Sun-Specifics: Tanning Beds and Dangers of the Booth

More and more young girls in there 20’s are coming in to our studio complaining that they have skin cancer. They explain to me that they have been going to tanning beds for years and never thought that it would be so damaging to their skin. I just had a 24 year old girl come in to our beauty boutique needing to purchase a strong concealer to camouflage the cancer she had taken off on the top of her nose. Cancer is not only seen on the skin but in the eyes as well. People are tanning in the tanning booth without using the protective goggles and are getting cancer in their eyes. In extreme cases, girls and boys are losing their eyesight from not wearing the goggles. This is an outrage and parents need to step in and talk to their children about the dangers of sun tanning and tanning beds.
The Melanoma Research Foundation reports as of March, 2010, individuals who are exposed to tanning beds before the age of 30 are 3 times more likely to develop the skin cancer known as Melanoma than their peers who don’t use tanning beds. Classified as the most serious of skin cancer, Melanoma refers to the formation of malignancies in the skin’s melanin cells. Despite the fact that research has yet to definitively pinpoint all of the precise causes of Melanoma, the exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation and/or tanning beds has been identified as a potentially serious risk factor for this life-threatening skin cancer.
Sun Protection and Anti-Aging
Sun Protection sunscreens with organic Aloe Extract, Almond oil and B-Carotene “Botanicals of Life” contain the richest known source of anti-oxidant beta-carotene, and helps protect skin against free radical and premature aging. These benefits are enhanced by a new generation of micronized and micro-dispersed Titanium-Dioxide (ultra-fine mineral pigment of natural origin) that acts as a protective barrier against harmful UV rays that cause wrinkles. Titanium-Dioxide forms an invisible protective shield on the surface of the skin that physically deflects the sun. It’s like wearing a tee-shirt on your face, whereas chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays into the skin. Chemical sunscreens are irritating to the skin and researchers have noticed the use of chemical sunscreens has decreased water retention in the skin giving the appearance of an orange peel texture to the skins surface.
You can find natural Titanium-Dioxide in many foundations and Powders on the market today. They are one of the best sources of sun protection in latest discoveries. Dermatologist are recommending foundations to their patients instead of chemical sunscreens because it guarantees a natural and efficient, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection that helps to deflect the suns harmful rays.
Sunless Tanning
Self-tanners are by far the best way to achieve a nice natural looking suntan without damaging the delicate skin. We recommend the clear cream formula self-tanners. Clear cream sunless tanners work with your own melanin in your skin producing a natural three shade darker tanned appearance. It looks so natural no one would ever know you used a sunless-tanner. Bronze self- tanners have a tan pigment and will tan you immediately but will rub off on clothing.
The Rouge has the highest researched technology products available in sun care and anti-aging. Please visit us and our qualified trained professionals will help you select the right skin care and sun protection products that will work for you.




Stamps In My Passport: Namibia


Sossusvlei is a clay pan in the central Namib Desert, lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia. Fed by the Tsauchab River, it is known for the high, red sand dunes which surround it forming a major sand sea.

There are certain unique and distinct spots on this great planet of ours which are not duplicated anywhere. Locations where specific flora and fauna survive while becoming extinct elsewhere. Locations where wind, water, and topography come together to create an environment which is specific to just this single area. Usually indigenous peoples weave mysterious legends around these areas, and they are either avoided, or they become gathering places for worship and celebrations.

Some of these places, like Stonehenge are man-made. Others like our own Death Valley or Yosemite are works of nature. Two of my favorite such spots are low on most people’s radar, but they certainly fit the category. They are the so-called Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert on the western edge of Namibia, near the southern part of Africa.

Our flight wasn’t exactly one of my favorites. To get to Namibia requires a certain amount of stamina. The concept of a direct flight from San Francisco to Windhoek, Namibia brings gales of laughter from most airlines. We eventually found the best, but believe me it wasn’t easy. We flew from San Francisco to London to Frankfurt and foolishly felt we had the stamina to go on. After a few hours of rest on the less-than-comfortable benches in the Frankfurt airport, we boarded a 747 headed for Windhoek. The flight added another eight hours to the twelve it took to get to Frankfurt – but hey, we were going to a new and exciting place.


Vegetation, such as the camelthorn tree, is watered by infrequent floods of the Tsauchab River, which slowly soak into the underlying clay.

The ride from the airport to our hotel almost made it worthwhile. It was October and the jacaranda trees were in full bloom. I wonder why these beautiful purple trees haven’t caught on more. They were spectacular.

