SB Mag: 2012 BEST OF

In my opinion, Santa Barbara Magazine's latest issue can be officially deemed the Bible of Santa Barbara.
Almost literally, every name, location, or activity worth knowing is featured. The editors came together with the community experts and put together an issue that, I believe, could be sold in the same section as any Frommer's travel guide.

But it isn't even just for visitors. As a part-time local, I loved seeing all my favorites just as much as I did learning about the favorites of others. I definitely have some new items to add to my Santa Barbara bucket list...including a 24-karat gold facial, who knew? :)

The issue is full of hints, as well as a few local secrets if you know how to read in between the lines. Here are a few of my favorite things from the issue, not including every gorgeous glossy photo.

First to add to my bucket list is a tour of Casa del Herrero. Listed by Marc Appleton, an award-winning architect and author, as one of his top 5 Santa Barbara locations. He states it is one of the few remaining estates in the area with its original artwork and furnishings intact, and the accompanying photo showcases a perfect display of old Spanish style and colors. I must go!

The next outing on my bucket list comes from the renowned T.C. Boyle himself. He names the Speaking of Stories as his "favorite literary event in town." "There is a real thrill of sitting in a darkened theater and hearing inspired actors perform short stories." Well, who can argue with T.C. Boyle? Maybe if I keep an eye out I can pick up on all aspects of the local writer scene.

And then a last interesting tip I read actually came from the garden section. Of course we are all aware of the trend towards a green lifestyle and while its not always the easiest or least expensive method, it is an important one nonetheless. I personally have a hard time substituting products that do not function as well as items that aren't necessarily environmentally sound (like biodegradable cups that collapse within 15 minutes), but I did like this gardening tip a lot. Landscape designer, Trace Robinson, recommends the use of edible gardens instead of water-guzzling lawns. She has noticed a huge trend in the use of edibles, such as oregano or thyme, as ground cover and using plants like artichokes as accents. I think this a great substitution, allowing for function, beauty, and environmental awareness. Not to mention healthy!

So if you're an SB local or visitor, pick up this issue! While I'm partial to the Magazine itself, this issue really does stand out as a guide to good times. There's sections on entertaining, eating, touring, and play for not only Santa Barbara, but surrounding areas as well. And with specialty celebrities and experts, you know the advice and recommendations are sound. I also especially enjoyed the characteristic breakdown of the area's beaches. Nothing beats a local's knowledge. Enjoy!