How to Celebrate National Margarita Day in Lake Oswego Oregon

Thursday is National Margarita Day and while last year this holiday may have gone unnoticed in our house, my wife tried her first margarita when we were in Mexico with friends last May and hasn’t looked back since.

Margaritas have that effect on people. A recent survey showed that it’s the most popular cocktail in the U.S. favored by 60 percent of us who imbibe. So in the spirit of giving my readers what they want, and keeping my wife happy, I thought I’d give you some fun facts about margaritas and suggestions for where to grab one here in Lake Oswego.

  1. The United States is the world’s #1 tequila market.
  2. One thing that contributes to the cost of your margarita is the fact that it takes at least eight years for the Blue Agave plant to mature enough to be used to make tequila.
  3. The biggest margarita on record was an 8,500 gallon cocktail made at Margaritaville in Las Vegas in 2011.
  4. The first frozen margarita machine was invented by Mariano Martinez in 1971, working off a soft serve ice cream maker.
  5. Americans drink an average of 185,000 margaritas per hour. I imagine it’s quite a few more during Happy Hours.
  6. Applebee’s ran a Dollarita special last October in celebration of National Neighborhood Month featuring dollar margaritas. A video showing them being made in a bucket with lots of water went viral and soured a lot of fans, but something tells me the price point kept bringing them in.
  7. Some people treat margaritas like a soup pot and throw anything in it. How else do you explain these variations: Basilrita, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Candy Corn and Caprese (with balsamic vinaigrette!)
  8. Frozen or on the rocks? A recent poll showed 91.8% of the votes going to #OnTheRocks, with 8.2% voting for #MakeMineSlushy (my wife falls in the latter category).
  9. Margarita humor: “Some people need to be taken with a grain of salt. Margaritas have salt…just sayin.’”
  10. Here are some places in Lake Oswego to celebrate National Margarita Day:

Sabrozan gives you a little more kick with their Jalapeno Margarita. 17770 Pilkington Rd., 503-908-8488

Jefe’s has quite a lineup including the El Jefe with El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime, simple syrup and egg white. 503.635.1900

Holy Taco’s Holy Margaritas are only $7 during Happy Hour, from 2 to 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to closing. 345 1st Street, 503-675-2726.

Oswego Grill lists two margaritas on their Specialty Cocktail lineup: Cucumber Mint and Fire-Roasted Jalapeno. 7 Centerpointe Dr., 503.352.4750.

Stanford’s, 14801 Kruse Oaks, 503.620.3541 and Nicoletta’s Table, 333 S. State St., Suite M, 503.699.2927 both list Pomegranate Margaritas on their menus.


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Good News/Bad News for Lake Oswego Homeowners Regarding the New Tax Bill

When it comes to the new tax overhaul bill, there is good news and bad news for homeowners. I’ll start with the good.

  • We dodged a bullet. At one point, legislators were looking to change the rules which allow households to exclude up to $500,000 for joint filers, $250,000 for single, in capital gains from the sale of a home. The requirement has been that the homeowner has lived in the house two out of the last five years. Legislators considered extending it to five out of the last eight years. Fortunately that proposal was struck down. Had it gone into effect, first and second time buyers would have had to sit in their houses for three more years, affecting the supply of homes in the lower price range. It would have made it much more difficult for move-up buyers. People in more expensive homes tend to stay put longer.
  • It could have been a lot worse. The House wanted to cap the mortgage interest deduction on the first $500,000 in loans. The final bill raised the amount to the interest on the first $750,000 borrowed. While it’s better than the House version, it’s not as much as the former $1 million allowance. Existing mortgages (taken out before December 14) will be grandfathered in, but going forward, the cap will be at $750,000. This will affect a small percentage of Lake Oswego homebuyers and will play into some people’s decisions to buy or not to buy in the higher price ranges.

Now for the bad news.

