Springing Forward: What to Do in OC in March

Spring is a wonderful time to be in Orange County. At The Kovacs Connection, we love where we live and love enjoying the events happening here. Here are a few things to consider in March:

The eyes of the world will turn toward Orange County on March 19th: specifically to San Juan Capistrano. Eyes will look to the skies to see the cliff swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano as reporters and tourists line the streets. You can hear mariachi music in the background, as well as the ringing of the church bells. You are in the midst of a colorful fiesta.

So What’s the Big Deal About the Swallows?

As legend tells it, Father St. John O’Sullivan, who was the pastor of Mission San Juan Capistrano from 1910-1933, was walking through town and noticed something that disturbed him. A shopkeeper was taking a broomstick and knocking down the mud swallow nests under the eaves of his shop. The birds were not happy, aggressively darting toward the shopkeeper and shrieking about the destruction of their homes.

“What in the world are you doing?” Father O’Sullivan asked.

“Why, these dirty birds are a nuisance and I am getting rid of them!” said the shopkeeper.

“But where can they go?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care, but they have no business here, destroying my property.”

“Come on swallows,” said Father O’Sullivan. “I’ll give you shelter. Come to the mission. There’s room enough there for all.”

The next morning, according to the legend, the swallows were busy building nests outside Father Junipero Serra’s Church.

Birds on a Mission

The mission’s padres observed that the cliff swallows returned every year on or about St. Joseph’s Day on the church calendar, which is March 19th. Thousands of orange-tailed migrants fly 6,000 miles from Argentina each spring to reclaim their former nests in the arches and walls of the mission. From the swallows’ perspective, it is ideal real estate in which to raise your young. Billions of insects, their primary food source were plentiful in the open fields and wetlands near the riverbeds. Mud was abundant, which was necessary to build their nests.

Times are Changing

With new construction near the mission, the swallows are making their homes farther from the center of town. Still, the cliff swallow is well loved and protected here by law as a bird sanctuary. Every year on October 23rd, the Day of San Juan, the cliff swallows of San Juan Capistrano will take off for their wintering grounds back in Argentina.

March 15: The Ploughboys: Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton

Just before St. Paddy’s Day, a lively sing-a-long awaits at the Muckenthaler Culture Center. Traditional Irish drinking songs and shanties will provide for a sing and stomp along evening of music, revelry, whisky, and beer. Stainte’!

March 24: OCSA Gala

Every year, the Orange County School of the Arts hosts a fundraising gala to provide a tuition-free, donation-based arts program. Each year the black-tie gala has a theme, and this year we are going to the Big Easy! New Orleans-style theme gala will be all the rage, with student performances, an auction and gourmet dinner. Find your mask and join in the fun! Tickets can be purchased at www.ocsarts.net.

At The Kovacs Connection, we love Orange County and love the variety of events and opportunities to enjoy it even more. If you are ready to buy or sell your Orange County home, talk with us! We would love the opportunity to assist you!

Top Performing Schools in Mission Viejo

Location, location, location. We typically think of that in terms of where to place a business for maximum visibility and exposure to traffic. But it also means that buying a home in the right location can give your children a wonderful public education. There are 78 schools located in the Mission Viejo area, and they enjoy high educational rankings in the state of California. At the Kovacs Connection, we know as potential homeowners, you are interested in how the schools rank, so we thought we’d give you the latest stats for schools in Mission Viejo.

Here is the list of the Great Schools Rankings for individual schools in Mission Viejo.

Good schools start with great teachers, and teachers want to work here. For example, in just 3 days, the Capistrano Unified School District had 278 applicants for teaching positions. Below are a few comments from parents from an elementary school, an intermediate school, and high school. These are representative of all the schools in the Mission Viejo area, but will give you an idea of the quality of instruction and the parents’ feelings about their child’s education here.

Parents’ Reviews for De Portola Elementary School

“We’ve been through three excellent principals during our time with De Portola. Each principal brought a unique perspective and personality to the school, and I feel that my students have thrived with each change. Have there been bumps in the road, yes – but when we personally encountered one, the principal at the time took his time to work with us to find solutions and made sure that we were all a team working for the best solution for our student. We couldn’t have asked for a better response.”

