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Unique Art Show in San Diego: Fluid Art by Gary Bell and Jeffrey Taylor

Are you looking for a new work of art to brighten up your office?  Do you want to collect or commission a one-of-a-kind piece from an up and coming local artist?  On this episode of Live, Laugh and Learn With Chris, we’re introducing you to Artplay® by San Diego painter Gary Bell.  This poet-turned-painter’s love of bright colors and textures has translated into the most amazing paintings, with an upcoming art show you won’t want to miss!

Gary’s painting career happened, essentially, by accident: his first creative outlet was poetry, but he faced an obstacle when the words stopped coming to him.  Since he was still in need of a form of expression, his counselor advised him to investigate painting. Gary was skeptical—he had tried his hand at art before and felt unskilled—but his counselor recommended a no-stress, no-expectation process to overcome his hesitation.  Willing to give it a go, the painting supplies were purchased and Gary headed home to see what the results would be.

The experience proved to be impactful, as the joy of creating without judgment and criticism was what Gary had been craving.  There was fun and freedom in putting color to canvas without overthinking the results, and Gary discovered it was also the perfect outlet to express his creativity.  From that first painting, Artplay® was born, Gary’s brand of bold, textured abstract art that plays heavily on bright colors. As a tactile person himself, Gary’s paintings feature thick, varied acrylic textures that lend a 3-dimensional feel to his work.  His art is more than just something to look at; it’s something to experience and touch.

Art connoisseurs are drawn to this intriguing aspect of his work, something that Gary did not expect but feels grateful for.  He loves talking about his art, discovering how it touches and moves other people in unexpected ways. Through commissions, Gary also creates unique pieces of art for each client’s taste and mood, resulting in some amazing works that will be sure to inspire and beautiful any space.

If you’d like a chance to get a closer look at these textured, vibrant paintings, be sure to give me a call so I can personally connect you with Gary Bell and his Artplay®.  You’ll also want to be sure to check out his upcoming show at About Face Salon on April 7th; titled “Fluid Art,” this collection features pieces using elements of fluid-acrylic medium that will inspire and move you in ways you’d never expect.  I hope to see you there!

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Think Curb Appeal When Remodeling to Sell

With home prices up in some areas, the return on remodeling investments at resale can be good. Making little changes can have big impacts when it comes to remodeling your home to sell.

Some updates will return as much as they cost in hotter markets, but unless your home is in a rapidly inflating city, you may not get enough bang for your buck.

But the lesson isn’t to avoid remodeling your home. It’s to rethink your expectations. Do you want to enjoy your updates for a few years? Or do you want to make your home more immediately appealing to homebuyers?

If you’re remodeling for your own household, updating a home has a legitimate purpose that is unquantifiable. When you add square footage, update systems and fixtures, or rearrange traffic flow, you improve the functionality of your home. Refreshing wall colors, window coverings, and flooring adds to the beauty and enjoyment of your home. Many would consider that money better spent, and if you decide to sell in a few years, you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of updates that will appeal to homebuyers.

But if you’re remodeling strictly for the next buyer, there’s some risk. Will you choose the right elements to appeal to the next buyer? What if they don’t share your taste or appreciate the areas where you allocated your remodeling budget?

Start with what absolutely has to be done, whether you plan to stay in your home or not. You may be tempted to put off replacing the roof for an average of nearly $20,000, because Remodeling Magazinesays it will only return approximately 72 percent of costs. But a new roof could make the difference in whether or not an FHA or VA buyer can buy your home and pass government inspection.

Otherwise, stick to smaller updates that can yield big impacts in terms of curb appeal, safety and building integrity. The top five cost-to-value projects that netted the most return are:

  1. Replacing the front door with a 20-guage steel door – 102 percent.
  2. Manufactured stone veneer — 92. 2 percent
  3. Fiber-cement siding — 84.3 percent.
  4. Garage door replacement — 82.5 percent
  5. Wood window replacement — 78 percent.

As you can see, the most lucrative projects for resale were all about curb appeal. Seal the deal with a new welcome mat, new sconces to complement the new steel door, and potted plants for color. Wow your buyers on the outside and they’ll be more likely to choose your home over the competition.




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The Best Mortgage Lender In San Diego: Mike Solorio of Prime Lending

Do you want to buy a home, or property, but aren’t sure where to find a lender that you can really trust?  Finding the right mortgage lender—before you dive into the real estate process—is vital to having a positive experience with no regrets.  On this inaugural episode of “Live, Laugh & Learn With Chris,” I’m going to introduce you to my personal lender: Mike Solorio of Prime Lending.  We’ll get an inside look at his role in the real estate process, and why it’s so important to get the right advice before you buy.

