Cristal's Blog


February 27, 2023

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Those of us fortunate enough to call Santa Barbara home don’t have to travel far for some soul-soothing TLC. Life itself moves at a relaxed pace here, and our year-round Mediterranean weather makes self-care easy. So, whether you’re seeking a health reboot, a digital detox, or just some pure pampering, Santa Barbara health and wellness gurus cover the full spectrum of services while Mother Nature does the rest. Here are some excellent ways to experience the wonders of self-care, Santa Barbara style.

Find Serenity in Santa Barbara

Two lounge chairs with a pair of tall trees on a bluff overlooking the ocean

Serenity, relaxation, and positive vibes are easily found in and around Santa Barbara through a plethora of self-care activities that help locals live well and improve their physical and mental health. Here are some of my favorite spots and things to do when I’m ready to exhale and unplug:

The front of Sacred Space in Summerland CA, with wooden statues of the Buddha and elephants surrounded by lush foliage

Commune With Mother Nature

Just spending time outside in Santa Barbara, with our beautiful ocean and mountain views, is a form of self-care. Being in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant feelings. In addition, nature can naturally make you feel better emotionally, contributing to your physical well-being by lowering the production of stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. And here in Santa Barbara, being outside is a big part of our daily culture.

There are so many outside activities here that it's a challenge to choose which ones to highlight, but here are a few of my favorite go-to's. Take a refreshing walk or bike ride along the waterfront or a peaceful stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to commune with native plants and habitats. Meditate at the Mission Rose Garden in Santa Barbara, take in the peace and quiet of the 46-acre Vedanta Temple in Montecito, or be inspired by the wonderland called Sacred Space in nearby Summerland with its relaxing meditation gardens out back.

Yoga class on the beach with palm trees in the distance and a group doing a pose on their knees and a women in sunglasses smiling at the camera
Image courtesy of Sol Seek Yoga

Life Balance Through Yoga

Taking your yoga practice to the beach is more than idyllic—it can actually improve a person's physical and mental well-being. Get a boost of Vitamin D while you connect with nature, deepen your relaxation, and breathe in the sea air. In addition, moving on the sand, with the waves crashing on the shore, makes anyone feel better about life.

There's nothing more grounding than taking an outdoor yoga class in Santa Barbara. Try practicing with Sol Seek Yoga, where you’ll experience the game-changing effects that support real happiness and longevity through evening classes under the stars on weekdays at the historic Casa de La Guerra and weekend classes at La Mesa Park. You can also get your alfresco Om on with Santa Barbara Beach Yoga, CorePower Yoga, and Yoga Soup, which also offers yoga teacher training.

A beautiful Australian shepherd on a bluff overlooking the ocean in Santa Barbara's Douglas Family Reserve

Hiking to Clear Your Head

Hiking offers its own range of benefits for your mind, body, and overall health. Luckily for us, there are many excellent hiking trails in Santa Barbara. The Santa Ynez Mountains surrounding our fine city inspires hikers of all levels with breathtaking views of the city, the ocean, and the Channel Islands on the horizon.

Start your day by watching the sunrise or end it by taking in one of our magnificent sunsets on Inspiration Point. And remember your four-legged family member with their own self-care attributes. Take a leisurely walk with your dog through the Douglas Family Preserve, or plant your feet in the sand at dog-friendly Hendry’s Beach. I’ve curated a list of the 10 Best Hikes in Santa Barbara and placed them on my website.

The front of Oliver's restaurant in Santa Barbara: a brown farm style building with shiplap and shake siding
Image courtesy of Oliver’s Montecito

Healthy Dining

No matter how you decide to clear the cobwebs and tune into the laid-back Santa Barbara vibe, be sure to take advantage of the many healthy dining options around town. Make dinner a healthy yet indulgent affair at a local restaurant like Oliver’s Montecito, an upscale vegetarian and vegan eatery inside an airy farmhouse-style building. Or head to Juice Ranch for one of their delicious, nutritious, 100% organic cold-pressed juices. Backyard Bowls provides a healthy, delicious, high-quality, and fast meal option specializing in acai bowls, hot porridge, smoothies, and more. After all, you are what you eat.

The rear grounds of a Hope Ranch estate with a swimming pool, lots of grass, lounge chairs and the white stucco home in the background under a blue sky.

Wellness at Home

Perhaps you want to bring wellness home by moving into one of my health-focused properties, like the Dramatic Blufftop Ocean-View Home Ranch Estate pictured above. The property has its own wellness center with a spa, sauna, and steam room inside, with one-of-a-kind ocean views throughout on 1.5 well-manicured acres.

Representing the highest level of clientele and specializing in selling and acquiring extraordinary estates and land in Santa Barbara County, I urge all buyers to start their home-buying process by finding the right agent. If you are planning to move in and around Santa Barbara, that agent is me. Please get in touch with me at (805) 886-9378 or for a free consultation. I will make the entire process feel like another form of wellness, Santa Barbara style.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch