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The Secrets Of The Magic Castle A Private Invite-Only Club

February 14, 2020
Have you heard of The Magic Castle in Los Angeles? A family friend who lives in Playa Del Rey promised to try to score us tickets to this private, invite-only club. Months later we were gifted VIP tickets to attend The Magic Castle. Weekdays and evenings are reserved for adults only, however, families can attend brunch on the weekends. The only weekday available was a Monday, which was inconvenient for us. We opted for making reservations for Sunday brunch with family and friends.

The valet was ready for us as we pulled up to the legendary castle. There was a line to get in as the attendant briefs each party on what to expect. The dress code is strictly enforced and anyone not adhering to the code will be denied entrance. My daughter had to check in her coat and was told by the valet to change her shoes. Ironically, once we were admitted we noticed another young girl with the same shoes my daughter was told to change. Also, be prepared to take pictures outside and in the lobby as taking pictures is not permitted inside the club.

We finally entered the exclusive club and truthfully it was not what we were expecting. There was a bartender available as we entered, we were given the schedule of magic shows, and directed on where to go. The staff told us to get in line early for the shows as they tend to fill up. We expected magicians to be walking around everywhere doing tricks. Although, this wasn't the case we had a terrific time and the kids loved it.

The first show we attended was a children's magic show. Our kids sat in the front row and laughed at everything Tricky Tim the Magician did. The tricks were funny and intriguing. Our brunch reservation was later in the day, so we had plenty of time to see another show. The magicians, both professional and amateur, were passionate about their craft.

Our friend's young son was getting hungry so we asked for an earlier brunch reservation. Surprisingly, we were given an earlier time slot. The buffet-style brunch is $45 per person and includes prime rib, crab legs, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, shrimp cocktail, pastries, chicken nuggets, an omelet station, unlimited mimosas, ice cream, and more. After brunch, they gave us each a ticket for a special magic show. Last but not least, Irma the invisible piano player was a big hit. She takes musical requests. My oldest son asked her to play his favorite song "Blue Sky."

If you are interested in visiting The Magic Castle I have a few suggestions on how to get an invite. First, when booking a room for The Magic Castle hotel ask them to also book your visit to The Magic Castle. Second, meet people, ask around, visit magic stores in Los Angeles, anywhere you might meet a magician who may feel inclined to give you a ticket.

For more information visit


Eight Features Of The San Diego Public Library That You May Not Know

January 16, 2020
With over 30 public libraries in San Diego, there are so many resources for people of all ages. After visiting the Point Loma library with my three kids in tow I felt prompted to write this post. The librarian was very friendly and helpful when it came to finding and checking out books. My kids were excited to choose their library cards and electronically check out books by themselves. We were happy to find out the city is no longer charging a fee for items returned late. This library has a good size book store to purchase used books and a large kids area with comfortable reading corners. The boat design leading downstairs to the Teen and Children's area is very fun and has an area underneath for reading.

In January alone the events calendar for the Point Loma/Hervey Library location is chock-full of great activities. There's something for everyone including storytime, lego or chess club, Zumba, emerging poets gathering, gaming, and even a Prep Academy to prepare high schoolers for the SAT & ACTs.

Interested in trying out a 3D printer? Several locations offer this service. Make an appointment at the library of your choice, but keep in mind the rule is one item per day up to 2 hours a day. Scanning and 3D printing are free, but it is required to stay in the lab to monitor prints.

Eight features that make San Diego Public Libraries great:

1. Homework help for kids and teens as well as a variety of events and fun activities
2. Summer and winter reading challenges offering rewards to encourage young readers
3. Resume strategies workshop and What to say during job interviews workshop
4. Resources for Veterans such as connecting them with benefits they are entitled to
5. Reserve rooms for gaming on Xbox or Wii
6. Exercise classes
7. Legal clinic for men and women experiencing homelessness
8. Free computer classes

Get more information about locations, directions, and events by going to their website at

If you have any questions about San Diego real estate or to just say hi, please contact Alexander Pfleger. Our company can assist with selling or buying a home, financing, refinancing, and even reverse mortgages.

View homes for sale in Point Loma.

Point Loma Library
Entrance of Point Loma/Hervey Library

Teens & Children's area

Stairs leading to the downstairs

Computers in the children area

Comfortable reading area for kids

Surfboard tables in the downstairs area

Find delicious food at the award winning French Gourmet

December 9, 2019
If you have been in Pacific Beach you will have likely driven by The French Gourmet restaurant on Turquoise Street. Having been in business since 1979 they are successful and experienced in catering corporate events, holiday parties, fundraisers, and special occasions. Gourmet is the perfect word to describe the elegant wedding cakes, fresh pastries, pomegranate salad, Lollipop lamb chop, New York steak, Smoked Salmon, Chicken Pot Pie, and other delicious food.

Their fine dining restaurant is quaint and cozy. Locals and tourists come to enjoy the cocktails and wine as well as the amazing entrees. You will be welcomed with warm baguette bread and soft butter. The three-course fixed-price dinner is worth it at $29.95. One of the options is house salad, confit duck, and Millenium chocolate cake. The servers are polite, attentive, helpful, and friendly.

I visited the bakery while waiting for the oil in my car to be changed. The hand-crafted espresso drink was very good as well as the breakfast burrito. All the pastries and treats in the case looked delicious, especially the chocolate croissants. For directions, catering, and to view the menu please visit their website at

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Entrance of The French Gourmet restaurant

Bakery case in entryway

Fine dining restaurant at The French Gourmet

Advertising on the side of the building

Surf, Relax, Breathe in the Ocean Air at Swami's Beach in Encinitas

November 15, 2019
One of the best beaches in Encinitas is Swami's Beach, named after Swami Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952). The Self-Realization Fellowship use to own the land comprising of Swami's State Beach park. There are numerous shops, restaurants, cafe's, and the beautiful Meditation Gardens within walking distance. The long wooden staircase leading to the beach is rewarding for both the exercise and the incredible beauty on the way down and once your feet hit the sand.

This beach appeals to many visitors for the tide pools, waves, soft sand, dramatic beach cliffs, and even an outdoor shower facility to rinse off in freshwater. Make sure to visit Swami's beach on days where the tide is particularly low to see the tidepools. Surfers and guests can park in the small paved parking lot or find street parking on the Pacific Coast Highway. There is a large grassy area with benches for those simply wanting to enjoy the sun to study or have lunch with the family.

Swami's is one of the best family beaches because it is far from the road and the area south of the steps is gently sloping and shallow. If the stairs are too much of a challenge the views overlooking the beach below are wonderful. There are many talented surfers in the water to watch and admire. It's not uncommon to see generations of families surfing together at Swami's, adding to its charm. New surfers should keep in mind the paddle out to the point break is fairly long, it can be crowded making surf etiquette a must, and due to it being a reef there are sharp rocks on the bottom.

Nearby Restaurants, Cafe's, and Bars

Swami's Cafe Encinitas Blvd
1298 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
Enjoy a self-serve coffee bar with a variety of options to choose from and delicious food including breakfast, acai bowls, and sandwiches. Guests can sit outside under umbrellas, while still taking in the beautiful weather.

Union Kitchen & Tap
1108 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Gather with friends to drink great beer with TV's to watch sports. Families and dog owners enjoy the outdoor area. Live music and a fun atmosphere make for a good day or night out. Patrons love the Mr. Fox cocktail, the scallops in the jambalaya, and bison burger just to name a few.

Encinitas Ale House
1044 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Popular pub to enjoy amazing beer and food. The menu consists of pretzels with beer cheese, parmesan garlic fries, fried chicken sandwiches, tacos, burgers, pizza, and more. The Kobe burger gets raving reviews by diners.

Encinitas Fish Shop
1010 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
Casual sit-down restaurant with outdoor dining. The menu has many choices like Red Snapper, Fish and Chips, Fish Tacos, Clam Chowder, Oysters, Macaroni Salad, Blackened Swordfish, a Mahi Mahi plate, and delicious Pokie Bowls.

Philz Coffee
1060 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA
This coffee shop has delicious pour-over coffee and excellent tea. Customers enjoy the iced coffee Rose', Mint Mojito iced coffee, and other amazing options on the menu. Parking can be a little difficult, but worth your time.

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Staircase down to Swami's Beach

Beautiful ocean view on the way down to Swami's

Staircase, lifeguard tower, and sandy beach

Peaceful beach, cliffs, and waves

Beach and ocean view between the palm trees

View of Swami's looking towards the staircase and lifeguard tower

Beautiful Swami's beach in Encinitas

Stone, wave art at Swami's

City of Encinitas, Welcome to Swami's Beach, Simple Rules sign

Swami's Ped Xing

City of Encinitas Welcome sign

Dining patio at Swami's Cafe

Swami's Cafe

Philz Coffee in Encinitas

Union Kitchen & Tap

Mural of a sunset and surfers in Encinitas

Relax and Reflect at the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas

October 17, 2019
We all need to take time to stay present, enjoy our surroundings, and connect with nature. One of the most beautiful and calm settings in Encinitas is the Meditation Gardens at The Self-Realization Fellowship. As I walked into the garden, greeted by a friendly security guard, the breeze coupled with the sun made me feel at peace.

Each path leads to a different tranquil backdrop. Thankfully, the day I toured the grounds there were very few visitors. Guests spent their time engrossed in books, focused on journaling, quietly meditating, or gazing at the crashing waves.

