Oct. 15, 2020

1% For Good - COVID 19 Relief Fund

During each quarter of the year, Sereno Group’s Coastal Offices in Santa Cruz and Aptos choose two recipients to receive a grant from Sereno’s 1% for Good Charitable Foundation. Each agent has the opportunity to donate 1% of their commissions to the 1% for Good Program which means that it is 100% agent funded. Since 2012, Sereno agents across the Bay Area have donated over $2.8 million to over 193 local organizations!

1 for goodIn March of 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak began, Sereno Group switched gears of their 1% For Good Program to better support their community in a time of need. They introduced the COVID-19 Relief Fund with an initial amount of $50,000 that was dispersed through $2,000 grants to various organizations.

Here are the organizations that have benefited from the relief fund so far:

If you know of an organization helping during this challenging time that could use support send them here where they can apply to become a recipient of a grant.

History on the 1% for Good Program

The 1% for Good program originated in the Santa Cruz Sereno Group office out of a desire to help contribute to worthwhile community causes through philanthropic donations. The program has since extended to other Sereno Group branches and offices in the Bay Area, resulting in a joint effort to support and contribute to local communities. Each office independently decides which local organization they will donate 1% of quarterly commissions to, allowing them to find a worthy local cause and donate where it’s needed the most.

Posted in 1% For Good
Sept. 15, 2020

Local Pumpkin Patches in Santa Cruz County

With the fall season approaching, excitement for fresh-baked apple pies, family photoshoots, pumpkin patches, and scary movies are on everyone’s mind. If heading to the pumpkin patch is on your fall checklist you’ll be happy to know that Santa Cruz and its surrounding counties have some of the best pumpkin patches to choose from! Here are a few to help get your planning started:

Arata Farms

Arata FarmsLocated in Half Moon Bay, this 87-year-old farm offers attractions for the whole family. One of the original farms that made Half Moon Bay an agriculturally strong pumpkin town. Half Moon Bay ships over 3,000 tons of pumpkins all across the United States each year! At the farm, there are activities for the entire family including a hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, haunted house, train rides, hayrides, and of course plenty of pumpkins to sort through. If you’re planning to go without the kids, head up to the farm at night where you can try to make it through the hay maze in the dark. Arata Farms is open Sunday to Thursday from 9am-6:30pm and Friday and Saturday from 9am-10:30pm. Get more information here.

Rodini Farms

Rodini FarmsRodoni Farms, a family favorite, is located off Highway 1 just north of Santa Cruz and offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The pumpkin patch has numerous varieties of pumpkins and gourds, fun photo opportunities, and a five-acre corn maze. It is also dog friendly so be sure to bring the family pup along, too! The patch starts seasonal operations on September 26th and is open Monday to Friday 11am-6pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am-6pm. Details here.

Swank Farms

Swank FarmsJust an hour’s drive from Santa Cruz and you can experience one of the best pumpkin patches in our area. Swank Farms originated as a dairy farm and has transformed over the years. Now Swank Farms is a fall destination with numerous attractions, offering something for everyone! Attractions included a corn maze, sunflower patch, ‘fishing for goats’, hamster wheel, jumping pillows, cow train and so much more. They also offer a nighttime event called the Trail of Lights and Frights as well as a farmers market on Saturdays. Beginning October first they are open on Thursdays from 10am-6pm and Friday and Saturdays from 10am-10pm. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.

While these are larger pumpkin patches in our area there are plenty of smaller farms to choose from to, including:

Aug. 1, 2020

Easy Home Projects

Now that we’re spending more time inside, it is likely that we’ll notice some imperfections within our lovely homes. With more time on our hands, right now is the perfect opportunity to maintain and improve our spaces. Here are a few DIY projects that will keep you busy and won’t hurt your wallet:

 

1. Rearrange

  • Create a new space simply by rearranging furniture that you already own! Try moving furniture to different areas in a room. Move the couch to a different wall or swap out a rug from another room. Reorganize your bookshelves by theme or by color.

