Four Facts to Think About Before Buying a Waterfront Home

When you ask a Californian to describe their truly perfect living situation, there is a decent chance they will mention living waterfront. Waking up to the sound of crashing waves certainly sounds more appealing than arising to the more traditional southern California wakeup call – horns honking. With mortgage interest rates at a reasonably low level, now may be the time to consider buying into that perfect living situation. If you are ready to take that leap and start looking, you may want to consider what a home on the waterfront truly entails. Here are four facts to think about before buying a waterfront home in Southern California.

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There is Salt…Everywhere

Saltwater and humidity can quickly erode and degrade the exterior of a waterfront home in southern California. Wood homes are certainly more susceptible to rotting from the constantly damp conditions and will require frequent upkeep and inspection. However, even the more modern homes made of stainless steel and glass require special consideration when at the waterfront. The stainless buildings require buffing, otherwise they can quickly look worn. All glass in any waterfront home should be highly impact resistant, given particularly high winds at times.

Summer Isn’t Always Sunny

For those with expectations of beautiful sunny days all summer long in southern California, you may want to temper those expectations. At times, often in June and July, there is a significant fog that infiltrates the area. It is especially bad on the coast. Home buyers looking at waterfront homes in southern California should be aware of this occurrence when shopping around. However, winter in southern California is often quite mild and can present beautiful, calm days at the beach.


Simply put, think about the purchase price of a waterfront home carefully. To get into their price range, many buyers make sacrifices like purchasing a condo or moving farther out to an area like Long Beach, California. Weighing the frustration of an even longer commute against the allure of waterfront life is certainly something to consider.

Consider Lesser Known Waterfronts

When thinking of the southern California waterfront, a picturesque beach may come to mind. However, there are other opportunities for waterfront living that may be less expensive and still on or near the water. Venice offers “canal front” homes that are not ocean view but offer waterfront living, with just a short distance to the beach as well. Considering these types of alternative opportunities could make the dream of buying a waterfront home in southern California a reality!


10 Ways to Keep Yourself Busy This Summer

Try restaurants you haven’t tried before. You know that restaurant you always pass by and say you’re going to try but always end up settling for that Chinese spot around the corner? Yeah, finally gather up the courage to get out of comfort zone and try it! You never know, it could be your new go-to joint. Learn to cook something new. I know this has been on most people’s bucket list and you can never seem to find the right time to actually make that delicious looking 10-minute meal you saw on Facebook. Summer is the perfect time to explore your kitchen.

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Go for a bike ride. From the park to the beach, any outside scenery is perfect to ride your bike in the summer. It’s a good way to get leg day in without realizing you’re actually working out those calf muscles!
Craft. Whether you have kids or not, crafting is always a fun way to spend your time. You can create things you saw in a DIY video and add cute accessories to your home, or just keep yourself occupied.

Start a scrapbook. Scrapbooks are the most creative way to keep memories alive. Yeah, having pictures saved on a hard drive is one thing, but getting artsy in a scrapbook is even more fun and allows for the scrapbook to be a new addition to the family archive.

Read an entire book series. If you’re like me, you’ve been saying you’re going to read the Harry Potter books one day for the last 6 years. Finally, take your time to read that series all the way and see if you like it!

Take a yoga or dance class. This is a fun way to get some exercise in and pick up a new hobby. Yoga is relaxing and can put you in the perfect summer zen. Dancing can also be a nice way to get your grind on (and you can use your moves at the club)! If you can’t afford a class, just browse Youtube and keep up with those classes.
Binge watch Netflix or Hulu. During the fall, winter and spring, school can take a toll on your time and keep you from your favorite tv show. Summer is the ideal time to binge watch shows because you don’t have much to do to take advantage and catch up!
Volunteer. Want to try something else with your time while being productive as well? Take up volunteering at your local library, park, or even high school and gain some hours by helping out the community.
Work. Get a second job or even a third. Summer is the best time to grind because school isn’t a priority. Save up for the year and make bank!

