Downsizing Advice for Those Who Want to Simplify Retirement

When you enter retirement, you find that a lot of things change. Your days are no longer structured around your work schedule. You have to watch your expenses as you enter an age of living on a fixed budget. And as we grow older, our bodies and minds naturally work differently. With all this change, it doesn’t make much sense to stay in the same environment you’ve been in all these years. That’s why so many retired seniors decide to downsize their homes.

Downsizing involves reducing your possessions, selling your current home, and buying a new place that is smaller. It’s a trend we’ve seen taken to the extremes with the Tiny House Movement, but it can be done in a more realistic manner, as well. For instance, many retirees decide to downsize from a two-story home to a one-story as a way to preemptively deal with mobility issues in their later age.

Benefits of Downsizing Your Home

  • It’s a great way to start a new chapter of your life.
  • A smaller home encourages less purchases on frivolous things.
  • It gives you an excuse to finally get rid of all your excess junk.
  • Less house means less cleaning.
  • You spend less on insurance, utilities, and taxes.
  • It’s easier to find a smaller home in urban areas where you can be close to the action.
  • Living with less means a smaller carbon footprint.
  • Many people find that downsizing frees up their life for traveling or other interests.
  • The net amount you gain from downsizing your home can contribute to your retirement.

Cleaning Out Your Belongings

When it comes to getting rid of junk around the house, it can be tough for a lot of people. When you have emotions or memories connected to items, you may feel like you are being disrespectful when giving them away. However, the things we own are just that — things. Even if something was a gift from a loved one, you are not required to keep it. If it no longer has a purpose in your life, let it go. This is also a great time to take a good, hard look at some of the bigger items in your house. Is that extra sofa past its prime? Maybe it’s time to let it go. Is your mattress old, lumpy, and a little uncomfortable? If it’s been at least five years since you purchased one, it might be time to get a new mattress; after all, experts suggest replacing it every seven to 10 years. If nothing else, it’s one less thing you have to take with you.

Author and organizational expert Marie Kondo talks about this in her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While the book doesn’t focus on senior downsizing, it does teach people how to recognize when something doesn’t have a place in your home anymore. Kondo instructs her clients to thank the item for its service before letting it go. This can be a helpful tool when you’re clearing out your belongings before moving to a smaller home.

Looking for a New Home

It’s probably been a fair amount of time since you last searched for a new house. In your younger years, you likely bought your house with your family in mind — especially your kids’ needs. This time around, you get to pick out exactly what you want and do it on your time frame. Because of these factors, you should be excited about house hunting. Of course, don’t let your excitement get in the way of rational decision making.

Before you even look at a listing, set your priorities. Some retirees may want to pad their nest egg a bit, so finding an affordable smaller home is crucial. Look into how much homes are in your area — for instance, on average, homes in Encinitas, Calif., sell for around $541/sq. foot. Other retirees may not have to worry about the finances as much, but they really want to move somewhere closer to family. The profits made from downsizing can be used to fund a cross-country move. Whatever your priorities are, identify them and keep them in the front of your mind throughout your hunt.

When you enter retirement, a lot of things in your life change. Downsizing your home can be one of those changes while facilitating an easier transition into retirement. Moving to a smaller house reduces the amount of effort you have to put into your living situation. The hardest part for a lot of people is getting rid of their belongings that they connect to memories and emotions. May you consider to let go of the past and embrace the future and your new life as a retiree.

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Paper Shredding Event

The fall season is upon us, and it’s time to declutter your home of those old tax returns and documents. But you can’t simply throw out those stacks of paper, they contain valuable private information.

Stop by my office on Saturday, November 10th and shred those confidential documents into indiscernible pieces!

This free paper shredding event will be held at 740 Garden View Court, Encinitas, CA 92024. A professional shredding company will take care of those tax returns at no cost to you! Simply stop by anytime from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Please refrain from bringing any other paper products such as magazines or newspapers. This event is solely for destroying private tax information.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Fireplace Upgrades to Revamp Your Home

A fireplace is an important focal point in any room. Oftentimes, family and friends gather around the fireplace during cooler nights. So why not bring life back to your fireplace? If your fireplace is lacking luster, there are plenty of ways to upgrade it! Use these simple and easy decorating ideas to give your fireplace a gorgeous facelift!

