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing.
A festive parade along Orange Avenue follows, while merchants keep their doors open late for shopping. Santa lights the 75-foot star pine Christmas tree located in the center of town as the community band plays holiday music. Snow Mountain is open from 3:00to 8:00 pm.
The evening finishes with 2 concerts at 2 different locations.
Time: Refer to website for schedule
Location: Ferry Landing Marketplace ‚ Coronado
For more information visit

December 3 & 4, Balboa Park December Nights
Free community festival. Balboa Park holiday extravaganza featuring two days of light displays, nativity, Santa, musical & dance presentations, plus shopping, and holiday food & spirits. More than 80 museums & cultural organizations will be open for this event. Participating museums will be free to the public from 5:00 to 9:00 each evening.
Time: Fri 5:00 pm ‚ 10:00 pm / Sat Noon ‚ 10:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park
For more information visit

December 12, Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade
A pet parade where pets and people can dress up in costume and march in a parade through the Gaslamp Quarter with the hope to win a prize. The event isn’t just for dogs; any pet will do. A fun parade to watch or participate in. This event includes a Pet Expo.
Time: 1:20 pm ‚ 4:00 pm / Pet Expo 2:00 pm ‚ 5:00 pm
Parade Route: Starts from the Hilton Hotel parking lot at 5th & L Street.
Admission $10.00 per pet & owner for the parade & costume contest.
For more information visit

December 12, Annual Pacific Beach Holiday Parade
A community holiday parade that features floats, marching bands, color guards, community groups, children marching groups, clowns, Santa Claus, and more.
Time: 1:00 pm ‚ 4:00 pm
Parade Route: Garnet Ave/Haines St, Garnet Ave., Bayard St/Garnet Ave.
For more information visit

December 12 & 19, San Diego Bay Boat Parade of Lights
Spectacular event–free to view! The Annual Port of San Diego Boat Parade of Lights features a large fleet of private craft decorated and illuminated for the holidays. The boat parade will travel a 7-mile route from Shelter Island to Coronado.
Time: 5:30 pm ‚ 9:00 pm
Parade Route: Begins at the southwest end of Shelter Island, past Harbor Island,
the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, past the Convention Center, the Coronado Island Marriott Hotel,
the Coronado Ferry Landing Marketplace and ends at the Navy carrier turning basin.
For more information visit

December 18, Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights
A decorated and lighted boat procession will parade in single file on Mission Bay, some broadcasting holiday music. This popular lighted boat parade begins at Quivira Basin, and along Crown Point, Vacation Island, Fiesta Island, & Sea World. Best viewing areas for this event is from Crown Point,
or the west side of Fiesta Island,or the east side of Vacation Island.
Time: 7:00 pm ‚ 9:00 pm
Location: Mission Bay
For more information visit

December 23, 6th Annual San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
The game pits a team from the Mountain West Conference against a bowl-eligible
Pac-10 team or an at-large opponent.
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd.
For more information visit

December 26-30, Garden of Light ‚ San Diego Botanic Garden
Annual holiday celebration at the San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens) in Encinitas. Over 100,000 lights will illuminate the Gardens. Festivities include horse-drawn-wagon rides, holiday crafts, marshmallow roasting, visits with Santa, live music, and refreshments. Special holiday tales and tunes for children ages two to six will be offered several nights in December.
Time: 5:00 pm ‚ 9:00 pm
Location: San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas
For more information visit

December 30, Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade
America’s Largest Balloon Parade! Massive inflatables, numbering more than any other parade in the nation, colorful floats, unique drill teams,and marching bands, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, and…the Wienermobile!!!
Time: 9:00 am ‚ 11:30 am / Parade: 10:00 am
Parade Route: Begins at the County Admin Bldg parking lot, down North Harbor Drive
and follows the waterfront, ending at West Harbor Dr.
For more information visit

