Home Tips: Organizing Into the New Year

Home Tips: Organizing Into the New Year

Each New Year inspires resolutions of change and growth with organization of life at the top of mind. Start gradually with attainable intentions, and eventually you will find yourself in an organized oasis of a life. Check out our tips below! 

USE A CALENDAR

Create calendar reminders to stay organized important events, appointments, anniversaries and birthdays ahead of time to prepare. You can even use a datebook to avoid overbooking yourself!

DE-CLUTTER

Everything has a home, including you! Find a place to designate items to maintain cleanliness in your space. Anything without a place to be can be donated to your community.  

COLOR-COORDINATE

When choosing baskets, bins, and buckets for organizing, choose similar colors to the style of each room for a clean, consistent look throughout. use this tip to organe your closet for further color coordination.

UPDATE FILING SYSTEM 

Start small! organize files with broader file names, store old files, and have copies of important documents prepared.

STAY ON TIME

Allow extra time for appointments and events requiring travel. You can also set your clocks at home a few minutes faster to stay ahead all year long!

USE CHECKLISTS

Life gets busy! organize checklists by type. errand checklist in the car, a morning checklist, what to get at the grocery store, etc. Keep them on your phone or computer to avoid losing your sticky note!

MONITOR SPENDING 

Create a budget and stick with it. Stay on top of organizing your bills with calendar reminders, and mark them as they are paid. Don’t forget about automatic withdrawals!

LA Eats: Farm to Table Restaurants

Eating sustainably grown food is more than just a fad in California. Some of the best restaurants in the state are dedicated to the idea that the highest-quality ingredients are sourced locally. Indeed, some diners specifically choose to eat at restaurants that purchase the freshest local ingredients, discovering economic, social and environmental perks. Below is a list of 10 of the most respected and acclaimed farm-to-table restaurants across the Golden State.

Los Angeles: 

Ostrich Farm – 1525 W. Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90026

Ostrich Farm is an intimate, 50-seat restaurant in Echo Park, run by husband and wife Jaime Turrey and Brooke Fruchtman. Much of the restaurant’s classic American heritage fare is cooked over a wood-fired grill and is often locally sourced, including some produce from the restaurant’s own garden.

Forage – 3823 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

This family owned restaurant sources from urban growers. They collaborate with home growers and aid them in obtaining their certification with the county, taking farm-to-table to a whole new level.

Salt’s Cure – 1155 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

 

This sleek, modern spot only sources ingredients from California, all of which are butchered/crafted in house. All seafood is caught in the Pacific Ocean by local fishermen who exercise sustainable practices, and work within our coastal ecosystem. Produce is sourced directly from farmers and from the farmers’ markets around the Los Angeles area. Everything is house-made, in fact, from the ketchup to the bacon. A top pick for both sustainability, taste and craft.

Westside:

Malibu Farm – 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

At Malibu Farm, the beautiful location at the Malibu Pier, you’ll find everything and everything is homegrown. The owner, Helene, used to grow everything in her own personal garden and back yard farm. Now, of course, with the popularity of her restaurant, that isn’t entirely possible, though the eggs, persimmons, figs, lemons, pomegranates, apricots, asian pears, carrots, beets, asparagus, and fresh herbs still come from her home. She buys local strawberries, oranges, kale, chard, basil and tomatoes from local purveyor Larry Thorne; organic lemons, we get lemons and oranges year round from Mike Zacha; all potatoes and carrots from Weiser farms; Tutti Fruitt; and Maggie’s farm. The chefs shop every week at the Santa Monica farmers market. All breads are local from La Brea bakery and Rockenwagner; coffee comes from nearby Caffe Luxxe; tea from Charles and Company; Jidori chicken is purchased locally; cheese is Pomona-made from De Stefano. Just, wow.

Gjelina – 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Roughly 90% of the fare served is from local farmer’s markets at Gjelina, Travis Lett’s always-packed hot spot on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Get there early, and plan what you want to eat. The bread is out of this world. Hot tip: the veggie pizza is to die for. Go go go!

