Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

Memories of Home: Why Homeownership Should Still be the American Dream

Friday, March 9th, 2012

You have probably read the statistics that say that the younger generation of Americans have no desire to own homes. Being younger, the majority of what they have seen in their adult lives involves negativity and tragedy in the housing market – people losing their homes, underwater and unable to pay their mortgages, left with no equity and thus no way to refinance. They have seen prices drop and neighborhoods abandoned, new construction halted and the rental market hit all-time highs. No wonder they don’t want to buy!

I feel sad that the idea of homeownership has deteriorated, not just because I am in the business of finding the right home for people, but because I have children and want them to understand the value of a home. It is not just a place where we keep our things, but rather is a place where we make memories, spend time with family and friends, seek shelter from the cruelties and challenges of the world. A home is a safe harbor, a place where we can be ourselves.

I thought I would ask a question of some friends and family members, and also on Facebook, to see how important homes are to people, so I asked, “What is your favorite memory of the home you grew up in?” Here are some of the responses:

• Family holidays – they were always at our home and I loved them. My mom cooked all day and the house smelled so good and was so festive

• Playing outside at night with all the neighborhood kids…

• Sleep over parties in our huge living room! We’d have sleeping bags everywhere and [my brother] would come out in the middle of the night and mess with all of us. Fun times 🙂

• Playing Charlie’s Angels around the apartment building complete with groovy sunglasses and mom’s purse. We were SO grown up!

• Playing in the middle of the street with the other neighborhood kids, w/o any fear whatsoever, having good fun, and they had to go home when the street lights went on !

• The way the whole house smelled when my mom made her homemade marinara sauce – she cooked it all day and we would come in from playing outside and get to dip big pieces of bread in it

• Playing in our basement…climbing trees…making tree houses…and catching craw daddies in our creek.

• Walking home from high school to eat lunch and watch soap operas before going back

• Having my cousins and family over on the weekends for swimming and barbeques

• Our backyard treehouse! All the neighborhood kids came over to play in it

• Having our birthday parties in our yard – one year we had a petting zoo and pony rides, and lots of times we had jump houses

• Two of my closest friends lived next door and across the street – we would always be over each others’ houses, sharing clothes and hanging out

• Doing doughnuts in our circular driveway (not a safe thing, looking back!)

Our memories of home shape who we are. Try to think of your childhood, and I bet that your home plays a big role in the memories you have – your friends, school, family, pets, holidays…the list is endless. Please share your favorite memories from home here, to add to the many reasons why a home is so much more than just a house. I hope the American dream of homeownership will once again become one that our children not only will be able to realize, but will desire.

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Planning for Business Success in the New Year

Monday, December 26th, 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, spent with loved ones, and was able to take a little time off. I rarely do take time off, and these past few days were truly wonderful – just being with my family and not paying attention to my phone or computer. It was well-deserved and much appreciated, and now I am ready to focus on the New Year.

This time of year we typically see lots of advice on how to prepare our businesses and ourselves for the new year, so that we can be more successful. I hope the following will help you to focus on prioritizing, planning and achieving success.

Organize. I know many talented, smart business colleagues who are not reaching their full potential because they are not organized. The clutter in their business lives truly makes it hard for them to drive forward and be the ultimate version of themselves. Organization is so important in business and in all aspects of your life, and there is no time like the present to start. Whether you use programs and apps to keep track of expenses, files, clients, appointments, or plain file folders and tabs and spreadsheets…there is just so much out there to help you get organized.

This could obviously be a post in itself, so I’ll leave it at this: find the way that helps you best, and just get started. Load all your contacts into a program, organize your files, record all your expenses in a program or at least in a folder. Then make lists of all the things you can do to stay organized throughout the year, and stick to it.