December 30, Amtrak Big Bay Family Festival
If you’re coming down to watch the Big Bay Balloon Parade, be sure to stop by this festival for some family fun. You can test your skills on a rock wall, carnival games, video games, or a field goal kick. Need more to do? Then shop for merchandise, listen to the Battle of the University Bands, and definitely get an airbrush tattoo! Free admission.
Time: 11:00 am ‚ 2:00 pm
Location: Downtown San Diego ‚ Broadway Pier at the end of Broadway & North Harbor Dr.
For more information call 619-283-5808

December 31, Big Night San Diego New Year’s Eve Gala
Big Night San Diego is the perfect, ALL-INCLUSIVE night.
Leave your wallet at home (just remember to bring your ID), because your ticket includes everything –
all drinks included all night – with NO LONG LINES, Plus, a buffet and entertainment throughout the
TWELVE different party zones
Time: Refer to website
Location: The Hilton San Diego Bayfront, One Park Boulevard
For tickets/information visit

December 31, Kids’ New Year’s Eve at Legoland
A one-of-a-kind Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party. The party kicks off at 3:00 pm with fun entertainment in Miniland as we countdown to the new year. Mini revelers will receive party favors including glow necklaces, fireworks viewing glasses and noisemakers. Enjoy a fireworks extravaganza at
6:00 pm. It’s a New Year’s the kids will never forget. See website for
ticket prices.
Time: 3:00 pm ‚ 7:00 pm
Location: Legoland, One Legoland Dr., Carlsbad
For more information visit
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$50k Grant to Carlsbad Unified School District

Monday, November 29th, 2010

There is some great news on the horizon for San Diego schools. The Carlsbad Unified School District was one of several districts in San Diego county that was recently awarded $50,000 in federal technology grants. This was part of over $3 million in grants that went to schools in San Diego County. The grants will be used toward education data and technology to help students better prepare for college.

Other recipients of $50,000 included the San Diego County Office of Education, Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, Escondido Union School District and Charter School of San Diego.

With the state of California financially strapped these grants could not have come at a better time. Recently, Proposition P allocated funds to Carlsbad schools to help with construction grants to update dilapidated buildings and build additions to campuses. With the new technology grants our schools will be ready to face the future and assure that our students get an even better education.

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Holiday Home Sale Advantages

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

The holiday time is not typically known as the best time to list a home for sale, but it actually can be advantageous. Buyers out looking for homes during the holiday times tend to be very serious buyers; add to that the fact that inventory is typically at it’s lowest during the holidays, which means less competition and more bargaining power. So if you are serious about selling the holidays can be a great time to attract buyers, although you should follow a few simple steps to make sure your home looks the best it can be.

1. Simplify decorations. During the holidays many of us tend to have fun with holiday decor. The key to making your home look great for buyers, while at the same time allowing you to celebrate the holidays, is simplicity. Go ahead and put your tree in the home, hang the stockings…but remember that you don’t want to over-do it. Buyers need to be able to imagine their own holiday celebrations in the house.

The same rule applies for outside decorations as well. The key is to be festive, without being the home on the block that people come to see from towns far away! Avoid big inflatable decor that takes up yard space.

2. Avoid gift clutter. I don’t know about you, but during this time of year I not only have presents laying around for my kids, but I also have a stash of gifts (some wrapped, some awaiting wrapping) laying around for family, friends and colleagues. Usually there are a few rolls of wrapping paper and ribbon nearby too. It is important to make sure these gifts are stashed away during showings and open houses. Keep in mind that gifts under the Christmas tree take up floor space and give an air of a cluttered room.

3. Minimize odors. Many people like the abundance of holiday smells–pine, baked goods, holiday candles. Keep in mind that although they may smell good to you a potential buyer may not like them. It also may make buyers think you are trying to mask odors if there are too many strong smells in the home. Granted, holiday time brings some natural smells like the scent of pine from the tree, but don’t go overboard with a myriad of other scents.

4. Forgo Music. Although it is tempting to pipe holiday music throughout your home at this time of year, it is wise to refrain from doing so for open houses and showings. Letting buyers experience the quiet in your home is a better bet, especially given the fact that everywhere we go during this time of the year there is holiday music playing. Let them feel that your home is a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the season.

Although there are times of the year that are considered better times to sell your home, the holidays can be as advantageous a time if you stage and market accordingly. Talk to your Realtor about other great ideas you can implement to make your home attract those serious buyers. Happy Holidays!

