Archive for the ‘Destinations’ Category

My Story // Contained Beauty: Photographs, Reflections and Swimming Pools // The Empty Nest

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Debbi DiMaggio

My Story

This is my story as to how Contained Beauty came to be…

As you know, my name is Debbi DiMaggio. I am Midge and Vince’s daughter, Michael’s sister, Adam’s wife, a mother of two amazing children, Bianca and Chase, a Realtor, an avid volunteer and now an author.

Reflections

The first question I am asked most frequently is just how Contained Beauty came to be and what does the title mean. Contained Beauty: Photographs, Reflections & Swimming Pools.

In my book, the word “Reflections” refers to both, the reflections in a swimming pool and the reflections in my life.

Swimming Pools are Contained. For me, they are a place of beauty and comfort. Throughout the journey and putting this book together, I realized that I was like a swimming pool. I was living contained trying to keep a tight hold on my life and everything in it.

If you know me well, then you will know that when I get an idea I have to follow through with it or it will stay with me, keep me up at night and will occupy my mind until I do something about it.

A coffee table book about swimming pools was one of those ideas that kept repeating. I could picture my coffee-table book in hotels and resorts around the world and in people’s homes and in all of my real estate listings.

It wasn’t until Bianca’s junior year in high school, when she was busy considering colleges, and Chase was becoming more independent with friends, sports and school when things started to change… I felt a void, similar to that, of an empty swimming pool.

Empty Nest

As they got busier in their own lives, all I could see was an empty nest in my future. I wasn’t prepared for what was to come and the emotions I would feel. It was during this time I began searching. I needed a project to move me forward. I just kept thinking, we were once a family of four, soon to be a family of three. It was really, all too overwhelming. ( What I experienced was very different than what I had understood about the Empty Nest. My sadness and Empty Nest feelings did not begin when my last child left, but occurred when Bianca, my first child left, realizing that soon our son Chase and all of his friends would be gone too. )

One evening at a high school senior going away party a father said, “it’s not like she is going off to war”. As crazy as it sounded, his comment really put things into perspective and actually made me stop and think.

However, I was still reminiscing. I was still sad.  I spent time going back through our family photo albums, assembling a collection of meaningful photographs and creating a memory book for Bianca.

As I pulled together photographs of family, friends and Bianca’s travels, I wrote captions, sharing words that would hopefully help her with her transition to college and what she meant to me. The captions were as much for me as they were (hopefully) for her.

I titled it, “What to Share with Your Senior Before they Leave for College.” I wrote things like… I love you, we are just a phone call away, try new things, get involved.  I cried as I put the book together.

When you are one less in the household, time opens up. One early morning, after Bianca had left for college, I began to re-read and write in my personal journal.

I had been adding to my journal over the years when I was inspired. I tend to write in the morning before my family gets up, and when the house is quiet and my mind is clear. And I love to write when I travel.

Over the years I have been assembling a “believe” handbook, filled with my inspirational words of wisdom. It is something I hoped to share with my children and their friends, and to inspire others who might read it.

Swimming Pools

Also, you may ask – Why a coffee table book on swimming pools?

Swimming pools inspire me. When sitting next to a swimming pool I feel renewed and peaceful and open to new possibilities. And it is also a place where I find balance.

Looking at water helps me clear my mind and allows new ideas to seep in.

When I started this project I didn’t realize just how contained I was living. Just like a swimming pool.  I was living my life in the shallow end of the pool but knew there was so much more. As I tried to push out to the deep end, it was challenging.  In order to do that, I had to release the boundaries that I was living within.

It was then that I began to notice that the people around me were also doing the same thing. I started seeing life and people differently.

It was then when I decided that I had to finish my book, for all of us who need to remove our boundaries, follow our own path and loosen the control we try so hard to keep.

Emotions would follow, as I reflected…

In writing this book, I learned and understood that for myself it is difficult to really open up, and to deal with sadness and disappointment. I was surprised to find the healing that would transpire through my willingness to be open and to allow myself to feel.

I do understand, so much more now, that I try to control life in an attempt to keep everything contained in a neat, tidy, little box.  And when I don’t find success, I get frustrated and sad.

