Saad S. Hallak

East County's Premier Real Estate Broker!

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Direct: 619.672.8888
Office: 619.592.4663

Premier Realty & Investments
250 E. Chase Ave Ste 107
El Cajon, CA

In this technology-focused world, it’s hard to unplug from digital devices.And 

sure, modern inventions like smartphones and tablets exist to make your life

more convenient and to entertain you. (Who hasn’t used Google Maps for directions or watched a YouTube video online for a good laugh?) But when you rely on technology too much, all that screen time can end up distancing you from real life, damaging your personal relationships, and feeding your need for instant gratification from 

sunup to sundown.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go off the grid entirely to get a handle on technology addiction. Instead, institute these small changes to tweak your personal habits, and start dialing back your dependence on digital devices today.



Dedicate some device-free time each day to give yourself a chance to unplug and reconnect with the real world. You might avoid screens for the first hour of each day, and read a book in bed or take a walk outside instead. Or you could place your devices out of sight after work so you can reconnect with your friends and family over a digital-free dinner. Even if your work or family requires you to be available at all times (if you’re a doctor, firefighter, parent, etc.), you can still distance yourself from your devices. Simply assign a separate ringtone to your important contacts and only respond to texts, e-mails, and calls when that special alert goes off.


TECH-FREE TIP: If you’re an iPhone user, activate the Do Not Disturb feature to silence incoming calls and messages during a designated period of time.



Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be endlessly entertaining and oh so addictive. But if you’re overly involved in posting to your pages and feeds, you run the risk of interacting with the digital world more often than the real one. If that’s the case, consider setting some simple rules that will help you put down your phone or step away from the computer, live in the moment, and experience activities in real time—not through the lens of an app or a website. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you are posting a picture, status update, or link just to rack up likes or impress your online audience, consider keeping it to yourself. If the post in question would bring joy to others or teach them something useful, post away.


TECH-FREE TIP: Got a real addiction to social networking sites? Download the free app SelfControl, which allows users to block their own access to digital distractions for a designated block of time.



Raise your hand if you’ve started channel surfing or scanning internet forums to kill a few minutes then looked up at the clock and realized you’ve been at it for hours. You can avoid the time suck of your digital devices by pledging to use them in more purposeful ways. Instead of reaching for your phone or the remote out of boredom, use them for defined activities like video chatting with an old friend or watching the latest episode of your favorite show.


TECH-FREE TIP: Don’t want to give up mindless surfing entirely? A simple solution is to set a timer for a designated stretch of time and switch the screen off when the timer is up.



With so much technology at your fingertips, it’s easy to find yourself scheduling online appointments while chatting on the phone, or firing off a few quick e-mails while simultaneously instant messaging with your mom. These multitasking behaviors might make you feel efficient, but they also prevent you from being completely engaged with one activity. Instead of trying to do multiple things at once, focus your attention on one task—and one device—at a time.


TECH-FREE TIP: Whether you’re waiting in line at the bank or riding the subway to work, challenge yourself to slip your phone in your pocket, observe your surroundings, and be present in the moment.



As is the case with most personal challenges, you’ll have an easier time meeting goals if you seek social support from people around you. You might invite your coworkers to go tech free at lunch together, mention to your spouse that you’re quitting channel surfing, or decide as a family to put your cell phones away each night so you can spend some quality time together.


TECH-FREE TIP: If you’re really struggling to reduce your reliance on technology, sign up for a device-free workshop or retreat. Companies like Digital Detox aim to teach attendees how to disconnect with their devices and create balance in the digital age.



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I have listed a new property at 11 851 Mollison in El Cajon.
Immaculate town home in the heart of El Cajon! 2BR/1.5BA town home in a gated community. Bright and airy, large family room, granite counters, tile/carpet flooring, stainless steel appliances, and much more. Possibly the cleanest unit in the complex. Unit is extremely well kept. Large patio with washer/dryer closet and enough room for a patio set and/or BBQ. Half bath downstairs. Full bath and 2 LARGE bedrooms upstairs, with an abundance of closet space! All Appliances Convey!
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I have listed a new property at 1730 Alpine Blvd in Alpine.
5500SF indoor space plus a 2000SF private patio INCLUDED for lease in Alpine. Corner unit with an abundance of parking and visibility. You can turn this space into a variety of businesses or possibly a small warehouse. Previously hardware store turned into a grocery store. Would be great for a neighborhood bar/grill, sports bar, pool hall, arcade, multi function event center/ballroom, Veterinarian/Pet Hotel, Cross Fit/Gym, feed store, thrift store, .99 cent store, coffee shop/juice bar, hookah lounge, cigar bar, or anything else you can think of. Has a exclusive back patio that would be a perfect outdoor lounge/entertainment. Unit is ready for a new tenant!
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A Holiday Retreat on Greece’s Tinos Island Celebrates the Homeowners’ Love of the Cyclades