“My daughter transferred to this school in the beginning of 3rd grade, too late to be tested for GATE for that year. She thrived in GATE during her 4th grade year earning top honors throughout the year. Transferring from Anneliese Academy, a small private school, to de Portola was the best decision we’ve made for her education and sociological development. I’m proud to have my daughter at de Portola and I’m grateful for the opportunities she’s been given.”

“De Portola fosters both strong academics and a great community environment for the students. There is great parent involvement to pull off a number of fun events throughout the year…”

Parents’ Reviews for La Paz Intermediate School

“It has been amazing! I was really concerned with my son going to middle school but this has been so organized that my son has done very well there, and he has made good friends.”

“My 8th grader has really soared at this school. He went from average grades to all A’s and a few B’s. It is obvious how much the teachers enjoy teaching by their enthusiasm and my own student’s development. The parent involvement is pretty great. Those parents who are involved put in 100% and put together: International Day, 7th grade Renaissance Fair, Zombie Fundraiser, etc.”

Parents’ Reviews for Capistrano Valley High School

“I love this school! My boys have had a great High School experience and I couldn’t be happier. The staff is always very helpful, our principal has an open door policy and genuinely cares for our students, and we have had great experiences with the teachers that my boys have had.”

“CVHS is really an amazing school that is a source of pride here in Mission Viejo. The biggest gem is the guidance department. My son’s academic advisor did everything should could to take care of my son and he will be attending UC Berkeley next year after a great educational experience in the AP Program at this school.”

“I am a parent of a Freshman at Capo and am thrilled my daughter is attending this school! The academics are challenging, the teachers are motivated to teach, and the Principal takes an active interest in the students. I’ve also received wonderful support form the Guidance department.”

We know that if you have children, or are planning to start a family, that the school district is a huge determination in where you buy. Our Kovacs Connection Team are experts in knowing the best schools in Mission Viejo and can pinpoint you in the right direction, so call us today!

8 New Year’s Resolutions to Make in Mission Viejo

You know the feeling: the morning of January 1st, and you want to start fresh. New Year’s resolutions can be wiping away what you didn’t like about 2017, and starting fresh. But what resolutions make sense?

Let’s Start Moving More

There are so many step trackers and pedometers on the market now that it just makes sense to try and hit 10,000 steps a day. Walking, and moving more increases your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure and risk of several types of cancer. Plus, it just makes you happier, with those endorphins floating around. So make the choice to strap on the pedometer of your choice and get moving!

Let’s Learn Something Today

Keeping your brain active and engaged is just as important as the number of steps you take; maybe more so. It is important to stretch your mind as well as your muscles. Don’t go to the same 3 or 4 websites you read every day; expand your horizons. TED talks can be a great way to expose your brain to new ideas. You can find them on YouTube and just find one talk a day (none of them area very long) that interests you.

Let’s Meditate or Pray

Did you know that praying and meditating lowers your blood pressure, lessens anxiety and improves your mood? Getting quiet and intentional about meditation and prayer can get you better ready for the day.

It’s Play Time!

We can get so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we forget how to play. Find a 4 year-old and they can show you! Allow yourself the option to kick back and play like there’s nobody watching!

Take Time for Thanks

Stop. Really stop, and think about your life, and the blessings you enjoy. We spend so much time thinking about what we don’t have, or what we should have, or what we could have had, that we don’t appreciate what we have right in front of us. People who make a conscious effort to be grateful are better able to overcome adversity, and they sleep better, too. Plus, they have happier relationships with other people. Guess why? The other people know they are appreciated, which makes them happier to be around… you! Win, win.

Time to Let Procrastination Go

Yes, if you are a procrastinator, you won’t like this very much. But it’s still true. Decide that in 2018 procrastination is not your friend. Oftentimes, the best thing to do is to do what you are dreading the most first. You get it out of the way, and everything else is easy. Try it once and see if you agree.

Bucket List Time

There is nothing like travel to hit the ‘reset’ button on your life. We can get so involved in our own worlds that we fail to see the greater world around us. Travel allows us the opportunity to meet people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds, and can open our eyes to new sights and perspectives.
Nature’s Cool: Chill Out

In general, we spend far too much time in front of our TV’s, our computers, and our smart phones. We spend very little time hanging out in nature. It is amazing how gratifying and happy it can make you to observe nature. See what happens when a pair of cardinals build a nest close to your back door, or when wrens decide to lay some eggs in a hanging pot. Nature is astoundingly beautiful and interesting. Don’t miss it!

