Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Santa Barbara celebrates both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

Halloween (Hallowed Eve)

Halloween began as the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, when the Celts believed spirits of the dead returned to earth. 

History of the Jack-O-Lantern

Every October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
November 1st

Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world: In BrazilDia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similar observances occur elsewhere in Europe, and similarly themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.
(information and photos from Wikipedia)
As a child growing up in the Netherlands, we celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day by visiting the family's grave sites.  Children would create shadow boxes and go around to neighbors to show them off and collect candy.   Our costume dress up days were held during carnival time just before the beginning of lent and fasting.  I still have great memories of those times!
It seems that every culture  enjoys a time for dressing up in costumes to celebrate a local holiday.  Kids and adults alike enjoy "dressing up" in costumes and Halloween is a fun time to do it. I have 3 big boxes of Halloween decorations!  I remember when my husband and I went as "little Red Riding Hood" and the "Big Bad Wolf"...but that's for another post!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dia de los Muertos Free Family Day Sunday October 28th

Day of the Dead Celebration
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Día de los Muertos 

Free Family Day 

Sunday, October 28, 1 – 4pm

For the 23rd year, the Museum honors the
Mexican tradition of remembering the dead
with a variety of family festivities in the galleries
and back plaza including music and dance
performances, art-making activities, bilingual
storytelling, a special display of altars created 
by school and community groups, and
traditional refreshments.


Click here to download the Kids and Families 
Fall/Winter Programs Brochure
Click here for a listing of all upcoming programs 

for Kids & Families.

Free Family Days and all other Family Programs are 
made possible through the generosity of the Schlosser Family Trust.
Additional support for Dia de los Muertos Free Family Day
is provided by Wells Fargo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens Owl-O-Ween Oct. 27th

Garden Logo

Upcoming Events & Classes

Come learn about owls, bats, and scarecrows. Paint pumpkins to take home, compete in a scarecrow-building contest, and meet living owl-ambassadors from the Audubon Society's "Eyes in the Sky" program. Reservations required.

Saturday, October 27, 2012
10:00am - 1:00pm

Members, Family up to 4 (SBBG or SB Audubon Society): $25
Additional person - Member: $5
Non-Member Family up to 4: $40
Additional Person - Non-member: $7  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boo at the ZOO in Santa Barbara! October 26, 27 and 28th

Boo at the Zoo
Calling all explorers! This year, Boo at the Zoo turns into a Land of Adventure. The Boo at the Zoo pirates, fairies and princesses will be joined by a cast of intrepid explorers who will invite children along adventures full of daring exploits, including the Trick-or-Treat Trail, Boo-Choo-Choo train rides, Creepy Crawly encounters, Spooky Storytelling, Goblin Games, nightly Costume Parade, and plenty of Ghoulish Goodies.

For children ages 2–12 accompanied by an adult.

Cost: Adults $14, Children (2–12) $10. $1 off for SB Zoo Members. Boo-Choo-Choo tickets are sold separately the night of the event, and are $4.50/adult, $4.00/child 2-12. SB Zoo Members receive $.75 off..

Tickets available now, online, at the Zoo's front gate, or by phone: (805) 962-5339.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CALM's Antiques and Vintage Show and Sale Oct. 19, 20, 21

CALM Antiques and Vintage Show and Sale

 Special Event 
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Cocktail Party and Preview Shopping
Celebrating 20 year Anniversary
with special guests
'Friday and Saturday 11 am - 6 pm
Sunday 11 am - 5 pm

$6 Admission at the Door for entire weekend
($5 Senior 62+)
Free Parking

Info 805-898-9715

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forecast for slower 2013 home sales

