Articles

How to be A Better Neighbor

These days, it seems like our country is more divided than ever. I believe it is time to start reaching out to the people around us and look for common ground instead of differences. The best place to start is in your neighborhood. Here are just a few simple things you can do to be a better neighbor.

  1. Go outside

The easiest way to meet your neighbors is simply going outside and enjoying the Californian sun. Do some gardening, or play with your kids out there.

  1. Say Hello

The next step is just saying hello. Introduce yourself and get to know your neighbors. I promise they’re friendly and just want to get to know you too.

  1. Organize a block party

Invite everyone to bring their favorite dish. Get to know the people living around you to create a safer environment for your kids and family.

  1. Make extra food and share

Have too much tamales after tamale day? Go around to your neighbors and hand some out. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the kindness and return it. Or bake holiday cookies for the season and hand them out.

  1. Report crimes

Simple, if you see a crime, report it. This creates a community of trust, especially with everyone looking out for each other.

  1. Share tools

Don’t be that person that doesn’t let anyone touch your tools. If you see your neighbor struggling with something, offer to help them or give them the right tool for the job.

  1. Join community groups

Joining the neighborhood watch or HOA can improve your relations with your neighbors and you can help plan community events that everyone will enjoy.

  1. Mow lawns

I’m not saying just go out and mow your neighbor’s lawn but if you’ve heard they’ve been in an accident or are elderly and can’t do it, offer to help them out. It’ll only take an hour or two from your day but it’ll mean a lot to them.

  1. Help carry groceries

Again, if you see your neighbor struggling, offer to help out.

  1. Clear storm drains

This one can take a few minutes but it’ll help a lot when the rain arrives. Flooding from blocked storm drains can flood yards and even mess up the foundation of houses. It’s important to keep these clear.

By Olivia Hanna

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The 4 Most Common Types of House Insulation

When deciding to insulation your home, there are many things to consider; cost, warmth, safety are just a few things to think about. You obviously want something that is cheap yet durable and won’t be a danger to your pets or kids. Some insulation is great for when the house is being built while others are more flexible and can be applied to finished parts of the home.

Fiberglass Insulation:

One of the most common types of insulation, this stuff can come in either batts or loose fill. True to its name, fiberglass is made of literal fibers of glass and it can be extremely dangerous to your lungs and skin. You do not want to be near fiberglass when it’s been installed and stay away from any exposed sections in your house.

This insulation is relatively inexpensive and pretty easy to install. It’s non flammable and resistant to moisture damage, making it very appealing. Though when considering fiberglass, make sure you also are aware of the dangers it presents.

 

Cellulose Insulation:

This eco friendly insulation is made from recycled paper. The paper is treated with chemicals to ensure better resistance to moisture and pests though moisture absorption cannot be fully avoided and will weigh the cellulose down. This causes it to become compacted and reduce its effectiveness. Cellulose should be replaced every five years to keep it’s efficiency.

The insulation is applied by either blowing the material in place or pouring it. Another perk of this insulation is that it’s easy to fill irregularly-shaped areas or around obstructions.

 

Spray Foam Insulation:

Like the name suggests, this insulation comes in spray foam form and foamed-in-place. It’s typically applied using spray containers or in larger chunks as a pressure sprayed, foamed-in-place form.

This foam is great for applying to enclosed existing walls, open new wall cavities, unfinished attic floors. Its advantage is being able to apply it to finished areas and abnormally shaped places. It’s easy to apply form is great for working around obstructions.

 

Mineral Wool Insulation:

Mineral wool is comparable to fiberglass, however, it is more expensive and usually more difficult to find. Plus, it doesn’t irritate the lungs and skin the same way that fiberglass does.

Also known as rock wool insulation, it can withstand higher temperatures than other insulations and comes in loose fill that can be blown into place or poured out of bags.

By Olivia Hanna

 

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FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOU AND YOUR AGING PARENTS

Both of my parents have passed on but while they were alive, I learned a lot about caring for them. In looking back, I remember things my sisters and I did well and things we could have done better. There really wasn’t a guide book to help us so we did our own research. Here are 5 things we learned you can do to help yourself and your aging parents.

