Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Check out this great MSN video - 2-Minute Home Seller: Curb Appeal

Check out this great MSN video - 2-Minute Home Seller: Curb Appeal

Pending Home Sales Rebound!

July Pending Home Sales Rebound
WASHINGTON (August 29, 2012) - Pending home sales rose in July to the highest level in over two years and remain well above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 2.4 percent to 101.7 in July from 99.3 in June and is 12.4 percent above July 2011 when it was 90.5. The data reflect contracts but not closings.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the index is at the highest level since April 2010, which was shortly before the closing deadline for the homebuyer tax credit. "While the month-to-month movement has been uneven, more importantly we now have 15 consecutive months of year-over-year gains in contract activity," Yun said.
Limited inventory is constraining market activity. "All regions saw monthly increases in home-buying activity except for the West, which is now experiencing an acute inventory shortage," Yun added.
The PHSI in the Northeast increased 0.5 percent to 77.0 in July and is 13.4 percent higher than a year ago. In the Midwest the index grew 3.4 percent to 97.4 in July and is 20.2 percent above July 2011. Pending home sales in the South rose 5.2 percent to an index of 111.7 in July and are 15.6 percent above a year ago. In the West the index slipped 1.7 percent in July to 109.9 but is 1.3 percent higher than July 2011.
Existing-home sales are projected to rise 8 to 9 percent in 2012, followed by another 7 to 8 percent gain in 2013. Home prices are expected to increase 10 percent cumulatively over the next two years.
"Falling visible and shadow inventories point toward continuing price gains. Expected gains in housing starts of 25 to 30 percent this year, and nearly 50 percent in 2013, are insufficient to meet the growing housing demand," Yun said.
Source: NAR

Monday, August 27, 2012

Santa Barbara's Favorite Wine Tour Company

Love This Wine Tour Company!

Wine Ed'ventures

I have taken this fun wine tour several times with visiting guests and have thoroughly enjoyed it!  I even learned interesting facts about the history of Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez wine growing. Did you know that even during prohibition there were vineyards in SB...thanks to the Padres at the SB Mission.

This summer our son was visiting with friends from Montana.  They all loved the tour.  No worries about driving, great choices of wineries and a lovely lunch picnic. Below is some information from the Ed'ventures website.  Call won't be disappointed! By the way...this is the same tour company that was featured in the film, "Sideways".

Santa Barbara’s only fun and educational wine tour!

Wine Edventures is Santa Barbara’s longest running wine tour company. We have been touring for over 9 years and were the first company to offer daily group excursions up to the Santa Ynez Valley. Our tours are unique in that they focus on education. Our Wine Edventures are fully guided tours –not a shuttle service that drops people off to fend for themselves. We provide the personal attention and service that will make your tour more enjoyable and a memorable way to spend your day!
Our guides are extremely knowledgeable and are well trained to teach our customers about our local wines and viticulture! For those with more wine knowledge and experience, our guides tailor the tours to the audience in order to make it a valuable and useful tour for all. Or, those with more experience may benefit from a private tour.
We take great pride in the fact that we are the most recommended tour company in the Santa Barbara region. Please join us to see why our customers return year after year!
Convenient pick ups in Ventura, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Solvang/Santa Ynez at no extra cost.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Santa Barbara Artists Open Studio Tour

August 26, and 27th
Visit Santa Barbara Area Artists
during the Annual Open Studio Tours

35 Artists
35 Styles
2 Summer Days

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, August 25 and 26

Artist Karen McLean

From Montecito to Goleta
From Lompoc to the sea
Tour the creative workshops of the 
all-professional Santa Barbara Studio 
Artists 11th Annual Open Studio Tour

Opening Artists' Reception:August 24th, Friday night 5pm to 8pm

At the Santa Barbara Frame Shop and Gallery
Arlington Plaza
1324 State Street, Suite J
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Map to Arlington Plaza Map to nearby parking lots

The Tour is an opportunity for a rare peek inside the studios 
of Santa Barbara's leading professional artists. While driving
 from Carpinteria to Goleta, from Lompoc to the sea, some 40 
studios will be open for you during this visually exciting two days.

Exchange your online Ticket for a Tour Pass and Map at the
Opening Artists' Reception, or, at the Gallery or at any participating 
artist during the Tour

With so many enticing studios and only two days available, 
you may wish to refine your selections by visiting the Month-Long 
Preview Exhibition, where each artist on the Tour has an example
of their artwork on show.
Tour Passes ($20/single purchase, $15/group of two or more purchase) available from the Gallery throughout the Month-Long Preview Exhibition."

Opening Artists' Reception Friday
August 24, 2012, 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
(For Tour Pass holders only)

The Open Studios Tour
Saturday, August 25 and Sunday, August 26, 2012, 
11:00 am through 5:00 pm each day.

