MARCH/APRIL 2020 | SANTA BARBARA LIFE & STYLE MAGAZINE

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March/April 2020

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine

S PR I NG IN YO U R ST E P


Peter Cohen Spring Summer 2020 collection

allorabylaura.com

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1269 Coast Village Road Montecito CA 93108

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805.563.2425


Lori Bowles

COLDWELL BANKER REALT Y CONGRATUL ATES

ON BEING NAMED CARPINTERIAN OF THE YEAR

Coldwell Banker Realty is proud to congratulate Lori Bowles on being named Carpinterian of the Year. Her work in the Carpinteria community has spanned over the past two decades. In 2004, she took on a leadership role in the CHS Boosters and has continued beyond the graduation of her own son through 15 years of service on the Boosters’ board. At the conclusion of this school year, Lori will have led the effort to support 7,000 Warriors with over $400,000! In addition to her service at Carpinteria High School, Lori has also been a Board Member of the Carpinteria Valley Little League since its inception in 1996. Over the years she has served in numerous capacities and continues to assist children with league registration fees so that every child can play without exception. When not volunteering, you can find Lori at her Coldwell Banker Realty office in Montecito. It is there that she and her business partner, Dana Zertuche, are continuously recognized for their ongoing dedication to their clients. The duo have received numerous awards including being named to the prestigious International President Circle for the past three years.

DANA ZERTUCHE & LORI BOWLES 805.565.8198 info@MONTECITO.associates www.MONTECITO.associates

CalRE#01465425 CalRE#01961570

The property information herein is derived from various sources that may include, but not be limited to, county records and the Multiple Listing Service, and it may include approximations. Although the information is believed to be accurate, it is not warranted and you should not rely upon it without personal verification. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Realty are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. Š2020 Coldwell Banker Realty. All Rights Reserved.


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DESIGN . WEDDINGS . FLORAL

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MARCH/APRIL 2020 Editor in Chief & Publisher Ottocina Ryan Creative Director Silas Fallstich Art Director Riley Yahr Marketing Manager Delaney Willet Marketing & Content Coordinator Kennedy Williams Photographers Jacqueline Pilar, Jon Premosch, Kennedy Williams Writers Anna Constantino, Taylon Faltas, Kim Hashemi, Keri Haugse, Emma McDonnell, Alexandra Sharova, Celine Wallace, Delaney Willet Stylists Lauren Cameron, Delaney Willet

ON THIS COVER

Photographer Jacqueline Pilar Stylist Delaney Willet Model Stephanie Peterson with Wilhelmina Hair Colleen Konowitz Makeup Heather Roach Location Listed with Schlobohm | Hodson Real Estate Team / Compass Coat Apparis, Whiskey & Leather Sports Bra Barely BollĂŠ, The Tennis Shop Montecito Necklace Pachulah, Coco Cabana Hair Clips Valet, Coco Cabana Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine is published by Santa Barbara Life & Style, Inc. 26 West Mission Street #5, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 For distribution, advertising and other inquiries: info@santabarbaralifeandstyle.com santabarbaralifeandstyle.com


Est. 1999 Santa Barbara • Montecito • Camarillo Goleta • Solvang

D i n e I n • Ta k e O u t • C a t e r i n g • l o s a r r o y o s . n e t • 8 0 5 - 9 6 5 - 6 1 7 3

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Photo by Silas Fallstich

dining

wellness

18 | MERCI BEAUCOUP Get your sweet-tooth fix at the French-inspired boutique café Merci Montecito–your tastebuds will thank you later.

58 | A POTION A DAY Transcend the boundaries of self-care with Sun Potion’s wellness elixirs, tonics, and herbs.

22 | OAXAC A OBSESSED No need to jet-set when you can embark on a culinary voyage at Flor De Maiz, featuring Oaxacan cuisine, craft cocktails, and an ocean view. 28 | GRILLED TO PERFECTION See what’s cooking at the Alisal Guest Ranch’s BBQ Boot Camp. 30 | ROADSIDE ATTRACTION When the pitstop becomes the getaway.

60 | BEYOND EPIGENETICS TES TING By combining soul-cleansing and physical wellness, Jennifer of The Alternative takes epigenetics beyond the surface level. 62 | CREATION VS CONSUMPTION Free yourself from the shackles of technology and tap into your creative energy.

travel 64 | ALOHA AWAITS Gourmet poke cooking classes, sunset sailing, and aerial yoga are just a few of many adventures offered at Maui’s Hotel Wailea.

profile

68 | PL AY AWHILE The sun never sets on the West Hollywood Edition.

36 | IN BLOOM Juggling three kids and three clothing boutiques is no easy task– but Amber Lease makes it look just as effortless as her style.

70 | FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE No need for a time machine to immerse yourself in the historical sites and lavish bites of 19th century St. Petersburg.

fashion 38 | MATC H POINT Serving up looks all season.

74 | 48 HOURS Make the most of springtime in Santa Barbara.

48 | FLOWER C HILD That’s groovy, baby.

beauty 56 | RESET WITH RETROUVÉ Give ‘spring cleaning’ a whole new meaning with Retrouvé’s minimalistic line of effective, luxury skincare products.

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Mitla cocktail at Flor De Maiz


GLOBAL REACH. SANTA BARBAR A EXPER TISE.

W H E N O N LY T H E B E S T W I L L D O . . . A A R O N C O L L I N S | R E A L E S TAT E R E F I N E D

Aaron Collins . Engel & Völkers Santa Barbara 1323 State Street . Santa Barbara . CA 93101 Manager . Global Real Estate Advisor DRE# 02041676 . +1 310-409-5729 . aaron.collins@evrealestate.com ©2020 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. Each brokerage is independently owned and operated. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. If your property is currently represented by a real estate broker, this is not an attempt to solicit your listing. Engel & Völkers and its independent franchisees are Equal Opportunity Employers and fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act.

