Want Winter Herbs? Pot Plants Indoors


Do you miss those savory flavors and aromas of fresh herbs during winter months? Harsh weather can cause herbs to die over the winter months.  This year, why not try planting indoors? Here are some good tips to ensure that you herbs are plentiful:

 

*When you move the herbs from outside to inside, check for bugs.  If you choose to use these herbs in cooking, you will want to use a soap-based insect product to kill any bugs that may have hitchhiked inside.

 

*Cut herbs back to about half in order to set the stage for proper growth. Since plants may suffer a bit of shock from the move inside, be sure to give them more time for growth than usual.

 

*Ensure that the temperature where the herbs are placed is not more than sixty-five degrees. Higher temps may cause the herbs to die prematurely.

 

*Be sure not to water your herbs too much.  One of the most common ways for a plant to die is from over watering.  Water your herbs once a week or so, when the soil is dry one inch down.

 

Your comments are welcome…

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best Regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

 

Disneyland’s Halloween-time Graveyard Workers


While Knott’s Berry farm is credited for the official first transformation from ordinary theme park to Halloween-themed Park, many other amusement parks have also undergone spooky transformations nationwide during the month of October.

 

Disneyland however, has been slow to make the transformation.  While the park has not failed to acknowledge Halloween, the entire park does not take on a completely different look in order to do so.  Some nods to the holiday include the Haunted Mansion ride, which features characters from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  In addition, children are invited to trick-or-treat at Disneyland on October 31st. 

 

This year, to become even more Halloween-like, decorations were put up all over Disneyland in order to continue the celebration for children.  Workers were asked to create, assemble and display festive décor all over the park during graveyard shifts, in order to show Disney’s love for Halloween.

 

Does Disneyland still compare to other theme parks nationwide during the Halloween season?

 

Your comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

 

Feeling Blue? Try a Brain Stimulator!


Recently the FDA approved Neuronetics Incorporated’s transcranial magnetic stimulation procedure for patients who did not respond to pills prescribed for depression.

 

The TMS procedure is non-invasive, but is a little bit out of the ordinary from the ways I’ve read about for depression treatment.  A “brain stimulator” beams magnetic pulses through the skull, which is said to cause the patient’s brain cells to fire. 

 

While the treatment is said to help patients who do not respond to pill treatment, they will pay a higher cost for this alternate therapy.  TMS treatments can range from $6,000 to $10,000.

 

My question is, which is better? To explore new ways to treat depression that may not explain the long-term risks or to continue to try different types of pills to see which may respond to a person’s body chemistry?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Oops…We Gave Your Money to Someone Else!


 I read an alarming article in the Register this week. 

 

Apparently the City of Newport Beach failed to update its list of homeowners…for twenty-six years!  Due to this large error, royalties from fifteen city-owned municipal oil wells were sent to the wrong Newport Beach residents.  These royalties amount to over $25,000!  That is a big “Oops!”

 

Here’s the kicker:  The reason the error went unnoticed for so long was because the checks sent to undeserving recipients were still cashed!

 

My question is, with homes changing owners as often as they do, especially in Orange County, why are the records not updated more frequently?  Shouldn’t this be a monthly activity for someone who works for the city?

 

Your comments are welcome.

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Middle Age Suicide Rate Rises


Recent report released Tuesday of this week showed the suicide rate in the USA rose by about 25 percent, fueled by middle-aged whites.

 

Now before you go blaming the economy or the president, or real estate market or stock market you need to know that this was for the period of 1999 – 2005.  Come on…those were some darn good years – so what’s up?

 

Middle-age men continue to kill themselves at a much higher rate than middle-age women (no wonder we’re outnumbered).  Suicide rates fell slightly among blacks and Asians of all ages, as well as among white teenagers and fell among adults younger than 40 as well as people older than 65.

 

But the number of white people 40 – 64 who took their own lives increased to 17.5 for every 100,000 people in 2005 and was 14.9 per 100,000 people in 1999.

 

What do you make of this info taken from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine?

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Costco…Perfect Partner for Starbucks and Me


Come on…who does not like Costco?  I know sometimes you buy more than you need of an item, but there is some savings in power buying.  Some families pool their money and buy the super quantity item, then divide it up, so they still save big time.

 

Well Costco just partnered with Starbucks and is selling Starbucks gift cards at 20% off.

 

Ok, so if you use your Costco Amex card, you get savings added into your account and mailed back to you every year, plus you get 20% off on the Starbucks gift cards you give to all your friends and clients.

 

I love it!  Next thing I’ll be clipping coupons!

 

Your comments are always welcome…

 

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

Bills Seem High? Blame Sticky Prices…


Have you ever heard of the term “sticky prices”?

In real estate, we experienced sticky prices when sellers were in denial (not a river in Egypt) about the housing price correction and falling prices.  Eventually, sellers got the message and began to price homes competitively.

 

Well, now the same “sticky price” phenomenon continues in other areas or the economy.  Like when companies raise prices or add a surcharge on products and keep those prices higher even when there is no longer a reason…like soaring oil prices.

 

Let’s take a look at pricing.  Consumer prices are set by companies.  Commodity prices are set daily on the open market.  So, once a price increase is set in place it virtually never goes away.  The only factors that can drive the price back down is a lack of demand, or a competitor in a category cutting prices to lure customers away from another brand.

 

Unfortunately for us consumers, the brands and banding together raising prices in unison…and none are worried enough about one trying to break away with another’s customers by cutting prices.  That is very bad for us guys.  But, as soon as the first in a category drops a price, others will follow to protect their consumer base.

 

Seems like consumers are always in a mess these days….your comments are welcome.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

 

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors