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New year. Fresh Perspectives.

New year.  Fresh Perspectives.
Conversations are powerful vehicles for change when our hearts are open, and a recent one with my buddy has resonated within my soul so much this week.  The conversation revolved around trying to repeat the successes of the previous year and how much pressure there is to continue to impel ourselves forward–either inside or outside pressures.  But it sort of struck me these last few days that life is not always well-lived in the repeating of successes or even the constant push.  Life is not a repeat or a 3-peat or whatever-peat year to year.  And, it’s beyond the goals and the recognition; it’s in the intention–the choice of what we want our year to look like and what and how we choose depends on where we are in that moment.  Each year can look so completely different from the previous one. Sometimes we need to just breathe. For a week or a month or for an entire year.  But that choice to just breathe can be so freeing because it’s making the conscious choice to bring our life back to center.  And some years provide the strength and courage and opportunities to push farther and harder and with more strength than the previous year.  We are ready.  But, each of these choices is gifts and provide everything that we need in that moment….success, achievement, strength, passion….or just breath.
We can never doubt our own ability to bring it back to center.  We can never doubt our ability to achieve. New can never doubt our ability to love fully. We can never doubt what it feels like to say no for our hearts or for our family. We can never doubt what it feels like when that grace we give reaches the hurting inside.  And we can never doubt what it feels like to always stand our ground where hope can be found.
So as I am standing in the doorway of 2015, I am ready for what lies ahead of me.  I have turned the page.  2014 has been written, and I am proud of my year.  I am proud of what was created and harnessed and achieved and loved and nurtured. I am proud of the lessons learned and the grace I received. But most of all, I am proud that I never doubted my ability to bring it back to center.  So as the calendar flips to a new year, I challenge you to create your year for you….a year chock full of goals and successes, or a year to simply breathe in the simplicity and to leave the challenges behind for a little while.
And as we close 2014 and open our hearts to the possibilities that 2015 holds, I leave you with what one of my favorite yoga instructors says to close his classes…. peace and victorious you. Namaste. 
Chat with us live, now!

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One of the many sweet new features of our complete technology overhaul? These awesome new live chat features! Live now on our maintenance portal, you can ask questions about your request, let us know about an emergency on your property, or just give is general feedback. Go check it out now….and say Hi to Steph for me! <3

Cambridge is a finalist for an award!  Woot!

Please indulge us for a moment while we take a little moment to brag….

Cambridge was nominated and is now a finalist in the San Diego Business Journal Family Owned Businesses Awards!  We couldn’t be more proud of this incredible team of people that we have surrounding us everyday.  And, while at it’s core, the owners are a mother/daughter team, we truly believe that each member of our team is part of our extended family.  We are ever grateful for this opportunity to even be recognized as a finalist…but we are even more grateful to be walking through life with some of the greatest people, every.single.day.  <3  If you see one of those sweet Cambridge folks walking around, take a moment to congratulate them for all of their hard work!!

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Renter’s Insurance and why it ROCKS!

Do you know what renters insurance is?  You would be surprised to know that  many people don’t know about it and its benefits. Most property management companies these days are starting to require that renters have renters insurance, and most people that have never had it, don’t know much about it, or might have reservations about spending the extra money. Below, I’ll give you the little skinny on it in hopes that everyone starts to realize much renters insurance rocks and is a great thing to have for your own benefit!

Renter’s insurance is incredibly affordable; and more so that most people even realize. The usual price for renters insurance is between $10-$30 dollars depending on how many items you own and their replacement value.  An insurance agent can help you determine the value of your items and you can usually get your insurance set up on the phone in 10-15 mins.

Did you know that renter’s insurance can provide coverage for items and incidents inside and outside of an apartment or rental house?  Crazy right?  It’s not just to cover damages within your rental.  Most renters are usually aware that belongings stolen or damaged within their homes could be covered by renters insurance, but fewer may be aware that items stolen from their cars could be covered too.

(Example: if you leave your laptop in the car and its stolen your renters insurance will cover it)

(Example: if a renter whose child floods an apartment bathroom by leaving water running in a bathtub would likely end up paying out of pocket for the damage if they don’t have that valuable renter’s insurance.)

A landlord’s insurance only covers the structure and does not cover contents, and having that added policy can also cover damages caused by that pesky maintenance issue that arise and may damage your belongings.

