Thursday, August 29, 2013

Recommended Realtor in Ann Arbor, MI

For Ann Arbor, MIchigan realtors, I recommend Heidi Elder.  She has lived in Washtenaw County, MI her whole life and is very familiar with Ann Arbor's neighborhoods and surrounding areas.  She has had experience as a licensed realtor for over 8 years.


Heidi Elder
Buyer's Agent
The Bouma Group Realtors
564 South Main Street, Suite 100
Ann Arbor, MI  48104

Direct Phone:  (734) 929-6107
Cell Phone:  (734) 945-7736

Ann Arbor, Michigan - beautiful bungalows in a college town

 Bungalows are a popular style of home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  They feature the classic bungalow characteristics that make homes so charming:   things like low-pitch rooflines, deep overhanging eaves, exposed rafters or decorated brackets under the eaves, and a front porch covered by an extension of the roof.

I remember driving by these bungalows as a child and wanting to live in one of them!  Around the holidays, there is a fairytale quality about some of the Ann Arbor neighborhoods.  People in Michigan love the holidays!

First 30 Days

I found a blog called about how if you want to make a change in your life, you have to start by just looking at the first 30 days.  We are working on remodeling our kitchen in our old bungalow, and yesterday I almost gave up on doing it at all.  I cried, I was angry, and I was frustrated after meeting with a potential contractor and realizing the whole thing was going to be harder than I thought, and that I was not going to be able to open up the dining room as I wanted.  My dream home has a more open feel than my current bungalow with separate rooms.  I am going to spend some time later today reading the blog!

(a blog about making changes by looking at the first 30 days!  Changing anything is so hard!)

Ann Arbor, Michigan

The locals sometimes call Ann Arbor A squared.  The first member of my family to go to University of Michigan was my Aunt, when she went to medical school there.  Then,  two of my brothers went to University of Michigan, which is why I first visited it.  My oldest brother was twelve years older than me, so when he went to undergraduate college in Ann Arbor, I was only eight years old.  We used to visit him often as we only lived an hour away.  My mom would make freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with walnuts my father cracked himself, and  my brother would open the door when we arrived, take a cookie from the decorated tin and smile like a 5 year old.  He had longish, blonde, curly hair and a huge smile!  I loved going to Ann Arbor all those years ago, and I still love it now.  It is one of the places in Michigan, I could see myself happy living there.  When I visited Eugene, Oregon for the first time this summer, it reminded me of Ann Arbor years ago.  Ann Arbor has grown over the years, yet I still love it, it is just a bigger town now.

I had another brother who got his MBA at University of Michigan.  He was a member of a fraternity, so I went to my first fraternity party when I was around 12, and I was in heaven when my brother had his fraternity brother dance with me!  I loved Ann Arbor and the University!

One of the things I love about Ann Arbor is that they have great ethnic restaurants!  Ann Arbor is somewhat different and secluded from other Michigan towns, yet there is so much in Ann Arbor, you don't really need to leave!  Of course, Ann Arbor also has a world class university, which is how many people hear about the town.  There are plenty of bike lanes and superb trails, such as the 35-mile border2border.  It is great since you can bike a really long way without having to turn around, and without seeing cars.  There are plenty of places to escape on the weekend if you like the outdoors, such as 17 miles of single track at the Potowatomi Trail in nearby Pinckney State Recreation Area.  Also, there is  the 976,043 acres at the Huron-Manistee National Forest, which is only a couple of hours up interstate 75.  As my brothers and my aunt would say, "Go Blue!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Recommended Realtor in Indian Village, Detroit, MI

Betty Warmack has been an Indian Village resident for 36 years.  She is also a member of the Indian Village Association.  She is a home and garden tour active participant and is a member and former board member of the women's garden club.  She is a Detroit Waldorf School alumnus parent, which is impressive because if I lived in the area, I would send my son to the Detroit Waldorf School!  Overall, she is an Indian Village Specialist and has worked with the area for over 22 years!


Betty J. Warmack
Real Estate One
27320 Harper Ave.
St. Clair Shores, MI  48081
Office- (586) 771-1271
Cell- (313) 995- 3845

Recipe- Sesame-Ginger Green Beans

Sesame-Ginger Green Beans

Makes 4 servings


1 cup of vegetable oil
3 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound of fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed
t tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame seeds


1.  Preheat oven to 400%.  Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium high heat, heat vegetable oil.  Add shallots and fry, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.

2.  Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss green beans with olive oil, sesame oil, ginger, and salt to coat.  Roast beans until tender but still green, 5-8 minutes.

