Things to Do in San Diego This Weekend!

Stainless Steel Faucets Cookies on Tap

When: 2/23-2/25
Where:
Mike Hess Brewing in North Park, Ocean Beach, and Miramar

Mike Hess Brewing is offering a flight of beer paired with Girl Scout cookies at every location. They’ve purchased 100% of the cookies and are even donating a portion of every flight to Girl Scouts San Diego. Tickets and Fast Passes for North Park are available at Eventbrite.

Winter Brew Fest

When: 2/24
Where:
Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park

You’ll have the chance to sip and sample over 30 breweries and enjoy local artists. This adults-only event celebrates craft beers from all over California.

The Original Carnaval at Navo Brazil

When: 2/24
Where:
901 Lane Ave., Chula Vista

For two years, this event mimics a large, traditional Brazilian Carnaval equipped with specialty beers, live entertainment, samba dancers, and Brazilian food in the South Bay. Ticket sales end today, but there will also be tickets available at the door for $10 at first come first serve.

San Diego Beer Chase

When: 2/24
Where:
Various locations around San Diego

A 50-mile relay race with 12 legs of varying distance, and each lef kicks off at a different brewery where participants get to sample a beer at each location. Starting at the Mason Ale Works in San Marcos, you’ll move south to downtown San Diego where you’ll finish at a party in Marker’s Quarter. You’ll have the chance to have different brews from multiple breweries.

Carnival of Caffeination

When: 2/24
Where:
Broadway Pier, Marina District

2 Major craft worlds of San Diego collide in this carnival. You get to try an array of coffee and beer for the second annual event. All proceeds go to BikeSD, a non-profit organization to make San Diego a better place to ride.

San Diego Chinese New Year Fair

When: 2/24-2/25
Where:
Third Avenue at J Street, downtown

This is the county’s largest celebration of the Chinese New Year with 2 free days of art, culture, performances, and authentic Asian cuisine.

Carruth Cellars Barrel

When: 2/24-2/25
Where:
118 S Cedros Ave #C, Solana Beach

For the 8th annual event, you’ll be able to taste wine from the barrel before it gets bottled. With four sessions, you can choose from noon to 3pm and 4-7pm on Saturday and Sunday.

For more things to do, visit the San Diego Tribune!

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Tax Deductions to Take Before It’s Too Late

adult, apple, businessAs you may know, the US tax code has been changed, but what does that mean for the 2017 tax returns you’re filing? It’s your last chance to take advantage of any deductions from the old code.

If you haven’t gotten all you can from the tax break, it’s time to keep adding more. Here are 4 of the major tax breaks that will be disappearing.

1. Home office

Since there has been an increase in telecommuting and working from home, the home office tax deduction is one that will be taken out. Luckily, for all self-employed, full-time workers, you’ll be able to continue your deduction for 2018. But, for any office workers who work in their “home office” on the days they work from home, you can no longer use that deduction.

2. Unlimited property tax

A big change for homeowners with the tax bill is the cap on property tax deductions. Regardless, all property taxes will be deductible, but the maximum you can deduct going forward will be $10,000 (including local, property, and sales tax).

If you pay more than $10,000 a year between the state and local income taxes, property taxes, and sales tax, anything exceeding that amount is no longer deductible. While you can, take advantage of it now.

3.  Moving expenses

If you moved in 2017, you’re in luck. You’ll be able to take advantage of this deduction, as long as you meet the requirements. For example, your new job is at least 50 miles farther away than your old job was.

The only exception moving forward is if you are a member of the armed forces.

4. Interest on a home equity loan for non-home improvement

A home equity loan is money you borrow using your home as collateral. Usually, your “second mortgage” takes the form of a home equity loan or line of credit. Interest could be deducted up to $100,000 for married/joint filers and $50,000 for individuals.

Now, home equity loans are only deductible if it is used for a purpose to build, buy, or improve your home. If you wanted to use your home equity loan money to go to grad school, then it’ll be on you – interest and all.

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10 Best Spring Break Destinations 2018

adventure, beach, blueAccording to the US News & World Report, these are the best spring break destinations for students and families.

1. Las Vegas

Sin City has climbed to the number one best spring break destination, and are we surprised?

  • The Strip
  • Bellagio Casino and Fountains
  • Cirque de Soleil
  • Hoover Dam
  • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
  • The Neon Museum
  • Caesars Palace Casino & The Forum Shops
  • High Roller Observation Wheel
  • The Mob Museum
  • Fremont Street

2. Miami Beach

Miami Beach is full of culture, residents, and travelers, and is one of the kid-friendliest beaches (and most affordable restaurants and hotels).