Now just a quick history lesson. Way back in the seventeenth century the Germans moved into this area – probably to maintain some control of Africa as the British and other European countries were establishing footholds all over. During World War II the British in South Africa move in and kept the territory after the war. But the German influence remains – with German names and history spotted all over. A little side humor. There is a huge but totally useless steam engine located out in front of the no-longer-in-existence railroad station. It is named the “Martin Luther Engine.” The reason goes back to the days of the Reformation when Martin said

“I stand here firm, I can do nothing else.”

Soon after World War II the nation began to strive for independence and was granted that status in 1990.

The question remains – why would anyone want it? It is the second-least populated country in Africa and has an average per capita income of nearly $1.25 US per day. Still, it does all right with tourism and mining. But a couple of nicknames, such as “the land of contrasts” and “the land God made when she was mad” give you an idea of life in this part of the world. But let’s get on with this “contrast” thing.

Along the west coast, bordering the Atlantic Ocean sits a huge multi-kilometer long sand dune. For some reason, unexplained to me on my visit, it almost never rains here. Apparently it has something to do with the ocean tidal flow. These sand dunes range in color from red to yellow to black. We took a flight over them at dusk, and the contrasts were unbelievable. The dunes are several hundred meters high and march unchecked directly toward the Atlantic Ocean. I don’t know how fast they are moving, but they advance steadily, insistent on taking a bath.

Flying along the coast we could see why it is called the Skeleton Coast. The rotting hulls of several ships are visible. The sand has moved out to where these vessels were originally grounded, and one can’t help but wonder how they got so far inland to begin with.

Apparently the cross currents here are not only hazardous for ships but deposit skeletons of larger fish such as whales and sharks on these sandy beaches. Thus the name Skeleton Coast.
The next day we took a land safari out to the same area. Here we were exposed to unbelievable contrasts. With no rain the desert remains absolutely dry (How obvious can a statement be?) but being this close to the ocean fog rolls in off the water. So, surprisingly, a few things thrive on the moisture in the air. The most startling of these anomalies is the Welwitschia plant. (Don’t ask me to pronounce it.) Our guide claimed they are three to four thousand years old, and they sure look it. They resemble some succulents we had at one time that I forgot to water. My first observation was that they were about to die, but my guide insisted they have looked like this for several thousand years. I told him I’d come back in a few hundred years to check out their progress. He wasn’t amused.

There were other desert plants and creatures to behold too. We ran across, figuratively not literally, a sidewinder snake. They actually move sideways, leaving a strange pattern in the sand.

The visit despite the distance was a happy one. We were overcome with new and different sights which often come to mind as we spend our lives in the comforts of consistency. We need a break like this from the daily routine and grind which we face each morning. Somehow this everyday schedule seems easier when you have just returned from a grand adventure.

Harry Hubinger is a retired engineer who operated his own company for twenty years. He first began traveling outside the United States on business, but these visits escalated upon his retirement. He has now traveled to 115 countries and continues to add several new ones each year.

In 1998 he began writing his humorous and insightful articles for a supplement to a local newspaper. These stories, based on experiences most travelers could identify with, soon earned him a wide local following.

In 2005 he published his first book, Stamps in My Passport—a collection of travel vignettes. Harry has lived in Danville for almost forty years and has volunteered with the Danville Police Department for the past seven. His wife, Barbara, is the detail chronicler of their trips. Her journals provide the background for Harry’s broader view. You can get his book at:

2010 Suzuki Kizashi: Suzuki enters a new era!

2010 Suzuki Kizashi

What can you say when everyone wants to play in the popular mid-size arena but to do so you have to have a stylish, well crafted, performance driven vehicle?.With competition like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, you better come to the table with a strong entry. Suzuki has done just that with the All-New 2010 Kizashi sedan. In fact, the name Kizashi means “something great is coming!”

Suzuki has wanted to be a player in the high-volume mid-size arena for a while; they haven’t had a worthy entry until now. The 2010 Kizashi is the result of a four + year effort to create a vehicle that is probably Suzuki’s most important launch in the United States. So far so good; the Kizashi was nominated for North American Car of the Year by a panel of top American automotive journalists.

