What to Do for Valentine’s Day

Photo of Red Heart-shaped Paper Hanging on RopeKeeping things different every year for Valentine’s Day can be hard when you have been together a while or when you want to celebrate with your friends. Here are some ideas to keep Valentine’s Day fun and interesting.

Cute Notes

You can always leave sweet notes to your valentine. It’s heartwarming, just like it was in school. It never hurts to let your friends or partner know you care, and that they are important to you.

Fortune Cookie

This could be something unexpected if you haven’t tried it yet! Treat your valentine(s) with a cookie. Fortune cookie can be homemade with personalized fortunes or notes inside. You can add a little flare to the cookie by dipping it in chocolate or sprinkles with hearts.

Music is Love

If your valentine really likes music, you could find a concert, or make them a mixed CD (do people even make those anymore?). Or, even a bar with live music could be fun. Another option is going old fashioned and sending them a singing telegram

Food is Also Love

Breakfast in bed is probably a popular choice for anniversaries and valentines. You can go the traditional way and get dolled up for a nice dinner, or you can kick it in your pajamas and order a pizza for a candlelit dinner. Food is the way to the heart.

Go on a Trip!

If you have a little extra money, you can plan a romantic getaway. You could go somewhere warm and tropical, city hop to a popular city nearby, or a day at a bed and breakfast or romantic hotel could even do the trick.

Treat Yourself!

If you plan to spend Valentine’s Day alone, you have to treat yourself. Retail therapy is a the real deal, and you could get a mani/pedi, buy yourself something you’ve wanted, buy yourself some flowers, or just shop around.




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New Listing in Cardiff!

Address – 1366 Rubenstein Ave.

This past weekend, I had a new home that’s listed in Cardiff in the community Cardiff by the Sea! Part of the custom home neighborhood, this home is currently listed at $4,200,000, has 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, 4 fireplaces, and 5,600 square feet.

Not only is this home expansive and gorgeous, but it has 2 separate wings to the home sitting on the .8-acre gated estate. You have the option of having one expansive home or splitting it into two livable residences.

The East Wing is single story with a kitchen, laundry, furnace, A/C, security, parking area, and parking area. Out of the 5,600 square feet it makes up 1,250 square feet of it. It has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, as well as open beam vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, hardwood flooring, a private patio, and tree-lined yard.

The West Wind is 2- story and has a dramatic Great Room, a lower level full bathroom with a steam room and separate shower for pool access, a gourmet kitchen, and formal entry. For a little added fun, there is also a built-in sound system and ground level wine cellar.

Outside you will find the exterior to be just as beautiful as the interior. Sitting on a .8-acre lot, there is a veggie garden, fruit trees, floral garden, and tool shed. There’s an electric gated entry, and there is a below-ground pool with solar heating. You also get a rear Loggia with an outdoor fireplace, BBQ area, and there are 2 large upper decks with panoramic ocean views.

To meet the needs of this grandiose home, you get a 3-car garage and a driveway that fits 3 additional parking spots.

You can’t beat this private, serene, secluded home. Near the excitement and entertainment of Encinitas, the home is near great schooling and near the beach for some fun family time.

Contact me for more information at:

Cell: 760-310-0234
Or visit the listing!

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The Kitchen Countertop for You

apartment, architecture, cabinetsGranite
Price: $60-$100 per square foot

Pros – Granite is one of the most popular kitchen features, often part of the top 10 most desirable among builders. They are made from a naturally occurring composite of quartz, mica, and feldspar, they are hard and resistant to scratches.

Cons – They are more on the expensive side. Since it is a natural stone, you will need to treat it with a stone sealer regularly. If you get a chip in the countertop, it’s difficult to repair.

Price: $10-$40 per square foot

Pros – Formica, which is another name for laminate, is a brand name for a combination of paper and resin that’s bonded together with a high heat and pressure. They’re cheaper than stone, and you can find a variety that mimics the wood look or design of expensive stone.

Cons – Since they’re inexpensive, you’ll get what you pay for. It can be easily scratched and chipped, and they don’t stand the test of time.

Price: $40-$65 per square foot

Pros – Corian countertops are a fusion of acrylics and polyesters. It is made in many different colors to look like natural stone, they are nonporous and easy to clean.

