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With video calls and online meetings becoming the norm these days, it is important to understand and follow a few best practices for Zoom calls. Whether you are hosting an event or meeting, or are attending one, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Your Video and Audio

When participating in a Zoom call, you should try to have your video turned on unless you feel that the background or your appearance is not appropriate or is too distracting. When you have the video feature turned on, you will probably be more engaged in what is going on, and it is a crucial component of communication.

Make sure you always test your video and audio before jumping in on the Zoom call as well to make sure everything is working, and there will be no hiccups when the meeting starts. Finally, make sure to look at the camera during your Zoom call. These actions mimic face to face communication and eye contact that you would have in a normal face to face meeting.

Zoom Call Etiquette

When participating in a Zoom call, you want to learn some general rules as it pertains to common courtesy for these virtual meetings.

Avoid Eating and Drinking

Unless you are catching up with friends or family, your Zoom call is not the time for drinking and snacking. Save it for after your call. It is unprofessional and not appealing to see others in the call eating while they should be engaging.

Mute Yourself 

When you are in a call, that should be your primary focus but sometimes we cannot avoid background noises. It’s best practice to mute yourself until its your time to engage and speak.

Consider Your Environment

Finally, consider your environment and what others may scope out in the background during the Zoom call. You probably don’t want people to see a pile of dirty laundry or a mess in the background. Try to find a plain wall or a tidy bookshelf to use in the background. Zoom also allows for virtual backgrounds if needed to help disguise a cluttered or unprofessional environment.

The lighting is also important. Make sure to position yourself so that the light is coming from in front of you and not behind you. If you have blinds, make sure to close them before the call.

If you follow these simple best practices, you will find your next Zoom call to be a piece of cake.

With so much uncertainty in the air when it comes to children returning to school, many families have chosen remote learning and homeschooling options for their children this upcoming school year. However, since these are very unprecedented times, many of us are looking for some guidance on how to prepare for homeschooling this year.

Get Organized

The first thing you need to do is get organized. This means you should begin to gather all the materials and supplies that will be needed for the student and create a work area in the home. We suggest getting them the same school supplies you would typically purchase if they were to have in-school instruction. Two-pocket folders, notebooks, pens, pencils, and a chalkboard or whiteboard can help you get more organized.

Lesson Prep

Next, you should become familiar with the expectations of working with your student. You will most likely be given a good amount of introductory information to review for each course you will be teaching your child. It is also recommended that you review the lesson plans a few days ahead of time and gather any other necessary materials you may need for those lessons.

Make a Plan

For homeschooling to be a success, you need to have a plan. This means creating a schedule that will work well for yourself and your student. A benefit of homeschooling is the flexibility it offers a household. So, make your plans, but allow for this flexibility. Some of the curricula may be best if worked on independently while other lessons may require more instruction.

More Than One Child

If you are homeschooling more than one child, you will need to tailor the schedule ahead of time, so it works for everyone. If you have a child that wakes up early, for example, take advantage and get their lessons out of the way in the morning. You can also teach your older children to follow their own schedules and work more independently as everyone becomes more comfortable with the homeschooling program and schedule.

Set Boundaries

Another way to prepare is to set boundaries. It can be hard to break a summer routine and jump back into a learning schedule. Set boundaries and make sure there is some accountability in place, so you don’t fall back on bad habits.

Follow these preparation tips, and you will find it will be much easier to make the transition from in-person learning to homeschooling.

As we continue to social distance and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are looking for more ways to spend time outdoors with the family to get fresh air and exercise. One such way we can do this is by finding the best hiking in the Los Angeles area. Below, you will find a few of our recommendations so you can plan your next outdoor day trip. Here is the best hiking in the Los Angeles Area.

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Our broker Letty lives near this centrally located park and hikes here regularly. Kenneth Hahn park offers birdwatching and and has surprisingly secluded and shaded trails. On clear days you can see all the way to downtown and the Hollywood Hills. We love hiking the community trail, this easy to moderate hike should take you about 1,5 hrs. More about this trail and many many others over at modernhiker.com. 