I have identified that when I do this, I really don’t have control at all.  But, I am still a work in progress.  I believe my journey has really just begun. I have IDENTIFIED something I want to change.  “Identify” is the key word.

One of the passages in my book says, when you are working on your dreams and goals, that you must first IDENTIFY just what those dreams and goals are. That is the first step towards achieving your goals and making your dreams come true.  I’m living my writing now.

Visual Inspiration

I also am a very visual person. I memorize information visually, whether a home, a hotel or a book. I even recall my conversations, visually.

Images speak to me, and stick with me. I created Contained Beauty for others who might do the same.

Contained Beauty is a visual journey. It is a blend of stunning photographs from my favorite places around the world interlaced with my personal journal writings.

I created my book so you could travel from the comfort and ease of your own space, while being inspired through images and words.

Giving Back

Helping others is a value that is deep in my heart. I believe so strongly in giving back that the proceeds of Contained Beauty will be donated to the George Mark Children’s House.

George Mark Children’s House supports and provides medical care for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families living with such challenging circumstances.

It is a place of healing and a mission that tugs at my heartstrings.

Gratitude

I want to take a few moments to thank the many people who have made my Contained Beauty journey complete.  First and foremost, my editor, photographer and dear friend, Jennifer Fox. Without her Virgo organizational skills and extreme follow up, patience and desire to make sure I followed my dream to fruition, this book would not be possible.

Toula Victor, my marketing coordinator and organizer who continued to smile as we worked on my many lists and lists and lists.

Rob Bond, my publisher who said it was possible and introduced me to PGW Distributors, Four Colour Printers and the book publishing business.

To all the photographers, property owners and models who worked on this project from their hearts, for George Mark.

Angie, my graphic artist, who dealt with the perfectionist in me as she endured my numerous edits.

And to Michelle Bakken Whitaker, an amazing designer, who brought in her expertise, in the nick of time, just before Contained Beauty went to press.

My husband Adam, my rock, for his love and support, and to my amazing children, Bianca and Chase, who are my inspiration and my life.

Jennifer’s daughters, Jessica and Chelsea who traveled with Jennifer and I and acted as my mini assistants. To Steve, their dad, Jennifer’s husband, for his patience and understanding as we spent hours and hours on the book.

And a huge thanks and gratitude to my Believers, including Jennifer and Steve Fox; Kathy Hull, Visionary of the George Mark Children’s House; Rasheed Alli of X2Media; Sherry Paterra, my mentor; my new friends, Linda and Bruce Titus; our real estate partners and friends, Ed and Kathy Krafchow; my longtime, dear friend, Mindy Sun; and of course, my loving husband, Adam and my parents who have supported me throughout my life and allowed me to change my career as many times as I changed my mind. And to all of you…

In Closing

I now understand that I was living with constraints, just as a swimming pool, with restrictive borders, that slowed me from living my dreams. I put up boundaries because of my own doubts and fears.  I stopped short of doing for myself as it always is much easier for me to do for, and to believe in, my children and in others…

Contained Beauty is for me and for you.  It is a reminder for you too, to let go of what holds you back and to find your passion and follow your dreams.

Believe in yourself, seek inspiration and keep going even when things are less than perfect.

And should you purchase a copy of Contained Beauty, The George Mark Children’s House thanks you, just as I do. Please go to Barnes and Noble.com Amazon.com or call your local book store and ask them to order you a copy. Contained Beauty can also be purchased at Rue Atelier Boutique on College Avenue.

If you would like more information on the George Mark House, please go to George Mark.org.

Thank you!  XOXO!!

Debbi

DebbiDiMaggioPR

For Author Events or Book Signings, please contact Jennifer  Jenn-Fox.com

Imagine. Believe. Visualize. Dream. Achieve.

going south for the summer // city, beach or suburbs // los angeles

Saturday, July 28, 2012
Debbi DiMaggio

Going South for the Summer? Looking for a weekend get-a-way before summer comes to an end?