Having a smaller presence in the United States, Suzuki has teamed with GM and rebadged a few of the vehicles in their lineup. This is not the case with the Kizashi; it is a completely home grown car out of Japan. It runs on a front-wheel drive architecture that is 183.1 inches in length and rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase. The Kizashi is also available with all-wheel drive. Because it will be sold in markets throughout the world, it has been designed a little smaller than the typical U.S. mid-size sedans. With this in mind, Suzuki plans to undercut the prices of its potential rivals.

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi comes in four models: S ($18,999), SE ($21,499), GTS ($22,499), and SLS ($24,399). Each model comes standard as front-wheel drive and is available in all-wheel drive as a $1,300 option. A navigation system with rearview camera is available on the GTS and SLS for $1,299.

All models of the Kizashi get their power from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The S, GTS, and SLS models are mated to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). The SE model comes standard with the CVT. You can switch the CVT to manual shift mode. Horsepower is a 185 with the manual transmission and 180 with the CVT. Miles-per-gallon range from 20 to 23 City and 29 to 31 Highway depending on the model and engine/trans/drive combination. The 2.4-liter doesn’t give you rocket performance, but it is perfectly adequate for everyday driving.

Exterior styling is where the Kizashi has it all together. It isn’t over the top or tiredly conservative. The lines are sculptured and filled with Suzuki DNA. Its profile is one of balance and that of a small sports sedan. The 18-inch alloy wheels are carved with 22-spokes. Large chrome dual exhaust tips add to the sports dynamic.

The interior is sharp, clean, and upscale for a car under $20,000. The center console flows out to each side like the wings of an eagle. All four doors have cup holders and power window switches. The center armrest area has two compartments and two more cup holders. The Smartpass keyless entry is mated to a start button on the dash and touch buttons on the front driver’s door to unlock the car.
Room for improvement:

  • Interior space is tight, yet workable, for a mid-size vehicle

Cool Features:

  • Push button start
  • MP3 and USB ports
  • Multi-function trip computer

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi has a long list of safety features including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, tire-pressure monitor system, and eight airbags: two frontal, two side impact and two side curtain.

The chief engineer of the Kizashi made handling his first priority and tested the suspension on the Swiss Alps. To provide tight steering and handling, he incorporated KYB rear shocks and a multi-link rear suspension. You will find the Kizashi loves to travel on curvy back roads.

In Summary:
The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is a fun-to-drive and well crafted sports sedan. Its smaller size is perhaps it’s only short-fall, but not enough to hamper its success. It handles like a sports sedan and offers more standard equipment than its competitors and at a lower price point. The fit-and-finish is top-notch, the seats are comfortable, and hold you in place. Paddle shifters add just the right technology. If you are living on a beer budget with Champagne taste, or just like a sporty sedan, take the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi out for a test drive.

2010 Suzuki Kizashi
2010 Suzuki Kizashi

2010 Suzuki Kizashi SE
Base price: $21,499  –  as driven: $21,754 (including destination)
Engine: 2.4-Liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 180 @ 6000
Torque: 170 pound-feet @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission with paddle shifters
Drive: Front Wheel-Drive
Seating: 5-passenger
Turning circle: 36 feet
Cargo space: 13.3 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3329 pounds
Fuel capacity: 16.6 gallons
EPA mileage: 30 highway, 23 city
Wheel Base: 106.3 inches
Warranty: 7 years/100,000 miles Powertrain Limited
Also consider: Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry
Future changes: New for 2010



Sasa’s Interior: lighted water feature, abstract lighting, a full contemporary bar space, and agate tables in the front lounge area.

Buzzing with energy, authenticity, and an attentive wait staff, Sasa in Downtown Walnut Creek is the new Izakaya—style eatery to hit the downtown scene. Traditionally serving small plates, “Izakaya” is a compound word consisting of “I” (to sit) and “sakaya” (sake shop). Sasa has embraced this concept beautifully and offers patrons a beautiful space to dine with friends and enjoy a vast array of sake.

Situated at 1432 North Main Street Walnut Creek in the historic 100 year-old building that for many years housed the Walnut Creek Meat Market, Sasa delights guests not only with great food but with a spectacular ambiance. While the building is old, the look and feel of Sasa’s dining room is anything but. Modern touches include a lighted water feature, abstract lighting, a full contemporary bar space, and agate tables in the front lounge area. Sasa’s owner Phillip Yang worked closely with interior designer Jackson Santos for two years, ensuring that the look and feel of Sasa matched Phillips creative direction for the restaurant overall. Their collaboration truly paid off as Sasa is a delight for all senses.

