Welcome to Jennabunkport

Writer Jenna McCarthy shows off her She Shack, Jennabunkport. Photo by Jenna McCarthy.

Writer Jenna McCarthy shows off her She Shack, Jennabunkport. Photo by Jenna McCarthy.

Writer Jenna McCarthy’s she shack is 140 square feet of home office heaven.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Living—and working—in a 100-year-old farmhouse certainly has its charms, but as her children grew bigger and houseguests came and went, writer Jenna McCarthy (Everything’s Relative, The Parent Trip, Lola Knows a Lot) longed for, as Virginia Woolf once wrote,”a room of one’s own.”

“I longed for a space that was all mine, somewhere I could sneak away to and write in peace, somewhere my kids wouldn’t be barging in every four minutes asking me if I know where their sparkly pink headband is or wanting me to referee such life-or-death arguments as ‘whose turn is it to hold the remote control,'” says McCarthy.

Author Jenna McCarthy is right at home in Jennabunkport, her writer's cottage. Courtesy photo.

Author Jenna McCarthy is right at home in Jennabunkport, her writer’s cottage. Courtesy photo.

When her husband, Joe Coito, suggested she needed a writer’s cabin, McCarthy was online looking at sheds in a heartbeat. Both spouses know their way around a tool belt—they once flipped a house on the TV Show Property Ladderso when McCarthy couldn’t find the perfect ready-made shed, they bought plans online and built it themselves. “We were able to do things like buy a reclaimed door and modify the plans to make it fit. We copied the siding and trim of our house so it would look as if my little shed had been on the property all along.”

Her husband built her a desk, and her daughters helped with painting, sanding and hammering. “My mother’s day present this year was a coat of primer,” she laughs.

The inside is warm, cozy, bright and filled with things that bring joy and inspiration, like the six-foot giant octopus they made from a canvas curtain.

Author Jenna McCarthy's daughter Sasha, with Syd the giant octopus that graces Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

Author Jenna McCarthy’s daughter Sasha, with Syd the giant octopus that graces Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

“We christened her Syd, and she’s one of my favorite pieces in Jennabunkport, the name we chose for my shed, because, yes, we name everything,” says McCarthy.

“I’ve always considered myself fortunate that I get to do what I love to do all day with my familyís enthusiastic support. Now I get to do it in my own little paradise, one that is far more than an office; it’s a 140-square-foot reminder of how lucky and loved I am. And it’s all mine.”

Another view of the interior of Jenna McCarthy's office, Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

Another view of the interior of Jenna McCarthy’s office, Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

This inspirational message graces the wall of author Jenna McCarthy's she shack, Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

This inspirational message graces the wall of author Jenna McCarthy’s she shack, Jennabunkport. Courtesy photo.

This story was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Local Lowdown: Page Turners

By Leslie Dinaberg

Summer is the perfect time to pull up a lounge chair, a hammock, or a perfect spot in the sand and dig into one of these great reads by local authors.

From contemporary novels and memoirs, to playfully illustrated children’s books, to juicy airplane reads, and delicious cookbooks, to lurid crime and intriguing real lives, there’s something here for every reader to dig into this summer.

What are you waiting for?

Armchair Travels & Adventures


Neal Rabin’s “23 Degrees South: A Tropical Tale of Changing Whether,” courtesy photo

Set in the beautiful yet nefarious paradise of Brazil, Neal Rabin’s debut action-adventure novel, 23 Degrees South: A Tropical Tale of Changing Whether, is a laugh-out-loud escapade through South America as 20-something childhood friends Hart and Simon find themselves far from their comfortable California homes in the favelas and jungles of Brazil. The summer Olympics, Maytag appliances, plane crashes, a priest named Lazarus, rainforest cults and Carmen Miranda all play pivotal roles in this quirky novel. Rabin—the founder of Miramar Systems, a Santa Barbara-based global software company, of which he was CEO for 15 years—writes in a style that evokes comedic elements of Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Robbins, with an original eccentricity that is uniquely his own.

