Friday, October 2, 2009

Setting the Table at the Manor

This past week was busier than ever with an important showing of our listing in Big Canyon, The Manor; and setting the table for the "lifestyle shots" showing an intimate dinner party for four at the Manor. At the McMonigle Group, Luxury Real Estate is our middle name and our group of 13 agents and an incredible support staff; including notably everyone: from the Monarch Estates construction/developing divison; to the Finance Division, to our incredible Nick Gannon vice president in charge of Strategic Partnerships; Paul Rubino who handles "M Escapes"; to CEO Francoise; to John McMonigle himself who is visionary ,stellar and a leader to respect and emulate, we are all enjoying a remarkable period during this time of economic stress and chaos. We are all staying focused, working very hard and staying healthy so we can work harder and more effectively. One of the pleasures I recently have enjoyed is "setting the table" for the lifestyle shot at The Manor, which will be one of the featured Estates in John's new M Magazine. John asked me to set up a dinner and I selected the venue at the Manor to be outside, by poolside and golf course as an "end of summer" casual supper at sunset. Along with another 4 or 5 featured "lifestyle" listings, these photos will appear in the November issue. In the photo at the table are from left to right: Jim Brashier, Marcia Brashier and our sales associates Paul Benec and Michelle Goldman. The first issue (M Magazine will be published quarterly) hit the streets in late July and has enjoyed enormous enthusiasm and praise. Look for it in the luxury hotels, restaurants and hot spots in Orange County. We can also send one to you if you let us know you would like one.
John's continuing vision of improvement and raising the bar in the marketing of luxury real estate is an exciting ride and keeps us all at the top of our game. Personally, I have never been happier in real estate and feel grateful and thrilled to be with Jim at the McMonigle Group. Please check out the website:
It will not disappoint !! I would love to hear some comments from you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time to set the table again !

I have the privilege of Setting the Table this week at a most fabulous home in Big Canyon, Newport Beach, CA. One of the most classic, beautifully built homes ever. We are doing a "Lifestyle" photo shoot for M Magazine, winter issue, John McMonigle's brain child sharing the beauty of our listings through a traditional magazine format but with clever, enticing photos, articles, etc. Jim and I; two wonderful associates from the McMonigle Group will be a "dinner party for 4", outside on the terrace surrounding the beautiful pool with the golf course as a back drop. Tony Flores of Corona del Mar is the photographer; I am setting the table, using a combination of accessories from the owner and from my collection for the shoot. Once I have some photos that will be taken in 2 days, I will post them here for you to enjoy.
In the meantime, Bon Appetit and think imaginative table scapes for your next dinner party !

Friday, June 12, 2009

Catching Up, Lots of Positive Changes

It has been awhile since I have been able to write in this blog. We have moved our residence to a wonderful gated enclave in Newport Beach; we have joined the stunning and compelling real estate force, the McMonigle Group in Newport Beach. Affliated with Coldwell Banker Residential and Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. The McMonigle Group, lead by the visionary John McMonigle has been named by the Wall Street journal recently as the #1 Real Estate Group in the nation. The global reach of the company is palatable; the affliations John has created with his far reaching insight has changed the face of real estate practice in Southern California and beyond.
Please visit our website at:
I have included photos of only a small handful of homes the Group has listed in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach which includes Emerald Bay and Irvine Cove. The photos of rooms where people love to gather, spend time together over a meal and some good liquid refreshment and create memories together: the kitchen and dining rooms; sitting alcoves; all rooms with a view. No matter if you are in a cottage; a thatched buri in Tahiti, a "petite manior" looking out to vineyards, a cabana with the sound of the sea as your muse, a grand high ceilinged dining room over looking your part of the world, we all are people who love to share time and space; meals and good conversation. So, with the beginning of summer upon us, lets plan some special times to spend with those we cherish; with those we want to know better; with those with whom we can share ideas; even do some business over a glass of wine, creating a deeper understanding of the other person's needs; and, listen. My perceptive son Seth always reminds himself and me that listening is an art. As Jim says, you already know all your own stories; listen to someone elses'. Good advice.
A very Happy Father's Day to all the great Dad's out there and be grateful to your Dad even if he is no longer with you. He helped give you life and that in itself is so much to be grateful for, always.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quick Spring, Early Summer