Meditation is widely known as an effective method to get centered. With the large to-do lists, responsibilities, and inevitable life changes we all need to find time to breathe and be mindful. According to the definition of meditation is taking charge of the mind and being able to concentrate on one thing. Many of life's circumstances are out of our control; through meditation, we all can gain greater control over our actions when situations arise.

The Meditation Gardens provide a safe, quiet, and serene place to take a moment to relax and find comfort in just being. To get more information about activities and directions visit

10 Highlights of the Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, San Diego:
  • Colorful flowers
  • Clean and serene koi ponds
  • Many green plants
  • Sounds and view of the Pacific Ocean
  • Private spots with benches
  • Quiet setting for reflecting
  • Clean restrooms
  • Near the Encinitas Temple
  • Walkability to Swami's beach and the town of Encinitas
  • Close to restaurants, cafes, and stores
The Encinitas Temple is beautiful and close to the gardens. Enjoy inspirational lecture services, Sunday School and Teen classes, and other helpful activities to deepen spiritual practices. There are services and events offered seven days a week, including energization exercises, study groups, and inspirational services.

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White bench to sit and enjoy the view

Beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean

Path to walk and enjoy the ocean air

Read about The Golden Lotus Temple

Beautiful ocean view seen from within the gardens

Stairway to the gardens

Peaceful spot to meditate

Koi pond in the gardens

Gate to blocked off area

House blocked by a fence

Part of the Self-Realization Temple grounds

Self-Realization Fellowship Sign

Welcome sign to the Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

College Student? Plenty of Study Space, Rooftop Courtyard, Nine Floors of Books

September 16, 2019
Many college students find their way to San Diego, considering it is home to many universities. Some of the well-known schools are University of California, University of San Diego, and San Diego State University. The San Diego Public Central Library downtown is one of the best places to study on your own or for a group discussion. It is worth mentioning the study rooms are for San Diego residents only. Parking is free with two-hour validation in the attached parking garage.

Below is a list of amenities offered:

1. Free two-hour parking
2. Store for used books
3. Gift shop
4. Children's area with nursing rooms
5. Teen section with a snack bar and full game room
6. Large chess game on first floor
7. Several large tables, near windows, with electrical outlets
8. Nine floors lined with books
9. Computers on the ninth floor
10. Rooftop courtyard
11. Kassianna The Living Room coffee bar out front

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San Diego Public Central Library


Top 6 Reasons to Plan a San Diego Winery Staycation

August 15, 2019
On a warm Saturday in August, after getting a babysitter for the weekend, we headed to Cheval Winery in Escondido. It’s a quick 40 minute drive from our house in Bay Park. The moment we entered the property lined with grapevines we felt at home. Easy parking on the gravel and a short walk to the vineyard casita and tasting room. The rustic, cozy bungalow had everything we needed including a coffee maker, dishes, refrigerator, and even a frother.

After settling in, we walked over to the Tipsy Barrel Tasting Room where we sampled 6 different wines. Our favorites, Johnny Walker Bay and Red Hot Diva, suited us. We relaxed on the comfortable sofas in the shade drinking wine and listening to live music. It was a calm afternoon, before the evening crowd, with plenty of seating.

Later we explored the grounds to revel in the fruitful grapevines, exquisite show horses, a riding arena, and llamas. The incredible orange blazing sunset added to the charm of the evening. Daytime visitors go home by 7 pm, allowing overnight guests to enjoy the serene property. The three-bedroom villa, available on Airbnb, has a terrace with tables, an outdoor television, and a stone fireplace.

We ate dinner at Vintana’s, a fine dining restaurant, the food was delicious. It’s an interesting experience as the restaurant is in the same building as a high end car dealership. The main entrance is confusing, but once you get there valet is waiting to take your car. We dined on the spacious lanai enjoying the vibrant ambiance with a live band and wonderful views of city lights. Our attentive waiter explained the menu and answered our questions. We went with the Grilled Duroc Pork Chops and Crusted Ahi Tuna.

The morning was a dream, just us and the horses, drinking our coffee surrounded by nature. It was nice getting away from responsibilities and kids. Book a trip or get more information by visiting their website at Weekday and weekend events include yoga in the vines, Two-Step workshops, and more. Be ready to spoil yourselves because the wine is pricey.