2. Clean

  • Cleaning has become an essential part of everyone’s routine, but there are certain areas that might be neglected due to busy work schedules. Under the Bed While vacuuming and sweeping may be a part of your cleaning routine, one might neglect a part of the room that we can’t see, for example: under the bed. Dust can build up here quickly and objects that we’ve been looking for can fall under the bed. Give a little love to this space and you might strike gold and find a couple of bucks that fell through the cracks!

up windows

  • Windows
    • As we’re enjoying our time indoors, we may reminisce about the moments where we were able to enjoy the outdoors before quarantine. Cleaning your windows not only increases their longevity but also gives you a great view.

 

  • Bathroom Drawers
    • Many of us are guilty of trying many products before we finish them and forget to throw them away. Because of this, products we no longer use take up space and can create gunk and residue that sit in our drawers. Toss what you haven’t used in the past few months and organize your drawers with the products you use the most.

 

labeling

3. Organize

  • Declutter
    • Avoid getting overwhelmed and tackle one area at a time. Quarantine has allowed us more time to stare at the crowded areas that need more attention. Tidy up the entryway or reevaluate your closet. There are many areas of the house that need attention.
  • Labeling
    • If you have containers in the kitchen or in your closets, labeling can make it easier to identify its contents. Use a piece of masking tape or tape a piece of paper onto the container.

Are there any other home projects you would like to try?Leave a comment below and let us know!

Posted in Interior Design
July 15, 2020

Staying Active at Home

While the gym is conveniently filled with workout equipment that many of us can not fit in our homes, gym memberships can be expensive and you may not feel comfortable going to a gym right now. However, there are still many ways to break a sweat, in the comfort of your own home or right outside your door, for a fairly low price.

 

Online Fitness Instructors

online fitness instructorsReminiscent of the home workout videos in the 70s and 80s, many media influencers today have created a business and lifestyle that encourages audiences across the globe to stay healthy and active. They provide simple and easy-to-follow workout videos and classes, so you don’t have to worry about what your routine will be that day. They also provide tips and tricks to maintain a healthy diet and mindset.

Here are some via YouTube: Blogilates, POPsugar Fitness, Men’s Health, ATHLEAN X

Paradigm Sport: My favorite local gym in Santa Cruz, has virtual classes available via Zoom. Visit Paradigm Sport for more information here.

 

Local Hikes in Santa Cruz

santa cruz hikesAs many of us are spending more time indoors, the desire to go outside and enjoy the fresh air is more desirable than ever. Enjoy the great outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. Due to Santa Cruz's mild climate and location near the ocean, it provides some breathtakingly beautiful trails that are unlike any other in the world.

If you enjoy riding your bike more than walking, check out our other post about the best bike trails in Santa Cruz here

 

Take a stroll or run around the neighborhood 

west cliff driveWho needs a treadmill when you can walk right outside your door and enjoy the fresh air? As a tourist town, Santa Cruz is filled with quirky shops and hidden gems that you may overlook when you’re just driving by. It also gives you the opportunity to notice the little things in your own neighborhood and a chance to discover new ones. Many of the houses in Santa Cruz are very unique and have their own character. Try walking at times when there may be less people in popular areas. Don’t forget to wear your mask and keep social distance.

 

Inexpensive Gym Equipment

diy gym equipmentFor those of you living in small spaces and unable to fit a treadmill or a whole set of dumbells in their home, do not fret. Exercise equipment can also be fairly expensive but there are many different items that can be used. Get creative and think about utilizing things you already own to use for weights, such as water and milk jugs, wine bottles, rice bags, or cans of food.

 

 

 

What are some ways you are staying active during shelter in place? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted in Things To Do
July 1, 2020

Mural Art in Santa Cruz

Are you tired of staying at home and looking for a reason to go outside? Take a stroll throughout Santa Cruz and discover these local art pieces that illustrate the city’s rich history and culture. Not only are they free to view, but they also allow you to enjoy Santa Cruz’s beautiful weather and learn about the people who have made this small beach town such a great place.

 

abbott square

“Imagine Connected Community”

Created by Bonny Doon artist, Thomas Campbell, this mural wraps around Abbott Plaza and the Museum of Art and History with a virtual quilt of colors, textiles, and references to the Santa Cruz community. This mural embodies the spirit of Abbot Square as a place where friends, family, and strangers can come together over food, art, and play. To view more great art, just take a few steps from the mural and step inside the Museum of Art and History.

