January/February 2020 | Santa Barbara Life & Style

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January/February 2020

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine




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EST. 1984 here’s to






SANTA BARBARA LIFE & STYLE delivered to your mailbox

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 Editor in Chief & Publisher Ottocina Ryan Creative Director Silas Fallstich Art Director Riley Yahr Marketing Manager Delaney Willet Photographers Jacqueline Pilar, Stephanie Plomarity, Jon Premosch, Megan Sorel Writers Anna Constantino, Taylon Faltas, Kim Hashemi, Keri Haugse, Emma McDonnell, Alexandra Sharova, Celine Wallace, Delaney Willet Stylists Emma McDonnell, Lux Wright


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16 | HIDDEN GEM Small bites and live music pair perfectly with a cocktail at Pearl Social.

52 | SHIFTING PERSPECTIVE Resolution: make time for yourself.

20 | YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF GOAT BRUNC H? Experience a playful take on a Moroccan classic at Goat Tree.

philanthropy 26 | A SANTA BARBARA DREAM Dream Foundation brings together the Santa Barbara community to support a resident’s life-long dream.

profiles 28 | FIRING UP A SLICE OF TRADITION Forno Classico pizza ovens bring the authentic traditions and flavors of Sicily to your backyard.

54 | SPIN FOR THE S TARS StarCycle is our new ride-or-die workout. 56 | DIVINE POSSIBILITIES Seeking your inner truth is as easy as looking to the stars. 58 | LET'S FACE IT The secret to ageless skin? Rosewood Miramar Beach’s Sense Spa might just have it. 60 | SOUL SEARC HING The path to healing and enlightenment in the Amazon Jungle–it all starts with one sip.


30 | C ALIFORNIA COOL Heidi Merrick redefines California comfort with a wink to her surfing roots.

64 | A TAS TE OF THAIL AND Michelin Star dining and private pools are the epitome of Trisara. But don’t get too comfortable, Phuket is full of surprises.


68 | THE MANA OF MAUI Don’t mind us–we’re on island time.

32 | QUEEN OF THE GREEN Our swing and style is above par. 42 | ON THE GO Activewear with an edge.

Rains jacket, Jake & Jones Vimmia sports bra & leggings, vimmia.com Necklaces, Juniper APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com 12 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

72 | L AGOON OF YOUTH Pastel blue waters and floating massages fall nothing short of a dream at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland. 74 | 48 HOURS Ring in the New Year by exploring all Santa Barbara has to offer.




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Staff Picks for


The year’s rainiest months have met their match with SeaVees’ comfortable (and stylish!) Mariner Boot SeaVees Mariner Boot seavees.com

Made by Yoke Abundance Wellness Candle madebyyoke.com

Lord Jones High CBD Formula Stiletto Cream for Tamara Mellon lordjones.com

This at-home facial marvel, conveniently stored in your freezer, is your solution to puffy eyes, redness, and lymphatic drainage

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The locally made snack that will keep you fueled all day long

Retrouvé Baume Ultime Body Oil retrouve.com 14 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

GOBY Toothbrush goby.co

Macadamia Nut Ivan Bar ivan.bar

Photo by Jacqueline Pilar

There’s no better way to keep up wellness and time management resolutions than with a water bottle that cleans itself LARQ Self-Cleaning Water Bottle livelarq.com

Beyond Yoga top & leggings, beyondyoga.com Rings, Juniper

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 15


SB LIFE & STYLE dining

Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Emma McDonnell

cocktail bar is a much visited spot after a long day of work, however finding one that ensures an elevated experience can be another task on its own. Tucked away in the Funk Zone, between The Lark and Santa Barbara Wine Collective is a hidden gem. Enter Pearl Social, a cozy, intimate cocktail bar and the new talk of the town.

I walk into Pearl Social and am immediately greeted by Janira, a cocktail server. My best friend and drinks date chooses to sit on the patio because it’s obviously the optimal spot for people watching. Janira hands us menus and helps us pick our poison. The drink list includes elevated and lively cocktails with eyecatching names, ranging from Lady Luck to Nightingale to Oceans of Love. My eyes wander to the section headed “Comeback Kids” and I opt for a Pornstar Martini, as I feel like drinking something sweet yet cliche. My friend goes for a Juju which falls under the B. Anthony Approved section and is essentially an affluent, spiced orange juice. We pair our drinks with a couple delicious dishes created by Jason Paluska of The Lark.


Pornstar Martini

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 17

As we nosh on our Cheese Plate and Caramelized Cauliflower, we can’t stop admiring the decor. An exquisite emerald and blue peacock mural frames the room. The old-world elegance of the spot is embodied in its lush leather and velvet furniture and is shadowed by the warm, rich light which radiates from the beautiful light fixtures. Midway, Gavin Koehn, the mixologist, comes over to our table and gives us a bit of insight into the design and creation of the menu. He explains that both the spot and menu are expressions of the luxury charm of the 1930-40s. Further, the menu is representative of the types of drinks that those who made the transatlantic journey from New York to London or Paris would drink. The main attraction is the incorporation of exotic and foreign liquors in a number of drinks. However, he explains that this overseas elegance is opulent yet approachable as the glamorous cocktails rub shoulders with more typical drinks like those which fall under the Comeback Kids section and all consist of your common martini variations.

Your’s Truly

Pearl Social Burger on Brioche


Smoked Trout Dip

It is safe to say that my visit to Pearl Social will not be my last. From the atmosphere, to the service, to the live music, to the drinks and food, every aspect of the cocktail lounge was perfectly constructed with thought and care.

Everybody’s Business & Pornstar Martini

The menu also boasts a number of beautiful wines, which find their home on the former wine wall of the iconic Les Marchands establishment. So, cocktail-fiends don’t be alarmed, there is something for everyone! It is safe to say that my visit to Pearl Social will not be my last. From the atmosphere, to the service, to the live music, to the drinks and food, every aspect of the cocktail lounge was perfectly constructed with thought and care. The spot is the perfect combination of fun and class. From the minute I stepped through the welcoming, lit-up, wooden doorway, I embarked on a journey of splendor, a reminder of a time gone by. Pearl Social provided a well spent, sophisticated evening, and a place to look forward to on nights to come. * pearlsocialsb.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 19

Avocado Toast 20 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

You Haven't Heard of Goat Brunch?

Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Anna Constantino Model Delaney Willet Goats from Lavenderwood Farm


crack open the black croissant’s glossy shell and its buttery flakes flutter to the plate below. Steam and notes of truffle escape the soft inside of the pastry, infusing the palm tree-lined courtyard of Goat Tree at Hotel Californian. Orange-chia marmalade and butter melt into the croissant’s crevices. As I take a bite, scents of saffron linger from a neighboring table, and I am transported to the spice markets of Marrakech. @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 21

Derek Lam 10 Crosby dress, Isla at Hotel Californian Kaanas sandals, Isla at Hotel Californian



...the BLT + E grabs my attention—a BLT plus a fried egg on top, with a Mediterranean twist. Now that I’ve had my sweet tooth fix I am ready to take on savory brunch options. Looking at the menu, I quickly realize it’s going to be a tough decision. I enlist the help of my waitress and ask about their most popular dishes. She says their avocado and smoked salmon toasts are classics, along with The Bernie, which she explains is a modern take on eggs benedict. I study the rest of the menu and the BLT + E grabs my attention–a BLT plus a fried egg on top, with a Mediterranean twist. I order it along with a side of their G.O.A.T. fries. I simply can’t resist fries. Eagerly awaiting my meal, I peer inside. The early morning light seeps through tall windows onto the playful interior. It’s warm and welcoming with eccentric tiles covering the floor and orbs suspended from the ceiling. It’s chic yet playful. Appropriate considering the restaurant’s unique name (after tree-climbing goats in Morocco). @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 23

Out of the corner of my eye I spy my G.O.A.T. fries approaching. I smell the blend of 13 spices before the bowl (accompanied by charred pepper dip) reaches the table. The BLT + E follows right behind. The presentation exudes California brunch aesthetic, but the spice permeated air tells me we’re in Morocco. I dig in to the fries. The hints of saffron and mild cotija blend to create a unique flavor palette. Next I compile the perfect BLT + E bite featuring all the elements: crusty focaccia bread smothered in smoked tomato and aioli, stacked with pork belly, friseé, and a fried egg. I cut into the egg and the perfectly-cooked yolk oozes down the focaccia. The acidity of the tomato complements the saltiness of the pork, and the friseé is wonderfully refreshing with hints of citrus. My dining experience, accompanied by a warm ocean breeze, brought me to the Mediterranean. My vacation wraps up when the train horn in the distance brings me back to the start of a bustling day on State Street. On my way out, I can’t help but grab another croissant for the road. This delightfully modern twist on a classic Moroccan cuisine has me wanting to savor every last bite. * Chocolate Croissant

Blue Corn Pancakes



Avocado Toast

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

SB LIFE & STYLE philanthropy

A Santa Barbara

Dream W

hen offered a wish or dream, most people would instantly answer with something that benefits them and them alone. Not Gail. Within the first few minutes of speaking with the recent Dream Foundation Dream recipient, I can already tell she’s selfless. The 68 year-old wife, mother of two and grandmother of five expresses, “I’m blessed to have my whole family live in Santa Barbara.” And through my conversation with her, it is evident the great lengths she would go to for those closest to her. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Gail has always called both the ocean and the mountains home. She grew up in the canyon just above Stevens Park in a house built by her dad and her grandfather, and recalls her childhood being filled with sports, endless outdoor activities, and camping. Years later, in March of 2017, Gail’s life turned upside down when she was diagnosed with ALS. She noticed the symptoms about two and a half years ago when she had a third carpal tunnel surgery, followed by a foot drop which caused her to trip and fall. The devastating news took to Gail as a complete shock. She never expected something like this to happen to her.


