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LA Wraps Up Chilliest May in Four Decades

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By LA standards, May was a chilly month indeed.

Unless today’s weather becomes exceptionally warm, the average high temperature for the month will be 69.8 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. In other words, on a typical day in May, the mercury in Downtown Los Angeles stayed below 70 degrees.

The last time that happened was May 1977, the same month that Star Wars premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Cooler May months were more common in Los Angeles during the 19th and early 20th centuries, based on historical data gathered by the Western Regional Climate Center. But in the last 100 years, May’s average high temperature has been under 70 degrees just seven times.

Weather Service hydrologist Jayme Laber tells Curbed that the jet streams that brought rainy weather to much of California in the last month may have also kept temperatures down.

“It’s not unusual to get rain this month, but we had a wet May that we haven’t seen in a while,” he says.

Stormy weather also contributed to a particularly cold February in which the temperature in Downtown LA didn’t once climb above 70 degrees.

May was warmer than that, and the average low temperature of 56.7 degrees was closer to what the area has seen in typical years.

The chilliest average low ever recorded in May was 50.1 degrees, all the way back in 1879. The warmest average high, meanwhile, was 82.2 degrees in the steamy May of 1984, as Los Angeles prepared for the Summer Olympics.

Cool temperatures are expected to persist into the start of June. The weather service projects cloudy weather this weekend, with possible showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday in the mountains.

In Downtown LA, expect fog and temperatures in the 60s and very low 70s.

Originally posted by curbed.com. Written by Elijah Chiland, Photo courtesy of Mike Mainz/Getty Images.

Unpopular Opinion: Overplanning Your Vacation Will Make It Less Stressful

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You’re in a new-to-you city and your stomach is growling. The tour you went on finished a bit later than anticipated, and your schedule for the day has been shifted. With not much to go by, you might slip into a tourist trap or shell out your hard-earned cash for a snack that hardly makes an impression. This scenario, however, is totally avoidable—if only you planned things differently.

A recent piece in The New York Times, written by Geoffrey Morrison, disagrees. Morrison’s premise, rather, is the exact opposite: He stipulates that overplanning is what’s making your vacations more stressful than necessary. I am here to suggest otherwise. See, it’s not about planning more—it’s about planning differently.

The best way to effectively plan a vacation is to do so in a way that allows just enough flexibility but doesn’t leave you with empty pockets of time that could otherwise be used to pop into that concept shop you’ve been wanting to check out, or grabbing a gelato from that place your coworker recommended. The secret is in your Google Drive.

That is, it’s in the Google spreadsheets, docs, and, most important of all, maps that you create to document your day-by-day vacation plan, your must-see spots, and every little thing that you hope to accomplish on your trip. It’s worth it, and it’s not as intimidating a process as it sounds, I promise.

Map it out

Google maps are the most invaluable things to have when you’re traveling, and that extends far beyond using the maps purely for directional guidance. When I’m traveling, I make a Google map of my destination, and from there, I make color-coded pins of my lodging and the museums, sight-seeing spots, coffee shops, stores, and restaurants that I want to visit. In each, I write a short sentence about what the spot is and why I marked it (it’s very easy to forget which museum had that cool new exhibition and which coffee shop is best known for its cinnamon buns, after all). Don’t feel pressured to get too detailed—we’ll get into that later.

The reason why the map is so crucial is because it allows you to navigate your destination in a way that maximizes your time. When you can visualize where things are clustered, you can better figure out a plan for your day, and when hunger strikes or you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, you can actually make the most of it: Just open up your map and find something interesting nearby!

Create your own guidebook

Okay, now comes the detail work: If you’re anything like me, at least half the fun of traveling is eating. With plenty of research, it’s easy enough to come up with a list of restaurants that pique your interest. It’s in your own best interest to organize your findings in a way that makes things simple: in a color-coded Google doc that serves as your own personal guidebook.

Your map will help you figure out where to go; your guidebook will tell you what to do, eat, or see when you get there. Found some restaurants off a travel guide? Take note of any dishes it recommended. Saw a Yelp review that recommended a specific route through a museum? Write that down! The little things are what make vacations feel special; after all, you should take any tips you can get.