Aji Horse Mackerel

On our most recent visit Trendy Eats got a surplus of small bites that left our mouth watering. Our recommendation is to enjoy Sasa omakase style—meaning, allowing the chef to make fresh fish selections for you. Sasa uses only the highest quality fish most of which comes from local markets, but there are even a few varieties that are flown in daily from Tokyo. Other delights include the Ahi Parfait, a light treat that is made of avocado, crème fraiche, crispy mochi rice, black tobiko and lemon oil—it’s the chilled perfect treat on a warm summer evening. We also really enjoyed many treats from the hot side of the menu which were all designed and tested by chef Sam Castro; the slow cooked Crispy Duck Leg, and our favorite the River Stone Grilled Steak—All of Sasa’s menu offerings are delicious and beautifully presented. We would like to call out the presentation of the grilled steak served sizzling hot atop a heated stone—delicious and beautiful.

Sasa does offer a complete list of sushi rolls as well. According to General Manager Suzan Rizer the most frequently ordered roll is the Sasa, which is spicy tuna, tempura prawns, and avocado—one bite and it’s not hard to see why it’s the most popular.

We can’t write about Sasa without extensively going though the cocktail and sake list. With the help of award-winning mixologist Manny Hinjosa, bar manager Eric Matsui has put together a killer cocktail menu. If you like a little spice you have got to try the Ring of Fire Martini made with El Jimador 100% agave tequila, pineapple and lime juice, agave nectar and giving it the Asian attitude and supplying the spice is the last ingredient, Sriracha sauce.

River Stone Grilled Steak

Moving on; the Twisted Pear is a sticky sweet super scrumptious martini consisting of Absolute pear vodka, ginger syrup, lime juice, pear puree and soda water, great for happy hour or at the beginning of your meal. We could talk about this menu all day but probably don’t have the time or the paper, so to wrap up, among other fun drinks are the L’Orange Pomegranate Martini, pretty self explanatory, and of course, the sake. Sasa has a very comprehensive offering—there are twenty filtered premium sake all of which are of the highest quality and served cold. There are several Murai Family offerings but my favorite is the nigori, which is unfiltered, creamy, and has a sweet finish. Very delicious and refreshing! Another popular sake is the Happy Rice which is filtered and is a little drier—an excellent choice. And we would also like to mention that Sasa has really cool non-alcoholic drink as well, but to see those you just have to go down and check out the place for yourself.

Now we at Trendy Eats love sushi, we eat it at least once a week, but have never been the type of dinners to order dessert at a Japanese Restaurant. But you would be doing yourself a disservice if you left Sasa without trying the Matcha Green Tea Crème Brulee; absolutely delicious! Also on the “gotta have it” list is the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with strawberry-basil soup, the flavors in this dessert are marvelous and it really makes a great summer treat as it’s light and served chilled.

Ahi Parfait

To take a step back and evaluate our experience at Sasa, we can truly tell you its one-of-a-kind, from the modern original décor to the incredibly knowledgeable staff, we would like to wrap up saying come with an open mind, trust your waiter, and let them really help you maneuver the menu, as Americans perhaps we don’t know that much about Japanese cuisine, but let us tell you that the staff at Sasa does! Manager Susan Rizer took a month’s tasting, traveling, and immersing herself in the culture, getting to know the ins and outs of this fare as if it was her own restaurant.

Chef/Owner, Philip Yang (proprietor & owner of Blue Gingko, Lafayette) is lucky to have such a dedicated manager and staff. As the weather heats up be sure to check out Sasa’s patio. We believe it’s quite possibly the most perfect spot to gather with friends, enjoy fresh exciting food and relax with a specialty drink or refreshing chilled Sake.
PHOTOS, Opposite; Sasa’s Interior:

Hold or Sell

Q. Tom, I don’t know whether to sell my home now or hold onto it for a couple years. When will we see measurable appreciation across the board in home values here in the Diablo Valley?

A. Good question. Many ‘industry experts’ these days predict a housing recovery around 2013 or 2014 but a generalization of that nature may be inaccurate; past prognostications are an indicator that nobody can really predict with certainty (remember David Lereah, the chief economist of the California Association of Realtors, assuredly titling his 2006 book, Why The Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust). The reality is that a housing rebound is dependent on a growing economy and a robust job market which currently are tentative at best. Having said that, buyer demand for homes is also directly related to the availability of affordable mortgage money. Keep in mind that most homebuyers make a purchasing decision based on the amount of their monthly payment and not on the overall mortgage balance. So, when will the demand for homes exceed the supply? I’m not sure but it does appear that we are at or near the bottom of the market now regarding values but it will take quite some time to kick back into a higher gear. In answer to your question – if you have to sell, do it now because significant price appreciation remains on a distant horizon; if you don’t have to sell, consider waiting. If you want to buy or trade-up, again consider doing it now because the combination of drastically lower prices and attractive interest rates work tremendously in your favor. BUT do your homework and hire a trained professional to negotiate every detail of the transaction.