Written by Emma McDonnell

Not far away, an organization founded in Santa Barbara embodies Gail’s selflessness. Dream Foundation, which grants Dreams to terminally-ill adults, sorts through hundreds of applications weekly with the goal of picking a Dream recipient. The Dream Coordinator chooses a story that both they and the team feel connected to. And one lucky Tuesday, Gail’s application was selected. Summer of 2019, Dream Foundation and Gail were brought together. When wishing for her dream, Gail didn’t look far—in fact she looked within the same city. The Foundation arranged a glamping vacation for three nights in three cabins at El Capitan Canyon, a getaway she had always talked about yet Dream Foundation and generous community members made possible. Her husband, daughter, sonin-law, son, daughter-in-law, and five grandsons experienced this magical Dream with her.

...the best memories in life are simple and come whilst surrounded by the ones you love.

Not knowing what to expect, Gail’s trip began with a family barbeque, a presentation of her Dream vacation and her grandsons being treated to gifts. She claims that she could just “rattle on and on” about her Dream. “Riding my scooter while the boys rode their bikes, eating all of our dinners together as a family, our day at Refugio Beach, and watching our grandsons play in the pool” were just some of the highlights of the trip. She was overjoyed as it was surprise followed by surprise! For Gail, what mattered was that everyone was able to experience her Dream with her. She describes her Dream vacation as “perfect” and “pure joy” and something that she and her family will cherish forever. Gail continues to show how important it is to make the conscious decision to put others above oneself. Her’s is a story of compassion, with love and appreciation for the little things in life. Through my conversation with Gail, I am reminded how the best memories in life are simple and come whilst surrounded by the ones you love. * dreamfoundation.org @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 27

SB LIFE & STYLE profiles

Firing UP

a Slice

Forno Classico tells a much deeper story beyond its Italian translation, “classic oven,” to owner and traditional pizza oven artisan, Giuseppe Crisa. Born and raised in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, Giuseppe learned the trade of handcrafting classic brick pizza ovens from his nonno (grandfather) when he was a young boy, rewarded for his help in dessert: peaches and wine. 12 years ago, Giuseppe had a dream of moving to America— opportunity at just an arm’s length away. In Sicily, Giuseppe was a mechanical engineer. Yet as soon as the plane touched down in California, Giuseppe sought Santa Barbara as the vessel for curating his American dream. I step into the quaint Goleta manufacturing office, warmly greeted by three men waving at me through the glass in the workshop. Before I even sit down, Giuseppe hands me a cup of espresso as he wipes the dust off his hands to shake mine. I am midsentence into my first question when he receives an important phone call from his dear friend and world famous pizzaiolo, Chris Bianco. At this moment, I know Giuseppe is running a special operation.

OFTradition Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Taylon Faltas


After you moved here, what did you do before you knew you wanted to make traditional Italian pizza ovens? “I tried everything I could,” Giuseppe begins, “At 29 years old, I took a culinary class at City College, I was a personal chef for celebrities, you name it. It was a very dark moment when I first came to America. I used to change gas tanks in heaters. I used to sell seafood. I used to cry every night. It is a beautiful town, but I didn’t fit. I knew I had to change my attitude. Sometimes you have to be positive.” Does the original model for your pizza ovens still exist? “My first pizza oven, called the Forno Piccolino, sold for $1,000 on eBay two hours after posting it. I built it in the garage of my Montecito home,” Giuseppe explains. “That first buyer lived in Florida and I would call him almost every day to see how his oven was doing. He eventually told me to stop calling, but now we keep in touch every once in a while.” Now that Giuseppe had sold his first oven, he gained the courage to start writing the story to his own American dream. Giuseppe explains to me how in order to fund his new business, he made a second oven, bought a trailer, and started a pizza catering company. “I was a mechanical engineer, and now I was the pizza guy! I was the first guy to make pizza in this kind of traditional Italian oven in the United States.” “After that,” he grins, “I was so obsessed, I was talking about my pizza oven with everyone! I wrote 300 names down before coming up with Forno Classico. Our oven is minimalistic. It’s made with clay brick, natural products, and has a long warranty.” Because they’re considered true Italian pizza ovens, Forno Classico ovens can reach up to 1,000 degrees. This level of heat allows the brick to quickly and thoroughly cook a delicious pizza every time the hot flames are ignited. I witness the Forno Classico ovens for myself, from the brick assembly all the way to the completed product. Every component of the oven is built with great precision, down to the carefully placed brick interior and the individual decorative tiles that embellish the surface.

Forno Classico produces just 100 ovens annually, each custom made and hand-crafted to Giuseppe’s liking. No oven leaves the shop unless he approves it. “Everyday I try to do something better for my product. We Italians are very picky with our design and precision.” Forno Classico currently has three models available to order on their website: the Forno Cupola, the Napoli Famiglia, and the Fiamma Square. What is your favorite kind of pizza to make using your Forno Classico oven? “Margherita—it’s the simplest and the best tasting. If you ask any Italian, they will say Margherita pizza,” Giuseppe smirks. “No matter what kind, the idea is to share. The pizza is used to socialize and have a conversation with your friends.” What does cooking pizza in a traditional Italian pizza oven crafted by your own hands mean to you and your family? “I come from a big family in Sicily. Family is extremely important. You don’t have to have a pizza oven to have a good time with your friends, but it is beautiful. The social part of food is very important in Italy.” He pauses. “There is a difference between reality and dreaming. For the first three years, I was dreaming a lot,” he continues, “When you’re a small business and you finally have a key to your building, people don’t call you Giuseppe anymore. You’re the pizza guy.” Giuseppe brought more than his traditional pizza ovenmaking skills from Sicily to Santa Barbara. He packed his suitcase with courage, tenacity, a dash of wit, and a deep devotion for curating and sharing authentic Italian food—the archetype of the classic American dream. After a nice conversation shared over espresso and creamy chocolate gelato, I leave Forno Classico not only with the story of how these remarkable ovens are made, but with the story of a man who turned his passion into a lifelong career. * fornoclassico.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 29

cali for nia cool

The story and style of designer Heidi Merrick Written by Delaney Willet Photographed by Elizabeth Lippman



f the California dream were to manifest in physical form, it would probably look a lot like Heidi Merrick. Descended from surfing world royalty Al Merrick, Heidi spent her formative years in idyllic Carpinteria, watching her father design and shape Channel Islands Surfboards as her mother sewed apparel for the company. Fashion was never the plan, but neither was anything else. “I just lived my best life in the moment,” Heidi says of life before forming her eponymous label. “I lived in New York and did theater for a long time. I worked at MTV as a PA and did art direction. I’m a super creative person and those are the people I get on with so I never had any other option. I can’t even have conversations with accountants.” Luckily for Merrick, her path rarely led toward a passionless occupation, much less a passionless day. Her career has always been guided by her heart, whether it was draping fabrics or teaching a game she barely knew. Of the interim in which Heidi straddled the entertainment and fashion industries, she says, “I was teaching chess in South LA to underprivileged kids right before I became a fashion designer. I still suck at chess.” Creativity has always come as an urge needing outlet to Heidi, an idea that would not rest until the spark was realized. Her unwillingness to cease seeking sartorial exploration was the very habit that prompted Merrick into the fashion industry in the first place. “I’m one of those people that no matter what I’m wearing it’s not right, so I adjust it,” she explains. “I was even like that as a child. It sort of came naturally to me, like this ability to finally wear what I wanted to wear—that’s what got me into fashion. Like every other girl, I like looking a certain way.” And what girl would not want to encompass “California Cool,” a term of which Heidi seems to be the epitome. She begs to differ, though, claiming her heart was never truly embedded in what the surfing lifestyle offered. “In terms of surfing and surfing lifestyle, I was always the weird artsy kid so I never really fit in in that way. Where it comes in with me now is in a cheeky sort of wink in my design to the culture I grew up in.” At the mention of this “cheeky” wink in Merrick’s design, I recall a covetable pair of bronze sequined hot pants that resembled the bottom half of a women’s spring wetsuit. The shorts were shown at Merrick’s Spring/Summer 2020 presentation, which premiered on her breathtaking apple orchard in the wooded hills of Carpinteria. As if she read my mind, Heidi says, “I love sequins. Those hot pants…when I say I do a wink to beach culture, that’s what I mean.” Though she may have fostered her creativity on the East Coast, Merrick could not help but be beckoned back to California, as if it was in her blood. Once she found herself on the other side