 

Griffith Park Trails

Here you can find the Bronson Canyon Trail. The distance roundtrip is less than a mile, so it acts as a quick outing. This trail is located in the southwest section of Griffith Park and is a popular setting for locals and tourists who are looking for a quick hike through a more remote setting. Bronson Canyon has actually been featured in some classic movies, including The Searchers and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Runyon Canyon

If you want a hike that allows for more people watching and even some possible celebrity sightings, then you may want to consider Runyon Canyon Loop. It is approximately three miles roundtrip and allows you to see some amazing views at Cloud’s Rest. It is a good trail for beginners and offers priceless views.

Baldwin Hills

If you don’t have all day but want a short hike with a scenic overlook, then Baldwin Hills is calling your name. You can jog up a zigzagging trail or get your steps in at the steep staircase that leads up to the 500-foot peak of Baldwin Hills. You will find different wildflowers and some native birds to view along the way, as well. You can also check out the vista of the entire Los Angeles Basin.

Hollyridge Trail

Another amazing Los Angeles trail to consider is the Hollyridge Trail to Hollywood Sign Viewpoint. It is a 5.1 mile back trail that offers scenic views. It is heavily trafficked and used for hiking, jogging, walking, running, nature trips, and more. It is accessible year-round.

Glendale Peak Trail

This is another heavily trafficked trail near Los Angeles that features wildflowers along its 3.6-mile route. It is rated as a moderate trail, so it might not be the best fit for beginners. It offers beautiful city views and offers a good vantage point to see the Hollywood sign.

These are just a small sampling of some of the best hiking trails you can find in Los Angeles.

The spread of the coronavirus around the world has many people sheltering in place at home to avoid unnecessary exposure. However, instead of sitting around fretting, you can use your time productively and explore different DIY, interior, and home improvement trends you can accomplish at home. Your home and mental health will thank you.

Organize The Closet Or Garage

Summer is here, and the weather is warm, so why not get outside and get some fresh air while you organize your garage? You can start by sweeping out all the dirt and debris, and then gather everything you have to go through. It might seem overwhelming at first, but when you are done, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

The same applies to organizing the closets inside the home. Don’t be afraid to play around with different storage bins and decorative baskets and get creative when it comes to organization.

Patio Improvement

Since many of us are staying at home, we can try to find ways to make the spaces on our property more functional. Upgrading your patio should be part of your home improvement list. You can also have the backyard of your dreams by planting a few of your favorite flowers, hanging some string lights, and growing your own garden.

Get To Painting

Painting is another great activity to do at home, and it can make a drastic improvement to your property. Many local hardware stores are doing curbside pickup during this time, so you can order what you need online and pick it up at the store without ever leaving your vehicle.

A fresh coat of paint or a DIY wall mural can enhance an otherwise drab room and bring some life to the space. We love Vintage Revivals’ paint by numbers tutorial, this landscape add such depth and interest.

DIY Projects

Don’t be afraid to look for interesting ideas on Pinterest while maximizing your time at home. If there is a project you have always wanted to do, then now is the time to do it.

Craft stores also offer curbside pickup and delivery options, so you can safely get all the items you need for your DIY project. This can be anything from sewing new pillows for the couch to hemming some curtains for the bedroom.

As you can see, there is plenty you can do around the home while sheltering in place during a pandemic. Even the smallest of projects can go a long way in improving the home and adding value and function to each space.

image source: https://vintagerevivals.com/

ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit. It is the legal term for a secondary home or apartment that shares the lot of a larger, primary home. This dwelling can be an apartment over a garage, a tiny house on a foundation in the backyard of the primary home, or even a basement apartment. An ADU can help you generate additional income.

Why Are ADUs Important?

No matter its form, an ADU has the potential to bring in some additional income for the primary homeowner. It can’t be bought or sold separately, and it has to be part of the property where the main home is. The owner of the main home also has to be the owner of the ADU.

Many people build ADUs as a way to generate extra income through rent. It offers a much more flexible housing solution as well for people facing different environmental, lifestyle, and financial challenges.

They are also useful for combining families when there is a lack of income. It can provide housing for family members so they are close by and offer a much more affordable solution to a renting problem when income is tight.