Another benefit could be coverage for accidents inside a renter’s homes in which visitors are injured and responsible for the damages. This can be especially important if you throw parties or frequently have guests in your home. And, these policies usually include some no-fault medical coverage for guests. (No-fault coverage means policyholders don’t have to wait for a court decision to determine who’s liable for an in-home accident before claiming the coverage provided by their renters insurance.)

AND… But wait, there’s more!

“(Renters insurance) covers something referred to as ALE, or Additional Living Expenses, should a fire or other calamity require you to live elsewhere,” Lehman says. “If, for example, an apartment is damaged in a fire and your rent was $1,000 a month but you had to live elsewhere that costs $1,100 a month, it would cover the extra $100 for rent up to the policy limits.”

ALE would also cover food, living and clothing costs if you have to leave your home for more than 72 hours during one of these calamities!

Just think of all the possibilities and positives that renters insurance can help you!  If you have any questions or are interested in renter’s insurance there are plenty of agencies.  Our first suggestion is check with your automobile insurance company.  Having both under one policy generally gets added discounts for having those multiple lines of coverage, making it even cheaper!

The moral here?  Go get it!  The small cost that you pay each year gets you a TON of coverage and a TON of piece of mind.

Bentley’s Story

Bentley….oh Mr. Bentley.  He came to us almost five years ago through a wonderful woman in Spring Valley that has dedicated her time to rescuing these amazing dogs from the local animal shelters.  These amazing life-long friends are deemed “un-adoptable” by the local shelters because of injuries or illnesses that no one wants to spend money to repair.  Most of these injuries or illnesses are correctable, and most of these animals are rescued right off of the euthanization table by this wonderful woman.

And such was the case of this little dude.

bentley boy.jpg

Bentley was found wandering the streets with a broken leg, flea ridden, and with a broken spirit.  He had been severely abused by his previous owners, and when injured, was turned loose on the streets.  He was picked up and taken to the local shelter, and after an assessment, was deemed un-adoptable due to his injuries.  They didn’t think anyone would want him or want to pay to repair his broken leg.  They feared he would need surgery and this is money they don’t want to spend.

Enter Penny.  Dogs are her passion.  Rescuing them, her job.  She is selfless and cares tremendously about each dog she adopts.  And, because she visits the shelters almost daily, she is able to stop so many faithful pets from being euthanized for no reason.

This is where Bentley’s story begins.

He is taken from the shelter and immediately taken to the vet.  He is poked, prodded, cleaned, vaccinated, swaddled, and sent home for some TLC.  Days later, he returns to the vet for his check up and Penny finds that his leg is on the road to healing.  No surgery needed!

A few more weeks go by and he is good as new.  And the most heartwarming part of this story is how amazing this little guy is.  He is so unbelievably loving and loyal, and he has the most amazing personality.  Everyone who meets him falls in love with him. And you know by looking in his eyes the pain he has endured, and I believe he knows how truly lucky he was that Penny found him.  He would have been killed for no reason…..his injuries were not that severe.

Thumbnail image for Bentley xmas

This is where our story begins.  I adopted Bentley in the summer of 2008 right after his first birthday.  He was scared but he quickly became so attached to me and I to him.  He is without a doubt the most loving, loyal, and spunky little guy, and he immediately melts everyone’s hearts.It is because of him and our 5 other rescue dogs within the Cambridge Family that we are making March “Penny’s Month.”  We are so grateful for the work that she and countless volunteers and foster parents do for these animals.  We want each of our residents to know how important her work is and how much of an impact she is making in each one of these dog’s lives.We will also be collecting dog food, leashes, harnesses, toys, etc. to take and give to the foster homes within her organization.  They truly need any pet related item, no matter how small.  Most dogs are wearing used and hand-me-down items, and she tries to send each pet home with their favorite toy from their foster home.  I still have Bentley’s…….Let’s help give these little guys the happy life they deserve…..
Bentley sailing
the art of setting goals

the art of setting goals seems to have no art at all.  i have read countless articles, blogs, and books and have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect way or one better way to keep yourself on track.  you have to do what will work for you.  keeping this in mind, i have several things that i do to keep myself on track every day and that really work for me.  it’s hard to balance all that life throws at you, while purposefully trying to pay attention to a few of the small moments each day so that you don’t fall into that trap of wishing your life away or trying too hard to do it all, perfectly, and be everyone’s everything. and while organization helps a lot, feeling accomplished by not over-committing yourself to more than you can handle, while preparing for the unexpected helps tremendously.   the OCD control freak in me struggles with trying to control life, yet knowing that i can’t and must let life run its course….and simply learning to just let go.  not to try to perfect everything.  and learn that failing is part of learning.  and it’s okay to rely on others and allow them to be there for you, just as you are for them.