of the country, Heidi discovered she had left some of the biggest pieces of herself on the shores of the Pacific. “When I was 23, someone I really loved died in California and I was like, ‘What am I doing? These aren’t my people, this is not my lifestyle,’ and I decided I wanted to come back.” In the years that she was away, Heidi’s childhood hometown had grown too small for the plans she had in store, influencing a transition to a homestead that blends Californian coziness into the beloved freedom of a bigger city. “LA was a good medium. For me, I’m too well known in Carpinteria, it’s too small of a town. Los Angeles has this sort of anonymity. You don’t have to be famous to be too well known in Carpinteria and Santa Barbara. I like to redesign myself, to be who I want to be, not who people expect me to be. That is really claustrophobic for me. I still love the California lifestyle. I just wasn’t ready for it to be back in Santa Barbara,” she clarifies. As her label evolves and her family grows, Los Angeles has become much more to Heidi than a sanctuary of inconspicuity. She explains, “One major influence for the brand was being able to design and manufacture in my own studio. Being the one to pattern and drape, you’re limited by your own capacity and skills, so my skill set had to grow as my design sense grew. I think that comes from having a dad who is a designer and manufacturer.” With a single look, anyone could detect that Merrick is doing something different with her garments, something unique. This distinction is the product of ingenuity and exuberant selfexpression. I cannot help but wonder what is in store for Heidi Merrick, what corners of the earth and the industry she plans to traverse next. “We’re launching men’s,” she reveals. “That’s going to take a minute for me, to really get the look that I want to show down. We showed a few looks to tie it into the collection, but I think that is a real market for me, so I just have to explore how I’m going to hit that market.” Above all else, Heidi’s primary priority as far as the future is concerned is her children and equipping them with the most creatively satiating upbringing possible, not unlike her own. “I really like the cultural exposure for my kids here in Los Angeles, so we’re here for them for the time being. I’m still trying to do the year in Europe for them while they’re still influenceable. We have the apple farm in Carpinteria, we weekend there, we’ve talked about living there. I’m open to living all around the world. I talk about being an old lady in Paris, when I can’t surf, maybe that would be a fun place to be an old lady.” With a talent that transcends global borders, I cannot wait to see where Heidi Merrick is headed next. * heidimerrick.com

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 31

SB LIFE & STYLE fashion


Queen of the

Green Photographed by Jon Premosch Styled by Lux Wright Model Katty Ukhanova with Wilhelmina Hair by James David Makeup by Brynna Ashley Location Montecito Club | montecitoclub1918.com

Le Superbe Dress, K. Frank G/FORE glove Necklace, Whiskey & Leather Visor, stylist’s own @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 33

This page: Veronica Beard blazer & top, K. Frank Rag & Bone shorts, K. Frank G/FORE shoes Joy Dravecky earrings, Whiskey & Leather Illesteva sunglasses, K. Frank Right: Tommy Hilfiger top Tail Activewear skirt, The Tennis Shop G/FORE shoes Rolex watch, The Blue Door Prada sunglasses


@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 35


Left: A.L.C. sweater, K. Frank G/FORE glove Rolex watch, The Blue Door This page: Tommy Hilfiger top Champion sweatshirt Tail Activewear skirt, The Tennis Shop G/FORE shoes Rolex watch, The Blue Door Prada sunglasses @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 37

This page: Horoscopez top G/FORE glove Harp earrings, Coco Cabana Rolex watch, The Blue Door Right: Le Superbe Dress, K. Frank G/FORE glove Philippe Model shoes, K. Frank Necklace, Whiskey & Leather Vanessa Mooney earrings, Whiskey & Leather Rolex watch, The Blue Door Visor, stylist’s own


@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 39


Left: Tory Burch cardigan, Montecito Club shop G/FORE shirt & shoes Halogen pants Joy Dravecky earrings, Whiskey & Leather This page: A.L.C. sweater, K. Frank Rag & Bone pants, K. Frank G/FORE shoes Rolex watch, The Blue Door

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 41



e h t

Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar Model Hannah Glasby with Wilhelmina Hair & Makeup by Heather Roach Styled by Ottocina Ryan & Emma McDonnell Photo Assistant Paul Otte Location Santa Claus Beach


Beyond Yoga top & leggings, beyondyoga.com Cinq Ă Sept jacket, Juniper Rings, Juniper APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 43


Left: Vimmia top, vimmia.com Pam & Gela leggings, Juniper Rings, Juniper APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com Below: APL top & shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com Beyond Yoga leggings, beyondyoga.com Rings, Juniper Rains backpack, Jake & Jones

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 45

Left: Tori Praver swimsuit top, Coco Cabana Vilebrequin shorts, Coco Cabana Rings & necklaces, Juniper APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com Below: Pam & Gela jacket, Juniper


Vimmia hoodie, vimmia.com Year of Ours shorts, yearofours.com Rains fanny pack, Jake & Jones

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 47


Left: Varley jacket, varley.com Year of Ours sports bra, yearofours.com Vimmia leggings, vimmia.com Rings & earrings, Juniper Below: Vimmia sports bra & leggings, vimmia.com Necklaces, Juniper

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 49

Top: Vimmia bodysuit, vimmia.com Rings, Juniper Right: Varley jacket, varley.com Beyond Yoga top, beyondyoga.com Koral leggings, koral.com Rings & necklaces, Juniper


Year of Ours top & leggings, yearofours.com Tribe + Glory cuff, Jake & Jones Ring, Juniper

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 51

SB LIFE & STYLE wellness

ing shift ective persp Written by Celine Wallace Photographed by Stephanie Plomarity

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. 52 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

Do you sabotage your self-care? Do you feel guilty for taking time for yourself? You work all week, or you might look after the kids. Exhausted, you take a moment for yourself to do a yoga class or get a massage. But then you feel guilty for taking time out. First of all, let’s stop you right there! One of the biggest— if not the biggest—barriers to practicing self-care is guilt. We tend to feel incredibly guilty for tending to our needs. No wonder, think how many times a day you see a reference to someone ‘indulging,’ or ‘splurging,’ because they meet an essential need like eating the food they enjoy or relaxing. There’s also the belief that taking care of yourself leaves less time and energy for others. Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth, because how do you care for others if you’re not physically and mentally healthy yourself? As a matter of fact, practicing self-care helps us help others more effectively. So why do we feel guilty about it, and how can we move past that? The best way to move past self-care guilt is to decide that a big part of our service to the world is being selfcentered. I know what you’re thinking, how can I be of service to the world and be self-centered? Trust me, you can, and you need to be, and this attitude has nothing to do with being selfish or narcissistic. Think of care as a finite resource, like money in the bank. You can’t give more than you have without bankrupting yourself. You also can’t invest your money in making more money if you give it all away. Having the resources to share with others depends on the conservation and renewal of your own supply. Self-care is about being self-centered and self-centered people are not easily blown over by the gusts of other people’s opinions, agendas, or problems coming their way. Their secure center keeps them steady, and they don’t put others before themselves to the point that they have nothing left. In turn, they have more to give to everyone. Who doesn’t want more of their own energy and abundance so then they can share that with those around them? It’s true when they say, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

On the other hand, when your cup is full, and you radiate love, positive energy and vibrancy, that is when you inspire those around you. Have you ever seen someone walk into a room full of people, all smiles, happy and charismatic, without a care in the world? If you have, then no doubt you'll agree that energy is infectious. Be that person, not the person who feels guilty for taking some time out. When you’re tempted to give too much because of guilt, remind yourself of the risks of resentment too. Think about how it feels to be on the receiving end of a resentful giver. A resentful giver usually generously helps you out and then reminds you of it with loud sighs and indirect comments about how much they sacrificed. And this never feels good—for either person. When we over-do or over-give, bitter sentiments are a natural result. So, if we break it down, giving more than you can spare leaves you resentful and spent, which entirely defeats the purpose of giving. In turn, self-care becomes a powerful way to care for yourself and others.

