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    4 hours ago 54 minutes ago
    Village Sampler – An Upscale Silent Auction for Charity 4 hours ago 58 minutes ago

    A classy village sampler is a great way create buzz for a Class A community while also giving residents the opportunity to get all dressed up and donate to a worthy cause. 

    The goal of this type of event is four fold: 

    1. Build partnerships with local press and businesses

    2. Gather donations for a good cause

    3. Create a classy, exciting, and memorable event for your residents

    4. Generate positive buzz for your living community

    Additionally, if you incorporate live entertainment and a silent art auction into the event you can generate interest and exposure for local musicians and artisans as well.

    Here are a few tips for making your Village Sampler event a stunning success:

    Keep it upscale

    Charge residents and guests $10 for entry with the understanding that all proceeds are going to a charity. Ensure that dress guidelines for the event are posted and shared early on to help ensure that most (if not all) guests arrive looking beautiful and elegant.

    When inviting local restaurants to set up a food or drink sampling booth, consider the company’s reputation and quality before reaching out. 

    Upscale restaurants, bars, and boutiques are also excellent sources of funding to consider and can provide beautiful options for the silent auction. Small family owned businesses are also great sources of gift baskets and other auction items - don’t ignore the little guys!

    The more extravagant and enticing your auction items, the more incentive there will be for residents to purchase tickets to attend. Also, the more high-profile your partners, the more press and exposure you can expect from their marketing efforts as well. 

    Choosing a charity

    Take the time to research charities that may be smaller or less well known. Pick a charity that is doing great work for a portion of the community that your residents care about. 

    When choosing your charity, consider the demographic of your community residents and the surrounding area. If your community is largely made up of older retired adults choose a local charity that is doing work in ways they will care the most about. Veteran’s-based non-profits and work with children are both good bets for this age group.

    However, if your community is largely made if urban hipsters, a non-profit that promotes urban farming or gleaning, or helps young parents, teens, or students, might be a better option for that demographic. 

    Additionally, the time of year that you host the event should factor into your charity planning as well. A donation drive to benefit a local shelter or non-profit that feeds Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless will not do as well raising funds in the middle of March! Time you event to holidays and other days of giving to endure the best turn out and largest amount of donations raised.

    Partner up!

    Collaborations are key to a successful Village Sampler event. Make sure that you market your partners generously and cross promote your involvement in the upcoming fundraiser. 

    You will get better results and better local press if you choose a local charity to receive the proceeds from the event. 

    **TIP** Be sure to let the recipient organization know well in advance of your plan so that you can coordinate your marketing efforts and get more local press coverage and attention. The wider your reach, and the more involved you are with the organization you are planning to support, the stronger the event will become. You’ll also begin receiving better donations from local companies. 

    Also, consider creating collateral your partners can display at their establishment to promote the event!

    Press Releases

    Press releases are key for an event of this scale and style, so make sure that your press release is as powerful as possible by following these tips.

    Copyright-free image:

    Also, reach out to local arts and event’s columnists to inform them about your upcoming event. Be sure to send beautiful invitations or press passes to local notable writers and news anchor personalities. 

    **TIP** Remember, even a single well-placed feature or news mention about the success of your fundraising event can cause ripple waves of exposure for your community. The press can result in new traffic and leasing in the months to follow. 

    Art Auction

    To get the attention of local artists you’ll need to start promoting the event months in advance.  Put calls out for donations on every local art and craft forum. Network with local schools and colleges to gain beautiful student entries and donations. You may also want to reach out to specific local artists individually through their websites and Facebook pages. 



    Copyright-free image: 

    If you are donating to a children’s non-profit, you may want to consider holding an art auction of drawings and paintings made by the children themselves! 

    Think outside the box and be sure to set up time to brainstorm and collaborate with the charity you are supporting as well. 

    Live Entertainment

    When it comes to live entertainment, who you invite will depend entirely on the demographic of your community. However, aim for headliners that are not overly aggressive or subversive personalities in order to keep the event relatively non-offensive and upscale and child-friendly. 

    **TIP** Tap into the management portfolios of local music management companies. Reach out to them and get them on board to sponsor their newly signed artists for the event! 


    Copyright-free image:

    Musicians are always looking for venues that will get them additional following and exposure. If you can promise marketing and promotion in exchange for their donated time, then by all means rope them into a charity music event as well! 

    With some careful planning and solid networking you can be sure to throw together a great event that will keep your residents entertained, while also raising a ton of money for a worthy cause!




