Santa Barbara Life & Style | May/June 2019

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SBLS May/June 2019

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine


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SBLS Santa Barbara Life & St yle Magazine

MAY/JUNE 2019 Editor in Chief & Publisher Ottocina Ryan Creative Director Silas Fallstich Art Director Amanda Sandoval


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SB LIFE & STYLE from the editor

Allured by all the

poppies that

make your Instagram feed look like it’s Fyre Festival all over again, I asked my dad to hike up Figueroa Mountain with me to see the super bloom on Grass Mountain. After walking for a few miles on an adjoining trail, where we saw three people the entire time, we got to the Grass Mountain trailhead, marked only by a pole with Grass Mountain written in Sharpie on it, and the dozens of people heading for it. It was raining, muddy and so overcast you just had to take the news’ word for it that poppies were actually there. So we stood at the trailhead for five minutes, debating whether we return to the car or climb onwards. My dad explained that we should head back because the poppies wouldn’t even be open as there was no sun. And as consolation, he would drive us to a spot he used to ride his motorcycle to that had just as many poppies. Which I countered with less convincing arguments such as “We’ve already come this far” and “But I like mud.” Reluctantly I followed him back on the loop, and not a minute on the trail and there’s a couple hiking towards us with tabby cats. To me this is hilarious. I’d never seen a cat hiking before. I couldn’t stop laughing. My dad turns around and smirks, “If we’d gone up Grass Mountain see what you would have missed.” Okay, dad. But he had a point. Sometimes the unique things that Santa Barbara has to offer are slightly off the beaten path, just a few steps away from where everyone else is headed. Take for example Hook & Press Donuts and Glass House cocktail garden, both featured in this issue, and tucked away incognito on State Street. They both push the box when it comes to flavor and presentation in their respective categories, while simultaneously breathing new life into downtown. Or take The Goat Party, not your average brush control or lawn mowing strategy. But so much cuter. And more peaceful. Plus, in Beyond the Bungalow, get to know the lesser visited (and more authentic) islands of my new favorite destination, Tahiti. So, some unsolicited advice: turn down a side courtyard, do a little more research, and step away from where everyone else is headed to discover something unexpected. Also, I just thought seeing cats hiking was funny and wanted an excuse to share.

Ottocina Ryan

Editor in Chief Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine

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It’s all about the details at Allora by Laura.

Eggplant toast to beat them all at Cafe Ana.


Raising a glass to State Street’s new David Fairchild inspired cocktail garden.

30 | DONUT MIND IF I DO A delicious addition to our morning routine.


The ultimate staycation at Rosewood Miramar Beach.


You herd it here first—there’s no cuter way to fireproof your land.


True-to-nature beauty at its finest.



fashion 48 | SUNSHINE ON MY MIND A splash of summer color.

56 | HOW SWEET IT IS Santa Barbara’s sweetest staple.

The practice of genuine self-care.

60 | C ALIFORNIAN DREAMING Checking in to our mod adult playground.

travel 70 | BEYOND THE BUNGALOW Exploring French Polynesia’s rainforests, restaurants, and reefs.

74 | GETTING COVEY The escape we didn’t know we needed.


Making ourselves at home in Costa Rica.


Photo by Meadow Rose

Take a tour through the Valley’s best wineries and shops.

James Perse sweatshirt, Gatehouse at Rosewood Miramar Beach So De Mel swimsuit,

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Organic Ingredients • California Grown • No Artificial Anything • Gluten Free • GMO Free • Vegan


Summertime Essentials



Staff Picks for



Iosis for Yves Delorme throw

Lynx Napoli Outdoor Oven

Coolhaus Cereal Dreams Ice Cream

Bromelia bikini

Sorrenti blue vintage rug Grateful AF Deck

evo The Therapist Hydrating Conditioner

Conscious Coconut dry brush kit

M-61 Vitablast C Face Oil

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SB LIFE & STYLE dining

In T he Ne i g hb o r ho od Mou thwa te ri ng me lts , craft cof f e e a nd more a t C a f e An a Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Hana-Lee Sedgwick

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Eggplant Toast

There’s just something about stepping into Cafe Ana’s bright, airy space on a rainy day that instantly lifts my mood. I’ve visited this “all day cafe” before, both for coffee and for weekend brunch (can’t get enough of that breakfast platter), but it’s my first time in for lunch. As I take off my coat, I see my lunch date hustle in from the rain behind me. We’re greeted by Katherine, who coowns Cafe Ana with her husband, Julian. Katherine happily helps us narrow down our long list of potential choices, directing us to some of her favorites at the moment since the menu changes regularly. Avocado toast or eggplant toast? Radicchio Caesar or warm Brussels sprouts salad? It all looks so

good. Settling on what will no doubt be too much food, we place our order then head to a corner table by the window. We bask in the cafe’s inviting glow—a result of the natural light pouring in through the windows. It feels so cozy in here. My friend says that we should have brought our laptops so we could stay here all day and work. Indeed, the place has a neighborhood hangout type feel, with a chic yet warm atmosphere that would make it easy to post up from breakfast all the way through happy hour. As we nosh on a buttery chive biscuit while we wait, I ask my friend if she ever came

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here when it was occupied by Coffee Cat, which you’d never recognize to be in the same location thanks to a complete renovation by the Cafe Ana team—one that Katherine mentions was a two-year process. Before my friend can answer, I see her eyes light up as our eggplant toast is delivered to the table. Topped with hummus, onion, pickled turnips and eggs, plus a thick layer of roasted eggplant, the toast is almost too pretty to eat. Looks aside, we immediately dig in, enjoying each bite of thick, lightly toasted bread, the char of the eggplant, and a nice contrast of flavors from the pickled egg and subtle smear of hummus. Before polishing it off, cups of spring green soup arrive, followed closely by our chicken salad sandwich. Showcasing a vibrant green color—a puree of English peas and broccoli—this soup commands that spring is here. 22 | MAY/JUNE 2019

Mezze Breakfast Plate

I dip my spoon in, making sure to get a fried olive and a drizzle of yogurt with my bite. It’s light and refreshing, like spring in a cup. With each spoonful, I like it more and more, appreciating the texture and that welcome hit of salt from the olives—a nice counterbalance to the brightness of the greens. Although I’m not quite finished with the soup, I bite into my half of the sandwich, savoring the creamy avocado and tender roasted chicken that’s encircled by a thin layer of herbed mayo. I’m happy to see this is not a mayo-laden chicken salad you’d find at a potluck; rather, this is an elevated, sophisticated version that has just the right proportion of chicken to mayo. But that’s not surprising. Chef Ryan Whyte-Buck seems to have mastered the art of restraint in his food, so nothing ever seems out of place or overwhelming.

Heading toward the door, we notice several people sitting with their laptops at the communal table, and we make a pact to meet up here to work one day soon. Scratch that, let’s just meet for snacks and wine. From modern takes on classics (like tomato soup served with a scoop of burrata in the middle) and unexpected combinations (such as the mezze breakfast platter with soft egg and baba ganoush), Cafe Ana serves up a welcome dose of deliciousness in the neighborhood. *

Too full to finish the last few bites, we order coffees to go, as we’re both in need of a jolt of energy before getting back to our days.