Think of care as a finite resource, like money in the bank. You can’t give more than you have without bankrupting yourself. Ultimately, remember that self-care is essential. It’s not the same as pampering. While pampering falls under selfcare, not all self-care is pampering. Self-care is making time for your hobbies, creative activities, listening to your body, paying attention to your emotions in different environments, and ending draining relationships. Basically, it’s discovering what you need and doing what you can to make it happen. The next time you start to feel self-care guilt, stop yourself and shift your mindset around it. Self-care needs to be unapologetic and as ingrained as breathing air into your lungs, because filling your personal resource tank is the most powerful way to give back to others around you and operate from personal best. *

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The first StarCycle class I signed up for, I dragged my best friend along. It was a Sunday evening class and we thought, what better way to end the weekend than with a workout? I’m a total workout class junkie and was excited to give the “45-minute, beat driven, cardio ride” a try. I had been doing spin for a little over a year but my biking abilities were limited to stadium cycling with a monitoring device. StarCycle is different as it’s an experience without technology, which allows you to unplug and focus on yourself.

S pi n f ph ed




Phot ogr a

First impressions are everything and it is safe to say that the studio is absolutely beautiful. StarCycle is equipped with everything you could possibly need, from changing rooms to cubbies to hold your belongings to a childcare service. We checked in, put on our shoes and clipped in. There was a fairly mixed group of individuals taking the class—the ultra inshape moms, some couples working out together and a few college students.

|W ich llst Fa las

t he

ritten by Emm a Mc Do n ne ll

As I warmed up, I contemplated the front row spot that I chose. Yet, before I could change my mind the lights dimmed, the music got louder and a wave of concentration swept over the room. The studio feels like a nightclub: lights, candles and ultra-loud music. There are a few inspirational, positive notes written on the mirrors which are an encouraging, nice touch. Right off the get-go, push-ups. “Two in, two out,” the instructor yelled as we spun along to an energizing, EDM remix.

Within the first few minutes of the class, it was evident that it’s a full body workout. Composed of sequences: “climbs, sprints, side-to-sides, upper body”—it’s the real deal. Throughout the class, you realize that each sequence to each song is like a dance and once you start, you can’t stop. The class progresses and always includes isolations and one song dedicated to weights. Isolations tend to be my favorite because you really get to focus and feel that slow burn. Before class starts, you always think that one or two pound weights will never be heavy enough, but let me tell you, once you’re thirty minutes in, they are definitely heavy enough. When you hit the weights portion of class, you know you’re on the home stretch as it’s always followed by the instructor yelling out “Who wants to go home!?” This saying was probably the most incentivizing factor for me to really give it my all for the last track. And before you know it, the 45 minutes are over and you really do get to go home. Once I sat on the bike and clipped in, I was completely dedicated to those 45 minutes and those 45 minutes alone.


ars St e od




No class I ever took was the same and I was constantly challenged in the best way possible. In addition, I felt that StarCycle was more than just a workout, it’s also a community. My StarCycle experience extended beyond the walls of the La Cumbre Plaza location. I would see one of my instructors, Alanni, on campus at UC Santa Barbara and even received encouraging and supportive texts from another instructor, Steph. These follow-ups inspired me to continue to return to the studio.


You know the saying, “It’s like learning to ride a bike?” Well, people use this motto to describe how once you learn or acquire a skill, it’s difficult to lose it. This saying couldn’t be more spot on in terms of StarCyle. After my first time sitting on a bike, I learned how to Throughout properly and safely set it up, ride to the beat and the class, you keep that momentum going for the entire realize that each 45 minutes. From that moment on, sequence to each song I never forgot the techniques of spin or is like a dance and how ride to the beat. once you start, you I left each class feeling energized, inspired and can’t stop. fulfilled. Who knew what started as something to do on a Sunday evening would turn into an essential part of my life. * starcycleride.com/studios/santa-barbara

Vimmia top, vimmia.com Koral leggings, koral.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 55

DIV INE possibilities


An Astrological Reading with Jennifer Freed, Ph.D. Written by Keri Haugse

Most of us become familiar with our sun sign at an early age. We’re asked what day and month we were born, and voila: we’re forever beholden to one of the twelve sun signs. We’re an Aries or a Taurus. A Gemini or a Cancer. A Leo or a Virgo. A Libra or a Scorpio. A Sagittarius or a Capricorn. An Aquarius or a Pisces. But what if I told you that your sun sign is only one part of the story? That you can have traits of both a Libra and an Aquarius, mixed in with a little Capricorn and Cancer; that, along with your sun sign, you have at least ten other astrological archetypes that influence the way you do things; that the placement of the planets at the time of your birth, from the viewpoint of your birthplace, can reveal more about you than you ever thought possible. This was the query with which I entered into Dr. Jennifer Freed’s bustling office on a crisp Santa Barbara day. And let’s just say, I was not disappointed. A few moments after I entered, she sat me down on a plush couch, pulled out my astrological birth chart, and began to unravel the depths of my personality.

expressions.” For example, the placement of Mercury in your chart can give you insight into how you communicate, while the placement of Venus can give you insight into how you view love and beauty. Through these planetary placements, Dr. Freed revealed why I had waited until I was thirty to get married, why I have trouble being vulnerable, yet at the same time try to remain completely transparent. Why I’m extremely practical and logical, yet have an intense longing for freedom and creativity. When I asked how I was supposed to reconcile these seemingly impossible contradictions, she responded simply: “You don’t.” Dr. Freed has been practicing and teaching psychological astrology for over thirty years, and she revealed that such contradictions are ever-present within us. Our job is not to reconcile them, but to explore them in a way that will allow us to accept every part of ourselves: the light and the dark, the yin and the yang, the admirable and less admirable.

While mainstream astrology offers a prescriptive dose of advice or attempts to tell your future, psychological astrology is more interested in bringing you into full awareness of your capacity for growth and your ability to contribute to the community around “I still find that as a you. Dr. Freed describes your birth chart as a map of comprehensive system for divine possibilities; a North Star if you will, that allows understanding individual you to investigate your human beings in the context potential, your patterns, and how to be more skillful of an intelligent universe, in all that you do.

astrology has no competition.” – JENNIFER

What she revealed to me that day, I had somehow always known and felt. Yet, that inner knowing had never risen to a conscious level that I was able to articulate or put to use. I’ve been labeled a Libra since I was old enough to read the horoscopes in my grandpa’s morning newspaper. Yet, little did I know, this was only one part of my story. Yes, the Sun (the archetype of identity) was in the constellation of Libra when I was born, but the moon (the archetype of inner needs and fulfillment) was in Aquarius, and my rising sign (the archetype of social strategy or how you present yourself to others) was in Cancer. And this, I soon discovered, was just the tip of the iceberg. In the practice of astrology, each of the eight planets in our universe, plus the sun, the moon, and the asteroid Chiron, represents a specific archetype or universal principal that drives our thoughts and behavior. In Dr. Freed’s words, “Each planet is connected to specific psychological, social, and emotional

Whether you’re a couple seeking to understand each FREED, PH.D. other on a deeper level, a group of friends looking for a stronger connection, or an individual seeking your highest calling, an astrological reading with Dr. Freed can be an extremely enlightening experience. Her new book, Use Your Planets Wisely, is also an invaluable resource for exploring your truest potential: stripping away what others have told you about yourself, what you should do, or what you're best equipped for and replacing it with knowledge of who you really are—not who you think you should be. * Dr. Jennifer Freed is a nationally-recognized expert, author, speaker, and internationally certified Psychological Astrologer. She has consulted thousands of world-wide clients and is considered a leader in her field. She is a regular contributor to Goop and the go-to astrologer for Goop's health summits. In all of her work, Dr. Freed's passion is to awaken the potentials of each client and collective and to guide them to make lasting contributions to their communities.

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let's FACE it.

EviDense de Beauté is a love story between Charles and his Japanese wife—a marriage of Japanese beauty technology and French elegance. The line was inspired by his wife’s sensitive skin and penchant for anti-aging products. Their formula features a proprietary main ingredient: Triple Collagen®. Extracted from salmon in Hokkaido, this component has a high impact on skin’s firmness, suppleness, and luminosity. While effectiveness is a given, Charles was adamant about people finding pleasure in the process of using the products, not only the exceptional results. For that reason, he added a romantic floral scent and a texture that makes you look forward to your skincare routine.

