Did your child’s high school rank among best in U.S. News & World Report?

via OC Register

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Corona del Mar High School ranked as the 40th best public high school in California in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings released this week.

Three schools in Irvine cracked the top 100 statewide again this year: University High at 46, Northwood High, at 68, and Beckman High, at 74. University and Northwood are in the Irvine Unified School District, and Beckman is in the Tustin Unified School District.

Troy High School in Fullerton came in 69th – up from its 97th spot last year. Orange County School of Arts, in Santa Ana, placed 72nd in the state, four paces ahead of its No. 76 ranking last year.

Noticeable in its absence was Oxford Academy in Cypress, a magnet school that has consistently ranked among the top schools in the state and even in the nation for the past decade.

“We believe there was some kind of glitch,” said Michael Matsuda, superintendent for the Anaheim Union High School District.

There were no drops at Oxford in any of the metrics the magazine considers, and in some cases, Oxford ranked even higher, Matsuda said. Last year, the school was second best in the state, and 16th best in the nation.

U.S. News was unable to compute the school’s college-readiness index because Common Core data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics did not include necessary information, such as grade 12 enrollment numbers, said Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News.

Other Anaheim Union districts schools that typically garner silver and bronze medals got none this year and according to the rankings, some of the data also appears to be missing from the magazine rankings published online, said Manuel Colón, the district’s chief academic officer.

Only two of Anaheim Union district’s high schools netted a silver medal: Kennedy, ranked 298 in the state, and Cypress, ranked 236.

No Orange County school ranked among the top 100 nationally.

Whitney High School in neighboring Cerritos ranked top in the state and 19th best in the country.

Another area school that ranked high was the California Math and Science Academy, part of the Long Beach Unified School District, which came in as 10th best school in the state.

The magazine evaluated nearly 20,000 schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Analysts looked at various measures, including whether each school’s students were performing better than statistically expected for students in that state and whether disadvantaged students – black, Hispanic and low-income – were outperforming disadvantaged students in the state.

Another consideration was how well schools prepare students for college, based on scores of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. For the first time, graduation rates were added as a measure.

“Parents should look at multiple indicators always … but certainly the U.S. News and World Report is another benchmark of how healthy a school district or specific school is,” Matsuda said. “In this case … there was a mistake.”

Erica Boisvert: ‘There is no algorithm for nuance’

via Inman Select

Erica dishes on the economy and maintaining agent value in 2015

Are you optimistic about 2015?

An approaching year always carries a certain sense of hope and excitement, and I’m especially looking forward to seeing how work and new relationships from this year progress and grow in 2015.

The economy?

Yes; the economy has slowly, but progressively, gotten better, and the U.S. is working toward once again being a balanced and stable contributor to the global economy. Watching the unemployment rate get lower, seeing mortgage interest rates hover below 4 percent and knowing that the Federal Reserve is cautious about raising rates, which have effectively been around zero since 2008, leaves me feeling confident that slow and steady will win the race. Things are not as secure as we really need them to be, but we appear to be on the right path toward stabilization, which does leave me feeling optimistic about 2015. Also, with a presidential election on the horizon, it’s safe to say that things will continue to progress slowly and the Fed will proceed with caution.

The housing market?

The housing market has been fairly volatile in the recent past, but in late 2013 and into 2014 it feels as though things are getting back on track. Even with a little lull from the fall extending into winter the market is better now than it was a few years ago and appears to continue to get better.

Your success?

I’m very excited for a successful year … working with The Boutique Real Estate Group allows me the amazing opportunity to work with, and learn from, industry leaders. Whether it’s the introduction of the latest technological advancements, Raj Qsar stretching our company’s reach globally and teaching us about out-of-the-box market preparation for our client’s homes, or our in-house staff reminding us to build and nurture relationships, they all lend to our “boutique” culture of approaching real estate differently and effectively — and, as a result, thriving.

What are you worried about?

My worries tend to be more personal; will I connect with the right people?

How much do you fret about global events?

