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My Happy Plan 2017

I’m not really hyped on making New Year’s Resolutions, but one thing I do know…

I’m definitely into finding happiness all year long.

So I’ve been seeking a Happy Plan in my business {and personal life} to make 2017 sparkle. Because when I feel happy, I know my clients and realtor partners will too.

happy plan

Miracles for Kids ~ What Christmas is Really About

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I’m a huge fan of giving back to the community and those in need! Most recently, I donated to the The Little Red Dog, to get a sweet puppy the things he needed, like ~ food, meds, and special training ~ so he could be adopted quickly.

christmas

And this year, for Christmas, I’m partnering with Miracles for Kids, an amazing organization whose sole mission is to improve the lives of children and families in need, specifically families with critically ill children. I learned that in many cases, one parent is forced to quit their job to care for their sick child, causing a lot of financial hardship. And even if just one child is sick, the entire family is effected mentally, emotionally and restricted from what they would normally be able to do if the disease didn’t plague their sibling.

The reason why I’m sharing this is not to be a grinch, but rather to spotlight this amazing organization who continues to provide hope and help to these local families experiencing crises.

do what matters

I’m a huge believer in doing what matters. I’m not saying we all need to give financially, but even volunteering our time can mean the world to someone. ♥

That’s why myself and some friends partnered together to buy special gifts for some of these amazing kids. We wanted their Christmas to be extra special this year.

matt

kids

 

Seeing how my support has been able to light up some very adorable faces is truly the icing on my Christmas cake this year. If you’re interested in getting involved with Miracles for kids, please email me!

Even if you’re unable to donate financially, there are lots of other lovely ways you can give.

Check out some of your options here.

✦ Wishing you and yours a very happy, sparkly holiday. ✦

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Homemade Gnocchi {& Heavenly Mushrooms} Recipe

If you’ve been keeping up with my blogs, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a bit of a food junkie. I mean I wouldn’t call myself a full blown foodie, but I love me some pasta and pizza ~ pair with some red wine {and dark chocolate almonds for dessert} and I’m in carb-heaven! Whether it’s checking out local eateries around LA or finding a new, tasty cocktail to enjoy, I’m all about splurging on mouth-watering treats!

italian dish

Now, when it comes to home cooked meals, I make no exception. Recently I decided to try my hand at a fabulous gnocchi and brussels sprout recipe. And to make the meal even better, my fam joined me. It was so nice spending some quality time with my mom, dad, and sister.

It’s always fun making memories at home – especially in the kitchen around the holidays. Tamales anyone?! BTW, if you’re in the market to purchase a new home or want to pull some cash out for that kitchen remodel you’ve been dreaming about you should TOTALLY call us ~ 310-488-7083.

The recipe was a total hit (almost) ~ my dad hated the gnocchi. But I think his tastebuds are a little off. 😉

dad
Here’s the hater in action.. <3

Now without further adieu, I want to share the recipe with you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did and get to share it with someone special.

Roasted Lemon Caper Brussels Sprouts

brussel

✦ 1 pound of brussels sprouts ~ I like to cut them in half because they cook faster.

✦ 2 tablespoons of olive oil

✦ ¼ cup lemon juice

✦ 3 Tablespoons butter, melted (yum!)

✦ 2 cloves crushed and finely chopped garlic (you can buy in a jar, but fresh is better!)

✦ ½ cup capers

Directions

Heat oven to 425°F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts in olive oil, then spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or till they are golden brown and well-charred. While they bake, melt the butter in a pan and add lemon juice, garlic, and capers. Simmer for just a bit. When the sprouts are done, pour the butter garlic mixture over them, toss, and serve!

brussels

NOTE: While the sprouts roast, you can also sauté chicken breasts, bake fish, or grill steaks to accompany them. I decided on making gnocchi, and I think they made a perfect pair!

Delicious Homemade Gnocchi Recipe

✦ 3 large baking (Idaho) potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), scrubbed

✦ 1 large egg

✦ 1 teaspoon salt

✦ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

✦ Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

✦ 1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

✦ 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or as needed

Directions

Bake potatoes in a preheated 400°F oven until tender, about 40 minutes. Take the potatoes out and let them stand just until cool enough to handle. (The hotter the potatoes are when they are peeled and riced, the lighter the gnocchi will be.) You can use a kitchen towel or oven mitt to protect your hands if it’s too hot.  