#1

If you aced your finals, had a marvelous GPA, and had plenty of extracurriculars, you would be accepted into college but to get there took more than just time and effort. It took everything. I knew students who broke themselves down just to get one more A or just to join another sport after school. I was one of the few lucky ones, my parents understood that I didn’t want to kill myself with overworking and didn’t pressure me to have an insane schedule. However, even without that pressure, I still pushed myself into anxiety attacks. I took four Advanced Placement classes in my final year of high school, and that was considered meager compared to my comrades who filled their entire schedule with AP courses.

Failure in one of my APs took me into a dark place. For whatever reason, perhaps the way my brain is wired, I couldn’t pass my AP Statistics course. My older brother who had taken it, told me it was easy. Everyone in my class told me it was simple. I had a tutor and went every day after class to see the teacher of my Stats class for guidance. I worked incredibly hard to try to understand this class only to find myself still failing. I remember sitting in that class, having received a test back that I’d failed, and failing to hold back tears as well. I thought I had failed myself, my parents, and everyone around me. I thought I wasn’t going to make it to college, let alone get in the school I desperately wanted.

But I didn’t fail. I did fail that class, let’s be clear, but I didn’t fail the people around me and most importantly I didn’t fail myself. Even without extracurriculars, a stellar GPA, or an exceptional SAT and ACT score, I still got into the school I wanted. I’m still not sure entirely how; perhaps I got lucky none of my high school classmates wanted to go to my college of choice, perhaps my writing bloomed before the eyes of the admissions reader, or perhaps I made a deal with the devil. It doesn’t matter.

Even having gotten into the school of my choice, a prestigious private school in the PNW, there was a part of me that felt that perhaps I should have picked differently. Perhaps I should have achieved more. I had previously declared I wanted to go to University of Washington, though deciding some way through high school that I would never be able to make it in. I had decided that I wouldn’t be good enough to make it in.

Now, this isn’t a sob story of my trials and tribulations. This is a retelling of what I saw and experienced and I want to make sure that someone who reads this, understands what it is really like to be a student and that you’re not alone. I’m not saying you can make it to college with little effort, that’s definitely not the lesson here, but you can make it to where you’re supposed to be by knowing what’s important in your life.

Throughout college, I still had some doubts whether I truly belonged at the university, but my dad would always remind me, “You are where you’re supposed to be”. Now, I’m not a person of faith but hearing that phrase always comforted me, making me think that there is some destined path I’m supposed to follow that would bring me to fulfilling a life goal.

That did not happen. At least, not yet. I do believe I am where I’m supposed to be but since college, I have succeeded and failed at a lot of things. I learned a whole lot about myself and I strayed from a path I thought I should’ve followed. I even walked a path my parents thought was the harder one but guess what, I’m still here and I’m still trucking along.

Perhaps you’re a parent, reading this, and struck with guilt and fear for your child’s future. Yeah, it’s scary as hell to be a student, but I learned a thing or two. Failing is completely natural, and hell it’s even encouraged. The path my generation walks is a very different one from my parents’ and the path the generation after is going to walk will be even stranger. However, there is something that will tie us all in when it comes to our paths. We will fail. That’s just a natural part of life and we will continue to fail. Like a motivational poster in a pediatrics’ office, I’ll tell you that you’ll learn more by failing. As my favorite Mythbuster, Adam Savage would say, “failure is always an option”.

Yes, be concerned for your child and their academic future but always give them the room to fail and always give them encouragement to keep going despite failures. At the end of the day, you as an individual are not your GPA, you’re not your SAT scores, and you’re way more than your academic career. You’re a future that has yet to unfold.

By Olivia Hanna

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EMPTY NESTERS, NOW WHAT?

As we dropped off our daughter for her freshman year in college, the reality finally set in that my wife and I were officially “empty nesters”.

When our kids were young, they took all our attention. Life as an empty nester seemed so abstract and far off in the distance future. Now that it is just the two of us living in our big home, we decided to really think about what we wanted in this next chapter of our lives.

These “next chapter discussions” includes looking at our careers, finances, free time, and housing. The housing piece yielded some very interesting conversations.

