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Post Ranch Inn Birthday 2015, Big Sur

Birthday Kiss

The anticipation was palpable for weeks, an imaginary sweet and tangy amuse bouche on the tip of my tongue. It was A dream come true – my birthday destination vacation. My 52nd year on this planet. I was ready. I was excited. I was thrilled.

We drove up from LA on the one and only Highway 1  destination: an earthly paradise called The Post Ranch Inn.

The route’s terrain is vast, rugged, angry; the road insisting on yeilding into the mountainside. Highway 1 stretches out for miles, carved out in a zig zag of magnificsent engeneering. The German engine gobbled up the road, hungry for corners, curves and speed. The wind in our hair, the sun on our smiling faces – life – a great gift and we knew it.

On this anually travelled upon drive, lunch is Mandatory at Naptenthe and on arrival the blue jays greeted us like old pals and we sat, sipped and laughed, the mighty Pasific lulling, glistening and captivating.

Next stop was THE Inn and as we entered the property, the serenity welcomed us with earth toned structures, deer quietly grazing on the path. Every angle seemed to melt into the earth, into the sky and best of all, into the sea……….

It was my birthday and I wanted to bask in every moment, in otherwords, milk it every chance I got, and I had many such milkable moments, starting with an amazing facial and body massage. As I was lathered, scrubbed, adorned and smoothed, I’d grab a quick peek into the forest that was our weekend sancturary. The Spa is nestled amongst the trees, gentle light filtering in between the aged branches. In my blissful absence, Ken was relaxing at the basking pool while the years were melting off my face.

It was time for the unveil. We were driven in electric silence to our abode. Our room/suite,  “Fee” was named after Dolores and her husband, pioneers in Big Sur. Luxury was not a feature in their lives.

The  suite had a masculine air; dark earthen walls; wood,  stone and cement, burnt Sienna and greys. The Bed was appropriately positioned facing the Sea. The huge sliding windows equipped with electronic shades, muting the views, not obliterating them. Swinging saloon doors yeilded to the bath room, grey toilet, grey towels, more curves.

Off of the living room The stainless steel infinity hot tub beckoned us. Every line was a gentle; rounded curves and the patio held hands with sea. A stag woke me from my revery. He was as calm and still as the blades he was feasting upon. The inroom music system pulsed softely to Buddha Bar tunes. Yes, I was in heaven. Time fluidly advanced.

The huge shower with a view to the sea, reflections of the sea prepared us for the festivities to come. The dinner, my birthday dinner at Sierra Mar was here. It was time and I couldn’t wait.The Sun was actually waiting for us to set.

Our table was seemingly suspended over the Pacific Ocean. The colors were truly breathtaking. The whales breached on cue. The sunset was more glorious than Mother Nature could have possibly intended. Spectacular in an insignificant use of the language to exalt the beauty before us.

The 9 course tasting menu and bottle of Borolo, the gifts and excitement left me beyond giddy. Creative and playful the dishes touched all senses.

The days blended together as the pines, the rocks, clouds floated harmoniously with the sea.

Bottomless Bubbles were drunk.  We were drunk with love, drunk with the sublime scenery and each other.

Gratitude oozes still from my pores.Post Views Sunset


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alma didn't light me up

Gold has always been considered a safe investment. However, many moguls are replacing this precious metal with art and real estate. Laurence D. Finch, BlackRock CEO, explains as gold has become widely owned, it has lost its appeal. In fact, gold prices have dropped over one-third from their peak values in 2011.
To store value, many investors are turning to contemporary art and property. Obviously, fine paintings and sculptures are nicer to view than blocks of gold. Also, many elite class members find penthouses are more useful shelters than bland safety deposit boxes. Apartments in Vancouver, London, and Manhattan are especially popular.
The most important thing to note is how art and property compare to gold as investments. Results seem to depend on location. Even though gold prices have dropped 7 percent from last year, they are still up 179 percent over the last 10 years. According to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, art value has increased 252 percent over the last 10 years. London real estate has seen an increase of 138 percent over the last decade. Unfortunately, New York real estate has not been as successful. Its value has only increased 67 percent over the same time period.
One thing that has skeptics worried is that art and real estate are less liquid than precious metal. During a market upswing, these new purchases seem to be smart investment choices. However, over the long term, they may be risky during times of crisis. Under most circumstances, individual needs will dictate what investment path is best.