The global economy is such a force to be reckoned with and has so many constantly changing facets that it can be overwhelming … I don’t know that I worry about global events as much as I try to maintain a working knowledge of what’s occurring. Am I worried that the European and Japanese markets are set to tank? Yes. But I’m hopeful that the right people, who are much smarter than I am, are already addressing the potential problems. So, I tend to concentrate more on what I can do to affect positive change — I can make sure my clients are realistic and setting the listing price of their homes in a way that makes sense in their local market while still achieving their personal goals, and in the instance of buyers, I can work diligently to find them a home that is responsibly set within their budget while still allowing for future growth in their real estate portfolio.

Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?

It seems that “stability” is the name of the game … rates will move, they will respond to the climate set on Wall Street, but will there be drastic changes in either direction? Probably not. It seems that the Fed is set to keep rates low going into 2015 while we concentrate on maintaining the strength our economy has gained up to this point. 2016 going into 2017? Now, that’s a different ball game.

Will home prices appreciate next year?

As long as we stay the course, homes will most likely see a gain in 2015 … some homeowners have seen gains already this year.

Will agents be more productive next year? Why or why not?

Agent productivity is such a subjective thing — agents who are producing now will continue to do well; agents who are learning and implementing strong strategies now will do well next year. Personally, I plan on being massively productive, and my goal is to triple my numbers from this year.

Will the portals play a bigger role next year?

It will be interesting to see how Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia will play out in February; the industry impact could be dulled as the company experiences growing pains, and it’s possible that newer strategies will be implemented later in the year leaving the largest changes to occur in 2016. However, the portals will always play a large role — potential buyers and sellers are interested in the ease of use of these products that seem to offer tons of information freely at your fingertips.

What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?

This is still a word-of-mouth market; the biggest source of leads will always be current clients.

Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business next year?

Our company is growing at an amazing pace, and it’s quite a ride! It is my intention to grow with The Boutique and triple last year’s business.

What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?

Maintaining agent value is a main concern for me. It is easy for consumers to get caught up in the portals, to jump online and do some quick research and feel like they have good working knowledge of the local area. But it falls to our shoulders to show our clients that, actually, quick and easy is not the order of the day; websites like Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, etc., cannot give an all-encompassing value estimate. There is no algorithm for nuance; there is no way to measure the subjective nature of home selling or the emotion involved on the consumer level. It is up to us to ensure that clients are aware of our value by sharing our comprehensive market knowledge, anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations in every transaction — and by offering them the personal touch that these websites cannot give.

Tom Schick & Linda Ginex | Keeping In Touch

We wanted to keep in touch with you over the years and present to you, the amazing real estate company that we work with, The Boutique Real Estate Group.

After ten years in real estate, we noticed a fatal flaw. The industry is consistently 5-10 years behind in everything they do. Instead of coming up with new ideas, most real estate agents react to old ones or just “keep up”.

We love real estate. That’s why we’re fixing it. No other real estate brokerage in California offers everything we are capable of offering to you. We believe sellers should expect more out of their agent. After all, your agent is marketing one of your family’s most valuable investments. Why not do everything to defend the highest possible sales price?

A bit about us:

A few recent examples of our work include:

4582 Oceanridge, 502 Nineteenth, and 6826 Hidden Oaks.

Please connect with us at www.TheBoutiqueRE.com

Curious about the value of your home? Visit www.GetMyHomeWorth.com to find out today.

Now, we would love to hear from you so give us a call or email and let’s chat.

