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Hop Skip & Jump Towards Your Staycation: How about Ojai?

With how fast paced life can be these days, it’s easy to daydream about taking a lavish vacation, and consequently overlook the beauty that’s in our own backyards. A “staycation” is only a hop, skip and a jump away and can curb our appetite to get away.  Ojai Califonia is my personal “staycation” of choice. Granted, I do live in the paradise of the Santa Barbara bubble.  But for those of you who reside in a more urban setting, Ojai is definitely an amazing secret garden escape that everyone should explore. The last time we skipped out of town through the Santa Barbara Mountains we stayed at a lovely hotel called Chantico Inn and loved it! Free waffle breakfast, umm yes please!

Ojai Valley

Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

There is something truly special about this town. Apparently there’s a tradition that has been passed down for over 100 years, that my boyfriend and I were unknowingly made a part of on this visit. One of our friends recommended we have dinner at Sea Fresh Seafood, which turned out to be divine. When we finished and asked for our bill, the waitress informed us that our entire meal had been paid for by an anonymous guest. Evidently,  we had just joined the lucky community of couples who have been identified as  “young love”  and had the bill taken care of anonymously.   So cool!  So on our 20th staycation to Ojai, we will pay it forward!

Sea Fresh Seafood

So next time you start planning an extensive vacation, start by seeing what’s in your backyard and enjoy a staycation!

By the way, love this!  Check out Travel and Leisure 3 Days in Ojai.


Author: Jessica Girard



citibike in New York is Like Velib’ in Paris

I love New York in June!  This June marked the launch of citibike in New York City, a similar large-scale public bicycle sharing program as Velib’  in Paris.   Like in Paris they are now part of the urban fabric of New York! Its great.  Heres a link to the  citibike  App.


Photo:  Treehugger … more there about socioecomonics &  demographics of citibike in NYC.

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Photo: John Maienza, Manhattan, West 52nd and 2nd Ave.


Leo and Amber taught us that Velib’ was the best way around Paris.


Amber shows us how its done in Paris “keep up boys!”


Launch Locations of citibike in NYC.


Velib’ locations Paris

Organic Home Cooking: Make a Garden Salad…No really, Go in the Garden and Make the Salad!

So when our next door neighbor  Lynnda asks Gregg to make a salad..this is what it looks like. She sent him out to her organic garden, martini in tow..naturally ..”pick whatever you want in your salad” were her instructions.

For dinner, organic greens and Italian wedding soup with chicken garlic meatballs. YUM!

I asked Lynnda recently what her favorite restaurants were in Santa Barbara and Montecito. She named a few, but added, “the best food is in peoples homes..”..  I agree, and thank god, we live next door to Lynnda and she has one lucky hubby, Ron!

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Bloomberg Thanks Gays at Toy Party 2012

Mayor Bloomberg makes appearance at Toy Party 2012 on Pier 60 in Chelsea to show support for gay community and fundraser for Childern and Seniors, Toy Party 2012.



The FURminator: Miracle for Cat and Dog Lovers!

Are you always knee deep in pet hair? Do you have to take a lint roller with you everywhere you go? (I personally believe that no outfit is complete without cat hair but I can tell you my boss probably does not agree.)  Well,  rejoice animal lovers!  Behold the FURminator, a miracle pet brush.

One of my friends told me about it,  I knew I had to try it, and let me tell you, it works better than I was expecting. After just 5 minutes of brushing one of my cats I had a Ziplok  bag full of cat hair.  I think my cat even thought there was a new cat in the apartment! The FURminator reduces hair shedding 90% after once a day brushing for one week. Meow!

The FURminator is truly a godsend!

It’s like a spa treatment for your cats!

Getting his daily massage– I mean, brushing.

Here’s the brush after just one swipe! My cats now have the silkiest lightest coats, perfect for summertime! You can purchase the FURminator on their website or on Amazon.  Happy brushing!

And don’t forget, the FURminator works on dogs too!

Oh How Sweet It Is: Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is an interesting juice.  It’s derived from  the agave plant, which is a relative of a cactus  native to Mexico. The nectar is  reduced to a syrup that can be  used as a sugar substitute for just about anything that needs a hint of natural sweetness.

beautiful shot of an agave plant. Look at those colors!

The nectar  has a much lower glycemic index than other sweeteners, such as sugar. A lower glycemic index number means that it does not cause the body’s blood sugar to rise as fast, or as high,  after eating — which makes it suitable for diabetics, dieters and anyone concerned about their sugar intake.



Photo Courtesy: David Lansling Travel Blog

A jimador is a type of Mexican farmer who harvests agave plants, which have been traditionally harvested primarily for the production of mezcal and tequila.

Agave nectar can be found at your local health foods store. It works as a great honey replacement and can be used in baking, as a sweetener and in cocktails.

A fun way to try out agave is by trying new products that use it,  such as OOgave which is a much healthier alternative to mainstream sodas. 


A Black Girls Guide to Weight Loss is a very cool blog, yet it has some opposing information to say about this sweet agave in disguise.


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