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    7 days ago
    Celebrate National Potato Month with a Spud-tacular Event! 7 days ago

    September is National Potato Month, and what better way to celebrate than inviting residents to take part in a fun potato-themed event. Here are a few activities to keep everyone entertained at your spud-tacular event.

    Potato Games

    Potato Car Races / Potato Derby

    Potato car races are a great activity for all ages. Kids especially love to make their spud vehicles and race them to see how they compare to others’ creations. To make a mini potato racing event you’ll need very few things – a racetrack, potato cars, and lots of excitement. 





    Image source: Cruise Oregon

    Building the racetrack is a great handyman project to beat monotony of regular community repairs and activities. Here are instructions for building your own derby track.

    The cars can either be made ahead of time by residents or supplies like derby car wheels, nails, washers, bolts, toothpicks and other car “decorations” can be provided the day of the event. 

    Here are some additional tips for making potato derby race cars. You can also share this fun potato derby video with residents.



    Potato Sack Races

    If you have a wide green area on your property this is a great racing activity to get the blood pumping. It’s also suitable for all ages – including adults! However, if you don’t have any large green spaces in your community, I don’t recommend racing on pavement or in parking lots because if anyone falls they can fall pretty hard and could get seriously injured on cement.





    Image credit: Akronist

    1. Potato sacks can be bought or borrowed from local farmers and supply stores. You can also make them yourself.

    2. Have two judges on hand to make sure everyone is playing fair and set one up on each of the start and finish lines. 

    3. It’s best to set up age groups and ranges for these types of events to ensure they are a more fairly competitive, what ages you group together depends on the demographic of your community and the number of participants. 

    Potato Spoon Run

    This is another racing game that involves holding a potato on a large spoon and racing to a specific point and then back where the participants started. It’s harder than just maintaining the speed required to run and win. This activity involves keeping a potato carefully balanced on a large spoon for the entire race – and dropping the potato means disqualification.

    Gather up some old spoons from your house or you can find cheap used spoons at local yard sales and thrift stores.





    Image credit: The 42

    Potato Toss

    This game is similar to beanbag throw in that participants have to get the potato through a small opening to score points and/or win prizes. If you already have a bean-bag toss that you use for your annual summer carnival it can be easily repurposed for this potato themed event.

    **TIP** don’t forget the winners’ trophies and certificates of participation for residents. Trophies can be customized with potato-themed images and/or with the community branding.

    Potato Kids Crafts

    There are tons of fun craft ideas using potatoes, here are just a few:

    Potato Stamp Prints

    This is a craft where children use potatoes to stamp designs on paper or other items to make creative patterns and designs. 

    1. Older children can be allowed to design and/or carve their own potatoes with parent supervision. Younger children can use made-ahead simple stamps like hearts, stars, triangles, and other simple shapes. 

    2. One easy way to make quick potato stamps is to use cookie cutters to help cut off excess potato when crafting a stamp.

    3. Purchase disposable paper plates for paint trays and washable poster paint for stamping

    4. Large paper works best for these larger “stamps” so ensure you have some bigger colored paper sheets on hand.





    Image source: Fun Stuff To Do

    **TIP** For even more memorable fun, make fabric paint available to residents and encourage parents to bring along an old t-shirt to make a washable and wearable potato-themed souvenir of the community potato day event!

    Rolling Potato Borders

    More intricate than your basic potato print, rolling potato prints are cut on the edges of thick round potato slice and then rolled over a paper to make a continuous border design. This method creates long designs that can be used to craft borders, stripes, or edges to other stamps. 

    **TIP** Pre-cut a few straws for the potato axels.





    Image source: We Heart It


    Potato-based Recipe Swap

    The only requirement of the potato recipe swap is that potato has to be one of the main ingredients. 

    Potato lovers can bring recipe cards for their favorite potato-inclusive meals to share and swap with other residents. You can also have residents email their recipes to you ahead of time. Compile submitted recipes into a booklet to you send out via your monthly newsletter after the event.

    **TIP** For even more fun, and to make it a taste-tantalizing event, encourage a resident potluck.





    Image source: Food Network


    Have residents bring potato-themed snacks, salads, entrees and desserts (hey, sweet potato pie counts!) to the event to share with their neighbors. Be sure to prepare for messes by covering floors and tables as needed and make plates, cutlery, and drinks available to residents. ( ) ( )

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    2 weeks ago
    Splash-tastic End of Summer Party 2 weeks ago

    Labor Day is a great opportunity to encourage your residents to mingle and have a bit of late summer fun. Before it starts getting too cool in the fall, aim for a water play party that accommodates all ages of participants. 