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WALKS INTO A BAR Mixing up magic at Glass House cocktail garden Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Kim Hashemi

As the workday comes to a close, my mind starts thinking cocktails over lattes, skirts over dress pants. And with that, I grab a friend and head to the newly opened Glass House cocktail garden. Dimly lit and with perimeters decorated by a variety of plants, finding the cocktail garden is a slight challenge (even while on State Street) yet adds to the experience like we’re discovering a secret garden. Entering the gates of Glass House, we feel as if we’ve just stepped into Narnia, our curiosity for what lies ahead grows swiftly. I’m graciously greeted by owner Alvaro Rojas, who also runs milk & honey tapas and Alcazar Tapas Bar. He explains that it’s inspired by David Fairchild so the lounge is openly sectioned and meticulously designed to echo various parts of his journey as a botanist. Between the Middle East, French Colonial, and mid-century Manhattan themed spaces, we opt for the shabby chic Parisian décor. Styled with an aquaponics tub, a salon settee sofa, a vintage chess set, and an abundance of plants, our first drink takes place at the large wooden communal table, giving us the opportunity to mingle with other guests. Our server comes by to greet us and my first question is, “Why is there a bathtub in here?” With a grin he explains that some of the ingredients gathered for cocktails are grown aquaponically in Santa Barbara County, and that the bathtub will be used to house a vertical aquaponics garden. Being relatively familiar with various farming practices, aquaponics was one neither my friend nor I had heard about. Alvaro explains, “Aquaponics employs fish in the water, the

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Damn-F-ino @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 25

Smoke Break 26 | MAY/JUNE 2019

Prickle My Fancy

Wascally Wabbit

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“It’s clear that presentation and creativity are at the forefront of the minds of Alvaro Rojas and Kyle Peete.”

urea from the fish and the bacteria impart nutrients onto the plants, and the plants filter the water for the fish. What you get is almost beyond organic. We grow in a mesh netting so things like cabbage moss doesn’t get to it, and the plants are getting nutrients straight from the water. The kale we pull from our garden is silky.” Interesting how farming practices are so much more intriguing when related to cocktails. Our brief lesson (one we asked for) should be followed by a drink, right? We think so. Being one who typically leans towards spice over sweetness, the Prickle My Fancy cocktail, well, prickled my fancy. Arriving in a circular glass bulb, it boasts a vibrant pink color, with a layer of frothed egg whites floating atop, garnished with edible flowers to add a burst of color. We are both led to think, “Is this too cute to drink?” Probably, but the enticing aromas draw us in. With the first sip, flavors of mezcal and dark rum begin to dance in my mouth accompanied by notes of fresh lime, ginger, and prickly pear. As I set my drink down, my taste buds are invigorated by a kick of habanero that seems to have been taking a back seat only to appear for an exclusive acclaim. As the last blast of habanero subsides, it’s clear to me that presentation and creativity are at the forefront of the minds of Alvaro Rojas and Kyle Peete, who is the cocktail specialist and creator of Glass House’s menu. Feeling relief that our workdays seem hours behind and being mentally transported to a lush garden in the middle of France leads us to indulge in our next cocktail, Smoke Break. After a few minutes of brushing up our chess skills with the chess set provided at our table, a pungent aroma seizes our attention which quickly reveals to be our attentive host walking over with a silver tray bearing a glass smoked with a coaster made from Cutler’s bourbon barrels alongside a decanter. Our olfactory senses are enlightened by the aroma trapped inside of each glass. The smoke fills the air as our glasses are set on the table, and next comes the glorious pour of Cutler’s Stagecoach, cognac, scotch, and sherry blended with vanilla and cinnamon

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to create a spirit composed of woody, sweet and earthy notes—a cocktail combination that I personally had not experienced until this moment. As we arrive at the last sip of our drinks, we notice an empty seat in the Middle East designed portion of the garden, and feel galvanized to experience our final cocktail amongst Latika lanterns, poufs, and patterned rugs. By now, our minds and taste buds are fully illuminated and it seems as though limits when it comes to cocktail creativity do not exist, so naturally, we ask our host to select our final cocktail. As we sink comfortably into our seats, our attention is diverted to the cloche that arrives to our table. Our cheerful host lifts the cloche to unleash a spiced earth aroma, and as the smoke subsides, it reveals a spiced pear, fino sherry, and burlesque bitters ice cube bathing in pear brandy, vodka, Cocchi Rossa, bourbon vanilla cranberry, and genmaicha tea. Concurrently, my friend and I thread our fingers through the ears of the teacups and take our first sips of the Church Bell cocktail. Citrus notes of dimmi, hints of saffron and vanilla from Cocchi Rossa and the earthy notes of bourbon vanilla make an initial impression and the carbonated texture of the cocktail adds an element of surprise and satisfaction. As the spiced pear ice cube melts into the cranberry genmaicha tea cocktail it seems to blend the flavors seamlessly, and the fino sherry leaves a pleasant aftertaste of almonds on the palate. Spending a few hours at Glass House reminds me of the talent and creativity that encompasses many of the restaurants in this breathtaking city. With an emphasis placed on sustainability and local ingredients, coupled with a menu exclusively of noteworthy cocktails, it’s clear that a visit back to Glass House is in the cards. *

Church Bell

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DON 30 | MAY/JUNE 2019

A well-rounded breakfast at Hook & Press

UT Chances are reasonably high that you might be craving a donut right now. Chances are significantly higher that you will be craving a donut by the time you get through reading this. Maybe so much so that you’ll give in to that craving and make your way to Hook & Press, State Street’s latest and greatest in the baked goods department. Although not entirely new (its debut location opened October 2018), this craft donut joint is new to me, and I’m absolutely giddy about the sugary dough balls I’m about to eat. As I patiently wait for another customer to get his donut fixing, my eyes are fixated on the amazing choices available on the other side of the glass. The menu is a pleasant surprise: strawberry habanero donuts, browned butter donuts, chai tea latte donuts…the decadence goes on and on. “The browned butter is the most popular,” says Hook & Press’ owner, John Burnett, as he serves me up an Americano. I go with the strawberry habanero because I’m downright intrigued. I’m sitting here looking down at this tiny baked treat thinking about all of the love and labor that went into its production. Donuts, man. If

is a small-batch envisioned, operated by John. As the owner a donut shop, it comes as a is somewhat of a baking background in home not your average

a donut could heal a broken heart, Hook & Press’ donuts are those donuts. Hook & Press craft donut shop and taste-tested and head chef of surprise that John newbie. With a loans, he’s certainly baker. His vision for Hook & Press came as a result

Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Meghan Kelly


of his disenchantment with his prior work and being inspired by his wife’s success as a chef-entrepreneur. “I got to see her start her own business from the ground up,” says John. His wife, owner of Le Petit Chef, runs a catering company and food blog, and is an aspiring cookbook writer. But what also got John into the donut biz was his recognition of a cranny in Santa Barbara’s food scene. “The reason I started this company is because I couldn’t find a donut with quality ingredients in town,” says John. “We use local purveyors for our ingredients. I use the freshest ingredients I possibly can.” The strawberry icing on my strawberry habanero donut, for instance, is made with fresh, pureed strawberries. This, my friends, is quality you can taste. The title “craft donuts” by just anyone, Hook & Press live care intensiveness good. “My day starts baker. My pastry I drop the donuts divulges. The amount that goes into the donuts is remarkable. into donut making a course to further his craft, John’s passion the process has not wavered. One thing that has posed a

can’t be claimed but the donuts at up to the labor and expected of any craft at 2 a.m. as the head chefs come in at 3, and off here at 7:30,” he of time and energy creation of these After getting and taking improve for

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challenge for his explorations in baking is the precision required for producing proper donuts. “The biggest challenge with donuts is you are held by the rules,” he explains. “There’s a chemistry to it.” But the technicality of the craft hasn’t stopped him from creating high quality donuts. I bite into my strawberry habanero donut and it tastes fresh in a way that no other donut has; it’s airy, warm, soft…may I stop now? Everything that goes into them is as natural as possible, I mean I really, really do not feel like Augustus Gloop after eating them! Picture a perfect donut, now picture it better, then picture it with exciting flavor combinations like matcha coconut. That’s what you’ll find at Hook & Press. So how does one come up with such extraordinary donut flavors, like “The Blood Orange” and the “Paloma” donuts that I’m staring affectionately at through the glass? “I take inspiration from everywhere. At restaurants, I always look at their dessert menu,” says John. “Wherever I go I see ideas and go ‘why not on a donut?’”

“ The s e d o nuts are he ad- t o- t oe S a n t a Ba rbara. They ’re made wi t h l oc a l i n g re die nt s, dar i n g re ci pe s, an d ho m e made l ov i n ’.”

