Home Tips: Spring Home Decor Ideas

There isn’t any easier or faster way to brighten my mood than by adding a few touches of spring to your home! Spring is a time of renewal, so it’s no wonder that many of us feel an urge to spruce up our homes this time of year. But it can be difficult to know where to begin to give your spaces a fresh feeling. If you’d love to update your home without spending a lot of money or making drastic changes, follow these spring home decor ideas.

Tip #1: Liven things up with plants and flowers.

Using fresh flowers to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside is one of the easiest ways to decorate your home for spring.

 

Tip #2: Refresh your spring styling.

Lightening up the look of your home for the new season can be as simple as making little styling tweaks to coffee and accent tables, shelves, mantels, and countertops. Even something as simple as a pretty dishtowel draped over the sink can add a fresh touch of spring decor to the kitchen.

 

Tip #3: Update your bedding.

Spring is all about awakening, so now’s the perfect time to freshen up your bedroom for the warmer months with some new bedding. Or, simply refresh your look by switching out your heavy winter blankets, throws, and pillows with lighter-weight and lighter-toned versions.

 

Tip #4: Rearrange the furniture.

One of the easiest ways to update your home for spring is to rearrange your furniture. Not only does moving the furniture change the look of your home, but it can also change the way you live! Rearranging the furniture only costs a few minutes of time (and maybe a few sore muscles), but it can return dividends in satisfaction, making you fall in love with your home again.

 

Tip #5: Welcome the sun.

As the hours of sunshine increase each day, this is the perfect time to maximize the amount of light in your home by replacing heavy or dark curtains with white or lighter-colored versions–or even remove them altogether!

Home Tips: Home Hacks That Will Change Your Life

The more time you spend at home, the more problems you notice about your space. That tiny pile of clutter suddenly seems like a mountain; those dusty surfaces suddenly all you can think about. Luckily, you don’t have to spend all of your time cleaning to get your home pristine. With these easy home tips, you can get your home more organized, more efficient, and cleaner in no time—and keep it that way.

 

Tip #1: Have a “no shoes in the house” rule.

Instead of walking through your home wearing dirty shoes, giving you yet another thing to clean up, make sure to kick off your kicks at the front door. It’s particularly important for homes with wall-to-wall carpeting or rugs, which require a more involved cleaning process than hardwoods or tile.

 

Tip #2: Create a cleaning schedule.

If you find that you never seem to have time to clean your house, put it on your calendar and make it a standing event. Plan out your to-do list in sections of daily, weekly, and monthly chores to outline what needs to be done first.

 

Tip #3: Use a squeegee after you shower.

Want to keep your bathroom cleaner without spending hours scrubbing? Then it’s time to break out the squeegee. The mineral content of the shower water settles on the tiles, walls, and glass over time leaving hard-to-clean spots if you don’t wipe them away while they’re still wet. We suggest keeping your squeegee stored on a hook inside the shower

 

Tip #4: Put things away immediately instead of putting them down.

Instead of coming home and immediately setting your phone, wallet, and keys on the kitchen table, put things away where they go. If you can make that part of your daily routine, that’s a huge game-changer.

 

Tip #5: Give yourself the 20-minute test.

If you can’t neaten up a room in 20 minutes or less, you’ve likely got too much stuff in it. Set a stopwatch, time your clean-up, and if you’ve still got clutter once the clock runs out, it’s time to start giving things away or tossing them.

Home Tips: Decorating on a budget

Nothing beats redecorating a room and feeling like you’ve walked into a brand-new house. For a fresh look that’s easy on your wallet, we’ve rounded up some clever ideas for decorating on a budget that doesn’t skimp on style.

 

Tip #1: Bistro Kitchen Table

If you’re tight on space and cash, opt for a small bistro table for your kitchen dining needs instead of a large one. Outfit it with charming chairs, like these comfy wicker ones.

 

Tip #2: Vintage Bookcase

These bookcases were made out of old peach crates borrowed from a friend’s farm. Simple, stylish, and chic.

Tip #3: Make a Tray

Repurpose mirrors as trays by applying felt backing to their undersides. A chic accent for any room.

 

Tip #4: Make it Roll

Casters are the ultimate quick-change agents. These babies impart height and mobility to almost anything. Attach ’em to a farm table and voilà: It becomes an extra-large kitchen island with serious moves.

 

Tip #5: Install A Mirror

A single well-placed mirror has the power to make a small room seem larger. For a custom look on the cheap, have mirrored glass cut to fit a beautiful vintage frame.