Family Feuds & Fun


Jenna McCarthy’s “Everything’s Relative,” courtesy photo

Three estranged sisters breathe a collective sigh of relief when their controlling mother dies, but that’s just the beginning of the roller- coaster ride of Everything’s Relative, the latest page- turner from funny lady (and former KTYD personality) Jenna McCarthy. The sisters are shocked to discover that their spendthrift mother was hiding a massive fortune—millions of dollars that they can only get their hands on if they work together to transform their lives and carry out their mom’s last wishes.

Tasty Treats


Chef Pascale Beale’s “Les Fruits: Savory and Sweet,” courtesy photo

Chef Pascale Beale’s latest book is perfect for the summer season, with 240 mouth-watering pages and 100 new recipes that are all about fruit. Les Fruits: Savory and Sweet celebrates fruit in all of its many forms and features a multitude of delicious salads such as apple, fennel and watermelon radish, citrus salad with avocado vinaigrette; main courses like apricot and lamb shank tagine and citrus salmon; and desserts such as an Eton Mess, pear and pomegranate Pavlova, and apple and pear strudel, among other yummy delights.

Camping out under the stars is one of summer’s most sublime pleasures, and local “gourmet girls” Gail Kearns, Lindsey Moran and Denise Woolery have a new camping cookbook, Gourmet Girls on Fire, to help make your outdoor adventures even more delectable. Filled with 140 gourmet meals that can be made straight from your campfire, useful tips and recommendations, full-color images, retro-inspired graphics, and recipes that are sure to please a crowd.

Twin sisters Judi and Shari Zucker, also known as the “Double Energy Twins,” became vegetarians at age 11 and wrote their first book, How to Survive Snack Attacks—Naturally!, when they were just 16. Since then, they have written six best-selling health books, in addition to their latest, The Memory Diet, which introduces a powerful, plant-based diet of leafy greens, vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, and whole grains that can slow down or even eliminate cognitive decline.

Lurid Crime

Award-winning Hollywood writer, producer and director John Wilder (who adapted James Michener’s Centennial and Larry McMurtry’s Return To Lonesome Dove, as well as top-rated television series Spenser: For Hire and The Streets of San Francisco) marks his novel fiction debut with the contemporary murder mystery Nobody Dies In Hollywood. Wilder’s private investigator character Michael Drayton is hired by the father of an aspiring actor who was brutally slain alongside a world-renowned movie star in a horrific and seemingly senseless attack. Set against the backdrop of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Wilder’s novel connects contemporary culture, over-the-top personalities and timeless personal demons, creating a character that embodies the grit of yesterday and the diversity of today.

Memorable Memoirs

Part memoir and part inspiration, Aging in High Heels by Beverlye Hyman Fead, deals with the subjects of health, deaths of loved ones, forgetfulness, doctors’ appointments, travel, exercise, nutrition and aging. After being diagnosed with stage IV cancer, Fead found a passion talking to cancer patients, giving back inspiration and writing books. At 81, she shows us how we can live a life with passion, hope and laughter.

O tomodachi

Dick Jorgensen’s “O Tomodachi (Friend),” courtesy photo

In 1954, as a 29-year-old grad student, Dick Jorgensen was selected to be one of four “ambassador” teachers in a first-ever exchange program with Japan. Jorgensen would spend the next two years teaching at the University of Hiroshima, founded in the wake of the dropping of the atomic bomb on that city in 1945. Thus began an incredible journey for a kid from the Midwest. As a work of history, his book O Tomodachi (Friend) provides a perspective on postwar Japan that is both historical and accessible. As memoir, O Tomodachi gives readers a wonderful sense of what it was like for a young American to go off to a foreign land.

Bucket List


Tara Jones’ “100 Things to Do in Santa Barbara Before You Die,” courtesy photo

Tara Jones, owner of the super- fun Eat This, Shoot That! food and photo tour company, has written an excellent guidebook for tourists and locals alike. 100 Things to Do in Santa Barbara Before You Die is a great guide for going off the beaten path and experiencing Santa Barbara like a local. Find one of the best burritos in town inside a liquor store, float over the Santa Ynez Valley in a hot air balloon, knock back a cold brew with the animals at the zoo, or get a massage in a salt cave to discover just how diverse Santa Barbara can be. From kids to adults and luxurious to inexpensive, this book is a great way to explore your own little piece of paradise.

