Great Tips for Moving Across Town or Across the Country

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASource: ~ Author: Tali Wee

The costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly. Review these tips before making a move.

Moving is expensive, no matter how carefully you plan for it. Whether relocating for a new job, escaping rising rent prices or downsizing, the costs of exiting one property and settling into a new home can accumulate quickly.

We asked some finance bloggers to share their budgeting advice on relocating, and here are their suggestions.

How do you prepare your finances for an upcoming move?

I recommend that you begin saving and planning for a move as soon as you know it’s coming. Calculate all of your anticipated costs and begin setting aside money each month. Remember that there may be a lag time on getting back your current security deposits, so don’t count on those being immediately available to spend. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

The best way I have found to budget is by little bits. Think of it like filling up a cookie jar, although I do it electronically with a separate savings account. When I was saving for a house I used to put $300 a month into the account automatically, just like a bill right along with the other normal budgeted expenses. Next, any extra income I could generate — I would always have some ideas brewing to create side income or side jobs — I would throw in on top. If I had a slower month where I couldn’t contribute extra, I still felt like I was progressing toward the goal. — Ryan of Spilling Buckets

What are the most surprisingly expensive costs of moving?

I am always surprised at the extra costs you wouldn’t normally consider like deposits on utilities and having to buy things like rugs or curtains. You can really bust up a budget buying all new rugs and bath mats for your new place! — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Signing up for new services. There always seems to be a fee to connect or move services. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

The costs that typically shocked me are the ones related to things at the place I’m moving out of — cleaning fees, other expenses that I didn’t think I was going to get charged for, bills that were unpaid during the landlord’s downtime. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

There’s always something! An extra night in a hotel, new furniture or home supplies, cleaning products … packing material. Whatever cost you estimate for your move, just add 10 percent so you’re not completely shocked at the end. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How far in advance should you begin saving for a move?

This depends entirely on budget and income, but I would say budget your costs in advance, and aim to save 20 percent above those costs. However long it will take you to comfortably save that amount, do it. — Ryan of Impersonal Finance

How do you offset the costs of moving when you haven’t had much time to save?

One way to save money on your next move is to find your boxes for free. Check with some apartment communities in your area to see if you can collect boxes after someone moves in. This is a win-win for you and someone who needs to get rid of their boxes. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

It is best to identify things you don’t need or won’t need in the future. Moving should be the trigger point to get rid of things you don’t need so that you not only simplify your life but save a good deal of money on the move and storage expenses. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

I love selling or giving away as much of my stuff as possible before I move: old furniture, clothes and sports equipment. Basically, if I haven’t touched it in the three years I’ve lived somewhere, I probably don’t need to lug it across the country! If you force yourself to give away or sell many of your things before you move, you’ll avoid the trap of having a storage unit or so many possessions that they begin to possess you! It’s liberating to have less things to worry about, care about and maintain. — Spencer of Military Money Manual

How do you prevent overspending on moving services?

To budget for a relocation it’s important to get multiple mover quotes and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For instance, get quotes that offer the same amount of damage insurance and provide the same amount of service and packing material. I found out the hard way how expensive boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap and tape can be. Even if you plan to move yourself, it’s still a good idea get a full service moving quote as a baseline. — Laura Adams of Quick and Dirty Tips

I’ve had my fair share of challenges during moves in the past several years. One of the challenges is to find the right mover at an affordable price. The lesson I learned from some of my mistakes is to do proper planning before hiring a mover and have all the terms and conditions properly documented so if disputes arise, then you have legal protection. Also, you should check references online and with the better business bureau before hiring a moving company. — Shilpan Patel of Street Smart Finance

Should you recruit friends to help?

We’ve always had help from friends and it’s worked great. Our last move was only a few miles, so we didn’t even rent a truck. Our friends all showed up in vans or their own trucks and we had a caravan. If you buy them all pizza afterward and return the favor when it’s their turn, it’s a win-win for everyone. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

I have had friends help move in the past, and it has worked out great. To make it easy on your friends, please make sure that ALL of your things are packed before you start moving. — Jeff of Sustainable Life Blog

Do you have any tips for people considering moving?