EXPERIENCE INNOVATIVE, LOCALLY SOURCED SEASONAL CUISINE AT BELLA VISTA RESTAURANT For reservations and more information, call (805) 969-2261 or visit fourseasons.com/santabarbara


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SB LIFE & STYLE dining

Bracelets, The Blue Door 18 | MARCH/APRIL 2020


merci beaucoup Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Anna Constantino

I

step through the French doors of Merci Montecito on a crisp Santa Barbara morning. The overwhelming aroma of puff pastry and baked apples draws me inside. The café is simple and understated, yet warm and welcoming. Pastel pink and white marble coat the interior, and touches of gold glimmer in the sunlight seeping through the windows. An array of galettes, canelés, and tarts sit on dainty white plates and cake stands behind a glass casing. The aesthetic is fitting, as the café draws on Parisian inspiration. I spot Elizabeth Colling, the owner and pastry chef, behind the counter and she greets me with a smile. Her young daughter is twirling and dancing next to her, helping serve pastries to guests (in addition to pleading for “just one more bite” of a dessert). The young girl gestures towards the counter where a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls has appeared. My eyes widen as I watch the creamy frosting melt on top of the glossy buns. Suddenly, I share a similar childlike plea—I must have one. As I unravel the bun, its warm frosting drips to the plate and notes of cinnamon fill the air. I go in for a bite and am pleasantly surprised by the unconventional frosting: a vanilla cream with hints of fresh lavender—an ingredient derived from traditional French cooking.

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 19


Before Elizabeth worked as a food editor and pastry chef in the States, she earned her degree at the Ritz Escoffier culinary school in Paris, where she drew French inspiration for her food. “In France, everything is simple and made with high-quality ingredients,” says Elizabeth, “So it was important to replicate that here, not only with desserts but with everything we make.” All ingredients used at Merci are locally sourced for quality and to support local farms. Alongside breakfast, pastries, and lattés, Merci has a lunch menu featuring a variety of house-made salads, grains, and legumes. To complement the sweetness of the cinnamon bun, I opt for the matcha latté. My drink arrives at the table in a delicate glass mug. It is not long before I disturb the intricate foam heart on the surface. The matcha flavor is rich and creamy, subtly sweetened with raw honey and almond milk. I sip as I watch the hustle and bustle of the country mart.

TEDDYS sunglasses, Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club Napkin ring, The Blue Door Clare V. net bag

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Merci is the epitome of sophisticated simplicity.

I continue my “dessert for breakfast” trend and gloss over the pastry case in search of my final endeavor of the morning. I spot the salted chocolate chip cookie. Normally I refuse to settle for something so seemingly basic, but from the looks of the dark chocolate oozing from the seams of the perfectly crisped top, I can tell I’m in for a treat. The crunchiness of the browned butter exterior paired with the soft gooey inside sends my tastebuds to heaven. Dare I say it is the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever tried—and if you know me and my sweet tooth, that is a lot of chocolate chip cookies to choose from. Sometimes the smallest pleasures can leave a meaningful impression. Merci is the epitome of sophisticated simplicity. The clean ingredients paired with delicious, layered flavors make for a unique and enjoyable culinary experience and a wonderful start to my day. I will certainly be back for breakfast soon, but for now, merci! * mercimontecito.com

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 21


OA X ACA OB S E S S E D Enchi

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Photographed by Silas Fallstich Written by Kim Hashemi

O

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erde V le

Con Mahi M ahi

axaca has been on my list of travel destinations for some time now. I can’t help but daydream about its colorful buildings, authentic markets and, most importantly, flavorful food. So, with the recent opening of Flor De Maiz on the waterfront, I knew I had to go get a taste of Oaxacan cuisine.

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I meet a friend at 4:30 p.m. to embark on our culinary voyage through Oaxaca. Entering the restaurant, my eyes light up to Mexican inspired interiors, a wall adorned with wicker hangings and the open kitchen where fresh tortillas are being made. There’s a sprinkling of sofa seating by the floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as bar seating, and while there is no wrong choice, we opt for the patio with views of the harbor as the sky paints itself pink and orange hues.


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@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 23


To start: cocktails. I have the Mitla— Mezcal, Jarabe Natural, house-made orange and chipotle marmalade, freshly squeezed lime juice, and sea salt. With every sip comes exhilarating notes of citrus and sweetness. My friend has the Oaxaca which is created with Mezcal Espadin, house-made mole mix, fresh squeezed lime juice, orange juice, and orange bitters. As we marvel at the sunset, our server sets down a range of appetizers. A variety of mole sauces, guacamole, and Ceviche De Pulpo brighten up the table. We cheers to friendship and then our appetizers begin their flirtatious dance. I scoop into the fresh

guacamole with a tortilla chip and flavors of serrano pepper, cilantro and onion whirl in my mouth. The Ceviche De Pulpo is a showstopper in its presence alone. Served in a Thai coconut and with yums potato chips on the side for some added texture, the dish features sliced octopus, red onions, grilled pineapple, fresh coconut, cilantro, and serrano pepper. I can’t help but be awed by the fact that the presentation has been elevated by something as simple as a coconut. The appetizer is both sweet and savory and plays an interesting symphony on the palate. This is not just a dish, it’s a fiesta for your taste buds.

This is not just a dish, it’s a fiesta for your taste buds.

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Ceviche De Pulpo

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


Mit

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With dishes crafted with ingredients directly from Oaxaca, you feel and taste as if you’ve been transported to the region. brings a chocolatey richness to the dish, an indulgence that takes it far beyond a typical enchilada. After the final bite, we use our remaining tortilla chips to savor every bit of the mole until the plate is clean.