3.  Transfer beans to a serving dish and toss with sesame seeds.  Top with reserved shallots.

enjoying the last days of summer! Grilled pork chops with zesty apricots

My son started kindergarden today.  What a change!  I started feeling sad that summer is over.  When I was a child we'd spend lots of time around the campfire and BBQ, practically eating most of are meals outdoors.  When fall came, I remember my mom making pork chops, they were delicious!

Grilled Pork Chop with Zesty Apricots

Makes 4 servings


4 teaspoons plus tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
4 double-cut, bone-in pork loin chops (about 2 pounds)
1 small red onion, diced
6 apricots, pitted and quartered
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1/2 medium lime)
1/2 teaspoon lime zest (about 1/2 medium lime)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 1/4 bunch)

1.  In a small bowl, stir together 4 teaspoons of oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and sage.  Rub mixture onto both sides of each chop.  Place chops in a 2 gallon resealable plastic bag, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

2.  In a medium pan over medium heat, heat remaining oil.  Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add apricots, honey, and lime juice; reduce heat to medium-low and sauté 1 more minute.  Remove from heat and stir in lime zest, cilantro, and remaining salt.  Set aside.

3.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  Grill chops until an instant read thermometer registers 150% F when inserted into the thickest part of a chop, 12-16 minutes per side.  Transfer chops to a clean plate; cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.  top with reserved apricots before serving.

"Plump, golden, sweet apricots, ripe for picking summer through fall."
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Where to find apricots in the San Francisco Bay Area:

Late Summer BBQ sauce

These late summer days are perfect for BBQing and enjoying the outdoors!

Spicy BBQ sauce:

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper


Heat oil in pot over medium heat.  Saute onion until soft; add ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and cayenne.  Simmer 15 minutes until sauce thickens; turn off heat. Once cooled, puree sauce in blender.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Angie's List- wonderful resource for finding local service companies

My brother first told me about Angie's List.  It is a membership service that compiles consumer ratings of local service companies and contractors in multiple cities across the United States.


Angie's List

Build It Green- resources in green building design

I actually found this website on Arlene Baxter's blog.  I found 9 Cranes Design on the green building website, and I intend to call them tomorrow!  I am looking for a green contractor and design firm.


Build It Green

9 Cranes Design
561 Waller street
San Francisco, CA
(248) 703-9514

Recommended Realtor in Berkeley, CA- Arlene Baxter

I highly recommend Arlene Baxter, of Berkeley, CA.  She is truly an expert in arts and crafts and bungalow style!  Her website, green is a wealth of information!


Arlene Baxter
Mobile:  510-717-1799
e-fax:  510-809-8335
1891 Solano Avenue
Berkeley, CA

The Bungalow Company, Bend, Oregon- building new old bungalows

I was talking to a friend who lives in Eugene, Oregon and we were sharing our ideas of a perfect bungalow, and she told me about the Bungalow Company in Bend, Oregon, who makes new, old, bungalows!

The website also has resources, such as books, articles, and supplies!  I want to go back and spend some more time looking at the provided links and resources.

As the website describes, "Bungalows grew up with America during the 20th Century.  The arts and crafts movement dates back to the 1860's as a dramatic rebellion against the formalized style of the Victorian period.  The informal bungalow grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement.  'Craftsmen' bungalows were so called because they were detailed and embellished on the job site by those craftsmen actually doing the construction.

The Bungalow Company's services:
     At the Bungalow Company, their passion is creating plans for new homes inspired by the authentic craftsman and bungalow styles of yesteryear.  Genuine bungalows are a study in exquisite detail, marrying modern materials with vintage craftwork.  The arts and crafts details are designed into every facet of their plans.


The Bungalow Company
2721 NW Nordic Avenue
Bend, Oregon
Phone:  1-888-945-9206
Fax:  1-877-785-7512

Friday, August 23, 2013

West Oakland-REO Company fixes up properties

Investment firms such as REO Homes LLC , an investment firm that owns homes in areas such as West Oakland, CA, spends times fixing up exteriors of homes they don't actually own.  They do such things as trim trees, pressure-wash  the wood siding, and even touch up paint jobs.  The actual owners and renters do not need to pay for this.  The investment firm works on helping homeowners upgrade their homes and even has planted hundreds of trees along city streets in some areas.

 The REO founder, Neill Sullivan recently said , "The neighborhood was badly in need of capital, to maintain, beautify, and restore it."  He said this as he drove his hybrid sedan through the streets of West Oakland.

This is not a nonprofit company, the motives are part of a broader strategy to upgrade the neighborhood, therefore attracting higher-income residents who will possibly boost property values.
These investors who actually put work and energy into a neighborhood after purchasing foreclosed homes and properties in neighborhoods are trying a different approach other than buying, then flipping them quickly.  These type of investors, instead, can spend billions of dollars to buy homes and then upgrade them as well as the neighborhood!