  • The new tax bill caps state and local deductions on federal tax returns at $10,000. That means you can only deduct up to $10,000 in property and state income taxes combined. Before there was no limit. So depending on how high your property taxes are and how much money you make, this could leave you feeling some pain. This is another consideration that could come into play as homeowners look at buying higher end homes with higher property tax bills.
  • Home equity loan interest is no longer deductible. In the past, homeowners often used lines of credit to update, expand, or remodel their homes, so this change in the tax law could slow that kind of activity.
  • Changes in the standard deduction mean higher taxes for most of my clients. The new tax law combines the former standard deduction and personal exemption into one larger standard deduction: $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for joint. But while the old formula offered a lower standard deduction/personal exemption of $10,400, you could also write off all your state and property taxes, instead of the cap under the 2018 law. So depending on what that mix is for you, you may find yourself paying more in taxes even with the higher standard deduction.  Although that doesn’t directly affect real estate it does affect people’s bottom lines which need to be considered when buying and selling a home. So we will have to wait and see what the fallout from that will be.

If you’re wondering how to navigate the home buying process in this new landscape, feel free to give me a call at 503.939.9801. Please note I am not an accountant and would advise you to seek one out also, but know I am here to help you sort things out when it comes to making your next home buying decision.



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LO Speaks: Lake Oswego’s Answer to TED Talks

Yesterday about 100 inquiring minds gathered in the Lakeridge High School auditorium to hear seven people share their untold stories as part of Lake Oswego’s first ever “conference of great ideas.”

And while the inspiration came from a variety of experiences including being embraced by a Puma to almost being arrested for breaking and entering a church, there was a common lasting effect they all contributed to.

1. We were reminded of the joy of the spoken word. Whether you are waiting in a doctor’s office or sitting in a coffee shop, look around and you’ll see that the majority of people have their eyes on their phones. They are interacting through cyberspace, with strangers and friends and celebrities, all from the comfortable distance of the Internet. But yesterday in that auditorium, the audience was connecting with the speakers through the spoken word and we were reminded of how beguiling it can be. Lakeridge sophomore Claire Fennell compared following the status quo to following a GPS, encouraging us to trust our gut instincts more. Although she is a writer by aspiration, she is also on the Speech and Debate Team and showed that she can wield the spoken word as mightily as a pen.

2. We were reminded of the joy of thinking about ideas for just the exercise of contemplation, not argumentation. In today’s political climate, it’s hard to discuss ideas without battle lines being drawn and people feeling the need to prove they are right and others are wrong. It was refreshing to just sit and listen to people introduce us to new ideas like “investing local” (thank you Amy Pearl with Hatch Innovation), or “In livable cities is the preservation of the wild” (thank you Mike Houck with the Urban Greenspaces Institute. We didn’t have to take sides, we didn’t have to vote…instead, we could just get introduced to a new idea, walk around it a bit with our guide and then let it settle in.

3. We were reminded that everyone has a story and that knowing that story creates a connection and a better understanding that we didn’t have before. Tricia Hasbrook shot down some of the misconceptions we hold about autism from a very real place—her oldest son is autistic and was the inspiration behind her co-founding Victory Academy, Oregon’s only school dedicated to serving children and teens with Autism. Oregonian columnist Steve Duin admitted to raging hormones and impulsive thinking that found him and his college girlfriend sneaking though an opened window in a locked Methodist Church to find a sanctuary where they could kiss…that is before the cops showed up and threatened them with breaking and entering. The mercy of the minister who chose not to judge them too harshly or press charges endures as Duin reminded us of the lessons buried in the adventures or misadventures that frame us.

I’d like to give a shout-out to Lake Oswego’s Youth Leadership Council who organized this event. TED curators would have been impressed. The speakers presented ideas worth spreading and true to TED style, they spoke for 18 minutes or less. When it comes around again, I encourage you to attend!

LO Speaks was part of the LO Reads lineup of activities. There are many more scheduled throughout the month. Check them out here and here.

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Here’s Why It’s Not Too Early to Make Your Valentine’s Day Plans Now in Lake Oswego

Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions it’s best to plan ahead for. Especially if you want to surprise your valentine with something that requires a reservation. Spots at romantic restaurants can fill up fast. Things can sell out. So don’t delay. I’ve done some legwork to save you time.