These donuts are head-to-toe Santa Barbara. They’re made with local ingredients, daring recipes, and homemade lovin’. “I think Santa Barbara is special in the way they embrace local business. I did not expect to get the support we did when we opened the company. We appreciate honest food here. Even if it’s a sweet, fattening treat, we still want to know what’s in it.” Hook & Press offers the perfect way to change up a monotonous week by starting off the day with something wonderfully far-out. You can find their shop conveniently at the heart of State Street. It’s easy to miss as it is tucked inside Mosaic Locale, but after just one visit you won’t forget it. The service parallels the product as nothing short of top-notch. “What I’m really providing to a customer is an experience. It’s more than just a donut,” John says. This is clear to me as I can see that the shop’s already got regulars. John’s donuts have even reached wholesale, so you can now find these delicacies in the likes of Dart Coffee in the Funk Zone, SB Roasting Company, Lighthouse Coffee, and Old Town Coffee in Goleta. One small step for foodies, one giant leap for a donut-pro. John is a man with plans. Its storefront opened in October 2018, but there’s much more in the works for Hook & Press. Expanding and trying new things is what he views naturally comes as the next step, with gluten-free and vegan donuts on the drawing board. “I have this dream…and I’m just gonna keep making donuts,” says John, as we close our chat. Sure, Portland has Voodoo and Manhattan has Doughnut Plant, but Santa Barbara’s got Hook & Press, and that might just be all we need. *

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SB LIFE & STYLE beauty

Top Shelf Skincare Family is in the recipe at Retrouvé Written by Ottocina Ryan Photographed by Tessa Neustadt

er ultra luxury skincare line Retrouvé just launched a body oil years in the making, Baume Ultime, yet Jami Morse Heidegger is excited about the rare sunfish she found on the beach in Goleta. “My husband and I were walking on the beach and found that enormous fish! It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I saw on the news the next day that it had previously only been found in Australia and they couldn’t believe it got there.” She exclaims. “My favorite, favorite thing is to walk on the beach. We will walk all the way down from IV to the pier.” As our conversation progresses, it’s clear that Jami’s enthusiasm for Santa Barbra and creating the most effective skincare out there even surpasses her love for beach walks. Jami has been visiting Santa Barbara since she showed her horse at Earl Warren Showgrounds as a young girl. She reveals how entranced with Santa Barbara she was growing up, “I would stay with my parent’s friends in Montecito, and coming from New York City it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before and I loved it. It’s funny now that all of it has come full circle.” While she 34 | MAY/JUNE 2019

still loves horses, these days when she comes to Santa Barbara she spends most of her time in the Thunderdome, as her son Max plays basketball for UCSB. When she’s not visiting her son in Santa Barbara, she lives between Chatsworth and Malibu, and keeps busy running Retrouvé, which is quite the family affair. No stranger to family business, Jami grew up working for her father who owned Kiehl’s, mixing scents and working the register at the New York shop since four years old. She eventually bought Kiehl’s, ran it for over twelve years, and sold it in 2000. It’s only fitting that Retrouvé is just as family oriented. For example, Jami’s younger daughter Hannah recently graduated from college and immediately started working at Retrouvé. “That gives us a whole new generation and purpose and helps us to feel even more excited about it,” Jami shares. Further, Jami’s husband and business partner, Klaus, is in charge of permaculture at their Malibu ranch, where they sustainably grow the avocados from which they source the oil for their products. Retrouvé stemmed from the skincare products Jami created for herself after not being able to find efficacious products that didn’t have artificial ingredients or scents. Within black bottles so elegant

you want to save them are highly potent blends. Jami explains, “We don’t have a magic ingredient that we went to the moon for, but what differs is that the important ingredients are listed right at the top. In the body oil, the very first ingredient is avocado oil, which is pressed freshly from our own avocados.” That unparalleled quality control and knowledge of what goes into their products, coupled with a lifetime of experience creating skincare, puts Retrouvé in a league of its own. By using Retrouvé products, from the Luminous Cleansing Elixir to their Nutrient Face Serum, I’ve found that they are light yet luxurious, natural yet effective. With no compromises made, they’re comprised of the finest most nourishing ingredients, and free of synthetics, color, fragrances, and anything that could even potentially be a hormone disruptor. Jami recalls, “One of the main reasons I sold Kiehl’s was to raise my three children, but in the meantime, I had a hard time finding products on the market for what I was needing.” Nowadays she has found the best of both worlds—getting to create highly effective products, with her family. *

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SB LIFE & STYLE wellness

er fe ct

Michi sports bra & leggings, Frends headphones

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Written by Celine Wallace Photographed by Meadow Rose Model Kylee Poling Hair & Makeup by Kara Richard


Are you a person who refuses to accept anything short of perfection? Do you continually put pressure on yourself to perform and have trouble moderating your habits? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting high standards for yourself, in fact—you should, nobody wants a ho-hum life. But it’s important that you don’t knock yourself with critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ opinions if your standards don’t meet your expectations.

If you find yourself obsessing over the “correct way” to self-care, and feel like crap consistently, then it’s generally a big red flag to stop. I did this recently and went through my wellness to-do list and it was a huge realization that I was overdoing things and needed to take a step back, because self-care is about self-preservation and loving yourself, not doing things that you think you should be doing and the social pressures around wellness.

Usually, perfectionism is connected to anxiety. That comes from a feeling or need to over-achieve, with the anxiety stemming from a fear of failure. But did you ever consider your wellness regime might be causing you added anxiety? Wild thought, isn’t it!

The wellness industry has created space for improved mental health, yes, but it’s also morphed into just another way to be perfect, implying it’s easy to have the perfect diet, perfect body, and yes— even the perfect self-care routine.

We often link anxiety to setting unrealistic goals or putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves with our careers, finances or relationships, but with an ever-growing trillion-dollar wellness industry and new trends constantly coming out that we need to incorporate into our lives, it’s time to take a breath, and no, not a pranayama breathing meditation breath, a simple damn unexamined breath, and ask ourselves—are we causing more harm than good?

Since I have stopped pushing it with my self-care and scaled back on what other people said I should be doing and started doing what I know makes me feel better. it’s been amazing! So this is a friendly reminder that your self-care doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It doesn’t need to have a hashtag. It just needs to be whatever makes you feel good. No two people are the same, so why would your selfcare routine be?

“It’s time to take a breath, and no, not a pranayama breathing meditation breath, a simple damn unexamined breath, and ask ourselves—are we causing more harm than good?”

As a wellness expert, yoga and meditation teacher I have a to-do list of daily practices that I check off before I even leave the house in the morning—and, being abreast of the trends, those grow exponentially by the week, month and year into a catalog of standards to live by. Standards of wellbeing that I implement to live better and share with those who I know could benefit.

For so many people this year, the line between constructive self-care and anxiety triggers (i.e. just another thing on your already-jammed to-do list) became more blurred than ever before. You embraced these rituals and habits to make your life better but instead, they are stressing you out. So, let’s evaluate how these things need to change. In 2019, it’s time to simplify, simplify, simplify. And get that wellness-loving mojo back. In a world that is already crazed with self-love promoting Instagram posts with hashtags #selflove #selfcare #wellbeing #wellness being plentiful on social media (no judgment, I’m guilty of doing the same), we have to make sure we are honoring ourselves and not making selfcare a fetish about checking boxes and keeping up standards, yet not knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing.

So, maybe it isn’t about mastering a specific self-care regime, maybe self-care is a series of experiments that require you to wake up in the morning and ask yourself “How do I feel today? What do I need to be the best version of myself?” and constantly change the wellness tools you use to adapt to the ebbs and flows of life. I know I’ve really thrown you off, haven’t I? Perfectionists, I’m sorry, you might have to dump that checklist, but in the long run, listening to your body will have a positive impact on your mental health, save you from wellness burnout, and give you more longevity, both physically and spiritually. Tomorrow, when you wake up I encourage you to ask yourself: is this adding to my life or taking away from it? Take time to replenish your spirit and find out what it needs, after all, that’s what self-care is about—self-care. * Celine Wallace is a New Zealand born Yogi, Lululemon ambassador, wellness expert and writer, and Founder of Sattva Soul transformational women’s events and retreats.