Mr. Sullivan remarked, "We're taking mostly vacant, abandoned and beat up housing stock, fixing it up, and putting livable, quality housing on the market."

Ingrid Gould Ellen, co-director of New York University's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, explained this trend by saying,  "It can take generations for neighborhoods to change, but investors have the potential to accelerate the process, especially because they may have the cash on hand to purchase lots of homes at once even in tight credit markets."

Many see Oakland as a more affordable and family friendly option to San Francisco, though it is not many miles away, and is reachable through public transportation such as BART.

The Urban Strategies Council, an advocacy organization based in Oakland, found that between 2007 and 2011, 10, 508 homes in the city went through foreclosure, and 42% were acquired by investors.  One of the biggest investors to seize on the opportunity was Mr. Sullivan's REO homes.  Thomas Steyer, the founder of San Francisco based firm, Farallon Capital Management LLC, helped REO with an early investment.  Since REO was founded in 2008,  REO has acquired more than 200 homes in Oakland,  most in West Oakland.  Most of the homes cost around $200,000 and REO spends around $100,000 fixing them up.

Mr. Parmer,  who lives in the neighborhood, and is a homeowner who received free upgrades from the REO company, said, "This neighborhood has turned around 180 degrees."

The changes in the community of West Oakland worry some Oakland City Officials.  Some are working on initiatives to slow down investor purchases and give the owner-occupiers an opportunity to buy foreclosed properties before  investors see them as part of a program such as the "First Look" federally funded program.

Desley Brooks, the council member who has sponsored city legislation that requires investors to record their property holdings in a city registry to slow down purchases,  said, "I'm not interested in finding housing for San Franciscans who can no longer afford San Francisco.  I'm interested in helping people here in Oakland.  There are people here who have lived their whole lives who can no longer afford Oakland."

Ideas and quotes from article in Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, August 14, 2013- Vol. CCLXII, NO. 38, "The New Urban Pioneers- Companies Spruce Up Neighborhoods, Putting Gentrification in Overdrive."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Berkeley, CA- My dog and I, an afternoon near Shattuck and Vine

My dog and I have spent a few hours this afternoon at the Shattuck and Vine area of Berkeley.  We started out at Holistic Hound on Walnut Street to pick up some food and treats for my dog.  Then, we had lunch outside of Juice Bar Collective right around the corner on Vine street for some yummy polenta pizza and homemade ginger soda.   I would also like to try La Fable sometime, which has plenty of outside tables.   Next, we'll drive to the Ohlone Park East dog park on Hearst Avenue.  I've been to that dog park and it is clean and both the dogs and people have been really friendly to us in the past.  Plus, it is a fenced in area so it feels really safe.  What a great summer afternoon!  Everyone has been really friendly to us this afternoon, and many people have asked, "Can I pet your dog?"  People in Berkeley love dogs!  Next time I want to take the historical walking tour of the area (website listed below.)

Resources for a "Doggy and Me" afternoon in Berkeley, CA

Holistic Hound
1510 Walnut Street
Berkeley, CA  94709
(510) 843-2133

Juice Bar Collective
Established 1976
2114 Vine Street
Berkeley, CA  94709
(510) 548-8473

Ohlone Park East- great dog park!
933 Hearst Ave.
Berkeley, CA  94701
(510) 981-6700

Historical walking tour of North Shattuck area of Berkeley:

Other dog friendly restaurants, dog parks, and pet care not too far from area:

Cafe Leila
1724 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA
(510) 525-7544

La Fable
1508 Walnut
(Between Cedar and Vine right next to Holistic Hound, hours are limited)
Berkeley, CA

Buchanan St. Ext. dog park
Berkeley ,CA  94701

Just Pet Me
(doggy day care and pet hotel)

Berkeley, CA- HIstorical Walking Tour of North Shattuck shopping area

I am in the North shopping area of Shattuck Avenue, and found this great walking tour.  I don't have time today to take the walk, but I want to take the walk soon!


North Shattuck shopping district,
Berkeley, CA
Historical walking tour

Monday, August 19, 2013

Berkeley, CA- Build Pizza, at Morse Block, built in 1906

The new Build Pizza was a surprise to me, as I walked by the Morse Block (in downtown Berkeley) today with my son.  The new restaurant is on the Morse Block, built by Dickey and Reed, architects in 1906.  The appearance of the ground floor has changed many times, but the buff brick and classically detailed facade of the upper floors are original.  My son and I loved our gluten free pizza that we designed ourselves at the BUILD bar!  They have both regular and gluten free pizza, and a whole bunch of ingredients to choose from to put on your pizza.  I thought we'd have to wait a long time, but our pizza only took 5 minutes.

I highly recommend this new place!