So you have your New Year’s resolutions figured out: how do you want to spend the last day of 2017? Ring in the new year with these magnificent events around Orange County!
New Year’s Eve Ideas

New Year’s Eve Yacht Party— Newport Harbor

You can ring in the new year aboard the 130-foot yacht The Ambassador. The floating party includes champagne, appetizers and a dance floor.

Disneyland will be the scene for parades, shows and fireworks at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. The fireworks shows will be held at 9:30pm and 11:59pm.

There will be a Senior’s New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance at Dana Point. The fun will be held at the Dana Point Community center on Del Obispo Street.

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park will celebrate the new year with shows, parties and fireworks on December 31st.

New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Cruise — Newport Beach

Hornblower Cruises is hosting a dinner cruise which will board at 8:30pm at Hornblower South.

At The Kovacs Connection, we love connecting with you to find the perfect home! Let our team of professionals assist you in finding your perfect spot for the new year!

Why Walking and Jogging in Orange County Make You Live Longer

Okay, so are you a walker… or a jogger? Generally speaking, you’ll fall into one category or the other. Both walking and jogging offer enormous health benefits. It is one of the most economical ways to stay fit, with just investing in the cost of a good pair of shoes. Depending on your intensity, you can enjoy a runner’s high, increased metabolism, increased stamina, or the emotional and psychological benefits that come from walking in nature and having time to reflect. Everyone is different, and occasionally someone is a runner and a walker. Either way, it will make you live longer.

Did you realize how many ways lacing up your shoes can help your health? The American Heart Association says walking will cut your risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Now that’s a good deal. If you walk every day you will burn calories and improve your muscle strength. Your heart will thank you, too. Plus, the stronger you are, the more able you are to ward off the cold and flu, which will keep you healthier. You may have heard of endorphins: walking and jogging release these naturally-occurring chemicals inside the body, which keeps us energized and in a very good mood!

Hip flexors. Joint ligaments. Hamstrings. Abs. Calves. Glutes. Heart. Pretty much everything from your neck to your knees benefits from jogging and brisk walking. We’ve talked about the physical benefits, but those endorphins are important, adding benefits like improved mental health, physical self-perception and esteem.

Jogging and Weight Loss

According to the New York Times, runners lose more abdominal fat than walkers. But for some people, due to joint replacement or other physical barriers, walking is their only option, and it is a good one. It will reduce your risk of heart disease, is inexpensive, and you can walk pretty much anywhere.

Watch Your Form

Whether walking or jogging, be sure to check your form. It’s always best to gently stretch your calf muscles and hamstrings before heading out. Then make sure your posture is good, and pull in your abdominal muscles to increase your core strength. Have you ever used a pedometer? It’s good to aim for 10,000 steps every day, and step tracking devices can really be a wake-up call if you are being too much of a desk jockey and not hitting the pavement enough.

Where to Walk in Orange County

Okay, so you’re ready to hit the trail, but want a few new ideas of places to go to get in those 10,000 steps. Here are a ideas for walking trails in SoCal.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

This park is home to 30 miles of trails, and 4500 acres of pure beauty. Many endangered plants and animals enjoy the area as a sanctuary.

Top of the World

On a clear day, you can see forever from Top of the World at Alta Laguna Park. From Catalina Island to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, this park has it all, with great hiking and jogging trails to kids’ parks, tennis and basketball courts, and fields for baseball or soccer.

Balboa Island Loop

Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Mae West, James Cagney and Shirley Temple. They have all owned yachts around Balboa Island, and it is a great place for walkers and joggers alike. Take the ferry to the island and get your steps in! There are tons of paved walking paths around Balboa Island, and you can click off the steps and enjoy the scenery.

At The Kovacs Connection, we love showing you the amazing properties in Orange County that you can call home. Give us a call to check them out, and in the meantime, we’ll see you out on a hike!