A Triple Collagen Infused Facial at Rosewood Miramar Beach Written by Ottocina Ryan


t’s hard to imagine beauty products that evoke the same caliber of sophistication and tranquility as Rosewood Miramar Beach’s Sense Spa, but EviDens de Beauté does just that. I admire the sapphire blue and gold bottles of creams and serums as I check-in for my facial. As luck would have it, EviDens de Beauté’s founder is staying at the resort, so I make my way through the serene spa to meet him before my treatment. Charles Edouard Barthes greets me in the spa’s social room. His tailored navy blazer with white trim tells me he previously worked in fashion before he says it. We sit down to discuss the 12-year history behind EviDens de Beauté, which is now Sense Spa’s exclusive skincare partner worldwide.


All this talk of skin luminosity has me eager to experience the products. I change into a robe and my esthetician leads me to a treatment room named sunset for a Nurturing Skin Ritual Facial. As she massages soothing EviDense de Beauté creams and masks into my face I drift off in a cloud of rose, jasmine, and tuberose. 60 minutes later I emerge with not only the results of a tightening and rejuvenating facial but an enjoyable experience. * rosewoodhotels.com/miramarbeach-montecito


Reconnect and unwind at Sense, A Rosewood Spa

Experience a tranquil retreat featuring unique treatments inspired by local surroundings and native traditions. To book a treatment, call +1 805.900.8390 or miramar.sensespa@rosewoodhotels.com r o s e w o o d h o t e l s. c o m / m i r a m a r


Searching W

hen I first heard of Ayahuasca, it was all the rage. Everyone I knew was doing it, knew someone who had done, or wanted to do it. I was intrigued as to why so many people were drawn to this medicinal plant, so I did some research to find out for myself. The plant is a female vine grown in the Amazon, used to make a brew you drink. This brew is consumed as a traditional spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and has been for centuries. Also, in Vedic tradition, the early Indians who developed yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda called the concoction Soma and believed it helped achieve enlightenment.

The reason this brew is so ceremonial and sacred is it’s said to connect you with the spiritual world. When you drink Ayahuasca, it helps you see your past traumas and bring up any negativity stored in the body. Now, at first, that sounds daunting. Surely, if it’s a traumatic part of your life, why would you haul that up? But, if you're storing negativity in your cellular membranes it's limiting you without you knowing it. It's weighing you down. Inhibiting your choices. And we all know you can't be fully present and at your happiest with negativity in the body. As a healer and teacher of self-development, I want to know about any subconscious beliefs that are holding me back, so I can step into the highest version of myself to help others.


A journey to Enlightenment Through Ayahuasca Written by Celine Wallace Photographed by Russell Argo

So off I go on a quest to find the safest, most ethical, and authentic experience I can embark on. I want to go to the core, to the origin of where this tradition was founded: the Amazon Jungle in Peru. If you do it once, do it right, I say. I research retreat centers in Peru for a year but to no avail. Some centers don’t have enough information and those that do, have up to 40 people in a ceremony—40 PEOPLE! Can you imagine that many people in a room on hallucinogenics releasing trauma? That's enough to give me more trauma—no thanks!

The week to come changes my life. It gives me realizations about who I am, where I am going, and how I’m living. La Luna Del Amazonas told us to do some soul searching to become clear on our purpose for doing Ayahuasca, because the clearer you are, the more 'Mama Aya' can answer your questions. My intention for the Ayahuasca is to bust through my limiting beliefs and show me the darkest parts of myself and what is holding me back, so I can address any mental trauma and work to heal it.

Monday night is the first of four ceremonies. To prepare, we I’ve almost given up my search, but as the laws of the universe relax, eat delicious fresh food, read books, and sleep off any jet go, when you let go of lag. Our last meal is the idea of something, at 2 p.m.—a massive often, that's when feast of pasta, made it comes. While that day by our local talking to a girlfriend chef from freshly about how I want to harvested wheat, do Ayahuasca, she herbs, garlic, and mentions a friend tomatoes. You don't of hers went to this eat dinner the night of amazing retreat a ceremony, because center in Iquitos, it should go straight Peru (the heart of the into your body. Amazon) called La Luna Del Amazonas. At 8 p.m., we are It’s an intimate, 4-6 called to the temple, people in a circle illuminated by type of retreat center. flickering candles Check one! They and the light of the operate weekly full moon. The high retreats, so you can go bamboo ceilings whenever convenient. and walls made of Check two! There’s mosquito nets, allow a German doctor at us to feel so close to the center, so safety is nature it’s almost like we The week to come changes my in check. Check three! are a part of it. I can hear Plus, a man with his own the birds and insects life. It gives me realizations and personal experience singing their nightly with the medicine songs, along with the about who I am, where I am operates it with a family Shamans, sitting on of Shamans. Check thrones in front of a going, and how I’m living. four! I reach out to the giant jaguar painting, founder, Enrique, and singing ancient we speak for an hour. With his jovial nature, positive energy, and ancestral melodies. It’s as majestic as it sounds. personal story about the retreat center, I know I have found my place, and the time is right. To begin the ceremony, we all sit on our brand new mattress beds, snuggled up with blankets, pillows, water, and our trusty I arrive in Peru, and a smiling guy named Kenny greets me and purge bucket. There are four of us, so it’s intimate, but we are guides me onto a tuk-tuk. We make our way through the streets spread out enough to have our own experiences. I actually find of this tiny town called Iquitos. I’m awestruck at how happy it comforting knowing someone else is near me and having a everyone is, with seemingly nothing as they live in shacks or similar experience. fallen down houses. They are laughing and joking, some even singing in the streets. I already love it here. From our tuk-tuk, As the four of us sit there, we reconnect with our intentions, and we board a small boat, which takes us down the Amazon River, the Shamans begin to bless the Ayahuasca and us. They make past small villages and schools, until we disembark on the side their way around the room to each of us and sing prayers as they of the river. After a short walk through the jungle, I have arrived. offer us the Ayahuasca.

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I wake up to the soft flickering of candlelight and the Shamans singing as they make their way around to each individual to do a healing and cleanse away toxic energy as the ceremony ends. I’m perplexed; I shouldn't have fallen asleep again? Maybe Ayahuasca doesn't work for everyone? Maybe my body is immune to it? Perhaps I didn't drink enough? Perhaps this, perhaps that, a thousand different thoughts are running through my mind. At the sharing, it turns out that again, everybody had a similar experience—falling into beautiful deep periods of sleep and/or having wildly vivid dreams. Since we are only taking small amounts of the Aya, one finger dose to be specific, it is common for us not to immediately feel any massive changes. The following night we will be offered a full cup and even a second cup if we want it. The group is relieved and happy, content that we are slowly growing, evolving, and easing into this experience.

...here I am in a room full of strangers, in the Amazon Jungle, vomiting, crying, laughing, and feeling unadulterated bliss. It takes about half an hour to kick in, so I sit there and wait with bated breath. I try to remain calm and not to let my mind run wild. 'Try' being the operative word. Next thing I know, it’s the middle of the night, and I wake up. I had fallen asleep. At first, I am disappointed, what happened to all these massive revelations I was supposed to have? Did I do it wrong? But I feel great, so whatever happened wasn't all bad. The next day we have a sharing circle about the night before, and it turns out everyone in the group fell asleep! The Shaman informs us Ayahuasca doesn't give you what you want, she gives you what you need. So, after our long journeys, combined with everyone's adrenaline running high, what we all needed was to calm down and rest. As I go about my day, random realizations pop into my head out of nowhere. Ideas like ‘Reach out to this person, it will help you elevate your life, business, and relationships,’ or ‘This person is self-sabotaging, and because they aren't helping themselves it's stunting your personal growth. You have to let them go.’ I know it is the Ayahuasca sifting through my unconscious thoughts and talking to me. Night two, I feel like ‘Okay, I got this!’ I know the taste (a mixture between dirt and soy sauce), the process, and the feeling of the Aya running through my veins, and I am content with all of it. As I sit after drinking the medicine, I am filled with this overwhelming sense of pure love. I read a book earlier in the day by Ram Dass, Be Love Now, and I imagine, like a dream, that my veins are lit up with love and love is flowing through my entire body. As this feeling of pure bliss washes over me, I feel my eyelids grow heavy, and I slowly drift off to la-la land. 62 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

After a night off, Thursday rolls around, which is the third of four ceremonies. This time I have two full cups to make sure I can feel the effects. For the first time, I become increasingly nauseous. Many people are nervous about the purging part of Aya, but it's one of the most essential elements. Mama Ayahuasca travels through the cells of the body—you can literally feel her—and cleanses you of any negativity, which is what you then vomit out, or go to the bathroom to release. I don't know about you, but I don't want any negativity stuck in my body, so please purge away.

My stomach gurgles, and I feel the medicine making her way from my head to my feet. Working, clearing, dragging up all the negative energies I have been storing over the years. I remember the Shaman telling us to drink water to help bring up toxins. I chug my bottle of water, and wow, thank goodness for my trusty purge bucket. Afterward, I lie back and snuggle into my bed, feeling as light as a feather and listening to the harmony of insects outside in the jungle as I gently fall asleep. The next morning I wake up more happy and content than I’ve been in a long time. That day we relax; we eat, swim in the rivers, lie in the sun, and later in the afternoon I recluse to my bungalow to read my book Be Love Now. As I lie in bed, my dream of love from the earlier ceremony comes rushing back to me. The memory of love flickering like a flame in my heart and love pouring through my veins is vivid. This, coupled with the massive sense of happiness, is almost too overwhelming. A feeling of love so powerful and beautiful that I feel it for every person and every thing. Even after the experience, when I get lost in the semantics of life, I bring myself back to that moment, and all the trivial nonsense seems to fall away. On our final Friday night ceremony I have a gut feeling this is going to be a big one. The air has changed, and I feel lighter and more receptive. Giado, the lead Shaman we usually work with, brings his four brothers, who are also Shamans in the local village, to join us. That’s one shaman for each person in the room. A far cry from the typical one Shaman per 20-40 people, like in ceremonies in the western world. The energy in the temple is palpable. The four Shamans, adorned in native costume, begin their shamanic rituals. Everyone is administered their magical potion and we all sit back waiting for the night to reveal itself. I drink two full cups, as I did the night before, and instantly feel nauseous, but this time I can’t vomit. As I look around the room shapes begin to move and people morph. The girl across the room from me becomes a black panther while the Shaman's head turns into a giant ant head. I blink a couple of times, trying to make out what I am seeing, and as soon as I blink to reset my eyes, things go back to normal. Thank goodness. It isn’t scary, but my conscious brain is going ‘Um, what the heck?’ I lie down and close my eyes to avoid making out alarming shapes in the dark. I cuddle into my

blanket and as it wraps around me, it morphs into my grandma, who was like a mother figure to me and who I had never had the chance to say goodbye to when she passed away. I can visualize Nana now, clear as day, all the freckles on her hands and the rings she wore as she held my little hand. She tells me some beautiful things that out of respect to her spirit I want to keep sacred and private between us. After she tells me these messages, her spirit disappears. I lie back and reminisce on the week's experiences, laughing that here I am in a room full of strangers, in the Amazon Jungle,

vomiting, crying, laughing, and feeling unadulterated bliss. I think if I saw this experience on paper, I would run in the opposite direction, thinking everyone is crazy to put themselves through this for the sake of enlightenment. Yet here I am, and I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else in the world. The next morning Shaman Gaido, tells me he sees powerful positive energy within me and all around me. He also says that I had a guardian angel watching over me during the ceremony. I burst into tears because I know it was my grandma, and I hadn't shared my experience so there was no way he could've known that. In the jungle, they say drinking Ayahuasca is like the beginning of a new relationship. A relationship that is about unveiling new layers of you, using Mama Aya as the vessel. I leave that final circle knowing this is the beginning of a life long journey with Ayahuasca. I plan to drink Aya every year now, to strip away layers of my shadow self. To eliminate habits I have picked up through the pressures of having a hectic modern lifestyle. I have opened a beautiful pathway to transformation and now I feel like I cannot recommend plant medicine enough. And to the staff at La Luna Del Amazonas, it’s not goodbye, but see you soon. * lalunadelamazonas.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 63

SB LIFE & STYLE travel

a taste of

THAILAND Written by Ottocina Ryan



f your goal for the new year is along the lines of trying new things more often, well do I have the place for you. In just a week at Trisara Resort in Phuket, I learned muay thai, had three people massaging me at once, fed an elephant, watched dozens of hermit crabs traverse the sand, and made pad thai. All amidst a beautiful tropical paradise. You’re probably most curious about the massage so I’ll cut to the chase. Five words: Royal Trisara Six Hands Massage. Within minutes of arriving at the spa, sipping lemongrass tea with a view of the

ocean and jungle turns into 30 fingers working out my knots in unison. It is so well choreographed that it doesn’t feel novel. Plus you get the benefits of a four-and-a-half-hour massage in 90 minutes. After sitting up from the massage to a sky smeared with pink clouds, I walk back to my ocean view villa before dinner. The property looks beautiful in the evening glow. Thai architecture, lily ponds, and villas dot the lush hillside. My villa has it all—a view of the Andaman Sea, an outdoor shower, a private plunge pool, daily replenished tropical fruit, and absolute privacy.

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I join my friends for dinner at PRU. The name is an acronym for its plant, raise, understand philosophy, which speaks volumes to the property’s sustainability focus. Our 8-course Michelin starred dinner uses only ingredients sourced from within Thailand, mainly from Trisara’s farm. The next morning we visit the farm. They started planting the garden with native plants four years before guests even arrived at the resort. Passion fruit, peppers, citrus, and herbs such as Vietnamese mint (used in Thai medicine for its cancer-fighting properties) are all grown organically. Rather than using sprays, I notice bags tied around individual limes to protect them from pests. Home to endless rows of plants, trees, vines, chickens, and lakes brimming with fish, the farm seems to cover more land than the resort itself. After cooing over the baby chicks, we sit down at an idyllic lakeside table for lunch. Not surprisingly, every ingredient except for the rice was sourced from the farm.


The habitat mimics the wild and is home to nine female Asian elephants who roam freely all day.

We spend the rest of the afternoon with elephants at Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. The habitat mimics the wild and is home to nine female Asian elephants who roam freely all day. We are guided through the jungle to observe the gentle giants collect and eat leaves and bathe in the river. To give the elephants the most natural experience possible, the only interaction humans are allowed to have is feeding them fruit at the end of the visit. The following morning we awaken our taste buds with Trisara's gastronomy tour through Old Town Phuket. Sitting in a restaurant on plastic chairs that seem like only locals have sat in, we watch the chef flipping Thai pancakes and eggs on a griddle a few feet away. Soon, we’re snacking on Thai crepes sandwiching an egg and drizzled with something along the lines of sweetened condensed milk. It’s out of this world. Arriving at the next restaurant, our cheerful guide explains, “You know how you have things you eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? In Thailand we don’t have that, we just think of it as a meal.” Following suit, we savor soup, chicken, and pork belly at 10 a.m.

Next up on the culinary tour is a tea house that has been in the family for five generations. In the courtyard of their home/ shop, the sweetest old man serves us tea and platters of cookies with previously unexperienced flavors and consistencies. We wrap up the feast at Torry’s Ice Cream Boutique. The pink building has a line out the door for unique flavors such as O-aew and Pepper Cookies ice creams. I go for the Butterfly Pea, for the name and its periwinkle color. Inspired by all of the flavors and spices in the local cuisine, we take a traditional Thai cooking class with Chef Kla. Trisara's Seafood Restaurant fills with smells of pandan leaves and lemongrass as pad thai, chicken curry and tom yum soup bubble on our hot plates. We sit down to enjoy the fruits of our labor between each course. The end products are much lighter and spicier than their American take-out counterparts. My newfound understanding of how the foreign flavors come together and the simplicity of the recipes encourages me to dust off my cookware at home. And in between all of these inspiring new experiences? I float in my pool overlooking the ocean, doing absolutely nothing except listening to the waves. Which in this “busy” world is a new thing on its own. * trisara.com

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The Mana of Maui Written by Alexandra Sharova