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SB LIFE & STYLE community


Photographed by Meadow Rose Written by Kara Thompson


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Meet the mother-daughter duo behind Montecito’s Allora by Laura

To say that Laura Dinning’s energy is contagious is an understatement. After just an hour long conversation with her, I left feeling more motivated than ever, and I’m convinced I should have her on speed dial for when I need a pep talk. The fashionforward business woman, who owns luxury boutique Allora by Laura in Montecito, is constantly inspired by the everyday things that surround her. Whether it’s the way succulents are arranged outside of a flower shop or the subtle shade of beige spotted on someone’s purse, Laura is fueled by the little things in life. She credits most of her creativity to her open outlook and believes that her store benefits from her willingness to take action on the inspiration she finds. One major way her creative energy shows is through a project that’s ever-changing—decorating her store. As she tells me how she goes about the process, it’s clear that not only does she keep busy, but she’s always putting customer experience first. Her dedication to making an inviting environment for locals and tourists alike, starts before you even enter the store. The boutique sits on the corner of tree-lined Coast Village Road and its wraparound windows aren’t afraid to show off the curated displays and stylish essentials from renowned designers that wait inside. Shoppers also relish over the crisp white walls, clean wooden floors, and the aroma of freshly cut flowers. Every detail, no matter how small, has been carefully thought out. The choice of white walls, for example, was made with more than just versatility in mind. “Accent colors and showcase items pop against a simple background. It’s almost as if the clothing is spotlighted and our customers really respond to that,” Laura shares. “I try to keep the store second to the clothes.” People comment on how the space reminds them of something they would see in Europe, which makes everything come full circle for Laura because that’s one of the places she draws inspiration from. A European trend she mimics in her own store has to do with the spacing on the clothing racks. “There’s got to be two to three inches between each item so that customers feel invited to touch and interact with it. The clothes need to be able to call out to you and they can’t if

they’re hidden or if you’re distracted by it,” she explains. It’s safe to say that the experience you’ll gain by visiting Allora by Laura is far from one you’d find at a mall. Although it’s clear that her vision for what she wants customers to experience is nailed down to the tee, everyone needs a sidekick. For Laura, it’s her 26-year-old daughter, Taylorjane. The two work alongside each other and share a relationship that would make any close mother-daughter duo want to start a business together. “Working with TJ is the best part of what I do. It’s not always smooth sailing—we have our moments, but that’s what’s cool. At the end of the day we’re family and we love each other and you just have to roll with whatever comes up,” Laura shares. Their working relationship came about naturally for more reasons than one. “Years ago, when TJ was a little girl, my husband and I went into her bedroom and found her smelling the inside of a shoebox. When we asked her what she was doing, she simply said, ‘I just love the smell of new shoes.’” From that point on, Laura was confident her daughter would follow in her footsteps and pursue a career in fashion. The posh storefront will celebrate its six year anniversary this summer and the path to success is largely due to Laura’s ability to trust herself. “You can get so distracted by the fear that people won’t like what you’re doing that you end up trying to please everyone,” she articulates. “If you stay true to your ideas and passions, they will always shine through.” So, the next time you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, take Laura’s lead and pick up on all that surrounds you—you never know where it could lead. * Allora by Laura 1269 Coast Village Road Montecito 805-563-2425 @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 39

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Mi ramar Shines

Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Hana-Lee Sedgwick

Tim e less Gl amour at Ros ewoo d M iramar Beach

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The sound of the waves relaxes me into a peaceful state as I close my eyes for a brief moment, welcoming the sun on my face. I’ve been coming to this beach for as long as I can remember, but from the balcony of my oceanfront room at the Rosewood Miramar Beach, it feels like an entirely new place. I take a sip of my Aperol Spritz and sink into the patio chair, thinking that I could really get used to this. We’ve only been checked-in for two hours, but already our visit at Rosewood Miramar Beach has far exceeded my expectations. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that a stay here is no ordinary beach getaway. Rather, Rosewood Miramar Beach is an opulent, yet tasteful, luxury destination in Montecito—an idyllic coastal retreat that charms with timeless glamour. When my family and I arrived in the early afternoon, a friendly bellman led us through the front doors to the Manor House and my visions of the “old Miramar” of my youth quickly disappeared; I completely forgot I was in the same location. The grand foyer, with its black and white checkered floor, grandiose staircase, and crystal chandelier hanging from the expansive ceiling, almost feels like the stately home of a dignified person. Indeed, the Manor House evokes a residential feel, and although lavish, it’s not pretentious, and it’s that personalized sensibility that truly makes a stay here special. 42 | MAY/JUNE 2019

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I take another sip of my drink. Though I could honestly stay out here all day enjoying the unobstructed ocean views from our balcony, my husband wants to explore the grounds and I (somewhat reluctantly) agree. I head back inside our airy and sophisticated guestroom, which showcases a color palette of yellows and whites—appropriate for a room that sits over the sand. Outfitted with tasteful décor, a king sized bed, and plush amenities, like a Nespresso coffee maker, dressing area, and soaking tub, it’s the perfect blend of modern beach living with a dose of old school luxury. We bid adieu to our room for a bit and head outside, just as a train passes by. My daughter waves at the passengers, but it’s gone within seconds. Between the sounds of the waves and thick walls of the beachfront buildings, the Amtrak sounded so faint from our room an hour ago—I almost forgot that train tracks went through the property. The man guarding the gate at the tracks gives us the okay to cross, and we make our way to the other side to the sprawling lawn in front of the Manor House. As we walk along the path, a sparkling pool to our right glistens in the sunlight, and our daughter runs out onto the lawn, playfully chasing around other children. There are a lot of other families here, as well as couples strolling hand in hand, and I see several groups of friends savoring cocktails on the covered patio overlooking the lawn. The resort may have just opened a couple of weeks ago, but already there’s an infectious liveliness in the air. It’s nice to see the place bustling with people making the most of this pristine setting, yet given the expansiveness of the property, it feels far from crowded.

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We walk over to the other side of the lawn, and I take a peek at the second pool while my husband and daughter make a beeline to the perfectly groomed bocce courts nearby. The cabana-lined pool with a scalloped edge border looks positively blissful, yet it remains empty as it’s just not quite warm enough outside. That won’t be the case for long. We make a note that we must come back and play a game of bocce ball before we leave, then venture inside the Manor House to pay a visit to the Goop store—a permanent retail store and sundries shop filled with detoxifying beauty products and sun essentials, neatly displayed on shelves between lavender colored walls. I stock up on a few things, not containing my excitement to see some favorite brands, then we head back to our room to get ready for dinner at Caruso’s. I suggest that we grab a drink at the chic Miramar Beach Bar beforehand, located directly above the restaurant, because why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of oceanside cocktails as the sun goes down? My husband responds that he can’t think of a more perfect idea. As I sip on my rosé, the pink hue seemingly mirroring the pink glow in the sky, I can’t help but smile at what has already been a wonderful stay at Rosewood Miramar Beach. Close to home, but worlds away—this is exactly where I want to be. *

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Written by Claudia Lapin Photographed by Stephanie Plomarity


he modern goat is running a couple hours late, stuck on the 405. It’s causing me a fair amount of stress; I’ve been poised at the front driveway cell in hand to catch their arrival. Not every day do you have a herd of 100+ goats delivered to your door, ready to take on the beautiful green grass soon to become dull brown and dusty, waiting for the next fire. But right now I’m done waiting. I’ve invited a few friends and neighbors for wine and—what else— goat cheese, and I haven’t done the party set-up yet, or gotten my selfie makeup on, or done anything useful except wait, wait, wait for those goats.


unless I go over to Cold Springs Tavern. Guys are getting a ramp and unloading goats into the area where they put up the electric fence yesterday. It’s sexy! Cowboy hats, farm clothes, barnyard animals in muted natural colors. They put a baby goat in my lap, just eight days old. Suddenly, I feel better. Happy. Calm. How nice to see the neighbors! Yes, just open that wine for yourself, won’t you? I can’t move, can’t disturb this little baby here. What, you want a turn? Well okay, we’ve been friends a long time.