Sometimes I like to get in my car and just drive.  Poor cell reception is a good thing, sometimes.  Listen to music or just enjoy the silence and point your car south, on the straight road ahead – it’s just about a 5 ½ hour drive.  Of course, depending on if you stop or not.  I actually enjoy the trip, it gives me time to clear my head and just be.  (If I do stop, it’s Harris Ranch for lunch.)

City, Beach or the Suburbs – It’s up to you – there are so many neighborhoods to choose from.

Stay:  Beverly Wilshire, Four Seasons – Location, Location, Location, if you love to shop and people watch.  We were in town for our son’s LAX tournament — Tinsel Town Throw Down.  July is birthday month for our son, Chase and our daughter Bianca, myself, as well as my dad’s birthday and our wedding anniversary.  The celebrations are non stop in July!

Shop:  Rodeo Drive

One of the windows at Tiffany’s on Rodeo Drive

Stay, Spa, Sun or Swim at the Four Season’s BW Hotel – on the weekends they have a DJ spinning tunes poolside.  The Spa is definitely one of the most luxurious.

 

Sip @ Nic’s Beverly Hills – step inside the VodBox – The Vodka Hostess leads you a full- length faux fur and Russian style hat. The temperature drops to a chilly 28 degrees F.

Dine beneath the stars @ Via Alloro  (recent sighting Matthew Modine) or Caffe Roma – al fresco dining at it’s best.

Chase & Adam @ Caffe Roma

Destination: Beverly Hills / West Hollywood

Stay:  L’Ermitage Beverly Hills – Sophisticated and private… And I love the rooftop pool!

Shop Robertson – many boutiques to choose from, and Kitson is always one of the busiest

Indulge:  Book a mani pedi @ Bellacures  – I had the best pedicure ever – make sure to ask for the works: Scrub, Mask, Moisturize, Massage & Polish — A creature of habit, I tend to stick with what I love, so I always get the French Pedicure.

People Watch:  @ the Ivy, one of LA’s hottest lunch spots for celebrity sightings – call ahead to make a reservation and be sure to ask for a table on the patio – French, floral and comfortable.

After shopping all day a relaxing dinner at Eveleigh is just what you need – a very hip indoor-outdoor hot spot where cowboy chic meets restoration hardware. You’ll have to just see for yourself.  I guarantee.  It’s super cool!

 

Roasted Hot Peppers, One of my Favorites on the Menu

WeHo:  Fun in West Hollywood

Stay:  The Chamberlain in the heart of West Hollywood – a chic and glamorous neighborhood hotel – and my favorite rooftop pool in the City with views of Sunset Blvd.   They keep the pool heated to 90 degrees, my preferred temperature!

 featured in my four-colour, hardcover coffee-table book soon to be released

contained beauty: photographs, reflections, swimming pools by debbi dimaggio

Take in a show & dance @ the Roxy on Sunset

Wine & Dine @ one of the many outside restaurants on Sunset Plaza reminiscent of the South of France.

Dine or Sip @ Katana robata & sushi bar – Enjoy a pre dinner cocktail from the outdoor lounge overlooking Sunset Blvd

Sip @ Chateau Marmont – a cool Hollywood hangout

Shop or Catch a movie @ the Grove

Recent sightings – David Spade and Jennifer Hudson

 

For a More Beachy Experience….head West to Santa Monica

Shop the Third Street Promenade @ other funky and chic Santa Monica shops

Dine @ Tar & Roses

Sip poolside @ the Viceroy Santa Monica – also featured in contained beauty.

Get your heart pumping atop the Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier

 

Take a Drive up the PCH to Malibu

Stay:  Malibu Beach Inn

Swim, Surf or Sun:  All along the West Coast from Malibu to Redondo Beach

Shop and Star-Gaze @ the Malibu Country Mart

The James Perse Boutique

Paparazzi sighting… Rachael Zoe wearing one of her boho chic maxi dresses and signature floppy hats.

Dine & Wine:  Under the stars and the moon @ Duke’s Malibu or Moonshadows

Get Inspired @ one of the many beautiful Beaches* along the PCH or visit  The Getty Villa or the Getty Museum.

There is always so much to discover.

XOXO!

