Environmental

Sea Sights

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill
We are in the mid-stretch of the Olympic Games. Where dreams are gold in Rio. In the excitement of champions being made, Dream Team USA inspires a new generation. As Michael Phelps moves through the water like a dolphin in a speedo. Since 776 BC, when the Ancient Greeks held their first Olympiad, the games have been a part of human history. (Although it is believed the games were held earlier, the first written records of the ancient Olympic Games date back to 776 BC, when a cook named Coroebus won the only event of the games – a 192-meter footrace called the stade (the origin of the modern “stadium”) and became the first Olympic champion). Over the next 12 centuries, the Games expanded, adding other athletic events up until AD 393, when Emperor Theodosius I decided to shut them down. Just because he thought they were too ‘pagan’.

Of course, the Olympics did rise again. But, not until the late 1800s.  The first modern Olympics was held in 1896, in Athens, Greece. Thanks to Baron Pierre de Coubertin of France,who founded the International Olympic Committee.

Now, while the world was watching the Games in Rio last week, I was making friends with sea horses. I know that sounds a little odd – considering seahorses or “horse sea monsters” are mainly found in seagrass beds, estuaries, coral reefs, and mangroves, and not on city streets where my car likes to roam. I suspect any connection to the Olympics may appear a bit far-fetched to you too. However, as it turns out, seahorses are world record holders. They are considered to be the slowest-moving fish on the planet. Being that they are such well below average swimmers, they tend to rest a lot. Usually, at the bottom with their prehensile tail wrapped around a stationary object.  It is a bit of an odd fish – as fishes go. Read the rest of this entry »

Midsummer Hotspots for Fun

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

Now that we are moving into mid-month in the summer stretch, it is a fine time for celebrating outdoors. Last week, while Britain weighed out of the EU and then the MPs seceded too – by resigning their posts in large numbers – an outdoors tradition stayed calm and carried on without a hitch. Proving that in times of troubled waters, Royal Ascot and our habits help keep us on course.

Last week the ‘Top Hat & Thoroughbreds’ event saw the usual set of horse-loving Royals and my cousins – who were dining on poached salmon and drinking champagne on the scrappy lawn in the Royal Enclosure within striking distance of Her Majesty’s Special Guest Tent. (Being a members-only section of real estate, you have to cut the mustard to be afforded the chance to dine outdoors on the scrappy lawn within striking distance of Her Majesty’s Special Guests tent. This requires that you submit an application and be sponsored by a member first to be granted admission.) At Ascot, the dress code is excellent attire.While hats on parade are required. It’s very dignified, however. If you do attend you will see the most beautiful horses in the world strut their stuff around the racetrack and the Queen making her entrance with a carriage ride down the course. The only foible is the weather which can turn on you in a flash. Ruffling all that fussy plumage.

I remember fighting the wind with my over-sized hat when I attended Ascot. I never hated a hat so much as I did that hat after that day of struggling so hard to keep it on. Meanwhile the rest of my clothes were mounting a ‘war-drobe’ rebellion.When I wasn’t pulling my heels out of the ground, I was tackling with my jacket, trying to make it stretch. A feeling deep in my bones settled in on me. A feeling yearning for a blanket. I thought about southern California on the other side of the rainbow. “Where the Turf Meets the Sands,” 20 miles south of San Diego, I imagined Del Mar basking in the California sun as it prepares for its 79th season. The Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day will be held July 15, this year. It is a hat day to remember. One that is loaded with broad brims.   Read the rest of this entry »

Orlando On Parade

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

We begin this week in June in the aftermath of tragedy. Which, thankfully, has motivated a backlash of kindness. Let’s reflect for the moment. It is clear to us that an oily darkness is dimming our pockets of light. Attacking spaces where all kinds of people like to congregate for the sole purpose of feeling happy. Nothing wrong with that. I mean wanting to be happy. Now at the epicenter for family fun…the other OC(There are nine Orange counties in the US.)lies Orlando and it is loaded with more than a dozen theme parks, most notably Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. It is also the town where 49 people died in the deadliest mass murder in US history. And set off a tidal wave of bad luck. Read the rest of this entry »