Q. Tom, what is the difference between a ‘short sale’, a REO and a bank-owned home?

A. REO (real estate owned) and bank-owned homes is the same thing – both are owned by the banking institution and are eventually sold at auction. The previous owners were foreclosed and are out of the home. A short sale is when the owner lives in the home and maintains control but is typically in default on the monthly payments. In the short sale, the mortgage amount on the home exceeds the homes current market value. The job of persuading a lender to approve a home sale by accepting less money than the outstanding mortgage mortgage balance is a daunting task in any market. In today’s market, short sale homes dominate the available inventory; it is not unusual for short sales to make up over 50% of the pending sales – all of which require a long negotiating process with the bank(s) holding the mortgages. My experience is that banks are not all that forgiving or even approachable; in fact, 60+% of all short sales never close escrow and eventually the bank forecloses on the current owner. The sheer time frame alone waiting for the bank to respond to a qualified offer is frustrating; on one of my last transactions, it took the bank nearly 6 months on a $1.3M offer to come back with a request for a measly $200 more. So, whether you’re a short sale seller or buyer, be prepared for a wild ride that may or may not meet your expectations. And always seek the best advice possible in the marketplace.

Tom Hart

Tom Hart

Tom Hart is a practicing Real Estate Broker and a partner at Empire Realty Associates in Danville. He is a Certified Master Negotiator by the University of San Francisco and a Certified Master Strategist by HSM Harvard Program on Negotiation. He is past president of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors (2005) and past president of the Realtors’ Marketing Association of the San Ramon Valley. Tom is in high demand as a speaker & trainer inside & outside the real estate industry.

How to Choose a Musical Instrument

Choose wisely now and your child can be in a school band or orchestra next fall.

Parents, especially those unfamiliar with musical instruments, commonly ask, “How do I and my child choose a musical instrument?” The answer is not a simple one. It involves many factors.

Some homes have instruments that mom or dad played in high school or college. This does not automatically mean your child should play those instruments. He or she may not like them and may not have the physical characteristics to do well on them. Physical characteristics of your child play a very important role in how they progress and their eventual success in mastering an instrument.

Common physical characteristics to consider are size of the child; thick or thin lips; length of arms; size of fingers; digital dexterity; breathing and lung capacity and dental malocclusion i.e. faulty alignment of teeth when biting. Young people with dental appliances such as braces may want to consider woodwind instruments over brass. Playing a brass mouthpiece with braces can, in some cases, be quite painful and disturb the alignment of the teeth being straightened. If a child has a severe condition such as asthma, an allergy or a respiratory aliment they should probably be encouraged to play percussion or string instruments.

All band wind instruments require a proper embouchure—a French word meaning the proper position of lips, teeth, jaw, chin, etc. I call this the “facial mask.” The player needs to be carefully taught the proper embouchure from the very beginning of their instrumental study. It is absolutely vital to have proper embouchure when playing any wind instrument.


Flute, clarinet and saxophone are the most popular and can be reasonable to purchase. Oboe and bassoon are very expensive but are especially sought after in bands and orchestras. Students with thinner lips are better suited to instruments such as the clarinet. Those with an overbite may be better suited to clarinet, saxophone or flute. A student with small fingers may have difficulty playing the bassoon because the tone holes are farther apart than on other woodwind instruments.

Brass: The cornet and trumpet are considered “high brass” and students with thin lips should be able to do well on these instruments. These instruments are reasonable to buy. Large, fuller lips are probably better suited to the larger mouthpiece instruments like the trombone, euphonium and tuba. Trombones are not too expensive but euphonium and tubas are quite pricy. To play the trombone a child’s arms must be of sufficient length to reach the last or seventh position on the instrument. Very small children should not be encouraged to play the tuba which is quite large and heavy. A caution regarding the French horn – it is quite difficult to play and requires a very good ear to produce the proper pitch and tone. Thin lips may be an advantage to play this instrument. The French horn is very expensive and requires dedication and patience while learning to play. Many students switch to the French horn after starting on cornet or trumpet. Horn players are always sought after for band and orchestras.

