Life in the “ATL” – Atlanta

Atlanta is a diverse city in the south east of the USA, located in the State of Georgia. The city has numerous claims to fame including host of the Olympics in 1996, home to Coca Cola and CNN, the largest aquarium in the world, the busiest airport in the world, and home to many celebrities including the late Whitney Houston, Ludacris, Usher and, at one time, Elton John.

Atlanta has in recent years become a very popular location for filming, and at any given time, you can be sure there is at least one movie being filmed here. Just recently the Hunger Games II film unit set up camp just around the corner to my office. The popular TV show “The Walking Dead” is also filmed here.Atlanta itself is what I would call a “suburban city”. It’s a city of rolling hills, dense with trees; of skyscrapers interspersing with residential bungalows, cottages, Greek revival homes, and sprawling estates. For the sake of simplicity, I will divide Atlanta into 3 sections – Downtown – largest business district/sporting venues, Midtown – 2nd largest business district, art and cultural center, home of Piedmont Park; and Buckhead – 3rd largest business district, home to two upscale shopping malls and home to the Governor.

Outside of these three main areas, the very funky and hip Decatur/Virginia Highlands/Little Five Points/Fourth Ward borders to the east, and the very cool “Westside” borders to the, well, west… So it’s a city with different pockets of areas to visit, and a city, unfortunately, with a transport system that needs a complete overhaul – a car is necessary for exploring. And it’s worth exploring.

Atlanta has everything – it’s just a case of finding it! There is a thriving singles scene, dictated mostly by the various “meet-up” groups that exist, and world-class shopping, restaurants and nightlife. There is also a great expat community (thanks of course to EuroCircle), and a large number of European pubs/eateries.

It can get very hot here in the summer, with mosquitoes the size of F16s, and, with no ocean to escape to without a 3-4 hour drive, many Atlantans escape to the north Georgia mountains to cool off. Atlanta fringes on the Appalachians, and just an hour or so north are the Blue Ridge mountains. Hiking, white-water rafting, and mountain climbing are just some of the activities available in these areas, but if you prefer something more relaxing, there are also several good wineries to visit.

It can get cold in winter – in fact, it’s snowed for 5 years out of the 6 that I’ve lived here. And trust me when I tell you – when it snows, the city comes to a complete halt. Seriously. Even if it’s a light dusting – the world here stops. So if you come and visit, spring and fall may be the best months. We look forward to seeing y’all!

Vicki Cimkentli
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Where Should I Live in Los Angeles – Culver City?

Where should I live? What about Culver City ?

This same question comes daily especially from out of town and country clients…Choosing the right neighborhood… A lot of factors play in there.

In Los Angeles, I drive around the neighborhood with my clients. Not only looking at a new home but more importantly exploring the neighborhood and community you are planning to move to. Exploring restaurants, shopping, parks, community events and so forth.

Today lets talk about charming Culver City…with its condos and traditional and Spanish-style homes, is a town of galleries, shops, cafes and entrepreneurial businesses. Culver City has been a focal point for motion picture studios since the 1920s and more recently for television production, having been home to MGM Studios, the Culver Studios and now Sony Picture Entertainment. Home of the Kirk Douglas Theatre, Helms Bakeries and the Culver Hotel, Culver City’s condos, traditional homes and Spanish-style homes offer a combination of urban living and small town charm.

The Culver City Farmers market, Tuesdays 3PM-7PM has been one of the best weekday markets on the Westside since its establishment in 1995. The market has flourished along with the stores and restaurants in the downtown area, and has a casual & friendly ambience

Culver City offers tons of great museums from the Sony Pictures Entertainment Museum to the fun Star Eco Station that kids love to the Wende Museum.

The nighlife over here is fun too. Sometimes I stop by at a weekday eve and meet friends for dinner @ Akasha or Ford’s Filling Station. Catching a movie afterwards @ the movie theatre across the street followed by drinks and music at the historical Culver Hotel.

You can find a 2 bedroom condo currently from the $320,000 range to $800,000 range. A beautiful house $670,000 to $1,4 Mil. range.