Location: Abbott Square, Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, Downtown Santa Cruz

 

beach flats

“Aprendiendo del Pasado Para Vivir en el Presente, Siempre Hacia Mirando el Futuro // Learning from the Past, Living in the Present, Looking Towards the Future.”

Located in the Beach Flats neighborhood, this 190 foot long mural depicts the history and growth of the Beach Flats community. During its production, individuals of all ages were encouraged to contribute to the mural, creating a sense of community and shared storytelling. The mural is separated into 7 panels depicting images of actual community members, vibrant colors, and cultural traditions. Learn more about the mural here.

Location: 133 Leibrandt Avenue, Santa Cruz, Downtown Santa Cruz

 

 

surfin bird

“Surfin Bird”

Located outside of Old School shoes, the “Surfin Bird” mural depicts scenes from Santa Cruz Life such as surfing, the Boardwalk, and sunbathing on the beach. Artist Brian Barnecolo transformed what once was a dull, brown wall into a bright and lively mural mixing styles of Pablo Picasso and graffiti.

Location: Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street, Downtown Santa Cruz

 

louden

“Unify, Decolonize, and Thrive”

Located at the Louden Nelson Community Center, this mural highlights the issues, themes, and experiences that influence LGBT youth today. The focal point of the mural is the bridge of “intersectionality” which connects the success of various movements involving LGBT liberation, racial equity, immigration rights, indigenous sovereignty, and the end of patriarchal violence. This mural presents the past, present, and future of marginalized communities that were once overlooked and are now evolving in a thriving world.

Location: 301 Center Street, Downtown Santa Cruz

 

bay in a bottle

“Bay in a Bottle”

Painted by John Pugh as a metaphor to idealism, “Bay in a Bottle” is a 90 foot mural illustrating the ocean in a long, clear tube, being monitored by a scientist. The scientist depicted is Spanish explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, who gazed upon the Monterey Bay back in 1602. Commissioned by Shopper’s Corner and the Santa Cruz Redevelopment Agency, this mural evokes the city’s natural beauty by a technique that Pugh is famous for called, “trompe l”oeil,” which is used when two dimensional images appear to be three-dimensional.

Location: Shopper’s Corner, 622 Soquel Avenue, Seabright Santa Cruz

 

clean oceans

“Clean Oceans”

At 500 feet long, this is the largest mural in Santa Cruz history. You can’t miss these breathtaking illustrations of ocean life while driving or walking near Bay Avenue and Mission Street. Raising awareness around the health of our oceans and global plastic pollution, this mural was organized by local artist Taylor Reinhold, who is part of Fresh Walls Project, a small group of artists who focus on projects involving community and environmental sustainability.

Location: Bay Avenue and Mission Street, Westside Santa Cruz

 

capitola mural

“Capitola Mural/ Your Capitola”

The Wharf Road mural was first completed in 2010 and then extended in 2015 for the City of Capitola with cascading begonias and depictions of modern people looking upon Capitola Beach. Selected by The Capitola Art and Cultural Commission, artists John Ton and Maia Negre created a mural that brought color and life to a blank cement wall as well as created another beautiful attraction to the city of Capitola.

Location: Corner of Stockton Ave and Wharf Road, Capitola

 

Are there any other art murals you enjoy visiting? Any hidden gems that weren’t listed here? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Posted in Things To Do
June 1, 2020

1% For Good Recipient - Building For Generations

During each quarter of the year, Sereno Group’s Coastal Offices in Santa Cruz and Aptos choose two recipients to receive a grant from Sereno’s 1% for Good Charitable Foundation. Each agent has the opportunity to donate 1% of their commissions to the 1% for Good Program which means that it is 100% agent funded. Since 2012, Sereno agents across the Bay Area have donated over $2.8 million to over 193 local organizations!

Building for Generations is the second 1% for Good recipient for Sereno’s Coastal office during the 2nd quarter of 2020. This non-profit was created to support education projects worldwide with a focus on people with special needs. Cory Ybarra, its founder, traveled to developing countries and witnessed the discrimination of people with disabilities. Cory sprung into action taking both her first-hand experience, a special needs son of her own, and her degree and certifications to create programs to serve an underserved and often forgotten population of people in our world.