Conejo and San Fernando Valley: 

Fig & Sprig – 4774 Park Granada, Calabasas, CA 91302

A husband and wife team that focuses on farm to table and sustainable cuisine. Their goal is to treat guests like family and serve delicious food and beverages in a quaint atmosphere. At Fig & Sprig they focus on local, seasonal produce whenever possible and lovingly craft dishes to be healthful and delicious. They take pride in keeping our ingredients locally sourced, organic when possible and sustainable. They also have wonderful vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices for you to consider.

Farm Table – 6209 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

Stop by for some quick and fresh fare! The modern rustic design of the restaurant pairs nicely with the farm to table status of the food. Perfect spot for a casual lunch with friends and family.

Home Tips: 3 Design Tips To Maximize A Small Space

Looking for ways to get creative with a small space in your home? Low on square footage and just want to find ways to make your space feel big? Don’t worry, we have some solutions for you!

Choose an ideal paint color

Being thoughtful in your paint choices is very important! Traditional colors like white, cream, and light gray are great choices and will instantly give the impression of more space. These colors will provide a clean look and will make your room feel more expansive.

You can also create a visual openness overhead by simply painting the ceiling white. You’ll have a welcoming space in no time!

In addition to the traditional colors, you can also go bold with dark colors. Highlight a small room by making a cozy-like environment with navy, black, and dark gray colors.

Get creative with storage

Small spaces hardly come with great storage. Creating clever storage solutions can help keep clutter out of sight. The kitchen is one place you can get clever with when it comes to storage. Hang wine glasses beneath your cupboards. Keep cleaning supplies out of sight by attaching holders to the backs of cabinet doors. Consider an adjustable cooking area with roll-away islands and pantries.

Consider multitasking furniture

When your floor space is limited, it’s important to choose furniture that have multiple functions. Consider pieces that have hidden storage or that you can store when not in use. For example, if you can’t fit a dresser in your bedroom, try adding crates under the bed for clothing. An ottoman is also a great piece that can easily transition to a bench or even a coffee table. Limited space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. With creative solutions, you can go from a cramped space to an inviting space with room for all.

 

Rodeo Realty Events: 2019 Holiday Party

To celebrate the stellar year that 2019 was… Rodeo Realty’s founder, Syd Leibovitch, threw a grand holiday party for all of the agents and staff on the team. The private event took place at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood. The event was set to host more than 1,000 individuals.

Upon arrival, invitees were personally greeted by Rodeo’s Branch Managers before checking in. Then, guests had the opportunity to take photos on the step and repeat (otherwise known as the red carpet) with members of Rodeo’s Digital Marketing Team. This was all to be done before immersing themselves into the 13,000 square-foot restaurant.

Once inside, there were multiple bars with free-flowing drinks and waiters constantly passing around hors d’oeuvres. From chicken sliders (this year is undoubtably the year of the fried chicken sandwich) to wagyu beef sliders to freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, the food at BOA did not disappoint.

It was a fantastic event that wrapped up the end of the year.

Take a peek at more of the photos from the event HERE!

Home Tips: Protect Your Home While Out of Town

Protecting your home while on vacation is just as important as protecting the items you bring with you. This must-read guide will help keep your home safe! To fully enjoy your trip, plan appropriate home security and maintenance with this checklist. Of course, it is impossible to cover all the bases as life is unpredictable, but at least you can leave town knowing you did all that you could.

Get a Home Monitoring System

Home security is absolutely essential and there are many options (varying in cost) to choose from, so make sure you opt for one that fits your home/ needs. Some home security systems allow you to view live video remotely from your phone, so you are able to see what’s happening in real-time. This small investment is well worth your peace of mind!