Maps are available to Tour Pass holders at Opening Artists' Reception, or on the Tour dates.

scroll down for more information.....

Artist, Kris Buck

Advance PurchaseEnded$18.00$1.98N/A
Regular PurchaseAug 26, 2012$20.00$2.09
Group PurchaseAug 26, 2012$15.00$1.82

Monday, August 20, 2012

Santa Barbarians can Learn how to Preserve Nature's Bounty!

Santa Barbara-Goleta's
Fairview Gardens Presents
Preserving Classes
Native Santa Barbaran and Certified Master Food Preserver, Cindy Shipp, is back with her wonderful class in preserving nature's summer bounty.
I have had the personal pleasure of taking numerous classes from Cindy, who is a knowledgeable and fun instructor. We are so lucky to living in the Santa Barbara/Goleta area with numerous Farmer's Markets available to us.  Even if you don't have a garden, you can pick up fabulous veggies and fruits and preserve the local flavors in a healthy and economical way.
How’s your garden looking right now? Is there a bumper crop of tomatoes and veggies in your future? Join Cindy on August 26 where she will be teaching the safe way to preserve and can your tomatoes and veggies. You’ll learn how to do water bath canning by putting together two amazing recipes with tomatoes fresh from the farm.
for more information,click here (information from Fairview Gardens' Website)
for a look at Cindy's Canning and Preserving Blog, click here

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Santa Barbara Real Estate Home Sales Update

Sales up – Inventory down

South County SalesThe graph below shows how the number of closed escrows continues at a dramatic pace. The sales for 2012 are 44% higher than the previous year.  And the number of homes available is at record lows.  There were only 376 houses for sale between Carpinteria and Goleta, which is less than any month in the last 6 1/2 years.  Condominiums show the same shortage.
South County Sales
Distressed properties continue to make up about a third of the new listings
and they get lots of attention.  A short sale last month in Goleta was listed
at $599,000.  It received 23 offers, and several were above $700,000.
Many frustrated buyers are still looking for their new home.

Thanks to Jim Witmer, fellow Realtor at Village Properties and publisher of the
CORT Report.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Ganna Walska Lotusland
695 Ashley Road, Montecito
Twilight Tour
Saturday, August 18th
3:30 pm

Come take a peek into the exquisite Montecito
Estate known as Lotusland.  Purchased in 
1941 by Madame Ganna Walska, 
(her stage name), a beautiful, romantic
 and extra-ordinary woman who led 
an exciting and extraordinary life. 

Beginning in Poland, traveling Europe and
America as an Opera Diva and settling in
Santa Barbara to begin the best of her creative

Married five times beginning with a Russian Count, 
 Madame Walska pursued her music career along 
with a blossoming interest in the realm of mysticism.
Restless in her pursuits she traveled to and from 
Europe to America and back again...playing out a 
most colorful music career, along with several
 unhappy marriages. 

Madame Walska followed her yoga instructor 
and final husband to California.
At his urging she purchased the estate which 
was destined to become Lotusland, named after
the gorgeous lotus lilies flowering in the original
lotus pond. Upon ending her very costly and unhappy 
marriage to her Yogi, she felt free at last to begin her
true life's work and build an amazing "Garden". 
She saw the lotus as a symbol of renewal and 
spiritual growth at this time in her life. To quote her;

"The monarch of all flowers, the unique lotus with
its sacred blossoms from which we derived the name of 
Lotusland for our estate."

Discover Madame's magical gardens during 
the twilight magical time of the day! Even Martha
Stewart found her visit to Lotusland amazing!

3:30 pm
Begin your walk with a stop at the Wall of Honor 
for a cool beverage in a commemorative 
Lotusland wine glass.

4:30 - 5:30 pm  
Hors d'oeuvres and wine will be served on the 
geranium terrace, overlooking the main lawn.
Guest may choose to reserve a docent-guided tour 
or explore the garden on their own.
Member $55
Non-Member $65
Reservation Information
805 969-9990

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Santa Barbara's Prime Time Band Pops Concert

August 12, 2 pm
Rancho La Patera - Stow House
304 North Los Carneros Road
Goleta, CA

Pops Concert on the Lawn!

Bring your blanket, folding chairs and enjoy
an old fashioned Pops Concert
on the Lawn
or call 805 962-6983

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reposting this fabulous Video Tour of the beautiful Santa Barbara area

I don't know who to credit for this wonderful video tour of Santa Barbara, but would love
to share it with my readers! This is such a wonderful view of beautiful Santa Barbara, I just had to repost it!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Viva La Fiesta! August 1-5

Old Spanish Days
Fiesta Santa Barbara
Sabrina Ibarra, the 2012 Spirit of Fiesta

Me casa es su Casa
(my home is your home)
Viva La Familia
these are the welcoming 
themes of 2012 Fiesta Santa Barbara
proclaimed by El Presidente
Ricardo Castellanos

Old Spanish Days was first celebrated in 1924, and has
 been a festive tradition in Santa Barbara ever since!