Affordable Housing Option

ADUs generate rental income that can help a struggling homeowner pay for their mortgage and make ends meet. The homeowner already owns the land the ADU is on, so their only expense would be construction of the secondary residence.

For People Of All Ages

Since a lot of people’s housing situations change constantly, ADUs are a great option for people of all ages with different household types and income levels. They can be a good entry-level choice for a younger couple or a way for the primary homeowner to extend the space they have for family.

Good For The Environment

ADUs are also good for the environment because fewer resources are required to build and maintain them when compared to an average-sized home. They also use significantly less energy.

Community Compatible

Finally, it is a good way to include smaller and more affordable housing options in a community where people may be struggling to pay the bills. It is also much easier to gain community support for these dwellings compared to other housing types for the community.

If you are looking for additional income to help pay the bills or you want to help someone in need of affordable housing during this time, then an ADU is definitely something to consider.

With more and more people making the transition to remote work from their homes nowadays, the question of how to create the most functional office space at home has definitely come up. Today, we will look at some COVID home office trends and ideas you can play around with if you are one of many who will be working from home.

No Desk

Many people who have started working from home find that their files are stored digitally anyway, so they want to reduce the clutter in their home office. To do this, they skip the traditional desks with drawers and storage and instead opt for worktables. This allows for minimal furniture and a more streamlined work area.

Keep Clutter Out Of Sight

When working at home, you want a clean space to work in or else you may begin to feel overwhelmed. If you don’t have time to clean yet, having a stylish cabinet with doors that close can temporarily contain any mess or clutter while allowing you to remain organized.

Go Natural

Working at home can be a drag if you don’t have elements of the outside world around you. You can create a secret garden type of office by introducing plants and flowers to brighten  up the space and bring that touch of nature indoors. It also helps make an enclosed space feel a bit bigger and not so confining.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Color

When looking at home office trends during COVID-19, we are also seeing people using more and more color. A few coats of bright colored paint can make the space more inviting and motivate you to be more productive.

Who wants to sit in a boring work area for hours? Be creative and aim for a more inspiring space with a touch of color on the walls or in the accessories you use.

Open Shelving

Finally, for some more organization and functionality in your home office, consider open shelving. This allows you to stay organized even while displaying some of your favorite photos or knickknacks. It is also helpful if you don’t have a dedicated office space in the home. So if you have a double-duty room, the open shelving can help keep everything in place.

Did any of these COVID home office trends and ideas inspire you to create a more functional and beautiful space in your home? If so, try them out right now!

If you are looking for road trip ideas in California for a more eventful summer, you’ve come to the right place. We will walk you through a few must-see road trip attractions and the most scenic spots in California that you will not want to miss on your next vacation.

La Jolla Cove

If you’re after a combination of shopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, and amazing restaurants, La Jolla Cove in San Diego is the stop for you. It is a small but picturesque cove and beach area that is rich in marine life and popular with visitors looking for an underwater adventure.

Inyo National Park

If you want to go camping, take scenic hikes, and have a nature adventure, then Inyo National Park in California is where you want to be. Located in the Eastern Sierra, it is home to Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Reds Meadow, Mammoth Lakes, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Big Sur

When it comes to rustic beauty and breathtaking nature, Big Sur never fails to deliver. This town is known for its state parks and hiking trails. It is located just to the north of San Simeon and Hearst Castle. If you love spending time outdoors, this destination takes a bit longer to get to, but it is worth it for the unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean, the rocky bluffs, sandy beaches, and tall redwoods.

Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

The length of this byway is around 90 miles. You will drive along forest roads and dirt roads where you will see granite domes, peaks, conifer forests, and more. You can also stop along the way and visit the oldest Sequoia trees, including the 2,700-year-old Bull Buck Tree.

Rim Of The World Scenic Byway

This road has a length of approximately 117 miles. It takes you around the San Bernardino Mountains and then through a small village on your way to Big Bear Lake. There are plenty of photo ops to take advantage of along the way, and you will encounter a number of stops for water sports and educational hikes.