Slot things in an itinerary

Now that you’ve done your homework, you’ll be far better equipped to map out your day. Make a master Google doc itinerary for everyone on your trip that includes all your flight and hotel info (this will save you plenty of headaches) and a general outline of what you’d like to do each day.

Itineraries make it easy to figure out what shape your day will take, but they are by no means restrictive, as long as you take them with a grain of salt. At the very least, they’ll help you start each day with everyone on the same foot—and if you choose to change an activity or check out a different restaurant, so be it. Even chronic overplanners can appreciate a bit of flexibility. After all, they’re prepared for anything.

Originally posted by domino.com. Written by Rebecca Deczynski, photo courtesy of Grzywinski and Ponz.

Just Because It’s Called Wallpaper Doesn’t Mean It Can’t Go on Your Ceilings

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Look up: What you see is probably more boring than it deserves to be. Chances are your ceiling is plain and all white, or, if you’re a bit more adventurous, maybe it’s a solid color—but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, we’re convinced you should put wallpaper on your ceiling.

Maybe you’re intimidated by the prospect of pattern right above you or you’re not sure if a bit of upside down florals is quite right for your space—fair enough! That’s why we’ve gathered plenty of inspiration to help you figure out not only what kind of wallpaper your heart desires, but also how to make it flow with the rest of your interior. After all, this look isn’t just reserved for the maximalists among us.

Whether you go crazy for floral print (groundbreaking, right?) or you want to look into some subtler options, we’ve got your back. Virtually any space can look even cooler with some wallpaper on the ceiling. You might even feel compelled to add it to every single room.

If you like things simple…with a twist

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PHOTO BY MARY CRAVEN DAWKINS

If this Nashville office didn’t feature the bright pink floral wallpaper that makes it so special, it would be a pretty toned-down interior. All-white shelving and cabinets present a blank canvas, so you can truly go all out on a definitively loud wallpaper. If you’re adding this wallpaper in a kitchen, make sure your tile or countertop doesn’t compete with the pattern.

If you’re all about a retro vibe

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PHOTO BY CLAIRE ESPARROS_FOR_HOMEPOLISH_DESIGN BY CRYSTAL SINCLAIR

There’s something timelessly cool about a banana leaf wallpaper, but you don’t have to apply it for wall-to-wall coverage. In this entryway by Crystal Sinclair, it brightens up a boho-minimalist design and makes the space look even bigger. Consider this proof that large-scale patterns fare well in small spaces.

 

If you live for the drama

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PHOTO BY JESSICA ANTOLA

There’s no need to tone down the rest of your space if you want to add a print to your ceilings, as artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm proves in her Georgia home. Ultra-simple dash wallpaper looks coy paired with lipstick-red walls. Since this living room is rife with plenty of dramatic colors, a toned-down, black-and-white ceiling makes sense. It also ties together the graphic elements that fill the space.

If you like a gilded touch

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1810-13 081810-13 Charlotte Dining Room RemodelOctober 25, 2018 © 2018 / Meagan LarsenPHOTO BY MEAGAN LARSEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Business on the bottom, party on top: That’s how we feel about this interior by Bohemian Bungalow Design. Shades of gray (on the walls and upholstery) make for a pretty neutral space, but graphic, golden wallpaper and a contemporary lighting fixture are this room’s literal crowning glory. Consider this an easy way to amp things up in a low-key space.

If you’re a big Wes Anderson fan

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COURTESY OF COREY DAMEN JENKENS AND ASSOCIATES

This living room by Corey Damen Jenkens looks like it’s straight out of The Royal Tenenbaums.A relatively simple color palette of pink and green appears even richer when several hues within that palette are represented. This small-scale floral wallpaper truly brings everything together: the light pink walls, the dark green sofa, and the watermelon pink accents.

If you’re intent on creating a soothing oasis

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COURTESY OF REBEL WALLS

Minimalists can have patterned ceilings, too! Rebel Walls shows here that its grayscale cloud-and-cherub wallpaper adds much-needed dimension to an otherwise all-neutral room. You don’t have to overthink this one.

