Casey’s Favorite Books to Enjoy at Home!

March 30, 2020

  1. Daisy Jones and the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid: This book is so immersive you will not be able to put it down and you will be googling the band and wondering why you never heard of them. This fiction is so believable you will believe it is non-fiction.

    “Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.”

  2. Crazy Rich Asian Series, Kevin Kwan: These are easy, fun reads that will certainly have you laughing out loud and enjoying our time at home during shelter in place.

    Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny series about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs within them.”

  3. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett: This is a book you will want to read a second time. The characters and the story stay with you. Beautifully written.

    “A world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.”

  4. The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah: 

    “The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.”

  5. The Charm Bracelet, Viola Shipman: A wonderful recommendation from my Aunt Terry.  This book will have you laughing, crying and hugging (or zooming) those you love to let them know how important they are.

    “Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.”

  6. Girl, Wash your Face, Rachel Hollis: If you are a working mom this will resonate with you deeply.  You can read it in small bites and you will be hooked!

    “With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.”

  7. Bad Blood, John Carreyrou: I listened to this book on Audible.  I really enjoyed the reader and the story is fascinating.  How one person could lie so easily blows my mind.  

    “Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.  Elizabeth was a complete and utter fraud.”

  8. Becoming, Michelle Obama: I recommend listening to this… you will not be dissapointed, Michelle reads her own book.  Hearing her voice share her story is truly incredible.

    “In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

  9. Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss: This book had incredible gems.  Whether you are negotiating a major deal for work or a later bedtime with your 7 year old, his strategies will help you succeed and make the other side feel like they did too.

    “Chris was the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues to succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counter-intuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.”

  10. Living with a Seal, Jesse Itzler: More than anything, after reading this book I was left pondering what parts of my life are on autopilot and how I can spice them up.  A fun and easy book that will leave you feeling introspective.

    When Jesse felt himself drifting on autopilot, he hired a rather unconventional trainer to live with him for a month-an accomplished Navy SEAL widely considered to be ‘the toughest man on the planet’”

What Casey’s Cooking During Quarantine

March 25, 2020

What Casey’s Cooking During Quarantine – 10 Trusted Recipes!!!

I absolutely love to cook. It brings me joy to set a beautiful table, cook a yummy meal and serve those I care for deeply. These days I am cooking more regularly, like every single night. I find that with all the unknowns in our days, I am looking forward to the evening food preparation.  A chance to do something normal, sit down together and talk. I hope that these recipes make your evenings easier. Share your favorite recipe below!

  1. Winter Minestrone: This soup is one of my favorites.  It is hearty and delicious! She puree’s ½ a can of beans to give it a creamy texture.
  2. Contessa’s Roast Chicken: This is actually a weeknight staple for the Sternsmith Family.  Steam some broccoli and you have a perfect meal.
  3. Lentil Soup.  I always thought I hated lentil soup and then I made this one.  I used French green lentils and have been eating it for lunch daily during quarantine.
  4. Vegetarian Chili: A truly yummy chili and amazing vegetarian option.  I made a small topping bar with all her suggestions and it was a hit!
  5. Paleo Chili: This recipe is done in the instant pot and could not be easier.  It is yummy and healthy. It calls for ground beef, but ground turkey or beyond burger are fabulous alternatives.
  6. Best Banana Cake – Thank you, Ina! When you purchase too many bananas and have 2-3 overripe sitting on the counter, you have the ideal solution.  We make this with Cup4Cup flour so that Ben (gluten free hubby) can enjoy also.
  7. Waffles: Breakfast is a thing in our house.  I believe in hot breakfast and waffles are a favorite.  Why should they just be for weekends? I make a big batch of batter and make these a few times a week. It takes as long to put it in my waffle maker as toasting an Eggo. If you are gluten free, no problem, just use Cup4Cup flour. 
  8. Bacon Zucchini Fritters: This side is totally decadent, and the kids will love them too!
  9. Greek Salad: We love a good Greek salad.  Add canned artichoke hearts and romaine lettuce for a big salad meal!
  10. Lamb Chops: If you want the perfect protein with the Greek salad, add in Ina’s lamb chops.  Set them in the marinade the night before and they only take a few minutes to grill.

Top 10 Places to Order Dinner if You Don’t Cook

March 24, 2020

Our Top 10 Places to Order Dinner if You Don’t Cook

While we may not be able to dine in at restaurants anymore as the Bay Area continues to “Shelter in Place,” takeout and delivery remain viable options for getting hot food on the table. Not only does that make serving meals stress-free, but these services help keep cooks and other restaurant staffers employed. Here is a list of Tess and Casey’s absolute favorites that are doing takeout right now!  They are independently owned and need your business.