I then dip into my first mole experience with my trusted tortilla chip. It quickly reaffirms that my taste buds are a fan of Oaxacan cuisine. I try the mole negro which is used to top chicken dishes, mole almendrado which appears in many beef dishes, the mole verde which takes the stage in fish dishes, mole amarillito, and mole coloradito. I make a second round to the mole verde, which I could eat an entire bowl of…as soup, perhaps? From the ‘Placeres De La Casa’ section of the menu comes Enchiladas Oaxaca and Enchiladas En Salsa Verde. The Enchiladas En Salsa Verde feature chicken, melted cheese, green sauce, onions, Mexican sour cream, and cotija cheese. Crafted with similar ingredients, Enchiladas Oaxaca is served alongside a mole negro dressing. The mole negro

To celebrate my new found love for mole verde, I order Mole Verde Con Mahi Mahi. The fish, cooked to perfection and drenched in mole verde, melts in my mouth, and the accompanying carrots and mashed cauliflower incorporate some drama into the dish. Add my complementing Mitla cocktail and it’s a match made in heaven. As we savor the last sips of our cocktails, dessert arrives. The cheesecake and flan with a tart strawberry glaze are so good that conversation stops for three minutes as we indulge. With interiors adorned in Mexican decor and dishes crafted with ingredients directly from Oaxaca, you feel and taste as if you’ve been transported to the region. I’m now fully convinced that I need to make the trip. Until then, I’ll be a frequent customer at Flor De Maiz. * flordemaizsb.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 27


g

rilled TO

PERFECTION

The Alisal Guest Ranch’s BBQ Boot Camp is cooking up good eats and good times. Written by Kim Hashemi Photographed by Silas Fallstich

T

here’s something about grilling meat and vegetables over a live fire surrounded by new friends that feels so special. With that in mind, twice a year The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort hosts BBQ Bootcamp to teach attendees secrets of Santa Maria-style barbecue. Celebrity chefs, legendary grill masters and barbecue enthusiasts come together for three days of hands-on workshops and seminars with the Santa Ynez Mountains as a beguiling backdrop. Driving up to The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, rows of trees and property horses welcome me. In no time, I settle into my tranquil oasis—a luxurious cottage spacious enough to comfortably accommodate a small family. The room is furnished with a plush kingsized bed, deep soaking tub and wood-burning fireplace with a river rock façade. I’ve stepped into a simpler time. There’s no TV or phone in the

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room, which is perfectly fine because I’m here to be fully immersed in all things BBQ. The trickle of the nearby creek, neighs of horses and the smell of burned oakwood intermingle with fresh mountain air during my walk to the Oval Lawn, where the first and many of the workshops take place. Pitmaster Burt Bakman, owner of LA’s Slab and Trudy’s Underground Barbecue, kicks off the workshop, taking us through his low-and-slow, focused approach of grilling brisket and steaks. From start to finish, he demonstrates how to properly cut, prepare and smoke brisket using his trusted smoker, Big Bertha. His technique involves a blend of salt and pepper rubbed onto the meat, which is then wrapped in butcher paper and grilled slowly at 250F. Until this moment, I was unaware that grilling flavorsome brisket took just a few simple steps.


My realizations continue as renowned Valerie Gordon from Valerie Confections teaches us that you can grill dessert. She walks us through making delectable sticky toffee cake over a live fire using a Big Green Egg. She goes in depth, explaining how she creates her decadent caramel as we all eagerly take notes. After the day’s seminars I get to know new friends while admiring my serene surroundings and tasting wines from Kaena Wine Co and beer from Topa Topa Brewery. Meanwhile, the chefs are grilling up a feast like I’ve never seen before. Before long, a spread of brisket, Tomahawk steaks, lobster, shrimp, chicken, and vegetables is laid out in front of us. I begin to think that I should have worn stretchier pants. The next morning I wake up to the ataractic sound of birds chirping and the alluring smell of barbecue. I meet my new friends at the Alisal Dining Room for a light breakfast—keyword here being light—I quickly learn to pace myself at BBQ Bootcamp. First on today’s itinerary: a spice blending workshop with Joy Culley, owner of Solvang Spice Merchant. Joy walks us through various spices and herbs, explaining which flavor combinations work well and tips on creating our own custom blends. I scoop together turmeric, ginger, and black pepper to create a golden milk powder to be mixed into almond milk and fill another jar with an Italian blend for, well, everything. Next, Paula Disbrowe, Chef and author of Thank You For Smoking, walks us through her undemanding way of grilling flavorsome meats and vegetables. Her approach involves using smoke as seasoning and infusing that flavor into a diverse variety of ingredients in as little time possible (perfect for weeknight dinners). In between grilling veggies, she uses the lingering heat to smoke Kalamata olives. We break to indulge in a hearty lunch with the opportunity to ask the chefs some tips on creating legendary BBQ. It wouldn’t be BBQ Bootcamp without a lesson on how to light a fire Santa Maria Style. Anthony Endy, Executive Chef of The Alisal, and Frank Ostini, winemaker and owner of the famed Hitching Post II, walk us through this unique approach of starting the fire. Chef Ostini shares that people native to Santa Maria cook over an open fire pit without the aid of thermometers, relying solely on touch and feel. Next up is a bread baking lesson by Bob Oswak, owner of Bob’s Well Bread in Los Alamos. His approach to bread baking, using simple ingredients but a somewhat complex process, results in the most delicious bread I have ever tasted. After the final seminar of the day, evening reception commences, which includes a hosted wine tasting by Hitching Post Winery and beer tasting with Firestone Walker Brewery alongside appetizers prepared by the chefs. Bacon-wrapped scallops and smoked sausage are passed around generously. As if the first night’s dinner didn’t awe me, tonight’s dinner, titled The Ring of Fire Grand BBQ is even more impressive (as you can probably tell by the name). We feast on another savory meal prepared by the chefs, and after refilling my plate for the third time it seems as if my appetite for BBQ has no limits.

Early the following morning, I saddle up for a private horseback ride with my fellow boot campers. We trot through The Alisal’s working Angus cattle ranch, passing by the pristine lake along the way. Upon arrival at the historic Old Adobe Camp, a hearty country breakfast is waiting for us along with fresh pastries and coffee. As we ride back to the ranch, I reflect on what I’ve learned over the weekend. I’m going home with a toolkit of new BBQ techniques and tricks that will be sure to *wow* my guests at my next gathering. May 3-5, 2020 BBQ Bootcamp returns and Hugh Magnum, TV personality and Founder of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, will join the team to share his unique approach to smoking and grilling. BBQ has a special way of bringing people together and with intensive seminars led by some of the best chefs in the industry, both BBQ enthusiasts and newcomers alike will return home with new friendships and a fresh perspective on barbecue. * alisal.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 29


ROAD SIDE

ATTRACTIO Two Egg Breakfast with charro beans & market vegetables

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Photographed & Written by Silas Fallstich

