Living Green with the kids - it's easier than you think

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Make It Fun—Find activities that will involve multiple people.  Consider things like a “Tags Still On” clothing swap, community garden, or community clean up.

It’s Not a Competition—If you make green living changes sincerely it won’t feel like work.  The habits you bring inside your homes will teach your family to be green for years to come.

Don’t Under Estimate Youth—What we are really finding in the Los Feliz community is that the youth are a sponge.  You give them a simple idea, and they find their own ways to take it further. 

How To Start The Change in Your Community

One idea that came up in the Los Feliz community is to make changes together!  For example, changing from chemical cleaners to green cleaners takes some adjustment.  You have to retrain yourself as to what new cleaners work well.  So share your knowledge.  Did you find a great new green cleaner to replace bleach?  If so, share your green living find.

Here is a list of 25 simple changes you can make in your homes and neighborhood.   Challenge everyone in your family to make one change per month.  With this simple change a family of 4 could make up to 48 changes per year!

  1. Start a compost pile.  You can purchase a composter or compost in an unused area of your yard.  A large composter can be placed centrally and used by many families.
  2. Switch to cloth napkins.  If you have a large family you will need a lot.  A trick is to purchase them all in complimentary color themes so that if they don’t all match they still work.  *Keep some paper napkins around for those extra messy meals and guests that prefer paper.
  3. Eliminate paper towel.  Purchase more cloth towels.  This creates a bit more laundry but is still an effective green living exchange.
  4. Switch to paperless billing.  Some companies even offer you small discounts for doing this.
  5. Skip the ATM receipt.  Unless you are doing a deposit you probably don’t need it. We usually just toss them anyway.
  6. Print on both sides of computer paper OR use the backside of your paper as a notepad.  *if you choose this option make sure you immediate shred any that might have account numbers or other sensitive info.
  7. Use your shredded paper to pack fragile items for shipping.
  8. Walk, bike, or carpool 1 or more days a week.
  9. Buy locally.  This requires less shipping, reduces fuel costs, and supports local vendors.
  10. Use refillable water bottles instead of plastic.
  11. Use cloth bags instead of plastic.  The best part here is that they are cute and easier to carry than plastic.
  12. Change to power strips and/or “Smart Strips” to conserve energy OR if you aren’t using something, unplug it.  You’ll be surprised how much this will reduce your monthly energy bill.
  13. Adjust your thermostat down just one degree.
  14. Add one plant to every room.  This will give you cleaner air to breath and add beauty to your rooms.
  15. Plant a garden.  If you don’t have a yard to do this in.  You will be surprised by what you can grow in large pots—tomatoes, strawberries, green beans on your porch. 
  16. Grow an indoor garden.  You can find windowsill gardens for things like fresh herbs and aloe.
  17. Plant an outdoor tree.
  18. Replace appliances with energy efficient options.
  19. Replace your light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
  20. Move to all or mostly non-chemical cleaners.  You can even find recipes to make your own.
  21. Cook and bake more—the more you make from scratch the less packaging you use.  This also tends to be healthier for you too!
  22. Maintain proper air pressure in your tires.  If your pressure is too low, you decrease your gas mileage.
  23. Eliminate sandwich bags and plastic wrap.  You will find containers on the market of all shapes and sizes that can replace both of these products.
  24. Change to a natural or washable cat liter.  These products have really improved over the years.
  25. Make sure you replace washers on all dripping faucets.  One dripping faucet can waist gallons of water per day.

See—you don’t need an expert to make green living changes.  You can start with your family and in your neighborhood today!

22 Things We Need to Teach our Children

Along with a demanding, but so loved career, I am raising two children.  Girls.  Tween girls.  Clients, lenders, venders, inspectors, emplyees and girls - that is my day.  .  It's no wonder I am exhausted and can barely set the table when I'm done with my day - which  by the way I've never REALLY done with, being in real estate.  

