Archtitecture

Sipping on Hello Kitty Wine

by Robyn Wyman-dill

Hello and welcome to 2017. Shall we commence with a quick reality check before we cultivate ourselves. As kind of a warm-up to the New Year.

Marking this calendar week, we have the raging United States of Russian relations and a storming Helena – spreading ice and snow across our vast nation. Like old
man winter sweeping across Red Square. Meanwhile, a cold, cold war – in the words of Nobel for Literature-Elect Bob Dylan ‘is blowing in the wind.’ (Does anybody really know when Bob Dylan is going to accept the award?) Okay. If life insists on imitating art badly, may I recast my presidential vote in favor of Princess Leia, posthumously, before it’s too late. She is someone who has proven to me that she can guide a ship to greener pastures with the goodness in her heart, a light saber by her side and a sassy sense of humor. Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for inspiring girls like me to think large. May the force be with you and your unsinkable mother, Debbie Reynolds. Salute. Cin cin. I raise my glass to you, sipping on Hello Kitty sparkling white wine…from the Lombardy region of Italy. Made with love by the Torti family.  At last. Read the rest of this entry »

The Marriage of Architecture and Dance

written by Robyn Wyman-dill

 

It’s Bastille week. When the flavors of France come out and dance in local bistros in celebration of Independence Day. Perhaps, it is the shared ideals of the French and American Revolutions and our common-colored flags – billowing in the wind with patriotic blue, white and red washes – that keep our French-American relationship evolving positively. And why the great portrait of Marquis Lafayette, a Frenchmen, has been hanging in the US House of Representatives chamber – since 1830. Over two centuries, the American-French cultural, historical and economic exchange has continued to get better.

Yes, indeed. The US has seen an immigration of the highest standard in terms of artistic enrichments from our French-speaking friends. Like Louisiana cuisine, Dijon mustard, French-trained chefs, exquisite French wines and Trader Joe’s pop-up sponges. While the lavendar fields of Provence cross the pond in soaps and fragances, the Tournées Festival brings contemporary French cinema to American college and university campuses every year so that more than 500,000 students can fall in love with French films. Oh la, la.

Lucky for Southern Californians, their weather seems to suit French creativity.

When Cirque de Soleil first came to LA, the company had just enough money to cover a one-way ticket for their performers. But, when Angelenos went to see them, they went wild. Their 1987 Los Angeles Arts Festival performance attracted the kind of critical attention that sent Hollywood a knocking. The French-Canadian powerhouse for theatre arts has been raising the bar on entertainment ever since. And then there’s dance.

If the gravitational waves could hear the sound of amazement rising in skies, it would be coming from audiences watching the dance company, Diavolo, founded by French Choreographer and Visionary, Jacques Heim. This company has been dazzling audiences around the world and re-envisioning modern dance in southern California for a quarter of a century. Read the rest of this entry »

Bistango and the Bastille Bash

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

It’s been a patriotic week. Sheathed in red, white and blue. Apparently, the sight of strips of loosely woven red, white and blue English wool bunting arouses flag-waving emotions in humans a lot. The proof is in the 36 countries around the world who have inspired their own people with a sense of national pride waving the red, white and blue flags on their behalf. The next red, white and blue flag bash is coming up on July 14, when France celebrates Bastille Day, (Which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution back in 1789.) This is France’s Independence Day, folks. And because the French know how to celebrate life right, the occasion has turned into an international party. (New York, London, Sydney and LA host week-long events.) Just done the road, Bistango in Irvine will be honoring the French holiday with a special small plates menu and selection of rosés. In honor of freedom. Now doesn’t that sound like a lovely way to spend a summer’s day.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Play the Game of Life

photos and blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

What fascinates me most about my job as a journalist is the personal journeys people take to fulfill their life’s expression. It’s like a fingerprint the way a person plays the game of life. No two are identical. Read the rest of this entry »

South Coast Metro

The Tale of the Twin Towers that turned the suburbs into south coast metro living.

photos and blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

Under the moonlight, a gentle breeze ripples the crystal blue waters of an Olympic-sized pool. While an international crowd of beautiful people, dressed in cocktail attire, mingle on deck. When the DJ heats up the party tunes, the residents come out to watch the show – just below their balconies. Being the County’s tallest residential twin towers and all, the luxury condos have some primo south coast metro views too. Meanwhile a fun vibe is inducing a festive mood in every direction. Since they opened their doors to occupancy in 2010, the management team at Essex Skyline keeps on doing it right.