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Spring Cleaning Checklist

Here comes the most dreadful, yet satisfying time of the year: spring cleaning. Although it might seem like there could never be an organized way to clean the house, here are some ways you could start.

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-Clean out your vacuum. A dusty vacuum won’t take you anywhere. Clean the dust cup and use scissors to cut off hair or other things that might be stuck in your rotating brush.

-Disinfect your washer and dryer. The same thing happens with your washer machine, make sure it stays clean by disinfecting the dispenser and rubber gasket. As for your dryer, use fabric softener sheets to get rid of any lint.

-Degrease your microwave, kitchen cabinets, oven, dishwasher, and fridge. Things spill and we don’t always get to it right away. Just grab some wipes and clean up those stains.

-Toss expired cabinet items. Cabinets and refrigerators clutter, this is an easy solution.

-Wash your curtains. There can be a lot of hidden stains on your curtains around the house, especially if you have kids, so take advantage of this season and wash them!
-Dust your ceiling fan. There are so much harmful particles and dust that collect on your ceiling fan. Keep your lungs clean and wipe down the blades of the fan.

-Wash your rugs and/or carpet. This is also a place where these dusty particles or stains can collect. Having a clean carpet or rug can change the aura in your house and it’ll definitely feel cleaner. -Wash your comforters, blankets, and pillows. Definitely get to these! Also go ahead and vacuum your mattress while you’re at it.

-Degunk your bathroom. Get into the sink, the shower, and even the toilet to renew your restrooms cleanliness.

-Deep clean your closet. This can be the hardest chore of all but there are probably a lot of pieces in your drawers that you haven’t touched in months. Get rid of them by taking them to your local Goodwill for people in need!
-Organize your cabinets. Just like your clothes, there are probably a lot of things in your cabinets and drawers that you don’t need, use, or that don’t work anymore. Go through those and end up with an organized desk!

3 Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipes to Up Your Grilling Game

barbecue-bbq-beef-597422Grilling season is upon us, and we’re prepping by giving our grills a good scrub and stocking the pantry with things like dry rubs and seasoning salts. And while we always love a good homemade meat glaze, there is no shame in going out and buying a bottle of barbecue sauce when you’re strapped for time. Or maybe you’re simply feeling a little bit lazy. Don’t worry, we’re not judging. There are plenty of top-notch bottled barbecue sauces on the market these days, many of which are made without high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. But making a grilling sauce from scratch doesn’t have to be a big production.

We turned to three chefs across the country to get their easy barbecue sauce recipes that don’t require a lot of time to put together. Though the ingredient lists can look a little daunting at first, it’s likely you have most of the components in your pantry already. Plus, after stocking up on the rest of the ingredients, you can make these delicious meat glazes all season long. Whip up these big batch recipes, store them in the fridge, and reach for them anytime you break out the grill.

South Texas Mustard Base BBQ Sauce

(By Jason Dady, owner of Shuck Shack, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ Market, B&D Ice House, and The Bin Tapas Bar)

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“This is a classic South Texas mustard base barbecue sauce,” Dady says. “It is the Texan staple, from brisket to ribs, turkey to cabrito. It’s a tried and true Texas barbecue sauce. I love using the Maille mustards because of their finesse and sharp flavors.” Ingredients:

  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 lb fresh peaches, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 cup worcestershire
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarse black pepper
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard



    1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sweat onions, garlic, and peaches until soft.
    2. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour over low heat, being careful not to scorch.
    3. Puree and strain. Chill immediately and use as needed.

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3 Reasons Your Rent-vs-Buy Math Might Be Wrong

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It’s common knowledge that owning a home is cheaper than renting (at least in the long term), but anyone who has ever sat down to try and figure out the numbers knows that finding out how much you’ll save is harder than it looks. There are so many factors to consider.

To try and help you come as close to the real number as possible, we’ve outlined three ways your rent-vs-buy math might be wrong — and how to straighten things out to give you the best picture possible. Keep these details in mind as you weigh your decision and you’ll have a much clearer vision of which path is right for you.

You’re only looking at the mortgage payment

Anyone who’s ever looked at a mortgage calculator knows that seeing that number can be shocking – in a good way. For the most part, the number you’ll see there ends up being far less than monthly rent. Unfortunately, though, it only tells part of the story. It only accounts for your mortgage payment.

In addition to a loan payment, homeowners need to account for supplemental costs like their homeowners insurance and property taxes. Be sure to include those costs into your estimates. To estimate property taxes, you can take the property tax percentage in the area where you’ll be living and multiply it by the value of a potential property you’d buy. For homeowner’s insurance, the Federal Reserve Bureau estimates that premiums typically fall between $300 – $1,000, annually.

You need to account for closing costs

The term “closing costs” simply refers the fees that are incurred during the buying process. They’re unique to each sale, but could include things such as the costs of inspections and appraisals, the cost of running a title search, or an association fee. These costs are paid at settlement and typically add up to a few thousand dollars, so they should absolutely be accounted for in your home-buying budget. For instance, if you expect to stay in your future home for around 5 years (before you outgrow it or take off to a new city), add in one-fifth of the closing costs to your annual expenses when considering whether renting or buying ends up cheaper.

Luckily, there are a few ways to cut down on these costs. While some fees are fixed according to the home sale regulations in your area, others are negotiable. Try your best to buy when mortgage interest rates are low and to go research professionals (like your inspectors and loan rep) who have low fees. During sale negotiations, you may also be able to ask the seller to cover a portion of the costs in exchange for a higher sale price.

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Before and After: A Cheap Collage of Browns & Creams Gets a Bold, Blue Modern Remodel

Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed’s founding editor, decided one day a few years ago she was ready to move out of tiny apartment living. “It was like a weird sudden existential outburst in my usual lazy put-everything-off-forever mindset,” she writes. When she purchased this 1100-square-foot home in Queens, it felt like the right fit. But boy it needed a face lift. She worked closely with White Arrow—Keren Richter and her husband Thomas Richter—to remodel this home.

Keren shared more information about the renovation in her own words: “When we first began, the rowhouse had been stripped of nearly all the original period details. The interior finishes were cheap and in bad condition, with a collage of browns and creams and questionable wallpaper. We had a few goals in mind—to bring back the house’s character, to make the home feel light and fresh, and to create a refreshing mix of finishes, fixtures and furniture that was youthful and fun. We appreciate historic homes but are equally interested in creating spaces that reflect our clients’ tastes and don’t feel like time capsules to an earlier era. The play between old and new is what excites us.”

“The floor plan of a rowhouse is long without windows for a large stretch of the interior. If not done right, it can feel quite dark. So we lightened the floors and brought in antique frosted glass and large pocket doors to keep the light bouncing and making interior rooms feel brighter. We also added sconces and dimmers everywhere. We tore down some walls to open up the kitchen and dining room and unified furniture and finishes in the spaces that would now be seen simultaneously.

Our initial plan had bathrooms and the kitchen’s gas and plumbing in new locations, but the budget was quite tight so we kept things in place and minimized the existing asymmetry of certain architectural elements through a strategic array of cabinetry.

We collaborated closely with the owners during the course of renovating a charming old rowhouse in the historic district of Ridgewood, Queens. Peggy Wang, Buzzfeed’s founding editor, had all sorts of ideas and cost-cutting strategies. We dove deep to find solutions for the gut renovation of her apartment (and a downstairs rental unit—not photographed). It was an exercise in resourcefulness and shared creativity. Our goal was to design a home that felt luxurious on a cost-conscious budget. To embrace the house’s historic bones, we used a mix of architectural salvage (doors, knobs, fireplace mantel, and lighting), and we created period appropriate millwork. We sourced a fresh mix of vintage and contemporary furniture from the internet and auction houses along with some custom-painted vintage pieces and a few White Arrow-designed furniture.

