2015 Bixby Residential NHHS Media Scholarships Awarded

This is the 5th year I have awarded this scholarship, and my own kids are wondering if I’ll offer up a $1,000 homework assignment to them.  Maybe this wasn’t the best idea, I’m thinking.  The genesis for these scholarships lies in my own love of journalism, visual imagery, and story telling.  I wanted to reward students for expressing their creativity and challenging their intellect through writing, photography, and film.  And again this year, the winners impressed me.


Congratulations to this year’s Newport Harbor High School awardees!

1st PRIZE FILM — Abbey Pickett


1st PRIZE PHOTOGRAPHY — Devin Sandoval

I wish these fine scholars the best of luck as they head off to continue their creative pursuits at their respective universities this fall.


1st Prize Journalism–2015 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship

The selection for Journalism wrote a refreshingly honest and vulnerable, yet simultaneously mature and objective view of how divorce affects children.   She will be studying Journalism at University of Missouri Columbia.  Congratulations, Lila McElroy.

Lila’s entry follows…

Divorce From a Child’s Perspective

It is normal to think that children with divorced parents had time to prepare for the inevitable misfortune, but this is not always the case. When my parents told me they were taking (what I thought was going to be) a short time off, I thought they were kidding. Sadly, the situation was far from funny.

As I go through this, I hear the same thing over and over again–‘there is no right way to react to this’ and ‘whatever you’re feeling is natural.’ These sentences just make me angrier and cause me to want to be left alone. But I have to admit: they are right. Whether you throw things, cry, or just go to sleep, let it happen and let your emotions leave your system. What I have noticed most about my close friends, who have gone through this as well, is that most people do not like to preach about their family struggles. According to The New York Times, about half of all kids from divorced families agreed that they had a harder childhood than most people. Half of the children in North America will see their parents go through a divorce, and will all be affected one way or another. Many kids that experience this keep all their emotions suppressed; I, unfortunately, do the same thing.

Keeping the feelings and thoughts in is the worst way to handle this, but is also what happens most of the time. In order to prevent these emotions from eating you alive, you should find a way to express them. It does not always have to be discussing these problems, because there are always other options. Use your imagination and be creative. If you like to draw, write, sing, or anything else you can think of, just do it. Release those feelings and to keep yourself from imploding with whatever you’re holding on to inside.

No matter what happens between parents, every child needs to know that they cannot blame themselves. This happens way too often in these situations. I always think to myself ‘what could I have done to prevent all this from happening?’ Sadly, there is nothing you can really do. This is between two adults that need to figure out, for themselves, what needs to be done in order to fix the situation with as little damage as possible.

I understand that all families are different and I cannot speak for all of them. But, I do understand how this can make a teenager feel. Some children see the split coming, and hope for it because they know it will make everything better. Others are blindsided and it causes their lives to crumble. No matter what the situation is, it can add on to a teen’s already stressful life. Every kid just needs to find someone, or something, that can get him or her through this rough time. Whether it’s a sibling, a friend, or a form of expression, there’s always something that will keep the child from slipping into sadness.

No child wants to be put in the middle of a divorce, but these things happen. I think people should try to make the best of the situation. Understand that no one is trying to hurt you, and parents need to look out for themselves, too. Take it day by day and find something important to focus on, such as schoolwork. Finally, always remember to give your parents a break, because seeing you cry hurts them more than you could ever know.

1st Prize Photography–2015 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship

Tyler Kirtley Wallride flowershop

First prize for photography captured action with eye-popping clarity, a sense for dramatic and colorful composition, and with an alternative light source that draws attention to the subject and his seemingly impossible position.  This gentleman is headed to San Francisco State University.  For Tyler Skating, congratulations to Devin Sandoval.

Devin’s own words about this photo:

The photo that I have chosen to turn in is of one of my best friends Tyler Kirtley skating in Daly City. This was taken over spring break when a group of us had decided to take a road trip to San Francisco for four days. The location of this photo is at a Do It Yourself (DIY) skate spot inside of an apartment complex in the backyard. The only times you can go are between noon and six in the afternoon. It was all built by random people and graffiti is all over the place. I took this with my Canon 60D and a 24mm 2.8 fixed focal length lens. The ISO for this picture was at 100 since it was shot in the middle of the day and light was pretty harsh. I was excited because I had just bought and off camera Speedlite, it was my first time using it, and it was fun learning the distance and where I could make his shadow be. This will always be a sentimental photo for me because it was the first time going to San Francisco with only a group of friends and because it involves one of my best friends in my future home of San Francisco. 

2015 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship @ NHHS — OPEN!