Cons – It scratches more easily than stone and can be less resistant to heat. A hot pot on the counter can cause it to warp.

Price: $100-$150 per square foot

Pros – Marble is straight from the ground and makes for a gleaming surface, adding polish to your home. They go well with any décor.

Cons – Since marble is porous, these countertops are very high maintenance which require sealing every few years. They can also chip and stain easily with just a few drops of wine or acidic liquid etching the surface.

Butcher block
Price: $45-$100 per square foot

Pros – Just another name for thick, fancy wood, using this renewable resource for your counters could be a hit. It’s sustainable and offers a rustic feel.

Cons ­– Wood is also very high maintenance. If you don’t reseal them every six months, mold and bacteria can slip into the cracks which would require entire countertop replacement. Upkeep lowers the resale value since buyers can be turned off by the hard work.

Price: $75-$100 per square foot

Pros – These counters are engineered stone which means they’re created in a factory. It can be harder, but it also requires less maintenance than natural stone. It’s nonporous, which makes It stain resistant, and it can be cleaned with mild dish soap and water.

Cons – Putting hot pots on the counter can cause discoloration. Quartz is resistant to chips and scratches, but you can call a professional to fix it if it does happen.

For even more countertop materials, visit the Realtor.com

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6 Maintenance Tasks When Selling

autumn, dried leaf, field1. The yard and walkways

Curb appeal is important for the potential buyers that drive by your home and see the “For Sale” sign. Regardless if you’re still living there or not, you should be keeping up with it. This means removing dead tree limbs, raking stray leaves, or cleaning out the flowerbeds.

It’s also important to keep your outside lively to ward away any break-ins that are attracted by vacant homes.

2. Clean gutters and check the roof

Not only are clogged gutters unappealing, but they can lead to dangerous effects. Overflowing gutters can lead to damage to the foundation. When buyers drive by on a rainy day, they’ll see your gutters overflowing, and it’s not a pleasant site.

Checking the roof is important to avoid dangers. Small roof cracks can go undetected, and water in basements or homes is on the top three list of things buyers are scared of.

3. Service heating systems

No matter the season, your HVAC needs attention and TLC. You don’t want the house smelling like dust if the heat needs kicked on, so make sure you get it checked. While you’re at it, make sure the ducts are working and the filters are cleaned. Any baseboard heaters should be vacuumed.

If you have a chimney, get that inspected and leaned. Any cracked flue tiles or brick can lead to a falling chimney.

4. Keep critters out

Inspect the inside and outside of your home for any holes that shouldn’t be there. Take care of holes caused by damaged siding or fascia under the roofline.

For your stove and dryer vents, make sure they’re covered by mesh wiring to keep out those unwanted animals. Squirrels and smaller animals like the hide inside when it’s cold or storming.

5. Wash windows

It’s not a seasonal thing when your house is on the market. They need to be cleaned and wiped down. Especially after a storm when muck and grime can build up, you want to clean it off, so it gleams for your buyers.

6. Check your calendar

Pay attention to the details of your home based on when you’re selling it. You don’t want to leave up any outdated decorations or furniture, which also depends on where you live. If it’s cold and snowing, you don’t want to leave patio furniture out during the season.

Make sure you’re putting away the lawn mower and rolling up the hose. Picking up after yourself lets the buyers know that you actually take care of what you own and use it properly.


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6 Questions About Mortgages for First Time Buyers

advice, advise, advisor1. What do you need to get a mortgage?

The first and most important key to getting a mortgage is to establish credit. This will show lenders that you were reliable when it came to pay off past debts, and you’ll be a reliable lender now. Ways you can establish credit are with credit cards, but also with any student loans or car loans.

2. If you have bad credit, how do you improve it?

Before you take a guess at your credit, check your official credit report with one of the main credit bureaus. Every year, you can download one free copy of your credit report. You may be surprised to find that you’re not that bad.

If you do have bad credit for a fact, it’s most likely due to aged activity like old collection, medical bills, or something you don’t know about. If you find these types of “errors”, fixing them can boost your score. If you know you have bad credit because of late payments, make sure you’re making payments on time and your credit utilization is not high.