Moving is hard and expensive. I am all in favor of moving for a better opportunity, but I would really consider the true costs and all the extras before pulling up stakes. — Kim Parr of Eyes on the Dollar

Remember, relocating is more expensive than the fees for boxes, movers and utility cancellations and reactivations. You’ll have new bills and want funds to furnish your new home. The standard guideline is that monthly debts should not surpass 36 percent of your monthly income, including rent, car payments and other bills. Calculate home affordability before committing to the expensive process of moving, to ensure it’s the best long-term fit.

Relocation is never simple or easy. If you are in the market to buy (or sell) a home in  Northern California, Realtors associated with Century 21 M&M look forward to walking you through the process. Rest assured that Century 21 M&M Realtors will do their best to make sure that both Buyers and Sellers are protected during the transaction.


23 Ways to Beat the Heat

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Source: ~ Adam Bluestein and Allegra Muzzillo

Baby, it’s hot outside―and inside, too. Here, no-sweat ways to cool off.

Put Up Sun Blockers

Try a desert trick. When the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside, hang a damp sheet in an open window. “That’s what we do here in Death Valley,” says Dale Housley, a ranger at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.

Block the sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Don’t Blow Hot Air

Make a makeshift air conditioner. If it’s hot but not humid, place a shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan and enjoy the breeze. As the ice melts, then evaporates, it will cool you off.
 Give your A/C some TLC. Clean or replace the filter in room and central air conditioners about once a month during the summer. If you have central air-conditioning, have the ducts checked for leaks, which can reduce a system’s efficiency by as much as 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Seal any cracks between a window unit and the frame with peelable caulking or a sealant strip. These steps help ensure good airflow and keep the coils cleaner, which means more efficient and more effective cooling.

Close It Down

Close the damper. While running any kind of air conditioner, shut your fireplace damper. An open one “pulls hot air into your house instead of sucking it out,” says Tommy Spoto, a master chimney sweep at Chimney Chap, in Copiague, New York. “This is called flow reversal.”

 Close everything else, too. Whether the air conditioner is on or off, keep windows and doors shut if the temperature outside is more than 77 degrees Fahrenheit (most people start to sweat at 78). Whenever the outside air is hotter than the inside air, opening a window invites heat to creep in.

Give a Squirt

Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give yourself a good squirt. “It’s all about thermal regulation,” says John Lehnhardt, an elephant expert at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “As the water evaporates, it cools you.” While elephants wet their ears first by blasting water from their trunks, humans should begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.
 Fan strategically. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night or when the temperature drops below 77. A window fan can help; the trick is to face the blades outside to suck warm air out of the house and pull cooler air in. “Kind of surprising,” says Bill Nye, the Science Guy, a scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor. “Having a fan blowing in is a good idea―but it’s not as effective as one that’s blowing out.”

Vent a Lot

Run a fan and an air conditioner simultaneously. You can use the air conditioner at lower power and still feel cool if the fan is blowing over you. That’s because the air conditioner removes humidity from the air while the fan helps evaporate sweat and moves heat away from your body. (Note: Fans don’t cool a room; they just make people feel cooler, so shut them off before you leave.)

 Turn on the vent in the bathroom. When taking a shower, be sure to use the vent fan: It helps sticky moisture escape.

Observe Key Notes

Let your computer take a nap. Set it to go into low-power “sleep” mode if you are away from it for more than 10 minutes and it will give off less heat. When you’re finished for the day, shut the machine down completely. Despite what some IT guy may have told you years ago, properly shutting down and restarting modern-day computers won’t put undue strain on the hardware. And forget about working with a computer on your lap―it’s too darn hot. “That’s why they changed the name from laptop to notebook,” says Justin M. Solomon, a 19-year-old undergraduate at Stanford University who took first place in computer science at the 2005 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

 Wick while you work. To keep yourself cooler when computing, plug a Kensington FlyFan ($40, into a USB port on your machine. The fan’s flexible neck lets you direct the breeze to your sweaty brow.