Ready to move to Culver City or any other area?

Call me anytime @ 310.801.6033 for any real estate needs you have… I help with selling your home, buying a home, investment and with leases. You can also Email Me !

Looking forward hearing from you.

Tanya Stawski

Realtor at Sotheby’s International Real Estate

Where Should I live in Los Angeles… Beverly Hills?

Where should I live?

I receive this question daily especially from out of town and country clients…Choosing the right neighborhood… A lot of factors play in there.

I remember when I moved to Chicago back then it was important for me to live in downtown close to work @ Michigan Avenue. Parking was a challenge.

In Los Angeles, I drive around the neighborhood with my clients. Not only looking at a new home but more importantly checking out the neighborhood and community you are planning to move to. Exploring restaurants, shopping, parks, community events, if you have children definitely the school district is extremely important. Not only have I worked in the past as the Admissions director of a Beverly Hills private school, but more importantly I am a mom and know first hand the ins and out of private versus public schools.

Today lets talk about Beverly Hills…Home to over 30,000 residents. Professionals and families…It is located within the Golden Triangle, is nestle up against the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains on the north side. Beverly Hills is bordered by Westwood Village and Century City on the west, West Hollywood and Fairfax District on the east, and Los Angeles City and the 10 freeway on the South. Rodeo Drive between Wilshire Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard include not only the ultimate shopping mecca, but an area of large homes referred to as the Flats.

This is an incredible place to access all of the commercial and cultural offerings such as the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Farmers market, Greystone Mansion as well as a private and undisturbed residential haven to come home and still conveniently be located to nightlife. Families with children mostly pick Beverly Hills because of the school district.

Mark your calendar for Sunday Nov. 24th 2013 from 5PM-6:30PM

In front of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and the 200 block of Rodeo! 150,000 lights will be lit, DJ’s, Santa, BHHS marching band, ice sculptures… A winter wonderland of magic

Beverly Hills is a dog friendly city with beautiful parks ( I have checked out all the parks with our dog 🙂 ) tennis courts and entertainment… In the morning I enjoy breakfast @ Le Pain Quotidien or at Barney Greengrass restaurant from the top of the building with an amazing view. For lunch and dinner there are tons of amazing low key and fancy restaurants.

Are you ready to move to Beverly Hills???

Condos actively on the market for sale are starting at $550,000 for a 2 bedroom up to $12.8 for a 3 bedroom in The Dome of the prestine Montage hotel.

Single family homes actively on the market starting in the $775,000 range up to $47,500,00.

Call me anytime @ 310.801.6033 for any real estate needs you have… I help with selling your home, buying a home, investment and with leases. You can also Email Me!

Looking forward hearing from you.

Tanya Stawski

Realtor at Sotheby’s International Real Estate

Editor’s Note: Tanya Stawski and Ajay Babber, our LA Team leaders know the city really well – ask them for advice when needed. We asked Tanya to write a few articles about different areas in LA so the readers get a better idea about the city – as well as the cost of living there. Maybe we should consider other cities to do this as well. What do you think?

A Brit’s Guide to all Things Philly

I am one of many Brits that now calls Philadelphia- the city that loves you back, home. I love the multi cultural diverse neighborhoods, especially the one I reside in, Bella Vista and Queen Village where I run a chic, European hair boutique Follicle Studio

Fabric Row on 4th Street full of fashion and fabrics, is a great street for a stroll. One of my fav restaurants is Le Virtu on E.Passyunk, because of the consistent, flavorful cuisine and the outdoor patio and garden.

Rim Cafe at the Italian Market is a must if you love chocolate. 9th and Federal St, very unique experience.

Chinatown is always an intriguing experience, the air filled with the aroma of Asian fare and lots to choose from, vegan too New Harmony on 9th and Race.

We Brits love Indian food, venture to Tashan at 777 South Broad St. It has a great bar and gourmet cuisine. The farmers market at the Shambles (2nd, Lombard) on Sundays is a delight to try fresh, local produce and the food trucks that line the street are divine too.