Andaz Maui


hen seeking a tropical experience without leaving the country, Hawaii is the way to go. And when going on a first vacation with a significant other you want everything to be perfect. These two factors made Maui, with its glorious beaches and world-class villas, a no-brainer for the first trip of the new year. Several hours of reading, talking, and trying to contain my excitement later, Robert and I arrive in Southern Maui’s prestigious Wailea. We promptly check-in to the first stop on our villa-centered escape from reality. The secluded Hoo’lei Villas, of the larger-than life Grand Wailea Maui, provide the ideal balance of privacy and amenities. We go to explore the grounds, and inevitably get lost. The “grand” in this Waldorf Astoria property is not taken lightly. Everything is luxurious and epic, from the extensive collection of exaggerated Frenando Botero sculptures scattered across the lobby and eponymous Botero Lounge, to the various pool options that rival a waterpark. Finally we make it to the beach. Uncontrollable smiles stretch across our salty faces as we dive into the waves until it’s time to head back and get ready for dinner. Golden hour rays flood our villa through the sweeping lanai. As we approach the view for a pre-dinner sunset, stripes of sunshine glide across the tiled-floor like ballerinas on a gilded stage, performing what seems to be a private show, just for us. The sun rolls beyond the horizon and the complimentary shuttle service takes us to Humuhumunukunukuapua'a–that’s seriously the name–for a much anticipated dinner. Abbreviated to a more digestible “Humu Humu,” the restaurant goes beyond finding inspiration in its Polynesian roots, creating a space that transports guests to the coveted above-water bungalows of Tahiti. Seated at a corner table, we admire the midnight-blue lagoon that lazily reflects a nearly-full moon, while sipping on a lively pineapple wine (it’s actually made from Maui-grown pineapples) from the local winery. The service is fast and sweet, and our Char Siu Pork Belly and obligatory Hawaiian Style Poke orders arrive with beautiful presentation. The squeaky clean plates, whose flavorful sauces we lapped up with the greatest variety of bread I’ve ever seen–from Squid Ink Monkey Bread to gluten-free, they have it

all–have me excited for the daily catch creations to come. As we go over our plans for tomorrow our entrees arrive. The locally caught Mahi Mahi is a flaky masterpiece that holds its own in a rich coconut curry, while the Ono, which translates to “delicious,” exceeds its name. To wrap up the evening I indulge in the Sweet Uni, as the rustling whisper of the palm-leaf roof lulls me into a state of hypnagogia. The morning sun pours through a sliver between the drapes to wake me, and I jump out of the plush bed with the excitement of a kid going to Disneyland for the first time. Not exactly the mood you want before a couple's massage, but the idea of islandexploring together lit me up. To soak in as much of the 40-acre property as possible, we opt to walk from our villa. Little lizards dart across a path covered in multi-colored hibiscus flowers. Crossing to the opposite side of the hotel we pass the on-site chapel equipped with stained-glass windows...if that doesn’t paint the picture of the Grand Wailea’s grandeur, I don’t know what will. In keeping with the classic-meets-island glamour style, the spa is opulent. The peach-toned marble and towering ceiling of the lobby are reminiscent of a Roman Bath House. Our masseuses guide us to a private couple’s suite, equipped with its own bathtub, and of course a stunning view. With both Robert and I preferring hard pressure for our massages, I was impressed at the skillful delivery that worked out our deepest knots, yet simultaneously calmed me into a euphoric state. Grand Wailea Maui

Hoo’lei Villa, Grand Wailea Maui @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 69

immediately after getting back to the air-conditioned goodness of the villa. However, this coupled with the time difference allowed for an early-morning (read: 9 a.m.) paddleboard session before check-out. Luckily our villa hopping does not take much time, as the Fairmont Kea Lani is short three minute ride away. The vibe is more modern than at the Grand Wailea, but still encompasses the island life. The hotel itself reminds me of a mixture between Greece and Morocco—if either location was overflowing with luscious greens and tropical flowers—with its Eastern-inspired domes and pristine white buildings. Our villa is oceanfront, and a mere lawn walk from the sand. The two-story, two-bedroom space features the comforts of a five-star hotel and then some: a plunge pool, personalized (by name!) high-end toiletries that include sunscreen, beautiful marble baths, and colorful accent pieces scattered strategically throughout the villa, to evoke an air of tropical bliss.

The natural thing to do after a luxurious spa experience is of course lounge in a cabana by the adult pool (note: the hotel is ideal for families, but that also means the adult pool is a necessary safe haven if you’re looking for quiet time). Yet given the nearly-80 degree temperature plus humidity, we only last the recommended 15 minutes needed to absorb our sunscreen, before plunging into the pool via a rope swing. From there we check out a geyser, the in-pool bar set within a cave, and the highlight: the 30-foot slide. As I race through the crimson tunnel, water splashing my face with playful glee, I feel an overwhelming wave of nostalgia, and just as I begin my mental journey in time, the slide spits me up into the pool, with great gusto. Although there’s water in my nose and my eyeliner has clearly been demolished, I’m laughing uncontrollably, until that too is interrupted by Robert’s howling laughter as he splashes out of the slide with the biggest grin I’ve ever seen. We repeat this process three more times, and it never gets old. To change up the scenery we rent snorkeling gear, and dive into the warm ocean water. Fluorescent schools of fish move in unison between rocks; I approach the floor to get a closer look. The multicolored patterns and the sky’s glow from above are absolutely mesmerizing. Plus, the near silence of the ocean floor provides a meditative escape. My nature-induced hypnosis is interrupted by a huge turtle, like massive! His carefree and relaxed movement is fascinating, and I jump to the surface yelling to Robert to swim my way. An hour later, in awe, but exhausted and a little sunburned, we head to the pool for cocktails. This is vacation after all. Given our jam-packed day of water activities, we crash almost


Kō, Fairmont Kea Lani

Fairmont Kea Lani

We make it to Kō (translated to sugarcane), the hotel’s signature, award-winning restaurant whose cuisine marries various cultures of Maui’s plantation era. Our knowledgeable server walks us through the menu, providing recommendations, and even islandexploring tips. While reminiscing on our adventure thus far over a lemongrass lemonade cocktail, I notice an actual lemongrass plant growing within reach, talk about farm to table. As per our waitress’ advice, we get the Ahi on the Rock, which comes with its own 400 degree searing stone, to prepare the fresh fish to our hearts’ desire. Given the delicious taste and experiential factor, it’s a must-try. Since the restaurant prides itself on sustainability and local sourcing, we go for the Opa once again, opting for a light macadamia nut crust preparation, which allows for the buttery fish to remain the focus of the dish. The meal, ambiance, and service are all top-notch, but the real treat for me is the unobstructed view of the waxing moon, gleaming in all her glory.

We get up bright and early (6 a.m—somewhat begrudgingly) to make our guided hike with Heather, the in-house energy ambassador. A short drive from the property lies the King’s Highway, a walkway once reserved solely for Hawaiian royalty. As we begin winding through the trail a feral black goat runs across the path to the beach. Turns out, they’re scattered all over, even little babies, hiding behind the brush. We get to a lava rock covered stretch along the coast, which resembles Mars rather than a lush island. Heather explains that these jagged formations are remainders from the last volcanic eruption of 1790. Although it’s still early, the sun has no mercy and we’re all glistening with sweat. Thankfully we stop at a breezy lookout point. The scene is absolutely sublime: ferocious waves engulf the cliff, splashing our parched faces with salty mist in the process. A 360-degree turn captures the humbling beauty of the untouched landscape, where unexplainable energy emanates from every angle. To contrast our morning, we opt for the pool. In comparison to the busyness of the Grand Wailea, the atmosphere is more chill and couple-oriented. While I read a book and enjoy fresh fruit in the cabana, Robert makes new friends at the bar. We chat for a while, and inevitably meet a fellow Santa Barbarian, because it really is a small world. As sunset rolls around, our private chef rolls into the patio to prepare a bbq dinner, Maui style. We share our experience, our fascination with the ocean and the energy that radiates throughout Wailea. Chef Richard, flips a sizzling rib-eye and calmly explains, “That’s mana–the life energy that flows through all things, it’s strong on the island.” The word struck a chord, connecting all the instances of the trip thus far that took my breath away. After imparting his wisdom, and preparing a glorious spread: grilled shrimp, steak, fish, Molokai sweet potatoes, and a vibrant salad, Richard leaves. I watch the swaying palms silhouetted against a fading cocktail of lilac and orchid sky, while what can only be described as devouring my dinner. Inspired by all the wildness I ditch my silverware, and proceed to eat with my hands. Robert laughs and joins in. If you’re not sitting cross-legged and eating with your hands, why even bother to have an in-villa prepared dinner? After the previous night’s meal, you’d think we would be satiated, yet we manage to hit the extensive buffet before checkout. Upon arrival at the Andaz, for villa number three, I realize we’re in a whole new world. Everything is modern and sleek, with the only “beachy” aspect being the actual sand in the zen garden of the lobby. I open the door to our oceanfront villa, and my jaw drops. The floor-toceiling glass windows, chic leather and natural-wood furniture, island-inspired contemporary art, and of course the ocean being a few steps away, makes this my literal dream home. We pop open our complimentary bottle of Champagne and delve into the new space. In an effort to experience the absolute most of the property, we hop between the tranquil pool and the golden sands of Mokapu Beach for the remainder of the day. Who knew bliss came in the form of an Andaz? My affinity for the water leaves us out long after the sun has set, on what in turn becomes a private beach. I’m not sure if it’s the intoxicating scent of honeysuckle that hung, suspended in the

salty air like the languid Maui palms—or if it was the exceptionally stiff Mai Tais—but it felt like love, all around. It seems that time is standing still...and I want to stay forever, wrapped in the ecstasy of the moment. Our final day starts off in the most invigorating way, with a private yoga class led by Tracey, on the lawn before the villa. As the breeze plays with leaning palms, their rustle mixes with the slow roll of morning waves. It’s by far the most relaxing soundtrack for the practice. We move through a strong flow, smiling through the whole class. Nothing gets you centered and in touch with your surroundings quite like outdoor yoga. The morning brought with it a state of total zen, which continues on during my two-hour ocean swim. Instead of fighting the current I just roll with the tide, floating like I’m one with the water. I feel the mana coursing through, and around me. Andaz Maui