Percussion: Drums, timpani, mallet instruments, cymbals and a myriad of accessories make up the percussion family. Students with physical limitations regarding the facial mask such as buck teeth, braces etc. can be encouraged to study percussion. Those with piano skills are desirable for percussionists as people with these skills often advance faster than those who do not play piano.

Strings: Some string instruments—violin, viola, cello and string bass—come in various sizes making them unique among all instruments. This size variance helps accommodate growing children thereby allowing them to start at a very early age.

Keep in mind the large string bass is difficult to transport. The harp, often used in orchestras and sometimes bands, is also difficult to transport, quite expensive and takes real discipline to master. String players are always in demand for orchestras. Guitar, banjo or ukulele may be other string instruments that may interest your child.

Factors to consider in choosing an instrument include cost, size, storage area, transportation and portability of the instrument. One of the most important considerations in choosing an instrument is the child’s own choice. Personal satisfaction, interest, motivation and happiness are indispensible factors in the successful learning of a musical instrument.

It may be a good idea to rent an instrument before buying to make sure the child will like playing it. Check your local music store for rental instruments and private instruction. Most school music programs will lend instruments to students playing in their ensembles. The school music director is an excellent source for recommending instruments to students.

Please submit your questions and comments to
Visit our website at for up-to-date information about the Danville Community Band.

Watch the Donut, Not the Hole

All of the bad news out of Europe regarding their debt crisis got me thinking about how best we can all cope through these tumultuous times. It seems every time we turn around there is another crisis that results in some harrowing ups and downs in the market. I think we could all benefit from listening to lyrics from an old tune from Burl Ives, The Donut Song:

“When you walk the streets you’ll have no cares
If you walk the lines and not the squares
As you go through life make this your goal
Watch the donut, not the hole.”

Most investors spend far too much time watching the “hole” and forgetting all about the “donut.” There is always going to be a reason not to invest, always going to be something to worry about. In a lot of ways, the information age we live in makes matters worse. The constant bombardment of news, analysis and information on all that is wrong with the world weighs on our collective psyche. So let’s forget about the hole and turn our attention to the donut, the yummy part!

There has been quite a bit of positive data on the economy. The recovery is for real. It may not seem that way all the time but consider these facts: Corporate earnings are up. Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to earn $76 to $80 this year; up from $57 last year. The S&P 500 Index is up dramatically since the lows in March 2009, despite several pull backs along the way. We have seen five corrections of at least 5% since last March and this is to be expected. Stocks rarely go up in a straight line. The prior bull market runs that started at market lows in 1974, 1982, 1987, 1990 and 2002 all had multiple setbacks of 5% or more.1 April’s employment report was unexpectedly strong and signals that the economic expansion is still underway and that we may see the unemployment rate gradually start to come down. Consumer spending has steadily improved.

Patience is paramount to successful investing. When you focus on the positive it is much easier to be patient. “Watch the donut, not the hole.”

1. Barron’s, Bear Scare, May 10, 2010

Damien helps individuals invest and manage risk. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and an Investment Adviser Representative of, and offers securities and investment advisory services through, Financial Network Investment Corporation, Member SIPC 1850 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 170 Walnut Creek, CA 94596. These are the views of Damien Couture, CFP® and should not be construed as investment advice. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in an index. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Not all recommendations are suitable for all investors. Each investor must consider their own goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Your comments are welcome. Damien can be reached at 925-280-1800 x101 or

The Rockefeller Secret

Secrets to wealth and health you have got to know!

“Fear always springs from ignorance.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Economical deficits are nothing new. Tell about modern day economical problems we’re having to those who waged war over there life saving on October 29 1929 Black Tuesday. Losses for the month were an estimated total of $16 billion, an astronomical sum in those days. That was only 81 years ago. One of the lessons today is in watching successful, healthy people outlive life’s atrocities and finding the wisdom to learn new things.

A wise man learns from another man’s mistakes, but a “know it all” learns from himself -Proverbs.

Despite what the economy has governed and what financial state you’re in, remember that your current state does not dictate your future. Life can change in an instant, depending upon your perspective. However, this is not for everyone. Only those who will dare to believe. I sure do believe in you! The key is- YOU- it will be Your beliefs that create behavioral changes.