Still a residential building in Santa Ana, built by Architects KTGY Group, not tall enough to make the 40 tallest residential buildings of the world list seems an unlikely candidate to be blossoming into the hot spot for hosting cultural and philanthropic venues in town, but think again. This little tall residential building that ‘could’ is beginning to outshine the biggest and reigning best with a full demonstration kitchen for large gatherings and small events, wine bar and private wine storage, fireside seating, outdoor club space and gourmet barbecue areas, junior Olympic-sized pool, 24 hour valet service and community park great for walking – with a lake outside its back door. The rental-only luxury apartment buildings also integrate other amenity services, providing internet access connectivity without wifi or internet hiccups.

The post-moderne architecture is constructed with the understanding that environmental responsibility is an integral part of residential design. The interiors are bathed in natural light with a floor plan that is open. The decor – like the air – is California coastal. Each building is 25 stories high with one and two-bedroom homes and a limited number of penthouses. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, gourmet kitchens, luxurious bathrooms and steam washer and dryer. Because healthier and more nature living spaces feel more in harmony with the natural world.

In real estate it is all about location and Essex Skyline has found one overlooking what is becoming a very happening metropolis. Santa Ana with the influx of trendy eateries and clubs over the last five years, has turned the corner into a fashionable address (The City Council is even considering rebranding downtown Santa Ana as a “wellness corridor,” focused on healthy foods, activities, and personal care products for nearby residents.) which compliments the Essex Property’s best quality of life mission nicely. The Orange County Performing Arts Center, South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island are nearby for entertainment and good food. A short drive west, the sandy beaches of the California riviera and Newport Beach welcome you. While LAX and John Wayne Airport make international travel as painless as possible with access to bus lines and convenient road travel on highways 55 and I-405.

Essex Skyline is also home to a dynamic mix of people from different cultures, age groups and backgrounds. Meanwhile the spirit to create positive change is alive and well here. Director of Activities, Anne Vallone, who understood that one of the key players in the quality of life game is making measurable differences in the world, especially in one’s own community; was the first to see the property’s goodwill potential. What’s more she knew how to funnel that goodwill spirit effectively and began hosting fund-raising events that met with the residents’ approval. Nowadays, wherever Vallone goes on the property, residents are excited and ask about upcoming events, offering themselves and their services to Vallone in support of a cause.

The Essex Property Trust now hosts more than 50 events a year in their Orange County flagship in Santa Ana, California.

Vallone has also partnered with events producers to launch larger events like the Fourth Annual Gala & Fashion Show Benefit for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society working with Expo 4 Life Events & Marketing Company. (www.expo4life.com), The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life working with Fun Nights Out(www.funnightsout.com) and Fashion to the Rescue Benefit for Recycled Love Dog Rescue working with (www.ocfashionshowcase.com) and featuring the latest in canine fashions for the Spring.

On June 25, Essex Skyline will host its largest fundraiser of the year, Design 4Life for the American Cancer Society working with Fun Night Out again. Thanks to these efforts more kids and cancer patients are in remission.

The cooking demo program is another brainchild of Activities Director Anne Vallone, and has been a popular niche for residents that enjoy the art of cooking. The likes of Chefs Deb Schneider (Sol Cocina), Angela (Inka Mama’s), Lindsay Smith (Nirvana Grill), Adam Starchman (Seasons 52), Jenny Ross (118 Degrees), Chris Tzorin (Savannah Chophouse and Tortilla Republic), and Doug Stratton (Spiced Bamboo) have made meals in the demonstration kitchen.The room can accommodate a group of 20-25, and has a monitor-camera set-up for easy viewing of what’s cooking.