3. What’s the difference between mortgage pre-approval and mortgage pre-qualification?

Mortgage pre-qualification does not hold the same weight that mortgage pre-approval does. You can have somebody go online and print you a pre-qualification letter.

Pre-approval takes more time and effort to get, but it shows that you’re serious about getting a house. If you’re actively searching for a home and are ready to buy, getting a pre-approval is in your best interest.

4. How much do you need for a down payment?

The standard that lenders highly suggest is a 20% down payment. So, if you are looking at a home that will be $150,000, that means you’ll need a $30,000 down payment. If you don’t have that much money laying around, there are other options for you.

You can put down less, but you might wind up paying a PMI (private mortgage insurance). This could be an extra $50-$100 a month on top of your mortgage payment. If you are in the military, a veteran, or family of a veteran, you can potentially avoid the PMI with the Veteran Affairs loan.

5. What kind of down payment assistance is available?

If you need help with a down payment, the first place to look is the bank of Mom and Dad, if it’s available. There’s nothing wrong with being gifted money, but make sure you tell your lender where that money came from.

Otherwise, there are over 2,000 programs across the country to take advantage of, granted that you are eligible based on your income and credit.

6. What types of home loans are there?

The types of loans available boil down to two categories: adjustable rate and fixed rate.

Adjustable rates mean your interest can change over time based on the market. A fixed or “term” rate means you’ll have the same mortgage rate for the length of the borrowing period.

For more information on mortgage loans, credit, and first time buying, visit Realtor.com.

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Where to Watch the Super Bowl on Sunday

This picture shows an american football manufactured by Wilson lying on a football field. The football has the typical brown and redish color with some white lines painted on it and white laces on the top.Hard Rock Hotel – 207 Fifth Ave, Downtown

The hotel will feature a football-fueled day with their 3 LED screens, a beer pong tournament, BBQ-style food, drink specials, bottle service, and music by DJs:

  • Murphi Kennedy
  • Chris Cutz
  • Johnny Rayburn
  • Mr. DeeJay

The fun starts at Noon and will go until 10pm. Tickets and cover starts at $10 and go up depending on the experience you want.

The Deck at Moonshine Flats – 344 Seventh Ave, Downtown

You can enjoy a massive party at The Deck at Moonshine Flats with VAVi Sport and Social Club. They’ll have the game on their 35- by 25-foot LED screen, drink specials, a roasted pig, and games like:

  • Flip cup
  • Beer pong

The festivities start at 11am and there is no cover charge.

Draft South Mission Beach – 3105 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach

A pregame brunch with their special French toast BLT and spinach omelet is just the beginning. You’ll be able to watch the game on their 31-foot screen and they’ll have buckets of Bud Light, Budweiser, and Coors Light for $25.

The brunch will start at 9am.

WareHouse – 3125 Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach

Not only can you experience the game on their 18- by 10-foot LED screen, but you also have the chance to relax in a beachfront cabana with your own 46-inch TV and optional bottle service. Saint Archer and Coronado Brewing Co. will both be available, promoting their beer. For a cabana, email cabanaservice@belmontpark.com to reserve.

Harrah’s Resort Social – 777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center

Many former football stars and celebs will be at attendance at Harrah’s Resort Social like:

  • Kellen Winslow
  • Hank Bauer
  • Glenn Cadrez
  • Ed White
  • Brande Roderick
  • Jade Bryce
  • Susie Feldman

There will be 4 rooms with a view of the 9- by 16-foot screen, as well as 4 drop-down screens. Don’t forget the tailgate-style buffet! Cover will be $30.

AD Nightclub – 905 Fourth Ave, Downtown

You’ll be able to watch the game live and enjoy music by DJ Dynamiq. Your tickets include bottomless beers and mimosas, and all-you-can-eat tacos for the entirety if the game. There will also be special game-day bottle service. It starts at 2:45pm and goes for $32.

For even more places to enjoy the Super Bowl and celebrate the game, visit the SanDiegoTribune..com!

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Foster a Dog: Rescue Groups Near Encinitas

You have found your dream home in one of the lovely neighborhoods in Encinitas. It has a nice yard and plenty of space for the dog you have always wanted. Before you buy from a breeder, have you considered fostering?