At the end of the day, when we are sitting around the dinner table, whether out at one of our favorite local spots, or in the coziness of our own home, I try to teach my daughters a few things that they will hopefully care through life with them. .

My client's daugher Cleo in her first Missoni from Target Outfit - A closing gift from yours truly (I HAD to).

My client's daugher Cleo in her first Missoni from Target Outfit - A closing gift from yours truly (I HAD to).

1.  See the best in people
2. Keep your promises
3. Tell the truth
4. Smile
5.  Be polite
6.  Forgive
7. Save for a rainy day
8 . Listen
9.  Call people back
10. Put others ahead of yourself
11.  Take a break during the day
12. Always try your very best
13.  Be optimistic
14. Say please, thank you, & I love you
15.  Eati healthy
16. Offer praise

17. Allowing others to live their own lives
18. Be happy
19. Give yourself the freedom to fail
20. Clean up after yourselves
21. Show up on time
22. Put in a good day's work

Happy Parenting.

5 Tips to Avoid Family and Work Burnout

my girls.

As a busy mom working in the largest real estate market in the country, while raining two tween kids, I am on the go constantly. Running your own business generally takes an average of 60-70 hours a week of pure dedication in order to help it thrive and grow. Despite the amount of hours involved for a business to thrive, with some planning, there are several ways you can avoid work and family burn out, something I have personally encountered more than once in my life.

Here are 5 tips that can help you learn to balance your family life and work life whether you are a working girl like me, or not…..

1.  Focus on being present, despite the location or vast amount of distractions floating around your mind.  Frequently, entrepreneurs appear to be distracted, and in some cases disrespectful or rude. To avoid giving off these impressions, only take phone calls when you know you will not be distracted, and do not need to tend your children – lock the door to your office!  Remember, the minute you get on the phone is the minute your child needs you beyond desperation.

2.  Apply the “5 before 11am” principle, and tackle or accomplish 5 things you need to get done, before 11 A.M. In order to make this technique work for you, write a list of things you need to accomplish the night before – I have a tack of cards next to my desk and every night I decide what my “big rocks” for the next day will be.   This way when I wake up in the morning, I can begin tackling the list without hesitation or need to prioritize the tasks to be accomplished that day.

3.  Always treat you family as though they are your number one client. As a busy real estate agent, my schedule can become rather hectic and things always pop up at the last minute. In order to be sure there is plenty of time with my family, I try doing a couple of these things: first turn your cell phone off when your children or family members are in the car; return home from work at a couple nights a week at a reasonable time; and set a night each week to spend time with your significant other. These three simple steps are essential to reminding your family that they are your number one priority. The last thing I want to happen is to make my family feel as though my work is more important than they are my work is incredibly important to me, but I am proud to share that with my children when it is appropriate.

4. Do something special with your spouse or children during work time. Being able to leverage your work and family time means more to your family than you know. Try doing something such as meeting your spouse for lunch, or if you will be travelling out of town, take your family with you for a couple of days. By taking your family with you, you can create the feel of a mini-vacation for them when you are not working, especially if you need to travel out of your local area. Since I sell homes in Malibu and Pacific Palisades, often times I take my kids out there with me and after the home showings are finished, we take a walk on the beach, have a sunset dinner, or spend the night in one of our favorite hotel.

5.  Engage your family in your business. By finding age appropriate jobs for your children, you allow them to feel like they are a big part of your business. Plus you have the opportunity to spend more time with them, while making them feel important. The more you reach out for help and assistance from your family, the more they will appreciate what you are doing, plus they are less likely to develop feelings of resentment. A small example of a task I gave my children to do for me recently, was helping me sort through the mounds of unfiled paperwork from a busy year in real estate. When my tweens helped me stuff and seal the envelopes, they felt as though they were playing a big part to the success of my real estate career.

Working hard and raising a family is a difficult task that can easily lead to burning yourself out. However, by following the simple steps mentioned above, you will be able to create a balance between your work and family life that will prevent burning out and family resentment.