Mike is the “go-to lender” I use for all of my clients, and he has helped many of them (including myself) to make huge real estate decisions with confidence.  Having a knowledgeable, professional lender to guide you through the process of purchasing real estate is an invaluable resource, especially since those purchasing decisions will be some of the biggest you’ll ever make.  That’s where Mike comes in: with nearly 20 years’ experience in the mortgage industry, he is well equipped to help clients achieve their home ownership goals.  His background in the US Air Force has allowed him to see the world, giving him a broad perspective on life, while his passion for film-making moves him to infuse humor & laughter into what can otherwise be a stressful process for clients.

Whether a person wants to own their own home, refinance or purchase an investment property, seeking the advice of an experience lender is the best first step they can make.  As Mike explains, the guidelines and regulations for today’s lending is much stricter than it has been in the past.  He likens it to a courtroom: if you were going before a judge and a jury, you’d want the most experienced person backing you to make sure all the facts and figures of your case are presented properly.  Doing so enables the judge to make a fair and balanced assessment of the issue at hand.  Underwriting by a loan officer is similar: they can help a borrower put together information about their income and assets to help secure their loan.  This preapproval process gives a prospective buyer much greater success in securing the property they truly want!

While skipping on getting a preapproval with a lender is an option, it’s also a choice that comes with risks.  If you make an offer on a home and begin the process of closing, you may find out that you don’t qualify for the amount you need to finalize your purchase.  It’s best to ensure that you never run into such a sticky situation by searching for a lender beforehand that you can trust, someone you know will advocate for you, help you to analyze your baseline and assist you in making the best choices.

With San Diego rent prices on the rise, purchasing a home might be one of the best money-saving decisions you make.  Choosing a great lender like Mike Solorio will provide you with a road map, helping you to understand the hands you have to play, once all of your financial cards are laid out on the table.  Mike is one of those people you can trust, who always has the best legal and financial interests of his clients at heart.  With lots of learning, and a little laughter, he’ll help you find a place you’ll love living for years to come.

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What to Actually Look for When Buying a House

Buying a new home can be incredibly stressful. There’s so much to think about, it can be easy to forget to check everything you want in a new home.

According to studies, 26% of people view their home once before buying it, while 43% viewed the property twice, 21% three times and 11% four or more times, proving that most house buyers feel the need to go back multiple times to make sure the house is right for them.

RubberBond have acknowledged how frustrating this can be, and have come up with a few graphics that outline EVERYTHING you need to consider when buying a home, looking at both the interior and exterior as well as the surrounding area, so you can simply refer to these any time you need to, and hopefully, you’ll only have to visit a property once to find out everything you need to know before you consider buying.


• Roof – Age / Flat or Pitched / Missing Tiles
• Windows – Double Glazing / Frame Cracks / Condensation
• Orientation – Which way does the house face?
• Cracks – Bricks / Plaster / Wood
• Extensions – Is there any room for developments?
• Parking – Garage / Drive / Road Side
• Weeds – In particular, Japanese Knot Weed



• Attic – Access / Space / Could it be improved?
• Power Points – Where are they situated? What condition are they in?
• Cracks – Plaster
• Damp
• Phone Service
• Safety – What are the Locks like on the Doors and Windows?
• Floors – Any unusual dips or sagging, especially in the bathroom
• What’s Included – Fridge / Washing Machine
• Plumbing – Are the pipes insulated?
• Storage Space
• Room Size – Are they big enough and is there room to grow?

buying 2

Surrounding Area

• Are you under a flight path?
• Dilapidated Buildings nearby?
• Is there a local Dump?
• Crime Rates
• Is there a reputable school nearby?
• Is there local transport nearby?
• Trees – Could they block sunlight or views?
• Shops in walking distance
• Building work / scaffolding
• Pubs / takeaways / bars nearby

buying 3

Image sources: RubberBond



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2019 Hyatt Client and Friend Appreciation Party


Awesome party on the Bay at sunset 🌅, with cocktails🍸🍹, gourmet eats🍤🍮🧀🥖, 80’s music🎶, incredible raffle prizes and even better company! If you were unable to make it, or for some reason didn’t get the invite, send me a message☎️ and I’ll make sure you get to the next awesome event, likely in April! 😎