    Here are a few wet and fun activities that will make your next water play event one to remember.

    Water shadows

    The concept of water shadows is simple. Kids and adults line up agaist the side of a building, fence, or wall and pose up against it. 

    Using a watering hose (sprayfeature works best) lightly spray across all participants to create dry negative-space “shadows” around the outlines of their bodies. Kids especially love to do this more than once, so it’s best to choose an area that dries fast like a concrete wall or side of a building in full sun. You can also have them lie down on the sidewalk as well.

    Drunk waiter 


    Drunk waiter is a game great for both adults and children, and is best played in a soft-grass covered area away from sidewalks, buildings, light poles, benches, trash cans, and parked cars. The idea is similar to the traditional frat-party game of spinning in circles with one’s head on a bat and then attempting to move in a straight line to a fixed point – like towards the rest of your team.

    In this game, the participants spin in circles while looking up at the sky holding a small stick. Then after 10 seconds of spinning, the added challenge to this game is that once the player is completely dizzy they are also handed a tray of plastic cups filled with water (“drinks”) to be served. Not only is it nearly impossible to stay upright and walking straight, but the spectacular falls are sure to get everyone drenched.

    Keep buckets of water handy for easy and fast refilling of the cups on the waiter’s tray, and establish competitive and inclusive teams that score points based on how many full cups of water they can deliver in a set amount of time.

    Keep a stopwatch and notebook handy for recording scores and timings.

    Water balloons

    Large and small balloons filled with water are not just for fights, there are many other games that you can play with they as well – and not all of them have to get you drenched.


    Target practice - One idea to accommodate parents or kids that may be wary at first of getting too wet is to set up a water balloon target practice on a large sidewalk. Draw targets on the sidewalk in chalk and give each child three to five balloons for testing their aim.

    You can make the targets big or small (depending on age and ability) and you can also assign point values based on difficulty. The kid with the best score wins a prize!

    Water balloon piñatas – instead of candy and confetti these piñatas are filled with close to a gallon of water. Hang some water balloons from nearly trees and structures, give kids some bats or sticks and let them swing away. 

    **Tip** This activity, like all activities with swinging bats, is best supervised by at least two adults. One to watch the child who is taking a turn swinging, and one to keep other children out of the swing of the bat (i.e. out of the “danger zone”).

    For more games and ideas check out this link for more water balloons activities.

    Sponge bombs

    An option is to avoid small water balloons is to replace them with premade sponge bombs. Instructions on how to make these sponges and use them can be found


    The great part of using sponges instead of small balloons it that they’re much easier to put together (no hours of time-consuming water-balloon filling), more earth-friendly, and reusable year after year.

    Clean up

    While the water will dry and this type of party is pretty quick to clean up, one thing that is a headache is cleaning up littered broken balloon pieces after a water-balloon fight – what a nightmare!

    **Tip** After the fun is over, one great way to make quick work of the project is to award raffle tickets to children for each balloon piece they pick up. Have kids put their names on the tickets for each balloon piece they hand in. Cleaning up 10 broken balloon pieces means 10 raffle tickets – and a better chance of winning a fun prize.

    Hold a drawing for a few large colorful water guns (easy to pick up on clearance at the end of the summer season) or give away a colorful beach towel or other fun back to school items. This will encourage all the younger residents to help clean up after themselves and the event. Your maintenance team will thank you!


    No matter what activities you choose be sure to snap lots of pictures and have a fun and safe water themed event!




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    Annual Car Show 3 weeks ago


    Essex Skyline 5th Annual Car Show


    Luxury Lifestyle, Luxury cars.




    Essex Skyline’s residents have some of the finest cars in the OC! For the past 5 years this has been a favorite event for the residents at Skyline to show off their luxury cars to fellow car enthusiasts. This year’s cars were amazing with over 3 million dollars of fine luxury cars on display at the event. We had 2008 Lamborghini LP640, Rolls Royce Ghost ,Porsche  Panama Turbo, Lamborghini Aventador ,and Mercedes-AMG S63 to name a few. Essex partnered with a few local car vendors  who help to support the event. Matt Gray owner from Top End MoterWerks  for the 5th time help to arrange what cars were in the event. Skyline’s car detailer Tony  Moreen from The Right Touch Detailing, help to sponsor the beer and our own resident Sammy Lakhamy owner of  Envus a local car dealer in the area showed some fine new cars and gave away fun t-shirts and promotional items!  Skyline partnered with a gourmet truck Soho Tacos who provided tacos to over 150 guests, Buzz Box and Partida Tequila were the main drink sponsors for the event! This event was held up in front of the building in the driveway  where residents and their guests were able to view, take pictures and chat with the owners! What a perfect event for a hot August night!




