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Behind the Red Door

Behind the Red Door

The symbolism of the color ‘red’ has transcended time, culture and ecology. Mother Nature even uses it to say, “Hey! Notice Me! …I standout for a reason.” Our western culture uses it to make important objects and structures stand apart and be discernible, such as stop lights or signs. Adaptations from the East have fused together the ideal that a red front door is good luck. So naturally, you can imagine why a restaurant named “The Red Door” physically and metaphorically tells native San Diegan and visiting restaurateurs, alike, in its undeniably bold shade, “STOP and check me out! Your taste buds just got lucky!”

If you’re looking for a dining experience as brilliant, yet subtly elegant, as the many shades of ‘red,’ venture into the trendy, but understated, neighborhood of Mission Hills. Amongst an array of truly unique and eclectic restaurants and boutiques lies this gem of an eatery.

As you walk into its cozy quarters, life through friendly banter and soft “Mm mms” fill the room.  The perfect place to impress a prospective partner or mingle amongst friends.  Its quaint interior is usually packed to the brim with guests, making reservations on holidays and prime dinning hours is a must.  Otherwise you will miss out!Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar

The atmosphere teeters between comfortably-casual to semi-formal, with its simple, but chic, décor and front-house layout. But I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret…the real magic happens in the back, where locally grown, family farmed, produce meets masterfully prepared proteins. On a personal note, if you’re a fan of “the other white meat,” I highly recommend ordering the Braised Pork Cheeks for a starter…You’ll wish it never ends. There is also an impressive wine list at your disposal—or I guess in this case I should say at your consumption. And, if you’re having trouble making a selection, the friendly and attentive staff is readily available to help guide you through this culinary excursion.

Let’s not forget dessert! If you can still ingest one more exquisite creation it has to be one of these delicate and decadent pieces of art, made with only the freshest seasonal ingredients.

If you’re mouth isn’t watering by now, let me tell you mine is…and as having experienced this first hand, it’s a must-do for foodies hungry for a taste of San Diego’s finest.

Add it to your bucket list, tell Siri to bookmark it… it’s that good! If you’re in love with food like I am, then you should never settle for run-of-the-mill. So treat yourself! You deserve it. Make it a monthly routine? Meet style, sophistication, innovation and flavor all at the same place: “The Red Door.”

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
Energy Efficiency Ideas for Renters

Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean that you can’t control your energy costs. Every little bit helps; some may not apply, but everyone can find one or two options. Here are some quick money and energy saving ideas:

  1. Use power strips. Even though they are turned off, many electronics still draw power. Turning off a power strip with a television, dvd player, and multiple video game consoles when not in use can save up to $20 a month just by itself. Consider also using power strips for various electronics chargers (phone, camera, etc.) as well, and turn them off when you’re not charging.
  2. Check your water heater settings. Turning the temperature to the lowest comfortable setting can help save money when heating water.
  3. Replace your air conditioner and/or furnace filters every 3 months. This ensures that the unit is receiving clean air (and so are you!) and improves their efficiency.
  4. Use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner. If you have them, fans cost just pennies to run compared to air conditioners (both central and wall/window units). If your home doesn’t have good natural air flow, putting box fans in your windows (facing into the room) in the evenings can help draw cool air in from the outside to cool the room.
  5. Use energy efficient bulbs. They have improved drastically over the last few years, no longer requiring 5-10 minutes to come to full brightness. Some types even will operate in dimmable fixtures without flickering.
  6. Use blinds to help control the temperature of your home. During the hot summer months, keep blinds closed during the day to keep your home cooler. Do the opposite during the winter – open your blinds to allow the sun to warm it up. Using heavy curtains over your blinds will help keep the warm air in as well. If you have a room or two with bright West or South sun in the afternoon, consider investing in curtains with a thermal backing to help keep everything cooler.
  7. If you find that you have a draft coming in under your doors, use door snakes or rolled up towels to keep the air from coming in. Another, more permanent, option is installing weatherstripping around the door.
  8. Clean your refrigerator. Cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator every so often keeps the appliance running optimally. (How to)

What have you implemented in your rented apartment or home to help conserve energy?