Tom & Linda

 

The Boutique Real Estate Group

Tom Schick & Linda Ginex

9 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Written by: Michele Chiu

  1. Clementine Pumpkins Peel a few clementines and dress them up with a stick of celery to make clementine pumpkins!
  2. Jack O’ Lantern Hummus Dip Use your favorite hummus spread and layer the top with your own jack o’ lantern design using black beans, olives or raisons. Layer the sides with whole grain crackers, veggies or fruit!
  3. Cheesy Witch Brooms Use kitchen scissors to slice the bottom half of a cheese slice, wrap it around a pretzel stick, and then use a fresh chive as a string to hold it in place.
  4. Mummy Toast Take a few slices of toast, layer with a spread of marinara sauce, and top with spring cheese and olives for eyes! Enjoy toasted or un-toasted!
  5. Hot Dog Mummies Pigs in a blanket, Halloween style! Cut your dough in long, thin strips, then wrap and layer your hot dogs. Place them on a baking sheet in the oven and add ketchup for eyes!
  6. Cheese Pumpkins Form soft cheese into balls, and then carve out the pumpkin lines with a toothpick. Now, insert a pretzel as the stem and enjoy with your favorite crackers! You could even do a larger version of this with your favorite soft cheese dip.
  7. String Cheese Ghosts Take your average string cheese, cut them in half and fringe the edges to make these fun octopus ghosts. Add them to a snack plate with crackers and fruit that the kids are sure to love!
  8. Owl Crackers Take large crackers, layer with cream cheese or hummus, and top with mini crackers, raisons and almonds for this irresistible owl snack!
  9. Spider Sandwiches Treat your kids their favorite sandwich, Halloween style! Whether it may be ham & cheese, or peanut butter & jelly, adding carrot or pretzel legs to their sandwich will make lunch more festive and fun.

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July Events at Pavilion Park | The Boutique Real Estate Group | Michele Chiu

COOKING DEMO | Ode to the BurgerUnleash your inner chef. The theme of this month’s cooking class will be Ode to the Burger. Perfect for cooks of all levels. July 5 10:30am-12:00pm
YOGA IN THE PARK | Self NavigationYoga and meditation that will focus on self navigation. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis. July 12 9:00-10:15am
FRIDAY NIGHT HAPPENINGS | Honky Tonk NightCountry music is about storytelling. Join us for a night of music in the great southern tradition, by the Freightshakers. Plus a convoy of food trucks, including GD Bro Burger, Bear Flag Fish Co., the Viking Truck, and Drive Me Cookie. And pottery demonstrations. July 18 6:00-9:00pm
YOGA IN THE PARK | Strength and SoftnessYoga and meditation that will focus on strength and softness. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis. July 19 9:00-10:15am
GARDEN WORKSHOP | Surviving the Summer HeatThe heat of summer can take a toll on gardens and gardeners. Discussion to include irrigation techniques, how to operate irrigation timers, water conservation, runoff friendly hardscape, and the benefits of mulching. July 19 10:30-11:30am
YOGA IN THE PARK | Creating SpaceYoga and meditation that will focus on creating space. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis. July 26 9:00-10:15am
Please register in advance for Cooking Demos, Garden Workshops and Yoga Classes.
 For More Information on These Events Please Email Michele.Chiu@TheBoutiqueRE.com
 Connect with Michele Chiu.Events sponsored by Great Park Neighborhoods.

Best Places to Watch Fireworks In Orange County

Written By:  Melissa Sims

The 4th of July is the ‘unofficial start of summer’ – the smell of barbecue, the sounds of waves at the beach and fireworks somehow signal that summer has begun. Orange County has so much to offer on this patriotic holiday – there’s just about something for everyone.   It was hard to narrow down, but here are my best picks for watching fireworks in the OC.  And if you think I’ve missed a great spot, let me know!  I’d love to add to this list for reference in the future!  Wherever you enjoy your holiday, remember to be safe, and have fun!

The Boutique Real Estate Group

Dana Point Harbor

Watch the skies over Dana Point Harbor for a spectacular show beginning at 9:00 pm.  Presented by the City of Dana Point, this is an annual show that draws large crowds – and it’s well worth it!  Doheny State Beach is a great vantage point, but you’ll need to make a day of it – forget trying to get a parking spot after 10:00am.  Not interested in a full-day affair?  You can watch from along the cliffs of Blue Lantern Park or Heritage Park, or even book a dinner at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott for terrific views of the fireworks as they light up the night’s sky.  Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, book a dinner cruise and watch from the water.  Visit http://bit.ly/DanaPointFireworks for more info.