  • South Beach
  • Ocean Drive
  • Haulover Beach Park
  • Lummus Park
  • Lincoln Road Mall
  • Ancient Spanish Monastery
  • Art Deco Tour
  • South Pointe Park & Pier
  • The Bass
  • Miami Children’s Museum

3. Punta Cana

The sugary, soft beaches make for the perfect, manufactured Caribbean getaway.

  • Punta Espada Golf Course
  • La Cana Golf Course
  • Imagine Punta Cana Disco
  • Barcelo Bavaro Golf Course
  • Manati Park
  • Dolphin Island

4. Bahamas

With 700 islands, you can indulge in the white-washed shores, fishing, scuba diving, and resorts.

  • Beaches
  • Boat Tours
  • Diving & Snorkeling
  • Atlantis Bahamas (Paradise Islands)
  • Lucayan National Park (Grand Bahama Island)
  • Private Islands
  • Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (Eleuthera)
  • Queen’s Staircase (New Providence Island)
  • The Glass Window Bridge (Eleuthera)
  • John Watling’s Distillery (New Providence Island)

5. Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a small-town atmosphere, yet one of the most unique and sophisticated getaways in Mexico.

  • Bucerias
  • Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay)
  • Los Arcos & El Malecon
  • Isla Rio Cuale
  • Zona Romantica
  • Playa Los Muertos
  • Vallarta Botanical Gardens
  • Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

6. Cancun

Cancun is one of the most affordable destination vacations in the Western Hemisphere and remains on the list of best spring breaks.

  • Chichen Itza
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Playa Tortugas
  • El Rey Ruins
  • Delphinus Dreams Cancun
  • Playa Delfines
  • Pok-Ta-Pok Golf Club
  • Interactive Aquarium
  • Coco Bongo Cancun

7. Puerto Rico

You get the best of both worlds in Puerto Rico with its clean waters, history, modernism, jungles and caves.

  • Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)
  • El Morro (Fuerte San Felipe del Morro)
  • Flamenco Beach
  • Sun Bay (Vieques)
  • El Yunque National Rainforest
  • Castillo de San Cristobal
  • Calle de Cristo
  • Condado Beach
  • Museum do Arte de Ponce
  • Carolina Beach (Balneario de Carolina)

8. Key West

With warm beaches and eccentric residents, Key West is the place to live in the moment and let loose a little.

  • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
  • Boat Tours
  • Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
  • Mallory Square
  • Harry S. Truman Little White House
  • Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
  • Key West Cemetery
  • Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
  • Smathers Beach
  • Southernmost Point

9. Daytona

20 miles of beach and the NASCAR empire, Daytona is appealing to both spring breakers and families.

  • Daytona Beach
  • Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
  • Daytona International Speedway
  • Museum of Arts & Sciences (MOAS)
  • Halifax Historical Museum
  • Daytona Lagoon

10. South Padre Island

While it has become a destination for student spring breakers, SPI is also experiencing a rebirth for family vacations.

  • Laguna Madre Nature Trail
  • Sea Turtle, Inc.
  • Isla Blanca Park
  • Museums of Port Isabel
  • Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature center
  • Schlitterbahn Waterpark
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Budget Friendly Porch and Patio Ideas

apply, blue, brushLooking to spruce up your outdoor living space, but not looking to break the budget? You can create a new and renovated space by using what you have or shopping at the thrift store. When it comes to the outdoors, it’s the little things that matter.

1. Paint the floors

Designing a unique pattern on the wood or cement is the cheapest way to tie together your look. You can make it look modern or rustic, depending on the type of flooring on your patio/porch.

2. Make an eyesore the focal point

Instead of having to buy new furniture, rehab any old furniture by repainting chairs, adding a clean finish, or covering a table with a vibrant table cloth.

3. Low maintenance plants

If you want to add some life to your porch or patio, use plants with low water use or low maintenance requirements – some that flourish on their own in nature. Not only will it be cost effective, but it will provide color, texture, and movement.

4. Make it a party

You can decorate your patio or deck fence with festive decorations and make it seem like every day’s a party. Buying them from the dollar store is the best and cheapest option because not only is it cheap, but the chances of it lasting long with weather changes are slim, so you won’t spend a ridiculous amount of money.

5. Add string lights

Lights add sparkle to an outdoor space, even with a limited budget. String lights can be less than $10 at any convenient store.