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Living in Coto de Caza

Our zip code is 92679. Welcome to Coto de Caza. We love this area and would love to invite you in as a new neighbor. If you are not familiar with the area, we thought we’d give you a few little known facts to set the stage for this magnificent part of Orange County!

  1. Coto de Caza is known as a CDP (a Census Designated Place) and is a gated, guarded suburban planned community of around 4000 homes. As of the last census taken in 2010, almost 15 thousand people call it home. It is one of Orange County’s oldest and most expensive planned communities. The name Coto de Caza means ‘hunting preserve’ in Spanish. In 1968, the area was envisioned as a hunting lodge. That vision came true, now known as the Lodge at Coto de Caza. The community also includes Los Ranchos Estates, a rural community of more than 350 acres that features large custom-built homes.
  2. While it started as a hunting preserve, it has evolved into an exclusive community. The hub of the community is the Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club which opened in 1991. Four years later, another golf course to the south opened, giving residents a picture perfect spot to enjoy a round of 9 or 18. Still, in 2017, the country club remains the social hub for Coto, with residents meeting there to work out or grab a cocktail.
  3. Coto de Caza is surrounded by the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park. The park wraps it’s green belt around the neighborhood on the east, north and south. The park is both a treasure and a sanctuary: it is known for its diverse plant and wildlife. Huge oak groves, sycamore trees and several creeks wind throughout the park. The 500-acre park also boasts of 6 miles of equestrian, hiking and biking trails. A few things have been added in the last few years, including the main country club’s Spa and Sports Club, a polo arena and a dog park known as the Canine Corrals.
  4. Speaking of outdoor activities, Coto de Caza hosted a portion of the 1984 Summer Olympics. The community hosted riding, running, shooting and fencing portions of the Pentathlon Olympic events. Princess Anne of England was here to support an athlete, Richard Phelps, who finished 4th at the event. Via Masala is near Coto’s equestrian center, and it was named of the the event’s gold medal winner, Italy’s Daniele Masala.
  5. As you drive around this beautiful, gated community, some areas might look familiar. The Bravo reality TV show The Real Housewives of Orange County is filmed here. Still, Coto de Caza remains a secluded and quiet community. Residents love keeping up the annual traditions, including its Easter EGGstravaganza and the big parade on the 4th of July.
  6. We mentioned our zip code. Homes in 92679 are much sought-after, and we’d love to assist you as we look for the home of your dreams. Homes on the market here in Coto de Caza move quickly, with the median selling price north of $850,000.

So if you are wanting to call this exclusive, gated planned community home, contact our team at The Kovacs Connection!

Top Turkey Fails and 5 Places to Enjoy a Fabulous Feast in Orange County

Shutterstock/Andrey Armyagov

We know, you tried so hard. You had visions of an amber roasted turkey just ready to carve while your adoring family complimented you on your kitchen prowess. Aaahhh, but it was not to be. Don’t worry: you’re not alone. Many cooks have had epic fails in the kitchen on the 4th Thursday of November. So we’ll cut you some slack, give you a laugh or two, then our team at The Kovacs Connection will tell you where to go to get a fabulous Thanksgiving Day feast in Orange County.

Butterball Turkey has a famous Turkey Talk Line on Thanksgiving, where worried cooks can call in and get some much-needed advice. 50 trained men and women staff a building in Naperville, Illinois every year. They work 12 hours a day to make sure your Thanksgiving meal comes off splendidly. They are chefs, dietitians and nutritionists and they have heard it all. Consider this: on Thanksgiving Day alone they answer more than 10,000 calls from 6am to 6pm. As with anyone who deals with the general public, these good-hearted folks have heard it all. Here are a few stories from epic turkey fails.

When a Turkey Talk Line staffer asked a caller what state her turkey was in (meaning was it frozen or thawed) the caller replied “Florida.”

Shutterstock/S_Photo

A man called in to tell the staffer that he had cut his turkey in half with a chainsaw, then wondered if the oil from the chain would affect the bird.

A woman in her 70’s called the Talk Line: it was the first time she had cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving because her mother had said she was tired of cooking and it was time her daughter got a clue.

A proud gentlemen called the Talk Line to say he had wrapped his turkey in a towel and stomped on it, breaking the bones so it would fit in his pan.

