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
Photo Credit: lovethispic.com
Are you prepared for the big one?
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.
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.
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
“So in a sense our team has digitaized the real estate experience.” Raj Qsar
Q: As a full service Real Estate Brokerage What makes The Boutique Real Estate Group Different?
A: We had out “ah-ha” moment back in 2008 as technology and social media found Real Estate. We knew there had to be a better way of not only marketing real estate but there also had to be a better way of managing the mountain of paperwork and people involved in a real estate transaction. So in a sense our team has digitized the real estate experience. You will never find our clients running to a fax machine and most likely never even pick up a pen to sign anything. We are a paperless office. Completely mobile and can run an entire real estate transaction from our iPads and phones. Our technology does not require our clients to be tech savvy – it only requires our agents to understand the benefits of technology and to implement that technology with our clients.
Q: Your marketing platform is truly amazing. Can you share with us a little bit of why your team has become globally recognized for your work in Real Estate Marketing?
A: Real Estate marketing has truly evolved over the last 10 years. We have developed a comprehensive strategy which showcases our client’s home through real life video (actual movies), HDR Photography, 360 HD V-Tours (amazing technology), individual property websites for each individual home, staging & interior design, custom graphics & design, and a social media content strategy that reaches people on a global scale. We have had the pleasure of being able to bring all aspects of our marketing completely in-house. What that means is that we have complete control over our designs, feel and strategy when marketing luxury real estate. When surfing the web for real estate, our listings stand out: they have a unique look & feel and buyers recognize our listings as being “boutique-ified.” Every part of the marketing strategy has been touched by our in-house team to unsure absolute perfection.
Q: The Boutique Real Estate Group has a massive social and web-presence. Why have you focused so much on this part of marketing?
A: The world is on the web – advances in technology are changing the way businesses interact with clients. People are on their smartphones, heads down and focused. We know we need to be where our clients are, so we can be at the forefront of their minds. Our clients are on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Four Square. However, the Facebook user is different than the Linkedin user, who is totally different than the individual on Instagram. So when thinking about marketing, you will see that our strategy is different depending on the platform and who we are trying to reach.
Q: Why did you choose Corona Del Mar as your new home base for The Boutique Real Estate Group?
A: I am an Orange County Native and growing up, my family & I we always at the beach playing, surfing and just enjoying our time together. As a real estate professional it only makes sense that our marketing platform, our luxury services, and our attention to detail is needed in Coastal Orange County. Corona Del Mar was a natural choice – not only is it centrally located between Newport, Huntington, Laguna, and Dana Point, but it encompasses exactly what we stand for, laid-back luxury.
In todayʼs digital age, buyers have incredible amounts of information at their ﬁnger tips,
literally. I have had buyers walk into an open house, smartphone in hand, not needing
information from me because they already know exactly how many square feet there
are in the home, what school district it is in, and what the asking price is. Most of these
buyers were not represented by an agent, so it begs the question: are buyerʼs agents
becoming obsolete? Am I worried, as a Realtor, that this will affect my career?
The answer to both questions is an astounding NO. While buyers have information at
their ﬁnger tips, many of the avenues in which they get that information are notorious for
inaccuracy. Information can be incomplete and outdated, and sometimes, just plain
However, I absolutely applaud buyers that have done their homework. It makes my job
smoother and easier. But, the property search function is a very small part of the entire
process. Regardless of how educated buyers are, most do not know the ʻins and outsʼ
of a real estate transaction. The amount of paperwork alone is enough reason to hire
an agent. And, if you happen to enter into a transaction where the selling agent isnʼt
aware of the disclosures needed, you could ﬁnd yourself unprotected. In addition, when
you walk into a transaction without an agent, you are automatically hiring the sellerʼs
agent. Whose best interest does that agent protect? By law, it is supposed to be both
of yours. But in reality, that may not always be the case. Protect yourself.
With all of the new master-planned communities being built in the next few years,
bringing a licensed real estate agent with you when touring the properties for the ﬁrst
time is the way to ensure that you are the most prepared you can be for the one of
biggest ﬁnancial decisions of your life. We are here to be your advocate, your
negotiator and your friend through the process. We are here to guide you through the
contract process, inform you of your rights, and be the go-between for uncomfortable
scenarios that often arise.
You can search on You Tube for “how to perform an appendectomy” and it will give you
step-by-step instructions on removing an appendix. So are you going to go out and buy
some surgical tools and do it yourself? We certainly hope not! When making such a
huge ﬁnancial decision, wouldn’t it make sense to use every tool available to you?
Especially when the tool is free to you?
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
To reach Melissa Sims directly please email her at Melissa.Sims@TheBoutiqueRE.com or 714-616-6442 or visit her at www.TheBoutiqueRE.com/Melissa-Sims
By: Melissa Sims | The Boutique Real Estate Group
October 15th, 2013
Some may call me a wanderer, a nomad, a gypsy. I can’t say that I ever stayed in one place too long…enduring the desert weather of New Mexico, the humidity of Texas, the sub-zero temperatures of New York & Wisconsin, and basking in the sunny days of Southern California. In fact, my current home is the longest I have stayed in one place. Before I moved here, my longest stint in one city was – wait for it – three whole years! That’s a lot of moving for someone as young (at heart) as me.
But those days are over.
Foothill Ranch does that to people. It lures you in with its rolling hills, beautiful natural landscapes, sense of community and that certainSOMETHING you can’t quite put your finger on.
Perhaps it’s the proximity to just about everything? ‘Foothill’ as residents call it, feels far enough removed from the hustle and bustle, but close enough to everything to not feel burdened by the quiet. Just a five-minute drive away, the Irvine Spectrum has amazing dining and shopping. Or, if you aren’t in the shopping mood, Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has some of the best hiking, mountain biking and wildlife-watching in all of Orange County. Maybe you feel more like skateboarding or BMX riding? Well, you’re in luck – Foothill Ranch is home to the world-famous Etnies Skate Park, a free-amenity to all Foothill residents. Looking for a California Distinguished School that is in the top 5 in the district? Yeah, we have that too.
Or, maybe, just maybe, you feel like sitting in your own backyard, relaxing and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature. You won’t hear traffic, or freeways, or sirens around here. It’s a little slice of paradise.
My wanderlust is staying at bay for now. Nine years in, and I may just spend the next twenty happily trying to figure out just what it is that makes this place so special.
To meet Melissa Sims please visit www.TheBoutiqueRE.com/Melissa-