Prioritize. I have really been focusing on this task with my middle-school aged daughter, and it is hard to learn. Many of us tend to jump in and tackle things, with no plan. But if you stop and prioritize first, you will make your life a lot easier. Sometimes in business everything can seem like top priority, and this is where you need to take a step back and not let things bog you down. I make a list each morning when I start work of the things I need to accomplish that day, in order of importance. Throughout the course of the day my list might be altered, things will have to be pushed down to the bottom, and others will have to be tabled until the following day. But the fact that I have this list every day makes getting things done a lot easier.

Contact management. This is clearly a must for any business dealing with clients or customers. Staying in contact with these people is not only important, it is the difference between business life and death. Keeping all your contacts in an organized fashion helps you to stay in contact with them, call them, and not forget that they are your most important assets. There are many programs to help you do this, from free (like MailChimp) to expensive (like TopProducer). You can also use spread sheets, but make sure you update them constantly and pay attention to these most important assets!

Blogging. I have written blogs about the importance of blogging, yet many people still do not blog. If it is fear preventing you from doing so, you have nothing to be afraid of. You do not have to be a writer to blog. What you do have to be in an area/field expert – talk about what you know. The more you do, the more you will be seen as an expert, which will drive customers to you. and open up other opportunities. If you don’t like to write you can use video. The important thing is just to do it, and to make your content rich with information – fun, interesting, and informative.

Time management. Your time is extremely valuable. Many of us get so caught up in all the things we have to do that we fail to take care of ourselves, spend time with loved ones, relax…we need all those things! You cannot be successful if you are just a driven machine all the time. Each weekend I schedule all my appointments for the week ahead – business appointments, meetings, classes, and everything else – like picking up my children from school, working out, family time, date night with my husband and personal appointments. If it is in my schedule it is sacred (sometimes things need to be moved around, but I strive to stick to it). If you still can’t do it, you might want to think about hiring an assistant.

The bottom line is that you can be more productive and more successful. Of course, there are other things you can do and you can take things  to another level with apps, programs and other ideas, but whatever you do this coming year, try to keep organized, prioritize, and make time for yourself. Have a very happy New Year!

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The Secrets to a Good Life (as Learned from Lori)

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Today would have been my sister-in-law Lori’s 51st birthday. She was that person you knew who was always full of life, always laughing, creating, joking, happy. She loved to play pranks on her friends, to decorate and remodel homes, to plan. She was an amazing photographer, wife, mother, sister and friend. What I loved most about Lori was her attitude. She always saw the bright side of things. She didn’t harbor regret or bad feelings toward others, never held a grudge, but truly understood that life was meant to be lived. She was one of the rare ones.

Losing Lori was a reminder that life is precious. We are all subjected to this message in our lives, and it can change the way we view life for a moment, for eternity, or somewhere in between. It is how you let it affect you that counts. When things are going well for us we don’t tend to dwell on the “what if’s,” but when we hit a bumpy spot in the road we react – it is how we react that can change the course of our lives.

Here is what I learned from Lori:

* If you are bored, paint the walls and rearrange the furniture.

* If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on traveling, plan where you will go once you do.

* If you need a change, cut your hair.

* If you want to do something/be something/go somewhere and cannot, dream.

* (My favorite) No matter how hard life becomes, laugh.

Nothing in life should be so  hard as to make us want to quit or give up, because, as Lori truly understood, life is what you make it. We create it as we go, and she sure did, up until the last minute. I love you, Lori.


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Quitting Is So Easy

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

There are times in life where everyone feels the urge to give up – whether it be your job, a relationship, exercise routine, diet, or learning something. At those times it is easy to find a multitude of reasons why quitting would be so easy, and we tell ourselves this we can actually justify it. If we quit our job or just stopped working so hard, we could take the day off, see a movie, go to the beach, read a book. If we skipped the gym we could sleep in, go out to breakfast.

In tough times it is even easier to give up. But if you stay the course, trudge onward, persevere, you will find that you will not only learn much, but feel a lot happier. Here is what you will gain by staying the course:

1.  Strength and confidence. The easy way out is just that; if you stay the course you will actually become stronger and gain self confidence. Anyone can quit, but it takes someone special to stick it out and find a way to make it not only tolerable, but enjoyable or beneficial to you.