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Thanksgiving in San Diego

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year…spending time with my family, great food, relaxation, no gifts or pressure. The four day weekend is pretty nice too! If you are looking for things to do this Thanksgiving holiday in San Diego county you are in luck.

Thanksgiving Day Family Buffet Cruise: Enjoy a traditional holiday meal San Diego style–out on the bay with Hornblower Cruises. The menu looks scrumptious and you’ll enjoy a 2 and a half hour cruise. Boarding time 3:00, cruise is from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Discount tickets are available for seniors and children. For tickets and more information visit

Thanksgiving Buffet by the Sea in Carlsbad: The Hilton Garden Inn is hosting a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Seating is limited so call 760-476-0800.

Town and Country Resort Thanksgiving Dinner: Another wonderful traditional buffet dinner for those who prefer to be on land. 3:00-6:00p.m. For more information and reservations visit

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Resort Thanksgiving Dinner: For those with a refined palate, this dinner menu sounds delicious. 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Torreyana Grille.

Holiday of Lights at the Del Mar Fairgrounds: If you have never been this is a treat, especially for the children. A beautiful light show viewed from the comfort of your car–pile up the family and enjoy the show. Opens Thanksgiving day through January 4.

First Annual San Diego Holiday Arts Festival: Come on over to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on Friday, November 26-Sunday, November 28, for an incredible display of holiday arts and crafts, musicians, circus acts, performances and more. 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10:00-5:00 Sunday.

Father Joe’s Villages Thanksgiving Day 5K Run: Thanksgiving Day at 8:00 a.m. in Balboa Park. Proceeds go to feed the homeless.

Run for the Hungry, by Jewish Family Service and San Diego Food Bank. 7-10:00 a.m. at Petco Park. Join this 9th annual 10k/5k run/walk.

These are just some of the events going on throughout San Diego this Thanksgiving holiday, so get out there and enjoy!

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Government May Help Pay for Your Home Improvements

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced that it has initiated a program that could help you pay for home energy improvements. This program will grant loans, called FHA PowerSaver Loans, to credit-worthy borrowers up to $25,000 to make energy efficient improvements of their choice.

PowerSaver loans will be backed by the FHA, and up to 90% of the loan amount will be insured by FHA mortgage insurance. Lenders will be chosen to participate in the program based on commitment and ability to provide energy saving loans. Interest rates will be low and borrowers must have at least some equity in their homes, but it is not yet clear exactly how much and whether it will be a case-by-case basis.

Examples of energy efficient improvements include duct sealing, new doors and windows, water heaters, HVAC systems, solar panels, insulation and georthermal systems. It is not clear whether energy efficient appliances–such as washers and dishwashers–are included but most states have programs that provide rebates for these appliances.

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Do You Know the Biggest Foreclosure Myth?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

There are many misconceptions about purchasing foreclosure properties, even though many people think it is the best way to save money when buying a new home. I just posted a new blog on MoneyPress detailing the biggest foreclosure myth of them all. To read more visit

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Is There Still Value in Home Ownership?

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Since the founding of our country home ownership has always been a valuable goal to attain. People bought homes and stayed in them most of their lives, often passing them along to their children. Homes were an important part of our lives–where our children were raised, where we spent holidays, threw the first baseball on the front lawn with our children, taught them to bake in our kitchens, and measured their growth on our door frames. But today much has changed, or has it?

Lately there have been stories printed about an attitude shift away from owning a home, concluding that it simply is not as important as it used to be. Interestingly, a National Association of Realtors study found that 8 in 10 Americans still believe home ownership makes sense, and 63% of renters site it as a high or moderate priority. With all the press out there you may be wondering whether there is still value in owning a home. Let’s look at some of the benefits.

Ownership: When you own a home, even if you are paying a mortgage, it is YOURS. You don’t have to get permission to paint the walls pink, change the carpet or plant a garden (granted if you have a homeowner’s association you may have some restrictions as to the exterior of your home).

Savings. Paying your mortgage each month is like placing money into a savings account; if you plan to stay there a long time eventually the market will rise again and you will build equity. If you need to sell years down the road you will have money in your home. Making that payment every month also forces you to save money. On the other hand, renting puts that money into another’s pocket every month.

Protection from inflation. Your home protects you from inflation, even if only minutely. But historically speaking appreciation outruns inflation over time.

Sense of security and responsibility. Owning a home gives the owners a sense of security. You don’t have to worry about getting evicted if your landlord goes into foreclosure. You feel better about making payments each month on something that is your own. As long as you purchase a home that you can afford it makes you feel good to know you are paying toward ownership.

Sustainability. Home ownership is sustainable and if you buy smart (during a time when the prices are down, timing is ripe for negotiations, and interest rates are at an all-time low–hey, that sounds like NOW) your long-term investment will pay off down the road.

Taxes: Home ownership can be beneficial due to the mortgage interest deductions and other deductions. If you subtract these amounts from your mortgage owning can actually prove to be cheaper in the long run than renting.

Of course home ownership is not ideal for everyone. If your job involves a sufficient amount of traveling you may not be able to tend to the upkeep on a home. If you cannot afford a home of course it is wise to save money and wait until you can (although nowadays the lenders have pretty much made it impossible to buy a home if you are unable to afford it). If you have been transferred to a new state or city for job reasons I advise living there first for some time before purchasing, so buying a home off the bat may not be the best option in this case.

No matter how you look at it, it seems to me the bottom line is that homeownership is still part of the American dream. Many of us are down right now due to the depressed economy, and making big purchasing decisions may not sound like a good idea. It is important to discuss this with your accountant or financial planner and your Realtor first. But if it is a possibility it is a great time to be a homeowner.

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New Real Estate Laws You Should Understand

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Starting January 1, 2011 there will be some new laws effecting buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters, as well as foreclosures. To read the full text of the laws you can go to http:// Here they are in a nut shell.

Short Sale Deficiencies Not Allowed. Lenders may not go after borrowers for the short sale deficiencies any longer after January 1. Once the lender has given written permission to accept the short sale price it is bound to accept that price as payment in full of the obligation. This law applies to first trust deeds only, in residential 1-4 unit properties, and still permits the lender to seek damages for fraud or waste committed by the borrower in relation to the sale. Senate Bill 931.

Home Inspection Report Energy Audit Inclusion. Buyers will be allowed to ask that an energy audit be included in their home inspection report, according to the standards of the Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS). Assembly Bill 1809 and California Civil Code Section 2079.10.

Adverse Possession Claim Restriction. A person or entity may not initiate a claim for adverse possession (taking of property of another) without certified proof that all taxes–state, county and municipal–have been paid for the five year period the property has been occupied and claimed. Assembly Bill 1684.

Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) Enforcement. One who acts as a MLO without a license endorsement as such will be guilty of a crime. Senate Bill 1137.

Post-Foreclosure Tenant Protection. Tenants remaining on property after a foreclosure sale must receive a notice of tenant’s statutory rights. There is another part of this bill that also protects residential tenants’ credit. Senate Bill 1149.

Tenant Protection and Domestic Violence. A landlord cannot terminate a tenancy based on domestic violence that occurred or is alleged against the tenant or his/her household members. There are some exceptions. A landlord is also required to change exterior locks on leases entered into after January 1, 2011 upon written request of the tenant and within 24 hours of a request. For details and exception see Senate Bill 782.

Real Estate Fraud Protections. There are several new laws pertaining to foreclosure consultants, mailed solicitations and grant deeds, and for renting out dwellings without owner permission. See Assembly Bills 2325, 1373 and 1800.

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Get Tech-Savvy in Carlsbad!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Want to learn how to use Twitter, Google, Skype or Facebook? Curious how to hook up your computer to your television, or how to use Windows 7 to view movies on Nexflix?

If you have been looking for ways to get caught up with what’s going on on the internet, or even just learning to use Windows and other computer functions then you are in luck. The city of Carlsbad is offering a slew of computer classes at the Senior Center, beginning this week. All ages are welcome and there are many classes to choose from. To learn more and see the schedule visit and click on “Computer Classes.”

