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Reviews and Ratings
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reviewed Superbowl 4-Miler in Goleta. February 07, 2012
Superbowl 4-Miler in Goleta
I've run this race at least three times, and I'm a fan. There's nothing fancy about it, but it somehow manages to get consistently good weather and to be consistently fun.      …
reviewed Santa Barbara International Marathon. October 05, 2010
Santa Barbara International Marathon
The Santa Barbara International Marathon is one of the coolest races to be added to California's calendar in years.      Overview: It's an all-around pleasant race, cruising …
reviewed Dilmah Watte Lover's Leap. September 25, 2010
Dilmah Watte Lover's Leap
I toured the Lover's Leap plantation and processing plant in Sri Lanka in early 2010. They sell to many other resellers.      It's a big operation, but still very simple in …
reviewed Le Creuset 1.8 Qt Whistling Tea Kettle. September 25, 2010
Le Creuset 1.8 Qt Whistling Tea Kettle
Confession: I didn't need a tea kettle. You see, boiling water doesn't need to be particularly high tech or fashionable.      Don't believe me? Just go camping. Fire + …
reviewed Buttonwood. June 27, 2010
When planning a day of wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley, keep Buttonwood Farm in mind.       The vibe: During the busy summer months, the winery often had multiple tasting …
reviewed Halter Ranch Vineyard. June 08, 2010
Halter Ranch Vineyard
Halter Ranch is a bit off the beaten path, but tasters who travel the long, winding road of Vineyard Drive and Adelaida, earn the retreat provided at Halter Ranch.      The tasting …
reviewed Babcock Winery & Vineyard. April 01, 2010
Babcock Winery & Vineyard
I joined the Babcock Winery wine club, which is about the highest compliment I can give a winery. I have since cancelled, but that's only because I wanted to leave room in my budget …
reviewed Wandering Dog Wine Bar. March 27, 2010
Wandering Dog Wine Bar
I wish there was a wine bar like Wandering Dog in my hometown. Since there's not, I plan to visit Wandering Dog whenever I'm in Solvang.       The #1 advantage Wandering Dog has …
reviewed The Ballard Inn. March 27, 2010
The Ballard Inn
Unlike some tasting rooms, the Ballard Inn doesn't feel like you're at a party. The party is in your mouth.      Friends often ask me for recommendations of where to go wine tasting …
reviewed Johnson Ranch Trail. March 21, 2010
Johnson Ranch Trail
The Johnson Ranch trail is peaceful. Right now, in March, it's showing off just how many shades of green there are in nature. At a glance, it's just rolling grasslands spotted with a few trees, but as …
reviewed Zombieland. March 17, 2010
Zombieland (2009)
If I had actually watched the entire movie, my rating would surely be negative. But since I watched the movie with a friend kind enough to cover my eyes every time some gory attack or dismembering …
reviewed Roblar Winery. March 13, 2010
Roblar Winery
When Roblar Winery first appeared off Highway 154 in Santa Ynez, I thought it seemed out of place. I was so used to frequenting small, boutique, family-run wineries that I was thrown off to see such a …
reviewed Full of Life Flatbread. March 11, 2010
Flatbread pizza
Sure, you may have tried the frozen Full of Life Flatbreads from the grocery store freezer, but have you been to the home of those flatbreads in Los Alamos, California? THAT'S where the magic really is.   …
reviewed Snyder Trail. March 11, 2010
Snyder Trail
Snyder Trail is an ideal day hike. It's long enough and challenging enough that you feel like you really got away from the city, but it's not intimidating.      The trail is an out-and-back, …
reviewed Foam Roller - 6" x 36" Round. December 23, 2009
Foam Roller - 6
A foam roller is a cylindrical piece of fairly dense foam. That's it. You could probably buy it at a craft store for $4.99, but Relax the Back will sell you one for $15 or $28, depending on length.    …
reviewed Snuggie Fleece Blanket. December 23, 2009
Snuggie Fleece Blanket As Seen On TV
It's inevitable. Thousands of people will get a Snuggie this holiday season. If one of them happens to be you, don't put on your fake smile present face prematurely. Instead, put on the Snuggie.   …
reviewed The Twilight Saga: New Moon. November 20, 2009
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
If you've read the books, there's no spoiler here....      Before entering the theater, I definitely paused at the table selling Team Edward and Team Jacob T-shirts. It caused …
reviewed Bare Escentuals. November 07, 2009
Bare Escentuals Boutique
I didn't buy Bare Escentuals because I watched an infommercial.   I didn't buy Bare Escentuals because I was accosted at Sephora or any other makeup counter.   I bought …
reviewed Habitat for Humanity. October 25, 2009
posted in Social Good
Habitat for Humanity can be an amazing hands-on service project, but make sure you know what you're getting into.      My review comes from a few experiences: a week spent with …
reviewed Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories. October 25, 2009
This is my favorite kind of nonfiction -- the quirky tales you can hardly believe are true.       It's like the odd stories that the Wall Street Journal regularly runs, but you get …
reviewed Naked Ladies Party. October 15, 2009
Naked Ladies Party