  • Add Some Color

A fireplace is a statement piece. So why not make it stand out? Painting a fireplace is a sure way of drawing attention to it. Your living room, or family room, is designed with your own personal style. Paint your fireplace to match your décor with an accent color of your choosing. Color can be bold or muted depending on personal taste.

  • Cover Outdated Tile

If your tile fireplace is outdated, easily transform it by using adhesive paper! Adhesive paper comes in many different styles, patterns, and colors. This inexpensive solution can turn your tile fireplace into a marble masterpiece.

  • Lighten It Up

Dark brick fireplaces may be traditional, but they can look outdated and wash out the rooms color. Instead, brighten it up by whitewashing the brick. This can be accomplished by painting the brick with a mixture of paint and water. For a helpful how-to video, click here.

  • Install a Mantel

If your fireplace doesn’t already have a mantel, one can be installed to give your fireplace a beautiful front profile. Mantels come in all types of designs, colors, and materials. For ideas, take a look at this gallery of fireplace mantels.

  • Add Artistic Tile

If you like the look of a tiled fireplace, add some color with cool artistic tile. Tile doesn’t have to be uniform in color or smooth. Adding textured tile, changing the tile material, and even adding hand painted tile can transform a basic fireplace into a beautiful art installation. Check out these gorgeous tiles for inspiration.

  • Cover with a Screen

If you don’t use your fireplace, cover the hearth with a beautiful screen. Fireplace screens come in any and all styles. Whether you like the look of concrete, metal, glass, or iron, there’s a fireplace screen for every design taste.

  • Add a Built-in Cabinet

Enhance your fireplace by adding a built-in cabinet or multiple shelves. Not only will you be adding storage space, but you will create a cohesive statement piece around your beautiful fireplace. You can create a built-ins yourself or hire a carpenter to avoid the hassle.

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Spook-tacular Treats to Delight Guests!

With Halloween right around the corner, you may be planning a spooky-themed party, or maybe you just want to enjoy some ghoul-riffic treats with your family. These scrumptious desserts will satisfy any monster’s belly whether big or small!

  • Spider Truffle Cookies

These cookies look almost too cute to eat! Almost. Chocolate truffles make up the spider body and chocolate drizzles are used for the legs. You’ll have trouble keeping these cookies stocked! Check out this video on how to make creepy spider cookies.

  • Creepy Jell-O Worms

Create a delicious and spine-tingling dessert from Jell-O. These worms are simple to make and create a creepy visual. For a video guide on how to make these tasty worms, click here. For an amazing display, place these worms in a bed of dirt made of chocolate cookie crumbs.

  • Bloody Cheesecake to Die For

This delicious red velvet cheesecake looks like it could be straight from a horror scene! The dripping red gel frosting looks just like blood, and with a knife slicing through the middle, your guests are in for a fright! Plus, vampires are sure to love it!

  • Strawberry Pumpkin Patch

These strawberries are dipped in orange candy coating and look absolutely adorable! Placed on a bed of crushed sandwich cookies, these strawberries will look like a little pumpkin patch. For a video on how to make this treat, click here.

  • Zombie Brain Cupcakes

These anatomical cupcakes are sure to delight any ghouls or zombies! Cerebellum frosting paired with red liquid food dye creates a bloody good dessert! For a visual demonstration, check out this video.

  • Bloody Finger Hot Dogs

These hot dogs look frightful but are oh so delicious. And you don’t need anything other than some hotdogs, buns, and ketchup. Cut the hotdogs to look like fingernails, dip them in ketchup, and you’ve got a tasty Halloween snack that are sure to be a party hit!

  • Stuffed Intestines

This gut busting puff pastry can be filled with anything of your choosing but looks amazing any way! For detailed instruction and a how-to video, click here. As a filling, you can use sloppy joes, shredded chicken, Italian grinder dip, or even hot wing dip.

  • Bloody Glass Cupcakes

These bloody cupcakes look like a prop for a horror film and taste delicious. Topped with glass candy and red food gel, these cupcakes are not for the faint of heart! To view this recipe, click on this link.