Tips For An Easy Move

  1. Don’t move anything you don’t love. I’m sure it’s happened in the past – you open a box at your new home and wonder “Why the heck did I move this?” As soon as you know you’re moving, begin looking around your current home with a critical eye. Ask “Do I love this? Does it make me smile? Do I have more of this than I need?” This applies to clothing and shoes also. Fewer items to move means a faster (and quite possibly cheaper) moving experience.
  2. Measure the spaces in your new home before buying any new furniture or if you’re not sure your current furniture will fit. Especially if you are moving into an older home, be sure to take into account the width of the doorways and any tight corners that may make furniture moving a challenge.
  3. Beware of being too lax about moving if you’re “just moving across town.” I’ve been there – it doesn’t seem worth it to bother actually packing things up. Believe me, when you start to toss loose items or plastic bags full of your stuff into your vehicle, you’re just creating a larger mess to deal with on the other end (unless you’re ultra organized and putting things directly where they go as soon as you walk in the door at your new place!) Take the time to properly pack things in boxes and you won’t feel overwhelmed when wading through piles of your things at your new home. Boxes stack. Most loose things do not.
  4. Create a box (or two) of items that you will need just before you leave and immediately at your new home. Make sure this box is the last thing loaded and the first thing off. Things to include:
    – Cleaning supplies, including a trash bag or two
    – Rubber gloves
    – Paper towels and/or rags
    – Basic kitchen utensils (skillet, pot, spatula, sharp knife, dishwashing liquid, a dish towel)
    – Paper plates, napkins, plastic glasses and plastic ware (so you can still eat in if you don’t find or unpack your kitchen boxes right away)
    – A toiletry bag full of your basic bathroom items. Trust me, you do not want to be rummaging through boxes for your toothbrush at 2am after a long day of moving!
    – Sheets and blankets for each of the beds and an alarm clock
    – Toilet paper and hand soap for the bathroom
  5. Ask around for extra boxes before you purchase them. Chances are, someone you know (or someone they know!) has recently moved and will be happy to give them to you. In fact, keep the moving karma going and let people know you have boxes to give away when you’re done with them.
  6. Start packing as soon as you can. If you have room, designate an out-of-the-way space for packed boxes, both at your old place and your new one. If you have to delay unpacking at your new home, having the boxes mostly out of sight will minimize clutter and lessen the post-move stress.
  7. Mark room destination on top and box contents on all sides and the top with a Sharpie. This may seem like extra work, but if you have people helping you move, finding your boxes in their proper destination (and being able to see what’s inside no matter which side is facing out) will make your life so much easier. Regular pens aren’t dark enough to be seen from a distance, so using a Sharpie or similar marker matters. Packing an entire house or large apartment? Go ahead and pre-print sheets of file-folder sized labels with the destination rooms so you only have to slap a label on the top and write the contents. If someone is helping you pack, make sure they’re doing the same – especially if they’re mixing rooms in a single box.
  8. Tips for packing your boxes:
    – Lay plates and glass (like picture frames) on end instead of stacking them flat. They are less likely to break, but you’ll still need to be careful.
    – Pack boxes solid, even if you have to fill with packing paper or some other filler. The boxes will be less likely to crumple and either create a box avalanche or crush the contents inside.
    – If you have a lot of books, find or purchase the letter-sized banker’s boxes available from office supply stores. Even if you pack the box full of nothing but books, they won’t be too heavy to lift. (Better yet, pack partway with books and partway with other light items.)
    – Wrap breakable items in extra towels and linens to cut down on the amount of packing paper or bubble wrap that you have to purchase.
Those are our top moving tips – what are yours?
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!

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Save the RSS feed and get ready for a fun ride in 2012!

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).