Fostering is a system that is used to provide dogs a temporary home outside of a shelter while they wait for the right family to adopt them permanently. This article will look at some of the benefits of fostering, followed by three great organizations in the Encinitas area that rely on foster parents to help place homeless animals with their forever families.

Benefits of Fostering a Dog

1. Sense of purpose.

There will be little doubt in your mind when you see the transformation that happens when a dog transitions from a life of abuse, homelessness, and/or food insecurity to one where their basic needs are met. In addition, since dogs are social animals, they will make sure you know how grateful they are for your help.

2. Flexibility

Those with busy lives may appreciate being a part-time foster parent. Most foster groups have ways to get involved without taking on the full responsibility of 24/7 care. Others provide pet sitting services for foster families that need to travel.

3. Experience and training

Most foster groups offer their volunteers resources and training opportunities to learn how to be the best dog handlers they can be. Those new to dogs will learn a great deal, preparing them for a dog of their own when they are ready.

4. Lifestyle check

Fostering gives you a chance to make sure your lifestyle is suited for dog ownership, and if so, what qualities in a dog are the ones that best fit your personality, activity level, and interests.

5. Cost saving

Most foster programs provide for all medical and spay/neuter costs. Some will even cover the cost of necessities like food and routine preventative care such as heartworm and flea/tick treatments.

3 Dog Fostering Organizations Near Encinitas

Rancho Coastal Human Society Foster Program

Located right in Encinitas, the Rancho Coastal Human Society has an extensive dog foster program. Their volunteers give more abandoned pets a chance for long-term adoption, as well as support their Animal Safehouse Program, which temporarily houses pets while survivors of domestic violence seek safety.

Founded in 1960, this charitable organization has been active in raising community awareness about pet overpopulation, as well as providing low cost educational programming to the public. Several outreach efforts target younger populations, including the Kids Community Service Program and free classroom presentations to nearby schools.

They provide food, medical costs and even blankets to make sure that fostering is not a financial burden. The Rancho Coastal Humane Society strives to be flexible with your schedule to make fostering accessible, and they also want to be sure that they place their foster animals in the right home. If one candidate is not a good fit for your household, they will help you find one that is.

Second Chance Dog Rescue of San Diego

Second Chance Dog Rescue does not have a brick and mortar facility. Rather, they operate exclusively through a network of foster families who volunteer their time and homes to give the dogs in their care a second chance to find the family they have been waiting for.

They pay for spaying or neutering, medical needs, and provide for any special rehabilitation care if necessary. SCDR also provides extensive support to foster volunteers in terms of educational resources. This is a good chance for those new to dog ownership to learn more about how to provide for the needs of our canine companions before taking the leap to full-time dog ownership.

Sometimes you will only have a dog for a few days or weeks before they are adopted permanently. Second Chance is very active with programing designed to increase the visibility of their adoption program in the communities they serve. Weekly adoptions events throughout the San Diego area raise awareness and keep adoption rates high.

Wagging Dog Rescue of Carlsbad

Wagging Dog rescues dogs on an international scale. This group is dedicated to saving dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. They operate entirely using a foster model, working very closely with volunteers to give them the skills they need to help each of the pets in their care.

If you are a compassionate person looking to learn more about animal rehabilitation, positive training techniques, and contribute to a movement dedicated to improving the conditions of domesticated pets across the world, this is a great choice for you! If you are not ready to foster, this group offers other excellent opportunities to get involved.

If you plan to work with Wagging Dog, you will need to provide your foster dog with some affordable dog food, as well as flea and tick preventative. They do, however, provide for the medical expenses and spay/neuter costs of the dogs in their charge. An added bonus? Their extensive network of volunteers can help provide pet sitting services if you need to arrange travel while you have a foster dog in your care.

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Dog Breed-Specific Rescue Groups Near Encinitas

Many folks love the idea of rescuing a dog to add to their family. Giving a pooch a second chance is an admirable choice, and one that will be met with years of appreciation from a grateful canine companion. You provide the food, shelter, and exercise, and they provide the unconditional love!