1. Make a dinner reservation. A few places in town are offering special Valentine’s Day menus including:
Tavern on Kruse. Enjoy a three course dinner featuring scallop-mousse stuffed lobster for two for $100/couple. Phone reservations required. 4835 Meadows Road, #133. 503.303.5280.
Riccardo’s is offering a special four course menu at $80/person (not including wine, drinks and gratuities). Share an Antipasti and Primo Course (three offerings each) and then select individual Secondo Courses and Dessert offerings.

2. Make something special. Nic & Figs is offering a Mixed Media Heart College class sending you home with a 12×12 canvas covered with a variety of hearts you’ve created out of different mediums: paper, glitter, tissue, paint. Thursday, February 8 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for $48.

3. Do something special together. Nic & Figs to the rescue again! They are offering a class you can do with your child or your girlfriend! Sweetie Pies is a valentine-themed baking class on Saturday, February 10 from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for $44/person. Galentine’s Day is an Introductory to Calligraphy class sending you home with a pen, nibs, ink and practice sheets to perfect scripting the perfect love notes! Tuesday, February 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 425 2nd Street. 503.479.8596.

4. Feel the love. Make a date in advance for Tom Grant and Shelly Rudolph’s “Winter Romance” concert at the Lake Theater and Café on Monday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. Enjoy duets, soulful pop and romantic jazz so much so that your valentine won’t mind having to postpone your celebration. $15/person. 106 N. State Street.

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New Year’s Resolutions for Lake Oswego Homeowners

It’s that time of year again when 40% of Americans set goals to improve their quality of life. By year’s end, statistics suggest only 8% of us will have followed through.

To increase your odds for success, it helps to have goals that are simple and tangible. So for all you homeowners out there, I’ve come up with a few that meet those criteria. See if there are any that will fit your list.

  1. Get your home radon tested. It may not be as sexy as “Remodeling the Kitchen” or “Painting the Living Room” but testing for radon in your home is important and should definitely be on your 2018 To Do List if you haven’t done it already. According to the National Cancer Institute radon is a radioactive gas released from the normal decay of elements like uranium, in rocks and soil. It enters your home through cracks in floors, walls, or foundations and collects indoors. You can’t detect it because it’s invisible, odorless and tasteless but without you knowing, it could be damaging your lungs and putting you at risk for cancer.

The good news is that you can test your home for radon levels and if they are high, you can choose among several options for mitigating the gas and reducing it to a level that is considered safe. You can buy a kit and do the testing yourself or hire a professional. I’ve had it done in my home and found a level that was slightly elevated so took measures to correct that. My neighbor did the same, and although he is right next door, his levels were much higher. Levels can be influenced by the type of construction, heating and ventilation systems, and geology so it’s important to find out what the levels are in your home even if your neighbors have done so and found no risk.

There is a Portland Radon Map updated for 2017 which lists the risk level according to zip codes based on homes that have been tested in that area. In Lake Oswego, both 97034 and 97035 are considered moderate risk.