To wrap up our Andaz stay, we take a less traditional dinner route to experience the hotel’s upscale Luau. Set before the fiery setting sun, communal tables covered in flowers are occupied by couples, families, and solo travelers—proving a Maui adventure is for anyone, and everyone. The performance depicts the history of the Polynesian’s arrival on the island through traditional dance and chanting. We eat local classics Ohana (aka family) style and mingle with our neighbors in-between the show. As the sky transforms into dusk, the lights become brighter; neon hues of green, blue, and magenta caress the dancers’ skirts while they swing in rhythmic motion with the wind. For the finale, the lights turn off, and the fire dance begins. The passion of the story matched with the glow of spinning torches has me absolutely captivated. Although it’s time to head to the airport, I can’t resist one last walk on the beach. With my toes buried in the sand, I soak in my last view of Maui. The rolling waves transform, morphing into one and I’m hypnotized by the powerful nature and the ineffable energy it graciously shares, without asking for anything in return. The island has a way of luring you into a state of absolute admiration and respect for it. A priceless souvenir to take home. * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 71

Photo by Giorgio Possenti

LAGOON of YOUTH Written by Ottocina Ryan

I found the secret to silky skin and ultimate relaxation. It’s is in the middle of a lava field in Iceland, go figure. The first thing I notice when checking into the Retreat at Blue Lagoon is that guests wear robes everywhere, as if in a state of permanent tranquility. As I sip a welcome glass of Champagne, robed couples are walking to and from the spa and having afternoon tea in the lobby restaurant. Beyond the guests bundled in white, the lobby’s glass wall reveals a moat of milky blue water, a waterway that apparently keeps stresses and responsibilities at bay. I reach my room in the 62 suite hotel. Cozy yet sleek, with a bed that feels like a cloud, a freestanding tub in the room, and a balcony. The modern design brings the outside in with a glass wall overlooking the lagoon and moss covered lava fields as far as the eye can see. I feel immersed in nature, yet coddled by tech details that make it clear the hotel opened just recently in 2018. Waterproof wristband room keys, motion-activated lights in the bathroom, an iPad with everything 72 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

you could want (room service ordering included), a northern lights wakeup call…the list goes on. Without further adieu I slip on my bikini and robe and head for the Blue Lagoon, accessible through the Retreat’s spa. The spa entryway is made of black walls with light shining through holes to look like you’re walking through a galaxy of stars. Fitting as you’re entering a natural setting so otherworldly if someone told you it was outer space you’d believe them. The spa is an expansive cave carved into an 800-year-old lava flow. I glide outside to Iceland’s infamous Blue Lagoon. Mesmerized, I pull myself forward through the mineral-rich water, surrounded by walls of lava. The steaming blue pool juxtaposed against the black rock looks like another planet. It’s no surprise a place this beautiful has healing properties. I learn that when the lagoon was first discovered, people quickly realized its therapeutic effects for psoriasis and other skin conditions. The geothermal water, which is 2/3 seawater and 1/3 freshwater, seeps up from 2000 meters deep in the earth, picking up minerals from the lava on its way to the surface.

White silica seals off the lava, allowing the pools to form. The silica and algae found in the lagoon stimulate collagen and reduce signs of aging, doing wonders for any complexion. The Blue Lagoon harvests its renewable resources to create its lauded Blue Lagoon skincare line. The only thing that could make soaking in the soothing waters more relaxing? An in-water massage. When my appointment comes around, I lay on a thin raft and my masseuse covers me with a blanket and massages me as I float just below the surface of the lagoon. Once you re-enter the spa, no phones are allowed and it’s a relaxation playground. A reminder to step into the habit of immersing yourself in nature, pampering, and taking care of your body. The cavernous space has multiple rooms—the fire room with couches to cuddle up by the fire, one with hanging nest chairs looking out on the lagoon, a steam room, sauna, and a room for the Blue Lagoon Ritual. The Ritual is a self-administered treatment of a series of exfoliating volcanic scrubs and brightening and hydrating silica and algae masks that leave the skin rejuvenated. The process is therapeutic for body and mind. Upon completion, my skin hasn’t been this smooth since I was five years old. The only time I have to change out of my robe is for dinner at the Retreat’s Michelin rated restaurant, Moss. The bread and butter alone are worth the visit. The highlight of the following sevencourse tasting dinner (aside from the presentation of everything) is the melt in your mouth salmon. After dinner, we take the elevator to the subterranean wine cellar. Set in a cave discovered in construction that was in too good of condition to not be put to use, we savor wine accompanied by pistachio madeleines, macarons, and chocolate truffles. Every aspect of the property encourages wellness, nourishment, and relaxation. The Retreat At Blue Lagoon took something naturally amazing and refined it into a place that truly immerses you in the benefits of the lagoon, healing and refreshing you from the outside in. *

Photo by Jamie Orlando Smith


@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 73

Santa Barbara


oil massage, or enjoy a culinary experience at The Stonehouse– after all, the potential for relaxation is endless.


Whether you’re looking to indulge or prefer something light, Andersen’s Danish Bakery & Restaurant on State Street is the answer to all your brunch cravings. Enjoy their citrusinfused Croissant French Toast topped with berries and cream, or the Jilli quinoa bowl with greek yogurt and cacao nibs. Stop by the pastry case before you go to grab a box of sweets for the road. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? @andersensdanishbakerysb



Spa Sit back and relax–it’s time to unwind at Spa Majorelle. Hotel Californian's Moroccaninspired spa offers a calming space to enjoy a Himalayan Stone Salt Massage or an Intuitive Reading. Summon the Bath Butler for a magnesium soak before your treatment to soothe muscles and ease tension. The tranquility of the treatments will leave your body and mind at ease. @majorellespa @hotelcalifornian


Hike Calling all adventurers! Head up the coast for an outdoor excursion to the Gaviota Wind Caves. The trail lies a mile away from the ocean, providing breathtaking views as you make your ascent up the sandstone formations. After you’ve gotten a good sweat, take a quick drive to the neighboring Hot Springs Trail for a refreshing dip in the natural outdoor pool. 74 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

ingredients. Create your own “Trois” tasting plate with a variety of fresh salads and legumes, or opt for the Waffle Suzette with orange blossom and brown butter. Finish your meal with a salted chocolate chip cookie–your sweet tooth will thank you later.

It’s always cocktail hour at Loquita. Grab a high seat at the bar and try a signature drink made with Seedlip nonalcoholic spirits. Besides, nothing pairs better than cocktails and tapas. Choose between Spanish classics like Croqueta de Jamon, Carpaccio de Carne, or Spanish Tortillas. Sip and share or have it all for yourself–you deserve it. @seedlipdrinks @loquitasb

Stay Looking for a weekend hideaway? We have just the spot. Tucked in the hills of Montecito lies the breathtaking San Ysidro Ranch with beautiful cottages surrounded by gardens. Lounge by the pool, stop by the spa for a lavender

DAY 2 Cleanse

Our version of a cleanse is fresh-squeezed goodness from Juice Ranch. This popular spot offers all-organic juices, plantbased milks, and custom drinks alongside healthy bites like bagel sandwiches and avo toast. Sit and sip or grab a juice package, such as “The Rainbow” or “The Caveman” to keep the cleanse going all week. @juiceranch

Sweat If yoga, pilates, and ballet barre had a love child, it would be a workout at Barre3. Their hour-long classes help build lean muscles, strengthen core, improve posture, and create mind-body connection. @barre3santabarbara

Brunch Nothing says California brunch like a fresh farm-to-table meal at Merci. This dainty café offers healthy Parisian-inspired cuisine using locally-sourced

Unwind Get your creative juices flowing at Summerland Center for the Arts. The center offers art workshops for beginners such as watercolor, knitting, and calligraphy. Attend events such as a Feng Shui workshop, or guest-speakers on the art of healing to tap into your spiritual side. @summerlandarts

Dine Oliver’s Montecito has taken vegan cuisine to a new level of delectability. Indulge in small sharing plates such as truffle potatoes and farro bolognese, or try one of their signature plantbased burgers with all the fixings. Vegan or non-vegan, you’ll be craving just one more bite. @oliversofmontecito

Written by Anna Constantino

48 hours in

Majorelle Spa at Hotel Californian For reservations call (805) 882-0100 or email majorelle@thehotelcalifornian.com