My Veggie Life

Hi everyone, Happy Sunday!  Hope everyone is doing well.  James and I are both sick so have been laying low this weekend.  Today I want to write about being vegetarian, a topic that I rarely discuss.  In fact, I tend to discuss it so rarely that some of my best friends offer me bites of their burgers, chicken sandwiches, etc, and I just look at them until it clicks, and we laugh.

Anyway, I think what someone consumes is a pretty personal choice.  We all know how annoying it is when you meet someone and they are quick to inform you “so I’m vegan” “so I’m Paleo” “so I’m gluten free this month” etc. etc. etc.  So know that this post is NOT meant to be braggy, preachy, persuasive, condescending, or any of those things.  I’m not trying to convince you to put down your burger.  Eat it.  I’m not judging…truthfully!.  This post is simply meant to share my thoughts on a subject that I get a lot of questions about, when someone gets wind that I choose not to eat meat.  When someone learns that I don’t eat meat, they usually say “Wow!  But…..” and then the slew of questions begin.

So let’s get started….FAQ style 😉

Q:  Do you eat eggs? 

A:  Yes!  In fact, 10 minutes ago I had an English muffin with eggs over-easy and avocado on top.  YUM.

Q:  Do you eat dairy? 

A:  Yes!  I’m not a fan of milk on its own, but I eat cheese, an occasional Greek yogurt, a not-so-occcasional fro-yo, etc.

Q:  How do you get your protein? 

A:  Ohhh, the protein question.  First, I’ve never thought that people need to stuff themselves full of as much protein as we are sometimes told to.  Yes, protein is critical to health, but so are fats and carbs.  I get plenty of protein through eggs, almond milk/almond butter, beans/rice, avocado, lentils, nuts, and soy (though I try not to consume tons of soy).  I have plenty of energy to get through my days!

Q:  When did you become vegetarian? 

A:  7th grade.  So yes, I’ve been vegetarian for more years than I ate meat.

Q:  Why did you decide to become vegetarian? 

A:  It was a slow transition.  I stopped craving burgers, then I stopped craving pork, then I stopped craving chicken…so I stopped eating it.  But that was years ago.  Today, I choose to eat plant-based because it makes me feel good, both emotionally and physically.

Q:  Most junk food is vegetarian… do you just eat cookies and fries? 

A:  This is a strange one.  It’s true… learning to eat a healthy and nutritious diet without meat takes some time to get the hang of.  I’d argue that eating a healthy meat-inclusive diet takes time to get the hang of, too.  Also, I know lots of vegetarians that are healthier than lots of meat eaters.  So, I don’t think that excluding meat from your diet has a correlation to eating crap, but that’s just been my experience.

Q:  Do you have “cheat” days? 

A:  I haven’t had a purposeful “cheat” day in the 13 years of being veggie!  That’s just me, though.  My old roomie was a vegetarian who loved hot dogs, so she ate them!  And that is TOTALLY FINE–to each, her own.

Q:  Will you ever start eating meat again? 

A:  Maybe!  If I ever feel like eating meat, I will, and I’ll see how I feel.

Q:  How do you and James cook together? 

A:  We make lots of things that allow us to add in meat for him at the last minute.  Ex:  burgers and veggie burgers on the grill, homemade pizza, black bean/mushroom enchiladas, stuffed bell peppers, tacos, salads with a meat substitute for me and chicken for him, risotto, hearty chills, kale & sweet potato chowder, sandwiches, etc. etc. etc.

Q:  What do you eat in a typical day? 

A:  English muffin with almond butter and blueberry jam for breakfast, a banana for a snack, my favorite salad I make with arugula, sundried tomatoes, avocado, walnuts, veggie burger mashed up, and goddess dressing for lunch, hummus and carrots or pita chips for a snack, tacos with black beans, corn, mushrooms, peppers, and onions for dinner, grapes or Trader Joe’s Inner Peas for a snack.  And a beer, fro-yo, few Thin Mints, or something for a treat!

Q:  But….BACON!?!??! 

A:  More for you, sweet friend!  James will fight you for it, though.

Q:  I tried being vegetarian once….couldn’t do it.  *Not a question, obviously, but still a common one 

A:  Thanks for sharing….!   Again, to each, her own.

Overall, being vegetarian works for me.  The hardest parts that I’ve found are feeling like a burden when going to someone’s house for dinner, having limited options at restaurants, and having to plan meals at home a little more thoroughly.  The way I eat makes me feel enriched, happy, strong, and healthy.  And if you feel strong and healthy and happy with the way you eat too, then that is great!!!  🙂  What you put into your body is, at the end of the day, your business and no one else’s.  James respects and understands the way I eat, and I respect and understand the way he eats, and it works out just fine for us.

This will probably be the only time I discuss what I eat in a public way like this, so I wanted to get it all out there this time around.  I do understand why people choose to eat meat, and have no problem with it.  I sometimes feel like people who choose not to eat meat aren’t given the same compassion, and that is something I do have an issue with.  That is, in fact, why I chose to write this post after a conversation I had last week in which someone asked James if he judges me and secretly hates that I don’t eat meat.  I don’t bombard you with questions about your personal dietary choices, so why do the same to me!?  Let’s all just agree to LIVE AND LET LIVE, eat what makes you feel vibrant and great, and love, love, love.  xo

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Escrow: A Beginner’s Guide

Hi everyone!  I’m getting ready for a busy weekend filled with two open houses, my cousin’s fourth birthday party, friends in town in LA, puggle-sitting for my parents, and babysitting.  Eeek!!!!  🙂

I was with some first-time buyer clients last weekend, and was telling them approximately how long escrow typically takes.  Mid-way through, the wife stopped me and asked “what exactly IS escrow?”  I realized that escrow becomes a big part of your life during the purchase or sale of a home, but isn’t fully understood otherwise.  Here is the role of escrow in a real estate transaction, in a nutshell:

An escrow is a deposit of funds or deed from one party, with the intention to deliver it to the other party upon completion of a series of events, as laid out in a contract.  Escrow “opens” upon delivery of escrow instructions and a fully executed real estate contract to a certified escrow company.  The escrow officer processes the escrow, essentially by making sure all of the terms of the agreement set forth by both parties have been met.  Once they have all been met, and the trust deed is recorded at the city recorder’s office, funds/deed change hands and escrow is then “closed.”

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Escrow officers and companies are completely neutral third parties.  They work with both buyers and sellers, but they don’t work FOR buyers or sellers.  They safeguard the items at stake in the transaction, and do not convey them until all the ducks are in a row.  Escrow helps to protect lenders, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, brokers, etc.

Escrow

In California, escrow typically takes 30-60 days to close, so buyers need to take this into consideration.  It’s not the best idea to wait to purchase a home until right before you are hoping to move in; the process takes a bit of time!

I hope this sheds a bit of light on a process that not everyone knows much about.  Have a wonderful day and weekend!

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UTC San Diego

Hi everyone!  Happy Monday….just 4 more days until the weekend!  Not helping?  Sorry, I tried.  Anyways….

I live and work in UTC, a community of San Diego, and today I’d like to share why I love this area.

UTC Mall:  

UTC Mall used to be very meh.  A couple years ago, though, it was almost completely redone and is now beautiful, functional, and always lively.  They expanded the 24 Hour Fitness, added a movie theater, added numerous restaurants, brought in higher-end stores, and updated the appearance of the mall.  A few of the newer stores include JCrew, Tiffany’s, LuluLemon, Madewell, Asics, Michael Kors, and many more.  I love being able to walk to all of this from my apartment!

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Location: 

UTC is close to La Jolla, University City, Clairemont, Miramar, and Del Mar.  It is only 20 minutes from Solana Beach, Scripps Ranch and Downtown.  Also, since UTC is in the “Golden Triangle,” it is surrounded by the 5, 52, and 805 freeways, so it is easy to jump on a freeway quickly.

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Housing: 

I love working in UTC because there is such a demand for properties here.  UTC is home to UCSD, and many, many students live in the UTC community.  So, investors flock to UTC because they see the value in having a constant stream of students to rent out their condos to.  There are budget friendly condos, ranging from the low $200Ks, all the way up to luxurious detached homes priced in the millions.

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Culture: 

UTC has some great bars and restaurants.  Regents Pizza, Tender Greens, Draft Republic and Eureka are some standouts.  However, the area is not nearly as lively as other parts of San Diego.  Personally, I enjoy going to the more “happening” parts of town, then coming home to a more quiet neighborhood.  I have always felt very safe in UTC and am happy to call it home!

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I’m Dreaming of a White…..Kitchen

Hi everyone!  Happy Wednesday!

I’ve been a busy gal the last few weeks, working with a number of different buyers, and solidifying plans with a seller as well.  I am excited to work with all of them!  I’ve also been having 2-3 open houses per week lately, to get out there and meet potential new clients.

I typically work from home, and like to have HGTV on in the background while I work.  Market research, right!?  🙂  My favorite shows are Property Brothers, Love It or List It, and Fixer Upper.  It’s great hearing real estate/renovation talk in the background while I work on the same things myself.

A trend I’ve been seeing a lot of on these shows, and one that I personally LOVE, is white kitchens.  I’m not a huge fan of the bold, dark, imposing, heavy-looking cabinets.  White cabinets and kitchens, with some contrasting colors, on the other hand…..that’s my cup of tea.  All white can feel cold and sterile, but white with accents looks inviting, warm, and clean.  Here are some gorgeous kitchens that I adore, stolen from my Pinterest board “home is where the heart is.”  Happy viewing….and have a wonderful day!

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Vavi Softball

Hi all and Happy Friday!!

So, James and I moved back to SD about 5 months ago (7 months ago for him).  We have a handful of friends here, but not nearly as many as we have in LA, and it’s a bummer!!!  We realized we needed to make new ones, but we aren’t bar rats, my co-workers are all much older, and it’s hard to meet random people and ask them to be your friend.  Making new friends is actually quite similar to dating, when you think about it.  “So….we should do this again soon.”  “Yes, that sounds great!” “Um, can I have your number?”  “Sure!”  :/

Anyway, James had been talking about joining a local softball league.  I was very hesitant, as I’m not particularly coordinated and have never really played softball.  He convinced me to sign up and we absolutely love it!  We are now finishing up our second season.  We are with a new team this time around, except for one girl who wanted to keep on playing, as did we.

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We realized quickly that Vavi is mainly about making friends and having something fun to do every week, and less about the game or winning.  Which is lucky, as we rarely win.  🙂  When I started out a few months ago, I really couldn’t hit the ball at all.  I’m still not great, but I make contact most times and have gotten muchhhh better.  James is quite the ringer as he played baseball in high school.

This was the scoreboard from our last game of the season last time around.  We were the home team, and we were stoked:

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If you live in San Diego and are looking for something fun to do and a neat way to meet new people, check out Vavi.  They have leagues all different days of the week, in locations all over San Diego.  James and I think we’ll keep on playing, and I actually think our current team wants to as well!

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Here was last season’s team, minus 4 people.  Fun group!  Happy Friday!

It’s a buyers AND a sellers market!?

Happy Friday, friends!  Today I’m going to propose that currently it might in fact be a great time for both buyers and sellers in the market.  I don’t take this “Realtor catch-phrase” lightly, though, so let me explain….

Why it’s a great time for buyers:  

The main reason why now is a great time for buyers to become active (and it’s a big reason!) is the state of mortgage rates.  We finished 2014 with the 30 year fixed mortgage rate at 3.87% per Freddie Mac.  This is very close to the historic lows in the spring of 2013.  However, the Mortgage Bankers Association projects mortgage rates to be about 5% by the end of 2015.  This is big news!  Every percentage point increase in mortgage rates significantly reduces buying power, so buyers should be taking advantage of the rates while they’re still amazing.

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Why it’s a great time for sellers: 

It is currently a seller’s market, in the traditional sense.  Homes sales are outpacing the supply, so sellers that choose to list have an advantage right now.  Home prices are quite high, which benefits sellers.  Also, since the mortgage rates are so good, sellers should take advantage of the influx of new buyers and list their home when there are many interested buyers.

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This is quite a unique situation, since both buyers and sellers can have tremendous success upon entering the market.  Give me a call at (858) 336-4201 if you live in San Diego and are ready to take advantage!  Have a wonderful weekend!

The Importance of “Feeling Out” a House

Happy New Year!!!  I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in 2015!  I went over to a friend-of-a-friend’s house, and we played games and chatted all night.  We were having so much fun that we almost missed midnight (we remembered, at 11:58, thankfully!)  I haven’t thought of a resolution for 2015, and am not sure that I’m going to.  The only one that has completely stuck with me is that I’ll floss every night, which I made about 10 years ago and continue to do (as I should!)  Do you have any awesome resolutions that you’re excited about achieving?

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I want to write a quick post today to start the new year about the importance of really getting a feel for a house.  In this techie era, it’s easy to look at homes online and hate one or get your heart set on one without ever seeing it in person.  However, people sometimes go into a home thinking that they know everything about it and realize the home is very different in person.  For example, perhaps the photographer used a wide-angle lens and the living room is actually quite cramped.  Or, there’s not a lot of light and it feels dark and creepy.  Or, perhaps you thought the ceilings would feel too low but they’re actually soaring and gorgeous.  Maybe there are electrical cables in the backyard that are distracting, or the street is overly packed and gives off a feeling of little privacy.  There is a lot that pictures don’t show, and it’s important to get a feel for a house before making an offer.

How can you properly test whether a home “feels” right?  

1.  GO SEE IT!  🙂  It’s best if you can go and see numerous homes in person and then compare and contrast them.  This will let everyone involved form a solid opinion of the house and should leave you feeling as though you’ve had most of your questions answered.

2.  If you are unable to go in person (for example, if you live out of town), see if you can have a friend in the area visit homes for you and give you honest feedback.

3.  If you can’t physically see the homes and you don’t have a friend that can, hire a Realtor you trust and ask them to preview homes for you.  Then, request an honest assessment of how each home feels (did the kitchen feel spacious, did it feel dark, did the backyard seem well-maintained, did the street feel safe) etc.

There is much more to a house beyond what pictures can show, and it’s key that you or someone else visits numerous homes to get a feeling for each one.

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