Young & Young-at-Heart

The Extraordinary Pony Cover

Alana Clumeck’s “The Extraordinary Pony,” courtesy photo

Written and illustrated by Santa Ynez resident Alana Clumeck, The Extraordinary Pony is a vibrantly illustrated life-lesson tale that reminds every child to dream big and that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.

My Pet Cloud front cover

Kisha Gianni’s “My Pet Cloud,” courtesy photo

A sweet and magical story about a little boy and his pet cloud, My Pet Cloud is written by local interior designer Kisha Gianni and illustrated by her mother, Lyn Gianni. It speaks to a child’s sense of wonder, imagination, friendship and the ability to trust.

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle’s The Mellow Yellow Global Umbrella is a fanciful collection of poems by the City of Santa Barbara’s poet laureate, captivatingly illustrated by artist Karen Folsom.

This story was originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Local Lowdown: On the Bookshelf

Here’s a peek at what some of our local scribes will have on the bookstore shelves this season.Our World of Water


The reigning queen of local mystery writers, Sue Grafton is back, and she’s up to the letter “X,” in what is perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel featuring a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Operating out of the fictional town of Santa Teresa (a.k.a. Santa Barbara), hard-boiled private investigator Kinsey Millhone takes us on yet another exciting and twisty journey we won’t soon forget.

Gunpowder Press recently published the late Barry Spacks’s final book of poems, Shaping Water. A master poet and mentor, Spacks published 11 books of poetry during his lifetime, including Spacks Street, which won the Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal. He was selected as Santa Barbara’s first official poet laureate in 2005.

Inspired by Frances Schultz’s popular House Beautiful magazine series on the makeover of her house, ShapingWater_500x750The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness is a charmingly illustrated, humorous memoir that illuminates life lessons gleaned from her journey to rebuild her life after a broken engagement, cancer and a series of devastating losses.

Water is always top of our minds these days, and journalist Michael Cervin’s latest tome, Our World of Water: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource, discusses water from a historical context to its spiritual element and the present water crisis. It also looks toward our collective future and the inherent value of water to appreciate its awesome power while recognizing its fundamental importance.

Anne Fleet-Giordano, "Marry, Kiss, Kill"

Murders take the spotlight at Santa Barbara International Film Festival in Marry, Kiss, Kill, the debut mystery by Anne Flett-Giordano. The Emmy-winning television writer/producer (Frasier, Hot in Cleveland, Desperate Housewives) has created a fresh and funny Santa Barbara police detective/heroine—Nola MacIntire—who actually makes us yearn for more crime to come to town.

Known for her hilarious memoirs I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It and If It Was Easy, They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon, Their Golden Dreamsformer KTYD personality Jenna McCarthy turns her comedic talents to fiction with Pretty Much Screwed, a story of love, loss, friendship, forgiveness, turtledoves, taxidermy and one hilariously ill-placed tick. Dumped after 20 years of marriage, this novel follows a woman’s journey of picking herself up out of the gutter when life kicks her to the curb.

Set in California during the Gold Rush years, Willard Thompson’s latest, Their Golden Dreams, follows the lives of some of the men and women who were thrown together during those rough and tumble days. Mixing fictional characters with cameos from historical figures, this third book in the Chronicles of California series traces the lives of those who came to California seeking riches.