Peel the potatoes, then mash them. I used a food mill BUT I find that using a potato masher or ricer is much more convenient and saves time.

Then, spread the mashed potatoes into a thin, even layer on your work surface and let them cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together. Gather the cold potatoes into a mound and form a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well. Knead the potato and egg mixtures together with both hands, gradually adding the grated cheese and enough of the flour, about 1 1/2 cups, to form a smooth but slightly sticky dough. It should take no longer than 3 minutes to work the flour into the potato mixture; remember, the longer the dough is kneaded, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become. As you knead the dough, it will stick to your hands and to the work surface: Repeatedly rub this rough dough from your hands and scrape it with a knife or dough scraper from the work surface back into the dough as you knead.

snakes

Wash and dry your hands. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with some of the remaining flour. Cut the dough into six equal pieces and set off to one side of the work surface. Place one piece of dough in front of you and pat it into a rough oblong shape. Using both hands, in a smooth back-and-forth motion and exerting light downward pressure, roll the dough into a rope 1/2 inch thick, flouring the dough if necessary as you roll to keep it from sticking. (When you first begin making gnocchi, until your hands get the feel of the dough, you may find it easier to cut each piece of dough in half to roll it.)

Slice the ropes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle the rounds lightly with flour and roll each piece quickly between your palms into a rough ball, flouring the dough and your hands as needed to prevent sticking.

mash

Hold the tines of a fork at a 45-degree angle to the table with the concave part facing up. Dip the tip of your thumb in flour. Take one ball of dough and with the tip of your thumb, press the dough lightly against the tines of the fork as you roll it downward toward the tips of the tines.

snake

As the dough wraps around the tip of your thumb, it will form into a dumpling with a deep indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other.

Set on a baking sheet lined with a floured kitchen towel and continue forming gnocchi from the remaining dough balls. Repeat the whole process with the remaining pieces of dough. At this point the gnocchi must be cooked immediately or frozen.

view the original recipe here

My Mama’s BOMB Sautéed Mushrooms

mushroms

Here’s how to make my mama’s famous mushroom sauce to compliment your crispy gnocchi.

Clean your mushrooms then slice them. In a very hot Dutch oven, with olive oil just below smoking, add your mushrooms. Sauté for maybe 15 minutes until brown. Add One whole onion sliced to your mushrooms. Sauté til brown. Add rosemary and thyme to taste (maybe 3 tablespoons each). Sauté until flavors are combined, around five minutes. Add about 3/4 of a cup of port depending on how many mushrooms made, maybe a cup. Sauté til almost evaporated. Add 3/4 to a cup of beef broth that that is reduced. Add salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon each.) If you’re going to eat them now, at this point you can add about a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and bring to a simmer, then reduce a bit until it’s the consistency that you want. Otherwise don’t add the cream until you’re ready to eat them. Seriously, SO good!

Now it’s time to combine and enjoy these pillows from heaven! Mmm deliciozo!

gnocchi

I hope you enjoyed this little post. And don’t forget to check out more recipes here.

7 Things that Make Me Fall Hard for Autumn

It’s almost autumn ~ so I’m celebrating this new season by sharing some of my favorite things with you! Please join me on the blog today as I divulge my 7 fave things about fall. I hope you enjoy!

1) From Cutoff Shorts to Boyfriend Jeans

jeans

Okay, so I may or may not have a main squeeze this fall – but one things for sure! I’ll be cozying up in my comfy boyfriend jeans. If you don’t have a pair, I highly suggest you invest.  A couple of my faves can be found here and here.  I promise, they last a lot longer than any summertime fling, and are much more reliable. {kidding}  😉

2) Decorating Pumpkins

pumpkins

Change up the typical pumpkin carving routine with this super easy Pumpkin Decorating DIY. I tried this last year and absolutely loved it. It’s a great way to glam out our pumpkins, without making a mess. {Watch out Martha Stewart!}

3) Raising the Cuteness Factor with Baby Pumpkins

coffee

Continuing with the pumpkin theme… {they might be a slight fall-time obsession of mine} …one of my favorite things to do during the cooler months is to update my typical coffee table decor with baby pumpkins. They’re so cute, and such an easy way to add a touch of autumn without completely altering your decor.