yearly. three words.  

these words define what i want my year to be.  they are kind of overall themes for my life that create a direction and keep me focused on more of a purpose-filled life.  my words this year are connect.  grace.  and purpose.

connect.  for some people, connections come rather easily.  i have had to work at it.  painfully shy in my early years, it was hard to forge those relationships, especially in large crowds.  and, while the struggle still happens on a daily basis, i find myself more mindful of it each day as i try to show my love for life.  in business and in my personal life, true connections are those that show weakness and strength.

connect.
family.  friends.  life.  customers.  stronger.  body.  mind
spirit.  earth.  love.  emotion.  reconnect.  learning.  

grace.  one of my favorite quotes is ‘with all of your heart, ask for grace and let go.’  this speaks to me on so many different levels and applies to so many different areas of my life.  and grace is such an amazing word in and of itself and can speak volumes with just 5 little letters.  i aspire to grace, ask for grace, and try to show grace.

grace.
give.  trust.  pure.  humble.  elegance.  moral strength.  

let go.  laugh.  freely given.   show, act, give believe. 

purpose. when we find ourselves without passion or purpose, or alone without a project to occupy us, we can become nervous and self-critical about what we should be doing and feeling.  finding purpose and allowing ourselves the space to be as we are gives us the passion for life we all look for on a daily basis.  while some jobs in and of themselves, exude a purpose every day (soldier=defender of our freedoms, doctor=saving lives, bringing new life), the life a property manager is not so…. glamorous? so my third goal is to find purpose every day.  even in the mundane.  what did i do today that made a difference?  what was my purpose today at work, home?  and, while my job somewhat defines who i am (although not completely), it’s not what gives me purpose every day.  and despite my job, or in spite of it, i look for my daily purpose to be outside of what i do for a living.  rather focusing on the job intertwined with who i connected with today, or ensuring that i connected with someone specific (family, friends etc.), or if i did my best.
purpose. 
home.  work.  family.  friends.  

daily. 

yearly.  three large goals + 10 steps.  personal and professional. 

each year, i come up with three main goals in each category, personal and professional, that i would like to accomplish.  this could be something I want accomplished within a year, or over several.  and from those overall goals, i make 10 steps to reach that goal, in order, and begin working on those much smaller goals, scratching off each one as they are accomplished.  i have found over the years that, while we all try and establish goals, with the determined intent of reaching them, if we don’t have steps to get there, we will never make it.  it either becomes so overwhelming that we give up, we forget where we are, or stray off track.  we all have the ‘ooh, new, shiny!’ syndrome.  and, i have found that doing it this way keeps my on track.  and really, i am a total list person.  there is nothing more satisfying than scratching something off of a list to create a sense of accomplishment.  and Lord knows we all need to feel that sense of accomplishment every day!

monthly.  simple goals by category.  

i recently read a post over here and was inspired to try these simple, easy purposeful goals, set monthly.  i love the fact that, even though they might not be achieved every single day, the overall goal is to create better habits and keep life from taking over each day, creating an environment where we feel like life is passing us by.  brilliant!
ashlee proffitt design

so my challenge to you is, despite the fact that it is the middle of march already….go set some goals.  challenge yourself.  big or small.  whatever works for you.  today is the day to go down the road to reaffirming your goals, personal growth, or reinventing a better you.

and to be simply.amazing!

Creative living in 725 square feet

Lotta, a textile and surface designer, finds unique ways to maximize
the 725 square feet she shares with her husband, Nick Anderson. Here’s
how she does it.
  Great decorating ideas!

6 reasons to rent

As many homeowners find their American dream turned into a
nightmare, it may be a good idea to reconsider renting as a worthy
lifestyle choice. Here, renters share some of the benefits as they see
them.

By Karen Aho of MSN Real Estate

The attitude toward housing in this country is clear: Buy. We
“aspire” to own a home and, if we’re good citizens, finally “attain”
homeownership, all in proper pursuit of the American dream.

Renters,
meanwhile, are relegated to the lingua of Middle Age fiefdom, their
tenancy dependant on the (land)lords and (land)ladies of the nation.
Even a malicious landlord retains his royal title today, albeit
somewhat marred, as in “slumlord” or “ghetto lord.”

