Don’t miss the Parkmead Garden Tour this Sunday!

My Parkmead neighborhood, in Walnut Creek, is hosting a Garden Tour this Sunday. Come by and check it out if you have a chance!

Flower Garden, Garden, Flowers, Summer Flowers

Get to know the Parkmead neighborhood and learn about the local flora and fauna that thrive in our Mediterranean climate. We have 8 gardens participating this year!

Here are the details:

  • Sun, Apr 30
  • 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Maps available at 1701 Lilac Drive
    As listed above, you can pick up your Garden Tour map at 1701 Lilac Dr., anytime between 1 pm and 4 pm on Sunday, April 30th. 

Garden, Benderlucens, Bedburg-HauWe will feature a garden designed by our very own resident landscape designer, Janet Cohen and one with Admirals Choice discussing irrigation, drought resistant plants and sprinklers that can be controlled by your phone.  Plus the non-profit Sustainable Contra Costa, will have information on raising chickens at home and sustainable gardening tips. They will also have a “sheet mulching” demonstration and composting discussion! Additionally, we will be sharing some info on beekeeping at home and composting.

For more information please visit our website: http://www.parkmead.org/Home_Page.html or contact events@parkmead.org. Can’t wait to see you there!

p.s. We will also be accepting donations to finish the walking path that takes you to Parkmead Elementary School.  It has many potholes and when it rains, many puddles.  Thus students, dog walkers and neighbors divert them by walking into the street!

Burger Lounge, Hella Good!

Burger Lounge, the new burger joint on Oak Grove Rd., is making its first foray into Northern California with its Walnut Creek location.

Rooted in San Diego, they are well-known for their grass-fed beef, craft sodas, huge salads, half-and-half fries and onion rings and delicious shakes. The decor is fresh and stylish; I saw lots of people comfortable and conversing.

(Note: if you get there after 11:30 on weekdays, there will be a line out the door)

Burger Lounge also serves wine and local craft beer (Calicraft at the Walnut Creek location). Maybe the coolest aspect of the Burger Lounge mission is that they try so hard to make food that tastes good but is also as sustainable as possible. As mentioned, their burgers are grass-fed and they avoid a lot of the processed ingredients other places use.

I really liked my burger. I got mine to go and it was gone before I hit 680. Overall, I give Burger Lounge FIVE Mt. Diablo’s! Give it a try and let me know if you agree.

Art Town: Ducks at Arroyo

I love these cool ducks at the new Arroyo apartments at 1250 Arroyo Way in Walnut Creek. It’s one of the most unique pieces I’ve seen around town at any of the new complexes.

Did you know: The Walnut Creek Public Art Program was adopted in 2000 when ordinances requiring funding and the inclusion of public art in new development and renovation projects was passed by the City Council? I think that’s a wonderful idea!

Happy Easter from my clients!

This is why I do real estate. How awesome are these pictures and the nice messages from a client who clearly loves their new house? It’s moments like this that remind me why I love this job so much!

“Happy Easter, Kristin! We had our first formal family dinner at our house today and even broke in the fine china and family silverware.”

Looking for your dream home?

1154 Glen Rd. in Lafayette has it all. As realtors, we occasionally get preview invites to see a home before it goes on the market. Last Thursday, there was a private viewing of this spectacular home with wine, cheese and homemade chocolate chip cookies baking that created a cozy feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This coveted Happy Valley street is one of my favorites. The home was originally built by Nobel Prize winner Glenn Seaborg in 1951. The current owner completely remodeled it in 2009, adding on this high-beamed family room to the original L-shaped layout.

I love how this stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the living room. The current owner is a real estate agent and has a knack for remodeling homes, living there for a while, and then moving on to the next project. In this case, the same street just a few doors down will get the next updates to this mid-century neighborhood.

Two of my favorite features were the Jack-n-Jill bathroom where there is a laundry shoot cabinet to the laundry room on the other side, and the mud room next to the garage, as well as another outdoor entrance to store the backpacks and shoes upon returning home.

 

 

 

 

 

The master bedroom was added on with high, vaulted ceilings, doors to the pool area and an amazing bathroom. All this can be yours for $3,650,000. For more information and better photos, check out this home here.

Are Walnut Creek’s In-N-Out dreams dead?

According to ABC7, the new In-N-Out location Walnut Creekians have been salivating over might be in trouble.

Just TRY to say no to this picture…

Apparently, a community near the proposed site (N. Main St. at Second Ave.) of the new location is trying to stop the construction because of the expected long drive-thru line that will cause traffic and late night noise.

The city has not taken a stance yet, and the owner of the property already has it zoned for a restaurant, so it may very well still happen. Would In-N-Out have a restaurant without the drive-thru window? If so, how will In-N-Out feed all the folks who don’t want to leave their cars to eat their fast food?

Anyway, the local community rightly likes its quiet, peaceful street and think there is already a plethora of fast food restaurants nearby, making In-N-Out unnecessary.  My son will be bummed, I for one am indifferent.  They are not my favorite, the patty is too small…stay tuned for future blogs on our areas burger locals.