“Prior to my real estate career I spent several years as a freelance writer and photographer.  It all started with a blank journal I took with me to a semester of study in Florence, Italy.  That experience stoked a fire.  I loved telling stories and capturing them on film.  Travel became a vehicle from which I could share my creativity with others.  As the Bixby Residential Media Scholarship at NHHS enters it’s 5th year, I hope that you’ll consider submitting an entry (or multiple entries) and share your opinions, experiences, and creativity with your Newport Harbor community.  Have fun with it, and good luck!” — Grant Bixby


IMG_1813-225x300The Bixby Residential Media Scholarship @ NHHS is open to ALL senior students who wish to submit an entry.  Acceptable submissions may be posted at www.blog.bixbyresidential.com and in the NHHS Beacon at the discretion of the sponsor and NHHS staff.  Any student featured in an entry MUST complete the NHHS media release form and have it on file with the school.  Students will generate community interest entries in either print journalism, still photography, or video/film format.  Students may submit more than one entry in any category.  NHHS staff, guidance counselor Grace Nguyen, and Grant Bixby will vote on the winner for each category.  Those winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship award with no strings attached.  The goal is to promote creativity, individuality, and freedom of expression.


Submissions accepted beginning Nov. 1, 2014

Submission deadline is May 31, 2015

 Sample Topics include:

  • Not-for-profit Spotlight—Showcase a worthy cause
  • Special Event Coverage—Report on a newsworthy happening
  • Arts & Sciences—Feature a performance, art exhibit, science fair
  • Business & Community Issues—Report on a topic of local importance
  • The Op/Ed or commentary piece


Maximum word count of 1,000.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  No personal essays or fiction.  This is a journalism, non-fiction reporting contest. Submit as a Word document.  Entries may include one photograph or illustration if it helps the story, but it is NOT required.  $1,000 prize.

Still Photography:

One image or a sequence is acceptable.  Must receive both print and digital copy of image(s) in an acceptable format (JPEG or other).  Protect images accordingly in envelope with cardboard or other.  Important:  Accompany image with 250 word (max) description of image, where taken, camera & film details.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  $1,000 prize.


Maximum running time of 5 minutes.  Submit in suitable electronic file type or YouTube type link.  Content must be appropriate for all ages.  $1,000 prize.

***Include student name, telephone, address, and email with each submission.


Submit to:  grant@bixbyresidential.com (electronic) and mail or drop hard copies to Bixby Residential @ Villa Real Estate, 660 Newport Center Drive, Suite 200, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Giving Back in 2014


Dear Friends,
A new year is upon us, which always causes me to reflect on the year just past.  In 2014 we saw a robust recovery in our local real estate market, with most neighborhoods equalling or surpassing the previous peak prices of 2007.  For many that prompted selling property that was no longer underwater or that had appreciated enough to profit from a sizable gain.  If it was an income property, it begged for a 1031 exchange.  This year I expect more of the same.
In 2015 interest rates could creep upward, but it’s a safe bet that money will remain relatively inexpensive.  Another good assumption is that the income property market (i.e. rental properties) will continue to be tough to source.  I fully expect that savvy investors will be ready to pounce when the right opportunity arises, thus requiring that you have your finances ready and a good broker on the look out for you (yes, I mean me).
The same goes for buyers seeking a new home.  While I anticipate more listings coming on the market in the February through May timeframe, there will be competition for the best of those.  Those who dither will either have to be patient and wait for a change in the market or “get OK” with losing out.  If you know your parameters we can fashion a plan together that works for you and set expectations accordingly.
In closing, I want to thank all of my 2014 clients who took part in Bixby Residential’s Closing Gift Program.  This year I made gifts in their honor to the following organizations:  The Anti Defamation League, ASPCA, Blind Children’s Learning Center, Boys to Men, The Environmental Nature Center, Habitat for Humanity, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Make A Wish, Mariners Elementary School Foundation, Miracle Feet, OC Marathon Foundation, U.S. Sailing Center, Surfrider, and the UCI Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.  I appreciate the opportunity to give back to you in a meaningful way, and I look forward to continuing that trend in the year ahead.
All the best in 2015,
Grant Bixby

CA Property Taxes Due Dec. 10th


Your 1st installment of California property taxes is due on or before December 10, 2014. The State will apply penalties if payment is received after the 10th. If you have forgotten the amount of your property taxes, wonder if you have already paid, or want to pay online go to: http://tax.ocgov.com/tcweb/search_page.asp.

Make sure you read the fine print if you elect to pay online (additional credit card charges apply). If you mail, consider paying extra for Certified Mail to avoid penalties and get your postmark on or before December 10th guaranteed.

Lastly, if you think you may sell in 2015, now is the time to act. Careful planning and preparation prior to listing your home will get you the results you desire.  And if you’re hoping to get in the market next year, expect to see more inventory soon and continued low interest rates.  I look forward to hearing from you.