    3 weeks ago
    3 weeks ago
    3 weeks ago
    End of Summer Cool Down with a Make Your Own Smoothie Day 3 weeks ago

    Image source: Pinterest


    Fresh fruit and veggie smoothies are great for all ages. Because they’re made with fresh whole-food ingredients, they’re filled with vital vitamins and minerals and also have a bunch of fiber to keep us fuller longer. Not only that, but they are great for both weight loss and even weight gain (for those that need it) by only changing the base ingredients.

    You’ll only want to attempt this event if you have easy access to a sink or other potable water to rinse and wash the blenders as you make the smoothies for residents.


    If you are looking for a way to cool down residents and please the kids, here is your go-to guide for running a healthy and fun build your own smoothie event at the end of the summer season.

    Planning and preparations

    When planning your event, collect the
    best recipes from around the net. Consider printing pictures of the smoothies and all-real-food smoothie recipe instructions to create stand up recipe cards to add around your smoothie-making stations.

    Image source:

    There are a few basic components to the perfect smoothie: fruit and liquid. Ice can also be added for a cooler drink. Feel free to include whatever fruits are in season in your area as well as other frozen fruits and veggies. Here are a few of the smoothie ingredients you may want to have on hand.


    Fruits and veggies
    There are dozens of popular fruits and vegetables so I won’t list them all here. Some of the more popular late summer smoothie items, however, include berries, melon, and banana.

    Be sure to include all the ingredients needed to make the recipes you plan to post, and then a few extra as well. What you include will depend on your community likes (and dislikes) and event budget.

    Liquids and creams (for ease of blending)

    ·         Fruit juice

    ·         Milk

    ·         Ice cream

    ·         Soymilk

    ·         Yogurt

    ·         Coconut milk


    Flavor/calorie add-ins

    ·         Protein powder

    ·         Multivitamin powders

    ·         Probiotics

    ·         Cocoa powder

    ·         Cinnamon

    ·         Grated nutmeg

    ·         Vanilla essence

    For texture and extra fiber

    ·         Flaxseeds

    ·         Toasted chopped nuts

    ·         Whole oats



    ·         Mint leaves

    ·         Sliced fruit

    ·         Tropical paper drink umbrellas ($4.20 for 144)

    ·         Colorful or striped smoothie straws (straight straws work best!)


    **SAFETY TIP** At this event, residents may come into contact with food residues from other resident’s orders. Be careful of any food allergies and make people aware of what ingredients are being used in the smoothies.

    You’ll want to have at least two blenders available for making smoothies so that one can be rinsed while the other is in use. Depending on expected demand (and the demographic of your community) you may want to have additional blenders, and staff to attend the blenders, available.

    **TIP** For the smoothest results and dreamiest blends, use a mix of fresh and frozen fruit instead of ice to whip up the creamiest smoothies. Buy frozen fruits and veggies in bulk. Keep them in resealable bags or containers, in ice chests with ice, on the day of your event.

    Day of the event

    Arrange the fresh cut and frozen fruits and vegetables and other add-ins in clearly marked bowls either on tables or inside ice chests. Offer spoons or tongs to residents.


    1.       Have residents fill a cup with the needed ingredients as per their taste and desire

    Image sources:
    Martha Stewart

    2.       Once filled, they can hand over the cup to have the smoothie blended up by staff. (For speed and safety reasons, it’s better to do the blending for your residents instead of allowing them to do it themselves.)

    3.       If using plastic to-go cups with lids ($17 for 100), you can just pour the blended smoothie right back into the same cup to serve the resident.

    4.       Add some garnish, a lid, a colorful IKEA straw ($6.99 for 100), then top with a festive umbrella, and residents are good to go!


    **GO GREEN TIP**If you have access to a larger full kitchen you may want to make your event more earth-friendly by renting and using reusing glasses made of clear plastic or glass. Keep extra disposables on hand just in case. You may have a few residents that need to take their smoothie to go or you may have overwhelming demand and people don’t drink their smoothies and return their glasses quickly enough. As the cups are used you can rinse and rewash them for reuse.

    Have a great event, and remember, “In life, much like smoothies, you get what you put in!”