Try Air Drying

Skip the drying cycle on the dishwasher. Instead, leave the door open to let the dishes dry. And put off using the dishwasher until evening, when the air is cooler. Or simply wash your dishes the old-fashioned way: by hand.
 Dress right. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling (examples include Coolmax and Nano-Tex); they’re not just for athletes anymore. If you prefer cotton, make it thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. “The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air,” says Larry Kenney, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University, in University Park. “The next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with evaporation.”

Lose (or Choose) the Hot Stuff

Shuck your shoes. As the sweat on your feet evaporates, it cools the skin and the blood in your feet. Blood vessels then whisk that blood to other parts of the body, so “you’re getting a greater sensation of coolness,” says Donald R. Bohay, M.D., a member of the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society.

 Spice it up. As people who live in scorching climates, such as those of Mexico and India, know well, eating hot stuff can cool you down. “Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that helps us to perspire more readily,” says Rick Bayless, the James Beard Award-winning chef of Frontera Grill, in Chicago. When this sweat evaporates, you experience brief relief.

Stay Hydrated

Swig often. To replace the moisture that you lose as you perspire, be sure to drink. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. “Also opt for hydrating foods,” says Deena Kastor, a marathon runner and an Olympic bronze medalist. “Try a smoothie for lunch, and add more fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content of any food out there.”

 Eat light. There’s a reason we reach for salads in the summer. They’re easier to digest than, say, a fatty hamburger, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are watery and help keep you hydrated (and cooler), says Robert Kenefick, a physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in Natick, Massachusetts, which studies the effects of extreme climates on soldiers’ bodies.

Opt for a Shutdown

Give your oven a summer vacation. If you cook, use the stovetop, the microwave, or a barbecue. “Grill some extra vegetables when you’re making dinner,” says Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Soups From Deborah Madison’s Kitchen (Broadway, $20, “The next day, mix them with a little Feta cheese and olive oil for a great, cool snack.”

 Shut the lights. Or change the bulbs: Long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs produce about 70 percent less heat than standard incandescents.

Take Some Dry Measures

Give the clothes dryer a break, too. Hang a clothesline and let your towels and sheets flap in the breeze. “They smell wonderful,” says Paul Hooker, whose company, Sferra, sells sheets made in Italy, where, he adds, almost everyone hangs them out to dry.

 Make a “cold compress.” Fill a cotton sock with rice, tie the sock with twine, and freeze it for two hours before bedtime. Then slide it between the sheets. Rice retains cold for a long period because it’s dense and starchy, says Jim Hill, Ph.D., an associate dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

Think Cool

Escape. Relax with A Winter’s Tale, The Call of the Wild, Doctor Zhivago, or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. “Reading about cold can take your mind off the thermometer, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow,” says Walter A. Brown, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the medical schools of Brown and Tufts Universities and an expert in the placebo effect. “It’s also a bit of self-hypnosis. Sometimes when I shower and the water is cold, I tell myself it’s hot and I can make myself believe it.” You can save that last insight for another season entirely.

If you are in the market to buy (or sell) a vacation home in  Northern California, Realtors associated with Century 21 M&M look forward to walking you through the process. Rest assured that Century 21 M&M Realtors will do their best to make sure that both Buyers and Sellers are protected during the transaction.

The Secret to Lowering Your Energy Bills

Forbes LowerEnergyBill0331Source: ~ Author:

When you’re paying your monthly rent or mortgage, the last thing you  want to worry about are high energy bills adding to your expense. It’s the era for going green. Lowering your energy bills saves you money and is better for the environment. Doing so is incredibly easy since it’s mainly a case of changing your habits and making better choices.

Keep Your Vents Clean
Dirty vents can cost you a lot of money, in addition to potentially making you too hot or cold and creating an unhealthy environment in your home. Keep an eye out for:

  • Central air vents
  • Heating ducts
  • And air conditioning vents in window units

Are they clogged with dirt and dust? If so, they can’t properly heat and cool your home. They have to work harder, which wastes energy. Regularly cleaning out your vents will instantly make your home more comfortable. The units will work better and you can keep your temperatures steadier. Moreover, you’ll reduce the amount of dust and dirt in the air, which is much healthier.