  1. Maintain your roof. Luckily in Oregon we have changing seasons but with that comes a lot of wear and tear on our roofs from rain, hail, windblown debris, snow, and UV exposure. That’s why it’s important to do an annual checkup or even more frequently, particularly after a major storm. Keeping your roof clean limits the wear and tear and hopefully heads off expensive repairs. It also extends the life of your roof and keeps it looking good. Out of all of my real estate deals each year, I’d say roof issues factor into 15% of my sales. By maintaining your roof on a regular basis, you can potentially avoid it becoming a concern for buyers should you decide to sell.
  2. Take inventory. This is one of those items I haven’t updated in years and need to do so. With Christmas just behind us, chances are you have some new items around the house like a big screen TV or iPad. Now’s a perfect time to document them for insurance purposes should the need arise down the road. Choose the medium that works best for you—video, photos or pen and paper. Just be sure to also include model and serial numbers and receipts if you have them. Then store the information somewhere outside your home, either uploaded into online file storage like DropBox or Google Drive or in a safe deposit box at your bank.
  3. Get to know your neighbors. When my wife and I lived in an apartment the first six months of our marriage, we managed to not meet any of our neighbors until moving out day. But when we moved to Lake Oswego we made a conscious effort to make connections with neighbors both right next door and in our town and it has paid off. Not only does it make our house feel more like a home, we’ve also relied on our neighbors for many things. Once my wife returned home and found the front door wide open. Afraid to explore inside alone, she walked across the street and returned with our neighbor Sandy who was armed with a baseball bat just in case (not needed). Last month we were gone for a week and my next door neighbor Mark brought in my garbage cans and kept an eye on the place for which I returned the favor over Christmas vacation. We’ve borrowed (and loaned) yard equipment, trailers, and even cups of sugar. We’ve attended anniversary and graduation parties, and shared recommendations on handymen and plumbers. Back in 1986 when our basement was flooding, neighbors showed up on our doorstep willing to move furniture to higher ground and watch our pets. Good neighbors help your roots run deeper. The only drawback I can think of is it might make it a little harder to move if you find yourself not only leaving a house but friends behind.

If you’ve resolved to sell your home or buy one, let me help! Check out my website or give me a call at 503.939.9801. I’ve been helping folks move in, out and on for over 25 years and I’d love to put that experience to work for you.

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Lake Oswego’s Lakewood Theatre Company Provides Fertile Ground for Local Festival

You don’t have to belong to the Screen Actors Guild to get a sneak peek at new theater, film or art projects if you live in the Portland metro area. All you have to do is buy a ticket to the ninth annual Fertile Ground Festival schedule for January 18-28.

Celebrating new works, the festival features theater, dance, and animation, enabling audiences to see these creative art forms at different stages of development. Some performances are ready-to-roll and are making their fully staged world premieres. Others are still in-the-works and are presented as readings with opportunity for audience input as the playwright and actors still find their way through the script.

Lake Oswego’s very own Lakewood Theater Company at 368 S. State Street is host to five of these performances.

  • My Audience with Angels, Saints and Demons. Talk about talented! Writer, director and actress Cheryl E. Grant brings us vignettes about isolation, the struggle for connection and love. This is a workshop format, meaning it’s not ready to premiere but is looking for the feedback of an audience to further its development. Saturday, January 20 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • A Woman in Washington’s Army. While last year’s Lake Oswego Reads program introduced us to the unsung women heroes behind our country’s early race to the moon, this play introduces us to Deborah Samson, a young woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight during the Revolutionary Way. This is a reading format with both the playwright and actors sharing the dialogue of the script to give it traction and bring the words to life in front of an audience. Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • 1ne Off! Completely Improvised One-Act Plays. If you like your theatre unpredictable, then get yourself a seat to this one. Audience members can help shape what takes place on stage with suggestions. Voice your ideas or just sit back and enjoy unscripted theatre with the award-winning company of Infinite Improv! Workshop format. Tuesday, January 23 and Sunday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • Young Playwrights Festival. Enjoy one-act plays written by three high school playwrights in the Portland Metro Area who have had the opportunity to work with theatre professionals to hone their craft. Reading format. Saturday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m. $10/person.
  • Parnassus On Wheels. This play, written by local playwright C.S. Whitcomb, is making its world premiere at the Lakewood Theatre Company and so is being included in the Fertile Ground Festival with two performances. It tells the story of a forty-something woman who leaves her life on the family farm to hit the road as a traveling bookseller. Sunday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. $15/person.

For a complete schedule of events occurring throughout the Portland Metro Area, check the Fertile Ground website.

Tickets may be purchased for individual performances or you can buy a festival pass for $50 which admits one person to each production. Manage your reservations and tickets online.

Lake Oswego is fertile ground for lots of things that residents associate with a good life. If I can help make it a place you can call home, please give me a call at 503.939.9801 or check out my website and email me. I’d love to show you around!

