Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Birthdays

Friendships are the true gifts in life!
I have three close friends who celebrate their birthdays on the 23rd, 26th and 29th of December!
Five of us have been friends for over 35 years, our age spread is 10 years from the youngest to the oldest. Four of us lived in the same apartment building when young and single.
We have held each others' hands through the ups and downs of life...including one divorce, (new husband of 12 years already is wonderful); one separation (marriage is now stronger than ever); two breast cancer suvivors and one husband cancer survivor. We have four wonderful childeren among us (one childless couple); one couple's grandchildren, several children's weddings. One couple's made major change of religious affiliation, which also created a major lifestyle change. We've had some many mostly minor tiffs and much love and support for each other.
I am a May baby, and the other friend is an October baby. We two usually host the luncheon for the December birthday girls. We don't always manage to celebrate the December Birthdays in December...due to family obligations and schedules we have occasionally moved the celebration to January.

This year we were able to plan the get-together on December 30th! The September girl doesn't enjoy decorating her home for the Holidays, but as you can tell from my posts....I absolutely love it! Therefore she cooked a fabulous lunch and I made the dessert and set the table.

Dutch Appel Taart - Oma's secret recipe!

We enjoyed a delicious poached Salmon, salad of fresh baby Spinach leaves tossed with Pesto, fresh shaved Parmasan Cheese and toasted Pine Nuts, accompanied by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and/or Sparkling Water with a slice of lemon. Dessert featured Appel Taart with coffee/tea and home made truffles.

My Dutch Mother made the best Appel Taart in the least my friends thought so. They begged her for the recipe, which she claimed to be a family secret. The secret part was that she didn't have a recipe...she just put it together and it always came out fabulous.
I tried to write it down once while she was preparing it...the result was a miserable failure! Before she passed away I did manage to get it down on paper correctly and have become the standard bearer of this cake, which is now referred to by all as Oma's Appel Taart! Unfortunately the picture shows only one slice...! I will put the recipe in a post sometime in the future...promise!

Friendships which last a lifetime are truly the best gifts!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Year Celebration

Celebrate the New Year Santa Barbara Style
at the Beautiful Granada Theater
Thursday, December 31 at 8:30 pm
The Santa Barbara Symphony Presents
New Year's Eve Swing 2009
Jeff Tyzik, Guest Conductor
bringing you the music of
Duke Ellington, Scott Joplin, Glenn Miller & Count Basie

Tickets $35 - $100

for information: 805-899-2222

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day to You All!

Wishing you all a very relaxing "Boxing Day!"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Wishes for a very Merry Santa Barbara Christmas from our home to yours!

Carla, son Jon (Santa) and husband Doug.

A family tradition begun by our mom (Oma) many years ago...someone in the family plays Santa! We have all taken turns at least twice.

Our home is decorated for the holidays from stem to stern!

I am particularly fond of angels and cherubs

Mission Santa Barbara (Queen of the Missions) always features a beautiful Creche

This year we have a donkey and her nursing baby in the Creche!

This picture was taken on the 23rd awaiting the arrival of baby Jesus

Creche and Mission at night

Santa Barbara downtown dressed up in all her festive attire for the Christmas Holidays

....more Santa Barbara downtown

Wishing you a year of peace, goodwill and prosperity. Come visit us in beautiful Santa Barbara!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Canary in Paradise!

The Canary Hotel is a newer charming mid-size hotel in the heart of Santa Barbara's down-town. The hotel offers 97 tastefully appointed guest rooms and suites, over 5000 s.f. of meeting space with all the modern amenities you could want along with the charm of Historic Santa Barbara.

An amazing rooftop deck, known as The Perch, features panoramic views of Santa Barbara's red tile rooftops, Santa Ynez Mountain Range and the Coastline. The Perch is an ideal spot for special events, lounging by the pool or sipping a glass of local wine by the fireplace.
If you can leave your lounge chair on the deck long enough to see some of the local sights, you don't have far to go... The hotel is just steps away from movie theaters, the historic Lobero Theater, the Granada Theater and the unique Arlington Theater. The Lobero Theater was the first authentic Opera House between LA and San Francisco, and has recently been restored to it's full grandeur and fitted with all of the modern technology, The three story Granada Building, which houses the Granada Theater, just completed total restoration this past season. Both these historic buildings were also retrofitted to meet modern earthquake standards. Just a couple of block from the hotel is the Santa Barabara Museum of Art, with amazing permanent collections along with the on-going visiting collections. King Tut was here, as were the Chinese Clay Warriers.

A 25c Electric Trolley ride is available to ride to the Pier and Ocean front and back with stops along State Street for spectacular shopping and restaurants. Sunday's weekly feature is the Sabada Domingo Art Show, along Cabrillo Boulevard, the Electric Trolley will take you right down there. You can also take a self-guided tour: Red Tile Walking Tour of Downtown Santa Barbara's Historic Landmarks, Paseos and Hidden Walkways. For a map go to: A guided is also available: Historic Architectural Walking Tour of Downtown Santa Barbara: Saturdays: 10 am, leaves from De La Guerra Plaza; Sundays: 10 am, leaves from the Public Library:
The Canary is also a popular spot for local and visiting convention meetings with space for groups of 2 to 150, and up to 400 for a reception.