6. Style it with pieces

Adorn any tables with little potted plants, marbled glassware, and single flowers floating in a bowl of water – get creative with small pops of color to add some character and take out any dullness.

7. Create a glow with lanterns

If you a larger patio or yard, hang lanterns to create a glowing out door space. You can find used wire lanterns or globes at any thrift store and spray paint them to match your décor.

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The Top 10 Diets

Close-up of Food1. MIND Diet

This diet combines elements of the Mediterranean and DASH plan (see below). It focuses on mindful eating for better brain and body. It consists of berries, leafy greens, nuts, and fish. The MIND diet helps with weight management, but also helps in fighting Alzheimer’s.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 is probably the most restrictive diet when it comes to what you can and cannot eat. It eliminates sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol for an entire 30 days.

Legumes can include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupin bean, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind.

3. Macros

The Macros diet closely monitors your carbs, protein, and fats – all the macronutrients. It requires a strict, daily tally from each of the groups to help support your personal needs for your metabolism and exercise habits. It can promote balance, but tallying can get a little annoying for those who are maybe busier throughout the day.

4. Paleo

The Paleo diet eliminates grains, dairy, legumes, and salt from your diet. It is restrictive, so you may want to look into the long-term health implications before committing.

Legumes can include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, lupin bean, mesquite, carob, soybeans, peanuts, and tamarind.

5. Low FODMAPs

The acronym stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Basically, it’s a fancy way to say getting rid of problem foods that can cause issues for those with digestive problems. It helps control digestive distress, providing less tummy trouble, weight loss, and leading to more restrictive, clean eating.

6. Mediterranean

This is one of the top-rated diets because it doesn’t necessarily cut your calories or make it difficult to eat. In fact, it promotes plant-based foods, healthy oils, spices, and seafood for weight loss and disease prevention.

7. Intermittent Fasting

There are many ways to try this diet, and many fitness goers on YouTube have put reviews up trying this diet. In the end, it makes you spend long periods of time away from food. You limit your calories to about 500 a day, doing so for days at a time to promote weight loss and increased longevity. While there is some science behind it, the dramatic shift of diet and the side effects associated with it may be more than you want to handle.

8. Mayo Clinic Diet

This is a new take on calorie count and portion control. It promotes non-starchy carbs and high fiber foods. It promotes the good fats in your body and does not allow for junky foods.

9. DASH

Out of all the diets, this is the top-ranked by the US News and World Report, and even made best diet overall for 2017. The acronym stands for Dietary Approached to Stop Hypertension. It was originally created to help lower blood pressure but is now a great way to start a solid diet of healthy eating. It balances your intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nonfat/low fat dairy, and lean protein.

10. Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers is one of the only diets with lots of science to back it up. It focuses on behavior modification and nutrition education. It is a calorie-controlled, all-foods-fit plan.

For more tips on healthy eating and recipes, visit HGTV.com where the original article is from.

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Identifying Allergens in Your Home

blur, box, cleanWith the weather changing constantly and depending on where you live, allergies can be making you suffer right now. But, what exactly is making your allergies act up? Here is a list of household things that could cause allergies to flare up.

Plants

Plants pollination cycles are consistent and the same. Weather conditions affect pollen, so if you have any plants in your home their pollination cycles could be producing more pollen. In turn, your asthma or allergies will get irritated.

Molds

Did you know that 250,000 mold spores can fit on a pin head? There are both indoor and outdoor molds, and indoor molds can be found in dark, humid areas like:

  • Bathrooms
  • Basements
  • Cellars
  • Attics

Mold is not only harmful to those without allergies but can especially aggravate those that have allergies. You can be inhaling them and be completely unaware until you feel sicker than normal.

Pets

Pets have specific proteins in saliva, their dander, and urine. 15% of the general population is allergic to those proteins, while 20-30% of those with asthma are allergic. Even if you don’t have a pet, you can be exposed to these proteins from the clothing of those who do own pets. So, if you work with people that have pets, you could be having a reaction at work, too.

Pests

Dust-mite droppings are the most common household invaders that cause allergy problems. They can leave it throughout your household and they thrive in areas of high humidity. You can find it in:

  • Mattresses
  • Pillows
  • Bed liners
  • Upholstery
  • Carpets

Cockroaches, mice, and rats are also unsightly nuisances that leave behind unwanted dropping and urine, which also contain major allergy protein triggers.