Most of the guests haven’t RSVP’d, of course, that would be too mundane, and those who did basically did so last night long after I had to figure out how much wine, and if I wanted to I could nurse a grudge but really what I want to do is show off. Yes, this is a status symbol. You have your Tesla crowd. The shared-jet set. And you have your rented goats, telling the world how eco-chic you are. You can afford to skip the weed whacker. You can buy decent wine even for people who don’t RSVP. Oh now, and what’s this? The neighbors think they can strut in early! They’ve been using the back door for so long they’ve forgotten the last thing you do is pick up a date early. I don’t feel all that charitable. I may pout. The invitation said, 3 to 5! It’s 1:30, I’m in rain pants and river gear, what are you doing here? I’m working on my attitude, now that the goats have finally arrived. It’s time to watch the closest thing I’ll see to a cowboy

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The river-rafting pants turn out to be a good call. It’s still drizzling here and there. The grass is sopping, and there’s now fresh fertilizer dotting the field. This is a busy herd, and they get the job done. Guests are beaming. We have a huge crowd and think maybe people are drifting in off the street. Nobody recognizes the guy on the

Go For The GOAT: Greatest of All Time Central Coast Creamery


bicycle behind helmet and goggles. At least a dozen children are running between the petting area and the candy. Young and old are delighted to relax and take in the ageless spectacle of goat activity: munching, bucking, jumping, climbing on rocks, standing up on two hooves into the tree branches, stripping the greenery within reach. The baby kids are irresistible. Everybody feels good. I have failed to do a nice job of putting out the treats, rather I’ve slung them makeshift on the unadorned table by the pool. Bottles are artlessly opened and waiting for the self-serve approach. We have no ice. Yet I’m being told it’s the best party in ages. Grown-ups are letting themselves into the petting area and getting cozy with the goats. Selfies abound. We’re a runaway hit. The next day, a few neighbors creep by for a second look. They didn’t get enough. So-and-so missed it. A few even cruise up the driveway for a better look. I might be getting crabby. I don’t want to tell the nice lady how much I paid for the goats. I don’t have all the answers to the questions. I heard some were Nubian goats and some were, um, regular goats. Males and females. No cut horns, that much I can report. Yes, the city is talking about hiring them to clear Parma Park. No, I don’t know if it’s going to happen. Yes, it’s going to take a few days. Yes, the goat herders spend the night in their trucks and guard the herd. Yes, the coyotes are interested. No, they haven’t come close. Sigh. The party’s over. But I’m in love with the goats. I want them to stay. We should keep some. Oh, but then we would need a couple of dogs. And oh, then we would have to take care of all of them. Why own when you can rent?

Written by Claudia Lapin

amous yes, but nobody seems to know. An amazing, thriving local business not brought to you on a digital platform! Something real, handmade and delicious. Natural! Central Coast Creamery has won more awards for its artisanal cheese domestically and internationally than perhaps any other cheese company. You and I might not hear about it because it’s sold to distributors in large beautiful rounds, provided to markets we frequent in smaller pieces. Produced only in Paso Robles, at one 7000 square foot factory located in an obscure industrial park next to a boat business and assorted analog endeavors, Central Coast Creamery is the brainchild of Reggie Jones and his wife Kellie. They’re assisted by four full-time cheesemakers and a handful of dedicated employees. Reggie didn’t plan to be a cheesemaker. Facing a recession after college, he obtained temp work in a cheese factory, and thus a new life direction presented itself. Fast forward 29 years, and Central Coast Creamery’s fresh goat chèvre, goat gouda, goat cheddar, and Dream Weaver—a washed rind soft cheese—are singularly prized by connoisseurs. Every round is hand-crafted, each part of the process a labor of love done by people who enjoy what they’re doing. Milk is pasteurized and cooked with a thickener, tended by humans. Cheeses are hand brushed with coating, labels are affixed manually. Cow milk is delivered on Sundays, goat’s milk in the tanks on Wednesdays and Thursdays; sheep milk happens on Fridays. Every month they ship out 15,000 pounds of cheese, soon to expand. It’s simply beautiful to see the custom-made stainless steel equipment, gleaming like kitchen jewelry in their spotless workrooms. Absolutely every surface except for the ceiling is cleansed constantly. Workers leave their street shoes and don the same work pair, put on the same gloves. No microbe is introduced that shouldn’t be present, no colors are added. This kind of cleanliness paired with views of cheese rounds, lovingly turned over by hand twice a week as they age on real wood planks, just feels foreign, from another time and place. Calm. Unhurried. It’s good to survey all the riches: hoses delivering milk from storage to pasteurizer, sparkling holding tanks. But no obsession with 18-hour work days here. Everybody goes home at five, after a pleasant day making cheese. Sumptuous, marvelous cheese. *

We’ll do it again next year maybe. Anyone can have an Oscar party. A Super Bowl and nachos gig. But who has a Goat Party? We do. *

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SB LIFE & STYLE fashion

Photographed by Meadow Rose Styled by Ottocina Ryan Model Ashley Rogers with L.A. Models Hair & Makeup by Leah Washuta

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So De Mel bikini top, Whit pants, Jake & Jones Paloma Barcelo shoes, Allora by Laura Celine sunglasses, Occhiali Takara bracelets, Jake & Jones Luvaj necklace, Jake & Jones

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Seea rashguard, Coco Cabana Tori Praver bikini bottoms, Coco Cabana Clergerie shoes, Allora by Laura Orciani backpack, Allora by Laura 31 Bits necklace, Jake & Jones

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Amina Rubinacci sweater, Allora by Laura Mara Hoffman bikini bottoms, Jake & Jones Vince sandals, Jake & Jones Takara bracelets, Jake & Jones Viajera Designs tote, Celine sunglasses, Occhiali

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Seea swimsuit, Coco Cabana Paloma Barcelo shoes, Allora by Laura Takara bracelets, Jake & Jones Celine sunglasses, Occhiali

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Beachgold dress, Clergerie shoes, Allora by Laura Takara bracelets, Jake & Jones Celine sunglasses, Occhiali

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Beachgold dress, Vince sandals, Jake & Jones Takara bracelets, Jake & Jones Viajera Designs clutch,

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Marysia swimsuit, Coco Cabana Repeat Cashmere sweater, Whiskey & Leather Gag & Lou wrap bracelet, Jake & Jones Chanel sunglasses, Occhiali

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Ho w S we e t I t I s

Photographed by Kennedy Williams Styled by Ottocina Ryan Model Avery Martin Hair & Makeup by Leah Washuta Location & Pastries Andersen’s Danish Bakery & Restaurant

Andersen’s strawberry fields cake Miramar top, Sirena Marlowe skirt, Sirena The General Collective necklaces, Sirena Kai Linz bracelet, Allora by Laura Vietri plate, Letter Perfect

Andersen’s eclairs, Sarah Bernhardt & marzipan layer cake Repeat Cashmere sweater, Whiskey & Leather Marlowe skirt, Sirena Kai Linz rings, Allora by Laura Vietri plate, Letter Perfect

Have your cake and eat it too at Andersen's Danish Bakery

Andersen’s eclairs, petit fours & Sarah Bernhardts Vietri plate, Letter Perfect @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 57

Andersen’s Strawberry Fields Cake Vietri plates, Letter Perfect Florals, Letter Perfect

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Andersen’s Eclairs D Exterior Dress, Allora by Laura Kai Linz ring, Allora by Laura Vietri plate, Letter Perfect

Scotch & Soda top & skirt, Whiskey & Leather Kai Linz rings, Allora by Laura Vietri plates & vase, Letter Perfect Florals, Letter Perfect

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C a lifo D r eaming

Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar Styled by Madeline Williams Model Logan Kemp with Elite Model Management Hair & Makeup by Shyann Swisher Hair & Makeup Assistant Colleen Konowitz Location Hotel Californian