I am a cyclist, so, happy to see that the city is adding more bike lanes around the city. I also love that Philly has a vast amount of green, parks and tree lined streets. Philadelphia has many neighborhoods to venture and explore by foot or bike.

Francesca Rivetti

Like Art? Visit Philadelphia!

As a former New Yorker, a long time resident of Philly, and at present, a weekday commuter between the two cities, I am often asked to justify why I live in Philadelphia. For someone who lives in Philly, but works in New York, the distance between the two cities seems impractical. Yet, for me and the thousands of other commuters, this makes perfect sense. New Yorkers love their city (as we all do), but sometimes fail to see the wealth of culture, history and sights in its southerly neighbor.

It is never a big surprise when I point out the cost and quality of living in Philadelphia. One look at my sprawling condo and low cost of living here, and most New Yorkers gasp. But when I mention the wealth of cultural activities, particularly its art world, my New Yorker friends stare at me in disbelief. Surely, Philly’s art scene can’t compete with Manhattan’s!

It can. And it does. You just have to see for yourself.

I can’t tell you how many of my out of town friends have told me they visited every dive bar and tourist trap in Philly, but have never walked down the Parkway, noticed the Rodin Museum, heard of Bucks County’s school of Pennsylvania Impressionism or The Brandywine River Museum, home to three generations of legendary American painters.

For a long time I have been complaining that Philadelphia does a poor job of marketing itself. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians overlook us as a pit-stop on the Amtrak’s NE Corridor. It is not uncommon for a tourist to visit our town, see the requisite historic sites like Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the Liberty Bell, follow a guide around Old City, then end up in a tourist trap for dinner without a glance at even one of our notable art galleries.

So if you are in Philadelphia for a day, or better yet a weekend, please take a second look. I promise you’ll be impressed with our art scene. I have listed some of my favorite museums, art galleries and “treasures” that are a must for all art lovers.

A walk along the Ben Franklin Parkway:

Philadelphia Museum of Art: OK, this one is a no-brainer, and I won’t go into detail because it is on every tourist map. Yes, this is the museum where Rocky raced up the stairs, and yes, you can get your picture taken with his statue outside. But please, GO INSIDE!

The Perelman Building: A new addition to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this annex often gets overlooked. If you are a fan of modern art, textiles, and contemporary and modern furniture, this is a short walk across the parkway and well worth the side-trip. Recently it featured an exhibition by architect Zaha Hadid and it was spectacular!

The Rodin Museum: It houses the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris. Its Beaux-Arts architecture and a formal French garden, make it an imposing sight on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The Barnes Foundation: latest addition to the Parkway, is also the America’s most controversial art collection, but still well worth the visit. The man behind this collection is as fascinating as the art itself, because his vision and foresight shaped our appreciation for impressionism and modern art today.

Parkway Sculptures: If you like to walk, I highly recommend a stroll starting at center city’s Love Park and heading west towards the PMA. Check out Robrt Indiana’s legendary LOVE sculpture, then cross the street towards Market Street to check out the hidden Jean DuBuffet sculpture. This one is tough to find, as it is suspended above the second story of an office building on the south side of Market, between 15th and 16th Streets. As you are walking down the street, don’t forget to look up! Also, near the Love Park is the Municipal Services Building that hosts Your Move, a fun sculpture garden featuring giant Monopoly pieces.

Your next stop should be the Henry Moore Sculpture which is just a block away, and then make your way up the Ben Franklin Parkway, where you’ll encounter mobiles by the legendary Philadelphia artist Alexander Calder, the imposing Iroquois Sculpture by Mark di Suvero among many others.

Gallery hopping in Old City

The Old City district of Philadelphia is also referred to as the Gallery District for obvious reasons. Visit on First Friday of every month for a fun night out touring local galleries, sipping wine and meeting visiting artists and gallery owners. However, for a more intimate view of their collections, I highly recommend avoiding this event, and strolling through the area in the daytime. This is a great area to grab brunch then check out my favorite galleries:

Pentimenti Gallery: I am not just partial to Pentimenti because it has hosted numerous Eurocircle events in the past, I am also a big fan of its owner Christine Pfister, who has added Philly to the international art scene. Representing many emerging, local and mid-career artists, Christine has launched many art careers and has represented her gallery at numerous prestigious, international art fairs. Visit her gallery, and you are sure to get a personal peek into the best curated collection in the city.