ON

Buttermilk Biscuits with country gravy and Cuyama’s Rock Front Ranch honey

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


S

omeone recently asked me if I’d enjoy a road trip in a Tesla, without thinking I screamed yes. Their argument against it was dependent on the inconvenience of having to recharge every 200 or so miles. For me this “difficulty” opens so many avenues for unique experiences. I like trips both near and far, so when I was invited to the Cuyama Buckhorn in the Hidden Valley of Santa Barbara County, I corralled a friend into copiloting my exploration of the reimagined inn, restaurant, and bar, grabbed the car keys and sped into the sunset. Pulling into the high desert of California on Friday evening, it’s much colder than Santa Barbara and the crisp desert air awakens my appetite. I’m famished, a little freezing and ready to let loose. My instinct is to beeline straight to the bar but we are first given an insightful property tour and shown to our understated and cozy rooms. I bump the thermostat up, manage to highjack a black Stetson from the room decor, and meander down to the watering hole. I pony up to the bar; friend, Stetson, and iPhone in tow. First up for me: the Buckhorn Toddy RX, just what the doc ordered—a simple hot toddy concoction with earl grey whiskey and local Rock Front Ranch honey. It’s as hot as a branding iron and does the trick, there’s fire in my belly and I’m ready for a raucous bar night. I have the misfortune of consistently being out-ordered by my bar companions. I rarely if ever have the better of the two drinks. Tonight is no different, my friend has the El Escorpion in front of her and by the lavish smile she unleashes after the first sip I know I’m done for. Thankfully I’m more of a lush than her and she willingly shares half the spicy habanero infusion. The drink is lip tingling good, a balance of flavors with heat from the house-made bitters and a smokey finish on the nose from the mezcal. We order green bean sticks as we are fainting a healthy-ish trip. Merle Haggard chimes in just as the appetizer lands on the bar top. The crispy and delicious beans are a simple starter, a pragmatic contrast to the eclectic bar decor. Repurposed horseshoe candlesticks complement an oak bar top that is keyed up with license plates, vintage photographs, bullet shells, and ticket stubs. All made more tangible by burnt edges, brand markings and other assorted trinkets. The bar begins to fill up and we order our second round. The service reminds me of a fully functional steam engine. It gets the job done with an understated level of practicality and atmospheric efficiency.

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Santa Maria Tri-tip Platter with pinquito beans, market salad, fresh bread, and pico de gallo

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 33


Cold Smoked Watkins Ranch Pork Chop with charred Japanese turnips, wilted arugula, and pork jus 34 | MARCH/APRIL 2020


Bloody Mary

We finish off the night with Coors Light on draft and an elongated discussion on the bar’s vintage newspaper clipping wallpaper. The highlights being “Why Pay ’66 Prices,” “Monday Proclaimed Day of Mourning,” and “See the Joy You Can Give All...Under $6.” As we mosey back to our rooms we have an impromptu iPhone camera flash western shoot out. I walk away the quick draw winner, it must have been the Stetson. The next morning after a cowboy sized breakfast we put New Cuyama in our rear view mirror. I’m left with a prolonged sense of contentment. All three phases of Cuyama Buckhorn leave me with a familiar feeling, like visiting an old friend. The inn, restaurant, and most assuredly the bar, serving locals and travelers alike, are quickly becoming a must-see Santa Barbara County destination. * cuyamabuckhorn.com

For dinner I order the Santa Maria Tri-Tip, the bartender hasn’t steered me wrong, as the meal arrives I’m astounded by the portion before me. I dive right into the slaw, a side I traditionally avoid is understated and softens the intensity of the variety of flavors in the other accompaniments. The house-made chili was made to be a partner for the cheesy toast. The fluffiest slab of toast I ever did see imitates a slice of cornbread and has the guile and grace of a roll yet all the makings of an entire meal. My eyes can wrap around it but I have no idea how it will fit in my mouth. I slice it into portions and ask for some of the aforementioned honey, slather that on with butter and I’m practically four-star dining. I have to remember to pace myself and enter alcohol into my gullet to keep things moving along at a reasonable canter. I’m halfway through the OId Fashioned and ready to rumble with the smoked red oak tri-tip. This is what we drove out here for. The meat is tender, slow smoked and screams flavor. The bartender comes over and instructs me to load the next bite with smokey house-made BBQ sauce and pickles. The coalescence of flavorful meat, sweet sauce, and tangy pickles are a hit; the raucous state I was hoping for has been found.

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


SB LIFE & STYLE profile

“My days are like a movie on fast-forward,”

says Amber Lease, owner of Wildflower Women and Sandbox Kids boutiques in Los Olivos, Pismo Beach and Orcutt. Fittingly, as the owner of three clothing stores, she is also the mother of three boys. Being a mother both inside and outside of her shops keeps her quite busy as she fits a day’s worth of work in between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. She finds it incredibly fulfilling to watch customers interact with her employees, whom she mentors daily, yet her boys are a priority.