Joye Emmens, "She's Gone"

It’s 1969 and teenage Jolie stands on the deck of her parents’ Santa Barbara home watching an uncontrolled oil spill. She’s outraged and motivated to do something about it. Jolie’s father may be an oil executive, but that doesn’t stop her from hitchhiking to the harbor and joining an anti-oil drilling protest. Bee Cottage StoryAnd so begins Joye Emmons’s She’s Gone, a heartfelt story of self-discovery that follows a young woman’s odyssey through social and political issues that continue to be relevant today.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Beer Pairing Dinner at Rodney’s Grill + Seven More Fun Events

Rodney's Grill pairs a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from The Bruery. (courtesy photo)

Rodney’s Grill pairs a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from The Bruery. (courtesy photo)

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

Santa Barbara Beer Week is winding down this weekend, but the suds continue to pour around town, including at Rodney’s Grill (at The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., 800/879-2929), where executive chef Kirk DeLong believes nothing tastes quite like an ice-cold hand crafted beer to quench summertime thirst.

With that in mind, DeLong promises to take beer to a whole new level with the resort’s  first ever Beer Pairing Dinner complementing a four-course tasting menu with hand crafted beers from Orange County’s The Bruery.  The festivities take place July 26 at 7 p.m.

The Bruery CEO Patrick Rue, who founded the company six years ago, will be on hand to give a brief overview about the signature beer pairings. The Bruery is a boutique craft brewery specializing in barrel-aged and experimental ales.  Founded as a small, friend and family run business in 2008, The Bruery takes its unique moniker from Rue’s family surname.

Rodney's Grill, courtesy Fess Parker a Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Rodney’s Grill, courtesy Fess Parker a Doubletree by Hilton Resort

Chef DeLong will share highlights from his inspired American dishes and the fresh regional produce and ingredients which complement the beers being poured.

The menu, which sounds amazing, includes:

Sea scallop, habanero-red pepper gazpacho, and kiwi-dragon fruit chutney paired with Trade Winds Tripel

Hoisin duck breast, pomegranate risotto, rainbow Swiss chard, and port jus paired with Saison Rue

Sea bass, heirloom tomato, tempura beech mushroom, and saffron-fennel broth paired with Mischief

Hawaiian sweet bread pudding, and Rori’s Artisanal Creamery vanilla bean ice cream, paired with Sucre

This dinner isn’t the first collaboration between the Parker and Bruery brands. “The Fess Parker family have a long time tradition in the wine and hospitality business in Santa Barbara County, and are delighted to be working collaboratively with the family-owned business The Bruery.  The two have worked collaboratively on the release of  ‘Confession,’ a sour- style beer fermented with Riesling grapes that tastes like wine, and is ranked high among beer critics,” says director of sales & business development Beth Olson of The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort.

Advance reservations for the tasting event are required by calling the resort’s concierge at 805-884-8533 or via open table at Rodneyssteakhouse.com. The cost of the dinner is $79 per person (plus tax and gratuity) with discounts for The Fess Parker Winery’s Wine Club and The Bruery’s “Hoarders and Reserve Societies” members.


Seeing the World Through Bacon-Flavored Glasses, photo by Tyler Moselle

Seeing the World Through Bacon-Flavored Glasses, photo by Tyler Moselle

Coming up this weekend is the always delicious Santa Barbara French Festival, where great food, wine, mimosas, crepes, delicious pastries,  music, dance (including the awesome Moulin Rouge dancers from the Solstice Parade!) —and, of course, the infamous Poodle Parade, all come to Oak Park July 12 and 13 to celebrate Bastille Day and all the things that make the French cultural history so rich.  11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Oak Park, 300 W. Alamar.  Admission is free and the Festival is a non-smoking event.  For more information, email frenchfestival@sbcoxmail.com or call 805/963-8198.

On Monday night (July 14), raise your glass to Babes, Books & Booze and join funny women/authors Jenna McCarthy, Karen Rizzo and Starshine Roshell as they talk about social media over sharing, ungraceful aging, maternal intensity and their new books in what’s sure to be a lively conversation at Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St.) on Monday, July 14 at 7 p.m. The first glass is on the publishers, but be sure to RSVP to info@prospectparkbooks.com.