 

Tip #6: Bathroom Display Shelf

Add shelving to your powder room to hold pretty toiletries. Remove the back of an old wine crate or wooden box. Make shelves to fit inside the box, then add a bit of glamour by fastening a gilded frame onto the front of the unit.

LA & Valley Eats: Great Restaurants For All Occasions

Check out these La & Valley Eats that are perfect for all occasions. Whether you choose to dine outdoors or take-out, these restaurants will cure every craving.

 

Mizlala

4515 Sepulveda Blvd, 

Sherman Oaks, CA

Mizlala is a casual Mediterranean spot a few blocks down from The Galleria mall that works for just about every occasion.

 

Viale dei Romani

623 N La Peer Dr

West Hollywood, CA

Think of Viale dei Romani as a modern trattoria from Tasting Kitchen chef Casey Lane, and located inside the LA Peer Hotel. The coastal-driven menu highlights wood-fired seafood, raw fish preparations, pasta, and pizza.

 

Pasjoli

2732 Main St

Santa Monica, CA

Fine dining vet Dave Beran serves up an elevated French bistro experience to-go and for dine-in through the pandemic. Find beloved classics like mushroom crepes, lobster bisque, and duck confit on the menu. And don’t forget a chocolate souffle for dessert.

 

Tatang

10829 Oxnard St

North Hollywood, CA 90403

If you’re completely done with your regular old lunch routine of wet salads and bottled water, try working Tatang into your rotation. The modern Filipino restaurant has a bright space in a stripmall, an affordable menu (most things fall under $15), and excellent food across the board.

 

Burgers Never Say Die

2388 Glendale Blvd Unit A

Los Angeles, CA

After two years of selling burgers from his backyard and popping up around town, Shawn Nee has an actual restaurant at the edge of Silver Lake where the smash burgers are as good as ever, and so is the CVT soft-serve for dessert.

 

Blue Table

4774 Park Granada Ste 4

Calabasas, CA

Blue Table is a small Italian deli and market that’s known for the tasty sandwiches as well as the “cheese closet” that provides visitors with access to a range of imported cheeses. With sidewalk seating and communal tables, the atmosphere is an eclectic one that invites socializing with the people you’re sitting next to.

 

Home Tips: Helpful Tips for Decluttering Your Home

With Spring quickly approaching, it’s time to tidy up and refresh your space! These home tips will help you successfully declutter your space for a clean slate into the new season

Tip #1: Clothing and Toy Rotations

One easy way to declutter is to minimize the number of items out and in use at any given time. We recommend using under-bed bins to keep off-season clothes tucked away. This will provide more space in your closet and drawers. Similarly, consider a toy rotation for the kids. Have one container that holds a portion of toys while leaving out only what fits in the play spaces. Every few months, swap the groups of toys; not only will your kids find renewed interest in old items, but it’ll be easier for them to help clean and put things away when there are fewer toys out.

 

Tip #2: Purge Unused Items

We all have things we hold onto just in case we want them in the future, but often that day never comes. Start the new season by turning your hangers backward on the closet rod; when you wear something, put the hanger back the right way for the rest of the season. At the end of the season, purge any clothes that are still on backward hangers. For toys, use a “maybe” bin to store less popular items out of sight for a while – if the kids don’t notice the toy is gone for a couple of months, go ahead and donate.

 

Tip #3: View your home as a first-time visitor.

It’s easy to “forget” what your home looks like to a new visitor. Enter your home as if you’re visiting the home of a friend. Write down your first impression of how clean and organized the home is and make changes.

 

Tip #4: Find expiration dates

A lot of what we use and consume has an expiration date. Go through one space at a time and search for dates. Throw out anything that has already expired and in a separate pile have items that will be expiring soon. If you still use these items, highlight them by putting them in an easily accessible location. If you can’t see yourself using them by the date given, throw them away.

Tip #5: Remember what you gain by letting go

Decluttering opens the door for some pretty great things. You gain space, time, and energy, among other things. Keep your eye on the prize and use the motivation to redouble your decluttering verve.

Month End Economic Update for April 2020

Stock Market Update

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the month of April at 24,345.72, up 11% from 21,917.16 on March 30, 2020. The S&P 500 closed the month at 2,912.44, up 12.6% from 2,585.59 at the end of March. The NASDAQ closed the month at 8,889.55, up 15.5% from 7,700.10 on March 30, 2020.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields dropped to record lows in April

The 10-year U.S. treasury bond yield closed the month of April at 0.64%, down from 0.70% on March 30. The 30-year Treasury yield ended the month at 1.28%, down from 1.35% at the end of March.