Furniture store owner Leon Messinezis and his wife Ophelia Dikeakou love to bolt out of the noisy hustle and bustle of Athens and sail off to the Greek island 

of Tinos. Situated between the islands of Andros and 

Mykonos, Tinos is famous for its unspoiled architecture and beautiful scenery lined with extensively long stone walls. Hundreds of churches are dotted on slopes and hilltops, while masterpieces of local architecture and dozens of derelict windmills are found in its gullies and valleys. The island is dramatic in its rugged and mountainous beauty with many villages clinging to the marble cliffs. Strong winds sweep across the island bringing refreshing breezes and the resounding waves of the bracing sea.


Messinezis, the owner of the long-standing, quality furniture and decor import company Ivy Home Collection, and his wife fell in love with a particular plot of land on the edge of the seventeenth-century village of Berdemiaros. The atmospheric views of the landscape and the solid blue Aegean Sea beyond this sacred spot left them speechless. In 2004, Messinezis and Dikeakou acquired the 3,660-square-foot plot and commissioned local architect Nikos Balis to build their home. Deeply inspired by their travels to the Cycladic islands, the homeowners achieved a 1,290-square-foot gem that Messinezis describes as “warm and traditional, yet with a modern twist.” 


The traditional Tinos house the owners called Elia, is one of two entirely independent houses standing side by side on the property. “Tinos Island has its own unique architectural style standing out for its simplicity and functionality,” says Dikeakou. “We wanted a modern house with traditional elements, which coincide with the rules and balance of the typical residential forms.” The major priority was to maintain the character and local Tinian architecture, but with a twist and modern, fresh take. In fact, small with a few windows and storage rooms, Elia house is painted completely white and consists of curved forms and exposed stone formations according to the Cycladic layout. It was also important for them to achieve a comfortable environment on the terrace. “It was imperative for us to protect our privacy, [and] create shaded and sun-exposed areas as well as corners for resting and dining,” explains Dikeakou.

Perhaps the most characteristic architectural Tinian elements are the handmade arched ornamental fanlights (yperthyro) above the doors and windows. “In the past, the fanlights made of marble allowed more light and fresh air to enter the house,” says Dikeakou. “They are genuine creations of the folk stone builders of Tinos, showing important examples of the artistic singularity of Tinos. They are of great aesthetic value.” The homeowners have a natural eye for streamlined forms. “We wanted to combine style with functionality, balancing traditional elements and materials with contemporary spare lines,” says Dikeakou. In terms of the layout, the couple opted for a thoughtful separation of public and private realms. The ground floor is home to the living room and open-concept kitchen whereas all three bedrooms and two bathrooms are situated on the upstairs levels. The interior finish is beautifully crafted with floors made from natural Tinos stones. The central and most characteristic feature forming the gate to the living area is the Volto—the arch that derives from the period of the Venetian occupation of the island.

 It took the homeowners four months to furnish their home. The credo was to create a simple yet jovial mood, and the decor was intentionally void of lush visuals and clashing hues. With Messinezis’s decor company at his disposal, it’s no surprise that the majority of pieces, including the sofa and the coffee table in the living room, the dining table by the kitchen, and all the outdoor furniture, were sourced from Ivy Home Collection. According to Dikeakou, however, the most pleasant aspect of the interior project was exchanging design ideas with her husband and tracking down furniture and accessories in Tinos. The couple visited local antique shops and slowly put together an array of furnishings that would complement the existing pieces. In the course of a couple of months, they acquired little treasures such as the bright blue wall-mounted kitchen cabinet, the bathroom mirror, and the mini sculpture on the bedside table in the guest bedroom.

Whether enjoying a breakfast on the sun-dappled terrace with locally sourced products, a relaxing afternoon nap in the cooled-down bedroom, or a sunset dinner party with friends, it is evident that the couple has a great appreciation for the exotic beauty of their holiday home. 


As featured in


Home By Design



Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.


All measurements are approximate.


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