 When do women usually gather? Birthdays? Bridal showers? Bachelorette parties? Baby showers? That's nice, but it's usually focused on one woman and makes the rest of the women wonder when they'll …
reviewed Oceano Dunes State Park. September 01, 2009
Oceano Dunes
Last weekend I explored the Oceano Dunes. They were stunning. I can’t believe I’ve lived on the Central Coast this long without having wandered among the sandy shifting hills of white. Perhaps …
reviewed Hearst Castle. September 01, 2009
Main House Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle is worth the high price of admission. It's the antithesis of the rugged image of the California West -- even if it is nestled among rolling hills with cattle grazing. It's luxury and indulgence …
reviewed Trader Joe's Creamy Spinach & Articho.... August 27, 2009
Trader Joe's Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip
   I first bought this dip to make a calzone recipe from Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's.       Unfortunately, it wasn't the right artichoke dip for the recipe. Oops. …
reviewed Family Guy. August 26, 2009
Lois, Stewie, Peter, Brian, Meg, Chris & Brian
It's the kind of show that makes you laugh and then makes you feel guilty you laughed, but you know you're not the only one who thought it was funny, and that makes it OK.      And …
reviewed Betty Crocker Warm Delights, Molten C.... August 13, 2009
Betty Crocker Warm Delights, Molten Caramel Cake
In my continued search for eternal happiness, I finally opened the Warm Delights Caramel Cake that my mom (and mom's know best!) gave me.      I'm fairly neutral regarding …
reviewed Crushcakes Cupcakery. July 30, 2009
3 Reasons to Go to Crushcakes      1) It sells cupcakes. Just cupcakes. Glorious mini- and normal-sized cupcakes. With frosting.      2) It's a local …
reviewed Sideways (2005). July 30, 2009
Sideways (Widescreen Edition) (2005)
I've eaten at the Hitching Post, AJ Spurs, and Los Olivos cafe, drank at Kalyra and Firestone wineries, seen the ostrich farm, had breakfast at the Solvang restaurant, slept at the Days Inn with …
reviewed Roku HD Player. July 30, 2009
I am not tech savvy. I'm so not savvy that when I unwrapped the Roku -- a birthday gift -- I didn't know what it was.       Only 5 minutes after unwrapping my Roku, …
reviewed Firestone Union Jack Beer. July 17, 2009
Firestone Union Jack
When I look at a beer list, I usually skip right over anything with the letters IPA attached to it. Each time I've experimented with one, it would validate my hypothesis that "I don't like IPAs." …
reviewed Brian Waterbury Rock to Pier Race. July 14, 2009
   And now I get to share with you a list of things I learned the hard way at the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier race on July 11. It sounds like a great idea: Organize a 6-mile race along …
reviewed 2009 Lennox Earthquake. May 18, 2009
2009 Lennox Earthquake
Having lived in California for all but two years of my life, I've felt a lot of earthquakes. Some are so big you always remember where you were, what you were doing and how your heart raced. Others are …
reviewed Jesusita Fire. May 07, 2009
Jesusita Fire
Santa Barbara is confronting its third major wildfire in less than a year. The Jesusita Fire, nestled in the front country of the nearby mountains between the areas burned in the Gap and Tea fires, started …
reviewed Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards & Winery. April 28, 2009
Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards & Winery
If you're looking for good wine, good scenery and a good time tasting, I recommend Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards in Avila Beach of San Luis Obispo County.    The drive out to the tasting …
reviewed Icehouse Canyon trail. April 28, 2009
Icehouse Creek in Icehouse Canyon
The review by FriedPez will tell you how to get there and the basics of Icehouse Canyon trail. Here are some additional notes.    The name "Icehouse" is accurate part of the year. …
reviewed ExOfficio Pants. April 28, 2009
I was heading to Thailand for a month, and I needed pants that would be comfortable for traveling in intense heat and humidity, but also classy enough to wear when meeting new people and attending casual …
reviewed Brooks running shoes. January 24, 2009
Brooks running shoes
I'm a longtime runner. My mom will eagerly pull out my varsity jacket from high school to show off cross country and track awards (and then I'll point out that it's my brother's, and I wasn't league champion …
reviewed Banana Republic. January 24, 2009
Banana Republic clothes are sneaky. They're often very classic, safe designs -- not high on flair and nothing anyone would call edgy. So, for a long time, I would pass by Banana Republic knowing I could …
reviewed Quiddler. January 24, 2009
Quiddler is a card game in which the deck is letters. Like Scrabble, letters have varying values. The game is played in multiple hands, with each hand including a few more cards. You get points not just …
reviewed Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. October 29, 2008
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
First, a disclaimer: I like Aaron Sorkin, who wrote Studio 60. I liked West Wing. I liked "A Few Good Men." I'm a sucker for fast-paced dialogue and witty banter between likeable, yet flawed, characters. …
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