According to Stageoflife.com, “36% of Boomers will move or plan to move when they become Empty Nesters. When they retire, 55% say they will move. Of the Boomers who moved or will consider moving once becoming Empty Nesters, roughly one-third (36%) will move more than three hours away. Upon retirement that number climbs to 51%.”

When we started our family, having a big house that could expand to our needs was very important. In fact, we purchased a home bigger than what was needed at the time but we quickly grew into it. We also wanted to make sure the house resided in a good school district. As empty nesters the school and size of our home has become less important. Since we had purchased our home many years ago, there is significant equity that might be put to better use.

This equity could allow us several opportunities. A couple of the ideas we are considering:

-Sell our house and rent. At first this idea seemed strange. Go back to renting after being a homeowner? But we could use the equity from the sale of our home to fund new business ideas, buy a vacation home, or add to our retirement. We could rent a house for about the same amount of monthly expenses as we were paying for our mortgage, property tax, insurance, and upkeep combined. We could also pick a different location for our rental house without concern for the school district. Renting a place locally allows us to keep working at our jobs but a vacation home could become our future retirement location.

-Sell our house and purchase a smaller home. i.e. downsize. Once again, this option allows us to pick a different location, maybe a condo or townhouse where someone else is doing the upkeep. Assuming the purchase of the smaller home resulted in money being left over from the sale of our current place, we could invest this money to create a monthly cash flow.

You will have lots of choices as an empty nester. A skilled real estate person can help you make the most of these choices.

By John Hanna

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THE SUMMER HEAT

Despite it being the end of August, the summer heat is still sticking around for a few more months. The sultry, sticky, and suffocating heat of late August is intolerable as kids return to stuffy and underfunded classrooms. One of my earliest memories growing up in the Bay Area was trick ‘o treating in my neighborhood and it being ridiculously hot for 7pm at night in late October. I remember wearing a mask and taking it off mid stride (trying to catch up to my older brother) to find all the sweat that had accumulated and watched it drip from the mask.

We Californians are used to this kind of weather, especially in the early to mid Fall but with climate change making the heat worse, sometimes we need to invent a few new ways to stay cool. Here are some tips to stay cool in the lingering summer heat:

1. Keep your windows closed throughout the day. Unless there’s a cooling wind flowing, don’t open your windows for anything, then open them at night to allow the hot air escape and bring in the colder air of the night. This works even better if you have a House Fan. These fans are installed in the attic of the house and act like a vacuum. They suck up the hot air and expel it out while bringing the cold air into the house. My parents were adamant about not getting AC (of course they decide to get AC when I moved out) however, my dad decided one day to get a House Fan. This turned sleepless summer nights into tolerable and even frigid sleep. Click here for more information.

2. Pets get hot just like the rest of us, however most of them are covered in a layer of fur (unless they’re a reptile or fish) and can only sweat through their paw pads and through their ears. Help cool them off by providing them ice water and rubbing their paws and ears with a cool damp towel. Never shave your pet! Shaving them will only make them hotter and uncomfortable.

3. Go to the movies during the heat of the day. One of my favorite activities to do with my dad is seeing a movie. When it was summer and I was off school and my dad wasn’t working, we would go see a movie every Tuesday. Theaters often offer discounts during the week which can allow you to see more than one movie in a day!

4. Eat spicy food. You may think that it defies laws of convention however, capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers spicy can make you cooler. See, your brain isn’t all that smart and figures the pain that comes from eating spicy food means you’re hot, and thus sends more signals to your sweat glands to produce more sweat. More sweat means more evaporation which means you’re feeling cooler already.

5. Don’t eat ice cream. What? How does that make sense? I crave the frozen sugary sweet when it’s hot. Ah, but that’s just a trick. Ice cream has a high fat content which is harder for your body to digest. This raises your body temperature. It could lead to heat exhaustion if you down a whole pack of Drumsticks and an upset stomach.

6. Drink mint tea. Mint has menthol which does the opposite of capsaicin. It tricks your body into feeling cool and if you spray some on your skin, you’ll get mentholated cooling.