Breakfast & Lunch To-Go

  • Alana’s – Full breakfast menu.  Order entire quiche’s or a dozen homemade scones for the week; 650.348.0417 Burlingame or 650.366.1498 Redwood City
  • Christies, Burlingame – Opens at 6 am 650.347.9440
  • Copenhagen, Breakfast and Lunch 6am-6pm; Burlingame: 650.342.1357

Lunch & Dinner To-Go 

  • Centro Pizza, Burlingame: Call for pickup 650.513.6387. Tuesday – Sunday 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM
  • Yangon, Burlingame.  Chinese; order online for delivery;
  • 31st Union, San Mateo: Local and organic; takeout, delivery from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Free delivery on orders over $75 to San Mateo, Burlingame and Hillsborough 650.458.0049
  • Gau Paong Chinese, San Mateo:  650.286.9386 for delivery
  • New England Lobster Company, Burlingame: 650.443.1559
  • Johnston Saltbox, San Carlos: New American far; 650.592.7258
  • Vesta, Redwood City: 650.362.5052

Home schooling when you are not a teacher: Top 10 websites to teach and/or entertain your kids

March 20, 2020

With millions of California residents stuck at home during the present “Shelter in Place” mandate, parents are finding themselves without the luxury of traditional schools and are faced with the daunting task of educating their children at home. The coronavirus has turned caregivers around the world into pseudo homeschoolers. 

With the internet oversaturated with a plethora of supplemental learning platforms to choose from, combined with thousands of free webinars like Mo Willems’ daily doodle, it can be overwhelming to choose the right fit for your child. Finding programs that encourage motivation and enthusiasm in your child and avoid feelings of isolation and boredom can be a challenge. As curious parents ourselves, we have done the research and narrowed down our homeschooling favorites to a list of Top 10 Websites to teach and/or entertain your kids. Here they are:

    1. Gus on the Go App: An owl named Gus leads kids through 10 interactive lessons, covering a total of about 90 vocabulary words, with the ability to unlock games when lessons are complete. $3.99 to download. Link: 
    2. Plim Plim on Youtube: Pre-K videos in all languages, fusion between eduaction and fun for children emphasizing positive habits, respect for environment and human values. Link:
    3. IXL Learning: Lays the foundation for Spanish fluency with interactive questions, engaging audio, and real-world narratives that put a fresh spin on vocabulary and grammar skills. Subscription-based learning site for all ages.  Link:
    1. Library of Congress: Offers classroom materials and vast educational resources online. Link:
      1. America’s Library – American history for elementary and middle school students
      2. Today in History – Highlights from the Library’s online collections. 

    2. Outschool: Live Online Classes for Ages 3-18. Spark your child’s curiosity with access to 10,000 small group video chat classes—created and taught by inspiring teachers. Start learning for as low as $5/class. Link:
    1. Prodigy Site or App:  The no-cost math game where kids can earn prizes, go on quests and play with friends — all while learning math. With Prodigy math homework is disguised as a video-game.  Link:
    2. Khan Academy Kids App: Children can learning reading, language, writing, math social-emotional development, problem-solving skills, and motor development through open-ended activities and games. Link:
    3. BrainPOP: K-12 Animated Educational Site for Kids with over 1,000 short animated movies for students, together with quizzes and related materials. Link:
    1. Raz-Kids: Online guided reading program with interactive ebooks, downloadable books, and reading quizzes for K-5 students to read – anytime, anywhere! Free trail offer, subscription cost is $99.95 for a year. Link:
    2. Lexia Learning Site or App: Differentiated literacy instruction in grades pre-K–5, provides explicit, systematic, personalized learning in the six areas of reading instruction, targeting skill gaps as they emerge, and providing teachers with the data and student-specific resources they need for individual or small-group instruction. ~$30-$40 a year per student. Link:
    3. Newsela: Offers students up-to-date, high-interest articles that meet students right at their level. When it comes to teaching literacy, content matters. Engage students with topics they care about, while building the background knowledge and vocabulary they need to become active, engaged readers. Free access during quarantine. Link:
    1. Yoga with Cosmic Kids Site & App: Making yoga and mindfulness fun for kids through interactive video episodes, meditation scripts and lesson plan ideas for parents. Subscribe to their Youtube for commercial-free streaming for $65/year. Link:
    2. GoNoodle App or Site: Videos that get kids moving to fun, engaging content and games through dancing, stretching, running, jumping, deep breathing, and wiggling. Free site and videos. Link:
    3. Peloton Digital App: Teamed up with Action for Healthy Kids, with 10-15minute classes, a little effort can go a long way: your runs and rides will help spread the joy of movement by increasing access to sports and fitness for young people. Free 90 day trial with $39/ month membership. Link:
    1. Juni Learning: Award-winning online Computer Science & Mathematics academy that offers private, online courses to students from ages 8–18. Private Classes 1x per week are $250/ Month. Link:
    2. Provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States. Free of charge for all resources and tutorials. Link:
    3. Kodable Site or App: Award-winning coding curriculum for kids ages 4-10 with age-appropriate games and activities that transition your kids from learning how to think like a programmer all the way to writing real code using our custom, built-for-kids coding interface! Free trial with $6.99/month or $49.99/year.Link:


Real Estate Update, Market Trends & More

February 24, 2020

The Sternsmith Group is off to a great start in 2020. We have already helped over 14 buyers and/or sellers! Referrals have been the foundation of our business and our 2020 “vision” is to have even more referrals from great past clients and contacts like you! If you know someone who is thinking of selling or buying a home, please give them our name. ❤️

Look no further than to find 10-year trends for average and median prices, number of sales, and price per square foot. Or just click on your city below and we’ll take you there. 📊
You may also know someone who could benefit from our 2nd edition of Peninsula Pulse or Guide to Selling Your Home. These reports are packed full of information, including prices and school scores for all the cities and neighborhoods that we specialize in. Plus, these guides walk you step-by-step through our white-glove service.