After discovering a turkey in his dad’s freezer from 1969, a man called the Talk Line to ask about the best way to cook it.

Shutterstock/Bochkarev Photography

So… you are not alone. How about ditching the apron and the carving knife and heading out for a gourmet meal? Here are a few ideas for you of places to go in Orange County for a Thanksgiving feast.

Bistango

The Atrium Building provides a picturesque setting for this modern bistro’s contemporary food, as well as the revolving art displays.

Five Crowns

Exciting contemporary seasonal cuisine found in an English-inspired setting.

The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon

Chef Michael Rossi presents contemporary fare in a rustic setting that contrasts with its industrial park surroundings in Anaheim.

Splashes

Innovative cuisine set against one of the prettiest spots along the Laguna Beach coastline.

TAPS Fish House and Brewery

Notable beers join steaks and seafood in Brea’s lively downtown area.

So there you have it. No reason to fret. No turkey to roast. No sides to make. No worries. The only thing you need to make… is a reservation!

Want more Thanksgiving restaurant ideas? Contact our Orange County experts at The Kovacs Connection today!

Why Being Thankful is Good for You

So it’s Monday. And it’s raining. You spilled coffee on your cell phone. In short, this day is looking pretty bleak. So you may want to take your wet cell phone and send a snarky text message to a significant other, but we want you to consider a different approach. Being grateful is good for you.

Did you know gratitude can make you live longer? We know intellectually that we should be grateful, but for some of us, that only happens for a minute or two on Thanksgiving. Everyday life is messy and annoying, and often overshadows our intentions to count our blessings. So let’s think about why we should feel grateful, even if it isn’t on Thanksgiving, looking at our carb-heavy plate.

Shutterstock/Nikolai Sergeev

When you genuinely appreciate the good things and people in your life, it’s good for your health, and the health of those around you. Grateful people are more sensitive and empathetic toward those around them, and don’t have a strong desire to seek revenge. Even if things are feeling dark and lonely, finding the good in life can remind you of brighter days to come. In fact, if you consciously focus on the good in life, the dark spaces seem to fade away.

Okay, you’ve got my attention. Prove it.

Gratitude Reduces Your Stress and Improves Mental Stability

A study of Vietnam War veterans from the National Institutes of Health found those with higher levels of gratitude experience a lower incidence of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.) Being grateful can help you weather life’s storms.

Gratitude Improves Your Relationships

If you want to relight the fire in your relationship, tell your partner why you are grateful they are in your life. People who take the time to express gratitude felt more positively toward them and more comfortable expressing any concerns about the relationship. According to a study by the NIH, both men and women who have grateful partners felt more connected to their relationship, and more satisfied with it. Sounds like a win-win.

Being Grateful Helps Your Heart

Having a grateful heart actually helps your heart. Researchers say appreciation and positive emotions literally protect your heart from disease. Studies on optimism show being grateful can reduce your blood pressure, therefore reducing your risk of hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Being Grateful Helps You Sleep Better

Yep, it’s true. The more gratitude you feel, the better night’s sleep you will enjoy. Writing in a gratitude journal for 15 minutes before going to bed was shown in studies to help students worry less and sleep longer and better. Researchers explain that when falling asleep, grateful people are less likely to think negative or worrisome thoughts that impair your shut eye. So be grateful, and catch those Zzzzzzz’s.

Another Reason to Tell Your Employees ‘Thank You’

Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, a student, a CEO, we all need to feel the love every now and then. One study showed employees who are thanked by their managers are more motivated to work harder. Students earn higher GPA’s and have better social skills when they feel appreciated. A little ‘thanks’ can go a long way.

Shutterstock/Syda Productions

Psychologists say the best way to get out of a funk is to help someone else. That sounds like great advice to us. So we’ve put together a list of volunteers opportunities from OneOC.

  • Yoga instructor for seniors
  • Video Editor
  • Volunteer Reader
  • Grocery Rescue Driver
  • Math or English tutor
  • Habitat for Humanity Volunteer
  • School Pantry Volunteer
  • Spanish-speaking Support Group Volunteer
  • Adult Literacy Tutor

At The Kovacs Connection, we are grateful for your friendship, and grateful for living in this wonderful part of the US. So this year, rather than consolidating all your thankful thoughts into one holiday, consider Thanksgiving an opportunity to start incorporating gratitude into your life… every day.