1% for good beneficiaryBuilding for Generations offers programs throughout the world including Tanzania, Peru, Colombia, and right here in Santa Cruz. In Santa Cruz, a music program called “Building Rhythm” is hosted weekly and includes music without words to include people of varying abilities. In Tanzania, they built a three-classroom block, auditorium, and operate a lunch program. Husna, (pictured) is deaf, has ADD and participates in the skills training program, where they are currently making masks.

Get Involved

If you’d like to get involved and support the efforts of Building for Generations, you can do so in a few ways.

Donate By supporting Building for Generations with monetary contributions, you will support their educational programs and facilities, help provide supplies and equipment, and reach new communities. Recent donations have helped supply families in Tanzania with buckets, food, and soap where a lack of rain the past year created a food shortage, and where a day’s wage ($2) is roughly the same cost of a kg of rice. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

Shop Through AmazonSmile Shop through AmazonSmile.com and select Building for Generations as the charity to support. AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of eligible purchases to the organization of your choice. As of February 2020, the AmazonSmile program has given back $169,850,767 to non-profit organizations. Shop now.

Collaborate If you have connections with an area that could benefit from these special needs programs, contact Building for Generations here.

History on the 1% for Good Program

The 1% for Good program originated in the Santa Cruz Sereno Group office out of a desire to help contribute to worthwhile community causes through philanthropic donations. The program has since extended to other Sereno Group branches and offices in the Bay Area, resulting in a joint effort to support and contribute to local communities. Each office independently decides which local organization they will donate 1% of quarterly commissions to, allowing them to find a worthy local cause and donate where it’s needed the most.

Posted in 1% For Good
May 15, 2020

Best Mountain Biking Trails in Santa Cruz County

With miles of trails to be ridden and something for every skill set, it’s no surprise that the Santa Cruz Mountains are a sought after destination for mountain bikers. From low key trails with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, if you’re just learning to ride, to downhill singletrack in the redwoods filled with berms, rollers, and jumps, for the experienced rider, you’re sure to have a blast.

Flow Trail - Soquel Demonstration Forest

flow trailRated #1 of trails overall on the Mountain Bike Project, the Flow Trail is a must. This newer trail in Soquel has 3.5 miles of downhill singletrack that’s filled with berms, whoops, and pumps that will leave you wanting to pedal back to the top for a second round. This trail is best for intermediate riders. Directions on how to get there can be found here.

Emma McCrary Trail - Pogonip

emma mcrary trailThe perfect trail for beginners is the Emma McCrary Trail in Pogonip, located north of the Westside. Created by the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, this rolling singletrack trail is filled with berms, jumps, and rollers. It starts at the end of Golf Course Drive and runs into the U-Con and Rincon trail, which makes it great if you’re more experienced and looking for a connector trail.

Ohlone Bluff Trail & Enchanted Loop - Wilder Ranch

old coast bluff trailWilder Ranch has both oceanside bluff trails which are relatively flat and are ideal for those still getting comfortable or if you’ve got kids trailing behind you. Once you go under Highway 1 and start meandering up the hill, you can find downhill singletrack and loops for competent riders as well as sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. 

DeLaveaga Loop - DeLaveaga Park

delaveaga park biking trailOff of Branciforte in Santa Cruz tucked up on the hillside are trails in DeLaveaga Park. Parking can be found in the dirt lot alongside Branciforte by the fire road. Start up the fire road and you can choose to either drop down to DeLaveaga Loop or continue uphill on the fire road. Once you reach the top, you can take a singletrack trail down. With jumps and numerous rollers, it’s easy to pick up speed on the way down but be sure to keep an eye out for hikers with their pups.

May 1, 2020

How to Help Your Kids Before & After a Move

April 23, 2020

1% For Good Recipient - Carrie's Dream

carrie's dream promotional photoDuring each quarter of the year, Sereno Group’s Coastal Offices in Santa Cruz and Aptos choose two recipients to receive a grant from Sereno’s 1% for Good Charitable Foundation. Each agent has the opportunity to donate 1% of their commissions to the 1% for Good Program which means that it is 100% agent funded. Since 2012, Sereno agents across the Bay Area have donated over $2.8 million to over 193 local organizations!