The Secret of the Rockefellers

Born July 8, 1839 on a farm in Richmond, New York. He was the second child of six born to William Avery and Eliza Davison Rockefeller. The family lived modestly, John’s father being a “pitch man” charging up to $25.00 for treatments for cancers. His father traveled and was gone for months at time and John’s upbringing fell mainly on his mother, who was very religious and disciplined. She taught her children to work, to save and to give to charities. John left high school in 1855 and took a six-month business course at Folsom Mercantile College. He completed the course in three months and began searching for a job as a bookkeeper or clerk in Cleveland. In 1855, business in Cleveland was adverse and John had trouble finding a job. After six weeks, Hewitt & Tuttle, a small company of produce shippers and commission merchants employed him as an assistant bookkeeper. Rockefeller worked hard and impressed his employers.

Secret 1: The roots dictate the fruits.
Not all of us had parents like Mr. Rockefeller. Notice they were not wealthy, but they were healthy. John was taught at very young age two things from his Mom and Dad. Treat sickness fast and give to charities!

While most experts are telling us to hold on to the money we have. John’s Mother was pushing her kids to give it away. She was instilling morals of health and longevity and a law not many experts talk about—the act of giving, or as I like to call it, reciprocity, which means, “what you give out will come back to you.” Mr. Rockefeller’s stage in life was being set by the seed that were planted by his parents. Are your kids seeing your strengths (roots) even while living a modest lifestyle? John’s roots are ones we need to start growing and gleaming from today- Living a life of good nutrition and continual acts of charity.

Next month I will give you the other secret and reveal and explain all four. but this week I’ll ask you to take a “Value inventory” on your life. Do you have any values? – are you willing to drop your pride and say- “ Could there be some things in my life that I DON’T KNOW.” I’m the first one to say. SIGN ME UP! That’s a willing attitude that always yields success.

Ron Kardashian

Ron Kardashian

Ron Kardashian is a published author, fitness expert, life success coach, national television and radio personality, and NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach. One of America’s first life coaches, for the past 15 years, Ron’s wellness organization has inspired hundreds to reach their full physical, mental and spiritual potential.

With over 12,000 hours of coaching under his belt, Kardashian has received two consecutive nominations for Personal Trainer of the Year and has been an honored speaker for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, one of the largest institutions of health and fitness in the U.S. In short, Ron is one of the nation’s leading life coaches, sharing the stage with some of America’s top advisors. Indeed, he has become a coach’s coach! His work is pivotal in empowering executives and individuals to operate at peak performance personally, professionally, and most important—spiritually.
In addition to authoring books and other educational resources, Ron has been pursuing his ultimate passion: philanthropy. He operates a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that is relentless in its efforts to communicate the power of bringing optimal health to all walks of life. This organization’s mission is to fight obesity and all related diseases on a global scale. Across the globe, Kardashian’s integrated, holistic approach has garnered amazing results, making him a powerful, compelling voice of change for professional athletes, CEOs, political leaders, clergymen and people of every age, religion, and creed.
Ron is now accepting new clients to achieve their dreams in his proven “Coached to Win Program,” system of success. As Ron says, “These classes are a reasonable investment for you to manifest your talents in any economy. You have got what it takes. Sometimes it takes a coach to bring out the best in you. Every athlete has had one, so why not you?” You can reach Ron Kardashian at 1.888.918.HEAL or at

Danville’s Just Tix Puts You in the Game

Have you ever wondered how people get great seats for great events? Can you see yourself on the 50-yard line at the Super Bowl or in the front row at AT&T Park? Are you dieing to get out of the balcony and into the orchestra? If so, Just Tix in Danville may have just the ticket for you.

“We make it easy for our customers to get the best seats for the best events,” said Howie Herbert, who runs Just Tix with his father Howard in the Trader Joe’s shopping center next to San Ramon Valley High School in Danville.

Those events include The Big Game between Cal and Stanford, Dodger-Giant games at AT&T Park, Yankee and Red Sox visits to Oakland, Laker-Warrior games, and Shark playoff series. Just Tix also offers theatre and concert tickets and allows its customers to avoid investing in season tickets or planning months ahead when they want to go to a hot show like Wicked.

“Our mission is to be the best ticket company in the Bay Area,” said Howard Herbert. “And we do that by treating our customers as we like to be treated ourselves.”

Surprisingly, some of the tickets Just Tix sells are below face value. “We buy season tickets to all the major professional and major college teams in the Bay Area,” said Howie Herbert. “While that ensures that we have all the premium games, it also leaves us with many lesser events. We might sell midweek baseball games in great seats at pennies on the dollar. When the local teams are having off years, which was the case until very recently for all but the Sharks, we sell even attractive games at less than face value.