Leave a key with a friend or family member

While you can put a hold on newspapers and mail (which you should do), you can’t predict when random flyers or forgotten Amazon orders will be left at the front door. By having a trusted friend or family member stop by every day or two, you can avoid unexpected deliveries being left out. This trusted individual can also maintain your normal routines such as watering plants, bringing trash cans to the curb, etc.  Don’t forget to compensate them with love and appreciation for their help!

Install an outdoor sensor light

It’s simple install for those of you who aren’t tech-savvy, and you can pick one up on Amazon for less than $20. Motion-sensor flood lights prove to be useful year-round for general home security whether you’re home or not, and often are equipped with technology to have them turn off and on at certain times of the day.

Disconnect your garage door

It’s no secret that technology can be easily hacked, especially by more experienced or motivated criminals. Garage door openers (depending on what brand they are) can sometimes be opened by universal remotes. Yep, you read that correctly. You must be proactive! Disengage your garage door opener and opt for a manual lock.

Advertise Your security

Having a security system will most definitely deter burglars, so advertise it! Post these stickers near your most obvious and accessible entry points like your front and back door, as well as side doors off your garage. You can even buy a pack of stickers online (Amazon has many options) if you haven’t been able to implement your security system before your next trip.

Use lights to create the illusion that someone’s home

Darkness is another trademark of an empty house — it also allows thieves to sneak in undetected. Nix that vulnerability by leaving a few lights on. Better yet, use motion detector lights to illuminate any intruders, or opt for smart lighting so you can set the lights to a timer and control them remotely.

Don’t broadcast your plans online

One of the most popular green lights for those savvy burglars are social media. Yes, you read that correctly. Avoid posting about your vacation on social media until after you return (make sure your kids avoid doing so as well). By sharing travel plans, you’re advertising that your house will be empty. You can never be completely sure who sees that information, especially if you have many followers or a public profile.

Adjust the thermostat

Adjust the thermostat to prevent the HVAC system from needlessly heating or cooling empty rooms. Programmable smart thermostats make this a lot easier, and you can remotely adjust them to comfortable temperatures for when you get back.

 

LA Eats: Where to Brunch With Your Family In Town

Your family is in town for the holidays.  There are so many places to show them in our city, and even more places to take them to eat. We’ve got you covered as far as LA’s most quintessential brunch places they need to try.

Kismet

The flaky bread that Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson serve at Kismet along with a soft-boiled egg and labneh is very good day or night, but somehow especially fantastic for brunch. Add a scone with lemon cream and maybe some cinnamon babka toast and one is likely all set.

Salt’s Cure

Thoughtfully sourced, California-grown ingredients form the foundation of Chris Phelp’s cooking at Salt’s Cure. Brunch is especially fantastic with things like biscuits and gravy, as well as oatmeal griddle cakes, on the menu.

Sqirl

Sqirl may very well be LA’s quintessential brunch. Come early, order the brioche toast with four different jams and the sorrel pesto rice bowl, and leave with a full understanding of the hype surrounding the place. Seriously. Come early. The line gets LONG, but it is SO worth it.

Republique

Get your hands on their Margarita Manzke’s crazy delicious pastries and fill up with brunch favorites like brioche French toast and kimchi fried rice.

The Rose Venice

Venice denizens arrive at The Rose in droves on weekend mornings for Jason Neroni’s pitch-perfect cooking. Particularly good is the wide range of pastries that pair nicely with the restaurant’s exceptional coffee. Many individuals with short layovers at LAX are known to take a cab to The Rose for brunch, and risk missing their connecting flight for this food. Yep. That good.

Sweet Butter Kitchen

Sweet Butter is an airy, brunch-y rustic cafe spot that has some delicious vegan options (highly recommend the Vegan PB cookie). It’s a rarity in the Valley and worth a visit if you happen to be over the hill from LA proper. You order at a counter and then pick a seat in the sun-lit central patio, which isn’t overly spacious, but isn’t crowded either.

Little Dom’s

Your favorite pasta haven is also a secret breakfast destination. There is never a wait. Pop in for Italian-leaning specialities like ricotta cheese pancakes with fresh blueberries, scrambled egg bruschetta, breakfast pizza, and breakfast meatballs with poached eggs.