1.  Knowledge. Those who don’t run away from things that are tough or scary or plain frustrating actually come away with a great deal of knowledge. It can be knowledge of self, of others, of an industry or skill. Often those who stick around and find ways to make it work are the ones who will rise to the top. If you dream of having your own business and you are working for someone, use the skills you learn for your future business. If you stick to your diet you will gain the knowledge of how it feels to have a healthier body, to understand what it feels to be free from lethargy or illness. Knowledge is always power, in any situation.

1.  Happiness. Those who quit tend to feel down, unhappy. Even down the road you will always know that you quit, and that tends to make people feel bad about themselves (sure there are definitely some situations where quitting is necessary, or even the better choice). Those who stay the course and become stronger, more comfortable with themselves and their decision making processes, tend to be happier people.

I have a friend who owns her own business. A while back she was completely unhappy with the way things were going. Her partner was making demands and money was tight, product was not getting to customers quickly enough. She was ready to throw in the towel and start all over in a new business. I asked her why she didn’t instead try to make some changes that would make her happier, stay with it. After all, she had built up the brand and had a reputation in her industry. She ended up making a new business plan and writing down what she wanted in both the short and long term. Good things are happening now and other big companies are considering buying her out or taking over, keeping her on as a salaried consultant. She is happy.

So when you are feeling down and think giving up is easier, do this: take some time away from whatever it is that is making you unhappy – take a day off, or even a few hours, from work, go somewhere alone to be outside of a troubled relationship, do something that involves relaxation and not food so you don’t think about that diet…find time to just be. Then come back and make a list of your expectations, your dreams, your goals. Stick to that and stay on your path. You will be happier in the long run.

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Celebrate Carlsbad and Have a Blast in May

Monday, April 25th, 2011

This is one of my favorite times of the year here in Carlsbad, our beautiful Village by the Sea. Our city offers events for the whole family, a time to get out and enjoy why it is so wonderful to live here. Here are a few of my favorite things that will be going on in May, so grab the entire family and enjoy being outside.

Celebrate Carlsbad Day at Legoland, May 14: Legoland carries on the tradition of Celebrate Carlsbad by discounting tickets to $15 for the day. This is a huge discount off the regular price–which is more than 4x that.. The catch is that tickets must be purchased in advance, so if you would like to spend a day at Legoland and enjoy the great prices, you need to call the Carlsbad Educational Foundation at 760-929-1555, or email You can also purchase tickets at some of our local schools, like Aviara Oaks Middle School.

The best part of Celebrate is that it is hosted by the Carlsbad Educational Foundation (CEF), which benefits local schools, so come on out and support our schools! For more information on CEF and how you can help, visit their website at

Carlsbad Vilage Street Faire, May 1: the famous and fabulous street faire will once again be open for business. If you have never been I highly suggest it–great food, entertainment for all ages, rides for the kids, shopping, crafts…the list is long. Come on down to the Village and mingle with fellow Carlsbadians and enjoy the sunshine. For a list of road closures and to figure out where to parke visit the City’s website at

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San Diego April Event Calendar

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Can you believe April is here? There is a lot to do in San Diego this Spring, so get out there and enjoy!
April 2-3 & 9-10, Escondido Renaissance Faire
The age of chivalry will be recreated among the wonders of nature in an idyllic setting. Activities include several of Will Shakespeare’s new plays, battle pageants, music in the streets, jugglers and hundreds of costumed re-enactors performing in this giant outdoor play.
Time: 10:00 am ‚ 6:00 pm
Location: Felicita County Park, 742 Clarence Lane, Escondido
For more information call 805-496-6036

April 3, San Marcos Spring Festival
The festival route is dotted with over 300 vendor booths. A huge children’s area features rides for children of all ages. The Beer Garden not only includes local microbreweries, but also wonderful food fare from many restaurants of Old California Restaurant Row.
Time: 9:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: San Marcos, on Via Vera Cruz
For more information visit

April 5, Padres Opening Day Block Party
This is an East Village block party in celebration of the opening day of the baseball season. The event will have trade show merchandise, great music, a beer garden, a food court, live entertainment, and more! Free event.
Time: 11:30 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Downtown San Diego, J Street ‚ between 7th & 9th Ave.
For more information visit

April 8, Padres Car Series ‚ Lowrider Showcase
A pre-game Lowrider Showcase takes place before the Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. A fine collection of these decorated vehicles are lined up along the street for viewing and judging. You will also see an amazing demonstration where a specialized lowrider vehicle comes to life. Free event.
Time: 4:30 pm ‚ 8:00 pm
Location: Downtown San Diego, on J Street, between 7th Ave. & 10th Ave.
For more information call 619-795-5146

April 8-9, Golf Fest San Diego
Two-day golf expo where you can meet and get incredible deals from all the top golf club companies, as well as deals on clothing, golf resorts, and golf courses.
Time: 9:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Riverwalk Golf Club, 1150 Fashion Valley Rd., San Diego
For more information visit

April 8-9, Home Decorating & Remodeling Show
This show features home improvement products and services offered by local businesses.
Free admission.
Time: Fri & Sat 10:00 am ‚ 7:00 pm / Sun 10:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, O’Brien Hall, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit

April 8-10, Fallbrook Film Festival
The Festival provides an opportunity for local and visiting film enthusiasts to view a wide array of creative, diverse and compelling works of cinematic art from features to shorts to documentaries.
Time: Varies, refer to website
Location: Ultra Star Cinemas, River Village Plaza in Bonsall
For more information visit

April 9, Annual CityBeat Festival of Beers
Over 30 local craft brewers will be offering samplings from a variety of their homegrown beers.
The event is accompanied with entertainment and tasty food. There is an admission fee.
Time: 1:00 pm ‚ 6:00 pm
Location: El Cajon Blvd. between Texas St. & Mississippi St. (in front of the Lafayette Hotel)
For more information visit

April 9, Canine Companions Balboa Park
A Festival for dogs and people. This event features flyball, disc dogs, a K9 agility playground, contests, great shopping, delicious food and more! Peace, Love & Canine Companions dog walk precedes the festival.
Time: 10:00 am ‚ 3:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park (lawn area at Park Blvd. & President’s Way)
For more information visit

April 9-10, Annual Encinitas Street Faire
Browse among 400 unique booths featuring a little of everything. In addition, children’s rides,
four live stages, and the Karl Strauss Brewery beer garden guarantee that you’ll find fun for
the whole family.
Time: 9:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Downtown Encinitas, South Coast Highway 101
For more information visit

April 10, 5K Walk for Life & Health Fair
Fundraiser 5K walk, starting and finishing at the Pier Amphitheater. Walk and health expo sponsored
by the Cardiovascular Disease Foundation.
Time: 8:00 am ‚ 12:00 pm
Location: Pier Amphitheater, Oceanside
For more information call 760-730-1471

April 15-17, Annual Del Mar Antique Show & Sale
More than 250 premier antique dealers from all over California and the western United States will be selling the finest in antiques & collectibles. Appraisal service will also be available for $5 per item.
Time: Fri & Sat 11:00 am ‚ 7:00 pm / Sun 11:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, O’Brien Hall, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar
For more information visit

April 16, Annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair & Parade
A cultural celebration offering food, merchandise, performances, climbing wall, and carnival rides. There will be a Kids Zone, World Arts Village, and Teen Stage. This event is in conjunction with the Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Parade.
Time: 10:00 am -5:00 pm / Parade 11:00 am ‚ 12:00 pm
Location: Linda Vista Rd, between Comstock & Ulric, Linda Vista
For more information visit