As you can see in this Easter Sunday photo, we had a great holiday and early brunch with our warm and delightful family. L to R: Jim, Marcia, Connor(9) Elaine, Dylan,(7) Craig, Seth (blue shirt), Anthony.
The bling on the table was done to 2 of our starfish from our dear friend Debby B. who is the "Bling Queen" ! She enhanced the following "Spring Week" with a fabulous tea at her gorgeous home which included her 3 stunning daughters, all four of them together full of wit, laughter, plenty of smarts, that winning and rare combination of beauty, brains and disarming charm. And, they talk politics with ease .........who can't talk politics and economy these days? As Nikki said, stay informed people !!
Over the weekend the weather turned dry and hot as the Santa Ana winds blew in and spread its hot breath over Southern California. My roses think it is August, so they are blooming like mad. The cats need brushing twice a day as their heavy fur coats are no longer needed. 90 degrees in Newport Beach, CA in April is a record. So, we suggest that if you live in a part of the country that is warm now, or even just "mild", take advantage of it and fire up the BBQ, set the table with your favorite colors and dine outside alfresco under the stars with the fresh scent of newly blooming night jasmine beginning to fill the air. Add some candlelight and the people you love to celebrate these "ease into Summer" breezes. As we say, every day is a gift.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Winter is Behind Us

.........and Spring is here. Beautiful, life affirming springtime, with tulips, daffodils, delphinium, foxglove, the roses budding and opening to the sun. Soft breezes and bright skies filled with billowy clouds. The sound of nature around us coming awake and looking forward to the warm, easy days of summer. Eastertime is so beautiful; full of anticipation. Easter Sunday is always joyful for all the obvious reasons and then some. Being able to see the family and friends you have missed the last few months. Time for ham and butter biscuits; colorful berries on a meringue crust. Champagne in colorful flutes, raspberries bumping against the interior of the glass. A time when you can use squares of young green grass as the anchor to your brunch table centerpiece. Stacking colorfully painted Easter eggs on a big platter, topped with a daisy.
So, time to be creative and set the table ! I am using my bright fuschia place mats with white polka dots ! My lavender colored goblets I hand carried back from France in 2002. Mounds of cookies and treats on the table. We found some great little ceramic buckets full of cookies for our grandsons. Maybe truffles for the adults, each boxed by the plates of our guests.
Take a deep breath and be grateful for each day. The moments add up to memories; and we can carry them with us, always.
Embraceable Spring !

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Only Constant is Change

Reflections that start with the first day of Spring come with a renewal of spirit. For so many people, including us, it is a time to recognize that this Recession and the losses just about everyone has suffered, also can offer a chance to "go back to basics"; to re-evaluate our positions and make the necessary changes for our emotional and economic survivals. It is different for everyone; we each have our own set of dynamics with which to cope. Everyone I talk to is challenged by this economy, one way or another. Very wealthy people have noted huge losses in their portfolios; families are cutting back on unnecessary expenses; professional people are evaluating where to spend their money and on what. Some people are renting out their homes and moving to smaller places. Some are selling, if they can and moving elsewhere. People are getting a 2nd job. Real Sellers are reducing the listing prices of their homes; real buyers make offers on those bargains. It is all relative.

We all still need to eat; to share some quality time with each other, our families and friends. It is so important to stay connected when under stress. This weekend we had dear friends over, just the 6 of us. Maui and Luci (our DIVINE cats/divas) always help. They know by the brisk activity and what the cooking furiously mean ..........more people at home to pet them and play with them. They certainly keep me grounded and calmer. Luci (the Balinese, we think) likes to survey the table when I am done setting it. She was there this past Friday to help me out. Maui (the Maine Coon) was snoozing by the fireplace in his favorite chair, so I had some significant morale support. It was a cold day in Newport Beach that day, so the fireplace in the dining room was lighted and making the day special with that endearing contrast of cold outside and warmth from a fire inside.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I took this photo of the Sellers Winery vines, laden with fruit when we visited Dani and Ed Sellers in Paso Robles last August. The promise of the grapes is like the promise of Spring: new beginnings, fresh ideas, a time to marvel at life. Watching 60 Minutes last night which also featured Alice Waters, founder of the brilliance behind the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA was an inspiration too. Intuitively, I am always drawn to the freshest foods available and there is nothing better that the snap of fresh corn just out of the field under your teeth; or that delectable mixture of smell and taste of a brilliant tomato just off the vine. Making fresh pesto yesterday for a topping on the wild salmon dinner last night was relaxing with a delicious result. I am making Shrimp Stew with a twist for Dani and Ed tonight and will use the pesto to top off the bowls. We will serve their wonderful wine with dinner and drink to the bounties of our planet, if we pay attention to keeping it safe. I am using shells from my collection, as the centerpiece as an ode to the shrimp. Like a gift to Neptune for the bounty of the sea.

Each day is a gift, so enjoy what it may offer. I welcome your comments on my blog; I would love to have some to read !!