Old Spanish Days Fiesta has grown in stature and
reputation to become one of the best known regional 
festivals in the US.  Fiesta performers come from 
around the nation and Mexico to participate.

La Fiesta Pequena (Little Fiesta)
Wednesday, August 1st, 8pm
officially opens Old Spanish Days on the
Steps of Santa Barbara's Historic Old Mission
featuring traditional dancing and songs
Admission free

Las Noches De Ronda
August 2 - 4th; 8 pm
Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens

"Nights of Gaiety" a favorite Fiesta 
tradition.  Featuring a variety show of music
singing and fiery Flamenco from Spain, vivid Folklorico 
dances from Mexico. Bring blankets and chairs for
lawn seating under the stars.
Admission Free

Tardes de Ronda
August 4 at 1 pm

The Tardes de Ronda is a Children's Variety Show. With
colorful costumess, children from the Santa Barbara area
demonstrate their talents and multi-cultural heritage.  Come
and cheer on these young dancers in the Sunken Gardens at
the SB County Courthouse.  Bring a blanket and lawn chair and
picnic to sit on the grass and enjoy this free entertainment!

El Desfile Historic / Parade
Friday, August 3rd, 12 noon
The Fiesta Parade is one of the largest equestrian
in the US. Starts at 12 noon on Cabrillo Blvd and
proceed up State Street to Sola Street

Fiesta Flower Girls will at every event to greet you!

El Mercado De La Guerra 
August 1- 4, 11 am - 11 pm
De La Guerra Plaza (in front of City Hall)

Feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, 
shop for crafts and souvenirs and enjoy live 
entertainment all day into the evening.
Admission Free

El Mercado Del Norte
August 1-4, 11 am - 11 pm
Mackenzie Park at State and Las Positas
Mercado Del Norte is very family friendly with a Kiddie
Carnival with rides and attractions for toddlers through 
pre-teens;  food courts, including the Fiesta Crazy Horse 
Cantina for icy cold beer, margaritas and live
entertainment into the evening. Admission free

Kiwanis Fiesta Pancake Breakfast
Saturday, August 4th 7 am - 12 pm
Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara Street

El Desfile De Los Ninos
Saturday, August 4th, 10 am
Starts at State at Victoria, proceeds down State
Street to Ortega Street

This delightful Children's Parade is organized by the City 
Parks and Recreation Department.  Children of Santa Barbara,
their parents and other parade participants don traditional 
costumes and celebrate the rich culture of the area.  
Bring your cameras and be prepared to be absolutely charmed!

Stock Horse Show and Rodeo
Earl Warren Show Grounds, Calle Real at Las Positas
August 2 - 5th

Riding and roping contests, and professional bull riding
events.  Dating back to the 1800's in California to the very 
first Fiesta 88 years ago.

46th Annual Fiesta Concert 
of the West Coast Symphony
Sunday, August 5th; 3:30 pm
Courthouse Sunken Gardens
free admission

Fiesta Arts and Crafts Show
August 4 - 5th; 10 am - 7 pm
Cabrillo Blvd, west of Stearns Wharf
free admission

A statewide gathering of artisans and crafts people
displaying a wide variety of paintings, pottery and 
other hand crafted wares.

(information and photos from the Old Spanish Days website)
Welcome to Fiesta Santa Barbara!
We hope that you will participate in the 
festivities of this wonderful local event!  
Viva La Fiesta!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Santa Barbara Music Academy of the West Opera at the Granada

Stravinsky the Rake's Progress
Friday August 3, 7:30 pm
Sunday August 5, 2:30 pm

Libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Alexander Lazarev conductor
David Paul director

“Both harrowing and uplifting…
no opera could be more timely” – New Statesman

Regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century opera, Igor Stravinsky’s 
virtuosic comedy, with libretto by poet W.H. Auden, was
inspired by William Hogarth’s satirical engravings of the same
 title. The Rake’s Progress is a morality tale tracing the rise and 
fall of Tom Rakewell, the devotion of Ann Trulove, and the 
devilish maneuverings of Nick Shadow. In this “ingenious 
and subtly complex masterpiece” (Anthony Tommasini, The New 
York Times) the orchestra, performing Stravinsky’s scintillating 
score, plays a starring role. Acclaimed Russian conductor 
Alexander Lazarev, former artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater, 
garnered rave reviews in 2007 when he conducted Rake at the 
OpĂ©ra National de Lyon. Juilliard’s David Paul is mounting a new 
production for the Music Academy’s 65th anniversary.

The Rake’s Progress is the 2012 Irene Cummings Endowed Opera 
at the Music Academy of the West.
Tickets start at $10.  
Available at Granada Theater 805 899-2222