Mortgage Rates dropped to record lows in April

The April 30, 2020 Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.23%, down from 3.33% on April 2, 2020. The 15-year fixed was 2.77%, down from 2.82% April 2. The 5-year ARM was 3.14%, down from 3.49% on April 2, 2020.

 

Home sales reports are released on the third week of the month for the previous month. These are the March results.

March 2020 U.S. Home sales report

The National Association of Realtors reported the total existing-home sales in March fell just 0.8% from the number of sales in March 2019. Considering that 80% of the country was under a stay-at-home order in March, this was quite a positive result. These homes went under contract before the crisis, as most closings take 30-60 days, but the buyers did close during the crisis. Prices were also up significantly in March. The median price was 8.0% higher than last March. That marked the 97th straight month of year over year increases in the median price. Inventory levels were tight. There was a 3.4 month supply of housing on the market.

California March Home Sales Report

Impact of the pandemic has begun to be felt as the number of sales dropped while prices continued to rise – The California Association of Realtors announced that existing single-family home sales totaled 373,070 on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate in March, down 6.1% from the number of sales in March 2019. The statewide median price paid for a home in March was $612,440, up 5.6% from February and up 8.3% from one year ago. The median price is the point at which 1/2 the homes sell for more 1/2 the homes sell for less. Escrows periods are commonly between 30 and 60 days, so these sales represent homes placed in escrow before the crises. Homes sold during the crises are just beginning to close. There was a record low 2.7 month supply of homes for sale in March compared to a 3.6 month supply in February and a 3.6 month supply of homes for sale last March. That is due to so many people removing their homes from the market. On a regional level: In Los Angeles County the median price increases 8.1% from last March. In Orange Country the median price increased 9% from one year ago. In Ventura County the median price increased 10.2% from last March.

 

 

Economic Update for the Week Ending May 2, 2020

Stock Markets Posted Their Largest Monthly Gains in 30 Years in April

Stocks recovered in April after a devastating March. Despite a disappointing 4.8% decline in first quarter GDP, the worst quality decline since 2008, stocks ended the month much higher. Approximately $3 Trillion in government stimulus to businesses and individuals, unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve adding Trillions in liquidity, and states beginning to allow businesses to reopen fueled the rebound. The Dow had dropped from 29,000 in February to 18,000 by the third week of March before stead recovering. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 23,723.69, down 0.2%, from 23,775.27 last week. It’s down 16.9% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,830.71, down 0.2% from 2,836.74 last week. It’s down 12.4% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 8,604.95, down 0.3% from 8,634.52 last week. It’s down 4.1% year to date.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields

The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.64%, up slightly from 0.60 last wee. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.27%, up from 1.17% last week.

Mortgage Rates are at Record Lows

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on April 30, 2020, reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed Mortgage rate average was 3.23% down from 3.33% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.77%, down from 2.86% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.14%, down from 3.28% last week.

Unemployment Claims Jump for the Fifth Straight Week

Another 3.85 million American workers filed first-time unemployment claims last week. That brings a total of over 30 million workers laid off in the last six weeks. The unemployment rate has gone from a 50 year low of 3.6% in February to over 20%, the highest rate since the Great Depression, in just 6 weeks. Fortunately, these job losses are mostly temporary as employers will gradually rehire their workers once they are permitted to re-open.

Economic Update for the Week Ending March 13, 2020

 

Stock Markets Entered Bear Market Territory

Its difficult to imagine that all major stock market indexes closed at all time highs on February 19, 2020. In less than a month the longest bull market in history has ended because of a virus that has caused a global pandemic. Investors have concluded that the cruise industry will be decimated. It’s probable that the airline industry will need a bail out. Retail, sports, entertainment, restaurants, private schools, and other business sectors will also suffer devastating losses. Demand for oil with cruise ships halted, flights cancelled, people staying home and not driving has caused a surplus in the supply of oil. OPEC had called for cutting production to keep an already over supply of inventory from increasing and stabilizing prices, but Russia refused, and oil prices saw their largest one day decline since 1991. By weeks end the Fed had announced how they would add liquidity to support the financial system, and help business lending. The House also passed an emergency package. The Fed action, and the prospect of congressional stimulus sparked a 2,000 point rally on Friday to end the week with less devastation to stocks by making up much of Thursday’s losses which was the largest one day percentage drop in the DOW, eclipsing Black Monday’s drop in 1987. To be fair, on the positive side major stock market indexes are still above their levels at the beginning of 2019. We have lost about one year of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 23,185.62, down 10.4% from 25,864.78 last week. It’s down 18.8% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,711.02, down 8.8% from 2,972.37 last week. It’s down 16.1% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 7,874.88, down 8.2% from 8,575.62 last week. It’s down 12.2% year to date.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields

As stock markets continued to plummet investors moved money from stocks to the safety of bonds. The 10-year treasury bond yield closed the week slightly above last week, but still at their lowest level in 100 years, Monday’s yields dropped to the lowest in the history in America, but worked their way up in the end of the week. The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.94%, up from 0.74% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.56%, up from 1.25%, last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates often follow bond yields.

