Today is National Kissing Day

I always appreciate a great kiss – the one that makes you weak in the knees. But like the word “love”, there are so many different types of kisses – the peck, the air, the French. People are not the only creatures who kiss – Apes, cats, dogs and dolphins all kiss too! Kiss often, especially today.
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XOXO

Summer Music in Walnut Creek

Who doesn’t love sitting in the grass under a warm summer sun, jamming to some live music? Opportunities to do so are common in the Bay Area, but you don’t need to spend a ton of money or travel to San Francisco for a music festival to do so.

guitarIn fact, two events are happening in Walnut Creek this summer that may be the perfect fit for someone looking to take in an easy, cheap outdoor concert.

Summer Sounds Outside is a series of free concerts on the Lesher Center for the Arts plaza. On June 30th from 5:30-7:00 p.m., Box Set Duo Trio – who has played with artists like Dave Matthews Band and Willie Nelson – performs. You can take your pick from jazz to classical to acapella – check out the lineup and additional dates on their website here.  In addition to Box Set Duo Trio, Chris Cain, Anderson & Roe and Blue Jupiter A Capella will perform this summer.

If you’re still looking for something fun to do on 4th of July, you can check out a free musical tribute by the Walnut Creek Concert Band (under the direction of Harvey Benstein). Head out to Civic Park before 6 p.m. to catch the show!

Always a fun evening, so don’t forget about the Broadway Plaza Summer Concert Series, which has live performances every Thursday night in August:

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  • August 4th: Petty Theft
  • August 11th: Foreverland
  • August 18th: Mustache Harbor
  • August 25th: Tainted Love

Hope to see you there!

 

Why You Feel Healthier and Happier with Pets

Displaying FullSizeRender.jpgDisplaying FullSizeRender.jpgpetsSome of my past clients recently received a complimentary copy of American Lifestyle Magazine’s “Pet Power” issue. They learned all about my dog Bodie and were invited to share their photos of their pets on this blog. Now’s your chance to do so too!

In the meantime, have you wondered why your pet makes you so darn happy? Here’s are six reasons from American Lifestyle. Check it out, and don’t forget to comment with your favorite pet photo!

1. They Can Decrease Stress and Blood Pressure

Research has found that hypertensive or high-risk patients’ blood pressures are lower when their pets are around. Another study found that people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member, or close friend was nearby. When a person connects with a pet by petting it, oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, is released.2. They Can Help You Socialize

Multiple studies have found that pet owners are more social than non–pet owners. There is typically more social interaction in neighborhoods with pets, which also makes these neighborhoods seem friendlier to observers. Even if you live alone, having a dog or cat has the same emotional benefit as that of a human friendship.

3. They Can Build Immunities in ChildrenpetfriendsThis one may sound counterintuitive, since many people might think cats and dogs cause allergies rather than prevent them. However, many studies have shown that having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies. Families that had children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as children who had no pets in the home.

4. They Can Boost Your Mood

Pets create endless entertainment, whether you have a comedian or a scaredy-cat on your hands. Pets offer unconditional love, but they also give their owners a sense of purpose. Smiling at your pet can raise your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters associated with joy and happiness.

happycouple5. They Can Help Your Heart Health

Many pet owners would agree that a pet can fill your heart with love, but did you know that they can also do a lot more for that organ? Research has shown that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels—all of which can ultimately minimize a person’s risk for having a heart attack.

6. They Can Help You Detect Medical Conditions

Research has found that one-third of the pets—such as dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits—who live with people who have diabetes would change their behavior when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Other reports have indicated that canine friends have sniffed or licked a mole or lump on their owner’s body because they may have the ability to smell cancer.

Hot Housing Market This Summer

It is unlikely the Federal Reserve will be increasing interest rates this month after a weak May job report (only 38,000 jobs created, 117,000 less than expected and the worst month for job creation in nearly six years). According to experts, the likelihood of a rate hike is down to a measly 4 percent, and that trend may carry over into July.

Thus, this summer could prove to be the hot time to buy or sell a home. In California – specifically the East Bay – selling season tends to be in the spring. Once we move into the middle of May, buyers and sellers become distracted with graduations, weddings, etc.

And once school is out everyone moves into vacation mode through mid-August, before families start getting ready for going back to school. Usually, we see an uptick in the number of homes that are on the market in the summer compared to the  the spring. With continued low rates, this summer might buck that trend with buyers out to purchase.Beautiful white, blue and beige living room.

To prepare, buyers should be pre-qualified for a mortgage before they start shopping and, ideally, desktop underwritten. It is best if buyers don’t make an offer contingent on the sale of their own home. For sellers, they should be ready to make themselves and their homes available for show. At minimum, have a staging consult done. Try to have your home staged before a showing.

 

Statistics show clean and pristine homes that are staged properly sell faster and for more money than ones that are not. Necessary improvements, such as new painting, replaced fixtures and refreshed house plants are huge for staging.

It is about getting it show and picture-worthy and keeping it neutral, not spending a lot of money on upgrades. As is the case with personal preferences, “What you think is a nice improvement is another man’s gold shag carpeting.”

The State of Convenience

The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) report that 69 percent of Americans are looking for ways to simplify their lives. Furthermore, they say, 74 percent of Americans will walk out of a store – even if they have exactly what that person is looking for – if the service is poor. And 45 percent of U.S. consumers say they are likely to pay for a service that provides extra convenience in their lives. See their graphic below:

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So, what’s the conclusion here? Consumers value time, and therefore convenience. This also translates to buying a home. Home buyers these days, especially millennials, want updated and move-in ready homes. They want properties conveniently located nearby public transportation or in an area with a high walking score.

As a seller, taking care of deferred maintenance, updates or remodeling will appeal to these convenience consumers.  Though you can’t change the location, you can highlight positive conveniences. As a buyer, know that living without some of these things may either get you a home or a better deal.

Calling all Foodies, Walnut Creek’s Restaurant Boom!

Good luck reading this blog and not drooling everywhere. In the most recent issue of Walnut Creek Magazine, they laid out a long list of new restaurants coming to town. Here is a quick run down of twelve new places to eat.

Credit: tonygemignani.com
Credit: tonygemignani.com

As part of Walnut Creek’s transition from sleepy suburb to must-see Capitol of the East Bay, the already thriving restaurant scene is getting another injection of new, hip hot spots.

First, let’s talk about pizza. As if we weren’t already spoiled by good pizza joints in Walnut Creek, MOD Pizza is moving into The Orchards, Slice House – from the world-famous Tony’s in San Francisco – will set up shop right below Teleferic and Rooftop, and Pizza My Heart will snag Project Pie’s old space on California.

The artist formerly known as Pyramid is going to be (highly-anticipated BBQ joint) Sauced, McCovey’s is turning into brunch king Momo’s, and the Hubcaps team is transforming their space into Broderick Roadhouse.

Credit: Twitter

Lemonade, a SoCal chain that serves fresh California cuisine, is coming to the old La Boulange space, and the aforementioned Rooftop is already enjoying a swell of crowds every night to dine and drink under the stars.

Looking for comfort food among all the fancy feasting joints? Hops & Scotch on Treat Blvd. will bring a restaurant and bar with mac n’ cheese, chicken strips, fried cheese curds and more.

And just to pile on top of the never-ending sushi craze, Kona Grill will enter at The Agora on Main, and also offer burgers and pasta.

Lastly, look for Limon Rotisserie and Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar on Locust St.

Whew … just in time for summer dining!