Tight inventories and lending may curb 2013 California home sales
CAR: Housing wildcards include underwater homeowners, 'fiscal cliff'
California home sales and prices will likely rise this year and in 2013, though low inventory and restricted lending will continue to curb housing market growth, according to a forecast from the California Association of Realtors.
Sales of existing, single-family homes are up 6.5 percent through August compared to the same period last year. After a slight 1.1 percent increase in 2011, CAR expects sales to jump for the second year in a row this year to 530,300 homes, up 5.1 percent from 2011. CAR anticipates a further 1.3 percent increase in 2013, to 530,000 homes.
"The market has improved moderately over the past year, and we expect that to continue into 2013," said CAR President LeFrancis Arnold in a statement.
Arnold said sales would be even higher if inventory were less constrained in markets dominated by sales of bank-owned properties, particularly in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, "where there is an extreme shortage of available homes. Sales will be stronger in higher-priced areas, where there are more equity properties and a somewhat greater availability of homes for sale."
Leslie Appleton-Young, CAR's vice president and chief economist, said in a conference call that low inventory and "defensive lending" by lenders were "the speed bumps in the California housing highway."
Lenders "are not lending to hold the mortgage. They're lending to sell the mortgage on the secondary mortgage market and they want to avoid having to buy that back," she said.
"The primary constraints on the market and market growth are the inventory situation and the lending situation, which we do not see changing significantly in 2013," Appleton-Young said.
After a 6.2 percent decline in the statewide median home price in 2011, CAR expects the median to rise nearly 11 percent this year, to $317,000, and 5.7 percent next year, to $335,000. That median will remain 43.7 percent below the $594,530 peak seen in May 2007.
"As I look at the price changes in 2012, a significant amount of those increases are due ... to an increased share of equity sales that tend to be in higher-priced areas," Appleton-Young said. "The Case-Shiller (home price) index has shown appreciation in the low single digits, so there's some home appreciation when looking at same-home sales."
The share of California sales where homeowners have some equity in their homes has been rising since early this year and in August stood at 62 percent of overall sales. Real estate-owned (REO) sales fell to 14 percent of sales, down sharply from 60 percent in January 2009. Short sales made up 23 percent of the market in August.
While a six-to-seven month supply of inventory is considered a balanced market, California's housing supply now stands at 3.2 months, Appleton-Young said. That's a considerable drop from a more than 16-month supply at the peak of the crisis in 2006, she said.
Inventory varies somewhat when broken down by sale type. Equity sales in August stood at a 3.3-month supply while short sales were at a 3.7-month supply. REOs posted a 1.6-month supply, but in some areas had a less than three-week supply, Appleton-Young said.
Interest rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages are at 50-year lows, she noted. CAR predicts 30-year fixed-rate loans will average 3.8 percent this year, down from 4.5 percent last year. In 2013, the trade group expects a slight jump to 4 percent -- the first increase after six straight years of declines. Appleton-Young doesn't anticipate the increase will have a significant impact on demand.
"People started to realize the opportunity in the market," she said, referring to increased buyer demand this year. "It is a once in a generation opportunity in California real estate, if you can qualify. The sellers that had been on the fence for the past four or five years ... realized that even though " values are not going to go back to where they were in 2006, they're still rising, she said.
The share of home sellers planning to buy another home rose for the second straight year this year, to 40 percent, after six years of decline.
A combination of restricted supply and increased demand has resulted in the highest share of California home sales with multiple offers in at least the last 12 years, CAR said. Nearly six in 10 of surveyed California Realtors said they had been in a multiple offer situation with homes receiving an average of about four offers each.
All-cash deals have made up 30 percent of overall sales this year, the highest level since at least 2005. Among REO buyers, 43.1 percent paid in cash, while 26.7 percent of short sale buyers paid cash.
"It's a very, very competitive market. I think this is one of the biggest challenges we face about educating consumers about the market," Appleton-Young said.
"Pent-up demand from first-time buyers will compete with investors and all-cash offers on lower-priced properties, while multiple offers and aggressive bidding will continue to be the norm in mid- to upper-price range homes," she said in statement.
Appleton-Young said it doesn't appeal to her to characterize the current California real estate market as "distorted" by low inventory and high shares of cash buyers and investors.
"It certainly is a unique market that's responding to unusual circumstances. Certainly since I've been here we've never seen a market like this," she said.
She pointed to a series of "wildcards" that represented potential risks to the future of the housing market.
"The wildcards for 2013 include federal, monetary and housing policies, state and local government finances, housing supply, and the actions of underwater homeowners -- not to mention the strength of the overall economic recovery," she said.
"The actions of underwater homeowners will play an important role in housing inventory next year, with rising home prices inducing some to stay put and others to list and move forward."
At the national level, there's "a tremendous amount of uncertainty" surrounding the fall election, healthcare reform, the Eurozone crisis, and the so-called "fiscal cliff," Appleton-Young said. The fiscal cliff refers to tax increases and spending cuts that will go into effect starting in 2013 unless Congress acts to prevent or alter them.
"I think the fiscal cliff is clearly one that could be devastating for the economy and send us into a double-dip recession," she said.
Anything that throws the economy "off-kilter" could affect jobs and therefore the housing market, she said. California's unemployment rate, which trends higher than the national rate, averaged 11.7 percent in 2011 with job growth at 1.2 percent. CAR predicts the jobless rate will drop to 10.7 percent in 2012 with 1.4 percent job growth, and will decrease even further to 9.9 percent in 2013 with 1.6 percent job growth.
The California labor market is "gradually improving -- bouncing along the bottom, if you will -- and keeping the economy constrained," Appleton-Young said.
The trade group forecasts that U.S. gross domestic product growth will clock in at 2 percent in 2012 and 2.3 percent in 2013, up from 1.7 percent in 2011. CAR expects a 1.6 percent increase in real disposable income in both 2012 and 2013 in the U.S., up from 1.3 percent in 2011. The trade group's forecast assumes the reality of the impending fiscal cliff, but "that we won't fall off it," Appleton-Young said.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Santa BarbaraHarbor and Seafood Festival Oct. 13th

Get Ready For The
Annual Harbor and Seafood Festival
October 13 
10 am to 5 pm

Fishermen and seafood vendors will provide a
bounty of lobster, crab and more at the Festival.

 lots of activities at the Maritime Museum, plus touch tanks,
tall ship tours and free boat rides.  The Harbor Merchants Association
is sponsoring live entertainment.

 This is a wonderful free family friendly event sponsored
by the City of Santa Barbara

(photos and information from the City Website)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Arts Festival Saturday October 6th

De La Guerra Plaza
11am - 4 pm 

art teacher Lesley Grogan
A day of Paintings, Drawings,
Sculpture, Jewelry, Music, Poetry

hosted by the 
Mental Wellness Center

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Epicure Santa Barbara Celebrates October

Epicure Santa Barbara

Celebrates Exceptional Dining Experiences
along with the area's magical ambiance

To us here in Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities of Goleta, Carpinteria, Summerland and Montecito, October is the time when we come together to commemorate the bounty that 300+ days of sun every year brings, including fruitful fields, loyal vines, sustainable seas, happy people and laid-back autumn traditions.

 It’s—a celebration of cuisine, libations and culture—or, as some have come to call it, a month to savor Santa Barbara. Now in its fourth year, has grown into a community-wide extravaganza when our crop of exceptional artistic and culinary talent converge for 31 days.

Epicurious? Click here for a schedule of events

sponsored by 
The City of Santa Barbara, The Conference & Visitors Bureau,
The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization, and The 
Santa Barbara County Arts Commission