“There’s a
culture of homeownership and the presumption is that homeownership is
the right or best tenure choice,” says Eric Belsky, executive director
of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “The language we use underscores that.”

“We
don’t talk about rentership rates, we talk about homeownership rates,”
says Belsky, who catches himself referring to owners who “revert back”
to renting. “See, I’m doing it myself.”

And yet, one-third of Americans, or nearly 37 million families, rent
instead of own. (This doesn’t include vacation homes.) For some, it’s a
question of affordability, while for others it’s a lifestyle choice.

Here, renters share their rationale for the renting life.

1. To escape the hidden costs of homeownership:
In the nation’s capital, homeownership is an affordable option only for
those families earning more than 120% of the median income of $95,000,
says Peter Tatian, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, a research organization in Washington, D.C., that focuses on social and economic problems and issues.

Those
who drive out of the nation’s metro areas to find more affordable
housing dump those savings right back into transportation costs, with
families earning $20,000 to $50,000 spending an average of 57% of their
income to cover both, according to research by the Center for Housing
Policy.

Even in more-affordable areas, homeownership can prove too costly.
Buck Bannister and his partner bought a two-story carriage house with a
big yard in South Carolina for $60,000. Then came needed incidental
repairs, along with a roof fix and a new sewer line.

After practically draining the home loans, each suddenly  was hospitalized with a serious medical condition.

“At
that point if you have a home, as the conventional wisdom plays out,
your home is your greatest asset and you can tap into those assets. The
problem is if you’ve had to tap into those assets to make the home
livable, they’re not there for other things,” Bannister says.

Bannister
and his partner each recovered, and they sold the home. They could
easily have afforded another, but now happily rent a $675-a-month
duplex in Tucson, where they landscape the yard and enjoy the
neighborhood.

“It’s home to us, it’s not just a place to crash,” Bannister says.
“We love it. The only way we would do anything else is if we won the
lottery and were independently wealthy.

“I have friends who have
bought a house and something happens and they realize: I don’t own this
house, I rent it from my bank and I have to pay to keep it up,” he says.

2. Access to urban amenities:
“Everything I need is within a mile or two,” says Sam Higgins, 29, who
rents with his fiancé in Austin, Texas “I can be downtown in five
minutes.”

His fiancé’s aunt, a real-estate agent, frequently pitches the idea of buying, which the couple shakes off.

“We
could afford something, but it would be more money and a smaller space
for us to do that,” Higgins says. “And if I’m an hour’s drive from what
the city has to offer, then it’s not really worth it to me.”

3. Cash availability: Joshua Crumbaugh, 27, works
for a mortgage company but resisted the temptation to buy when, he
jokes, “you could more easily get a mortgage than a cell-phone plan.”

Instead,
he rents “a lot of house” for himself, his wife and their two children
for $1,100 a month in Huntsville, Ala., and keeps his cash free for a
potential business launch.

“There are a lot of things that you
can do as opposed to purchasing a home,” Crumbaugh says. Plus, a buyer
who ends up in the hole on a home investment “has got no room to borrow
anything against the house.”

“I’m in the mortgage business. I
want everyone to believe that (their home’s value is) always going to
go up. But the reality is it’s not always going to go up.”

Even
in the long-term market, a house doesn’t necessarily make for the best
financial payout. Unless a home’s value rises at a substantially
greater rate than inflation, the money might be better off in
alternative investments. (Read “Why rent? To get richer,” on MSN Money.)

According
to the National Multi-Housing Council, an industry trade association,
$100 put into a house in 1985 would have been worth $210 in 2008; in
stocks, the same amount would have been  $710.  Even if your portfolio
took a 50 percent hit in the past 18 months, the figure would still be
$355 today.

Furthermore, home prices remain overvalued compared to rents in many areas, say experts. (Read “34 cities where it’s still better to rent.”)

The
only rental drawback for Crumbaugh is the tax inequity. If he owned and
paid the same monthly check, he’d be getting $2,700 in refunds this
year instead of $700. “It makes a very big difference,” he says.

4. Simplicity:
“We got rid of half of the things we owned and we haven’t missed a
single one of those things,” says Beth Perry, a United Methodist
minister who rents in Queens with her husband.

Zipporah Sandler also appreciates the simplicity of renting.