“We make it up with theatre and concert tickets, which are always strong, and will collect premium prices for the high-demand games.”

While Just Tix focuses on premium seats, they also have inventory in the less expensive sections. “We discovered that some customers just want to be in the building, and since we want to provide the best possible service to the greatest number of people, we’ve expanded our inventory.” Howard said. “If you want the very best seat in the bleachers or in the balcony, we now have those, too.”

For an event like the Super Bowl, Just Tix will quote a price depending on where in the stadium a customer would like to sit. “Then, we get them that ticket…even if it means we take a loss on it,” Howie Herbert said. Just Tix has relationships with hundreds of other ticket brokers all over the country to not only serve big events like the World Series and The Final Four, but also to serve local customers who are traveling and might want to take in a game at Yankee Stadium or see the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Just Tix will even hire someone to stand in line for customers who buy tickets for general admission-only events and want the best location, but don’t have the time to wait for hours at a venue.

The Herberts also strive to accommodate last minute requests. They have helped customers propose marriage from premium seats at big games, and have also bailed out husbands who have forgotten anniversaries and needed last minute theatre tickets.

The most famous last minute request Just Tix handled came from comedian and Chicago sports fanatic Dan Akroyd. Akroyd’s plane was landing at SFO at 12:30, and he called Just Tix as he was taxiing on the runway looking for tickets to that afternoon’s 1:05 p.m. Cub-Giant game at AT&T Park. The Herberts were able to arrange for Akroyd to have seats waiting at will call, and then saw him while they watched the game on TV and the cameras focused on Akroyd…in the front row.

The Herberts emphasize that customers who are not celebrities can also count on the level of service Akroyd enjoyed. “If you need tickets for yourself, your family, your team at work, or a group of 200, we can get you the seats you want to the event you want to see,” said Howie Herbert. Just Tix can be reached by calling 800-367-8499 or via the Internet at

The Dirt Gardener: Thanks for Asking

Dirt GardenerQ. I’ve no luck growing dwarf citrus. It didn’t matter if they were planted in containers or in the ground. They are in poor health with lots of dried up leaves and branches. This is the second group of plants. I find no pests, they get lots of sun and I water them maybe once a week. What am I doing wrong?

A. Dwarf Citrus shouldn’t be that difficult to grow when given the proper amount of water and fertilizer. Citrus are not drought tolerant plants. They like moisture. Your “maybe once a week.” watering pattern needs to be more consistent. Irregular watering is the major cause of the dried up leaves and branches. Also, citrus in containers are watered differently than those in the ground. In containers, citrus is watered daily when the temperature is over eighty degrees. For those plants that have been in the same container for more than two years I’d lower the temperature to seventy-five degrees. With established plants, there is less soil and more roots in the container. Beside the heat from the sun, water loss or evaporation of a plant is increased with our typical afternoon winds. This is true of all container plants just not citrus. The container needs to be filled to the brim when you water so there is a sufficient amount of moisture to wet the entire root ball. Also, raise the bottom of the container off the ground so the water flows out the bottom. It’s not necessary to water plants that are in the ground this frequently as once or twice a week is adequate depending on the temperature. However, a watering basin around every plant is a must. The basin should be six to eight inches high and extends from the trunk to just beyond the drip line. Again, you fill the basin to the brim every time you water. When the temperature is over 95 degrees, you would make an additional application. Citrus is fertilized monthly with Citrus Food, year round. After the rainy season has concluded, you always water before and after every application of fertilizer. You will see a dramatic improvement in foliage color along with a flush of new growth in the next six to eight weeks.

Q. I’m curious as to why the leaves/fronds of large palm trees are tied up when they are being transported? Also, how long are they kept tied?
A. There are two reasons for this typical method of transporting palms. The horticultural reason is to protect the critical terminal bud from windburn and dehydration. The terminal bud is where the new fronds or growth originates. If this area is damage the mortality rate is huge.

The second reason is to narrow the canopy so they can be transported on roads, highways and freeways without any special precautions. They are left tied up for several weeks to many months depending on the time of the year, location and variety even after planting.

Buzz Bertolero is Executive Vice President of Navlet’s Garden Centers and a California Certified Nursery Professional. His web address is and you can send questions by email at or to 360 Civic Drive Ste. ‘D’, Pleasant Hill, Calif. 94523