Blu Jam

Crunchy French Toast. That’s all. Blu Jam keeps opening new locations (they even just opened a Tokyo location), but that hasn’t seemed to ease the crowds. Prepare to settle in for a bit of a wait for a table at the no-reservations cafés, but have faith that your patience will ultimately be rewarded.

Go Get Em Tiger

Most folks make their way to Go Get ‘Em Tiger for the coffee, which remains among the best in town. But if you’re planning to sit for a spell and enjoy your drink, maybe you should have something to eat too, right? To sate you, they have one of the best breakfast sandwiches in LA. The attention to detail that goes into every single plate out of their kitchen is clear. I mean, look at these eggs on that flaky biscuit.

Jon & Vinny’s

Do you like pizza? Do you like breakfast? Well, Jon and Vinny have a little something just for you, and it’s called breakfast pizza. And while, ok, they may not have invented the idea, they have pretty much perfected it — and then gone and created five different versions. Don’t forget to order a bombolone doughnut to go along. Also, their pancakes. Yep. They did it again.

Poppy + Rose

Poppy & Rose brings some Southern and soul food touches to dishes like pulled pork hash, rib-tip breakfast burritos, and their signature, buttermilk fried chicken and waffles with smoked honey butter.

Homestate

Don’t need to fly all the way to Austin to find breakfast tacos! Homestate is your spot in the Los Angeles area! Truly. Just as good. Flour Tortillas are a must. Queso too.

Malibu Farm

Another classic. Enjoy a farm to table brunch with your family with the amazing views of Malibu. Get their early to get parking and avoid the wait. There are two locations on the SAME pier. Same menu. Winning!

Weekend Events: December 6 – December 8

With the holidays just a short time away, you won’t want to miss out on these events to get you in the mood! From fun-filled events like live performances at Wallis Annenberg to beautiful museum exhibits at LACMA!

Friday December 6, 2019

Handmade Ornaments Show

Location: iam8nit, Echo Park

Artists from around the world have crafted hundreds of original ornaments in an assortment of mediums, from plush to metal, and most are affordably priced. The pop-up market kicks off with an opening reception on December 5 (7-10pm) and continues during regular gallery hours through December 22.

For The Record: Love Actually Live

Location: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Beverly Hills

Throughout December, cult-favorite musical series For the Record presents a stage show based on one of the world’s most beloved holiday movies, Love Actually. Using a multimedia set, a 15-piece orchestra and songs from the film, the show will turn Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts into a feel-good winter set for musical numbers and scenes of the movie’s intersecting love stories.

“Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again”

Location: The Broad, Downtown

This exhibition will make you angry, angry about the subjugation of women around the world, angry over entire populations being unwelcome to their own homelands and angry that such a beautiful body of work from Shirin Neshat hasn’t been on display in Los Angeles before. Covering 30 years of the Iranian-born artist’s photo and video works the Broad is a must-see.

Saturday December 7, 2019

“Julie Mehretu”

Location: LACMA

A co-presentation with New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA takes a first-ever mid-career look at the Ethiopian-American artist’s striking large-scale abstractions, with 35 paintings and 40 works on paper.

Artisanal LA Holiday City Market

Location: Multiple Venus

L.A. markets is a 30 vendor pop-up at Bunker Hill’s Bank of America Plaza, a gathering of 75- plus markets in the parking lot behind the Pasadena Playhouse.

Sparkle DTLA

Location: THE BLOC

Sparkle LA is setting up shop at the Bloc through the end of December, and it’s bringing a bunch of programming along with it, including a holiday card and wreath making workshops.

Sunday December 8, 2019

W | ALLS: Defend, Divide, and the Divine

Location: Annenberg Space for Photography

The latest challenging exhibition from the Annenberg Space for Photography examines the real and imagined barriers that have separated societies and ideas for centuries, from the Roman Empire to the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

“Loitering is Delightful”

Location: Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House, Los Feliz

Loitering is delightful celebrates the process of taking your time and enjoying your surroundings without any particular aim.

 

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Location: Rose Bowl

The world-famous Rose Bowl Flea Market takes place on the second Sunday of every month! Come shop from over 2,500 vendors selling everything from coveted antiques, rare vintage finds, and today’s most up-to-date trends!

 

Out & About: Santa Monica Edition

Originally established as a seaside retreat at the turn of the 20th century, today Santa Monica attracts families and renters to its beachside lifestyle, proximity to Los Angeles (just 15 miles), and overall high quality of life. Santa Monica has many things to offer from the famous Santa Monica Pier to the Santa Monica Farmers Market. There is surely a wealth of things to do for the whole family!

Snag a picture at the Route 66: End of the Trail sign

That’s right, the iconic Route 66 that runs all the way from Chicago to LA officially ends in Santa Monica.  As one of the first U.S. highways, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km), Route 66 served as the primary highway for those who migrated from east to west over the last century. This landmark sign overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Santa Monica Pier symbolizes the official stopping point of historic westward travelers.

Check out the Santa Monica Farmers Markets

Taking place every Wednesday and Saturday mornings from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM, the market is located on Arizona Avenue between Second and Third Street; on Sunday, it’s at 2640 Main Street. Not only do these markets have organic produce you can take home and cook, but you can also find stands selling food you can eat right there on the spot! Established in 1981, the market aims to keep modest goals of providing reasonably priced, high quality produce to the city’s community.

Grab a drink at Chez Jay – The World’s Most Glamorous Dive Bar
1657 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

For nearly half a century this tiny bar has been a showcase for the adventurer Jay Fiondella’s treasure hunts, hot air balloons, and historic artifacts from legendary shipwrecks! Fiondella started and operated Chez Jay in 1959 and has been a sanctuary for celebrities coming to hang out through the years, from the likes of the Rat Pack to even the Jonas Brothers. If you’re looking for that “come as you are” experience with history, Chez Jay is the place for you.

Get a picture of the mosaic-covered – Farnam House

The Farnam House has been featured in national newspapers and television shows, and even won a TLC contest for the most interesting house in California! Louise and Aziz Farnam have spent 13 years applying various tiles, plates, and glass to their 1930’s bungalow in Santa Monica. This is one local gem that is absolutely worth saying you witnessed!

Have lunch at Santa Monica’s oldest restaurant – The Galley

Decorated with set pieces from the Mutiny on the Bounty and under the glow of multicolored Christmas lights, the booths are cozy and romantic. Offering delicious seafood and steak, ask about the now off-menu, “Favorite Land Food” they will still make it for you! A neighborhood staple since 1934, The Galley has been a long-time favorite for Santa Monica locals and visitors.

Home Tips: Easy Decoration Ideas That’ll Holiday Up Your Home

This holiday season, consider these charming touches when decking out your own halls. Classic in inspiration and modern in execution, they bring cheer to nearly every room in the house and are as easy to implement as one, two, three.

Cue the Conifers

Make your mantel look amazing with a colorful assortment of vintage and inexpensive evergreens. The bottle-brush variety are readily available online and at craft stores; the miniature ones were plucked from a model train set. Votives make the snow-dusted landscape sparkle.

Jingle all the Way

To make comings and goings much more festive, gather a variety of craft-store bells and string them onto two loops of wire. Mold them into a cluster shape, twist the ends of the loops together and tie a big bow. Hang the ornament from a doorknob with a piece of cord.

Fake a Flame

Enjoy candlelight without the fire hazard by placing LED votives on windowsills, mantels, and stairs!

Stock up on Stockings

Nope, they’re not just for kids. These John Robshaw beauties add texture and color to any space and can be put to new use. Fill sachets with fallen pine needles, tuck them inside the stockings and perfume your home in a stealth way.