7 Ways to Get The Most out of Fall in Rancho Santa Margarita

Now don’t be scared. Yes, the wind is howling, the door is creaking and the dog is barking, but we’ve got you covered! Our team worked our way through fall in Rancho Santa Margarita to find some fun ways to spend the scariest time of the year.

Fall in Rancho Santa Margarita Means Orange:

Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Farm

The color orange is the star attraction at the Pumpkin City’s Pumpkin Farm. It’s for fall, it’s fun, and it’s free! We’re talking about Orange County’s largest premier Harvest Festival. Talk about a perfect outing for the family! Free admission and parking, barnyard animals in the Petting Zoo, pony rides at the Pony Corral, puppet shows, amusement rides, thousands of pumpkins..need we say more?!?

Spooktacular Fall Family Festival

Tuesday, October 31–2pm-5pm

What a great way to spend time with your younger children on Halloween afternoon. Spooktacular gives your kids a chance to trick-or-treat in a fun and safe environment. They can play on multiple inflatables and bounce houses. There is also a costume contest as well as a child and pet costume parade. Just think of the possibilities! Enjoy some refreshments and have your picture taken for your memory book. Or Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Snapchat. Or Instagram..you get the picture!

Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas

Speaking of pictures: talk about a great spot for Girls Night Out, Date Night Out, or Some Other Special Night Out! Cinepolis is a premiere movie theatre and restaurant experience. Wander in and find areas to relax, order dinner and watch a frightening movie in comfort and style. Just have your sweetie nearby so you can grab him when the movie takes a dark and scary turn!

Cismontane Brewing Co.

Regulars to Cismontane love its cozy atmosphere and excellent choice of craft brews. Seating at this smaller craft brewing company is limited: the locals recommend ordering a growler. Cismontane Brewing typically has around 8 beers on tap, and many others bottled. Grab an outside table, order a meal from the Thai restaurant next door and they’ll deliver it right to you. Sounds like a plan!

Dailys Sports Grill

College and Pro Football is king this time of year, and the NBA is just getting started. Dailys Sports Grill can scratch your itch for lots of sports to watch with multiple TVs and good pub food. Excellent weekend spot to unwind and figure out what you’re going to wear to that Halloween party!

Dunbar Brewing

This is not a place for a witch’s brew, but rather a cool spot to hear music and gather with friends around a pint. Regulars say the bar will remind you of “Cheers” where everybody knows your name, but newcomers are welcomed with open arms. There are food trucks on location that can fill up your empty tanks. The beer selection is impressive and varied.

Spa Gregorie’s Day Spa & Salon

If the ghosts and ghouls are getting on your last nerve, Spa Gregorie’s might just be the antidote for your worries. It was voted Best Day Spa by American Spa Magazine, Day Spa Magazine, City Search and SpaFinder. This is a unique retreat for women and men, where guests can escape the rigors of daily stress. So unwind in this special space. Body massages and facials await, and there are couples package deals to die for!

 

So.., even if the dog is barking, the wind is howling, and the door is creaking, you can shut the door and head out to some fall fun in OC!

Why Changing Your Air Filters Pays Off In Rancho Santa Margarita

It’s a rare find as a homeowner: a problem that is easily fixed for just a few bucks.

But the team at The Kovacs Connection are here with some good news: change your home’s air filters and improve the quality of your life for the cost of a couple of cups of Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

Now we’re all friends here: you can come clean. When was the last time you changed out your home’s air filters? Yep, I thought so. You’re in good company. Here are a couple of reasons why you need to be heading to the home improvement store:

Why Changing Your Air Filters is so Important: Air Quality

Okay, so this isn’t going to be pretty, but the air we breathe on a regular basis is filled with microscopic particles like dust, pollen, skin cells, mold, bacteria and a bunch of other unmentionables. You need to clean your home, but when you dust, sweep, vacuum, cook and just live you let loose all those little particles that can end up in your lungs. If you or someone you live with has asthma, allergies or other lung issues, this is really reduce the quality of your breathing life. In fact, the EPA ranks indoor air pollutants in the top five environmental health risks. Fortunately, there are high-efficiency AC filters that can catch all of these particles before they enter your home. However, an accumulation of dirt and particles will eventually clog up even the best AC filter and it will no longer be able to do perform as well. By replacing your filter regularly, you can ensure the air quality in your home stays as clean as it should.