Seal Up Windows and Doors

If your windows and doors aren’t fully closed or properly sealed, they waste a lot of energy. If you notice that heat seeps in during the summer or your house stays cold in the winter, they are probably your biggest problems. Make sure there aren’t any cracks and that everything shuts fully. You may even want to replace your doors with thicker, insulated ones.

When you’re running the heat or the air, don’t leave your doors and windows open. Even if you’re just running outside for a second, you’re making the units work too hard. With central air or air conditioning units, that can even cause the units to freeze, making them worthless until they thaw. If you’ve got the windows open for fresh air, turn off the heat or air for the duration.

Go Greener with Appliances
Did your place come with appliances? If you’re a renter, consider talking to your landlord about replacing them with more energy-efficient options. There are green refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, among others. They aren’t too costly, and they make up for the price in terms of energy savings.

If you came in with your own appliances and you can afford to replace them, you should seriously consider it. Even if you can only replace one item at a time, it will benefit you in the long run. With most of these items, you’ll also save on your water bill.

Negotiate Your Bill
Many utility companies have different payment options. They also have fixed-billing plans. When you’re on a fixed plan, you pay a set amount of money each month, based on your average bill. If you go over that amount, you have to pay the difference. That may come at the end of the billing cycle or at the end of the year. While you might occasionally face a larger bill, this is a great way to put yourself on an energy budget.

If you are in the market to buy (or sell) a vacation home in  Northern California, Realtors associated with Century 21 M&M look forward to walking you through the process. Rest assured that Century 21 M&M Realtors will do their best to make sure that both Buyers and Sellers are protected during the transaction.

How To Avoid The Internet’s Hottest Scam: Fake Vacation Rentals

Sure, it looks like the perfect spot for a vacation. But will it be there when you arrive?

Sure, it looks like the perfect spot for a vacation. But will it be there when you arrive?

Source: ~ Author: Vanessa Grout

The home-sharing economy is heating up. Inevitably, more and more of us have been getting fleeced on fake vacation rentals.

Vacation planning often begins with excitement, optimism and nowadays the Internet. The online search leads far into a world of glossy photos, descriptive blurbs and, of course, countless promises of customer satisfaction. Even if you’re not inclined to rent a stranger’s house, you may find that for the most popular destinations, traditional hotels are booked or inadequate. So renting a vacation home is a natural alternative. According to the Vacation Rental Managers Association, 24 percent of leisure travelers report having stayed in a vacation home, up from around 11 percent in 2008.

Before the Internet, the search for a private vacation rental was slow and impractical. It involved trading a lot of phone calls, mailing printed packages and coordinating to solve all kinds of problems. Hoteliers like Marriott International MAR NaN%, Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Hyatt Hotels built empires based on the wealthy traveler’s desire for luxury and reticence to deal with this process.

Then along came online portals like VRBO, Airbnb and Craigslist. All of a sudden, we’re in the mood to share.

For the most part, the rise of all of this house sharing has been positive. Sophisticated channels like Airbnb and HomeAway AWAY -3.06% try especially hard to protect renters by providing secure payment, user comments and star ratings. But even they are not immune from deceit.

Vacation rental scams come in many different forms. Some Web portals are run by technologists with no connection to the actual real estate. Through smart search engine optimization, these sites attract users, and then sell the lead to the true agent, who offsets the cost with higher rent.

The worst rip-offs seduce would-be vacationers with fabulous pictures of fictitious properties. Once the renter is hooked, the phony landlord collects an up-front “security deposit” and runs for the hills. Victims are left unaware they’ve been cheated until weeks later, when they show up at the address with their luggage in hand.

Other variations on the scam are only slightly less fraudulent. Some fakes use the bait-and-switch method by showing unavailable properties, only to divert the renter to another, less desirable spot. Other tricksters may double-book a property, then send whichever vacationer arrives last to a second-rate backup, along with sincere apologies.

You’re too sharp to be ensnared in any of these scams, right? Real estate is my business, so I used to believe the same thing. Then I tried renting a vacation home in Aspen, Colorado, for a summer holiday.