Foods

The most common allergies can be foods like:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Tree nuts

They can cause hives, eczema, asthma, and gastrointestinal symptoms. In most sever cases, it can cause anaphylaxis which can lead to emergency measures.

Household Products

Those with latex allergies can be having unknown reactions to products in their home that they didn’t know have latex in them. These items can include:

  • Gloves
  • Balloons
  • Rubber bands
  • Erasers
  • Rubber toy parts
  • Certain medical devices
  • Latex clothing and elastic
  • Pacifiers

Pollutants and Lifestyle Exposure

Pollutants like tobacco smoke, wood smoke, diesel exhaust, ozone, perfumes, and household cleaners can irritate people’s allergies and cause them to be more sensitive to the things they are already allergic to. Strenuous activity, medications, anxiety, and stress are also things that can affect the longevity of your reactions.

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New Listing and Open House in Encinitas!

This weekend, I’ll be having an open house at one of my newest listings – 252 Whitman Rd, Encinitas! The open house will be from 1-4pm on Saturday 2/17 and Sunday 2/18. Don’t miss out on all this single level, fully rebuilt home has to offer!

Sitting at $1,195,000, this single level home comes with over 2,000 square feet of space, 3 bedrooms with a fireplace in the master bedroom, 2 full bathrooms, and 1 half bathroom. Located in the Crest Estates community, it’s West of El Camino real and is a convenient location for schools, shopping, and entertainment.

Completely rebuilt in 2004, the kitchen is absolutely stunning with honed granite countertops, Viking range, Bosch D/W, and accented with white cabinets. The home has custom moldings, hardwood floors, and perfect skylights for some natural light. The open floor plan is amazing for entertaining!

The backyard is perfectly spacious with access to RV parking and a storage shed. You also get an open patio with mountain views around you. Don’t miss out on the chance to check out this home and the beautiful area around it!

You can check out the listing or come see for yourself!

252 Whitman Rd
Encinitas, CA 92024

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The History of Valentine’s Day

Brown Heart Shaped Hanging DecorThe history behind Valentine’s Day is interesting, dark, but also quite muddled. While some believe it was a made-up holiday created by Hallmark, it was actually celebrated long before then, but Hallmark took the opportunity and they definitely flourished because of it. So, who is St. Valentine, and what do the Romans, Shakespeare, and Chaucer have to do with it?

St. Valentine – The Man Behind the Name

There are many legends of Saint Valentine across Europe in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England, and France who all claim to have his remains. Catholics believe that February 14 remembers the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, who had been a Roman priest beheaded during the third century. The only problem is no one can truly remember why he was executed.

There are many theories associated with his martyrdom, and these are just three of them:

  1. He was a bishop in Terri, Italy who healed the sick, including a blind daughter of a prison guard he met while in jail for practicing Christianity in a pagan world.
  2. He tried to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity.
  3. He was caught performing weddings while there was a ban due to a military recruitment crunch. The ban was created by the Emperor.

The Dark Times of Lupercalia

Lupercalia is an old, pre-Roman festival that celebrates fertility and purification. The details are slightly gorey and distasteful, so we’ll leave it at that. The Romans would celebrate this festival from February 13th through the 15th. Later, a pope combined it with the Christian Valentine’s Day, and it became a sort of theatrical reenactment of the original festivities, but still celebrated fertility and love.

The Norman’s had a similar holiday known as Galatin’s Day, which meant “lover of women”. Since they sound similar, rituals and practices could have been combined with one another to produce something like what we celebrate today.

Romanticizing Valentine’s Day

It wasn’t until Chaucer and Shakespeare started romanticizing Valentine’s Day in their work that it gained popularity through Britain and Europe. During this time, writing handmade cards was the token-du-jour in the Middle Ages, so adding another holiday to write love cards was a great idea.

It made its way to the New World just like many other holidays, and eventually the industrial revolution helped produce factory made cards.

Hallmark Holiday

In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri produced valentines, and it was the greatest idea they probably ever had. Since then, they make millions of dollars every year on Valentine’s Day cards alone.

As far as spending overall, consumers spend more than $18 billion on Valentine’s Day, an average of over $135 per person, so about $200-$300 per couple.

While some enjoy it and some say they don’t, we all love getting surprises and gifts just because. We should be celebrating those we love on the daily, but sometimes life gets hectic and a holiday forces us to just do a little extra. Regardless, I’m sure we enjoy this tradition rather than the Lupercalia. If you’re interested in that festival, you can read about it here.

