July 6, 2019

Tree Trim Tips

So, now that we are getting into the Spring season, I’ve been looking getting my trees pruned.  Rather than hiring a professional, I decided to trim the smaller trees that I could manage.  I found a site which offered a lot of great tips and techniques on how to prune a tree.  Besides for aesthetics and safety reasons, sometimes you want to prune a tree to keep it healthy. If a tree is infected, you can trim off the affected branches and limbs.


To start, be sure you have all the materials you need to trim your tree. It is best to wear garden gloves and even goggles or protective eyewear.  Make sure your shears or saw are sharpen for an easy and smooth cut.   You may also want to be sure that you have a sturdy ladder on hand to reach tall branches.  

The general guidelines says that you want to prune a tree during it’s dormant phase, which for most trees is mid-Spring.  It is best to prune away branches when they are young because it is more manageable and the risk of scarring is less.  They also recommend that you trim branches that have weak V-shaped narrow angles, rather than a U-shaped.  When it comes to thinning the crown of a tree, keep the lateral branches as evenly spaced out as possible and try to prune away the branches that may come in contact with other branches.

Now, when would you not want to trim your tree?  Generally when it is in flower or has fruit.  It is generally good to prune young trees because they can be trained, which will help to promote plant health and longevity.  There is so much detailed techniques that is involved in proper tree pruning and trimming that I won’t go into all the intricate details.  You can go to their website for more information.

For the larger trees which I would not attempt to trim, I generally hire a tree professional.  If the branches are growing over the roof of the house or into power lines, or causing a hazard then I call them.  I will also have the arborist come to inspect trees which I believe may be in bad health and to get an assessment on how to treat it or, if it’s completely infected, whether the tree should be cut off entirely.  I am so grateful to have my local tree care company available to help with the care of my trees.

The following information is provided by Gene Olsen, owner of San Francisco Elite Tree Services and Dublin Auto Glass.

May 6, 2019

Renting a Limo for Prom

Prom season is soon approaching and if you live in the Tri-Valley area you should research a few companies in the area so you find the best deals. Unfortunately, because of the demand for limos and party buses, it’s unlikely you will find a discount and almost always, the rates are raised just for the occasion. Don’t fret because they are hundreds of limo and party bus companies in Livermore, CA and nearby cities that you are bound to find a great vehicle for you and your friends.

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Finding limo service for prom is similar for all companies. Almost all limos and party buses will come stocked with complementary non-alcoholic beverages. They are fully decked with a TV, sound system with auxiliary or bluetooth hook up for music from your own device, fiberoptic party lights, CD and DVD players, soft leather seats that wrap around the sides and back, your own private chauffeur, and tinted windows provided by Livermore auto glass.

In reserving for prom, I recommend comparing rates first. Find out if there are minimum number of hours required. Some require 4, others 5 or 6. Find out if they charge by the hour or by number of passengers. It’s also best to ask if the driver’s gratuity is included in that cost and if there are any additional fees to consider. Some companies do not include gratuity and others do. Some have hidden fees that you don’t find out about until they’ve charged your card.

Prom should be a fun and safe time for your kids. Research the company itself and look for reviews to determine reliability and trustworthiness. If you are the parent putting the deposit down for the bus, you may want to have a talk with your teen about getting commitments from their friends before making the reservation. In many instances, we have seen school friends back out leaving the buyer in a situation where they cannot be refunded the deposit. Parents need to hold their teen responsible for any issues that may arise.

You may also want to ask to come take a look at the vehicle before putting any money down. The limo or party bus that you see on a website may not be the exact vehicle that you’re getting. Sometimes photos are airbrushed but are more worn with signs of wear and tear.

There are many good and reliable limo and party bus companies out there. Take the time to do your research and not jump on the first thing you see. Do your due diligence to compare prices and check out the vehicles. Get as much information as possible. Your teen is sure to have a fun and memorable experience with good preparation.

April 1, 2017

Wedding Planning Tips to Follow

The proposal…  such a great time to be in love and engaged… Until the reality hits of the daunting task of planning your wedding…

It can seem overwhelming, so much to do and so many people to please. My advice, try to keep it simple. Here are a few tricks to keep your sanity while planning your wedding.