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Lake Oswego Reads Kicks Off This Week With Book Giveaway

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton beat out 21 other books to become this year’s Lake Oswego Reads selection.

The story follows the narrative of a 78 year old Arctic scientist and a mission specialist on a return flight from Jupiter as they lose communication with the outside world and face the possibility that a catastrophe may have occurred leaving them alone. It’s ripe with all the ingredients that make for a successful LO Reads: thought-provoking themes, interesting environments, and differing worldviews.

To help us all get the most out of Brooks-Dalton’s story, Lake Oswego Reads has organized a month’s worth of events that touch on glaciers, polar bears, isolation and emergency preparedness. For a complete lineup, check out the library’s website. Here are a few highlights.

Kickoff and Book Giveaway. Bring your library card and receive a free copy of this year’s book, courtesy of Friends of the Lake Oswego Library. To help you get in the mood, book-related food will be served such as trail mix, chai tea and caribou jerky. Each book will contain a passport, which when stamped at least three LO Reads events, makes you eligible for a drawing for prizes on February 28. Monday, January 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

Ticket Giveaway to hear Lily Brooks-Dalton on Tuesday, February 13 at Lake Oswego High School. Show up with your library card and receive two admission tickets free of charge. Get there early as a line forms. Saturday, January 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Glaciers: What are they? Where are they? Where are they going? Get your questions answered by Glacier expert Dr. Andrew Fountain from Portland State University. Thursday, February 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 380 A Avenue.

Lake Oswego Reads Art Show Reception and Meet the Artists. Come see how local artists such as Jan Rimerman, Lisa Wiser and Mary Burgess interpret some of the book’s themes. Monday, February 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 State Street.

Oregon’s Backwoods Utopias: Alternative Living Communities 1856-2017. Explore Oregonians’ experiences with communitarian living which includes New Odessa (a Zionist community of the 1880s) and Rajneeshpuram. Presentation by Dr. Stephen Dow Beckham. Wednesday, February 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street.

Maker Space-Arctic Crawlers. See what you can make with a toothbrush, motor, battery and your own creativity to tackle a variety of polar challenges. Saturday, February 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

12 Years and Counting: The History of Lake Oswego Reads. Learn everything you wanted to know about Lake Oswego Reads and didn’t know who to ask from organizer Cyndie Glazer. Saturday, February 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street.

Thin Ice: A Polar Bear’s Plight Movie Screening. Come see the documentary of Nora the polar bear whose story was chronicled by The Oregonian and Oregon Live this past year. Sunday, February 11 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Lewis and Clark College Council Chambers Templeton Center, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road.

Life and Research in Extreme Environments. Polar biologist Dr. Brad Buckley from Portland State University will present a slide and video show depicting what it’s like to work in the field in extreme conditions. Monday, February 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

Lily Brooks-Dalton Author Presentation and Book Signing. Hear the author talk about some of the themes and the book writing process. Event is free and those with tickets (from the free giveaway) will be seated first. At 6:45 p.m., people without tickets will have a chance to take a seat. Tuesday, February 13 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lake Oswego High School Auditorium, 2501 Country Club Road.

Isolation and Separation Anxiety. Dr. John Schneider, a Portland psychologist, will discuss the importance of human connection and the effects of isolation of our psyche. Friday, February 23 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street.

What Would You Do During and After a Catastrophe? Lake Oswego Fire Chief Larry Goff will talk about what to do before, during, and after a disaster. Saturday, February 24 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Fire Station, 300 B Avenue.

Finale and Passport Drawing. Mental health is a theme that runs through the book, and depression sufferer/comedian David Granirer does his best to destigmatize mental illness with his Stand Up for Mental Health Comedy Show. Stick around afterwards for a drawing–if you have a passport with at least three stamps from different Lake Oswego Reads events, you’re eligible to win prizes. Wednesday, February 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue.

For further information on Lake Oswego Reads, call Cyndie Glazer at 503.675.2538.

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