Get to know Amber Lease, founder of Wildflower Women Boutiques

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Written by Emma McDonnell Photographed by Kennedy Williams One could say retail raised, nurtured and shaped Lease. When she was growing up on California’s Central Coast, her family owned three stores. She went on to school for business and interior design, followed by a brief stint in the corporate world as a visual merchandiser, before returning to run her family’s business then starting her own. “I opened Sandbox Kids in 2009, shortly after having my second child. I had all the knowledge and tools from working so closely with my parents, and the insight from corporate leaders, that it just felt natural,” Lease explains. Yet, her children’s store was just a stepping stone to her beautiful, bohemian Wildflower Women boutiques. Lease explains, “There was always one common complaint amongst the ladies as they shopped for their children and grandchildren—there is nowhere for us to shop for quality items for ourselves.'' And, there was her answer! With this epiphany she launched the first Wildflower Women store in 2012. Since then, Lease has been rewarded for her hard work, in more ways than one. She describes the grand opening of her second location as one of the most significant events in her life. “It was a moment where I had to step back and pinch myself at the fact that women wanted more of what I had to offer,” she says. “Brick and mortars are up against the convenience of the online world. With that in mind, we’ve created a comfortable experience for our shoppers. It’s a feeling, a sense of connection, a sincerity in the conversation. It’s not just about the products we provide.'' Most people have 5-year, possibly 10-year plans, yet Lease goes off her gut-instinct and feeling with the goal of tailoring her stores to her customers’ desires. Timelessly encapsulated in each Wildflower Women boutique are beautiful classics that never go out of style. She describes the curations of clothing, shoes, and accessories, “We carry pieces that can remain in your closet season after season. Staples are essentially the foundation to any good wardrobe and with them you can build a sense of style that remains effortless.” As a mother, she acknowledges how little time can be allocated to figuring out what to wear in the morning. Thus, she creates her collections around what she imagines herself wearing and her customers as well: “Effortless with a little flair.” Her current must-haves right now? A classic western bootie, coupled with a matching belt. “I could probably wear my suede booties every day if I would allow myself to,” she confesses. Amber Lease gives no indication of stopping anytime soon. Even with three sons, this girl boss plans on opening additional stores and continuing to grow the brand. All the while, making women feel their best remains at the heart of her work. Lease’s stores are extensions of her compassion and thoughtfulness, and with each one she opens, she learns something new about herself while providing a memorable customer experience. * wildflowerwomenboutique.com

Staples are essentially the foundation to any good wardrobe and with them you can build a sense of style that remains effortless. @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 37


BloqUV tops, The Tennis Shop Montecito 38 | MARCH/APRIL 2020


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Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar Styled by Delaney Willet Models Stephanie Peterson & Ella Moore with Wilhelmina Hair by Colleen Konowitz Makeup by Heather Roach Photo Assistant Ryanne Bee Location listed with Schlobohm | Hodson Real Estate / Compass Kirk G. Hodson 805-886-6527 | Jon-Ryan Schlobohm 805-450-3307


This page: Pinko top & pants, Allora by Laura A.FIER bracelet, Coco Cabana Right: We Wore What dress, Coco Cabana TEDDYS sunglasses, Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club Tropicales by Cita earrings, Coco Cabana

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Repeat sweater, Whiskey & Leather Tail Activewear skirt, The Tennis Shop Montecito Pachulah rings, Coco Cabana Wilson tennis racket, The Tennis Shop Montecito 42 | MARCH/APRIL 2020


Seventy blazer, Allora by Laura Nili Lotan sweater, Allora by Laura Peter Cohen pants, Allora by Laura TEDDYS sunglasses, Post Ranch Inn

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We Wore What dress, Coco Cabana TEDDYS sunglasses, Coral Casino Beach & Cabana Club Tropicales by Cita earrings, Coco Cabana

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On Stephanie: Apparis coat, Whiskey & Leather Barely BollĂŠ shorts, The Tennis Shop Montecito Pachulah necklace, Coco Cabana Valet clips, Coco Cabana APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com Babolat tennis racket, The Tennis Shop Montecito On Ella: Repeat sweater, Whiskey & Leather Tail Activewear skirt, The Tennis Shop Montecito APL shoes, athleticpropulsionlabs.com Wilson tennis racket, The Tennis Shop Montecito

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Sally LaPointe dress, Allora by Laura

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Missoni sets, Allora by Laura Clergerie shoes, Allora by Laura

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Sweater, Wildflower Women Boutique

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SB LIFE & STYLE fashion

child Photographed by Jon Premosch Floral Installation & Set Design by Jaime Sanchez with Hogue Floral Styled by Lauren Cameron Model Kylee Nielsen with Wilhelmina Hair by James David using R+Co Makeup by Brynna Ashley

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Manoush dress, Jake & Jones Lisi Lerch earrings, www.lisilerch.com

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Staud Hendrix top, Jake & Jones Valet earrings, Jake & Jones Vintage rings

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ASTR The Label jumpsuit, Wildflower Women Boutique Harlin shirt, Jake & Jones OZMA of California scarf, Jane & Jones Vintage bracelet & ring Lucky Brand cuff

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Manoush dress, Jake & Jones Free People ring

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Vintage sweater, Coco Cabana Harlin shirt, Jake & Jones B SIDES jeans, Jake & Jones Quay glasses, quayaustralia.com Vintage necklaces @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 53


Heartloom fur vest, Wildflower Women Boutique Lucky Brand earrings Vintage ring

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Lissa Liggett silk dress, Coco Cabana Rose Carmine sweater, Jake & Jones Vintage earrings

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SB LIFE & STYLE beauty

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R E S E T

with Retrouvé Written by Delaney Willet Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar

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kincare has meant many things to me throughout my life: harsh cleansers that dried my skin to the point of cracking, moisturizers that went on thick and clogged my pores, serums that worked wonders until they didn’t. Then came Retrouvé. With the onset of spring, I decided it was time to simplify my skincare, and no one does the “less is more” approach better than Retrouvé. When packaging is as sleek as Retrouvé’s elegant black bottles, I am typically quick to assume that most of the company’s energy and resources are put into creating an appealing presentation, a pretty trinket to display on your countertop, rather than creating care for appealing skin. Upon trying Retrouvé (created by former Kiehl’s owner Jami Morse Heidegger), I learn not to judge a book by its beautiful, gilded cover. Natural ingredients (like avocados grown on the Heidegger family ranch in Malibu, pressed into oil used in the Luminous Cleansing Elixir) feed my skin the nutrients it has been starved of by drugstore products and high-end brands that promised more than they could deliver. Retrouvé serums are not only healing but seem to infuse my skin with a radiance that I was lacking in previous routines. With the launch of their new travel-sized Voyage Collection, Retrouvé makes it easier than ever to keep up my skincare routine as I travel into the spring and

summer months—patching up skin that’s been sucked of moisture by plane rides with their Intensive Replenishing Facial Moisturizer and assuaging sunburns with the soothing Nutrient Face Serum. And, if you’re like me, your skin may be at its best when on vacation, especially in coastal, tropical climates. Retrouvé’s focus on simplicity—and simply good ingredients—goes beyond maintaining that brilliant vacation complexion by further enhancing skin with the naturally beneficial flora in their elixirs. The most striking asset of Retrouvé’s line is its ability to do so much with so little. By this, I mean that with simply a cleanser, a serum, and a few key moisturizers, Retrouvé transformed my skin’s elasticity, texture, and appearance, a task that would have otherwise taken dozens of products and at least a few hundred dollars’ worth of medi-spa treatments. Where Retrouvé surpasses the excellence of any other skincare I have used is in its ingredients that simply work to nourish the skin—the only thing I have ever asked of my skincare—but somehow only Retrouvé’s meticulous formulas were able to execute. Though my closet may not yet be cleaned out, I can say I have successfully overhauled my cosmetics cabinet by spring-cleaning with Retrouvé, which has equipped me with a minimal amount of products for maximum results. * retrouve.com @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 57