I found many remarkable online listings — only to discover after contacting their presumed representatives that the properties were always booked. After many failed tries and long phone calls I realized I was being conned. I stopped browsing and hired a high-quality local real estate broker to show me real listings.

My experience could have been worse — some friends from Germany were recently snared here in Miami. Fortunately, they insisted on withholding their security deposit from their seemingly delightful contact until after completing a property inspection. Still, she pressured these visitors to wire funds — right up to the time they were driving to the property after their long flight. Having stood their ground, they arrived at the home, which appeared exactly as it did online. Unfortunately, it was occupied by its unsuspecting owner — who had no intention to rent. Of course, my friends never again succeeded in connecting with their agent and had to scramble to locate a hotel room.

Why aren’t authorities cracking down? Perhaps because the dollar figures involved in each case simply aren’t enough to justify an intercontinental examination. The victims, by definition, don’t live anywhere near the jurisdiction of the reported crime. Most often, the crooks don’t either.

So how do you protect yourself? Here’s a list of 10 ways to combat this scam:

  1. Don’t be fooled by photography. In particular, be wary of the nicest-looking, most Photoshopped property photos. Ask the owner for additional photos — an honest lessor will always have them. Or ask your agent to use technology like FaceTime or Skype to show you the property live. At the very least, use Google GOOG -2.22% Earth and Google’s Street View feature to confirm that the property you’re renting actually exists at the address advertised. You can also use those Google tools to get an unvarnished look at the property’s exterior.
  2. Be careful of the cheapest properties. If prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. If you don’t have a feel for what a reasonable price is in an area, get one. Scammers often go after people who aren’t that savvy. And drive a hard bargain — not just to get a better deal, but also to detect odd behavior from the other party.
  3. Never pay with cash. The preferred methods of payment among criminals are cash and cash-transfer services like MoneyGram and Western Union WU -1.77%. Use a credit card instead — Visa, MasterCard and American Express will all allow you to recover money you lose to fraud. Reputable sites like Airbnb will hold your security funds in escrow. They play middleman, making sure you’ve put the funds in place before you get keys. (Some portals offer insurance against fraud — but it’s expensive and may not cover much; read the policy closely.)
  4. Use a trusted local agent. Yes, you should expect to pay them. But they can show you bona fide listings or go look at the properties that you’ve seen on the Internet for you. Be sure to check their license.
  5. Confirm legitimacy. For ownership and all documents, confirm that the owner’s name on the lease is the same as the one shown on public property appraiser records. Then have a lawyer review the lease, just like you would a full-year agreement.
  6. Read the comments. The feedback from previous renters that appears on sites like Airbnb and VRBO is invaluable. And in some cases, you’re even allowed to pose questions to other users.
  7. Take your time. No need to rush. For long vacations, consider going ahead of time to check out the property, or not renting a house for the first week — stay at a hotel for a few nights. It will give you an opportunity to see the property you’re renting in person before turning over your security deposit.
  8. Be a regular. If you rent a home you like, stick with it. You’ll develop a relationship with the owner if you go back to the same place year in, year out — and avoid the risk of being scammed on a new property. If you’re traveling to a new place, try to find a friend who lives there and will give you honest feedback on potential rentals, good neighborhoods, etc.
  9. Beware groupthink. If you’re vacationing with a half-dozen other people, everybody tends to figure that somebody else is paying attention to the details and making sure the group isn’t getting ripped off. Then, when the amazing six-bedroom place you all rented together is nowhere to be found and your security deposit evaporates, every
  10. Trust your instincts. If you apply some skepticism to the process, you’re more likely to see red flags. You’re also more likely to catch suspicious behavior. My Germans looked back after their experience and realized their phony realty agent had exhibited all kinds of weird tics. They were so excited about their trip to Miami that they failed to pick up on them.
    body’s pointing fingers.

If you are in the market to buy (or sell) a vacation home in  Northern California, Realtors associated with Century 21 M&M look forward to walking you through the process. Rest assured that Century 21 M&M Realtors will do their best to make sure that both Buyers and Sellers are protected during the transaction.


