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Best of Santa Barbara® 2016: Living Well

Samy's Camera
Paul Wellman

Dear Ma and Paw,

A life well lived seems to be par for the course here o n the Central Coast. From the weather, trees, and endless eating spots to the dog-friendly open spaces, health-conscious habits, and prime sniffing on every corner, it sure seems that living a good life is the way of Santa Barbara. Even the little things and everyday errands take on a richness when you call paradise home. For example, I never thought a dog like me would experience a slobber-causing love for a party supply store, but then I went to Glenda’s Party Cove. In a world gone increasingly online, Glenda’s Party Cove keeps it real and really good when it comes to making your next party pop.

It’s like that with most everything here. For anything even remotely camera-related, you go to Samy’s. Everybody goes to Samy’s. The place is a worldclass culture clubhouse for camera and video nuts. Sometimes Dot and I cruise out front and try and pick up humans to help us with our Instagram feeds. We get our Vincent Van Daug on thanks to the crew at Art Essentials, and it feels like the best place ever for artists big and small. I may be color-blind, but the world looks a whole lot more vibrant and inspirational to me after a trip to Essentials.

For saving biscuits and counting coins, Montecito Bank & Trust has all the perks and powers of a big-name branch but with none of the hassle. The place just smells familiar and friendly to me. No need to howl if you prefer something more international in name recognition; Wells Fargo is practically everywhere in town. Got computer problems? Santa Barbarians head over to MacSuperstore a fully licensed independent Apple dealer with area roots.

Need human repairs? Johnson Family Dental has been fixing chompers and cleaning up human smiles for more than 50 years. I’m not sure what they could do for me and my tennis ball teeth at this point, but if I ever decide to take on these painful nubs, Dr. Steve and his team will be the people for the job.

Dr. Joel Brandt is a family practitioner with a deeply devoted following; the humans love him for his bedside manner and attention to the details of your life. For my taste, however, it is the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine that really helps me turn around an illness or a simple rough spot in my overall health. I have yet to find a more capable and caring healer from that world than Anthony Kar. The needle wizards at Downtown Community Acupuncture are a fantastic second choice for meridian tune-ups, as well.

Even the Golden Years seem to shine with a bit more luster here. Casa Dorinda has me and Dot adding up our human years and fast! The place is a full-on summer camp for older folks, with 24-hour nursing and assorted assisted-living options. Getting gray has never looked more fun! — Dug

Party Supply Store

Glenda’s Party Cove, 3319-A State St., 687-4500, glendaspartycove.com

Finalist: 99 Cents Only Store

Camera Shop

Samy’s Camera, 530 State St., 963-7269, samys.com

Art Essentials
Paul Wellman

Art Supply Store

Art Essentials, 32 E. Victoria St., 965-5456, sbartessentials.com

Finalist: Michaels


Montecito Bank & Trust, many locations, montecito.bank

Finalist: Wells Fargo

Computer Repair

MacSuperstore, 216 E. Gutierrez St., 965-9722, macsuperstore.com

Finalist: Apple Store


Johnson Family Dental, many locations, johnsonfamilydental.com

Finalist: Thomas Blake

General Practitioner

Dr. Joel Brandt, 1809-B Cliff Dr., 966-7159

Finalist: Dr. Mara Sweeney


Anthony Kar, 1725 State St., 563-9977

Finalist: Downtown Community Acupuncture

Retirement Residence

Casa Dorinda, 300 Hot Springs Rd., 969-8011, casadorinda.org

Finalist: Maravilla

Gift Shop

Plum Goods, 909 State St., 845-3900, plumgoodsstore.com

Finalist: Lewis & Clark

Chaucer's Bookstore
Paul Wellman


Chaucer’s Books, 3321 State St., 682-6787, chaucersbooks.com

Finalist: The Book Den

Chris Jensen
Paul Wellman

Musical Instrument Store

Jensen’s Guitar & Music Co., 2830 De la Vina St., 687-4027, jensenguitar.com

Finalist: Nick Rail

Craft Supply Store

Michaels, 187 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta, 967-7119, michaels.com

Finalist: Art From Scrap

Travel Agency

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, 1028 State St., 966-3116, sbtravel.com

Finalist: AAA

Frame Shop

Aaron Brothers Art & Framing, 601 State St., 966-3954, aaronbrothers.com

Finalist: Michaels


Dr. Cory Bream (Costco), 7095 Marketplace Dr., Goleta, 562-1300

Finalist: Dr. Joanne Gronquist

Licensed Massage Therapist

Marlo’s Therapeutic & Sports Massage, 1126 and 1128 Coast Village Cir., Montecito, 453-2333, marlosmassage.com

Finalist: Sheena Lopez


White & Grube Orthodontics, 2950 State St., 962-7441, whiteandgrube.com

Finalist: Kubisch and Ferris Orthodontics


Dr. Lori Sender-O’Hara, 25 Carlo Dr., Goleta, 964-0222, livenwellness.com

Finalist: Dr. Aaron Austin


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