7. Try meditation. By relaxing your body and getting into the “zone” you can slow down your body’s functions to allow you to feel cooler. This can also work by reading a book or doing relaxing activities. The idea is to slow your body down, keeping the functions to a minimal, like when you’re sleeping.

8. Soak your feet in cold water. Your feet and your head are the major parts of the body that lose heat during the cold winter months. By soaking your feet in cold water during the summer, you’re cooling down the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin and bringing that cooler blood back into the core of your body.

Remember, the heat can be a deadly thing. Many newborns and elderly die each year from heat exhaustion and sun sickness. Never leave your pets or small children in cars while you run your errands, cars can heat up quickly and have deadly effects. And always drink plenty of water

By Olivia Hanna

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The Fear of college

For a lot of us growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s in the Bay Area, we were told college wasn’t an option, it was a necessity. So, we clawed our way through classes, packing our schedules full to the breaking point so we’d had extracurriculars that would look good on a college application. I remember distinctly being told that “looking good on a college app” was what your entire academic career culminated to.

If you aced your finals, had a marvelous GPA, and had plenty of extracurriculars, you would be accepted into college but to get there took more than just time and effort. It took everything. I knew students who broke themselves down just to get one more A or just to join another sport after school. I was one of the few lucky ones, my parents understood that I didn’t want to kill myself with overworking and didn’t pressure me to have an insane schedule. However, even without that pressure, I still pushed myself into anxiety attacks. I took four Advanced Placement classes in my final year of high school, and that was considered meager compared to my comrades who filled their entire schedule with AP courses.

Failure in one of my APs took me into a dark place. For whatever reason, perhaps the way my brain is wired, I couldn’t pass my AP Statistics course. My older brother who had taken it, told me it was easy. Everyone in my class told me it was simple. I had a tutor and went every day after class to see the teacher of my Stats class for guidance. I worked incredibly hard to try to understand this class only to find myself still failing. I remember sitting in that class, having received a test back that I’d failed, and failing to hold back tears as well. I thought I had failed myself, my parents, and everyone around me. I thought I wasn’t going to make it to college, let alone get in the school I desperately wanted.

But I didn’t fail. I did fail that class, let’s be clear, but I didn’t fail the people around me and most importantly I didn’t fail myself. Even without extracurriculars, a stellar GPA, or an exceptional SAT and ACT score, I still got into the school I wanted. I’m still not sure entirely how; perhaps I got lucky none of my high school classmates wanted to go to my college of choice, perhaps my writing bloomed before the eyes of the admissions reader, or perhaps I made a deal with the devil. It doesn’t matter.

Even having gotten into the school of my choice, a prestigious private school in the PNW, there was a part of me that felt that perhaps I should have picked differently. Perhaps I should have achieved more. I had previously declared I wanted to go to University of Washington, though deciding some way through high school that I would never be able to make it in. I had decided that I wouldn’t be good enough to make it in.

Now, this isn’t a sob story of my trials and tribulations. This is a retelling of what I saw and experienced and I want to make sure that someone who reads this, understands what it is really like to be a student and that you’re not alone. I’m not saying you can make it to college with little effort, that’s definitely not the lesson here, but you can make it to where you’re supposed to be by knowing what’s important in your life.

Throughout college, I still had some doubts whether I truly belonged at the university, but my dad would always remind me, “You are where you’re supposed to be”. Now, I’m not a person of faith but hearing that phrase always comforted me, making me think that there is some destined path I’m supposed to follow that would bring me to fulfilling a life goal.

That did not happen. At least, not yet. I do believe I am where I’m supposed to be but since college, I have succeeded and failed at a lot of things. I learned a whole lot about myself and I strayed from a path I thought I should’ve followed. I even walked a path my parents thought was the harder one but guess what, I’m still here and I’m still trucking along.

Perhaps you’re a parent, reading this, and struck with guilt and fear for your child’s future. Yeah, it’s scary as hell to be a student, but I learned a thing or two. Failing is completely natural, and hell it’s even encouraged. The path my generation walks is a very different one from my parents’ and the path the generation after is going to walk will be even stranger. However, there is something that will tie us all in when it comes to our paths. We will fail. That’s just a natural part of life and we will continue to fail. Like a motivational poster in a pediatrics’ office, I’ll tell you that you’ll learn more by failing. As my favorite Mythbuster, Adam Savage would say, “failure is always an option”.

