Time for this summer to get in-tents!

Hah, get it? It’s officially summer in the Bay Area (if you couldn’t tell by the triple-digit heat…), which means it’s time for you to plan some fun camping trips!

Luckily, we live in one of the most serene, nature-filled parts of the country and dozens of great campgrounds are just a short drive away. That brings me to this list of local campgrounds provided by Placer Title Company.

Some you’ve probably heard of, some you haven’t, but either way you can’t beat the Northern California summer. Some of my favorite areas are Tahoe (of course) and the Redwoods.

On this list, I can’t recommend the Tahoe State Recreation Area, Big Basin or Tuolumne Meadows (Yosemite, so get reservations like…yesterday!) enough. I’ve also found that Desolation Wilderness near Tahoe is an amazing, remote spot for hike-in camping.

If you have kids, Angel Island is a simple ferry ride (also fun for the kiddos!) and close enough to home that you can do an easy one-nighter. Obviously, if you want to be extremely close to home in the East Bay, hit up Mt. Diablo. They have pretty great campgrounds and almost every single one has a great view of the entire East Bay.

I love camping, whether it be in a car or a tent, in the warm NorCal summers. Check out that list, pack your car, and take a weekend off to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Our natural surroundings are some of the best parts about living in California, so take advantage of it soon!

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.”

Art Town: Family

There is a very good chance you’ll recognize today’s Art Town sculpture. Even if you don’t bank with Chase (or Washington Mutual, as it used to be known), you’ll surely have wandered past “Family” on the corner of Newell and S. Main before.

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This is a bronze sculpture (it has changed colors over the years because of basic exposure to the elements) created by Richard Ellis and placed on that corner in 1982. It was one of the first public pieces of art in Walnut Creek!

Ellis made the 9-foot tall sculpture to represent a timeless scene of “a fleeting moment in time.” Very cool! Fun fact about Ellis, who studied Sculpture in Los Angeles: he crafted the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award that was presented to Oprah Winfrey in 2002.

Open House this weekend: 3650 Sun View Ct. (Concord)

The Comforts of Home: 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom corner lot home!
Enjoy an eye-catching kitchen enhanced with new flooring, dual pane windows and a rebuilt back deck. The home boasts a 2-car garage, inside laundry, spacious bedrooms and updated bathrooms.

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Simplify your commute with a short walk to the North Concord BART station while living in a quiet, tucked away neighborhood.
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Come check out the Open House this weekend! We’ll be open both Saturday (12/3) and Sunday (12/4) from 1-4 p.m.

Check out the virtual tour of 3650 Sun View Ct. here!

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Holy Pumpkin Pie@!#

Yesterday, we shopped for pies for my past clients, friends and neighbors who responded to my “Bestowing the spirit of Thanksgiving” flyer. We got a comments from fellow shoppers about the number of pies in our basket and if they can come home with us.

The best part is sharing with people who ordered them!  Just finished with the morning coffee pick-up!  So great to just sit down and have a conversation!  Phase 2 Happy Hour pick-up from 4-7.

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How to Buy Happiness, According to Science

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Ski day with some of my WC Lifestyle team members!

I stumbled across an interesting blog recently that collects scientific research to prove that money can, in fact, buy happiness if it’s spent correctly.

For example, if you are spending your income on gifts for others, experiences for yourself, and time with your family, you’re scientifically more likely to be happy.

As someone who dedicates many hours of her life to work, I can relate with the difficulties in finding the free time and money to make all of those things happen.

That’s not to say I don’t achieve happiness, but with the right mindset, I could probably increase my level of happiness – and so can you.

In the blog, the author writes:

Consider this: The two days your spend waiting for your Amazon Prime package to arrive doesn’t build the same kind of anticipation as planning and dreaming about that vacation to Belize does. You take the time off work, brush up on your Spanish, read travel blogs and more, all the while thinking about how epic this trip is going to be. And once it’s over, you’ll tell the story of zip-lining through the rainforest to anyone who will listen for the rest of your life.

My winnings from the charity poker tournament for Walnut Creek Bulldawgs!
My winnings from the charity poker tournament for Walnut Creek Bulldawgs!

