El Nino Preparedness 2015

KK RainToday there’s a light but cold rain in San Diego and lots and lots of wind. As I look out a balcony, a table cloth of mine is blowing. As I look downstairs on the patio, a wind chime blew down and several other garden ornaments, heavy ones, blew around. Up and down it’s a mess at my house and just because of wind, not water.

Clearly I am not El Nino 2015 ready. Maybe the same applies to you.

Below are links I found that will be enacted on by me and my husband in the coming weeks. Consider these your El Nino preparedness steps, too.

Sand Bags

Sand bags can be filled for free throughout the county. Click here.

Flood Insurance

Anyone can purchase flood insurance through FEMA. Even renters can purchase this insurance. But your policy has to be in place 30 days before you can file a claim! So get busy! I’ve been through the entire FEMA website to save you the trouble find the ‘Purchase Insurance’ link. Click here. Once you click, you will complete the red box on the right side of your screen, which will open up a new page of insurance agents in your area that sell FEMA’s flood insurance. I contacted one today.

Flood Cost Calculator

If you don’t purchase flood insurance and are flooded, you’re on your own. Renter’s and homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover flood. Here, check the FEMA calculator to work up your potential out-of-pockets costs without flood insurance. I took the test for a 1,000 SF home, but my home is larger. And I calculated one-inch of water. The total damage for 1,000 SF: $10,600. Let’s round that up to $15,000 to be safe because my house is larger. Wait! What? Living room furniture replacement estimated at only $250? Oh oh. Let’s go to $20,000 for one inch of water. Click here to test your home, and it’s the blue box.

Paperwork Preparedness

This is a fairly decent plan, also put out by FEMA, that organizes your family’s plan via paperwork and action steps. Look at it here.

Disaster Supply Kit

This can be used for El Nino, fire or any other unexpected disaster. It’s thorough. Read it here.

KPBS San Diego

KPBS keeps things pretty mellow normally, but this valuable interview covers all the things I just mentioned. Read and watch here (4 minutes).

FEMA Flood Maps — How Does Your Neighborhood Stack Up?

This FEMA mapping is a little tricky and is slow. Be patient. Click here to enter your address. If it times out in Chrome, copy the link to Internet Explorer, where it seems to work better. Enter your address like this: 3349 Main Street, San Diego. Each area of town is laid out in a grid, and each grid has a number. That’s the map number. When your map comes up, then I like the “interactive” map button right there in the middle. Play with it and if you zoom out, you’ll see blue areas that are in a greater flood zone. I am in a low flood probability zone. But I am still doing everything on this list.

Prepare, don’t panic. San Diego real estate will continue through Winter 2015 and we’ll be ready and here for you.

Kimberly Dotseth, broker/owner, Blend Real Estate

(858) 291-8110 or


Today’s photo, copyright Kimberly Dotseth (2015).

Caught in a biblical rain storm with Kerry Garnett, Washington, D.C.



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1950s Pink Kitchen – Pristine! Perfect Real Estate

cooker-295135_1280The people at Bored Panda keep me very busy online. They have some interesting stories but not typically about real estate, and never about the real estate I love and cherish: mid century properties. Except today.

This 1956 ranch home was {for some unknown reason} completely sealed up after it was built in 1956. Sealed and never used; never lived it. But it was tricked out, 1950s style! It was recently purchased and “unsealed” and in the link below is the kitchen the new owner got.

In San Diego we have so many mid century kitchens untouched, but they are lived in. So they’re a bit thread-bare, so to speak, but THIS unused kitchen is perfection. Oh, to have been able to see it.

New appliances and decor, new surfaces and flooring. There are no words. I thought you might enjoy a peak into my mind as to what’s perfect in this world.

It’s this pink kitchen.



Blend Real Estate

(858) 452-2599

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Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet for 2015


If you socialize in the public eye, imagery is a huge part of it. And every site that you and I post to has different requirements for the optimal image size to communicate effectively with your audience.

Here, the 2015 “cheat sheet” on images sizes across the social media spectrum, from the pros at The American Genius.

Look out, Twitter and Facebook! And absolutely all the others.

(This random snap shot of mine, taken of Paul McCartney in concert, was originally 4370 x 2930 and 5.2MB. Uploading into this WordPress blog, the site automatically resized the image to 300 x 201 and made it a lot smaller.)


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Furnace and A/C Control — Why I love my NEST Thermostat and CO Detector

Nest ThermostatEarlier in 2014, I installed a new gas furnace and central air conditioning system in my San Diego home. Believe me, it was mostly for the air conditioning. That alone, that treat of all treats, has been well worth this rather pricey investment. At the time, I went for the gold and had the installers put in a new NEST thermostat and a new NEST smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector in one bedroom. The other rooms have what you’d call “regular” smoke and CO detectors.

So the summer went by and enjoying my A/C was all I thought about. Until the winter and last night (New Year’s Eve, 2014) it dropped to 32 degrees in coastal San Diego. Brrrr!

These last few winter weeks have had me enjoying my investment in a whole new way. You see, previously I was completely content with my 1976 gas furnace, original to construction. I didn’t want to be bothered with anything new or be talked into an upgrade – it worked great.

Then my Lennox furnace began to get used in late 2014. It’s dreamy, WAY quieter, and always supremely controlled by my NEST thermostat. The experience of controlling the heat or cold from the gorgeous glass mechanism in the hall is one thing, but I can control all temps from my phone or any computer in the world.

I recently did just that while I was traveling — checking in with my NEST account online periodically to control the heat in the house for my cat at home. Indulgent? No. Free and part of the system.

The bedroom smoke and CO detector is beautiful. Every night when the lights go out to go to sleep, the NEST spins a beautiful color green once around the detector to let me know that it’s OK to go to sleep — it’s ready to keep working all night. I love this light trick and feel safe.

They’re not the cheapest products but they are truly the best.

Today I share with you a video to glimpse the world of NEST. Go ahead, splurge on yourself in 2015. This is an enthusiastic, non-paid endorsement!

P.S. If you’re thinking of selling, I may recommend that you install these prior to listing. Great wow factor. You’ll get every penny back. -Kimberly (858) 452-2599 or


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Hot Cocoa Cookies – A Recipe Making the Rounds

Chocolate and Marshmallow CookieThis recipe for Hot Cocoa Cookies is making the rounds. It was emailed to me and I thought you might enjoy it. They are a big hit! -Kimberly

Hot Cocoa Cookies
Rich and delicious; these are a perfect cookie for Christmas or any time of year!
Yield: Makes about 50 (small) cookies



For the cookies-
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cu
ps flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
25 (apx.) large marshmallows

For the icing -
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Assorted sprinkles

Make the cookies-
1.) In a medium saucepan (or in a microwave safe bowl, using 50% power), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
2.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.
4.) Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.
5.) While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until just combined.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
6.) Preheat oven to 325*F. and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner. Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized cookie scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll the dough in your hands to create balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets, then flatten slightly.

Bake cookies about 12 minutes.
7.) While the cookies bake, cut the large marshmallows in half (crosswise). When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half (cut side down) into the center of each cookie. Return the cookies to the oven and bake another 2-3 minutes. Allow the pan of cookies to cool a few minutes, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.
8.) Prepare cookie icing by combining all ingredients in a medium bowl and mixing together with a whisk. Place wire cooling rack (with cookies on it) over a baking sheet (to catch any excess icing). Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit. After icing just a couple cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.
9.) Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving.



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