October 2013 Northern California Events

pumpkin patch

Gordon LightfootGordon Lightfoot – 50 Years on the Carefree Highway Tour

Wednesday, Oct 2 8:00p
Crest Theatre Sacramento, CA
Phone (877) 225-2277
Price $39.50-$59.50
Age Suitability All Ages

After 50 active years of hit song making and international album sales well into the multi-millions, it’s safe to say that esteemed singer-songwriter and musician Gordon Lightfoot resides with some very exclusive company atop the light of all-time greats. The tour will feature his well known kits as well as some deep album cuts with some of Lightfoot’s own behind the scenes stories and personal anecdotes about his historic 50-year musical career.

Doors open at 7pm.

Berkeley Art Museum FREE First Thursdays

Thursday, October 03rd, 2013 ~11:00 AM05:00 PM


Berkeley Art Museum
Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720

For More Information:

Contact: Berkeley Art Museum
Phone: 510-642-0808

Gallery admission to the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is free the first Thursday of every month. Gallery Hours; 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

taiko san jose 10-5San Jose Taiko 40th Anniversary Concert

Saturday, Oct 5 8:00p
Phone (408) 293-9344
Price $20-30
Age Suitability All Ages

San Jose Taiko concludes its 40th Anniversary Season with a concert performance that includes fan-favorite SJT classic arrangements as well as some world-premiere compositions. Special guest artists Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose join SJT on stage for a portion of this program. Also, witness the debut performance of one of the largest taiko in North America.

21st Annual INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY POW WOW & Indian Market

Saturday, October 05th, 2013~10:00 AM06:00 PM
Cost – FREE


Civic Center Park
Allston Way @ MLK Jr. Way
Berkeley, CA

For More Information:

Contact: John Curl
Phone: 510-526-9324

This year’s pow wow marks the 21st anniversary of the new holiday. The first Indigenous Peoples Day in Berkeley took place on October 12, 1992, on the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the struggle of the Indigenous People of the Americas to retain their culture and identity under the extremely difficult conditions of European colonization.

Celebrate with us in honor of all our ancestors, the people continuing the spirit today, and future generations.

pumpkins in the park san josePumpkins in the Park

Saturday, Oct 12 10:00a to 4:00p
Phone (408) 298-7657
Price Free
Age Suitability All Ages

Produced by the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, this great family event is a celebration of the environment, the Guadalupe River, and the fall harvest season. Features include: Giant Pumpkin Patch, Costume Parade, Scarecrow Row, Fresh Apple Cider, Guadalupe River Education, Lots of Free Kid’s Activities, Children’s Concert.

Bryan Adams

Tuesday, Oct 15 8:00p
Gallo Center for the Arts
1000 I St.
Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 338-2100
Bryan Adams negotiated the shifting tides of the ’80s so well that it never seemed like he was changing his music to fit the times. A veteran of the ’70s studio arena rock game, Adams struck out on his own in the early ’80s, turning into a star in his native Canada and making headway with his 1983 album, Cuts Like a Knife. All of this was a prelude to Reckless, the 1984 album that turned him into an international superstar, selling by the truckloads in North America, Europe, and Asia thanks to the… Read More

mud blast modestoMud Blast – San Joaquin River in Modesto

Saturday, Oct 19 9:00a
Dos Rios Ranch Modesto, CA

The Mud Blast is a trail and obstacle course event, designed for runners to have fun in the mud and enjoy the beauty of the San Joaquin River. It’s a 5k course for runners .This event is a fundraiser for River Partners, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration and conservation of California’s rivers and floodplains. Register & read more at

Suitability: Adult,Family,Kids,Men,Women

Munchkin Masquerade Parade at Jelly Belly

Saturday, Oct 26 10:30a to 11:00p
Phone (800) 953-5592
Price Free
Age Suitability All Ages

Come in costume and join the fun at Jelly Belly. Kids 10 and under parade through Jelly Belly (open to the first 300 children in costume). Parade begins at Jelly Belly Visitor Center at 10:30 a.m. and marches through the Haunted House on the candy factory tour. Face painting, clowns and treats. Free.

