Orange County Insiders | 2023

Not all Orange County donuts are created the same. Read on for the shops we’ve identified as the best.

1. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee (Costa Mesa, CA)

Sidecar’s donuts are decidedly gourmet. Try their flagship favorite: Salt & Butter.

2. Oliboli Donuts (Tustin, CA)

Try this: The Banoffee donut

3. The Donuttery (Huntington Beach, CA)

Open 24 hours!

Try: The blueberry donut or any of the malasadas.

4. Duck Donuts (Irvine, CA)

All donuts here are made-to-order!

Cinnamon sugar and french toast donuts

5. Randy’s Donuts (Costa Mesa, CA)

The iconic Inglewood donut company now has a location in Orange County!

Your sink, shower, and tub drains aren’t magic garbage holes. | By Elizabeth YukoPublished May 13, 2023

We like to think of drains as some kind of magic hole that makes things disappear. As convenient as that would be, unfortunately, that’s not how they work—including those attached to kitchen sinks with a garbage disposal, utility sinks, bathtubs, and showers.

To avoid having to unclog your drain, or hiring a professional plumber to deal with the situation, here are a few examples of things you shouldn’t put down any drain in your home—even if that’s the easiest way to get rid of it.

Don’t put these things down the drain

Pouring, dumping, or stuffing the following items and materials down any drain in your home is a bad idea:

Grease and oil

Whether it’s grease leftover from cooking, or oil you’ve discovered has gone rancid, do not pour it down the drain. Even if it’s in liquid form when you dump it, it can still cause or contribute to clogs that could wreak havoc on your plumbing.

Kitty litter

This should go without saying, but kitty litter does not go down the drain—even if it’s the flushable kind. Not only can it cause major blockages in your pipes, but it may also contaminate your water supply.

Potting soil

Repotting houseplants or doing other minor indoor gardening tasks in a sink, tub, or shower may be convenient, but if there’s a chance some potting soil could end up going down your drain, find somewhere else to handle it.

First of all, soil is a lot denser than it seems, which means it can easily clog pipes. Also, if some gets stuck down there, it could make your drain smell bad.

Coffee grounds

Although sometimes touted as a way of deodorizing your garbage disposal, coffee grounds really shouldn’t go down any drain. That’s because water makes them clump together, and over time, they can build up and lead to blockages. Use them in your garden instead.

⏰ This infographic shows whether renting or buying is a better option for the short and long term scenarios.

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Plan ahead with your holiday shopping and visit one (or all) of these holiday boutiques in Orange County! The Old World Christmas Market in Huntington Beach opens today! What better way to start off your holiday season and experience the coziness of fall than with a cup of steaming cocoa or Glogg (hot Swedish holiday drink) in a winter wonderland or European Christmas Market! We can’t wait to visit some of them ourselves! | 07/24/2022

With summer and hot weather upon us, you’d better make sure your HVAC system is in tip-top shape.  No need to call in the pros; here’s a DIY instructional video to help you clean your air-conditioner coils yourself!

By Tara Mastroeni | | Oct 3, 2021

A main sewer line clog might not seem to present an immediate threat to your home (like, oh, a fire), but it’s an issue that should be addressed as quickly as possible. The consequences on not unclogging a main sewer line can include multiple backed-up sinks and toilet waste draining into the tub instead of leaving the house. Nasty!

And if you call a plumber for this rush job, you’ll likely end up with a hefty bill. However, if you’re game to do a little DIY home maintenance, you can unclog a main sewer line for a fraction of the cost.

So pull on your work gloves and take a look at this guide on how to unclog a main sewer line without having to dip into your home repair emergency fund. Or your 401(k).

Tools you’ll need

How to clear a main sewer line clog

Step 1: Loosen the cap on the drain pipe

Take the cap off the drain pipe.
Loosen the cap on the drain pipe.

Use a pipe wrench to loosen the cap on your main line drain pipe before you open it entirely.

Step 2: Open the cap and let the buildup drain out

Quickly open the cap and step out of the way. Any waste that the clog has caused to build up will come spilling out of the main line drain. Allow it to run off entirely before attempting any fixes.

Release buildup.
Allow any sewer buildup to come out of the drain.

Step 3: Feed the auger cable into the drain pipe

Feed the cable into the drain.
Gently feed the auger cable into the main line drain.

Each auger, or plumbing snake, is different, so be sure to follow the instructions that come with the tool for best results. However, the general principle is that you should gently feed the auger cable into your drain pipe until you hit the clog.

You’ll know when you’ve hit it because the cable will get progressively harder to move through the pipe.

Step 4: Run the auger until the clog is clear—and beyond

Run the auger.
Run the auger until the clog is broken up.

Allow the auger to run until the clog has been removed. You’ll be able to see when it happens because the water level in the drain pipe will begin to gradually decrease and then drain out entirely.

That said, don’t stop running the machine as soon as the clog disappears. There could still be smaller pockets elsewhere in the pipe, which may cause additional problems down the road.

Step 5: Hose down the pipe and auger cable

Rinse with the hose.
Hose out leftover debris.

Once the clog has been removed, spray the hose down your drain pipe at full blast. Doing so will simultaneously remove any lingering debris that is stuck in the pipe and clean off the auger.

Step 6: Slowly pull the auger back out of the pipe

Pull out the cable.
Pull the auger cable back out of the main line drain.

Little by little, pull the plumbing snake out of the pipe, hosing off any debris as you go. Realistically, you’ll probably want to hose the auger cable off a few times before winding it back onto the machine.