So change those filters!

It’s More Energy Efficient

If your air filter hasn’t been changed in awhile, it gets clogged, and your AC or heating system has to work a lot harder just to pump air through the blocked filter. So your system is working harder, using more energy, and using up more dollars in your pocket when the utility bill arrives.

Pay Me Now, Pay Me Later

A huge reason to change your air filters is that it’s a cheap way to maintain your expensive heating and air units. It’s subtle and you may not realize it until your A/C unit stops working in the middle of the summer, but the cause may be that there has been too much strain on the system and it can no longer keep up with the demand. Cheap filters…New system…You decide.

Have We Mentioned It’s Cheap and Easy?

No calls to A/C repairmen and pay their weekend rates. No special tools. No lack of air temp where it’s just the way you like it. Just grab those dirty air filters, head to the home improvement store and walk out a new person. You’re breathing easier just thinking about it, aren’t you?

Okay, I’m Sold. How Often Do I Change Them?

It depends on how often you run your heat or air, what kind of filter you are using and what time of year it may be. If you have allergies and you’re sneezing, change them more often, which typically occurs in the spring and fall with pollen floating through the air and into your home. Experts with HVAC say check them once a month and replace them every three months. Best idea is to put in on your computer’s calendar for Jan 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1.

Enjoy Breathing Easy.

How Parents in Mission Viejo are Helping Kids Develop A-List Study Habits

As a parent, it’s mission-critical: teaching your child good study habits in order to do well in school, and then in life. Televisions and cellphones are a normal part of a child’s life in 2017, but they can destroy his/her ability to concentrate. Here at The Kovacs Connection we put together a few tips to make homework more effective in less time!

Eliminate the Distractions

You know the feeling: you walk into a coffee shop with your laptop and plan on answering a few emails, and the person at the table next to you is nonstop chatty. It’s tough to concentrate on two things at once for an adult: much more so a growing child. Do your kids a favor and create an area away from the TV.

The kitchen table can be a great spot to spread out their books and papers, and as difficult as it can be, the cell phone needs to be put away during homework time. As the parent, you need to model this for them as well. Older students may push for a TV in their bedroom, but resist the urge: it’s easier to study in their rooms without the TV distracting them.

A computer is a ‘necessary evil’ because so many homework assignments are found online.  Make sure you check in with your child to see that the work is getting done, rather than browsing social media sites when they should be studying. There are a few software options to help parents limit internet distraction:

  • Self-Control for Macs: blocks a list of websites during study time
  • Cold Turkey for Windows
  • Stay Focused for Chrome Browsers
  • Leech Block for Firefox

Let There Be Light

Be sure there is plenty of light on the subject matter at hand. Overhead lights, lamps, windows can all help keep your child focused and awake.

Good Study Habits: We’re in This Together

It’s tough for children to concentrate while you are within earshot watching TV. While they are studying, finish up your work for the day. Maybe it’s laundry, writing lists, paying bills. You are modeling focused attention to a task, which will pay dividends in their future.

Set a Consistent Study Schedule When Possible

A lot of parents find providing a snack and a half hour of decompression after school can reset the ability to concentrate and focus. Extracurricular activities can alter the plan, but a focused hour of homework after school, and if needed, an hour after dinner can do the trick.

Write it Down

It’s been well-documented that people who write things down are more likely to remember them. You and your child should pick out a planner and calendar, and when they are old enough, have them write assignments down in the planner in order to take ownership of them and remember them.

Often, students come home with weekly folders that contain the assignments for the following week. Work with them to write them in their planners so there is a visual reminder of what’s coming up! Be sure and include vacations and holidays to keep them motivated!

Remember the Buddy System

Ask your child if they have a buddy who helps them with Math, or English, etc. Encourage them to get together to work through the material, quizzing each other in advance of tests. Just make sure you check in on them every now and then to make sure they are staying on task!

For more tips on living in Orange County, take a look at our past blogs here! And for more information about buying or selling a home in Mission viejo, give us a call today!