However, some of us are choosy about the specific breeds that we dream of for the perfect fur-baby. Maybe you had a specific breed as a childhood pet, or have a clear vision of what breeds are best suited for your lifestyle. In some cases, finding a dog of a specific breed might be the best choice for you and your family.

Luckily, if you happen to live near Encinitas, CA, you have plenty of options. There are several breed specific adoption organizations serving the Encinitas and San Diego areas. Here are just a few of them:

Bichon Fur Kids Rescue

This Bichon Frise rescue group is dedicated to helping these showy, playful, and high-spirited lap dogs find their fur-ever homes after being surrendered to a shelter or directly to this group. This breed is an excellent choice for families with small children who will have the time to meet this pup’s rather high exercise and companionship needs.

Take these dogs to the groomer every 6-8 weeks so their white curly locks will show off best. Looking for a dog that wears a fancy bow well? A Bichon Frise is a great choice.

It’s the Pits Dog Rescue

Pit bulls are actually a combination of several so-called bully type breeds. They have a bit of a bad reputation, largely having more to do with their illegal use in dog fighting and irresponsible ownership. In fact, many loyal fans of Pitties will accept no other breed. They can be loyal, playful and extremely loving when properly handled and treated with respect.

California Labrador Retrievers and More

Labrador Retrievers have held the top spot in the AKC popularity rankings for nearly three decades. This breed is known for intelligence, adaptability, trainability, and their family friendly attitude.

Although usually quite a handful until about 3 years of age, adults tend to mellow out and make for an excellent companion for those with active lifestyles. If you plan on adopting a puppy, make sure you have 1-2 hours a day to devote to training and exercise. Busy folks would be better served with an adult rescue.

Hound Savers Greyhound Rescue

Believe it or not, Greyhounds make elegant couch-potatoes. Although they would love a good run on a large fenced property, the fact is their exercise needs are surprisingly low. They tend to tolerate being home alone during a long work day well. In most cases, making them a nice choice for folks with busy schedules. Stylish and fashionable, these noble canines bring plenty of eye appeal to the table.

Some Greyhounds can have trouble adapting to homes with cats or other small pets, however, the benefit of adopting through this organization is that the foster families have already assessed individual dogs to help ensure a great fit.

Coastal German Shepherd Rescue of San Diego

#2 on the AKC list of most popular dogs, German Shepherds are well known for their loyalty, trainability, and fierce loyalty to their pack. They will give your family the security of knowing that nothing will stand in a German Shepherds way of protecting those it loves.

One downside of this breed? Expect plenty of shedding from this double coated breed, particularly during the large spring molt. They have high exercise and training needs, and do best in homes with an experienced dog person to provide strong leadership.

Pug Rescue of San Diego

Looking for a pocket pet? No dog says – “You have the best lap in all the world!” – quite like a Pug. This expressive breed is curious, affectionate and generally trainable. However, be warned; their good looks make them prone to get away with plenty of mischief, especially as puppies.

Some of the most popular designer mixed breeds such as Puggles, Chugs, and Pompugs have Pugs in their bloodline. Keep an eye on the adoptable dogs at this breed rescue group for a Pug or Pug mix that strikes your fancy!

Southern California Dachshund Rescue

Nobody does charming like a Hot Dog. These portable pets are smarter than most people give them credit for, with loads of personality to boot. They come with coarse, smooth, or silky hair in a variety of colors. They have moderate exercise needs, most of which can be met indoors with some fun games.

If you are looking for a super low maintenance small dog that can travel with you, consider a senior Dacshie. There are always plenty of older dogs to choose from who already have basic housetraining, manners, and obedience.

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Tips for Seniors on Buying a New Home

For many seniors, the house they own is just too large for their needs. When they were younger and had small or school-aged children, a two-story house with four bedrooms and two baths was perfect.

But now, the children are grown and out of the house, the huge yard has become a burden, and so has cleaning those four bedrooms and two baths. Climbing up and down stairs all day is more tiring than it used to be. All of these scenarios start to add up, prompting many seniors to buy a smaller home.

If you’re a senior and you think it’s time to downsize, consider these tips to help you overcome financing challenges and find the right assistance for a big move.