Build Pizzeria Roma
2013 "Best of the EAST BAY"
2286 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA  94704
"Find Your Inner Pizza"

This Wednesday meet Josh Charlton, from North Coast Brewing, Fort Bragg, CA

Here are old and new photos of the Morse Block from the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project website:

Eugene, Oregon

Communities in need of renovation in Eugene, Oregon

5th Street Public Market, Eugene, Oregon - foodie heaven!

As I live in the San Francisco Bay Area I am not new to the foodie culture, yet I was amazed at how yummy, tasty, fresh, and organic the food was at the 5th street public market in Eugene, Oregon.  I ate lunch there twice last week and was surprised how hungry I got just walking in the place.  It is also a gorgeous space!  I miss it!

The current market opened in March of 1976.  The original building, built in 1929, housed a poultry business that served Lane County residents from delivery docks facing 5th Avenue.


5th Street Public Market
296 E. 5th street, Avenue #300
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Tel:  (541) 484-0383

Shelton McMurphy House, Eugene, Oregon

Last week I went to the Shelton McMurphy House in Eugene, Oregon with my son and friend, Karen. This house has been a local landmark since its construction in 1888.  The house is a great place to enjoy a guided tour, learn about local history (my son loved the old fashioned bike best,) join their book club, take tea, attend a lecture, or host a party or other event!  I would love to attend one of their teas someday, the next available dates are the Harvest teas on October 12th and 13th.  They also have holiday teas in early December.  My grandmother started my love of tea parties when I was a little girl, so I love going to these historic homes and having tea.


Shelton McMurphey House

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Millenium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles

The Biltmore Hotel opened in 1923 to national acclaim as the largest hotel west of Chicago and by 1969 was designated a Historic Cultural Landmark by the City of Los Angeles.

The idea for the hotel arose out of a desire to creat a grand icon to show the rest of the country that Los Angeles had "arrived."

The hotel opened on October 1, 1923 to a weeklong celebration featuring a gala attending by Cecil B DeMille, Jack Warner, and Mary Pickford with seven orchestras in eight dining rooms.  The hotel had 916 guest rooms and 826 bathrooms, on 11 floors.  In 1924, 500 more rooms were added.  Throughout the years, the hotel has undergone several restorations, including a $30 billion renovation in the mid-1970's and a $135 million project between 1984 and 1987.

This hotel is a great place to walk around, have some food and drink, and dream and imagine what it was like back in 1923!

The rooms are more standard and modern, so you do not need to stay to experience the historical grandeur of the hotel!  The best thing to do is to ask for a tour at the lobby to find out more about the history of the hotel.


Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles
506 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA  90071
Tel:  213-624-1011

Friday, August 16, 2013

Recommended Realtor in Eugene, Oregon

My friends who have an adorable bungalow in Eugene, Oregon, recommended Patti Keene from Windermere Real Estate as a realtor in Eugene, Oregon.

I love the older homes and bungalows in Eugene!  Patty Keene was recommended to me by friends of mine who live in Eugene.  She is an experienced realtor, and a fifth generation Oregonian.


Patty Keene
Windermere Real Estate
1600 Oak Street
Eugene, Oregon  97401
(541) 465-8120
office: (541) 484-2022
cell/direct: (541) 517-0995
FAX: (541) 762-0395

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

bungalows in Eugene, Oregon

My friends left the San Francisco bay area years ago and went to Eugene, Oregon.  They have a gorgeous bungalow across from a large park.  They also have a large backyard.  Eugene, for me, has both the feeling of a college town as well as a midwestern feel.  Their bungalow is walking distance from cafes and restaurants too!  I love Eugene!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

older fiberglass boats-resources

I have some dear friends who are members of a club called Golden State Glassics.  They go on fun camping trips near waterways, and support each other in maintaining their boats.  I've even gone on one of their camping trips!  They offer help in finding fiberglass boats, restoring them, and have fun places to go to use them!


Website of Club:
Excellent source regarding fiberglass boats, Jim Barker, (209) 887-1875
Jim's website-
(Jim specializes on work regarding the fiberglass and structure regarding boats.  He generally does swaps and trades on boats.)

Jim and his wife love rescuing things- boats, homes, planes, and furniture!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cob structures by Cruzin Cob

A few months ago my friend invited me to an pizza oven workshop, put on by Claudine Desiree from Santa Cruz, CA.  Many friends came together for a whole weekend building the pizza oven.  I didn't go to the workshop, but saw the result, it was gorgeous!

Claudine will build your studio, doghouse, beautiful bench, oven (my friend did a pizza oven), garden walls, or sauna.

Claudine is also available for consultations to help locate and design the structure, organize the materials list, and get you started!  She charges $35 per hour.

[Photo from]


Cruzin' Cob
Santa Cruz, CA
Claudine Desiree
(831) 428-5204
(831) 419-8017