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Instagram Worthy Food in and Around Encinitas

Whether or not you enjoy sharing pictures of beautifully presented culinary indulgences on social media, it cannot be denied that food simply tastes better when it looks aesthetically pleasing. Whether it’s a colorful frozen treat or a beautifully designed box of donuts, Instagram worthy food is definitely worth a try. Check out some of these popular Instagram food locations in and around Encinitas and treat yourself to a picture worthy experience!

  • The Baked Bear

This sweet ice cream shop serves up colorful and inventive desserts. Originally founded by two childhood friends, The Baked Bear offers customers over a dozen original ice cream flavors and cookies. Mix and match toppings and choose whether to hold your ice cream together with cookies, donuts, or brownies. There are several locations throughout California.

  • Soda and Swine

This lovely restaurant serves up beautiful presentations of food on a tray. There’s something for everyone here, but they serve a lot of delicious comfort food. Order fried pizza knots or a Beyondce burger and dig in! There are two locations in San Diego, Liberty Station and North Park.

  • Donut Bar

This award-winning donut restaurant features some of the most beautiful and mouth-watering treats! Over 30 donut creations are created every single day so there is always something new to try.  They even offer pop culture themed donuts, like the Homer’s donut and the Butter Beer donut inspired by Harry Potter. There is a location in San Diego.

  • Pokirrito

The award-winning chef and owner of this establishment is Junya Watanabe, creator of the RakiRaki Ramen and J/Wata Temaki Bar. Customers can order fresh and delicious poke bowls, sushi burritos, or tamago-sando, a unique creation. One of their newest creations is not for the mild, a sushi burrito rolled in flaming hot Cheetos!

  • Square Bar Café

This restaurant features beautifully colored desserts and funky drinks. Customers may order macaron ice cream sandwiches, cute animal desserts, rainbow drinks, inventive drinks served in a lightbulb, and much more.  Located in San Diego.

  • Pop Pie Co.

This locally owned specialty pie and coffee shop can be found in San Diego. Whether you’re in the mood for a dessert pie or a full meal, this restaurant sells every kind of pie imaginable. From a hearty steak and ale pie to a Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche pie, the choice is yours!

  • Crème and Sugar

This dessert shop serves nothing but gorgeous and colorful treats. Everything on the menu is fit for a princess. Known for their pastel colored and candy-coated unicorn themed cake, milkshakes, and hot chocolate. This sweet shop in San Diego also designs beautifully aesthetic cakes that simply must be admired.

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Create a Backyard Paradise

Turn your ordinary backyard into an outdoor oasis, impress your guests with an entertainment space reminiscent of a beach paradise, or create your own private retreat right in your backyard and escape after a long day. Take a look at how you can improve your outdoor space and make your home the go-to destination for events.

  • Create Entertainment Spaces—Create designated sections for entertaining and dining right in the backyard. These spaces can be created using pergolas covered in luscious ivy or a chic gazebo.
  • Add an Outdoor Kitchen—Entertaining outdoors is made even more enjoyable when friends and family can gather around the table and talk while preparing the meal. Outdoor kitchens make cooking easier because hot dishes and silverware don’t have to be carried through the house to the backyard. Having an outdoor kitchen means having everything you need at your disposal.
  • Create Shade—Provide yourself, and your guests, a cool retreat from the blazing sun. Rather than using a single large umbrella, use a pergola or arbor adorned with flowering plants and blooming vines.
  • Create Privacy—True relaxation cannot be achieved if there isn’t a sense of privacy. If your home doesn’t have a fully enclosed backyard, there are still ways to achieve a feeling of enclosure. Use tall hedges or leafy bamboo if a fence is too restricting. Garden walls are easy to have installed, and offer both privacy and picturesque design.
  • Install a Spa—For a cool way to relax, install a spa in the backyard. A spa is roughly half the size of most swimming pools, so they don’t take up a lot of backyard space. Spas are a luxurious addition to any home, and increase a home’s value. Add a waterfall to your spa and your backyard will be paradise!
  • Add Water Elements—When trying to recreate the feeling of paradise, one cannot forego the sound of running water. Add a bubbling fountain to your backyard or a waterfall feature and calm the senses. Water is a soothing sound, and the sound of it will put any homeowner at ease.
  • Outdoor Lighting—Entertainment spaces must have adequate lighting, so be sure to invest in weather resistant outdoor lights. Fireplaces offer warmth in the evening and a beautiful picture. Fire pits can be moved around a backyard space frequently, making them low commitment.
  • Add More Green—Paradise is evocative of lush greenery, so plant a variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs to create a beautiful mix of color, texture, and height. Even in California, where droughts are common, you may still create and maintain a garden paradise. For a list of drought friendly plants, visit this website.