If you’re not afraid of a little allover pattern

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GB, London, Apartment Filippo, Architekten: SAF Studio Alexander Fehre, Fertigstellung: 2015,mention of copyright, complimentary copy, FUER WERBENUTZUNG RUECKSPRACHE ERFORDERLICH!/ PERMISSION REQUIRED FOR ADVERTISING!COURTESY OF STUDIO ALEXANDER FEHRE

Hey, just because we think you should apply wallpaper to your ceiling doesn’t mean we think that’s the only place where you should do so. Alexander Fehre shows that wallpaper can be used to make your favorite nook even cozier when it’s applied to walls and ceiling. This technique is best done with a relatively simple print—and it doesn’t hurt to throw an accent color into the mix.

Originally posted by domino.com. Written by Rebecca Deczynski.

The Benefits of a 20% Down Payment

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If you are in the market to buy a home this year, you may be confused about how much money you need to come up with for your down payment. Many people you talk to will tell you that you need to save 20% or you won’t be able to secure a mortgage.

The truth is that there are many programs available that let you put down as little as 3%. Those who have served our country could qualify for a Veterans Affairs Home Loan (VA) without needing a down payment.

These programs have cut the savings time that many families would need to compile a large down payment from five or more years down to a year or two. This allows them to start building family wealth sooner.

So then, why do so many people believe that they need a 20% down payment to buy a home? There has to be a reason! Today, we want to talk about four reasons why putting 20% down is a good plan, if you can afford it.

1. Your interest rate will be lower.

Putting down a 20% down payment vs. a 3-5% down payment shows your lender/bank that you are more financially stable, thus a good credit risk. The more confident your bank is in your credit score and your ability to pay your loan, the lower the rate they will be willing to give you.

2. You’ll end up paying less for your home.

The bigger your down payment, the lower your loan amount will be for your mortgage. If you are able to pay 20% of the cost of your new home at the start of the transaction, you will only pay interest on the remaining 80%. If you put down a 5% down payment, the extra 15% on your loan will accrue interest and end up costing you more in the long run!

3. Your offer will stand out in a competitive market!

In a market where many buyers are competing for the same home, sellers like to see offers come in with 20% or larger down payments. The seller gains the same confidence that the bank did above. You are seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved. Therefore, the deal will be more likely to go through!

4. You won’t have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Simply put, PMI is “an insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.”

As we mentioned earlier, when you put down less than 20% to buy a home, your lender/bank will see your loan as having more risk. PMI helps them recover their investment in you if you are unable to pay your loan. This insurance is not required if you are able to put down 20% or more.

Many times, home sellers looking to move up to a larger or more expensive home are able to take the equity they earn from the sale of their house to put down 20% on their next home.

If you are looking to buy your first home, you will have to weigh the benefits of saving a 20% down payment vs. the time and cost of continuing to rent while you save that amount.

Bottom Line

If your plan for your future includes buying a home and you’re already saving for your down payment, let’s get together to help you decide what down payment size best fits with your long-term plan!

2 Trends Helping Keep Housing Affordable

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Two positive trends have started to emerge that impact the 2019 Spring Housing Market. Mortgage interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate loan have dropped to new lows, right as reports show that wages have increased at their highest rate in decades!

These two factors have helped keep housing affordable despite low supply of houses for sale driving up prices. First American’s Chief Economist, Mark Fleming, explains the impact,

“Ongoing supply shortages remain the main driver of the performance gap as the housing market continues to face an inventory impasse – you can’t buy what’s not for sale.

 However, an unexpected affordability surge, driven primarily by lower-than-anticipated mortgage rates, rising wages and favorable demographics, has boosted housing demand.”

Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for most of 2018 before reaching their peak in November at 4.94%. According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates last week came in at 4.20%.

Average hourly earnings grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in March, up substantially from the 2.3% average pace seen over the last 10 years.

These two factors contributed nearly $6,000 worth of additional house-buying power for median households from February to March 2019, according to First American’sresearch. Fleming is positive about the prolonged impact of lower rates and higher wages.

“We expect rising wages and lower mortgage rates to continue through the spring, boosting housing demand and spurring home sales.”

Bottom Line

Low mortgage interest rates have kept housing affordable throughout the country. If you plan on purchasing a home this year, act now while rates are still low!

 Originally posted by Keeping Current Matters, Inc.  

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