Yes, be concerned for your child and their academic future but always give them the room to fail and always give them encouragement to keep going despite failures. At the end of the day, you as an individual are not your GPA, you’re not your SAT scores, and you’re way more than your academic career. You’re a future that has yet to unfold.

By Olivia Hanna

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How to Winterize your home in America

In the Bay Area, we’re lucky to have such mild winters. With only a few inches of rain each year, it’s better to call it the rainy season rather than winter. I remember growing up and hoping for a white Christmas each year only to be disappointed with the sunshine and perfect 75 degrees. The closest we ever got to snow was a Christmas where it rained so hard, the gutters flooded. That year my mom forgot to clean the oven before putting the roast beast in, filling the house with smoke and forcing a lot of us to hang outside and open the doors and windows.

Anyways, we’re lucky we don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures in the winter and winterizing our homes to keep the warmth in but other places aren’t so lucky. A few years ago I moved to Oregon and had to adapt to the colder temperatures in the PNW. My roommate from New Hampshire doesn’t hesitate to tell us how much colder it is on the East Coast and how they had to keep warm during their harsher winters. Here’s a list on how different parts of America keep warm during the winter.

 

PNW:

Folks in the Pacific Northwest have milder winters compared to other parts of the States. However, they do get the occasional snow and with that the freezing temperatures. PNW winters are characterized as being wetter which may bring a lot of snow in some parts but also a lot of rainfall in other places. Here’s how they deal with the winter.

  1. Putting plastic seals over their windows. This keeps the warmth in and is an extra step to keep moisture out.
  2. Draft stoppers. This could be an actual product you buy at the local Fred Meyers or something you can put together by using a pool noodle and a sweater you don’t wear anymore. The draft stopper stops drafts from entering your home through the cracks under your doors but it also helps with keeping debris and snow from getting in as well.
  3. Installing blackout curtains. These add to help insulate the windows and keep the cold from leaking in.

 

Midwest & Alaska:

My dad grew up in the Midwest and would often tell us the cliché stories of how he had to trudge through the snow to get to school everyday. However, Midwest winters are nothing to shake your fork at, these winters claim lives and often shut down schools.

  1. All the things that Pacific Northwesterns do. These tricks will be the basics for everyone with rougher winters.
  2. Add extra insulation to their homes. Insulating the air ducts and various other nooks and crannies of their homes is vital to keeping the warmth in.
  3. Install weather stripping.
  4. Prepare for frozen pipes. This includes letting the faucets drip so the water can keep moving and not freeze. Nothing like a frozen shower in the morning to make your Monday great.
  5. Spend a lot more time on the second floor or in the kitchen. Since heat rises, the second floor will always be warmer while the kitchen if in use will keep everyone warm with food.

 

Southwest:

These folks have even less of a winter than we do in the Bay Area.

  1. Sunscreen.
  2. Possibly an umbrella.
  3. Cold meds.

 

East Coast:

According to my roommate, people from this region are the toughest folks in America. Their winters are colder and harsher than any other parts of the country due to the absence of warmth in their hearts. That and the cold breeze from the Atlantic ocean.

  1. Do everything the Midwestern folks do. This includes what the people from the PNW do as well. Basically it has all compounded on itself.
  2. Insulate attics. This also will keep the warmth from escaping the house.
  3. Plant evergreen trees around the house. They’ll act as windbreaks to keep the freezing Atlantic air from finding a way inside the house.
  4. Own and use a fireplace. I grew up in a house where we had two but never used them because there was no need. People on the East Coast actually use their fireplaces instead of as decoration.
  5. Bring a baked potato to bed. Not kidding, this is a legit tip on various other websites. A baked potato will keep your bed warm before you get in and then you’ll have one prepared for mashed potatoes in the morning.
  6. Prepare emergency rations. Often in these winters power can go out in various areas. It’s good to have an emergency generator and food available.

 

South & Hawaii:

Like California, these states see more rain than snow. It doesn’t necessarily get terribly cold but they do have to manage hurricanes and flooding. Hawaii is less prone to the same kind of flooding but with the rising seas, they really don’t have anywhere to go when the tides come in.