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r n ian

Norma Kamali dress, Allora by Laura Nili Lotan slip, Allora by Laura B-Low the Belt belt, Allora by Laura

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Mara Hoffman swimsuit, Jake & Jones

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Manoush top & skirt, Jake & Jones

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Missoni skirt & top, Allora by Laura Kisiwa earrings, Jake & Jones necklace, Juniper

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Peter Cohen blouse, Allora by Laura Lorena Antoniazzi pants, Allora by Laura Brother Vellies shoes, Jake & Jones

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Cinq à Sept top, Juniper Birgitte Herskind skirt, Juniper Seychelles shoes, Paula Rosen necklace, Juniper Brookes Boswell hat, Jake & Jones

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Seventy blazer & trousers, Allora by Laura Paloma Barcelo shoes, Allora by Laura Kisiwa earrings, Jake & Jones Luvaj necklace, Jake & Jones

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Manoush dress, Jake & Jones Brother Vellies shoes, Jake & Jones Kisiwa earrings, Jake & Jones

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Sally LaPointe top, Allora by Laura Lorena Antoniazzi pants, Allora by Laura Kisiwa earrings, Jake & Jones Luvaj necklace, Jake & Jones

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SB LIFE & STYLE travel


BU N G A L T he adventu rou s s i de of t he Tahit ian i slan d s Written by Ottocina Ryan

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Sharks circle our boat, their black fins gliding above the ocean that’s as clear as bottled water. My friends and I hop out into the warm South Pacific and calmly wade through the knee-high water, somehow already accustomed to the proliferous non-threatening stingrays and sharks in the French Polynesian waters. We reach an islet where palm trees grow from white sand and the only inhabitants are hermit crabs. Our guide breaks open coconuts and chops up the meat for us to snack on while he grills fish for lunch. After eating we relax in the tropical sun as he plays the ukulele. It’s only our first day here but we’re already recognizing that there is so much more to French Polynesia than overwater bungalows on Bora Bora. Not only are there other islands with overwater bungalows, the islands are overflowing with unparalleled natural beauty, adventurous activities, rich culture, welcoming residents, and fresh seafood.

Images courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme

We begin our vacation on Rangiroa, one of the less developed islands, which proved ideal for getting the most authentic experience possible. We check into Hotel Kia Ora Resort & Spa and our garden bungalows with private plunge pools and outdoor bathtubs are so private, we feel like we’re one of the few on the island. The community in Rangiroa is so small and tight-knit, we see everyone multiple times. Over dinner at Les Relais Josephine, a renowned local guest house (comparable to a bed & breakfast) owned by a cheerful white-haired French woman, we recognize a couple of other guests from our flight. The next day, as we are getting cultured (get it?) and visiting a Tahitian pearl farm, who walks into the pearl shop but Josephine. We aren’t surprised when we run into fellow guests while biking around the island. On our second day we go for an introductory scuba dive that makes Hawaii look like a fishbowl in comparison. @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 71

Our guides from Top Dive are reassuring and upbeat as they lead us down to coral reefs for sightings of living clam shells that are vibrant blue inside, a giant moray eel, a not so giant shark, and schools of colorful fish so dense it’s impossible to see beyond them.

made with Tahitian vanilla beans. The next morning we reconvene at the beachfront breakfast area and fill up on croissants, mango passion fruit juice, and ham and cheese omelets before exploring the island by ATV.

Back at Kia Ora, we gather for lunch at the poolside restaurant. I order poisson cru, the national dish, which is a ceviche in coconut milk. As I scoop the fresh fish out of the coconut shell it’s served in I gaze out at the view—the ocean is so clear I can’t decipher where the infinity pool ends and ocean starts.

Moorea Activities Center has hilarious guides, four of whom are attractive, and then there’s ours—a spitting image of Danny Devito. He leads us through fruit farms overgrown with ferns, passion fruit, pineapples, dragonfruit, and mangos. He picks starfruit and bananas for us to try. Aside from the road, I don’t see a patch of dirt through the abundance of trees and plants. We drive up the mountain and as we near a peak, we park our ATVs and hike a couple minutes to the lookout. As I take in the views of the lush valleys, sparkling blue coves, and pastel houses in the towns, I try to comprehend how a place this beautiful exists yet still feels undiscovered.

Before we decide to move to Rangiroa and spend the rest of our lives swinging in hammocks, we head for Moorea. As we wait for our flight at the tiny Rangiroa airport (by tiny I mean it doesn’t even have a security checkpoint) I order tuna tartare from the only restaurant. It’s not something I’d take a chance on at any other airport, but it turns out to be delicious, which goes to show how abundant great fresh fish is on the island. From Tahiti we take a quick ferry to Moorea. Contrasting sleepy Rangiroa (where I read in some pamphlet that the highest elevation is 12 feet), as we draw closer to the jagged emerald peaks reaching into the sky and I sense that adventure is ahead. We check into Moorea Beach Lodge just in time for sunset. The guest house looks like something that would belong in Malibu or Tulum with its whitewashed everything, framed shells, nautical touches, and palm tree-shaded garden bungalows. We sit in the shallow water, our legs floating in front of us, mesmerized by the cotton candy clouds in the sky and the stingray that drifts over to join us. Come night, we walk a few minutes down the road to Le Mayflower for dinner. Under bright stars and string lights we enjoy a locally sourced meal of parrotfish, shrimp dumplings, and creme brûlée

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Thinking our surroundings can’t get any more beautiful, we transfer to Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort and check into overwater bungalows. The room keys say ‘Wonderland’ which is fitting as it is the most memorable lodging I can imagine. With a Tahitian TV (the window in the bungalow’s floor) and steps from the private balconies to the ocean, the iconic hotel rooms make you feel like you’ve peaked in life. The next morning I wake up to neon pink clouds and climb down the steps to swim out between the two sections of bungalows, accompanied by schools of tropical fish and a canoe full of flowers delivering room service breakfasts. After a breakfast teeming with tropical fruit, Johanna and Teva of Temoana Tours pick us up on a speedboat at the Sofitel’s dock for a day of swimming with stingrays and relaxing at their private beach. The velvety stingrays are surprisingly similar to dogs and eager to be petted. The likeness becomes especially apparent during lunch, when they circle our motu picnic table in the water, waiting for food. After lunch a coral specialist gives us a lesson on coral rehabilitation and then lets us plant some coral. We all agree that coral gardening

is so therapeutic, more people doing it could solve other problems than just coral dying out. On our last day, we take an early ferry back to Tahiti to explore the largest French Polynesian island. We pile into the back of their Land Rover and Moana and Mato of Te Mato Nui Excursions drive us through the jungle to Mato’s village in the middle of the Papenoo Valley. Mato has Polynesian tattoos (as most locals we see do), and wears a shark tooth necklace and straw hat. He tells us stories of when he canoed from Tahiti to China for four months during monsoon season. At first I question his sanity, but come to realize he truly is just one with nature and might be smarter than the rest of us. We enjoy a lunch of produce from their farm, including three kinds of sweet potatoes, fresh squeezed coconut milk, and a seedless papaya Mato picked on the drive. We spend the afternoon swimming in their waterfall and learning from them about plants and herbs. The lesson is a reminder that while looking at fish through the Tahitian TV in a bungalow is certainly special, the real magic of Tahiti lies in the experiences to be had outside of the bungalows, with the locals, in the valleys and oceans. *

French Bee now offers direct flights to Tahiti Faa’a International Airport from SFO. We flew premium economy, and thanks to comfortable seats with all the legroom my long legs could ever want and palatable French meals, we arrived well rested. Our gracious flight attendants brought us bottled waters, desserts, kits including socks and toothbrushes, and iPads loaded with movies, magazines, and books. And the best part? Flights start at just $330 each way. When our French Bee flight landed in Tahiti at sunrise, we were greeted by Tahiti VIP. Throughout the week the company arranged and ensured timely transfers to and from the airport, ferry and our activities. Pro tip: rent portable Tahiti Wifi packs at the airport (life savers as wifi is still a recent addition to some of the islands).