April 16-17, Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival
The only Busker Festival in Southern California. Professionals from across the country will perform their bizarre talents from sword swallowing to knife throwing to pogo stick tricks and juggling unicycles. Shop, dine and enjoy an entire day of one-of-a-kind entertainment. Free to attend.
Time: Noon ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Seaport Village ‚ Embarcadero, San Diego Bay at Harbor Drive & Pacific Highway
For more information visit

April 17, Avocado Festival
Celebrating agricultural heritage while providing an opportunity for entertainment and camaraderie. There will be agricultural displays, avocado culinary demonstrations, a guacamole contest, avocado ice cream, holy guaca-moly, the art of the avocado contest and much more!
Time: 9:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Fallbrook ‚ Main Street
For more information call 760-945-9288

April 17, Annual San Diego EarthFair 2011
The annual EarthFair in Balboa Park is the largest free annual environmental fair in the world showcasing a wide variety of causes, goods, and services pertaining to the environment and quality of life. Free to attend.
Time: 10:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Balboa Park ‚ Central Mesa Area
For more information visit

April 23, Spring Fling & Egg Hunts
Liberty Station will be transformed into a land of Springtime pleasures. There will be an inflatable slide, bounce houses, games, giveaways, a scavenger hunt, food, music, raffle prizes, the Easter Bunny, and a huge egg hunt.
Time: 12:00 pm ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Liberty Station, 2624 Historic Decatur Rd., Point Loma
For more information visit

April 23, Annual Chicano Park Day
The Annual Chicano Park Day celebration features a children’s art workshop, traditional and contemporary music & dance, live bands, food, arts & crafts vendors and a classic low rider car display.
Time: 10:00 am ‚ 5:00 pm
Location: Chicano Park ‚ Cesar Chavez Parkway exit, under the Coronado Bay Bridge
For more information visit
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Back to School Advice to Ease the Transition

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

It’s that time…time for the kids to go back to school. Mine started yesterday, to their dismay. I have to be honest in saying that it was hard on me as well. Here in San Diego we never had a “real” summer, as the weather was downright chilly and overcast most of the summer. It was definitely not a normal summer, so I feel badly now that the sun has come out and it is beautiful and the kids are sitting in class all day! But luckily we still have the weekends to enjoy the beautiful weather, and even after school…so all is not lost!

It is important during this transition ‚ from free-for-all days and sleeping late to schedules and homework ‚to keep a few bits of advice in mind. None of them will be things you have not heard before, but they are worth repeating to assure your kids have the smoothest transition possible. So here it goes…

Sleep: I don’t know about you, but my kids were allowed to go to sleep and wake up anytime they wanted over summer. To me that is part of being a kid in the summer time. I have one early to bed-early to rise child, and one late-nighter-late-sleeper child. No matter, it worked. Sleep schedules do need to be altered during school, of course. It is important to stick to a set bedtime so that mornings are not so hard, and so that you children can get through the day without nodding off in class, especially since they (at least mine) don’t drink coffee yet. Most importantly, the tone set in the morning can set their mood going into the day, so it needs to be positive and there should be ample time for getting ready, not rushing.

Food: I am a big breakfast pusher. Personally, I don’t function without it, so I make sure my kids eat a healthy one before they are out the door. No sugar either!

Hydration: Ok, so we all know how important this is, especially when it is hot. But it also helps with concentration during school hours, so I really try to drill it into my kids to drink a lot throughout the day.

Lunch: Also important. I can’t believe what some parents pack their kids for lunch–sugar and fat! It really amazes me the few times I am at school for lunch to see what some of these kids eat! It’s not just because I am a health nut, but parents: you are setting your childrens’ habits for life here. If they think it is OK to eat white bread and sugared peanut butter, drink sugary drinks and have chips and a twinkie for lunch, then they will continue these unhealthy habits. I try fun things like carrot sticks with peanut butter, whole wheat crackers with cheese slices (none of the processed cheese dips), cut up whole wheat pita pieces or pita chips with yogurt sauce. For something sweet try cut up peaches or watermelon slices. The possibilities are endless, but please think healthy!