Creating an outdoor oasis may involve a little design flair, but the payoff is immense. A home is a cozy retreat from the struggles and hard work of the everyday, so why not make the backyard a vacation? You’ll have a space to calm the senses and your stress will simply melt away!

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Stunning Luxury Home Located in Hilltop


This luxury home is located in the Hilltop area, within the Terraces at Cantebria. 367 Via Andalusia is located near numerous restaurants and shops. This impressive home also features a spectacular panoramic view of the hillsides and mountains.


This spacious home is 2,767 square feet with a 3 door garage. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 baths. The master bedroom has a fireplace, and the master bathroom has a beautifully designed tile bathtub. The kitchen is equipped with plenty of storage, vast counter space, and even a breakfast counter. Families will fit right into this stunningly designed home.


The backyard is truly awe-inspiring. Complete with a stamped concrete patio, a modern Pebble Tech pool and spa with River Rock accents, this home’s backyard is an oasis of tranquility. The community of Terraces at Canterbria also hosts a community pool, spa, and tennis courts for you to perfect your shots!


Currently listed at $1,099,500 – $1,149,500, this beautiful luxury home features hardwood floors, dual pane windows, gorgeous shutters, recessed lighting, two stunning fireplaces located in the front room and master bedroom, central air, and designer paint colors.

This home is a luxurious take on a modern family home. Take a look at this listing for yourself!

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Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

This year, I’m a proud supporter of the Coldwell Banker’s Homes for Dogs Project. I’m taking part in the National Pet Adoption event occurring this Saturday October 6th, 2018 from 11AM to 1PM.

In honor of the adoption event, I’ve created a list of delicious homemade dog treat recipes to delight your new pet on the ride to their forever home. If you don’t plan on adopting this weekend, feel free to visit the adoption event anyway and see some adorable pups!

The event will take place at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society located at 389 Requeza St., Encinitas CA 92024. Adoption can be exciting, but there’s a lot to be done before bringing Fido home. To ensure your family is prepared for a new dog, check out this article on bringing a new dog home for the first time.

1. Frozen Blueberry Coconut Treats

A lot of dogs go crazy for coconut oil! Which is great because besides being delicious, coconut oil has been shown to be amazing for a dogs coat and skin. This recipe is easy to make, and only requires 2 ingredients.

2. No Bake Hypoallergenic Coconut Treats

This recipe is perfect for dogs with allergies, and there’s no need to turn on the oven! These peanut butter balls contain rolled oats and are covered in coconut flakes. These treats should be given as an occasional reward.

3. Peanut Butter Banana Flax Seed Biscuits

These baked dog biscuits are tasty and nutritious! The total prep time and cooking time for these treats is 30 minutes. Makes about 24 biscuits, but serving size varies depending on the cookie cutter used.

4. Bacon Sprinkled Dog Donuts

Is there anything dogs love more than bacon or peanut butter? How about a treat that contains both! These baked donut treats are sure to drive your four legged friend wild. Top them off with Greek yogurt or bacon bits.

5. Spinach, Carrot, and Zucchini Treats

Dogs need healthy and nutritious treats too! But don’t worry, it won’t be hard trying to get your dog to gobble these up. Packed with peanut butter, pumpkin, and colorful veggies, these treats will have your pet begging for more.

6. Frozen Watermelon Treats

This delicious frozen treats could not be any easier or quicker to make. Plus, you can enjoy one right alongside your pup! Using only seedless watermelon and coconut milk, these pupsicles will leave your dog salivating.

7. Fresh Breath Treats

Your dog’s breath may not always smell the best, so why not give them an enjoyable treat that will also freshen their breath. These treats are baked and contain healthier ingredients than those found in stores.

Dogs offer us so much, so why not treat them to some homemade indulgences!

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Pet Stations and Storage Ideas

If you own a pet, then you know just how much space their toys, food, and everyday items can take. If you’ve been thinking about adopting a pet, it can be beneficial to set up their feeding station or play area before their arrival. With just a few organizational tricks, you can stash those toys away and have a proper place to store their food.