Debbi

*Beaches To Note: From South to North

·      Manhattan or Hermosa

·      Santa Monica near Shutters on the Beach

·      Santa Monica at PCH

·      Malibu Pier across the street from the Malibu Country Mart

·      Zuma Beach

·      Paradise Cove Beach & Restaurant modeled after the South of France

Thanks for stopping by!

summer series // seattle, washington

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Debbi DiMaggio

Travel Log: Summer Series 2012
Seattle, Washington

When I travel to a new place, I bring my sense of wonder with me. I look for things to discover and wait to be inspired. I prefer to get to know a city in just four days and three nights.

If you are considering heading north to SEATTLE, here are a few of my highlights.

STAY
Fairmont Olympic Hotel
The Fairmont is a Traditional hotel with stunning Georgian architecture. My favorite feature is the indoor heated pool and spa. (I always try to stay at a hotel with a pool.)

W Hotel – Hip and Swanky
A favorite spot for locals and tourists after work or at play.

Four Seasons Hotel
Perched above the Puget Sound in a beautiful modern high rise. Four Seasons service has never been anything less than superior; consistent, tried and true.

PLAY
By Air, Land or Sea

Ferry

A great way to see the city surrounded by water:  All Sight Seeing Tours

Seaplane
Seattle Seaplanes offers charter flights and tours to Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, the San Juan Islands and other locations throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle Seaplanes

Walking Tour
The World’s Greatest Walking Tour – The Seattle Walking Tour

MUST

Stroll Pike Place Market


The Market is filled with beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables. Watch the butchers playing catch with large, slippery salmon as they throw the fish over the heads of wide-eyed tourists. Indulge in a sampling of fresh, brightly colored fruit or something sweet from one of the many bakeries.  And don’t forget to stop by the original Starbucks. It is certainly true, there is a Starbucks on every corner.  PIKE PLACE MARKET

EAT
Try any one of the Tom Douglas restaurants for lunch or dinner. Etta’s, Lola’s and Dahlia Lounge to name a few… each with their own style and cultural flair.

Queen City Grill
A local favorite in Belltown – Old school, comfortable and friendly. Sit and chat with the locals at the bar or enjoy a private booth.

El Gaucho

Every time I visit El Gaucho  I see Jim Carey and Cameron Diaz spinning around the dance floor right out of a scene from the movie, “Mask.” Dimly lit, piano being played in the background while chefs and waiters prepare various dishes table side from Caesar salad to flaming kabobs or bananas foster. It’s an interactive dining experience.

SIP
You’ll notice that many restaurants, whether serving breakfast, lunch or dinner each have a bar and serve both wine and spirits. My first guess was because of the colder temperatures. But, during the summer, days go on and on… and it does actually warm up. I could not believe how light it was at 9:00 at night! Bars and restaurants are plentiful. Sip your favorite beverage while overlooking the Puget Sound or at one of the many restaurants located on one of the quintessential alleyways above Pike Place Market.

INSPIRE

Charities define a city’s heart. You can’t walk around Seattle without seeing the “working man” sculpture. The Seattle Art Museum, known to locals as SAM, has an extensive collection of art and rotating traveling shows. A quick peak, for an hour or so, allows me just enough time to see things with a new perspective.

Isn’t that what makes traveling worth the effort?

My last piece of advice… Don’t forget your passport.

Canada is just a few hour drive, away.

There is always so much to discover!

XOXO!!  Debbi

 Alaska Air: A quick flight from Oakland to Seattle

           Video Training w/Natalie Rees & Sid Lee                                                        Jenn and Debbi               

Next Weekend

Summer Series // Beverly Hills

 LAX Tournament in LA // Tinsel Town Throwdown!

mirrors of infinity // contained beauty

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Debbi DiMaggio

Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club –  Santa Barbara, CA 

The Carneros Inn, Napa Valley at Sunrise

Montecito, CA – A Private Residence

I am searching the world for stunning images of swimming pools for a 10 x 12, four color coffee table book titled CONTAINED BEAUTY.