SB LIFE & STYLE wellness

a POTION a day

Self-care is a practice that Scott Linde, founder of Sun Potion and long time Santa Barbara resident, wants to you to experience. A simple, daily act, that helps you press pause on your never-ending to-do list and suspend a moment in time to cultivate joy and positive energy. A practice made all the more enjoyable when routine is transformed into ritual with the addition of organic and wildcrafted adaptogens. When I arrive at the Sun Potion headquarters here in Santa Barbara, I’m greeted in the parking lot by Scott himself, and ushered into their light filled office to begin our chat about all things adaptogens. But first things first, Scott offers me a taste of one of his new tonic creations: the transcendent elixir. With a name like that, how could one refuse?

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Scott retrieves two rocks glasses from the cupboard and two bottles of chilled Topo Chico (his sparkling water of choice) from the fridge and proceeds to concoct a sparkling tonic for each of us, complete with a trio of transcendent elixirs: Shatavari, Ashwagandha, and Triphala. While the earthy tone of the drink may be off-putting to some, I think back on my days working at a health bar in Honolulu, where locals of all ages would come to savor a healing root beverage called Kava. After a sip of Scott’s tonic, my taste memory is confirmed, and the effects of this drink are similar: I feel a sense of ease rush over me followed by a slight—and welcomed—shift in perspective. It’s clear that these transcendent elixirs live up to their name, but their creation was no easy task. When Scott started developing the elixir line in 2018, he set out to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of plant tonics. It took him two years to get the formula up to his standards, and the company just released the final product last fall. The result: a ‘Vedic Alchemical Triple Extract Tincture’ made with three different parts of a single plant. Each component is extracted for purity and potency and then combined to produce a hyper concentrated plant extract that can be taken alone, or mixed into a tonic or tea.

Written by Keri Haugse Photographed by Silas Fallstich

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he term self-care seems to be everywhere these days. Yet, more often than not, we are quick to write it off as a self-indulgent practice reserved for those who we perceive to have more time, more freedom, or fewer responsibilities than us. After all, we have jobs to attend to, children to raise, places to go, and people to see. But, the truth is, self-care can be accessed by anyone—at any time—and it can be as simple as making yourself a cup of tea.


Packaged in luxurious blue glass bottles and wrapped in cosmic gold labeling, it’s no surprise that Scott’s adaptogenic ‘potions’ have an immense loyal following around the world. Sun Potion products are sold everywhere from the pristine shelves of Le Bon Marché in Paris to the humble shelves of your neighborhood health food store, right here in Santa Barbara. But before we dive into the daily luxury that is the act of making a Sun Potion tonic, you might be asking yourself: what exactly are adaptogens and what do they do? In general terms, adaptogens are a group of medicinal plants,

superfoods, and tonic herbs that help the body react to stress and achieve homeostasis. Once a luxury reserved for royalty, the use of adaptogens dates back thousands of years to the early beginnings of Ayurveda in India and Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. When used as part of a daily routine or ritual, adaptogens may provide support for immunity, energy, hormonal balance, mental clarity, stress relief, cellular regeneration, radiance, healthy circulation, and emotional equilibrium. However, Scott is quick to point out that adaptogens are not meant to treat specific ailments. Rather, the beneficial effects of adaptogens are the natural result of a less stressed system. Sun Potion’s line of 48 different herbs, tonics, and potions are curated by Scott himself, and are a reflection of what he wants to put in his own body. From this starting point, came a personal motivation to source the highest quality tonic herbs, algae, greens, and mushrooms from around the globe. One of his most intriguing formulations is the activated Yin Power, a ‘tonic herbal formula for the feminine’ that contains eight different adaptogens, hand selected by Scott to promote total body awareness. Among these adaptogens are freshwater pearl (a consummate beauty food); He Shou Wu (an herb that helps restore radiance to hair, skin, and nails); Tocos (a natural form of skin nourishing Vitamin E); and Ashwagandha (an herb regarded for its ability to bring balance and harmony to the body and mind) to name a few. Scott recommends the comprehensive Yin Power as a great place for someone who is interested in adaptogens to start. But if you’re looking for a single plant to begin with, he recommends the figurative queen of adaptogens: Ashwagandha. And for ultimate skin health, Scott recommends a reviving trio: Triphala for total body cleansing, Shea Butter to balance the external PH of the skin, and high-vibing Solar Rose Water, made from roses grown in Vrindavan, India, for the ultimate mood lifting, skin soothing, self-care ritual. *

Yin Powder, sunpotion.com Ceramics, Letter Perfect

sunpotion.com

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Written by Alexandra Sharova

Beyond Epigenetic Testing Optimizing Health from Spirit to Body

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ur culture is obsessed with the best. We want optimization, and we want it now, preferably with the click of a button. We not only want the best, but we ourselves desire to be the best—proven by the endless slew of fad diets, workouts, and treatments flooding Instagram feeds and taking over Sunday brunch convos. Yet, to truly improve ourselves we must begin from the inside, because everything else is just a bandaid (and we know those inevitably fall off). Which is why Jennifer, of The Alternative, takes the trending epigenetics movement to the next level—down to the core, or the soul level.