Ladera Ranch – Founders Park

The Fireworks Spectacular in Ladera Ranch is just that – absolutely spectacular.  It has long been a favorite in South Orange County, and this year, the city is hosting a 5k/10k run, with proceeds to benefit Laura’s House & the Ladera Ranch Education Foundation.  Registration for the run begins at 6:00am and the 10k race starts at 7:00am.  This day is chock-full of activities, ranging from parades, to teen zone entertainment, to live music.  Get there early to snag a spot, it will definitely be a full house.  Fireworks begin at ‘dark’ – usually 9:15 – at Founders Park.  Visit http://bit.ly/LaderaFireworks for more info.

Newport Beach 4th of July Celebration

Disco AND Fireworks?  How can you go wrong???  This year, KC and the Sunshine Band will be headlining the Newport Beach Independence Day on the Back Bay extravaganza.  In addition to great music, the event will offer great dining options and lots of great activities for the kids.  The event is a bit on the pricey side, so if you’d like to take advantage of the fireworks show without having to open your wallet, just snag a spot in Newport Beach with a great view of Back Bay and you’ll be just fine.  Visit http://bit.ly/NewportDunesFireworks for more info.

Lake Mission Viejo

A long-standing tradition in Mission Viejo, the 4th of July Street Faire and Fireworks Spectacular is a safe, fun-filled, patriotic celebration that includes food, game booths and live music.  Festival begins at noon and the fireworks begin at 9:00pm.  Admission is free, as well as a free shuttle service operating from 1-8:00 pm surrounding Lake Mission Viejo.  Visit http://bit.ly/MVFireworks for more information.

Honorable Mentions: Disneyland and Anaheim Stadium

If you are lucky enough to have tickets to either attraction this Friday, you are in for a special treat.  Disneyland puts on a special version of their nightly fireworks display at 9:25pm.  Best places to see the fireworks are from main street, right in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.  The Angels will be playing against the Houston Astros this Friday night at 5:15pm, with a special fireworks display immediately following the game.

$20,0000,000 Home In Yorba Linda | 5005 Hidden Glen Ln | Yorba Linda, Ca 92887

Everyone always asks?  Who owns that big old white house on the hill in Yorba Linda?  How much is it worth?  Well, that home, 5005 Hidden Glen Ln has just hit the open market at a staggering $20,000,000.00.  This home has 9 Bedrooms, 12 Bathrooms, and is over 19,000 square feet in size on over a 1 acre parcel of land at the very heights of Yorba Linda.  If you do the math that is $1,033.81 per square foot.

Here is the MLS description from the listing agents on this home:

One of the Most Iconic and Famous Homes in the City of Yorba Linda, CA, known as the Satsang has just been released for sale. This architectural masterpiece visually soars from the 91 FWY & is perched among the highest elevation in the Hidden Hills Estates and boasts Amazing 270 Degree Panoramic Views of Yorba Linda and Catalina Island. The Steel & Glass Panel Construction and Massive 19,346 Square Feet Interior Structure make it one of California’s Most Unique and Stunning Homes. The estate is entirely energy efficient with over eighty solar panels and additional features include an Elegant Ball Room and Center Stage, Enormous Indoor Pool, Fitness Center, Jetted Spa, Sauna, Steam Room, Private Elevator, 12 Seat Theater Room, Coffee & Tea Bar Area & Much More! The exterior grounds are like a Private Resort complete with its own Basketball and Tennis Sport Courts. The Grand Courtyard and Free Flowing Patio Areas can easily entertain several hundred guests with Lush Palm Trees, Manicured Green Grass, Enchanting Water Fountain and relaxing Gazebo. Guests will be able to view the nightly fireworks displays from Disneyland. This One Of A Kind Estate is Incredibly Secluded, Private and Conveniently Located near OC Freeways to make it easily accessible.