“People
always ask, ‘Why don’t you buy?’ ” says Sandler, a 50-something retiree
who rents a 2,700-square-foot Mediterranean house in a luxury South
Florida community for less than it would cost to own a
1,000-square-foot condo.

She and her husband had planned to buy,
using cash from the sale of their New England home, but to their
surprise discovered after five years of renting that “life has become
much easier,” she says. “I absolutely love it.”

5. Mobility:
Perry’s husband is an actor who recently auditioned for a part in
London. That could mean a sudden relocation. “You never know what will
come next,” Perry says.

Eric M. Hamilton, 36, a civilian public
affairs specialist for the Army, echoes this sentiment. He owned a
house in Anchorage and loved it, even sunk money into renovations. Then
the military transferred his job to California.

“I moved in June,
and I’m hoping to close on the Anchorage house by the middle of May, so
11 months of paying a rent and a house payment together does not for a
happy bankbook make,” says Hamilton, who is married with three
children. He now plans to keep renting. He likes that he can easily
upgrade to another house nearby, without worrying about having to sell,
and that he can take advantage of military amenities that exist close
to rental units.

“My grandmother rented her home for 50 years in
Oakland, lived there ’til the day she died,” Hamilton says. She owned a
business, and “took fantastic care of the house. I know that being a
renter doesn’t mean being a transient or being a shiftless person.”

6. Diversity: “I
find the people refreshing,” Bill Moore, 59, says of the tenants in the
downtown Chicago high-rise where he and his wife rent a unit on the
39th floor. Many are young business professionals, and they mingle
frequently in common areas.

He and his wife own a house downstate
and had planned to buy a condo in the city, but their rental apartment
has turned out to be comparable in cost while offering better service,
a higher floor and a wider variety of neighbors.

Your Water Conservation Efforts are Needed–Stage 2 Drought

Stage Two Drought Coming July 1, 2009

Most cities in San Diego County have adopted a four-stage drought response plan and have already declared a Stage One alert.  In the absence of significant rainfall or snowfall, a Stage Two alert was declared in January 2009 and will go into effect on July 1, 2009.

Stage One – 10 percent water conservation requirements (voluntary conservation – also known as the “20 Gallon Challenge”)
Stage Two – 20 percent water conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)
Stage Three – 40 percent conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)
Stage Four – 40+ percent conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)

Water conservation is now a way of life!

California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, as evidenced by the declaration of a statewide drought by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 4, 2008.

More than 90 percent of San Diego County’s water supply is imported from other regions.  Record low snow and rainfalls, limited water supplies, and water transportation deficiencies all combine to put San Diego in the midst of a severe water shortage.

How You Can Help

In some ways apartment dwellers can do more to conserve water than homeowners.  Think of it this way: if everyone in your building does a little something to save water, that small water savings is multiplied by the number of units.  So, if everyone saves just two gallons of water a day, your building may be saving 10, 50, or 100 gallons a day, depending on the number of units.

Some apartment dwellers pay their own water bills, and some do not.  But whether or not you have an individual water bill, it benefits you to conserve water.  Conservation helps keep water costs down, and water costs impact the price of necessitates such as food…and rent.  Because water rates are already going up, it’s unlikely that your rent will decrease by conserving, but it may not go up as fast if you do conserve.

Tips for A Water-Friendly Apartment, Inside & Out…

Bathroom
Toilet
•    If your toilet runs constantly, report it to your property manager immediately.
•    Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it down the drain. This saves between 1.5-3.5 gallons each flush.

Sink
•    Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
•    Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
•    Turn off the water while you shave.    Shower & Baths
•    Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
•    Turn of the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.

Kitchen
Sink
•    When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
•    Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them.
•    Use the garbage disposal sparingly.
•    For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
•    Don’t use running water to thaw food. Use a microwave or defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.

Dishwasher
•    Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. You can save up to 500 gallons a month.
•    Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.

Washing Machines
•    When doing laundry match the water level to the size of the load.
•    Washing clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy. There are detergents especially for cold water.
•    Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
•    Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property manager immediately.

Miscellaneous Conservation Tips

•    Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
•    Check with your property manager to ensure they have installed low-flow faucet aerators and inexpensive low-flow shower heads.  Low-flow aerators use 1.5 gallons of water per minute (older faucets use between three and seven gallons per minute).

Information in this brochure was compiled from various sources, including, www.wateruseitwisely.com, Cal Water, City of Atlanta, and others.  The intent of this brochure is to increase water conservation in multifamily communities by the San Diego County Apartment Association (SDCAA).