When you’re in wine country, you can’t pass up the opportunity to taste the best wines around. Luckily, that chance comes easily at the 11th annual California Wine Festival from Thursday, July 17 to Saturday, July 19. Celebrate with gourmet food and live music galore. Raise a glass of red, pink, or white (or all!) to a great weekend by the sea! This always fun festival has multiple events and venues. Call 866/273-4148, or visit californiawinefestival.com complete details.

What goes better than bacon and wine, bourbon and beer? Dare we say, nothing! After an incredibly successful inaugural event last year, Bacon and Barrels is back! From July 18-10, enjoy some of the most delectable bacon dishes from the Central Coast’s best, while mixologists, bacon food trucks, live music, local vendors and a piggy petting zoo make this a weekend you’ll never forget. Saarloos & Sons Field, 2971 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. 805/996-0652, baconandbarrels.com.

Fantastic fermented food will be showcased at Cultivate Events‘ 4th annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival on Saturday, July 19. Kimchi, kombucha, kefir, pickles, beer, sauerkraut, wine, cider, cultured vegetables, and sourdough bread galore will take over Fairview Gardens (598 N. Fairview Ave., Goleta), accompanied with talks with fermented foods experts, hands-on how-to demonstrations, artisan fermented foods samples, and the opportunity for all ages to learn about the importance of local, organic, and sustainable agriculture and the fermentation process. The festival runs from 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. For more information, call 805/722-5324,  or visit sbfermentationfestival.com, where Santa Barbara Seasons’ readers can get a discount to the festival by putting in the word “SEASONS” in the promo code box when purchasing tickets.

For its fourth year, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden‘s Wine and Cheese Botanic Lecture Series is bringing together the local scientific community for talks about Santa Barbara ecology. The July 19 edition of the Lecture Series features Santa Barbara Creeks‘ Supervisor George Johnson and his update on the Mission Creek Restoration Project from 4 to 6 p.m. Johnson will highlight the importance of Southern California steelhead trout in the state’s waterways, particularly Mission Creek. Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards is the sponsoring winery. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information click here.

Who doesn’t love sangria? The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation sure does. They are hosting the 3rd Annual Sangria Soiree in order to raise money to help families of children with cancer. It is at the Villa at Sunstone Winery at 125 Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, CA on July 20 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event is quickly becoming a favorite of Santa Ynez locals, as guests enjoy sampling of paella from Viva Paella and tapas by Paloma Restaurant. Spanish style flatbreads prepared by The Chef’s Touch are served with cheese platters from Ono Catering.These foods appear alongside tequila and sangria made from wines by Sunstone WineryPalmina Wines and D’Alfonso-Curran Wines. Radio personality Tyler Story hosts this beautiful afternoon, and music by the acoustic flamenco guitar is also present. Not  to mention, several fantastic raffle tickets can be purchased, with prizes such as private cooking classes, a helicopter tour and a spa day. For more information call 805/ 962-7466. Or, buy tickets online here.

Whew!  That’s a lot going and I haven’t even gotten to Fiesta yet. Viva la July! Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 11, 2014.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Babes, Books & Booze

Not only will there be be babes, books and booze … I can guarantee lots of giggles and guffaws when you join funny women/authors Jenna McCarthy, Karen Rizzo and Starshine Roshell as they talk about social media over sharing, ungraceful aging, maternal intensity and their new books.

McCarthy’s latest book, I’ve Still Got It…I Just Can’t Remember Where I Put It: Awkwardly True Tales From the Far Side of Fortyhit the shelves this month to rave reviews like, “I am not exaggerating when I say that I was crying tears of laughter before I even made it to the first chapter. … Pack this one in your pool bag and be prepared to ignore the odd glances you get when you’re cracking up!” (Five Minutes for Books).

Rizzo’s debut novel, Famous Baby, a Los Angeles Times Summer Books Preview selection, has been described as, ” inventive, hysterical, and touching.  Rizzo wraps a timeless drama about the love between mothers and daughters in a fresh, snappy package for the social media age.”  (Christina Schwarz).