  1. Insulate your home for flooding. As we can see what’s currently happening with the hurricanes barraging the Gulf, flooding is a major concern.
  2. Prepare for power outages. Like the East Coast, people in the South can lose their power as well due to flooding.

 

By Olivia Hanna

 

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How to be an Empty Nester(from the view of a millennial)

The warm autumn wind brushed through my hair as I watched my parents go. They had helped me move into my college dormitory and now it was time for them to head home. I had walked them to the parking lot, holding back my own tears as I saw the gentle wetness in their eyes. My parents’ flight was leaving in a few hours and as they hugged me tightly, their youngest off to university, I wondered what they were going to do now that I was gone. What kind of adventures would they have when they didn’t have to worry about their children?

My parents are the type of people that have their friends, they have their work and that’s about it. Now, I’m not saying they don’t know how to have fun but they had spent 21 years raising children and I can only fathom what went through their heads as they dropped me off. For some of you this may be an experience you already have gone through, while for others, it may be an experience that you’re excited/dreading for. For the last 18 years or so, you’ve been thinking about this moment. From the second your child is born, and even beforehand, people have probably said to you, “oh they’ll be off to college in no time”, and I imagine that phrase probably gave you a full body shudder. And for the last 18 years or so, that’s probably been the goal- getting your child to the stage where they move out from your nest and once that happens you officially are granted the title of Empty Nester(s). Now what?

 

Get some hobbies:

Well, if you’re anything like my parents, you probably have some hobbies that you’ve put off while raising your child. My mom turned to painting and my dad turned to flipping houses. Everyone has hobbies. Even if you can’t remember what you did before your child, there’s always places around town that offer art classes, baking and cooking classes, basically any sort of classes you’d could probably want. Check out the catalog for your local community college, there’s sure to be hidden gems between all the tiny fonts.

 

Go on Road trips:

My dad also picked up spontaneous road trips with his friends as a hobby. Sometimes I’ll call him on my way home after work and he’s with his buddies at the sand dunes or enjoying the scenery with my mom in some remote place and a glass of wine. I remember this one time in college, I had spent my weekend studying for my midterms and decided that evening to call my parents. They had told me that they had spent the weekend in Southern California partying it up with their friends. My parents, my mom drunk on gin and my dad drunk on diet coke and iced tea, had found their way into a gay strip club on accident. It had taken them a solid hour to realize exactly where they were and why dad was getting hit on so much. I remembered thinking how I was the one in college yet they were the ones partying, it didn’t make any sort of conventional sense. But that’s the beauty of it, as an Empty Nester, you and your partner can go anywhere you want, whenever you want.

As I think about it now, I think about how my parents deserve to go out and be wild, they are finally free of all parental obligations except for the call home every once in awhile. Find a tiny place on the map you’ve always wanted to go but never went and just go for it. Better yet, place the map on a wall you don’t care about and throw a dart at it (blindfold is optional based on your ability to aim), then go where the pin lands. Just get out and don’t wallow about how your kids are gone, this is what you have always wanted.

 

Clean out the nest:

My parents are currently at this stage in their Empty Nester life. They’ve found my old Legos, Beanie Babies, and my mounds of books and have started to cart them off to be sold or donated, this stage often leads to the next, selling the family house in favor of something cozier and easier to care for.

 

Sell the nest:

The time has come. What are you supposed to do with all this space and no kids? Now, you’ll probably experience some resistance from the kids, after all this was the home they grew up in, the home they had left for a bright future but you must be steadfast and keep to your ambitions. Find someplace that you and your partner loved going to, or do the dart method again and just move there. My parents had their own quandary when trying to figure out where to go, should they be close to their kids? That would be kind of hard seeing how my brother and I moved in opposite directions, several hundred miles each way. No, good ol’ mom and dad decided that they were going to move to a place they always wanted to live. They were going to downsize and buy a little townhouse overlooking the beach. Now only if they can drop off grandma somewhere too, but then again, someone has to take care of the cats when they’re off going on their adventures.