Happy learning!

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November Calendar for San Diego

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Here are some great events happening throughout San Diego in the month of November…enjoy:

7th Annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival: November 17-21. Join over 9,000 foodies and wine enthusiasts, including chefs, authors, winemakers, media personalities, and celebrity chefs during this week-long festival. Visit the festival website at or call 619-342-7337 for more information and specific scheduling.

Outdoor Ice Rink at Horton Plaza Square: November 18- January 9. If you haven’t been to the ice rink during the holidays you need to make a trip this year. It’s great fun for the entire family. Ticket sales for skating benefit the Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital. Skate rental is included with admission. Visit

Escondido Children’s Museum Fall Family Fun Raiser: November 20. This event will be held from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at 380 N. Escondido Blvd, Escondido 92025. Activities, games, food tasting and a silent auction are just some of the fun events planned to raise money for the museum. For tickets visit or call 760-233-7755.

Annual Mother Goose Parade: November 21. One of the longest running and popular parades in San Diego, the El Cajon Mother Goose Parade is great fun. Come on out and see floats, celebrities, and performances. For more information visit

Dixieland Jazz Festival: November 24-28. If you are a jazz enthusiast this is the place to be! Lots of musicians, styles and dance floors, with both concert rooms and intimate listening rooms for your enjoyment. The festival is conveniently located at the Town and Country Hotel in Hotel Circle, off the 8 Freeway. For more information visit

Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk: November 25. Strap on your running or walking sneakers and head on over to Balboa Park. Pets, baby strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. For more information visit

Sea World Christmas Celebration: November 26-December 31 Come and see Sea World in full holiday attire. Visit the wintery wonderland and go ice skating with the family. For more information visit

Special Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid ‚”Plaid Tidings: November 27-December 26. If you loved Forever Plaid this holiday show will be a real treat. For more information visit

Surfin Santa Visits Seaport Village: November 27. Bring the kids down to see Santa, who will be there from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on the boardwalk near Pier Cafe.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas: November 20-December 26 Come down to the Old Globe Theatre to see this wonderful holiday play.

Susan G. Komen San Diego Race for the Cure: November 7. Run or walk, every step makes a difference toward helping find a cure for breast cancer.

Julian Apple Days Festival: September 15‚November 15. This fantastic festival is fun for the whole family. or 760-765-4758.

San Diego Italian Film Festival: Through November 5. Visit

San Diego Symphony: Dia de los Muertos: November 1.

Taste of Little Italy: November 3. Come hungry. Need I say more?

San Diego Jewish Book Fair: November 3-15. Lots of new authors will be there. On November 7 bring the entire family to the free Family Day extravaganza, with music, storytelling, fun activities for kids and more.

San Diego Beer Week: November 5-14. Celebrate the local beer brewing culture.

10th Annual Fall Back Festival: November 7. Come to the Gaslamp Quarter between 4th and 5th streets and celebrate the time change with food and entertainment and lots of family fun.

5K Shelter Island Run: November 7. Sunday champagne breakfast, t-shirts to all participants and some great drawings for overnight stays, restaurants and more.

Carlsbad Village Street Faire: November 7. Fun, food, crafts, art…a wonderful day to spend the day.

Taste of Coronado: November 10. Take a stroll down Orange Avenue in Coronado and feast upon all the delicious flavors offered at participating restaurants. All proceeds benefit military families through Operation Purple.

Veterans Day Parade: November 11. Popular downtown parade honoring our veterans, including ceremonies and events.

Veterans Day at the Veterans Museum: November 11. Learn history, see exhibits and meet veterans after the parade at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

Silver Strand Half Marathon and 5K Race: November 13-14. Run along the strand from Coronado to Imperial Beach and benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Star of India’s Birthday Celebration: November 14. Come join the celebration honoring the 147th birthday of San Diego’s famous ship. Party is from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

‚Ä¢ November 2 ‚ Election Day
‚Ä¢ November 7 ‚ Daylight Savings Time ends
• November 11 ‚ Veteran’s Day
‚Ä¢ November 25 ‚ Thanksgiving
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