Roshell, a columnist for Santa Barbara Independent and the author of the column collection Broad Assumptionswill moderate what’s sure to be a lively conversation at Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St.) on Monday, July 14 at 7 p.m. The first glass is on the publishers, but be sure to RSVP to info@prospectparkbooks.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on July 3, 2014.

Bonding Over Books

Honeymoon-Jenna-McCarthy-214x322Santa Barbara has a lot of great fundraisers, but one of my favorites is the annual CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon.

It’s easy to get excited about buying books, talking about books with other readers and listening to authors talk about books, not to mention a great lunch with a dessert of chocolate ganache and caramel tart with raspberry garnish chocolate ring coulis (they had me at chocolate ganache), and last but foremost on everyone’s mind, a really important and worthy cause.

As I hope most people already know, CALM has led the way in building awareness, providing education and inspiring hope to everyone involved in the effort to prevent child abuse and neglect in the Santa Barbara community for the past 40 years.

Last Saturday was the 26th event of its kind-and the first to be planned by event co- chairs Becky Cohn and Carolyn Gillio. They stepped into the stylin’ stilettos left by former co-chairs Sharon Bifano and Stephanie Ortale, who created and organized CALM’s first Annual Authors’ Luncheon in 1987 and only recently gave up the reins.

Thankfully, they left them in very good hands: the day went off without a hitch.

The theme of the decor was apples-Sunday was Johnny Appleseed Day, and I’m sure you all celebrated by spitting seeds around town: Artist Susan Day’s whimsical artwork, which graced the invitation and program and was raffled off for CALM, showed children reading atop and under an inviting apple tree. The centerpieces were full of apples and the first course was chilled strawberry and apple soup-but spilling the beans felt like the theme of the author interviews.

First up, was actor Joseph Mascalo, who has starred off and on as drug dealing murdering crime lord Stefano DiMera on the soap opera Days of Our Lives since 1982 (and was ostensibly there to talk about the coffee table book Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos). He spilled the beans on what it’s really like to work on a series where kidnaping, art theft, assassinations, fake deaths and real long lost evil twins are part of “just another day at the office.” The reality is a whole lot of hard work, as he explained in a charmingly booming voice that had the mostly female audience on the edge of their seats.

Next to spill the beans was Simon Tolkien, author of several British mystery thrillers (including his latest, The King of Diamonds) and a new resident of Santa Barbara. As the grandson of beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit) Simon talked movingly about what it was like to grow up with such a famous surname and his bold decision, at the age of 40, to give up his career as a barrister and pursue a career writing novels.

Batting third and definitely leaving no holds barred was Meredith Baxter, an acclaimed actress, who most of us recognize from her years playing Michael J. Fox’s mother on the sitcom Family Ties. What many people didn’t realize, until she notably spilled the beans that she was a lesbian on The Today Show a few years ago, is that she’s also battled breast cancer, survived domestic abuse and has been a sober alcoholic for 19 years. If her book, Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering, is anything like her frank discussion at the CALM lunch, she definitely has few secrets left to tell.

Last but most definitely funniest, Santa Barbara’s own Jenna McCarthy (who used to banter on KTYD with Matt McAllister in the morning). She elicited nods, laughter and a whole lot of guffaws when she shared insights from her recent book, If It Was Easy They’d Call the Whole Damn Thing a Honeymoon: Living with and Loving the TV- Addicted, Sex-Obsessed, Not-so-handy Man You Married. She spilled the beans on what married life is really like and why sticking with the man (did we really all just marry the same guy?) you’ve got might just be a very good idea after all.

Over the years some of the authors interviewed have included: Sue Grafton, Jane Russell, Barnaby Conrad, Michael Crichton, Julia Child, Ray Bradbury, Fanny Flagg, Maria Shriver and Jonathan Winters. While big names help fill seats and raise money for the child abuse, sexual abuse and incest services and programs at CALM, longtime luncheon goers agree that the “best known celebrity is not always the best interview.” I would have to agree. This year’s panel was among the best I’ve seen.

For more information about CALM visit www.calm4kids.org. For more columns visit www.LeslieDinaberg.com. Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on March 16, 2012.