If you are a photographer, landscape architect or property owner who might be inspired to be a part of this project, please reach out to us:

Author / Art Director / Visionary:   Debbi DiMaggio   debbidimaggio@gmail.com

  Editor:   Jennifer Fox   jenn@jenn-fox.com 

Marketing & Media Director:   Toula Victor   victor.toula@gmail.com

Publisher:   Robert Bond – Half Full Press

Graphics:  Angie Hinh

Printer:   Four Colour Print Group

Charity:   George Mark House   www.georgemark.org

Contained Beauty Contributers & Partners:  

X2Media – Corina Botofan and Rasheed Alli

Sherry Paterra – Debbi’s Mentor

We have ONE month to meet our publisher’s deadline!

With appreciation and gratitude,

 Debbi DiMaggio

Writer,  Community Ambassador, Philanthropist, Realtor

XOXO! 

 

Images by Jenn Fox

 

Making Dreams Come True! XOXO!

New Year’s Resolutions Under Way // Vail, Colorado USA

Friday, March 2, 2012
Debbi DiMaggio

Below was my post on the Piedmont Patch in January.  I am happy to say my New Year’s Resolutions are underway!

Bianca and I spent the weekend together in Vail and Boulder, Colorado.  A beautiful state.

Truly breathtaking.

Evacuation Back Side, Vail, CO – the sun was shining bright and the sky was blue, but the winds were blowing at the top!  a breezy 80 MPH – it was incredibly scary!   i didn’t know how we’d get back.   i had the idea that i would fake a broken leg, as i didn’t want to get back on that lift.   a few skiiers who didn’t want to wait in this long line, opted to hike out.   you can see the top of the mountain in this photo.  they had to hike to the very top to get out.   as we finally made it to the top in the chair lift, 45 minutes later, they were still hiking.

These photos were taken by me on my iphone while skiing – it was just so beautiful at every turn. 

 Bianca and Daddy @ Sugar Bowl

Bianca

18 Months, now 18 Years

Previous Post:

Last night I hosted a dinner party with my husband, our last party to round out the holiday season and to welcome in the New Year. We enjoyed Adam’s famous pasta and shared our resolutions.

Just one morning into the New Year, as I write this, my family still sound asleep knowing they have one last day of vacation before the hectic pace of life propels us … I realize it is time. It is time to take down holiday decorations and prepare for what is next, which is 2012.

Today marks another new day, although more significant and emphasized by the culmination of parties, parades, fireworks, gatherings and conversations of New Year’s Resolutions. However, I prefer to use the word goals in place of resolutions. Resolutions made oftentimes end up as empty promises, like all of those new faces who show up at the gym to work out “more often.”

I learned many years ago that goals can be set at any time and re-examined throughout the year. Since becoming an owner/partner and marketing director at Highland Partners, I continue to examine my goals quite often. You do not have to be in business, or a director or coach, to do this. You can simply sit down with your children, a colleague or your spouse and review one another’s goals together. Whether I am coaching or sharing, I learn so much through our exchange. Each conversation reminds and reinforces my own goals, and enlightens me to new ones I hadn’t even thought of. A buddy system of sorts.

Here are a few of my goals for 2012:

Reinforce Past Goals

Help HP Agents with Their Business Plans

Exercise Weekly with Friends

Take Walks with My Husband and Partner

Complete and Publish My Book

Help More Families / Sell More Homes

Visit Aspen and Vail ( My daughter is at CU Boulder )

Learn Something New

Create Photo Books using iPhoto

Inspire My Children

Simplify: Garage, Basement and Closets

Expand Reach and Support of My Favorite Charities

Host More Dinner Parties ( Adam needs to be on board with that one, since I don’t cook! )

Plan and Take a One-on-One Weekend Get-Away with Each Member of My Family

Celebrate Adam’s Big Birthday

and

Our 20 Year Anniversary

Dance More!

And, of course, this goes without saying… Eat Healthier, Spend More Time with Family and World Peace.

What are your goals for 2012? I’d love to hear them, and am sure others would, too.

Cheers to a Happy and Healthy 2012! May all of your dreams and goals be achieved.

There is always so much to accomplish…

XOXO! Debbi

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