4) When Wearing Leggings as Pants = an Acceptable form of Fall Fashion

Enough said. If you don’t agree, you can call the fashion police on me. But I happen to think the invention of leggings is the best thing to happen in fashion since the little black dress. I love fall because I can throw on a pair of leggings, an oversized sweater and ballet flats and call it stylish. <3

5) Warming up with My Fave ~ Hazelnut Americano

Hazelnut americano

You would think that I’m paid to promote the Hazelnut Americano at Cafe Luxxe, but no ~ I’m just a super satisfied customer that wants to share this delicious flavor with my friends. If you’re a coffee lover {or even if you’re not} this drink is one of my faves to indulge in during the fall. I know all you diehard fans of the Pumpkin Spice Latte might find this offensive, but you might find yourself switching teams really soon, once you try this one!

6) Fall-inspired Spirits like The Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour 

cocktails

Speaking of delicious drinks, check out some of my must—try autumn infused cocktail recipes for this fall.

7) Yummy Fall Recipe ~ Roasted Acorn Squash 

acorn squash

Because it’s not necessarily sweater weather here in Santa Monica and doesn’t yet feel like fall, I’m lovin’ this unique recipe from thehealthyapple.com. The dish is bright and beautiful, while still incorporating some tasty ingredients you’ll find in fall.

{Find the full recipe and ingredient list over here.}

Alright ~ now your turn! What is one of your favorite fall things that you can’t wait for?? Comment below!

Job Opportunity // Grow with our Team!

Looking for Rockstar Loan Assistant in Orange County

loan officer santa monica

I’m so excited to say that things have been super busy in business ~ and NOW more than ever, I’m looking for one unique, badass individual to join the team.

Dream Skills + Must Haves:

2+ years of experience in the mortgage industry

is passionate about helping others and being part of a team

takes the bull by the horns & makes following systems and checklists look like a piece of cake!

can handle a large pipeline and dish out CTC’s like a boss

excels in making peeps feel comfortable, happy and appreciated ALWAYS! 

If you feel like you qualify please, pretty please email your resume + why you think we’d be the perfect match to my marketing ms. ~ bethany@juliearagon.com.

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Who You Are + Glimpse into your typical day

You’re the mover and shaker of my team ~ ensuring all files process and close quickly.

 Get out your feather pen because you’ll be scheduling client appointments ~ whether it’s a quick phone chat to take a new loan app or scheduling a lunch meeting for Julie and a new fabulous partner. 

Organization obsessed? That’s you. You’ll be ordering and following up on docs which includes ~ client docs, escrow, title, VOEs, HOA docs ~ all while keeping in an organized, precise fashion so everyone on team can easily track.

Queen {or King!} of communication ~ this position requires consistent communication with our amazing clients and partners, so it’s important that you enjoy chatting, can eloquently explain details, and feel comfortable developing relationships with our fave peeps to ensure retention and continued referrals. 

Properly prepare files to submit to processing with mad attention to detail to ensure a clean loan approval. 

You can be totally trusted with our client’s sensitive financial info. 

Feeling like a sleuth? If you surprise us with research in regards to ways we can improve when it comes to our services, client retention, etc., you will be rewarded with more than just a gold star that week.

You’re a self-starter and fearless when it comes to staying on top of your game because you know that every moment matters {not only to the team, but to our clients as well}

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P.S. Feeling creative? Applicants are encouraged to email a short iPhone video explaining why you’d be a good fit for the team {not required, but a total plus!}

P.S.S. This is a full time position in Costa Mesa, not a remote gig.

{BONUS} Do you know a friend who would be PERFECT for this position? Nominate a friend, colleague or co-worker and you’ll be entered to win our Next Dream Assistant Giveaway ~ a $500 Amazon card to use however your heart desires! Okay, we know we’re not giving away the moon and stars, but maybe you can finally get that Keurig you’ve been dying to try out. 😉

Hurry, the Rose Ceremony to pick our perfect match happens Sept 30th

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CONTACT

Santa Monica HQ: 
312 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 340-6606

Inland Empire Expansion in Riverside (92501)
(909) 766-9997

julie@juliearagon.com julie@juliearagon.com call (310) 491-5958 (310) 491-5958

CONNECT

🏠in LA but serving all of California 🙌

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The Turnkey Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Arbor Financial Group is an Equal Housing Lender. In all jurisdictions, the principal {NMLS: 236669} licensed location is 2932 Daimler Street, Santa Ana, CA, 92705. {Julie Aragon MLO #250691}