The question of whether money buys happiness

We live in a town where the trees shed their leaves four times and then they die.  The roots do not find the earth inward, only underneath the shallowness of the grass directly below. When the Santa Anas blow forth bringing dry weather and hot winds, I begin to wonder about the weather, eucalyptus trees and the sanity of people in Southern California. 
This weekend I overheard someone say, “Money can buy you happiness.” This statement was made while the person was a guest at a fantastic home in Rancho Pacifica. I had a moment that inspired me to contemplate this proverbial theory that so many believe to be true. One of my favorite authors, F. Scott Fitzgerald, fictionalized why this statement is so desperately wrong. The classic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” delves into the lives of the rich and famous during the roaring 1920s era.
Let me give you a quick recap of this classic novel, which I’m sure you read in high school. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy. Daisy was rich and came from money. Gatsby did not. With enough effort and shady connections, he found a way to make money to win Daisy’s love. Gatsby plotted and planned and even hosted elaborate parties on Long Island’s North Shore. In the end, he was just a bootlegger and Daisy was unattainable. Do you remember the ending? Gatsby loved Daisy so much he covered up a hit-and-run accident, which resulted in the death of Daisy’s husband’s lover, while she exited town unscathed by scandal. Meanwhile, Gatsby was murdered for Daisy’s mistake. I’m sure when Gatsby set out on his whole “Let’s win back Daisy scheme,” he had no idea that his demise would come from his mission to find great happiness while hording lots of cash just to garner Daisy’s attention. In truly analyzing this book, the point was that Gatsby’s love was pure in some sweet, honorable way. Gatsby lacked selfish motives, other than to get the girl in the end. That is what made the story fabulous. True love can be flawed, too. So, who says money can’t buy you happiness? Well, F. Scott Fitzgerald does. A very wealthy man himself, he fictionalized this universal theme in most of his novels. Look to the great minds to find great pearls of wisdom.
They say you can judge a person’s life by the attendance of friends and loved ones at their funeral. At Gatsby’s memorial, there were only two individuals there. What happened to all of the fair-weather friends and his love, Daisy? This classic novel answers why the question of whether money can buy happiness doesn’t measure up in the millennium.
During a time when money seems more elusive than even a few years ago, we must remember the tale of Gatsby. We must remember that just because someone else has more than us, it does not always correlate with happiness. Happiness is a fleeting emotion that cannot be bought in a store or in the form of a handbag. We must remember to find peace of mind in our own hearts. Now more than ever, when we analyze what others have behind their white picket fences, it may seem with the elegant landscaped lawns set against the transported eucalyptus trees, that money could be the answer to solving your worries. Just know that in the end, we are remembered by our friends and by those lives we’ve touched — not by what we have in our bank account. After all, “You can’t take it with you.” Oops, now that’s a famous Frank Capra movie. I do believe I mixing the genres.
Around town
On March 21, Rancho Santa Fe Little League celebrated Opening Day at the Richardson Park field. Family and teammates attended this fun-filled tradition of one of the best leagues in North County. Professional baseball pitcher Jim Abbot inspired the crowd with the story of how he became a major league player, while overcoming the fact he was born without a right hand. Abbot’s accolades include winning the Sullivan Award in 1987 and throwing a no-hitter with the Yankees against Cleveland. He played 10 years in the majors with four different clubs. Ben Stout, John Schreckengaustand Tyler Miller beamed with pride when they stood next to Mr. Abbot. Thank you to Todd Stout, my son’s baseball coach, for sharing his pictures in my column. Play ball!
On March 22, I met an out-of-towner designer, Kenny Davis, walking around in downtown Rancho Santa Fe. Mr. Davis was with his sister Shauna Aronson seeking design inspiration from the Tuscany homes in the Ranch for set decorations in Hollywood. Kenny Davis has designed with such celebrities as Paris Hilton, P. Diddy, 50 Cent, and has designed numerous TV shows. How thrilled I was to hang out with a designer from Los Angeles. He informed me that a reality design show is in the works right now, which would feature his creations from the Hamptons, Los Angeles and New York City. Watch out Martha Stewart, it looks like you have some new competition. He is giving me the exclusive scoop on what’s next in his exciting career, until then, stay tuned.
On March 27, I heard from Rancho Realtor Debi Holder. Her son, Andrew Holder, a recent graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, celebrated a showing of his artwork in downtown little Italy. Andrew has built up a steady clientele, which includes the Roxy, Poketo, National Geographic and Arkitrip Magazine.
“His work has a hint of Scandinavian folk-art with a modern-day twist,” according to Debi. Imagine sleepy seaside towns, and country landscapes — these are his prominent pieces. If you would like to find out more about this local budding artist, visit
Later that evening, I ran into a fun group celebrating a new business merger. The owner of A Better Way Wholesale Auto, Brian Lee, was in the Ranch with friends Camille Stewart, Wendy Deno and Mike Fascetti. In a time when speculation about the car business is sour, Brian has already had great success with his new dealership located in Miramar. Originally from Connecticut, he recently relocated with his family to Southern California. I wonder if it had anything to do with our glorious weather? If you are looking for a slightly used luxury car, visit or call (858) 693-9900.
On March 28, Lisa Saputo organized a wonderful event at the Del Rayo Shopping Center called Lifestyles in the Ranch, Talk Live, featuring KUSI’s Leonard Simpson. The event incorporated retailers and restaurants, promoting all of the stores in Fairbanks. The highlights included an interactive fashion show featuring complimentary makeovers, style tips, fitness and food, with live models on stage. Proceeds raised from the raffle drawing were donated to Child-help at  Rady Children’s Hospital and the Center for Children. Kudos to Lisa Saputo for organizing a way to promote our local businesses in town that might need that extra boost and most importantly raising money for children’s charities. What you may not know about Lisa is that she is good friends with Melissa Williams and is available to help your organization. Call Lisa at (619) 606-2677 if you would like her to promote an upcoming event. 
Save the date
Coming up is the fabulous Celebrity Classics Golf Tournament April 23 to April 26 located at Morgan Rung Golf Resort. If you love meeting your favorite sports celebrities, this will be your chance. NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB sports stars, as well as stars from television, music and movie stars will be in town that weekend. This is one of my favorite events of the year. Back in 2002, I was lucky enough to play golf with these guys and have a weekend to always remember. Don’t miss this big event. For more information, check out


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