Moderne Gallery: I am a huge fan of George Nakashima furniture, and this is probably the best place to see it in person outside of his former workshop in Bucks County. In essence, a dealer in Nakashima, Art Deco and American Craft pieces, this place is definitely worth a long linger.

A half-day excursion to Bucks Country

If you have a weekend in Philly, I highly recommend renting a car and taking two, half-day excursions. The first should be to New Hope, PA, a 30 minute ride north, to the birth place of Pennsylvania Impressionism. Yes, while the great art movement was taking shape in Europe and particularly in France, our area was also seeing the emergence of such prominent artists like Fern Coppege, Edward Reddfield, Charles Rosen, and Walter Baum. And there is no more complete an art collection, than at The James Mitchener Museum in Doylestown. Incidentally, if you are a fan of George Nakashima, this is a good place to visit his workshop, see his installations and admire the furniture collection.

A half-day excursion to Brandywine River Valley

Known for its scenic countryside, this region is known for its lackluster wineries. But what the region lacks in prominent vineyards, it makes up for in its museum. The Brandywine River Museum is home to the works of three generations of Wyeths: illustrator N.C. Wyeth whose illustrations graced the covers of first edition classics like Treasure Island; Andrew Wyeth, one of America’s most famous painters known for his portraits of his lover, Helga, and Jamie Wyeth, a contemporary artist. On my last visit to the Brandywine a few years ago, I spotted Helga in person, then toured the collections with Andrew’s granddaughter who made sure we “stumbled upon” the great artist himself. Unfortunately, Andrew Wyeth passed away a few weeks after that meeting, but that was a visit that will stay in my memories forever.

This is just a small list of places that are a must on your first visit to Philadelphia. There are many more museums and impressive art galleries. I am sure that after your visit, you will be highly impressed by Philly’s art scene. And if you are hungry for more, contact me via this website. I’ll be happy to recommend many more.

Sheery Kumar

A Glimpse of West Hollywood

Happy New Year 2013. I am Tanya and I am going to start writing about different parts of Los Angeles. I am a realtor at Sothebys International Realty in Beverly Hills…Soon I will be hosting the kick off event for 2013. I will let you know about the date and venue. Hope to see you all.

A glimpse of West Hollywood (WeHo)

West Hollywood is a thriving, diverse community on the leading edge of culture, entertainment, and design – and is home to the internationally renown Pacific Design Center.

West Hollywood is a hip and fun neighborhood. You have a beautiful park with a playground, swimming pool and basketball courts right on San Vicente. The new library around the corner. West Hollywood offers a lot of activities for singles, couples and families with children. West Hollywood has good public and private schools.

West Hollywood hosts fantastic farmers markets and has pet adoptions throughout the year.

The uniquely compact city boasts the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard, Robertson, and Melrose; truly Los Angeles’ Mecca for fashion especially on North Robertson, fine dining, unparalleled nightlife, and the world-renowned entertainment industry.

I love to start off my morning in West Hollywood with breakfast at Urth Cafe or Le Pain. My healthy lunch spot is Lemonade, Sur on North Robertson is fun for lunch or dinner with music next door. They have the best white sangria. You can end your day with a fantastic dinner at Cecconis. I personally love their Branzino.

It can be difficult to choose! Luckily, for the next few day’s it is dineLA Restaurant Week. It showcases particular restaurants in West Hollywood and surrounding neighborhoods, which in turn serve specially priced prix-fixe menus so you can explore the best that each restaurant has to offer.

Please share your favorite spots in WeHo.

Call me at 310.801.6033 if I can help you or your friends with buying, selling or leasing a home in West Hollywood or anywhere else.

Tanya Stawski

Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc.
Beverly Hills
Association of Realtors®
DRE# 01918308

Cell 310.801.6033 Fax 310.724.7010