 

Get a pet:

Speaking of pets, remember when your kids begged you for a pet growing up? Remember when you used to beg your own parents for a pet? Well now you can get your own. Besides, pets are good for your well being. If you’re divorced, pets offer companionship and support as you try to find your place without the kids around and will help remind you to eat and shower every once in awhile. Just remember that the pet is not your child and therefore when you find yourself calling your child’s name while trying to get the attention of your pet, your new pet won’t take offense.

 

Get a new car:

Face it, that old minivan was good for all the hockey games and carpooling but now it’s just used for storage or even worse, hanging out in storage. It’s time to sell or trade-in those applesauce-stained and dirt clogged floor mats for something new and shiner and best of all, haven’t been tainted by the stench of sweaty children. If you’re not entirely sure what kind of vehicle you’re looking for, you can always lease one at your local dealership and try out something fun and exciting. Your kids won’t know what has gotten into you when you show up in a brand new (ENTER CAR NAME HERE). Don’t forget, never let your kids drive the new car, they’re going to want to borrow it and then you won’t have a car that’s truly yours anymore. Always drive their vehicle to keep their grubby little paws off your brand new toy.

 

Lastly, remember to just have some fun. You’ve earned it. Not to mention it gives your kids a hope that one day they too can be having as much fun as you are. Show up at their apartment on your brand new motorcycle or moped and drop grandma off as you head on to your next adventure. Who needs a nest now anyways?

By Olivia Hanna

 

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Hidden Gems in the Bay Area

In this article we are going to highlight various hidden gems around the Bay Area but broken down by different pats of the Bay Area. From the East Bay, to the South Bay, to the North Bay, we have a beautiful community with many interesting places to go and see.First up is the East Bay, the area where I was born and raised. Most known for Oakland and the Tesla Plant in Fremont. The East Bay is a hidden gem in itself of the Bay Area,overshadowed by cities like San Francisco and Palo Alto.

East Bay:

  1. Ohlone College, Fremont:
    This community college is more than just a place of higher education, it’s a place for the members of the community to come together. Ohlone has an incredible theater program that offers seasons after seasons of amazing shows. Come in the summer and enjoy the warm evenings in the amphitheater.
  2. Japanese Gardens, Hayward:
    This is the oldest Japanese garden in the state. It was made using traditional methods like unstained wood and recessed nails. A great thing about this is that it’s accessible via BART.
  3. Cheeseboard, Berkley:
    Berkley is known for many things, but what some might not know is that it has amazing food that rivals Portland, OR.
  4. Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda:
    This museum is dedicated to Pinball machines, offering free play on over 90 machines. Ages of these pinball machines range from 1879 to modern day.
  5. Alameda Point Antiques Faire, Alameda:
    This monthly faire happens the first Sunday of every month. It’s the largest show in Northern California with over 800 booths.

 

South Bay
Next in my series of Bay Area Gems, is the South Bay. This area is known for the tech giants that swarm this part of the Bay like Facebook and Google. Silicon Valley has loads of great things to see and visit but there are some places that few know about. Let’s dive in.

  1. Filoli, Wood side:
    This 20th century country estate, around 54,000 square feet will take your breath away. There’s 16 acres of English Renaissance-style gardens on the 654-acre property. This estate is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a great place to spend an afternoon.
  2. Shoreline Lake, Mountain View:
    If you need some time to get away from the busy suburbans of the Bay, this lake is a beautiful area to spend a day. The 750-acre wildlife and recreation area has incredible views of the San Francisco Bay. Rent a canoe or kayak or bike the trails.
  3. Lick Observatory, San Jose:
    This observatory is the world’s first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory. Find your way up Mt. Hamilton and you’ll be rewarded with the best panoramic views of the Silicon Valley around 4,200 feet up.
  4. Intel Museum, Santa Clara:
    This 10,000 square foot museum is located in the Intel Corp headquarters.Perusing the exhibits offer great insight into how the leading business in processing chips make their product.
  5. Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz:
    This state park is a preserved dairy farm with 34 miles of hill and coastal trails.On a sunny day, you will see sea lions basking on the rocks. There are also barns, gardens and a historic adobe. Bring the kids for a great time.