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Data from the Urban Institute indicates that between 2010 and 2030, the renting population is expected to exceed that of homeowners. The report, titled Headship and Homeownership: What Does the Future Hold?, looks at the year that millennials are to reach peak homebuying age and trends leading up to it. Although the number of homeowners is anticipated to increase during this two decade period, it is believed that in 15 years, renters will number 13 million to nine million homeowners.
The increase in renters over homeowners is due to the number of millennials and the ethnic makeup of the generation. According to the study, it is believed that the new surge of renters will create additional need for rental housing while reducing the demand for owner-occupied homes. Currently, the rental housing market is already at a fairly high occupancy, and rental rates are rising as a result. This is also leading to a number of single-family homes being turned into rental properties.
Nonwhite populations are where most of home ownership is expected to increase. In the next five years, 77 percent of new households are predicted to be nonwhite, and by 2030, that number is to be 88 percent. Additionally, by 2030, it is anticipated that the rate of Hispanic homeowners will reach 48.2 percent, up from 47.3 percent in 2010.
Along with a push from nonwhite households, home ownership is also supposed to increase as a result of growth among senior households, which are owned by individuals who are at least 65 years old.

Let’s Talk Backyard Retreats

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It’s time for summer break, but why make expensive travel plans? Let the crowds have the beaches, and leave theme parks to the throngs. These four vacation retreats beckon just outside your back door.
1. Lounge in Landscaped Gardens – Elevate exterior design with creative gardening. Traditional trellis walls shaded with favorite vines establish natural privacy. Grace your getaway with a butterfly garden, or practice peaceful relaxation with an Oriental theme. Landscape design keeps your backyard retreat beautiful, and it increases property value.
2. Play on a Pretty Patio – This little piece of real estate has so much potential, so think beyond the umbrella table. Brighten up your great outdoors with cool, colorful pavers underfoot. Lay down luxurious natural stone, and install a small fire pit. Finish off your summertime oasis with miniature fountains and lovely container plants.
3. Man the Deck for Fun – Outgrow the backyard grill with an outdoor kitchen that turns the deck into a summer fun center. Add bench seating along the rails for hidden storage space that welcomes extra guests. Built-in tables double down for dining and family game nights. Top it all with a shady pergola, and enjoy your retreat year-round.
4. Splash in Your Own Pool – You don’t need an Olympic-sized layout. An above-ground pool keeps you cool, and a hot tub keeps you relaxed. Take the splash with a traditional water hole, or save space with a slim lap pool. A personal water world in your backyard keeps summertime living easy.


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Smart Home
Does anyone actually need a home with a front door that unlocks automatically as soon as they approach it? Probably not. However, many people are likely to want these types of conveniences, and they could also make selling a home much easier along with boosting its final sale price.
Thanks to the increasing cheapness of tiny computers, which can be put into a variety of boring household devices, and the proliferation of WiFi, old and staid products in the home are getting a makeover. Along with the aforementioned door that can be unlocked remotely, air conditioners, refrigerators and washers and dryers with the ability to connect to the Internet are becoming available. Many of these new smart devices offer both remote management and diagnostic capabilities.
For example, if a washing machine is having problems with balance or load issues, it can alert someone with a text message. Air conditioners that are low on coolant can also let people know that they need to have a technician out. Some of these technologies have been available for a while, but thanks to wireless connectivity, they don’t require someone to have wires running throughout their home to work, which makes them far cheaper to install.
Another major benefit that is likely to draw in potential home buyers is the ability to improve a home’s energy efficiency. Remotely controlled lighting and HVAC systems can cut down on power consumption when members of a household are not around, making smart devices both nifty and potential money savers.

Let’s Talk “The Arthur J” Manhattan Beach

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J J's

Let’s Talk Home Run,

It is with a heart filled with gratitude, excitement, and culinary enthusiasm that I write about the soft opening at the Arthur J restaurant in Manhattan Beach.

Saturday night at 5:30 my husband and I and two friends were invited to dine at the Arthur J prior to the main opening  Tuesday night.

I had been been looking forward to David’s third adventure with Jerry Garbus at his side, for months, and I could wait no longer.

We got there early to take it all in. The exterior, the bar, the dining room, the shinny excited looks on the staff’s well prepared faces.

So there we were, flanked by Chef David who seemed uncharacteristically nervous and jittery. Yet everything gleamed from the flatware to the place settings to the white teeth on the staff’s anticipation filled smiles.

The cocktail menu was varied and creative. I tried the Peruvian contraband. It was served up with a flourish and had extreme flavors that tickled the senses, amused my taste buds and had my heart doing somersaults. Can you tell how thrilled I was?