5005 Hidden Glen Lane, Yorba Linda, Ca 92887

 

For a private showing of this unique home please call Raj Qsar at 714-412-5019 or email Raj@TheBoutiqueRE.com

Family Easter Activities in Orange County| The Boutique Real Estate Group | Erica Boisvert

easter

Photo Credit: holidays.co.uk

Easter Egg Hunt at the Fullerton YMCA– April 12 from 11am to 2pm at Fullerton YMCA *FREE* More info at: http://bit,ly+/1lrkImB

2014 Egg-Stravaganza at Disneyland- April 10-April 20 (Park Hours.) Search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters at Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park. Have fun exploring the parks hunting for “eggs” that portray Disney Characters! Record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specialty themed Egg-Stravaganza map to represent that location. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $4.95, at select merchandise locations. More info at: http://bit.ly/QIGOH2

Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Irvine Park- March 29-April 19 (schedules times.) Held in the Locomotive Loop just behind the train station. You can hunt for eggs, meet the Easter Bunny and enjoy all of the other amenities of Irvine Park. (Bike rentals, wheel boats, etc.) More info (and coupons!) at : http://bit.ly//1pVRhsS

Easter Bunny Activities at South Coast Plaza- March 28-April 19. Ride the carousel, makes crafts and take pictures with the Easter Bunny! More info at: http://bit.ly.1gqUxqO

Easter Egg Hunt at Laguna Hills Community Center- April 12 from 10am-11am. Join Mr. Bunny and friends for some springtime adventure like crafts, an egg hunt, and pictures. More infor at http://bit.ly/1fOUF3Z

Easter Egg Hunt and Family Fun Day in Huntington Beach- April 19 from 9am-2pm. Bring the whole family for live music, games, vendors, photos with the Easter Bunny, face painting, and the popular Easter Hunt. More info at: http://bit.ly/1k3SdOk

Celebrate Easter at Newport Dunes’ Waterfront Resort- April 19 and April 20 (check scheduled times.) A twenty-two year tradition of sand, Easter egg hunting and the Easter Bunny! More info at: http://bit.ly/1h8oiCK

SpEGGtacular Easter in Yorba Linda- April 12 at 9am. 5th Annual Royal Riders Pony Club SpEGGtacular Charity Event. All proceeds will be donated to The Shauna Ann Stuewe Foundation. Ponies, puppies, Easter egg hunt AND Charity? Winner!! More info at: http://bit.ly/PqC7jT

easter3Photo Credit: lovethispic.com

 

Are you prepared for the big one?

Are you prepared for the big one?

By:  Melissa Sims | The Boutique Real Estate Group | @MelissaSimsOC

I am not a California native. I came to California in 1986 for my father’s career. We moved to Arcadia in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. Coming from Wisconsin, we were not prepared for the heat. Nor, would I learn, were we prepared for earthquakes. I still remember very vividly where I was when the 1987 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake hit. I was getting ready for school… out of nowhere, dishes were flying out of cabinets and the floor was seemingly gone beneath my feet. My mother grabbed my sister and I and we all ran outside. I wish I could find words to appropriately explain what I saw…the earth was flipping, side-to-side. Earthquake, you say, mom? What’s that? I was only 7 at the time, and coming from the other side of the country, we never spoke of such things. Tornados? All the time. Needless to say, we were ill prepared – no extra water or canned food on hand, no extra clothing, batteries, blankets…nada. It was a very serious quake, with several deaths and many homes destroyed.

Fast forward 7 years, we are living near Northridge, CA. We must have had a knack to follow where the next big earthquake would be. My mother and I were living alone in a condo, on top of a subterranean parking garage. I was awoken at 4:31 am by being physically thrown out of my bed onto the floor. I looked up and saw a huge free-standing mirror about to crash over me…instinct told me to roll under my bed while the mirror shattered where I had just lain. The intense noise, not just the shaking, is what was so terrifying about this quake – I screamed the entire time, as did my mother, neither of us hearing anything from the other. As we got our bearings and cautiously went downstairs, we had no idea what had happened. How big was that? Is there power anywhere (not here, obviously)? As we scrambled in the dark, I am still thankful that my mom had just recently decided it was time for an ‘earthquake kit.’ We had water, food, blankets, a flashlight, radio and extra batteries. We sat in our doorway for probably close to 3 hours, listening to the battery-powered radio in the dark, trying to find out how bad the quake was, getting tossed over and over with aftershocks. We stayed in the house for over a week with no power or clean water, until the fire department finally made its way to us. To let us know that we couldn’t stay. While the Northridge quake was a 6.7, the ground acceleration of that quake was one of the highest ever recorded in an urban area, making it feel more like a quake in the 7.5 range.