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While epigenetics has recently come to the forefront of the health world, it remains a daunting field to most. To break it down: epigenetics is the study of biochemical modifications to DNA that occur in our lifetime due to both environmental factors and lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, stress levels, etc.). While these components do not alter our actual genetic code, they can modify the expression of genes, which can have a profound effect on overall health. Think things like gluten “intolerance” or other developed food allergies, and trouble sleeping—issues like this are often attributed to epigenetics. To put it simply, epigenetics is the science of change (to the epigenome). Now that we have the semantics out of the way, let’s dive into the actual process of an epigenetic testing session with Jennifer. Located in trendy Studio City, Jennifer’s office is a cozy mix of bohemian charm and peaceful serenity— the perfect atmosphere for letting your guard down to reconnect with your body and soul. For those not willing to take on Los Angeles traffic, Jennifer is able to make house calls to Santa Barbara, as well as offering phone sessions for certain services. While most epigenetictesting providers simply take a hair sample, leave clients with a chart (or a pamphlet) that they will likely not be able to understand, and send them on their way, The Alternative—as the name suggests—offers a different approach. A more personal, holistic, and individualized process that leaves clients with takeaways that can literally transform one’s life…

Jennifer tells me of the imbalances and blocks that she saw from her reading. It turns out my birth control is not serving me, my immune system is weak, there’s a block in my spleen, and a few other things I was completely unaware of. Not only do we go over the timeline and origin of these issues, we’re able to talk through what was going on in my life at the time. For instance, the spleen is apparently tied to our inner “chi energy” (or balance), and on a spiritual level in Eastern practice it’s tied to the heart’s energy, to desire for the life we want. My spleen issue started at the age of five, with the belief that no one understands me. Dramatic? Maybe, but we can’t control our subconscious...only bring awareness to it. On the bright side we discuss why such beliefs originated, much like a therapy session. Next, we look over the test results, which confirm what the reading brought up, while also exposing chemical imbalances, an over-exposure to a computer monitor (not surprising), and a deficit in certain minerals and vitamins. While the chart reveals what my body is missing or is getting too much of, Jennifer dives deeper to explain what the different terminology actually means, where it stems from, and provides real day-to-day solutions. She gives me a list of foods to avoid and recommendations on what I need to incorporate into my diet, as well as a short vitamin “prescription” to integrate for at least 30 days. And thankfully I don’t need to memorize all that was covered because all my results, plus their explanations are given to me to review in more detail on my own.

With newfound awareness of the root cause of blocks and imbalances, and a bespoke regimen in place, real transformation can begin.

To begin, Jennifer explains the process of what is going to take place in the session. She then takes a hair sample, uploads it and goes into an intuitive “wellness check,” which is a unique energy reading through which she is able to see where you’re experiencing blockage. The check tests the emotional, spiritual and physical world for blocks, which occur when energy is not able to flow freely, resulting in things like disconnects between the emotional and physical self, or in physical issues, like digestive problems or in a worse-case-scenario, auto-immune diseases, if left untreated. This reading is meant to expose what’s energetically holding you back in life.

Just like there are no quick-and-easy fixes in life—no real ones at least—there’s no button for fixing your health and overall wellness. It takes time and commitment to see results. While everyone’s suggested plan-of-action will be different, and likely have varying timelines, it is recommended to implement the dietary, lifestyle, and environmental (if applicable) changes for 1-2 months before returning for a re-test. With newfound awareness of the root cause of blocks and imbalances, and a bespoke regimen in place, real transformation can begin. Because to truly self-optimize, we must begin from the inside—from our soul-level. *

Before jumping into the results from my hair-sample test,

jenniferwellness.com

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Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar Written by Celine Wallace Model Stephanie Peterson with Wilhelmina Hair by Colleen Konowitz | Makeup by Heather Roach

Creation VS Consumption

Peter Cohen shirt, Allora by Laura

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It's 2020. A new decade. One where we can hopefully change our behavior for the better. So, I have a question for you… Are you currently spending 80% of your time in creation mode, or are you deep in consumption mode? You know, things, like buying a bunch of coaching courses, or scrolling through Instagram, perhaps even spending hour upon hour watching things and learning on YouTube…without implementing them? It isn’t fun to recognize this, but the first step to making a change, as we all know, is identifying the problem. Hell, right now, I have eight different tabs open in my browser. Are they all for creation? Sadly, no. So, we're all guilty in our own way, but we can help each other to bring more balance between creating and consuming. In our modern society, everything is online and accessible 24/7. With everyone always 'on,' it can be hard to catch a break, and it's effortless to get sucked into the vortex of constantly consuming media. It's not by chance that we are glued to our screens, and often, even checking them on the toilet. If that doesn't scream addiction, what does? We have to remind ourselves that we are using phones, created by engineers who also develop gaming and gambling apps, designed with the intention of getting us addicted to our devices. So, with this knowledge, let's become more conscious of how we're utilizing our screen time. Nobody should be able to break your flow during your day, whether that be during professional or personal time. Your phone dinging with notifications is an unwelcome distraction from whatever you're doing, so start implementing the changes to the right, and watch your life change. If you're still not sold, let me remind you of this: your brain only has so much space for undertaking cognitive tasks each day, so by eliminating distractions, you're setting yourself up for success. Your mind cannot tell the difference between a cognitive job like commenting on Instagram posts or sitting down to write an email for work. Often you'll feel exhausted and you haven’t even begun working—that’s because your brain registers online consumption as work; you're draining the fuel tank before you can get started. With the checklist to the right to help implement mindfulness around consumerism, let's now look at how you are actively using your time. Are you creating? No, watching cat videos on YouTube isn't creation…unless you created the video and just finished uploading it. My point is, it's important to periodically stop throughout your day and assess what you're spending your time doing and what you want to create. Then, re-align your

actions with creating things that take you closer to rewarding long-term goals. Creation of any kind has the potential to lead to freedom within our lives because the more we create, the more opportunity we have to leverage what we've created. So, this year I challenge you to only pick up your phone to create something—a text, an email, a post—then put it away. You can even challenge your friends and family to join in and hold each other accountable. It's something we all struggle with, so let's make it fun and tackle healthy digital consumption together. * 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.

How to break a digital addiction: 1. Turn off push notifications. Disable pop-up alerts to stop your phone from interrupting you. 2. Schedule times to check your phone or at least be mindful of it. 3. Use a timer to block your usage. 4. Replace smartphone use with something you value, like a hobby or workout. 5. Don’t take your phone to bed. 6. Set expectations around email response times.