Carrie’s Dream, a dance scholarship fund, is one of the 1% for Good recipients for the 2nd quarter of 2020 for the Sereno Group coastal offices. This non-profit organization provides scholarships to young dancers in our community by hosting a yearly dance showcase with dancers from studios throughout Santa Cruz County. The showcase, along with an auction, raises money to provide scholarships for these young dancers. Carrie’s Dream was created in memory of Carrie McCoid, who was a local cheer coach and dance teacher for over 15 years. Her vision was to see young people get the chance to dance regardless of financial circumstances.

Get Involved

If you’d like to get involved with Carrie’s Dream, there are numerous ways to do so!

Become a Sponsor

If you’re a local business owner, becoming a sponsor is a great way to help support Carrie’s Dream. There are multiple tiers of sponsorship. View the tiers here.

Friends of Carrie’s Dream

Become a friend of Carrie’s Dream by giving $50 to help support scholarships for young dancers. Donate here.

Shop

Carrie’s Dream has an online shop featuring dance-themed products along with Carrie’s Dream swag. View their store here.

Shop on Amazon

We all shop on Amazon, especially these days, but did you know that AmazonSmile.com gives back a charity of your choice when you checkout? Click this link to support Carrie’s Dream through Amazon.

History on the 1% for Good Program

The 1% for Good program originated in the Santa Cruz Sereno Group office out of a desire to help contribute to worthwhile community causes through philanthropic donations. The program has since extended to other Sereno Group branches and offices in the Bay Area, resulting in a joint effort to support and contribute to local communities. Each office independently decides which local organization they will donate 1% of quarterly commissions to, allowing them to find a worthy local cause and donate where it’s needed the most.

Posted in 1% For Good
April 1, 2020

Spring Activities

Spring has finally sprung! There may be numerous days of sunshine throughout the winter but there’s something special when the weather starts warming up and the days start getting longer. Whether you’re looking to get out and stretch your legs or want to attend one of these anticipated events in Santa Cruz, here is your guide to spring activities!

Waterfall Hikes

sempervierns falls preserveAfter a rainy winter, spring is the best time to lace up your hiking boots and get out onto the trail! Scattered throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains are numerous waterfalls just waiting to be gazed at with wonder. My top picks include Sempervirens Falls in Big Basin State Park, Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin State Park, Maple Falls at Nisene Marks State Park, Golden Falls in Big Basin State Park, and Fall Creek in Henry Cowell State Park.

Earth Day in San Lorenzo Park

earth day san lorenzo park

April 19th, 2020

Often referred to as a hippy town, it may be no surprise that Santa Cruz loves Earth Day. This yearly celebration takes place at San Lorenzo Park in Downtown Santa Cruz and includes adult and kid activities, food and drinks, green and eco-friendly companies, and demonstrations on ways to help reduce our negative impact on the planet. You can find more details here.

Wildflowers

glenwood trail with wildflowers in bloomUndoubtedly one of the best parts of spring are the wildflowers! If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the bright and cheery native flowers that pop up this time of year, be sure to check out Wilder Ranch on the Westside, Quail Hollow Park in Ben Lomond, the Glenwood Trail Preserve in Scotts Valley, and the sandhills at Henry Cowell in Felton.

Ducky Derby

ducky derby community event

Saturday April 25th, 2020 from 10:30am to 3:30pm

The Ducky Derby is a long-standing annual event in Santa Cruz. As the name suggests, this event sends over 10,000 rubber ducks down the events waterway. The races are run in sections and winners are announced after each race and receive a prize. There is also a raffle, food and drinks, carnival games, and live entertainment. The event is run by the Santa Cruz Chapter of Omega Nu, a women’s organization that operates fundraisers and events that benefit the community. Event details can be found here.

Polar Plunge

polar plunge event in santa cruz

March 21st, 2020 from 10am to 1pm

Another great event with a purpose is the Polar Plunge. Held annually in March, this event raises awareness for those with intellectual disabilities. To participate, you must fundraise a minimum of $125 which gets you the opportunity to take the “plunge” and run in and out of the chilly ocean water. If cold water isn’t your jam but you’d still like to contribute, there is an option to register as a chicken, which waives you from taking the plunge. The money that is raised will support Special Olympics Northern California. For more event details or to register, click here.