Looking back on both quakes, I am so thankful that we were more prepared for the second quake. Nothing can prepare you, really, for the disorienting feeling of having the earth beneath you come to life, and rock your senses silly. After this most recent La Habra quake, we are reminded yet again that we live in ‘earthquake country’ and most of us are embarrassingly unprepared for the aftermath of a good shake.

seismograph

Here are some tips for an effective earthquake kit. Some things to remember: you may not have access to water, electricity or emergency services for a few days, if not more.

1. Water. The single most important item you’ll need. Another option: steri pen. Will sterilize water from any source. You’ll need at least one gallon per day per person in your house.

2. Food – canned food (don’t forget an opener), boxed food that has a long shelf life. Pastas, canned tuna, canned vegetables, etcetera. Camping food is another good option.

3. Camp stove and fuel, along with utensils.

4. Whistle, in case of need for rescuers.

5. Extra set of clothing & shoes.

6. Emergency cash, in small denominations

7. Tool kit (to turn off gas/water)

8. Copies of your vital documents.

9. Tarp, plastic bags – in case of rain. Or, if preferred, a tent.

10. Toiletries.

11. Toys – if you have kids

12. Lanterns, flashlights & batteries.

13. Portable radio – don’t think your cell phone will work. You need the good ol’ fashioned antenna radio.

14. Solar panel for charging any items that might still work.

15. Portable power generator. There are solar versions out there as well. Most generators run on gas, and if there is a main break at your local station, no-can-do. There are other personal preference items you can bring, of course, but try to make your kit as accessible as possible. It should be in a waterproof container, easily accessed OUTSIDE. Do not keep it in your garage – you’ll probably not be able to access it if the damage is severe.

Nothing, like I said, will prepare you for the moment a large earthquake hits. The fear and adrenaline are intense and the disorientation is dumbfounding. But, your preparedness for the moments right after a quake can make the comforts of home enough to get you through mother nature’s moody behavior.

To connect with Melissa Sims please email her at Melissa.Sims@TheBoutiqueRE.com

Our Story | The Boutique Real Estate Group | www.TheBoutiqueRE.com

http://TheBoutiqueRE.com 949-612-2535 #tbregourstory
The Boutique Real Estate Group is a boutique real estate brokerage headquartered in Orange County, CA, that focuses on brilliant design, beautiful marketing & luxury services and is set to open their 2nd office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach. Raj Qsar, Principal & Owner has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach.

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Our story goes a little something like this… Beautiful design evokes emotion. Emotion stirs the soul and creates a connection between client, agent and the home buying process. The Boutique Real Estate Group has invested heavily in bringing all aspects of the real estate experience completely in-house. From design, staging, photography, cinematography and social media to technology, internet optimization & cloud based transaction management. This not only provides them complete control of the design, marketing & technology of luxury real estate but also gives them the look & feel of a true boutique marketing agency. This design & tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades & awards worldwide.

Most recently The Boutique Real Estate Group has been recognized as the 2014 Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage by Better Homes & Garden Real Estate and 1000 Watt Consulting. Raj Qsar & Jeremy Lehman, The Boutique’s CTO have both been recognized as Inman News Top 100 Most influential Real Estate Leaders for their work & dedication to raising the bar in the Real Estate industry. And their #GoodbyeHello video was named Top 20 Real Estate Videos in the USA in 2013.

Look for their new office in the beach city of Corona Del Mar in Newport Beach as they launch into the Coastal Orange County Real Estate Market in 2014.

The Boutique Real Estate Group
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