Mortgage Rates at 40-Year Lows 

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on March 12, 2020 reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.36% up from 3.29% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.77% unchanged from 2.79% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.01%, down from 3.18% last week. Usually, mortgage rates follow bond yields, but lenders have not lowered rates to the extent that bond yields have dropped. This week lenders actually raised rates because they did not have the staff to handle the volume of all the loans in process, as sales have been brisk, and refinancing has surged.

 

Economic Update for the Week Ending March 6, 2020

The U.S. Economy Added 273,000 New Jobs in February 

The Department of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. employers added 273,000 new jobs in February. Monthly job gains averaged 230,000 over the past six months, the highest job gains in two years. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, a 50-year low, from 3.6% in January. Average hourly wages grew 3% from one year ago. The report demonstrates just how strong the American economy was prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

Stock Markets End Week Slightly Higher than Last Week When Stocks Had Their Biggest Weekly Decline Since the 2008 Financial Crisis

It was a turbulent week with 1,000 point daily swings, but markets held on to be slightly higher for the week as the coronavirus reached pandemic levels, spreading to every continent on the globe. Analysts fear that the economic impact will be devastating to the travel industry, and severely impact the worldwide economy. In a surprise move the Federal Reserve made an emergency ½% rate cut in order to lend support to the economy. Nobody knows what the final economic impact of the coronavirus will be. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 25,864.78, up 1.8% from 25,409.36 last week. It’s down 9.4% year to date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 2,972.37up 0.6% from 2,954.22 last week. It’s down 8% year to date. The NASDAQ closed the week at 8,575.62, up 0.1% from 8,567.37 last week. It’s down 4.5% year to date.

Coronavirus Impact on the Real Estate Market 

The meltdown in stocks has pushed interest rates to 40-year lows. We did not see any decline in sales in the last two weeks. In fact, there are so many sales, inventory levels are shrinking because new listings are not keeping up with the number of sales. Inventory levels are now back to 2017 levels, which represented historic lows. This has caused multiple offers on homes that are priced realistically, pushing prices up.

U.S. Treasury Bond Yields 

As stock markets plummeted, investors moved money from stocks to the safety of bonds. The 10-year treasury bond closed the week at its lowest level in 100 years.  The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 0.74% down from 1.13% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 1.25%, down from 1.65%, last week. We watch treasury bond yields because mortgage rates often follow bond yields.

Mortgage Rates at 40-Year Lows 

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on March 5, 2020 reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 3.29%, down from 3.44% last week. The 15-year fixed was 2.79%, down from 2.95% last week. The 5-year ARM was 3.18%down slightly from 3.20% last week. Usually, mortgage rates follow bond yields, but lenders have not lowered rates to the extent that bond yields have dropped.

Valley Weekend Events: March 6 – 8

Conejo Valley

Travel to the chomping, stomping land before time, take in some sleight of hand or settle in for Springtime for Hitler. Whether you’re in the mood for classical music or a trip back in time to the Civil War, there’s no shortage of entertainment and events this weekend in the Conejo Valley.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Dinosaur World Live

Fred Kavli Theater, Thousand Oaks Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

While you wait for the next Jurassic Park sequel – or for scientists to actually breed dinosaurs – this interactive live show should more than satisfy your appetite for prehistoric lizards. Among the beasts audiences of this all-ages show will have the chance to get up and close with: the Triceratops, the Giraffatitan, the Microraptor, the Segnosaurus and, of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. For more details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

The Producers

Conejo Players Theatre, 351 S Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, CA

The Conejo Players Theatre raises the curtain on The Producers, the Oscar-winning, Mel Brooks comedy about a broke, shady Broadway producer and his meek accountant who conspire to stage the biggest flop of all time – in the hopes of conning the show’s investors out of millions. The crux of their plan? A musical called Springtime for Hitler. For details, go HERE.