After school snack. This is another one of my rules…after school we have a healthy snack. I am amazed at how hungry my children are after school–they usually eat an entire meal. Sometimes they go over friends’ houses and are not offered any food after school, but when those same children come to my house boy are they hungry! It gives them a jump start to homework and also for getting some exercise.

Exercise. This is a key ingredient in the making of a healthy child. When I was a kid all the neighborhood children went outside after school and rode bikes around the cul-du-sac for hours. Many kids these days want to sit in front of a television or play video games. Get your kids up and moving, whether they take classes or you take the dogs on a walk, swim, go to the park…whatever allows them to get their pent-up sitting-in-school-all-day energy out.

Planning skills. School time is the best time to teach good planning skills that will carry your children far. Our schools have planners that the children receive each year. In it they write down all their assignments and homework. I also encourage my teen to put everything down in his calendar on his phone, so he will be sure to remember assignments. Organization is so important!

Those are my suggestions for easing back into the school year. I hope your children have a great school year!

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Is Respect Disappearing?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

(The following article was featured as a guest commentary in the San Diego Coast News)

What has happened to good, old-fashioned respect? There are signs everywhere that it may be disappearing, but we need to bring it back or risk living in a world where no one cares and nothing is accomplished.

As the parent of two children, one in elementary and one in middle school, I often hear stories from my kids that not only shock me, but also make me feel sad. The stories are about kids who insult teachers during class, spray paint horrible things about Principals and staff. In fact, the other day I was picking up a carpool at the middle school and on my way out a boy made a vulgar hand gesture to me. If my children ever did anything like that to an adult they would suffer consequences. But how would I know? I teach my children to respect others and themselves, and I can only hope and pray that they do so.

Disrespect among peers has plagued young people and continues to make headlines across the nation and world. Cyber bullying, while a form of anguish and torment, also has roots in respect (or lack of it). Why do young people think they are empowered to affect the lives of others in a way that could lead to severe and possibly irreversible consequences, including murder and suicide? Where along the way did this come to be acceptable?

Some people say that lack of respect is caused by the advance in technology, or the fact that in many households both parents or the single parent works, leaving children home alone for long periods of time. This theory advocates that there is no longer a “Leave it to Beaver” situation where there is a parent who is always around for the children, thus causing them find ways to entertain themselves that may get them into trouble. The days of playing in the front yard with the neighborhood kids seem to be over in most cases.

The internet and mobile access to it has been blamed for the lack of respect as well. The amount of information available to children these days is scary—it is easy to learn how to cheat on a paper or test, find or make weapons or bombs, or watch pornography…all at our fingertips. Social network sites like Facebook and MySpace are very popular amongst young adults, and are the way to communicate. Unfortunately many use it inappropriately to tarnish reputations and hurt others.

Video games and the media also play a role in the demise of respect. Far from the innocence of games of the past like PacMan and Asteroids, today’s video games can be extremely violent. Exploding bodies, blood and torture are the norm in many popular games, creating desensitization issues. Many kid-friendly movies and even television shows on child-appropriate networks portray violence, adult themes (like sex, drugs and alcohol), and even young actors who have to make uncharacteristic grown-up decisions.

There are many factors that contribute to the growing lack of respect today, but one thing is clear: we need to fix it before respect disappears. It is not only the young generation, but also the older ones who demonstrate behaviors that are disrespectful. As an example to the younger generations it is imperative that we set examples of proper behavior. Work stress, lack of sleep, financial problems, relationship issues, traffic…there is a lot on most peoples’ plates right now. But to get through it we need to respect each other. Getting angry at someone because they cut you off or cut in front of you does not help you at all. Why raise your heart rate, make yourself upset?

Each day, each moment is a gift, and each person has an equal right to that gift. If we all start living according to this principal we will naturally be more respectful, and the world will be a better place.

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