Surf Through Orange County

The length of this road is 30 miles, and it takes you through Orange County, California on Highway 1. You will go through the harbor town of Dana Point as well as Laguna Beach and its many art galleries, and you will end up at Crystal Cove State Park. You can also visit Newport Beach on this road trip and cruise through Huntington Beach, which is known as Surf City, USA.

You will find that all of the places we have listed above offer everything you want and need for a memorable vacation. No matter which one you go for, you can look forward to a scenic and adventurous road trip through California.

 

 

With stay-at-home orders and the other changes we have seen as a result of the coronavirus, it is hard to say how many have been affected by the crisis. Many people are wondering what all this has done to the Los Angeles real estate market given that small businesses and other industries have had to adapt to the new normal.

Showing Properties

While properties in LA were still being shown and sold in early March, that came to a halt on March 19 as the stay-at-home order was issued to shut down all non-essential businesses. On March 28, real estate was deemed an essential industry, so property showings continued after a short time of uncertainty.

However, the stay-at-home orders still had an effect on local real estate in LA. A list of best practices was brought forth to minimize contact between people, and it included the suggestion to start showing properties virtually rather than in person. As of today, we are able to show properties as long as we adhere to safety measures such as wearing masks. Open houses are still prohibited and we expect that measure to be in place for some time to come.

The Impact Of The Coronavirus

With so many alterations to people’s day-to-day lives, the real estate market in LA has of course been impacted over the last few months. Buyers and sellers became more hesitant to buy or sell homes. New listings per month took a dive between March and April, and the number of pending sales per month was also dramatically reduced.

Because of the coronavirus, there was a clear decline as the real estate market saw fewer people willing to put their house on the market amid the crisis. With pending sales of properties often peaking in the summer and declining in the winter, they often pick back up around March. However, this year, the decline in pending sales went far below the numbers we would typically see during the winter months.

On the buyer side we have not seen a decline, causing there to be a shortage of homes for buyers to choose from as sellers are reluctant to go to market.

The Future Of LA Real Estate

So what does all of this mean for the future of LA real estate during the coronavirus pandemic? With the decline in pending sales and listings, we could see that sale pricing will flatten, but we expect it to jump right back up as soon as sellers are willing to go to market.

Despite the uncertainty, we are hopeful that everything will balance out as more people take advantage of the buyer’s market following the retraction of stay-at-home orders.

If you are searching for day trip activities you can find in and within driving distance of Los Angeles, California, we are here to provide you with helpful information. Read on to browse our list of locations that are perfect for day trip activities when you have a short time to spend in the area.

The City Of Ojai

Ojai is a very small city nestled in Ventura County, California. It is northwest of Los Angeles and set in the valley in the Topatopa Mountains. Ojai is a village-like area that has a good variety of art galleries as well as interesting New Age shops. You can try local craft beer, show up for pixie season from late March through early May, and set out on a two-hour Experience Ojai ride as you head east out of town and up to the citrus orchards.

Santa Monica Pier And Beach

Just west of downtown Los Angeles, you will find the famous Santa Monica Pier and Beach. With three miles of shoreline, there is plenty to see and experience apart from the mild weather and soft, sandy beaches. You can walk in the area or explore it while riding a bike. There is a scenic 22-mile bike path called The Strand that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean. You can also hop on the Ferris wheel at the pier and do a bit of people watching at the Third Street Promenade.

Farmers Market And The Grove

The Original Farmers Market is one of LA’s most beloved landmarks. It was founded in 1934, and it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. You will find a variety of fresh produce and ready-to-eat snacks. Parking is free for up to 90 minutes, and there are guided Foodie Tours throughout the farmers market as well.

The Broad

If you prefer more of an educational day trip to Los Angeles, we recommend visiting The Broad. It is the honeycomb building in downtown LA that houses art collections from famous artists like Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol. You can also find some temporary exhibits by new artists. Admission is free, and this is the ideal day trip for those who love art and architecture.

As you can see, there is plenty to do in and around LA. Be it a scenic adventure or an educational experience, you won’t have a hard time choosing a day trip activity you will enjoy.

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