Eric Buss: Shenanigans

Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA

Expect to be dazzled and delighted at this new show starring award-winning comedian and magician, Eric Buss, award-winning magician Stuart McDonald, Michael Rayner and vinyl spinster, DJ Nel. It promises surprises beyond simply making you marvel: how did they do that? For details, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Civil War Days

137 Strathearn Place, Simi Valley, CA

Saturday and Sunday with costumed civilians as well as soldiers relating tales from the conflict. Highlights will include President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the re-enactment of the surrender at Appomattox. Learn about everything going on HERE.

Thousand Oaks Philharmonic Gala

The Gardens at Los Robles, 299 S Moorpark Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA

Internationally-acclaimed pianist Peter Klimo’s recital is the centerpiece of this evening devoted to benefiting the young musicians of Ventura County. In addition to the performance, there will be cocktails and a gourmet dinner. For more information, go HERE.

San Fernando Valley

Dancing queens, comedians and esports players – they’re all on tap this weekend in the San Fernando Valley.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Friday Night at The Bunker

2200 W Burbank Boulevard, Suite B, Burbank, CA

Start the weekend off with laughter at this speakeasy setting featuring Gaina Rivina, Brooks Wheelan, who has been called a name to watch by the London Times, and Chase Bernstein, who has performed on A Little Late With Lilly Singh as well as written for shows on Netflix. The venue is BYOB. For tickets and details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

Brad Williams

Flappers Comedy Club and Restaurant, 102 E Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank, CA

After two highly-rated comedy specials on Showcase and appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Tonight Show and Comedy Underground, Brad Williams has emerged as one of the most in-demand comics working today. In addition to his own podcast with Adam Ray, Williams has contributed to Adam Carolla’s podcast, The Adam Carolla Show. For details, go HERE.

From Keyboards to Dollars

Motion Picture and Television Fund, 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills, CA

Getting published is one thing. Getting paid is something else altogether. Literary agent and attorney Paul S. Levine, writer of How Authors Go from Fingers to Keyboard to Dollars in Their Bank Accounts: Four Ways Book Authors Make Money from Publishers, promises to have plenty of advice for writers at this event, presented by the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the California Writers Club. For more information, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Blizzard Arena Esports Competitions

3000 W Alameda Avenue, Burbank, CA

The world’s top esports players are set to clash in such arenas as Overwatch, Starcraft II and Call of Duty. Along with the on-screen battles, attendees can expect free guest wi-fi and plenty of swag. For gamers and esports enthusiasts, this is ground zero. Get the details HERE.

ABBA Mania 2020

El Portal Theater, 5267 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA

Mamma Mia! It’s not much of a chance you’re taking on them. Abba Mania! returns you to the heyday of the Swedish supergroup beloved for such other hits as Dancing Queen and Winner Takes All. The U.S. cast of this show is comprised of performers from the U.S. and Australia who recreate the group’s last concert in 1979. For all the details, go HERE.

Santa Clarita Valley

Michael Bolton can’t live without his symphony and a pair of acts pay tribute to two of the most popular acts in modern music history. All this and more can be found going on this weekend in Santa Clarita.

Friday – March 6, 2020

Michael Bolton: The Symphony Sessions

Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA

The Grammy winner brings his hits to the Saban Theatre, complete with a symphony orchestra. That shouldn’t be a surprise, considering his latest album collected and arranged such favorites as How Am I Supposed to Live Without You with a full orchestra. For details, go HERE.

Saturday – March 7, 2020

Eagles Tribute by The Long Run

The Canyon – Santa Clarita, 24201 Valencia Boulevard No.1351, Santa Clarita, CA

For nearly two decades, The Long Run – Experience the Eagles has been one of the top tribute acts in North America. What better place to see them than the Hotel California itself? For tickets and information, go HERE.

Trace Adkins

The Forum, Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita, CA

Country star Trace Adkins, who has charted more than 20 singles on the Billboard country music charts, brings his distinctive voice and his decades of hits to the Forum in Santa Clarita. In addition to his music career, he was a finalist in 2008 on The All Star Celebrity Apprentice. He won the reality-TV competition in 2013. For tickets and details, go HERE.

Sunday – March 8, 2020

Santa Clarita Comic and Toy Expo 2020

College of the Canyons, E Road, Santa Clarita, CA

This one-day event will feature a variety of exhibitors from the comics and toys realm. Locally-owned comic shop Kimzar Kollectables is sponsoring the event, which will let enthusiasts interact with industry professionals as well as other liked-minded fans. For details, go HERE.

George Strait Tribute by The Troubadour Experience

The Canyon – Santa Clarita, 24201 Valencia Boulevard, No. 1351, Santa Clarita, CA

The Troubadour Experience bills itself as the greatest George Strait tribute band, promising all the hits of the “King of County,” who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. For tickets and information, go HERE.