Our friends arrived and we were taken to our sumptuous booth which was reminiscent of just how lovely old-school dining really is.

I breathed everything in. The fantastically subdued music, not vying for attention with our dinner guests conversations, the knives which of course are a crucial element at a steak restaurant, the wine glasses and the overall atmosphere. The Decor was perfect.

As guests there was a planned menu with selections. After some arm wrestling at our table we decided to have the popovers, shrimp cocktail, the cannelloni, a bone in ribeye, a T-bone, and a little fillet mignon. For sides we had mashed potatoes,  creamed spinach. Dessert was ever present on my mind and it took mediation, and some light couples therapy, but we in the end we chose the banana dessert unanimously.

Our Argentinian wine connoisseur friend was at the helm for the wine menu. And we had two lovely bottles. The wine list is extensive and impressive.

The menu selection  mirrored and evoked happy  memories of a dining time gone by.

The popovers. They were perfection. They were light, airy and the cheese pairing inside the popover was not overpowering, it was delicate, fragrant and flavorful. The experience, from the very first bite took me back to happy childhood days having popovers with my mother, and also delicious memories of Yorkshire pudding. It was a combination of both genres.

The  shrimp in their cocktail were humongous Amazon sized shrimp. They were tender, rich, with salty brine notes and basically incredible.

The cannelloni, which were stuffed with mushrooms, were ethereal. The pasta was as light as angels eyelashes, the sauce like a gossamer shawl wrapped around my palate. Oohing an awe’ing emanated from our table. My husband tried to stab my hand with his fork when I angled for the last bite, but being younger and swifter I prevailed!

Now onto the  fire grilled meat. I can only comment on the bone in ribeye that I shared with our friend Claudio. It was so fantastic I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe it. Hints of smoke, but in the background, not overpowering. The flavor of the meat was the forward flavor. Simplicity is one main descriptors I would use. Tender, but enough body to allow the teeth and tongue to linger and release the fleshy goodness.

I didn’t get a chance to taste the T-bone, or the petite filet because I was intently focused on the bone in ribeye I could think of nothing else.

The mashed potatoes, in all of their creamy perfect deliciousness were just a distraction to my main attention.

The conversation and wine flowed. I watched familiar and envious faces come in, admire the restaurant and ask to be seated, alas non. Not tonight!

Dessert and coffee came and the banana creation was delicious, creamy, and thankfully not overly banana-y.

If I had to dig deep down into my soul and try to find one note of positive criticism because this was a trial run for David and Jerry, the only comment would be that the banana dessert could possibly have a different presentation. I know it’s a small observation but that’s all I can come up with!!!!

We were part of the first service and not wanting to over stay our welcome my husband let it be known  it was time to depart. I however, did not want to leave. I forced myself to psychological detach from the event,  from the evening. I have phantom burn marks on my legs from my husband prying me out of the booth!

On the way out I had one last treat, I had the honor to meet Jerry’s parents and tell them what a wonderfully beautiful person their son is.

The night was young, my heart was young, but the rest of me was pretty tired so we went home discussing each and every mouthful Needless to say, the conversation was dominated by our amazing meal.

Thank you David, thank you Jerry, thank you Ryan, thank you all the staff of the Arthur J and we will be back!imageimage imageimage image imageimage

Let’s Talk Real Estate Make Overs on a Budget!

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Habitat Demolish and Give Back

If you plan to place your home on the market soon, then you should get around to some of these home-improvement projects now. You can accomplish all of these on your own for less than $500 per project, and the result may be a quicker sale of your home at a much better price.

1. Freshly Painted Front Door

Chances are good that your prospective buyers will pause at the front door when they come to see your home, and you should make sure that it’s welcoming with a new coat of paint. You might also consider a new decorative door handle, inviting doormat and some beautiful hanging plants.

2. Present a Beautiful Front Yard

Those interested in purchasing your home may not make it to the front door if the first thing they see is a front yard filled with weeds, high grass and scattered toys. Keep your front yard mowed and pristine. Consider planting flowers or other forms of landscaping.

3. Brighten Up Interior Walls

Dull walls are unattractive and make your rooms look small and depressing. Brighten up each interior room with a fresh coat of paint or even a bright new color.

4. Sharp New Lighting Fixtures

Choose new lighting fixtures for your living and dining rooms. A beautiful chandelier hanging over your dining table may just make the sale.

5. New Bathroom Appliances

A new toilet in each bathroom can make all the difference in the world. Not only do the newer models save water, but you can choose from some innovative styles and colors.

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