This would look great on N. Main St. Just saying.In all seriousness, it looks like the city will plan a few public hearings after they review the proposal again. It remains to be seen if the local community will have their way, or if residents of Walnut Creek will be able to save themselves 10 minutes of driving on 680 (in either direction…) for those juicy burgers.

For what it’s worth, the anti-In-N-Out petition on Change.org has about 10 times as many signatures as the pro-In-N-Out petition. At least our town gets involved.

Road Trips: Strawberry Jam 5K in Capay

Grab your kids for a short road trip! Today there is a fun event going on in Capay (1.5 hours from Walnut Creek, just North of Vacaville): a 5K run and farm tour at Capay Organic.

I get produce from the delivered to my door weekly if I choose and you pick what you put into that box – of course it is only fruits and veggies currently in season and they often have a recipe included.  Last week I got sunchokes as I forgot to modify my order – these are also called Jerusulum  articokes and I made a wonderful potato sunchoke latke which will be recreated and served for Easter Brunch.

From the Capay Organic website.

Tickets are available here, and sign in begins at 10 a.m., with the run starting a half hour later. The farm will be open to tours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and includes the options of tractor rides, a Q&A, arts and crafts, face-painting, a petting zoo and an Easter egg hunt!

If that’s not the most perfect way to spend Saturday of Easter weekend, I don’t know what is! For you foodies, there will be a little farmer’s market section with local honey, olive oil and pesto tastings, fresh Mexican food and plenty of sweet dessert and coffee options.

For a little different twist on your regular Bay Area road trip, consider Capay Organic for your next weekend away. They have events almost every month, and the pictures make it look like an absolutely gorgeous setting. I wish I could have been there today myself!

The problem with large AMC’s for lenders and clients

Our friend Jay Vorhees at JVM Lending wrote a blog recently about Apprisal Management Companies (AMC’s) that I found really interesting. Jay wrote about the mess that usually comes out of a broker-lender relationship due to appraisal issues.

Family Home, Residence, Contemporary, Property, Modern

After the mortgage melt down the laws changed that required lenders to use AMCs instead of cherry picking their appraisers directly.  This past practice created an opportunity for dishonest practices.  However, creation of AMC’s created a separate list of issues and caused the cost of appraisals to increase.  The AMC’s usually paid the appraisers too little and decreased motivation by appraisers to do a good job or they hired inexperienced appraisers because the seasoned appraisers got out of the business as their salary decreased. Initially there was no parameters in place for the appraiser you got.  Many times, I got an appraiser from Sacramento appraising a property in the Walnut Creek School District and would get a low value because the comps they pulled were parts of Walnut Creek not in the school district.  As you can imagine, this led to some huge problems

As time passed, mortgage brokers such as JVM have moved to a “mortgage banking channel” to avoid using AMC’s and now utilize their own internal AMC that is still compliant but staffed by competent, local, highly-skilled appraisers of JVM’s choosing.  The lender still can’t talk to the appraiser, but at least they have control of the quality of appraisers and know the area they are appraising.

For more information about this topic, see this Washington Post article Jay quoted in his blog. You can visit JVM Lending here.

Just Be Yoga is my go-to spot in Walnut Creek

About 1 1/2 years ago, I joined Just Be Yoga after I went on a Just Be and Dragon Fly Yoga retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica. I went with my favorite yoga teacher who I originally met at Forma Gym, named Kelli.

The owner of Just Be Yoga, Jenny Wendell, has created an amazing community. The people and the instructors there are incredible. The yoga studio itself has a 2-door glass garage that opens and shuts whenever necessary. They have heated classes, a little courtyard outside of the studio, and multiple yoga retreats per year from Yosemite to Hawaii, among other domestic and international locations. Another of my favorite instructors, Malia Hill, even offers an occasional SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga class in Alameda! This summer she is headed to Croatia for a SUP/Yoga retreat.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.


I think my favorite thing about going to Just Be Yoga and the retreat in Costa Rica, were meeting all the great people and instructors and just feeling like I belong. The benefits of learning to breathe, sweat and get that afterglow/relaxed feeling is a big release from the stress of daily life as a real estate agent.

A big benefit to yoga, in general, is that they really get you in touch with your body. I had no idea how much I lacked in range of motion and flexibility. Kelli’s classes often focus on areas I never knew I could stretch like hips, IT bands and sides. These tend not to be the Deep Yoga class, but they have some great Vinyasa flow and I love the Yin classes. Just Be Yoga is located right behind Wish downtown. Check them out, try them out and come be part of this wonderful community. You can do an introductory trial month for $39.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.

As for the retreat, we stayed at Blue Spirit and I stayed in the Eco Hut. I thought it meant “eco-friendly hut,” but I was wrong. Oops! It had no A/C, it was a shared room, and it was more than 100 uphill steps to get to the yoga studio and it meant economy hut ;-).

Despite all that, the experience was unforgettable! There was evening meditation, yoga twice a day and plenty of time to enjoy the beach (which was right next to our resort), horseback riding, surfing and more. Check out this slideshow below!

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