I’ve made it a point to spend my time and money skiing in Tahoe; this year, I bought a pass to Squaw Valley. Not only does that allow me to escape the office for a day and do one of my favorite activities, but it oftentimes brings me in close proximity to my youngest son, who attends school in Reno.

And if you’ve followed my blogs or received my newsletters, you know I enjoy combining charity with my real estate work; from this past winter’s coat drive to my passion helping past and present military use their VA benefits to buy a home, to playing in charity poker tournaments to fostering Weimaraner’s until they find their fur-ever home!

So, if you try, buying happiness is possible. I choose to experience happiness through experiences, giving to charity and spending time with my family and friends and that does take money, but in the end it is a decision to choose to be happy.

 

First-Time Home-Buyers vs. Repeat Buyers

One Cool Thing chartAccording to the California Association of Realtors, first-time home buyers look for different things in a property than repeat buyers do. Californians list rental fatigue as the single most important reason for buying a home. From those who are trying to move up, it’s a size upgrade, followed by a location improvement.

First-time home buyers are who allow repeat home buyers to move up to the next home and continue the domino effect into the higher-priced homes. This chart to the left provides an interesting look at the different reasons different types of buyers want a new house.

On average, first-time home buyers will stay in their first home between 5-7 years. The reasons for eventually selling vary, but often it is because of the addition of new members to their family, or the search for more space, good schools and a neighborhood where home owners can see their kids riding bikes and being part of a safe community.

I recently listed a past client’s home who bought 3 years ago. When she called me, she said, “Kristin, you were right. We are ready to move.” When they bought their home, I told her they would be there maybe for 5 years and she adamantly said we will be here for a long time.  Do you have a similar story?  Are you outgrowing your first home?

Things to do Around Walnut Creek for Christmas!

ice skating WCLIt’s that time of year again when the tree lots spring up, lights blink on every corner and familiar movies play on every TV: it’s Christmas time!  If you are like me, it caught up to me quickly, as I barely got my tree up, with Christmas Cards still needing to be created – maybe they will be New Year cards (now if I can only my Costco certificate for the print shop I bought 2 months ago).  Thus with only a few days left until Christmas, there is still  a lot of things to do….

Even though Walnut Creek is nestled in the cozy Bay Area where snow is a day trip away, the town gets into a wintery spirit for the holidays. With students coming home for winter break and relatives flying into town for Christmas and New Year’s, families are reuniting all over the Bay Area.  After catch up is played, meals are devoured and egg nog is drunk, here are a few fun, local holiday events around Walnut Creek for the whole family to enjoy:

Walnut Creek on Ice

For just $15, you can enjoy some quality ice skating time right in downtown Walnut Creek. The ice rink, which has been a fixture in Civic Park for many winters now, throws fun events and never gets overly crowded. For more information about Walnut Creek on Ice, visit their website.

Santa visits at Broadway Plaza

A winter classic is taking the kids (of all ages!) to visit Santa Claus, ask for a gift and take a photo. This year, you can head right down to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek to see him. Make sure to hurry on this one, though; he can only hang around through Christmas Eve, before taking off on his sleigh to deliver his gifts!

091220-N-XXXXX-001 FUJISAWA CITY, Japan (Dec. 20, 2009) Petty Officer 1st. Class James Durrance acts as Santa during a visit to distribute toys to children of the Misono Orphanage. The community service project was supported by the First Class Petty Officer Association of the guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63). (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Holiday Train in Blackhawk

Take a little drive to Blackhawk and get a nice meal with the family, before rewarding your kids for their patience with a fun train ride at Blackhawk Plaza! All you need is to make a purchase at the plaza, and you’ll receive a ticket for the train too. Nothing says holidays like a wintery train ride for the little ones.

Volunteer in the East Bay

There are endless volunteer opportunities around the East Bay, especially around the holidays. From helping distribute food, clothing and toys to less fortunate families, to caroling at local senior centers, there are tons of ways to help give back with your family this Christmas. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Catch a Christmas movie

Everybody has their favorite Christmas movie, but many people don’t realize that they can watch some of the classics from the Century Theaters in Walnut Creek! For example, this Wednesday night the theater will be showing Miracle on 34th Street, and then It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. What better way to spend some warm, relaxing family time than getting a Christmas classic on the big screen?

Do you have any other fun ideas for this week and weekend around Walnut Creek? Happy holidays!