Go out with a Bang

Christmas crackers date back to mid-19th– century Great Britain. These crackers are prettily wrapped cylinders that hold tiny gifts and emit a loud pop when pulled apart. Place a pile in a bowl by your front door and send guests home with a jolly, fun party favor.

Spread the Love

Rather than tucking mistletoe in a doorway, make family meals warn and fuzzy with an overhead centerpiece. Wrap wreath frame with fresh eucalyptus and faux mistletoe (toxins in the real berries can harm kids and pets) and attach ornaments with floral wire.

Light the Way

To set up this modern menorah, arrange eight bud vases in a row, with a taller one in the middle, and place tapers inside. For added stability, put a bit of candle glue in the bottom of each vase. Post-holiday repurpose the vessels for greenery or small garden clippings.

Count Down TO HOLIDAY OF YOUR CHOICE

The whimsical Advent calendar comes together in a few basic steps. First, paint a two-by-four foot pegboard slat; let dry overnight. Using stencils, craft paint and a brush or sponge, paint the numbers you would need on muslin gift bags; let dry overnight.

The next day, evenly space small wooden pegs in the board; fill the bags with little toys, candy and handwritten messages and hang the bags in order. Then, just place it on a console table or ledge, lean it against the wall (or mount it, if you have small children), and let the anticipation build to your favorite holiday.

**IDEAS Sourced from MarthaStewart.com

5 Smart-Home Tools That You Did Not Know You Needed

There’s this notion going around that everything needs to be “smart” for ease of lifestyle —  even your home.  Fortunately for you, the market is saturated with smart-home tools, with new ones added almost every day. Below is a list of a few smart-home tools for your home that you did not know you needed.

Voice Assistant

The most common way that homeowners get started with smart-home technology is by purchasing a voice assistant device such as an Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home Assistant. These come in a variety of sizes. From the Google Mini or Echo Dot to the larger hubs such as the Google Hub or Echo Show (which offer touch screens and more robust speakers). You can place them in popular areas in the house, such as the kitchen or bedroom, to look up information, play music, and control other smart-home devices. From there, homeowners can choose other smart-home products that are compatible with their voice assistant.

Smart Thermostat

The next item that energy-conscious homeowners will want to purchase is a smart thermostat. Popular brands include Ecobee, Nest, and Honeywell. Nest has been acquired by Google, which is transitioning the “works with Nest” program to work with Google Assistant and offer additional products such as a video doorbell, a smart-lock, cameras, and a security system. Ecobee is our  personal favorite since it includes an additional occupancy and temperature sensor that can be placed in any room of the home. Both systems have scheduling and geofence features that will adjust settings based on whether the owner is home using their phone as a presence sensor.

Video Doorbell

Ring has helped video doorbells gain popularity with their aggressive advertising on Nextdoor and Facebook. There are other great options from Google, Simplisafe, and Skybell. A video doorbell allows the homeowner to see who’s at the door, monitor when packages arrive, and avoid those pesky door-to-door salespeople. Beware: if you don’t have a strong Wi-Fi connection you’ll be disappointed with the video quality.

Smart Lighting

Whether you install a switch at the wall or just replace a few lightbulbs, smart lighting is a popular choice for convenience, security, and entertainment. We recommend going with a system such as Lutron, which does not require a neutral wire and can be controlled via voice or application with a smart bridge device. Philips Hue or LIFX bulbs are both great options for lighting up a room with color, and each includes a variety of scenes that can help set the mood. Smart lights and switches can also be integrated with a home hub such as Hubitat and connected to other devices such as door or motion sensors. Smart bulbs can also be compatible with Alexa and Google Devices.

Smart Plugs

Plugs are another cost-effective way to control dated devices such as lamps, fans, or holiday lights. This allows the homeowner to setup a variety of automations and use his or her smartphone or voice assistant to turn them on or off. Some versions also include energy monitoring, which can be used to trigger other automations or to simply let the owner know how much power they’re currently using. Perk: You can set these to go on or off on a timer so that your pets aren’t left in the dark when the sun sets.