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C Gettin g ove y

A g e t a w a y a t T i m be r C o v e on t he S o nom a C oa s t Written & Photographed by Amy Dong

It’s a stormy night and we’ve been contouring the Sonoma coastline for the last hour. While I can’t see it, the fresh, salty scent in the air and the faint crashing of waves is a welcome reminder that our destination will be well worth the journey. Twenty minutes of white-knuckling the steering wheel later, my friend Otto spots a dimly lit structure in the distance; it almost looks like a treehouse perched above the water. Tucked away up the rugged coastline, we have made it to Timber Cove. As we enter the lobby, I’m momentarily mesmerized. It feels like stepping back into the vintage aesthetic of the ’70s with the perfect modern touches. The lodge, built in 1963 and reimagined in 2016,

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has kept its integrity and redefines rustic. High vaulted ceilings, rich redwood finishes, and the coolest retro furniture I’ve ever seen come together to create the dreamiest living room. A fire crackles at the other end of the lodge and I resist the urge to make a beeline for it, wanting to exchange pleasantries with Paula, the General Manager. We talk eagerly about our journey and become fast friends. She’s just moved from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. As a bit of a wanderer, she was looking for an unconventional adventure and I can already see exactly why she chose Timber Cove. Once we settle in, we open a bottle of 2016 Walt Pinot Noir La Brisa for a nightcap, throw on a Matt Nathan record, and turn up our nest-

controlled fireplace. The tension in my shoulders from gripping the wheel completely melts away as the record plays and the wine warms my belly. I wake up to the crashing of waves and sunlight gently gleaming through our skylight. Remembering where I am, an involuntary grin spreads across my face and I melt into the mattress, which is immeasurably better than my one back home. Our setting has a brand new meaning in the daylight; I could not have imagined what beauty I would be waking up to. Our room is nestled into the coast, looking out onto the cove and surrounded by trees & trails. I wrap myself up in a red cashmere throw and pad towards the sliding glass door. The balcony wood is still damp from the storm and the smell of rain and salt make me feel simultaneously reminiscent and present. I’m enamored by the cove. The stark and breathtaking contrast between evergreen trees and the misty aquamarine ocean hits home for me as the quintessential symbol of the Northern California Coastline. The newly redesigned 46-room property offers ocean view rooms, but I’m already quite loyal to our cove view. Otto manages to peel me away from our balcony to venture out. We’re determined to uncover the nooks and crannies of Timber Cove. As we circle the property, I’m becoming more obsessed with this piece of the coast by the minute. We all know that Southern California is the state’s golden child, but I’m starting to think that Northern California might be the overlooked, quirky, and brilliant older sibling. We walk through a warm, light-filled space facing the water (reserved for Saturday morning yoga and the occasional

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intimate wedding), climb the small hill leading to the Peace Obelisk, a unique 93-foot mosaic sculpture, walk to the edge of the property to survey the fire pits and bocce ball courts perched on the cliff, and end up settled in the lodge and, no surprise here, sitting by the fireplace. We spend the afternoon sipping wine from the surrounding Sonoma vineyards and chatting with guests, locals, and property staff alike. By the end of the day, I’m starting to get a sense of the innate authenticity of Timber Cove. Every traveler is humble and friendly. Many of them are heading out on a leisurely hike or playing scrabble by the fireplace, often with a dog trotting not far behind. This rugged stretch of coast has no cell phone service. While not intentional, the “digital detox” certainly adds to the getaway experience. You won’t find guests scrolling through Instagram or staring down at their phones during dinner at Timber Cove. It’s a welcomed invitation to reconnect with our surrounding, each other, and ourselves. As day turns to night, guests appear in the lodge to relax and reconvene after a long day’s hike, or in our case, wine-tasting. We chat with two women that we met while checking in last night and they treat us like old friends. They wait patiently while I moon over their dog and ask them questions about how they ended up at this dreamy destination. The short answer is that they come every year, a tradition seven years in the making, to spend time together and catch up away from the hectic nature of the day-to-day. Everyone in the lodge slowly gravitates towards Coast Kitchen, Timber Cove’s resident restaurant. This morning, I had a garden scramble with fresh produce featuring sweet tomatoes and topped

with local goat cheese (a perfect way to start the day). I’m already brewing with excitement for what is sure to be a mouthwatering meal. For a little context, Coast Kitchen features fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal dishes with an emphasis on seafood (insert swoon here). Our friendly server, who has also just relocated to the area, lets us know that locally foraged wild mushrooms will be included on tonight’s menu. Coast Kitchen doesn’t use buzz words like “fresh, local, and sustainable” lightly; the King of the Woods mushrooms coming my way have been foraged in the surrounding 10 miles. In my humble opinion, you can’t truly experience a place, until you have experienced the food. At Timber Cove, luxury takes on a different look. Lavish dinners are traded for real, whole foods that have been crafted and prepared with care. Strangers you might normally pass by without introduction become friendly faces who want to know who you are, where you come from, and what brought you here. An overwhelming quantity of amenities is reduced to quality pieces that will create meaningful memories. The Crosley LP record player that sits in each room will stand out in my memory for years to come. I can’t say that I’ve ever danced to “Crashing” by Matt Nathan (clearly off tune) with a good friend while listening to a winter storm all around us. I’m grateful for this unconventional getaway that gave me exactly what I needed (and didn’t know that I was looking for). * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 77

Living La Vida Villa Written by Ottocina Ryan

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A lu xu r io u s e s c a p e a t V i l l a M a n z u in Co s ta Ri ca


o you ever wonder if you’d wake up “like this” if you slept in the same bed Beyoncé had slept in? So, I hadn’t either, until I arrived at Villa Manzu and the general manager whispered to me “You’re in the room Beyoncé stayed in.” I’m not even a fangirl but I couldn’t help but be curious. After a week of “research” I concluded that the answer is yes, you do wake up, at least feeling, flawless. Because staying at Villa Manzu is that incredible. So what do you do at a place where the caliber of privacy, luxury, and fun is fit for Beyoncé? Where the options range from adventurous to pampering, and the charismatic managers and butlers will make anything happen. Option A: You sit by the pool all day. This may sound boring but you’ll know what I’m talking about once you get there. You won’t want to leave the villa; it’s over-the-top amazing yet puts you at ease. Option B: You wake up to the sunrise, feeling like Beyoncé (or one of the other celebrities that has rented out the eight bedroom, 30,000 square foot villa—the Kardashians, basically every Victoria’s Secret model, Zach Efron, Katy Perry, the list goes on). You click a button and the curtains recede to reveal expansive views of Peninsula Papagayo and the villa grounds. You climb out of bed and get lost in your suite on the way to the bathroom because your room is that big. Remember: two

walk-in closets to the right, bathroom with freestanding tub, patio, and shower the size of a regular entire bathroom to the left. The decor is elaborate yet comfortable and pays tribute to the location. Everywhere you look there’s something beautiful, art from indigenous cultures from around the world and ceilings of custom hand-placed stone patterns inspired by wind accentuate the interiors. You slip into your fluffy robe and head downstairs to the open kitchen where Chef Sabrina is pulling passion fruit muffins out of the oven. She greets you with a cheerful “good morning” and tells you about today’s special, Spanish eggs Benedict. You fill your plate with freshly sliced mango, papaya, and pineapple from the bountiful spread on the counter and head outside, past the table that’s set for breakfast, in favor of the chaise in the infinity pool. You savor your fruit while eyeing the vibrant green parrots in the trees. The villa sits on a cliff on Peninsula Papagayo, so views of Costa Rica’s beauty and wildlife are abundant. Plus the area doesn’t get much rain compared to the inland rainforests, so the weather allows for activities all day. You head out for a four-mile stair hike with the husband and wife management team. Jen and Chris, who are originally from the United States, are worldly and charismatic. As you climb thousands of stairs and jog across beaches, they offer inspiring stories of when they first moved to Costa Rica over @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 79