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To save money, we refinished and bleached the existing subfloor. What resulted was an airy and light atmosphere that offsets the black painted antique doors and deep blue Shaker cabinetry. The lights are a mix of Schoolhouse Electric, Cedar and Moss, Park Studio LA, and salvaged holophane glass pendants from…

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How to Decorate Your Home Like It’s an Art Gallery


Living Color

Kaleidoscope wallpaper, colorful lacquered furniture, hip-hop lyrics made into artwork: For Paul and Mikaela Hayama, these design details work harmoniously in their custom-built modern home. “A monochromatic, neutral, soft palette was an absolute no-no for me,” says Mikaela, a legal-operations director and mother of two in Manhattan Beach, California. “With young kids, we wanted our home to feel energetic and alive. It just made sense to embrace big bold colors and textures.” To pull off this overachieving color agenda, the couple teamed up with architect Jonathan Starr of Starr Design Group and interior designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design and promptly let loose with some daring decor decisions. “Our whole idea was to go modern but approachable, livable, and warm,” says Paul, a partner at a private debt firm. “It’s not the easiest combination.”

Set the Tone

With a palette of pink, turquoise, purple, black (and more) drawn from a 1970s abstract painting Murray found at 1stdibs, the 4,100-square-foot house now teases its sense of style right from the get-go. Step inside and an electric-blue entryway acts as a backdrop to a vignette that includes an oversize mirror, a console desk, and two magenta twisted-cube chairs by Frank Gehry.

Balance Your Colors

Few spaces in the house embrace vivid hues edge to edge. Most of the walls are white—though in the case of an upstairs recreational room, mint accents accompany the clean blank backdrops. The neutral tones are a deliberate choice to help vibrant art and furniture pop and avoid clashes. “A common misconception is that if you like color, you shouldn’t paint your walls white; you should paint them blue, red, or whatever—but it’s completely the opposite,” insists Murray. “Paint your walls white, like an art gallery. Color needs to be incorporated in a balanced way. After all, you don’t want your home looking like a box of Crayolas.”

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Home Staging Ideas for Your Garage

    Need some home staging ideas for you garage? Yup, this grease-covered dumping ground that serves as a “home” for your car (at least we hope your car fits in there) is not overlooked by home buyers. A good-looking garage is worth its weight in gold, and can be a strong selling point. In fact, a recent® survey found that 32% of home buyers say the garage is one of the most important rooms in a house! As such, in the same way you might try a little home staging to make your kitchen and living room look their best, it’ll pay to learn how to stage your garage. Here are some garage staging ideas that’ll wow buyers even before they’ve entered the more civilized parts of your home.

Declutter, of course

Gather all the items in your garage, and divide them into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. Once you’ve purged, it’s time to restore what you need in a better way.

“Resist the urge to stack bins on top of one another,” says Jennifer Snyder, a professional home organizer and owner of Neat as a Pin in Waco, TX. Instead, hang tools on a pegboard ($50), store boxes on a ceiling storage rack ($160), and mount a Spoga Wall Organizer ($8) for your mop, broom, and other cleaning equipment. Clean up When’s the last time you cleaned your garage? Never?! Well, you’d better take time now to dust the walls and corners and sweep the floor. Find an oil stain on the ground? Pour paint thinner on the stain, and then apply an absorbent material (e.g., cat litter, baking soda, cornmeal, or sawdust) over the saturated spot. Let the mixture set overnight, and sweep it up in the morning with a heavy push broom with sturdy bristles. Check garage safety

Make sure all flammable products and poisonous chemicals are stored out of reach of children and pets. (You don’t want potential buyers to wonder what else you may have handled irresponsibly.) And if you don’t already have one in your garage, install a smoke detector.
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Second-Time Homebuyers Would Rather Have a Laundry Room Than a Living Room

Nearly three out of four (72%) house hunters who have owned a home before say a laundry room would be an “essential” feature of their next home, compared to just 59% who deem a living room necessary. That’s according to a new survey by the National Association of Home Builders that asked potential home buyers what features they’d consider “essential” in the next house they buy. Responses varied between first-time home buyers and veteran homeowners, which offers some interesting insights into what young, novice homebuyers value compared to presumably older buyers for whom this is not the first real estate rodeo. For example, only 61% of first-time buyers consider a laundry room essential — the same number who demand a living room. It makes sense that second-time homebuyers are more keen on a dedicated laundry area; a lot of renters are just forced to put up with it, but once you own your own house — especially if you’ve got kids, who are basically clothes-soiling machines — you get pretty tired of hauling baskets to the basement or down the street to a laundromat.

But the fact that so many buyers place a laundry room on par with or even ahead of a living room is pretty astonishing to me. Either lots of people just assume a living room is present in any given house, or maybe they really don’t care. (Would they go so far as to convert their living room to a laundry room?) Or, perhaps what they really want is a “great room” — considered an essential feature among 43% of first-timers and 40% of second-time buyers.

Another difference between the two groups is that existing homeowners can afford to be pickier, considering more items to be “essential” — even finishes, like granite countertops (40%) and hardwood floors (41%).

Some features that first-time buyers consider essential don’t even register for more seasoned homebuyers, and vice versa. While 44% of first-time buyers said they must have a front porch, it didn’t crack the top 14 for veteran buyers. They’d rather sip lemonade on a patio (44%), which wasn’t a top concern among first-timers.

Laundry isn’t the only feature that seems to get more essential the second or third time around. While 43% of first-timers listed a two-car garage as a must-have feature, that number climbed to 54% among second-time homebuyers. Similarly, 45% of first-time homebuyers consider a walk-in closet in the master bedroom essential, compared to 56% of existing homeowners.

Meanwhile, veteran homebuyers were less inclined to care whether their next house has a proper dining room (45% vs. 52% of first-timers), and instead require an eat-in kitchen (43%).

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Spring House Plants Add New Life And Color!


It might be spring, but warmer weather is not exactly here yet for much of California which means we’re still not spending as much time as we’d like outdoors.  This set the scene perfectly for spring projects around the home, like spring cleaning. Spring is also a great time for new beginnings, it can be a great time to buy a new property and make a move.

Whether you’re moving or staying put, spring is a great time to start fresh; getting rid of clutter, adding a fresh coat of paint or changing the layout of your place are all great ideas to get into the spring of things.  As you’re making changes, consider bringing new life into your home with fresh houseplants!

The right houseplant can be really beneficial to the overall environment in your home; plants add just enough moisture to the air to help you breathe, they add fresh air and even clean the air of some of the air pollution.  Houseplants also bring the room together adding both color and texture that really set the mood.

Areca Palms are some of the best when it comes to cleaning the air, according to a NASA study.  Not only are they great at removing toxins from the air, they’re also a great humidifier which helps keep you healthy.  This plant is perfect for anyone looking to add a tropical vibe to their home décor. If you have less than a green thumb, don’t worry!  This plant is very easy to take care of and is very drought resistant.

Peperomia plants are easy to grow, compact and uniquely alluring.  They grow heart-shaped leaves that would rather be neglected than meticulously cared for.  These plants are most adaptive in spring when they’re in their sprouting phase. The plant does well under fluorescent lights and prefers an east-facing window where it will receive light to moderate light.

Snake plants go by a variety of names depending on which part of the globe you’re standing and are native to tropical Africa.  This plant is hassle-free, you can set it and forget it because it can withstand almost any condition. These plants like humidity and low light, so they make a great plant for the bathroom.  The shape of their leaves and color is absolutely alluring and they’re great at cleaning the air.

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Pothos plants stay contained to a few feet in a shrub-like diameter when potted and are great house plants not only because of their size but their uncommon leaf coloring.  A wild mix of green, white and yellow which dazzles the eyes, it is easy to see why this houseplant is so popular. Just like the rest of the plants mentioned, it is very easy to take care of and luckily it thrives even in dimly lit rooms.

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Dracaena plants also called the Madagascar Dragon Tree, can stay smaller if potted or grow to be as many as 6 ft. tall.   They do well indoor or outdoor with very little care and are popular for their strappy, colorful, palm-like leaves.