 

North Bay
Last in my Bay Area series is the North Bay, also known as the Peninsula. This part of the bay is known for San Francisco however there is way more to this place than just The City. Forget the touristy stuff and go find the places only locals know.

  1. Sam’s Castle, Pacifica:
    This castle was built in 1908 to protect residents against another major earthquake. It became a speakeasy during Prohibition and a communications center during WWII.
  1. Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito:
    Just north of San Francisco, this center shows off the entire bay system in miniature. The model center also has been featured on the show, Myth busters.
  1. Original Joe’s West-lake, Daly City
    This classic american restaurant will send you back into the 1950s. Step back in time with food and enjoy some shrimp Louie or liver and onions.
  1. Half Moon Bay:
    This adorable little town is nestled against the Pacific Coast and the Redwoods.Spend an afternoon or a weekend enjoying the quiet lifestyle of the seaside residents.
  1. Bair Island, Redwood City:
    This island is part of the Don Edwars San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a beautiful place to take a hike and see species that thrive in the Californian Wetlands. On a lucky day you’ll see harbor seals hanging out by the water.

By Olivia Hanna

 

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Getting a pet House

Getting a pet A house doesn’t really feel like home until you have someone to greet you when you get back. Whether that can be a significant other, a child or even a pet; having someone who is happy you came back to the nest makes a difference to the end of your day.

I can’t describe the joy it brings me when I come home from work, and here comes my cat trotting up to greet me. He stretches, chirps a greeting and proceeds to request me to pick him up. The unconditional love a pet gives can make any bad day better. If you’re in the market for a new pet, there are many places to find an animal. Here are some great resources to find and adopt a pet.

  1. SPCA
    Great service that finds abused and neglected animals and give them their forever homes.
  1. Doggie Rescues
    There are many around the Bay that specialize in rescuing dogs. A perfect place to find your new best friend.
  1. Feline Rescues
    Like the dog rescues, the feline rescues specialize in cats and making sure a home for them is purrrfect.
  1. Petco
    Usually local adoption agencies have weekend adoption events where you can come and meet the animals. This is a great place to socialize with many different animals to see what fits.
  1. Humane Societies
    Much like the SPCA, these agencies take in animals that have been given up and need new homes. Usually a local veterinarian can steer you in the right direction.

Finding a pet can be a long process, don’t rush it. This is a companion that is going to be living with you for hopefully more than a decade. A creature that will know your habits and compliment you. Be patient. Finding a pet is an exciting time.

By Olivia Hanna

 

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How to be more environmentally friendly

With climate change on everyone’s minds, it’s hard to feel good about yourself and your impact on the environment. I often find myself thinking if there is more I could be doing to save this planet that we call home. In short of giving up the capitalist society and living in the woods in a yurt, it can feel like there is very little one person can do. Though, there is hope. Small things you do can add up and help the planet overall. Here is a list of a few things you can do to help the planet and make your life greener.

  1. Skip meat a meal per day.
    Cutting down on meat, just once per day can help a lot. Livestock accounts for 9% of earth’s CO2 levels.
  1. Recycle your bottles and cans to the appropriate place.
    Recycling your bottles and cans can even bring you back more money.
  1. Plant native species in your garden and lawn.
    Removing invasive species and helping the native ones flourish will help the ecosystem in the long run.
  1. Bring bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic.
    The less plastic we use, the better.
  1. Turn off electricity where you don’t need to use it.
    Don’t waste energy.
  1. Print less paper, use electronic stuff more.
    Don’t have to cut down a tree for an email. Seriously this meeting could have been an email.
  1. Have a small compost pile.
    By composting your food scraps, you’ll create sustainable and vitamin rich dirt that will nourish your garden.
  1. Borrow more instead of buying.
    The library is a great place to save money and the environment. Borrow a book and trees don’t have to be cut down for more books.
  1. Recycle a car.
    There’s a lot of materials in a car that can be reused. Aluminum, the body of a car, can be recycled indefinitely.
  1. Take quicker showers.
    A shower should be no longer than 15-20 mins.

All these small things add up, plus that can help your life out as well. These good habits can make the future a little brighter for you and your children.

By Olivia Hanna

 

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