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Things Dirtier than Your Toilet

appliance, carpet, chores1. Carpets

A soft furnishing like a rug or your carpet are a trap for dust, dirt, and allergens, which is good for the air except they can hold about 20,000 bacteria per square inch. If you wear your shoes in your home, it can make matters worse.

How to clean it: You should vacuum three times a week with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, especially with this terrible flu season we’ve been having. Ideally, you should be having your floor covering cleaned by a professional every six months.

2. The kitchen sink

Talk about germs. Think of all the bacteria that comes off dirty plates and hands. Don’t forget your sponge which can contain the same number of germs as three people – times 7 – in just a single cubic centimeter.

How to clean it: Minimize the amount of “debris” in your sink by scrapping off leftovers into the garbage (or a compost bin!). Rinse your sink with warm water and dishwashing liquid after every meal, and don’t forget to wash the faucet and handles. Sanitize the sink weekly with bleach and change your sponge every week!

3. Doorknobs

Hate to break it to you, but only 5% of people who use the bathroom wash their hands thoroughly and long enough to kill germs. There’s another study that found one infected doorknob can travel to 60% of the people in an office in under four hours. No wonder the flu was so bad.

How to clean it: Use bacteria wipes to wipe down the doorknobs. Maybe hit a few of the light switches while you’re at it.

4. The coffee maker

Since the water reservoir and piping system are often damp and dark, this gives opportunity for bacteria to grow. While it should be a regular, daily thing cleaning out the carafe, you should be cleaning the internal parts as well.

How to clean it: Use soap and hot water to clean the removable parts of your coffee maker, then let them air-dry. Once a month, you should be mixing one-part vinegar and one-part water, then letting it run through the machine. The vinegar will disinfect and remove buildup.

5. Bath towels

As mentioned, bacteria thrive in water and moist areas, which means towels. Almost 90% of towels you use could be contaminated with some very nasty bacteria.

How to clean it: You should be changing your towels every two days and washing them in hot water to kill off gunk. While it sounds exhausting, it’s the best way to avoid harboring bad bacteria in your towels that you wipe your clean body with.

That’s not all! For even more household items that hold bacteria, visit the original article to find 2 more!

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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Brown and White Biting a Valentines Day Card1. Spa Day

There’s nothing more romantic and intimate than a spa day with your partner. Invest in some good champagne or wine, pick out their favorite scented candles, and find some of their favorite bath items like bath salts, bubbles, or bath bombs. Relax in the candle-lit bathroom and enjoy each other’s company.

2. Movie Night

You can stay in for movie night and have a marathon of your favorite movie or go out and see a new movie you’ve yet to see. Have some fun with it and create a fun movie box full of movie snacks, drinks, and popcorn. Check your local theatre or see if there is a theatre near you that plays older movies to reminisce.

3. Home-Cooked Meal

Going out to eat is always easier, but it can be expensive. Why not cook your favorite meal with your partner and enjoy it at home? It’s fun to cook and bake together, and it’s a memory that will last longer than going to a restaurant – something you do probably once a week. Instead of one person cooking the meal, each of you bring something to the table (literally).

4. Workout

Not your typical date, but this isn’t your typical treadmill run. There are many different activities and classes gyms have to offer. You can go for a jog around the park, join in on a Zumba class, or even go rock climbing. What’s more fun than sweating out the stress of life and enjoying each other than working out?

5. Comedy Club

Instead of going for the fancy route, go for the laughs. Many comedy clubs have tickets available at the door. You could enjoy a few drinks and laughs while relaxing for your night out. Maybe you’ll even see a famous star!

6. Game Night

If you and a bunch of your friends are stuck on a Valentine’s idea, you could all get together and have a couple’s game night! You can wine, dine, and have your friends over for a fun game of Monopoly or life. You don’t have to spend the entire day of Valentine’s alone.

7. Picnic

Depending on where you live, you could have a dinner picnic at your nearby park. Instead of being cooped up at home, enjoy the nice weather with a bottle of wine and some prepacked food.

8. Fort

Why not embrace the inner child on Valentine’s Day and build yourselves a fort? Pile up on snacks, pillows, bed sheets, and maybe even some Netflix. This is definitely an easy night, but it will be more memorable because it’s definitely not traditional.

9. Wine/Beer Tasting

Whether you enjoy tasting new alcohol or you just like drinking, this is another great idea for a Valentine’s Day treat. Not only can you go to a nearby brewery/winery, but you can set up your own taste at home with a selection of bottles.

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