20 years ago and their exotic travels. Along the hike, you see howler monkeys and pass Prieta Beach Club which is available to Villa Manzu guests. The villa staff sets up water and cold towel stations at two points on the hike. Now this is attention to detail. An hour and a half and seemingly a million stairs later, you waddle through the villa’s ornate wood doors and straight to the outdoor breakfast table. Without hesitation Sabrina brings you your eggs Benedict. Service is impeccable, almost to a fault. When you ask for a coffee refill she won’t even let you use the same cup. What kind of place do you think this is? Post breakfast, you get a massage from masseuse Joanna. Unlimited facials, wraps, and massages are included in the nightly rate. The open-air spa has ridiculously high ceilings and a cascading waterfall creating a curtain of water where a wall would be. After the best massage of your life, you open your eyes to the green and white striped drapes fluttering in the breeze in front of the palm trees and conclude it’s also the best treatment room you’ve ever seen. More relaxed than ever, you stretch out on a lounge chair by the infinity pool. You want a fresh coconut, so you ask Jose, one of the butlers, who feels like family from the day you arrive. When you need anything you just ask Jose. He’ll be there, there’s zero staff turnover. As the sun reaches its highest point, you head to the garage to be driven to the harbor for an outing on Villa Manzu’s new 42’ motor yacht, Nimbu. The garage has an Expedition, a Range Rover, a red Jeep and ten times as many surfboards as it does cars. Fitting, as it’s the ideal spot for a surf trip. Nimbu is available to guests anytime. Like everything else, the managers will cue it up at the drop of a hat. Once aboard, you pump up the music and zoom off into the Pacific Ocean towards a beach where you’ll have lunch. On the way you spot a few turtles and

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pass Witch’s Rock, one of the most notable surf spots in Santa Rosa National Park, which has seven breaks. Chris notes that he takes guests there often. When the boat anchors, you swim to the beach and lounge in hammocks with Rosé while lunch is being grilled. You sit down to fajitas with lobster, chicken, and the mahi mahi that you (or, let’s be real, the tournament level fisherman boat captain) caught on the ride here. Back at the villa, Chef Mariano is preparing dinner in the kitchen and shows you a couple of herbs that will be incorporated. You take a dip in the pool, your loyal and considerate butler Louis reminds you it’s time to start drinking, and brings a round of Pisco Sours. You order another coconut water too. They’re so good you’re averaging five a day. There’s a tradition where you throw the empty coconut off the balcony to hit the gong in the garden below, and your goal is to hit it before leaving, so you need as much practice as you can get. Now for the most memorable part of the trip. Luckily it’s a new moon, which is ideal for seeing bioluminescence in the water. You leave your phone behind at the villa, on the patio no less (can’t do that at a hotel), and Jen drives you to the Nature Center for a bioluminescence tour. As the sherbet glow fades from the sky you push off from the beach in outrigger canoes. As you paddle out, the water starts to sparkle more and more with each stroke. The ocean around the canoe mimics the star-speckled night sky. You drag your paddle, creating comets and milky ways in the water. Once you are on the opposite end of the cove as the crocodile you jump in. (Wait, what? Did you forget this was Costa Rica?) It’s okay, it minds its own business, and regardless you’d see it coming as the bioluminescence lights up with movement. Now this is the coolest experience. Every movement makes the water all around you light up as if you’re swimming in an ocean of fireflies.

At 8:30 you return to the villa, slip on a bathrobe over your swimsuit (noticing that the staff has neatly arranged your room and done your laundry) and head to dinner on the patio. You can already tell it’s going to be different than last night’s eight-course tasting menu; there’s a surprise on the patio—a blank canvas surrounded by paint brushes, paint, and a guitar. You take a seat and artist Carlos Hiller introduces himself and his guitarist. As the musician plays Carlos transforms the canvas into an underwater scene, energetically painting to the rhythm. Chef Mariano fills the table with barbecued chicken, fish, ribs, salad, and elotes, with wine pairings by Louis, who is not just your new best friend, but a wine expert. Mesmerized by the performance and how delicious the food is you don’t say a word, other than whispering to “please pass the chicken,” until the marine painting is complete. You sit around the table for the next hour, chatting and finishing off the bottles of wine. To put the abundance of fine wine served at Villa Manzu into perspective, there is a glass-walled wine cellar off of the living room, yet you are so well taken care of that you don’t even touch it. You fall asleep, in Beyonce’s bed, convinced you’ve found the best place on earth. The only consolation for leaving will be the helicopter flight tour on the way to the airport, and knowing that all of the same staff will be here when you return for your next vacation. *

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Day 1 BREAKFAST Mortensen’s Danish Bakery, started by a baker from Copenhagen, smells like the inside of your grandmother’s oven in the best way possible. The endless cases of Danish pastries are irresistible and if you’re having trouble deciding, the butter ring is a must. @mortensensbakery

SHOP Wildflower Boutique owner Amber Lease is exactly the kind of woman you’d want to hang out with: a savvy dream-seeking entrepreneur who is always up for chit-chatting over a glass of Pinot. Envisioned and operated by a self-proclaimed farm girl at heart, Wildflower Boutique’s style echoes all the things every Santa Barbara woman wishes to evoke—effortless aesthetic. Wildflower’s Los Olivos location is helmed by the sweetest sales associates and offers everything from children’s clothes, to your everyday jeans and boots, to timeless dresses. @wildflowerwomenboutique

PLAY Scenic is the word for the weekend and Folded Hills Ranch is a one-stop-shop. You’ll find yourself surrounded by supremely beautiful mountains, farm animals, wine, and fresh produce. With a soon-to-open tasting room built right on the farm, just steps from the most adorable ranch animals and a barn offering organic produce for sale, Folded Hills Ranch is a multifaceted, “come-asyou-are” experience. It’s family made from head-to-toe, and each wine is inspired by a piece of the family’s charming history. The philosophies at Folded Hills are “as little interference as possible” and wine as a way of life. I will absolutely drink to that! @foldedhills

DINNER Have you ever tasted heaven? Want to? SY Kitchen opened in 2013, and this Italian-inspired California farmhouse offers something close to perfection with its modern (and mouthwatering) Italianstyle dishes and farm-chic outdoor dining experience. SY Kitchen is A. Must. Go. @sykitchen

STAY Leave your accommodations to the experts—SY Vacation Rentals offers a selection of vacation rental properties combined with concierge services, providing guests with all the luxuries of a hotel in the comfort of a beautiful private home. But not just any home, an expansive ranch the Santa Ynez Valley, giving you the most authentic stay possible. @santaynezvr 82 | MAY/JUNE 2019

48 hours

in Santa Ynez

Day 2 BRUNCH In downtown Los Olivos, The Bear & Star is a haven of refined ranch cuisine. The name involves a play on the two home states of the restaurant’s founder, California and Texas. The weekend brunch menu offers jalapeño cheese grits, a-half rack of ribs and the restaurant’s signature ranch fries, all of which I encourage you to go and try for yourself. @thebearandstar

SHOP True Addiction is a cozy boutique filled with classy bohemian clothing and accessories from popular and local designers. The owners are soul sisters who were born and raised in Santa Ynez Valley and live and breathe fashion. Their chic selection makes me understand why shopping addictions exist. @trueaddictionboutique

WINE TASTING With a relaxed, welcoming vibe, excellent wine, and decor that is chic Manhattan townhouse meets country farm, Brick Barn Wine Estate stands out amongst the dozens of wineries in the Valley. Sit on their spacious patio and enjoy a glass (or two) of Pinot Noir accompanied by a cheeseboard and vineyard views. @brickbarnwineestate

DINNER For a change of pace in your dreamy ranch weekend, stop by Los Arroyos Solvang, a local’s favorite that never ever disappoints. It’s Mexican food done by a family for families. Los Arroyos commits to serving fresh, delicious, authentic ingredients in your favorite Mexican classics, from tamales to tacos. You won’t find better Mexican food at this price-point, and your whole family can feast in comfort in the vibrant atmosphere. @losarroyosrestaurant Written by Meghan Kelly