The Activities calendar year-round stays busy with wine tastings, health expos, sporting events, pool parties, spa events, fashion shows, benefits, fireside chats with authors and cooking demonstrations. Averaging one event a week.(Some are small intimate gatherings for the residents. Others are larger events that are open to the public.)

Between the fine fashions evenings, cooking demos and goodwill events, the residents can unwind in the men’s and women’s spa areas with steam rooms, saunas, jacuzzi and relaxation lounges or swim, do yoga and workout in the gym. Essex Skyline also maintains a private putting green.

The fourth tallest buildings in Orange County are owned by Essex Property Trust, a Palo Alto-based apartment investment trust with more than 27,000 units.

Essex Skyline
15 MacArthur Place
Santa Ana, CA . 92707
www.SkylineAptHomes.com
Phone: 714.557.5483

Stay Tuned.

In Funober Month

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

October is kind of a rich, toasty, full-bodied, coppered-colored month for many people around the world. Largely because it is loaded with Oktoberfests from start to finish. The Bavarian-style merriment gets re-created in places like – Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, Palestine, South Africa and hundreds of cities throughout Canada and the US – every year.  In celebration of German beer.  Read the rest of this entry »

A Queen, A Prince and His Beautiful Pharaoh

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

With the calendar now inching deeper into fall season, I would like to bid adieu to my favorite month of the year in the western hemisphere – September.  Which I remember ended on a good note.  Thank you. Read the rest of this entry »

Hot to Trot Week

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

Another hotter than ever week trickles in, bringing humidity to southern California.  Much to everyone’s discomfort and surprise. Yet, according to the Christian Science Monitor, heat waves coupled with high humidity have been on the rise(in terms of frequency and intensity) for more than 20 years here. It’s just taken this long for everyone to notice.

Let’s talk about the weather. Heat waves come in varieties. Southern California has two.  A daytime heat that tends to be dry and a nighttime heat that holds onto the high humidity throughout the day.  It’s the nighttime heat that gets you every time.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to affect the festive spirits here.  Because, during all this oppressive heat, there are happy feet dancing ‘moderne’ at the Laguna Dance Festival, models strutting their stuff on the catwalk at Style Week OC and the finest horses jumping fences to win the ASPCA Regionals at Blenheim Equisports Park. I coined it, ‘a hot to trot week’ for obvious reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Tito La Brea and the Velvet Underdogs

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

I have an artist friend named Ray who coined the name Tito La Brea (which means giant tar pits in English)for a series of paintings he did in the 90s. We have been good friends for 15 years.

Last weekend, we discovered a pocket of Provence at a corner restaurant called Bistro de la Gare in South Pasadena. Over our sumptuous eggs florentine, Ray shared that his synonym, Tito La Brea, had a Facebook page.  That intrigued me.  For the next hour we sat – undisturbed – on the patio, while Ray told me the story behind the masked wrestlers he painted on velvet for the iconic El Carmen restaurant – where tequila and tacos have been served for a quarter of a century or more. Read the rest of this entry »

I Wonder at a Wonder of the World

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

There are seven wonders of the ancient world, medieval world and modern world made by man. There are seven wonders of the industrial world and – seven national wonders of Portugal, Wales, and Serbia plus seven other countries. In 2001, the New7Wonders of the world list would join  the wonderland ranks. Another list with the internet came later.

I saw my very first wonder when I was eight and it made me smile.  All because it looked like a gigantic, collapsed wedding cake, titling to one side.  (Which I thought was representative of an individual, leaning away from the norm.)  Waggish in appearance, it stood eight stories high – surrounded by blue Tuscan skies – which seemed hugely impressive from a little girl’s perspective. Read the rest of this entry »