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 »

Don’t Cry for Me, OC

blog by Robyn Wyman-dill

In my many years of travel, one characteristic has always dominated, setting a tone which translates into a lasting good or bad impression. This singular characteristic is people. For it is the very people I meet who come to define the places where I have traveled. My recent visit to New Orleans – where the locals like to share their heritage in music and food and southern hospitality with everybody they meet – created a positive imprint. One I don’t want put to bed just yet. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it is another rude day in paradise co-existing with the stressed-out OC mindset. I refresh my home page to reconnect my spirit with New Orleans. Starting with my exchanges with the good people of substance I met at Collision’s Tech conference there. Roll playback.  Let’s get metaphysical, toute suite, shall we?

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Collision – At the Intersection of All Things Delicious in Technology

photographed and written by Robyn Wyman-dill

It’s May. Hard to believe my writing career began 5.5 years ago this month but it did when I got a job that came with the title of ‘Food Correspondent.’ Now if landing a dream job right out of the gates isn’t surreal enough stuff already, I had no experience writing restaurant reviews. Or, read a food review before. (Not even the internet crowd-sourced sites – like Zagat, Yelp, Chowhound and Urban Spoon.) I had seen those really bad photos people post of the meals they love – which curbed my appetite for dining out tremendously. But I was given a task and stepped up to the occasion. Because when someone believes in me, I do not let them down. This learning curve I decided to climb would change my world view of food forever. Shifting it to a view from the perspective of flavors. Flavors that excite and entice our imaginations to travel to exotic places from our kitchen table. Flavors that refine history and define culture and eras. Flavors that taste and smell and look good. Like Aunt Jemima syrup on an Aunt Jemima ready-made pancake stack. Or, smoked ribs served out of a barbecue truck parked on a French colonial-style street near my hotel in New Orleans. A city where I spent a fruitful week – feasting on a new generation of ideas at Collision Conference Orleans 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

Space Music

written by Robyn Wyman-dill

It’s April when the earth gives birth to Spring, the birds sing and everywhere smells like roses. Last week was a sweet week for my hometown, LA, when Kobe Bryant gave us everything he’s got, making history in his final game at the Staples Center. With the ease and grace of a champion. There were approximately 19,000 fans in the Staples Center house and over 8 million others watching remotely as the basketball legend proved how worthy he is of our love. (The Lakers trailed behind the Utah Jazz, a team that delivered some of the best team basketball that evening.) Scoring 60 points to finish with a 101-96 Lakers victory. Sealing his 20 year career with a most spectacular finale. While 55 years earlier, humans got their first taste of space when Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first person to leave the atmosphere and return. Blazing a trail for generations eager to know the galaxy. Opening the door for more space westerns.

To boldly go where no one has gone before

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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 »

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.

We Are Back

by Robyn Wyman-Dill

It’s that very familiar time of year when the traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas are resurrected. Puncturing the waning calendar year with lots of shopping. In malls across America, Canada and Europe registers are merrily ringing while Bing is jovially singing, White Christmas. Which makes me ponder, where were we before all the red and green-themed festivities began?

You were enjoying an October getaway in Palm Springs, California. You through me, that is.Via the retelling of my Palm Springs excursion and a special thanks to the internet.

That’s how we do it in the modern era.

It’s been a month-long absence, but we’re back – n’est-ce pas? – to pick up where we left off. Which means we are going back to the desert to experience Christmas so we can bring a little hiking, moviemaking and desert music cheer to the conversation.

Stay tuned….

RJWD CREATIVE ANNOUNCEMENT

Greetings Subscribers,

I just learned today that our web host provider is closing his business, effective this November.  I am going to try and work out a smooth transition with our blog postings and website but if it can not be accomplished within the remaining time frame of a few days,  I would like everyone to know of this and to hang in there.  I will re-instate it.

Cordials,

Robyn Wyman-dill

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 »