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  • Begin with a folder, or binder. – write down ideas you have or cut-out pictures that inspire you
  • The Budget – yep you need to figure out how much you will spend and stick to it. There is nothing worse than over spending and having to look forward to paying off the wedding afteryour married.
  • Wedding party. Choose how many bridesmaids, groomsmen you will have and who they will be.
  • Start the guest list. If your budget is on the low side, think about keeping the guest list in check. Invite the friends and family who are the closest to you and leave everyone else out. It may sound awful, but lets face it they aren’t paying for it.
  • Hire a planner. You can hire a planner to help coordinate and keep you on the right track, or you can plan the wedding yourself. This is a personal preference.
  • The date and venue. During the summer months places begin to fill up. If you have a sentimental date make sure you don’t wait until the last minute to reserve the location. Think about whether you will have the reception in the same place or a different place.
  • Book your officiant. Yeah this step is kinda important, so make sure you don’t forget it.
  • Hire a photographer. Your wedding day is a special day. Make sure you hire a photographer that you trust to do a great job capturing those memories.
  • Plan whether you will have a live band, or a DJ., and book them.
  • Will there be food? If so is family providing it or will you hire professionals.
  • The dress. This is fun!!! make sure to go dress shopping so there is time for it to be altered.
  • Hotel rooms. Reserve hotel rooms for the out of town guests
  • Yep you don’t want to forget to register at a couple of your favorite places.
  • Make sure to plan what you want to say on your invites! Do you want to create them yourself or hire someone to do it? To keep the budget down, you may want to customize them yourself and do them yourself.
  • Where would you like to go? Make sure to plan this in advance.
  • Bridesmaids’ dresses. This takes awhile to choose and then of course most likely they need to be ordered, so leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Hire a florist. It can wait for awhile so you know all the details before you hire one. Most often a florist can manage multiple venues on any given day.
  • Oh the cake!!! Choose a few bakers, go and taste test them all before you choose your baker.
  • For those out of town guests, you may want to have a town car or limousine pick them up. How do you want to arrive and leave your wedding? If the ceremony is in a different location, think about a party bus for your guests.
  • Rehearsal dinner. Where would you like this to be? For those out-of-town guests, how will they be arriving to the dinner? Plan in advance for a limo or a party bus for all of your out-of-town-guests.
  • Hair and Makeup. Go to a quality person to have your hair and makeup done and don’t wait until the last minute to schedule this, especially if it is during the summer months. Will you be paying for your bridesmaids to have their hair and makeup done as well? Make sure to use a quality place that can handle multiple customers at once.
  • Enjoy a Bachelor/Bachelorette party! This can be done separate or have a co-ed one. Make sure your maid of honor and best man are taking care of this. If they haven’t mentioned it to you, feel free to ask them. Maybe even hint you about where you want to go and how you want to arrive.
  • Break in those shoes. There is nothing worse than having brand new heals that you haven’t broken in.
  • Pack for your honeymoon!!
  • Don’t forget to show up for the important day!

Of course this is just an overview of the most important tasks that need to be planned for. Most importantly though, have fun and don’t take yourself to seriously. Keep humor at the forefront even when the going gets tough.

November 5, 2014

Travel Tips for Europe

Taking a trip overseas can be a daunting task, especially for first-timers. How you pack can be just as important as what you pack. You could end up overspending on things that you may not even need or be encumbered by taking too much with you. Other differences in European airlines may include the possibility of being charged to check even one bag, let alone two. This is more common with flights within Europe, but it’s best to be prepared the most by only packing the essentials.

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Clothing Tips

Although Europe is a diverse place, the climate for the majority of popular destinations is shares a general temperature range akin to NY or the Midwest in the States. It is highly recommended to pack a decent pair or two of jeans to comfortable and prepared for the sudden changes in temperature that is common in places like France, Denmark, Germany, and so on. Same goes for other basic temperate weather gear. You may not get extremes of either end of the thermometer, however, do expect the weather to change multiple times throughout the course of the day.

The key is to resist the temptation to pack only fashionable clothing. You’ll regret your decision when arrive in your heels or boots and quickly find out that you underestimated just how much walking you’ll do while in most European countries.

Pack Light

Don’t forget how affordable many basic essentials can be in Europe. You could pack your own raincoat or umbrella, but you could save that precious packing space by simply picking one up after you arrive, to account for the common surprise rain showers experienced in Britain, France, or Italy.

Another thing that may be a big hassle and possible liability on a trip overseas may be packing your own personal laptop when it is probably unnecessary. There are many major European cities that have excellent access to the internet, whether that would be at the hotel, cafes, or ad-hoc access points. You’re probably better off investing in a travel keyboard for your smartphone and using that to be able to communicate efficiently while away from home. That’s just one less thing worry about getting damaged, lost in baggage claims, or stolen while away from your hotel.

Lastly, packing light also includes your wallet. Never be stuck carrying too much in cash. While there are some places where your plastic is useless, if you’re going to carry cash around on you, try to stash it on various locations on your person, i.e. some in your sock, some in your front pocket, and the classic underwear hiding place. Pick-pocketers will target tourists and they are good at what they do.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind the next time you take a trip to Europe.  You can save yourself a lot of stress during your next transportation to the airport as you are heading home at the end of your trip.


October 30, 2014

Hop on the Party Bus!

If you’re looking to take your day of celebration to the next level, without leaving it on the dance floor, then you should consider upgrading your ride to a party bus. Sometimes referred to as a limo bus, party van, or luxury bus, they are basically a large tour bus with customized interiors that allow for more room to move in and with luxurious trappings that you would expect from a limousine. These party buses are created specifically to meet the demands of large events, such as: birthdays, proms, sporting events, weddings, and corporate get-togethers. Welcome to the evolution of punch bowls and disco balls.

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Bring the Party with You

Most party bus providers carry a fleet of party buses that range in occupancy, from around 10 people, all the way up to 50 or more. Some companies really trick-out their buses and reinvent the concept of a party bus. You only need to do a few quick searches online to see some of the crazy party buses that celebrities will contract for their parties to get an idea of what is possible with the mobile party concept.

Standard limousines usually offer a fair deal of luxury fittings and requests, but party buses take it to the next level. You have the standard fanfare of plasma TVs, surround sound system, leather seats with temp controls, and so-on. Then, you have other customer features like smoke machines, fully-stocked bars, strip poles, gaming systems, and karaoke, of course.

Arrive in-style

Apart from the obvious luxury value inside party buses, there is also the equally important aspect of getting all your friends and family to where they need to go, without the need for separate vehicles, directions, or scheduling conflicts. When hosting a big event, especially if it’s out of town where you are unfamiliar with the surroundings, it can be a lifesaver to simply schedule events using one vehicle to get you and your guests from point A to B.

This decision also improves the safety of traveling with such a large group, no fears of anyone being left behind or taking a wrong turn and getting lost in an unfamiliar place. This can be a parent’s worst nightmare if the party in this instance is your child’s prom or graduation party.

As with any transportation service, always verify that the company has the proper insurance and up-to-date records of maintenance and inspection for their vehicles before ordering their service.