Sell Your Current Home and Get Financing

The best way to get the ball rolling when you want to buy a new home is to sell your current one. The proceeds from the sale will help you purchase your new house.

(By the way, it’s a myth that lenders frown on loaning money to seniors because of their age and related risk factors.)

In fact, mortgage lenders look at the most recent two years of your credit history coupled with your projected income for the next three years. They’re not allowed to discriminate against you because of your age. To figure out which mortgage is best for your budget and circumstances, talk with a financial adviser who can help you make the right decisions when applying for a home mortgage.

Finding Assistance for the Big Move

You’ve sold your old home, found a new home, qualified for a mortgage, and closed the deal. Now it’s time to move in, right? Well … not quite. Let’s back up several months. When you know you’re going to move to a new home, it’s time to start downsizing and packing. Be sure to do a little at a time so it doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Some seniors may not even want to deal with all the packing. They may have mobility problems or trouble with heavy lifting. If that describes your situation, consider hiring moving help. Professional movers will often do all your packing for you. All you need to do is supervise the movers during the packing process. Once your stuff is packed up, the movers can then do the heavy lifting for you, so the box of fine china is not your responsibility to move from one place to another.

Some moving companies will even arrange to transport items to storage facilities or help you donate unwanted belongings to charity groups. And to further ease the load of moving, if you are somewhat flexible with your move date, consider positioning it during a less busy time frame so that you’re more likely to secure a moving crew, and one that is well-rested. In Encinitas, the best times to move are Tuesdays after 12 p.m.

Buying a new home can be intimidating, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By investigating mortgage programs suited to your needs and carefully weighing your options, you can find the right home at the right price. Hiring moving help and letting them assist you in the moving process will also relieve some of the stress of moving as well as get you on your way to enjoying your new home.

Photo via Pixabay

This article was contributed by Michael Longsdon. For more information and tips to help improve the lives of the elderly in your life, visit Elder Freedom.

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Are You Organized or Overboard?

coffee, cup, designerA new year can bring a need to declutter and start fresh. While it’s great to get rid of what you don’t want and reorganize things, it’s possible to go a little overboard.

Learn why you’re organizing: for accessibility or aesthetic? Choose a simple system that will be easy to follow for you and your family. If your organizational system is causing you to spend more time keeping things in place, then that’s not organizing – that’s obsessive.

Here’s how to keep organizing on the right track:

The Pantry

Organize – Group similar food items together. Store breakfast foods, baking supplies, and snacks together so you’ll be able to grab them quicker. Sorting canned goods into fruits and veggies is also recommended.

Obsessive – Alphabetizing your products is over the top. Putting everything in a jar can also cross a line, and color coding items in your pantry.

The Closet

Organize – Organizing your closet can be a hassle. Professionals counsel clients to buy one type of hanger to save space and make it look neater. Toss the department store hangers and dry cleaner one and pick a hanger with the same shape (slim, chunky velvet).

Obsessive ­– Using the same hanger in every closet in the house can be taking organizing to the extreme. It can be a lot to maintain. Also, stop trying to coordinate colors like pants on one color hanger and shirts on another.


Organize – Organize your clothes can usually be where friends will coin you as obsessive. Sorting by color or sleeve/pant length is appropriate. Even organizing your sweaters and dresses to face the same direction is fine!

Obsessive – Here’s where the problem arises: organizing your clothes by color/brand and subdividing them by activity (or vice versa) will create hours of organizing after laundry day.


Organize – If you’re a reader and like to set your books in alphabetical order or genre, that’s not a bad thing. If you just want it to look pretty, try by book cover. These are both normal tactics.

Obsessive ­­– Trying to make designs with your books like ombre or rainbow, or stacking them by size, can be tough to maintain. Covering your books with coordinating paper colors is going too far.

Office Files

Organize – Files don’t need to look pretty. Choose an order that speaks to you. Use folders and write names on them to sort bills, or try alphabetically, by month, or specific groups.

Obsessive – Having a sorting file for every piece of paper is excessive. Get rid of statements that are over a year old and don’t keep notices about changes in your garbage schedule.

For even more ways to keep from obsessing over your organizing tactics, visit realtor.com for more advice!

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