  • Build a Pet Closet

Armoires can be transformed into designated pet stations. Hang their leashes with hooks on the doors. Even store one of your raincoats inside for quick access when a potty break is requested on a rainy day. Store their food, bathing items, and cleaning supplies on the shelves. Personalize it with photos of your pet or painted paw prints. Instead of having their items scattered throughout the house, create a one-stop shop for everything!

  • Store Food and Keep It Fresh

Instead of having bags of kibble or dry food lying around, buy some air tight containers and store their food in a pantry. This way food will be out of the way, and you won’t have bags or boxes taking up space. Store treats in mason jars so they remain fresh and easy to find.

  • Store Those Toys Away

Your pet may love that sentimental stuffed toy he’s had since he was a baby, but leaving toys lying around when unused can create a messy appearance. And rather than having their toys scattered around the room, have a storage bin or designated drawer to place them in. You can even organize toys into subcategories such as ropes, stuffed animals, wands, or balls.

  • Create a Designated Play Area

Set up an unused room, or use a stylish room divider to block off a corner of the room, to create a play area for your loving pet. This will give them a private space to hang out or take a nap. If training a pet, this room will keep them safe when you are unable to watch them and ensure they don’t escape and steal your shoes. You can also store their belongings in the play area using shelves, hooks, or a feeder station.

  • Bathing Station

Make bath time less of a chore with a designated station. Rather than using a tub or shower, consider investing in a booster bath. Booster Baths are self-contained tubs that make it easier to bathe your pet. They include a convenient elevated height, safety harness, shampoo caddy, and slip-proof flooring. These tubs can be purchased in differing sizes depending on weight.

  • Wall Mounted Food Dispenser

If you would rather have your pet’s food ready to serve, consider acquiring a wall mounted food dispenser. These easy to serve food bins make feeding time a breeze and take up less storage space. They can hold a lot of dried food and their controlled dispensing handle allows you to easily start and stop pouring.

Creating a pet station can bring order to your house and keep any pet items at arm’s length. Keeping your pet’s items grouped together can make it easy to grab what you need, when you need it. Plus, your pets will appreciate having a designated space just for them. So create, decorate, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with organization.

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Lighting Fixture Trends to Try

Lighting plays a key role in house decorating. The right lighting can set the mood, add an artistic touch, or even enhance the interior design of a space. So switch out that humdrum ceiling light for something elemental, and ditch those outdated sconces. Take a look at these inspirational light fixture ideas and give your home a makeover.

1. Cord Lighting

Instead of a traditional hanging light, try a contemporary cord light for an industrial effect. The clean lines are perfect for minimalists, but they can also be designed to hang in an artistic way. Hang one light, or several grouped together. The choices are limitless! For cord light ideas, check out this page.

2. Asymmetrical Lights

Instead of a symmetrical hanging fixture, try arranging your lights in an asymmetrical pattern. This type of change can produce an interesting artistic effect. This casual lighting trend can be done in several ways. An asymmetric pendant can be used, or you may layer several lights of your choosing to produce an intriguing chandelier.

3. Neon signs

This modern lighting element adds a personal touch to any room. Neon lights can be ordered and personalized. So feel free to hang an inspirational quote or a beaming sun on your wall as an accent. Your guests are sure to be awed.

4. Animal Accents

If you like the natural look, consider adding lighting inspired by nature. Antler light fixtures add a chic touch when painted white, and there is no shortage of stunning faux animal wall décor. These beautiful animal inspired light fixtures serve as focal point to a room.

5. Globe Lighting

For warm and dreamy lighting, add some globe lights to any room. These lights offer soft illumination to any room and they come in various sizes and style designs. Whether you want some globes hanging from the ceiling or displayed as table lamps, globe lights look stunning any way you use them.

6. Photography Lights

Using photography lights as accent pieces in a room will definitely wow your guests. These lights can add a vintage or modern flair. Bring the spirit of old Hollywood to your home, or use a modern photography light as an art installation.

There are vast and numerous ways to decorate your home with lighting. Add a decorative accent piece to your beautifully designed home, or start decorating around a unique fixture. Add some extra illumination, or dim the lighting down with soft exposure. No matter how you use lighting in your home, make sure to add your very own personal touch to any design features. After all, there’s no one quite like you!

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