When you’re done, place the cap back on your drain pipe and use the pipe wrench to tighten it back up again.

For more information, watch this tutorial courtesy of Sparky Channel.

One word of caution about unclogging a main sewer line

Occasionally, sewer backups can be caused by problems that are more serious than your run-of-the-mill clog.

“Tree and shrub roots in your yard are on the prowl for water and nutrients. If these roots encounter your sewer line, they can burrow into it and form a living clog that cannot be cleared by normal drain-cleaning methods,” says Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a nationwide plumbing franchise. “Improperly installed sewer pipes or pipes that may have shifted over time due to changes in your yard are also more prone to clogs.”

So when do you throw in the wet towel and call in the professionals? When you feel that your yard might be at risk for one of these serious issues. Those are the times when you want to be able to rest easy knowing your system will receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.

5 Home Organization Rules Families Need Now for a Smooth Return to School

By Kathleen Willcox | | Sep 30, 2021

Fall means crisp weather, pumpkin-spiced everything, and school and work officially back in session. Since many parents and children spent much of the past 18 months learning and working from home, excitement and stress are at all-time highs.

To tame the chaotic transition from home to school, experts say a little reorganization is key to easing back into the world. Sure, our skills may be rusty, yet with these expert tips and strategies on how to streamline breakfast, lunch, and safety prep, you and your family will be pros in no time.

1. Create a command center

Whether you have a dedicated mudroom or live in a small space, the foundation to organizational success lies in creating a school command center, says Jennifer Johnson, owner of the Closets by Design of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast franchise.

“The vast majority of the more than 56 million kids in K-12 in the U.S. carry a backpack,” Johnson says. “Consider installing hooks for everyone who needs to hang a backpack.”

Above the hooks, add a row of cubbies or cabinets—or a simple shelf with baskets—for the perfect place to put any school supplies, sports equipment, or musical instruments your kids need.

Adding a dry-erase board will ensure that you can track upcoming tests, games, and deadlines.

2. Create a safety station

Every school and region has different rules regarding masks and hand sanitizer, but most suggest (or require) one or both.

One way to make sure your children are following the regulations is to install a safety center at the door that you use every day, advises Laura Ritterman, a mother and owner of food blog the Recipe Fairy.

Have a basket with clean masks, disinfectant wipes, and portable hand sanitizer so family members can easily grab them before heading out.

“Making sure these little details are in place makes things just a bit easier for all,” Ritterman says.

3. Pick the right gear to hold supplies

Some families might be dusting off a lunchbox that hasn’t been used in 18 months—and they just might find some long-forgotten apple slices (or worse) in there.

“It may be time to upgrade some of your kids’ school accessories,” says Eva Petruzziello, a Toronto-based teacher and owner of the sustainable living website SimplenDelight.

She recommends finding a lunchbox with a built-in zipped pocket to store a few extra masks and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

This way kids can easily access supplies to clean their hands before and after they eat, and switch to a new mask if one gets sticky.

4. Plan breakfast

There are a number of ways to tackle breakfast and ensure that everyone will get a healthy, tasty meal—without a side of stress.

If you have young kids, it helps to make breakfast ahead of time.

“I love to prep breakfasts on the weekend,” says Michelle Keldgord, co-founder of Baking How in Southern California. “That way I can make sure my kids are getting plenty of nutrition, but it’s not as chaotic in the morning. I’ll make oatmeal, quesadillas, waffles, and muffins ahead of time, and reheat as needed.”

For older kids, Ritterman says a cereal bar station makes things both easy and fun for everyone.

“I put together a little station with plastic containers with nozzles filled with our favorite cereal,” she says. “I also leave cut fruit in the fridge that’s easy to reach.”

If you really want to streamline, you can place bowls, spoons, and napkins next to the bar, too.

For older kids, Petruzziello suggests agreeing on simple-to-prepare items—such as cereal, toast, fresh fruit, or yogurt—which they can grab on their own schedule.

“Encouraging kids to be independent will help both of you,” she notes.

5. Simplify packing lunches

To keep the morning vibe mellow, lunch should also be as complete as possible before your alarm goes off.

“If you have younger kids, put all snacks and drinks into their lunchbox the night before,” says Petruzziello. Sandwiches and mains can be quickly added during the breakfast rush, she says.

Older kids can be involved in the prep the night before.

“Have a cupboard for healthy snacks only at kids’ eye level,” Petruzziello advises. “This way it’s easy for everyone to help pack a three-snack, one-meal lunch.”

It also helps to have a drawer or shelf in the refrigerator dedicated to portable containers for fresh fruit and veggies that you can easily grab.




Contact Listing Agent Christine Almarines at 714-476-4637 for information or to schedule a private showing.



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We have a new listing FOR SALE in Imperial Estates in Long Beach. Our Sellers and their family have created decades of sweet memories in this home built in 1960. Raising four boys of their own, this quiet, tree-lined neighborhood was a perfect family home with access to award-winning Los Alamitos High School. They even added a great family room to total the square footage to 1570 sq ft, which is huge for a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home! Our Sellers would love to see more memories being created in this home and welcome you in person to see all that this home offers.

The home has received a beautiful “facelift,” complete with new paint, bathroom remodel, and a beautiful new floors throughout. Make an offer today and close escrow in time for the holidays!

We welcome you to visit us at our Open House!

Contact us with any questions you might have:

CA Real Estate Group 
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Maelyn Galapir
Realtor, DRE #02031676

Christine Almarines
Realtor, DRE #01412944



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