OC With A French Twist

Pascal Olhats

Pascal Olhats

written by Robyn Wyman-dill
It was supposed to be a much shorter stay for Normandy-born, Chef Pascal Olhats, who paid a visit to Orange County over 30 years ago, and never looked back – pioneering an under-developed culinary scene into the realm of excellence with signature dishes like – seabass au thym – while remaining true to French classics like – Normandy tart tatin and salade lyonnaise. Fast-forward to April 23, when The Newport Beach Film Festival presents an insider’s perspective from ‘our man with panache’ with the debut of La Tradition, a documentary biopic, tracing the evolution of Chef Olhats’ influence on the fine dining scene here. His narrative is the kind of stuff the ‘American Dream’ is made of. 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.

At the Trailhead of Two Stories

blog and photos by Robyn Wyman-dill

We are sliding down the calendar into Halloween week with a waxing moon expanding into the first lunar quarter.  Everywhere you turn, orange is the dominant color, especially in the desert terrain of Coachella Valley.  Where the Mexican Birds of Paradise bushes are now in bloom and looking spectacular.  Much like the seasonal influx of colder weather tourists, the tropical plant has learned how to adapt and regenerate in Palm Spring’s windy vortex and dryer climate. Which leads us to the trailhead one of our two stories about  the region’s first settlers.  The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Read the rest of this entry »

Taco Talk

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

Some weeks seem to shine the light on our world mess better than others. Not because the special interests, religions and ideologies in the world are any more hell bent on multiplying their ranks – by dividing and conquering – than usual.  It’s more a feeling I get that intelligent signs of life have exited the building. Leaving behind no forwarding address. Which makes me hunger for the biggest common denominator and ultimate peacemaker – comfort food. According to psychological studies -this may be consumed for the purpose of positively piquing emotions. Replacing negative vibes with positive feelings. Read the rest of this entry »

September

blog by Robyn Wyman-Dill

September is my favorite month of the year in the western hemisphere. This season, the changing tides seem to be headed for the better with California on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to enact the one-use plastic bag ban!  The California Senate has voted 22-15 in favor of just such a bill which is expected to be approved by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown this September. Coming to supermarkets soon, the measure – – will ban grocery stores from handing out single-use grocery bags with purchases and provide money to local plastic bag companies to help them retool their wares to make heavier, multiple-use bags that customers can buy.

Now considering more than 10 billion plastic bags are used in California each year(According to an estimate by Californians Against Waste, an advocacy group supporting the bill.), this is exciting news. For more in-depth chatter about plastic see http://rjwdcreative.com/blog/2014/08/15/the-plastic-wrap/.  Meanwhile some 3,000 miles – that’s about 1350 kilometers – away, two albino lobsters made a rare appearance off the coast of Maine.

Little did I know lobsters come in colors. Like calico, blue, yellow, red, albino and split-colored. Read the rest of this entry »

In the Mix

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

Along southern California’s coastline, toes are tapping to the beat of night music this week.  There’s summer concerts in the parks almost every night, stirring up the dust with happy feet.

Last eve, The Ritz-Carlton/Laguna Niguel rolled out the red carpet for doggie night on Dana Lawn.  Yappy Hour is a monthly event for a ‘pedigree’ crowd and their devoted companions. (With the Hotel’s 4.5 star service in attendance to pamper the guests with assorted biscuits and treats. Bacon, cheese, chicken, meat and liver flavored waters were also on tap. The proceeds are slated for the Wounded Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence and Canine Companion’s Southwest Region puppy raising program.) While next door in Bluff Park,  Moonsville Collective was sending a string medley – rooted in American music –  across a silver and blue ocean.  Bound for Catalina.  As the pink sky fades to black, a feeling of carefree blows in the wind.

I decide to make a blue cheese grilled sandwich. Read the rest of this entry »

The Plastic Wrap

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

It’s been brought to my attention we have far too much plastic in our lives. Producing an estimated 32 million tons of plastic waste annually.  According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, only 9 per cent(or less than 3 million tons) actually gets recycled. Making all that conscientious sorting of my weekly garbage equate to 81 per cent pointless. Or, is it?  I decided now is the time to educate ourselves on plastic matter.

The marriage of man to plastics can be traced as far back as 150 BC.  To Mexico.  Read the rest of this entry »