Village Property,, has recently located an office within the Hotel in order to offer visiting guests information on Real Estate and services in the greater Santa Barbara area. Today is a much needed rainy day in Santa Barbara. I am sitting at the Village desk in the Canary Hotel writing this post, thinking about how fortunate I am to live in Paradise. My friend, Irene is coming to meet me for lunch here at the Hotel's charming Bistro.
For more information about happenings in downtown Santa Barbara go to the website of the Downtown Organization: Http://

If you plan to visit Paradise, be sure to consider the Canary Hotel and stop by to see me , or one of my associates. We can tell you all about our beautiful community, whom to call for what, and even better...if you are thinking of making Santa Barbara your home, ask us to take you for the Romance Tour!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Gift!

The Annual Santa Barbara Association of Realtors'
Installation and Awards Luncheon
December 4th, 2009
I am gratefull and (uncommonly) speechless!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Santa's visit to the Assistance League Shop

Merry Christmas from
Assistance League of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara has more non-profits than restaurants and that's saying a lot. I know that you could have dinner out every night of the week in Santa Barbara for a year and not have visited all the eateries we have in our bountiful community.
One of my favorite non-profits is the Assistance League of Santa Barbara, of which I am an active member.
It's Mission Statement: Assistance League of Santa Barbara is a nonprofit all volunteer organization that develops and implements projects to benefit children and adults in Santa Barbara County.
The Assistance League is made up of the Chapter's Active League Members, Sustainers and Associates; the Las Aletas Auxiliary and the Assisteens Auxiliary.
I am currently the co-chair of the Teen School Bell Program. Teens in need of school clothes from all local Junior and High Schools are taken shopping for new clothes at local stores. The Chapter House in SB has a School Bell Shop filled with new clothing designated for Elementary aged children determined to need our assistance with school clothing to come to the shop to choose their new clothing. This shop has clothed over 1000 children so far this year. All recipient children and teens are referred to the program by their school counselor.
The League's primary source of income for these and the other 10 programs we sponsor comes from the moneys raised by the
League's Resale Shop located at the League Property at 1259 Veronica Springs Road.
The Shop's Work Room accepts donations for resale in the Shop which is open to the public for both drop off and shopping on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 am to 3 pm; and Saturdays from 10 am to 1 pm. Closed all major holidays.
Today, December 9th, the Assistance League hosted one of its monthly Friendship Luncheons for Seniors from the greater Santa Barbara area who are invited to come and enjoy a home cooked lunch along with wonderful entertainment. The San Marcos Madrigal Choir entertained our guest seniors with their magical Holiday music and Santa brought along his guitar for a sing-a-long session.
Here are some pictures of Santa strolling through the shop.

Santa Agris with Judy Wood, (Co-Chair of School Bell) in our beautiful Corner Shop

Santa with members Carla Reeves and Shirley Dettmann, posing in front of the Children's section right after they finished their shift at the check-out counter.
May the Holiday Season bring you and yours much love!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Whimsical Santa Barbara Architecture

The Chapala Lofts
Downtown Santa Barbara

One block from State Street and six blocks from the beach, El Andaluz is within walking distance from Santa Barbara's many civic and cultural amenities.

Four beautiful homes designed by award winning Santa Barbara Architect Jeff Shelton. Located above two car garages for each home, access is by way of individual elevators. Typical of the mixed-use style of downtown architecture, the ground floor will eventually be occupied by a cafe/pub, and other commercial enterprises.

Based on the age old European concept of clustering homes and businesses in order to preserve open space and lessen dependence on the use of automobiles use; El Andaluz has created quite a stir in the Santa Barbara communities. The Moroccan influenced structure has been hailed as a work of art as well as a continuation of the "canyonization" of the downtown area. An outspoken proponent of greater density in Santa Barbara's city core, Sheldon said that this building "is what a city needs, engaging, pedestrian-oriented architecture."

The fanciful details define the experience: extensive handmade original tile work designed by Jeff Sheldon & Co.; deeply hued pots by local artisans puntuate the curvey, sensual plaster walls. The Architect's brother, David Sheldon custom created all the decorative iron in the building as well as the raw metal that encases the balconies.

Views of the Gaudi like entrance's coffered ceiling art and whimsical light sculpture.

View of the Interior Courtyard, fountain and entrance to each of the four units

Metal sculptures encase the balconies of the lofts as viewed from the central courtyard

Example of interior tile work in the kitchen. An old world feeling with up to the minute appliances. Beautiful wood and marble counter tops.

Living Room with lots of space for wall art and an inviting outdoor balcony
Dining Area open to kitchen with counter breakfast bar
Family Room/Den. Note the continuation of decorative floor tile
Views of the City from private balcony off Guest suite

Mountain Views

Master Suite with Custom Fireplace

Master suite with views towards master bath

Master Bath

Guest Bedroom Suite with private balcony
Side of Building showcasing Iron Balcony detail
Iron Railing Detail

The two remaining smaller units are currently offered for sale at $2,500,000 and $2,800,000, available through Santa Barbara Multiple Listing
I am sure that Dr. Zues would have happily written a wonderful fantasy story about El tile... two tiles, green tiles...
Much of the information referenced herein is paraphrased from an article published in the Independent on June 25th by Michael Seabaugh. Photographs by Carla Reeves.