Top 6 reasons to plan a San Diego winery staycation at Cheval Winery::
  1. Amazing variety of distinctive wines
  2. Casita and villa available for rent, no need to drive home
  3. Quiet getaway in San Diego County away from crowds
  4. Country Two-Step Bootcamp, yoga in the vines, and wine workshops
  5. Champion show horses to see
  6. Live music
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View of outside from tasting room

Outside sitting area

Tipsy Barrel Tasting Room

Tasting Room and Luxury Villa

Sofas and tables outside tasting room

Vineyard Casita

Interior of Casita

Rows of Grapevines

Bunch of Grapes

Champion Show horses

Riding arena for horses

Llama Holding Pen

Outside sitting area

Crusted Ahi Tuna at Vintana’s

How to Make the Most of Your Visit to The New Children's Museum

July 9, 2019
We were excited to visit The New Children's Museum for Mass Creativity Day on June 22nd. I was looking forward to the kids having fun but dreaded looking for parking. The drive was easy, then began the constant circling of downtown streets. After 15 minutes, waiting for an older man to leave his spot, we finally secured parking. I was thrilled to see we were right around the corner from the museum. The check-in process was a breeze, and there were a ton of activities outside like coloring, painting, and attractions. The upbeat music, dancing, and tasty tacos contributed to the adventure.

Free admission was a plus, so we were ready to explore. At the entrance, there was a grand four-story house. It was overwhelming to see the rooms and interactive structures everywhere. I would say The Wonder Sound was the kids absolute favorite. Several creative rooms, little nooks, and ropes made for tons of laughter — the uplifting quotes on the walls added to the light-hearted atmosphere. My son went inside the big Whammock; it was unnerving because of all the kids. He had a difficult time getting out through one of the holes.

We spent the majority of the time at the clay studio. A staff member kept the supply of clay and tools coming. My kids made several pieces to bring home, such as a little cup and saucer. It was entertaining to see how creative the kids and parents were getting. Also, the flower truck was a massive hit because the children could let loose with the paint.

Here are some tips on how to take full advantage of the museum:
  • Get there early to find parking on the street or in the garage
  • Pre-plan the attractions you want to see because there is several to choose from and there may not be enough time to see them all
  • Have the kids wear bright colored shirts because they can get lost in the crowd
  • Bring old clothes and wet wipes because they will get dirty
  • Bring snacks and water because the food is expensive at the cafe
  • If you're a local it's more cost effective to buy the membership
  • Specific restrooms are busier than others so if the line is too long there should be another one nearby
If you are looking to get more than a day of fun at the museum, look into the camps, community programs, and toddler classes. They offer a membership that includes unlimited admission, discounts, and other extra benefits. Learn more by visiting their website at

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In front of The New Children's Museum

View of the four-story house from the stairs

The Flower Truck

Near the cafe and restrooms

The Wonder Sound

The cool view above The Wonder Sound

The view from the entrance we came in

The Wammock

View from the top floor

The Tot Studio

The Clay Studio

Do you Want to Impress Your Guests? Nothing Beats Siesel's Old Fashioned Meats

June 10, 2019
Have you ever really wanted to impress your special guests, but ended up driving around to 5 different stores settling for second best? I know I have more than once.

When I walked into the entrance of Siesel's in Bay Park, with two kids in tow, the first thing I saw was Jullian apple pies. I knew I was right where I needed to be. The fish section was right in front, which worked for me because I was preparing to make beer battered fish tacos for our guests that night. The last time I attempted to make fish tacos, with fish purchased from a different store, the fish fell apart. Thankfully dinner was a huge success.

There are so many options to make the perfect meal. They offer the best meats, many types of fish, side dishes, desserts, and appetizers. If you need ideas, Siesel's has a large selection of food like corned beef, sausages, chicken wings, steaks, port chops, carne asada, kabobs, and bacon.

In addition, they have an excellent deli menu for sandwiches including BBQ Pork, veggie, club, ruby, Reuben, and roast beef. Just grab and go. Also, take-home soups, sides, chips, and drinks. Make sure to check out the cheeses, dips, Julian pies, and specialty ice creams. Siesel's can satisfy the pickiest eaters. Visit their website for more information.

You love Seisel's so much it needs to be close, like within 10 minutes from your home. Driving from across town, sitting in traffic, your guests make it to your house before you do. Time to make this your new hood. View homes for sale in Bay Park.

Entrance to Siesel's Old Fashioned Meats

Entrance to Siesel's

Meat and bread

Kabob's and marinated meats

Prepared meat to BBQ for tacos

Fish and side dishes

Variety of cheeses

Side dishes like pasta salad

Jullian Apple Pies

Selection of wine

Looking to rent first to learn the area? Check out the Alexan Alx in Downtown San Diego.

May 10, 2019
We had the opportunity to check out the Alexan Alx in the East Village of Downtown San Diego. At times clients choose to rent downtown to get an idea of the area and lifestyle before purchasing a condominium or home. The amenities include a "secret" Speakeasy, pool and spa overlooking downtown, indoor and outdoor common areas with giant TVs, a gaming room, a coffee bar, a pizza oven, barbeques and fire pits, a dog run, and a gym. The leasing office has different options, however the standard is a 15 month lease. To apply for a lease or get a tour visit

View homes for sale in Downtown San Diego.


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