Free candy factory tours daily, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. at One Jelly Belly Lane, Fairfield. For more information (800) 953-5592 or visit

Eat Drink and be Scary at the Opera House

Saturday, Oct 26 8:00p
Phone (707) 446-4441
Price $25
Age Suitability None Specified

Eat, Drink and be Scary at the Vacaville Opera House Halloween Bash on Saturday, October 26. Special guest, Whiskey & Honey. Doors open at 8 pm. 21 and over. Ghoulish snacks by Merchant and Main.

run with zombies san joseRun with the Zombies

Sunday, Oct 27 10:00a to 1:00p
Zombie Run 2013 San Jose, CA
Phone (408) 203-8102
Age Suitability All Ages

Support the San Jose Parks foundation by joining Sigma Nu and Dream Team Events at the “Run with the Zombies” 5k Fun Run at Kelley Park in San Jose. Come as a Zombie, or as a Runner as everyone runs side by side through the city streets and beautiful Kelley Park!

Zoo Boo

Sunday, Oct 27 6:00p More dates & times (1)
Price Included in admission
Age Suitability None Specified

The Merced Zoological Society will be hosting the annual Zoo Boo at Applegate Park Zoo on Friday and Saturday, October 27th & 28th, from 6 -8:30 PM. Bring a bag or container to collect candy! Read More

City of Sunnyvale

sunnyvale murphy archThe City of Sunnyvale is located in Santa Clara County, California and is one of the major cities that make up the Silicon Valley. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is the 7th most populated city in that area, with a population of over 140,000.  Sunnyvale is located South of San Jose, east of Mountain View, north of Cupertino and west of Santa Clara.

As part of the Silicon Valley, the City of Sunnyvale is home to many high-tech companies including Maxim Integrated Products, Juniper Networks, Fortinet, Palm Inc., AMD, NetApp and Yahoo!. Home of several aerospace/defense and the Onizuka Air Force Station (aka the Blue Cube) which was the primary artificial satellite control facility of the United States armed forces until August 2010.

Sunnyvale is one of a hand full of US cities that have a unified Department of Public Safety, where all firefighters, police officers and EMTs are cross-trained so that they can respond to an emergency in any of the three roles.

The Spanish arrived in the 1770s when the area was heavily populated by the Ohlone native Americans. Mission Santa Clara was built by the Ohlone (who had converted to Christianity) in 1777.

In 1842, Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas was granted to Francisco Estrada and his wife Inez Castro. Parts of this land grant later became the cities of Mountain Vie and Sunnyvale. In 1844, another land grant was provided to Lupe Ynigo, at first known as Rancho Posolmi and later known as Rancho Ynigo.

Then in 1850 Martin Murphy Jr bought a piece of Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas and established a wheat farm and ranch which he named Bay View. Murphy built the first Santa Clara County wood framed home which was demo’d in 1961, and reconstructed in 2008 at the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.

The San Francisco and San Jose Rail Road laid tracks on the Bay View property and established Murphy Station in 1860, and later Lawrence Station was established on the south edge of Bay View.

During the 1870s wheat farming was no longer feasible due to the county taxes, imports and poor soil. So fruit orchards replaced wheat farms. Fruit agriculture and canning soon became a major industry in Santa Clara County, so much so that the area became known at the ‘Garden of the World’.

Walter Everett Crossman started selling real estate in 1897 when he bought 200 acres which he called ‘Beautiful Murphy’. Then in the 1900s Walter Crossman, now a real estate developer described the Murphy area as the ‘City of Destiny’. That same year, the Encina School was the first school to open in Murphy.

Then in 1901, the residents of Murphy were told that they could not use the names Murphy or Encinal for their post office, so they named the town of Murphy – Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale continued to grow, venturing into dried fruit production and in 1906 the Joshua Hendy Iron Works (the areas first non-agricultural industry) relocated from San Francisco to Sunnyvale after the 1906 earthquake.

In 1912, the residents of Sunnyvale voted to incorporate, and Sunnyvale became an official city.

Fremont High School, opened in 1923, served as a military base before the school opened and through World War II. In 1930 Congress established an airbase in Sunnyvale naming it Moffett Naval Air Station, and today it is known at Moffett Field. Planes flying to and from Moffett Field, which opened in 1933, commonly stopped at the Fremont High School military base for fuel top-offs.

In 1939, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the forerunner of NASA) began research at Ames Laboratory.

During World War II, the war economy began a change from the fruit industry to the high-tech industry in Santa Clara County. The Joshua Hendy Iron Works built marine steam engines, naval guns and rocket launchers to aid in the war effort. As the defense industry grew, a shortage of workers in the farm industry was created. Immigrants from Mexico came to Sunnyvale to fill this void of workers.

Following the war, the fruit orchards and sweetcorn farms were cleared to build homes, factories and offices. In 1956, the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed moved its headquarters to Sunnyvale. Since then, numerous high-tech companies have established offices and headquarters in Sunnyvale, including Advanced Micro Devices and Yahoo.

Sunnyvale celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary, on August 25, 2012.

The City of Sunnyvale enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm (and dry) summers and mild winters. During the summer the average daytime temperatures are in the high 70s, and during the winter average daytime lows rarely go below the 50s.

The City of Sunnyvale’s top 10 employers are; Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Yahoo!, NetApp, Juniper Networks, West Valley Engineering, Maxim Integrated ProductsNorthrop Grumman Marine SystemsPalmApplied Materials, and Synopsys.

There are almost 70 award winning Realtors serving the Sunnyvale area out of the local Century 21 M&M and Associates office. Feel free to drop by the office at 474 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, or call (408) 249-5100 to speak with a real estate agent about all of your real estate needs.

*Information Courtesy of

City of San Jose, Capitol of Silicon Valley

San JoseCentury 21 M&M’s San Jose real estate office is located at 3150 Almaden Expressway, Suite 100 and is proud to provide service from over 50 award winning agents. So if you are in the market to move to the San Jose area, give them a call, toll free at 800-696-5305, or just stop by for a chat.

The City of San Jose is not only the 3rd largest city in California, but also the 10th largest city in the United States. Founded on November 29, 1777, San Jose was the first civilian town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California. Early on San Jose was a farming community that supported the Spanish military installations of San Francisco and Monterey.

In 1821, after Mexico broke with the Spanish crown, San Jose came under Mexican control.  In 1846  there was an armed conflict between the United States (known as the Mexican-American War) and during the next year and a half, American forces occupied New Mexico, California and parts of Mexico. In 1850 California officially became a state and San Jose served as it’s first capital.

For over 100 years San Jose remained a relatively small farming community until American veterans returned home from World War II. At that point San Jose began to experience rapid population growth and continued this dynamic growth into the 1950s and 1960s by appropriating undeveloped land near the San Francisco Bay.

Rapid growth of local technology and electronics industries (mainly FMC & IBM) further accelerated the transition from San Jose’s agricultural base to a sophisticated metropolitan city, and people started calling San Jose the Capitol of Silicon Valley. And by 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported the City of San Jose’s population to be almost 950,000.

San Jose’s climate is subtropical, similar to the Mediterranean with lots of sunshine and an annual mean temperature of 60.5 degrees.

Because San Jose is inland and surrounded on three sides by mountains, it is sheltered from the rain and has an average rainfall of 15.82 inches. Compare that to other parts of the Bay Area which sometimes receive three times as much precipitation.

The City of San Jose’s top 10 employers are; County of Santa Clara, CISCO Systems, IBM, City of San Jose, San Jose State University, Brocade Communications Systems, EBay, Hitachi, San Jose Unified School District and Xilinx.

Colleges and Universities

San Jose State University, National Hispanic UniversityCalifornia University of Management and Technology, Lincoln Law School of San Jose, University of Silicon Valley Law School, National University and Golden Gate University.

Community Colleges

San Jose City College, West Valley College, Mission College, Evergreen Valley College, and Palmer College of Chiropractic.

When it comes to sports, San Jose is the home of the San Jose Sharks (hockey), the San Jose Earthquakes (soccer), the San Jose Giants (baseball), the San Jose SaberCats (football) and the Real San Jose (National Premier Soccer League).

San Jose possesses about 15,950 acres of parkland in its city limits, including:

San Jose is also home to many performing arts companies, including