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SB LIFE & STYLE travel

awaits Written by Taylon Faltas

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s I step into the lobby of Maui’s Hotel Wailea one of the wonderful front desk associates, Adi, hands me a glass of Champagne and adorns my neck with a lei of purple orchids. Let’s face it, I was waiting for this moment the entire 5 hours and 12 minutes of that flight from LAX: I finally got lei’d. I soak in the breathtaking architecture and decoration– from the vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams to the solid, single piece of a Koa Tree, expertly crafted to serve as the check-in desk. My bags are swiftly taken from my hands, along with any worries I bring with me to the island. With only 72 one-bedroom suites across 15 lush acres, this tranquil adults-only resort has me feeling relaxed the minute I step foot into my private oasis. Hotel Wailea’s newly remodeled Celebration Suites capture an island-chic decorative palette and allow natural light and air to circulate through the entirety of these top-floor sanctuaries. I take a stroll through the elegant, modern bedroom area and the restroom, where there is a towering stone shower and deep white bathtub: the ultimate rejuvenation station. The views from my suite overlook the neighboring island of Kaho’olawe and the smaller, crescent shaped island of Molokini. The inviting crystal blue waters glisten in the sun and the natural landscape of the property dances around me as I sip the last of my Champagne on the lanai. A visit to the concierge desk reveals the wide array of activities offered, including Poolside Poke, Treehouse Dining, Aerial Silk Yoga, Tropical Mixology 101, and Sunset Sailing. I go for the Poolside Poke, a hands-on class in the art of creating delicious gourmet poke bowls. This class is taught by the incredibly experienced (and hilarious) Chef Krista. I am physically unable to wipe the smile off my face, even as she’s effortlessly filleting a fish before my eyes; her stories and expertise are unique and relevant to the cooking experience. The class can hold up to 16 students, but we are lucky to find that there is an intimate group of four poke students this evening.

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Throughout my stay, the feeling of ohana is present in Hotel Wailea’s above-and-beyond level of hospitality. The first fish we use is local Kona Kanpachi, perfectly portioned with house-made shoyu poke sauce. It’s followed by Pickled Hawaiian Shrimp paired with spicy tobiko mayo. Both proteins are mixed with sesame seeds, fresh ginger, ogo (seaweed), scallions, fried shallots, Maui Sweet Onion, and Hawaiian chili peppers. For the next course, Chef Krista brings out traditional hibachi grills and fresh Hawaiian Venison tenderloin to grill upon a bed of furikake rice with a side of tomato watermelon poke. Is your mouth watering yet? We finish the meal with a gourmet and boozy take on the s’more: homemade rum marshmallows topped with crumbled graham crackers and a dark chocolate drizzle. The best part? Everything is sustainably sourced—a true taste of the bounty the Hawaiian Islands have to offer. Throughout my stay, the feeling of ohana is present in Hotel Wailea’s above-and-beyond level of hospitality. While the property is not beachfront, they certainly deliver me to the Maui seaside in style. Hotel Wailea has two Tesla Model Xs and a brand new convertible Jeep that escorts me to the beach–where the staff provides towels,

cold water, and seating–and anywhere else in Wailea within a 5-mile radius. Sun-kissed and hungry, I step off the beach craving one thing: spam musubi. Palekana, born and raised on the island of Maui, knows exactly where to go for this Hawaiian delicacy. He picks me up in a sleek black Model X and takes me to Island Gourmet, said to be the best grocery store on the south side of the island. Juggling varieties of spam musubi in both hands, I climb back into the spaceship-esque vehicle and return to Wailea Beach, where my chaise lounge is waiting. Post sunset, I head to dinner. The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea, rated one of Maui’s finest dining locations, certainly lives up to its mighty name. I begin with one of The Restaurant’s specialty beverages, the Lilikoi Martini, crafted with fresh passionfruit and locally made Pau Vodka, alongside the Torched Ahi appetizer served on brioche with avocado and Australian black truffle tare. For my entree I order one of the highly-praised items on the menu, the Grand Banks Diver Scallops–and grand they are! Each bite is perfectly seared, served with braised daikon, charred corn, XO sauce, and serrano ham. The delicious food combined with the twinkling lights draped over the dark green jungle below creates an enchanting dining experience. My final day starts with complimentary aerial silk yoga in their Wellness Studio, stunning views included. The serenity of the studio and comforting embrace of the silks leaves me relaxed and ready to bask in the sun. I hop in a Tesla and travel to the beach to catch a few rays before my next excursion: sunset sailing. Gliding along the ocean on the Ali’i Nui, a 65’ catamaran stocked with a full bar, a gourmet dinner buffet, and a delightful crew is the most exquisite way to say goodbye to this picturesque paradise. Hotel Wailea’s beauty and authentic touch provide a serene and memorable getaway for romantic partners, friends, and even the solo traveler to the beautiful island of Maui, so look no further than this wonderful slice of island life. Your home away from home awaits. A hui hou, Hawai’i. * hotelwailea.com

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Written by Delaney Willet

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unset Boulevard has long stood as the time capsule of Los Angeles, the beating heart of the town, seeing it through devastating, debaucherous, and dazzling days. Ian Schrager, the original owner of New York’s iconic Studio 54, has harnessed Los Angeles’ environment—rich with stars and stories to tell—and erected a playground for the diverse set of individuals that uphold Sunset Boulevard’s reputation in the modernday. The embodiment of this energy is the newly revealed West Hollywood Edition, the first Edition property on the West Coast, fittingly nestled on the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Doheny Drive. The hotel stands as a transparent colossus in the midst of Los Angeles’s busiest streets. Charisma and prestige radiate from the building, which seems to be stuffed in the seams with greenery and is noticeably topped off with an expansive rooftop getaway. In fact, “getaway” is exactly how The Edition can best be described. Behind the lobby’s double doors lies a world unbeknownst to the bustling streets outside of the walls. The Edition acts as a sanctuary for all that is sumptuous, opulent and inherently Californian.

The West Hollywood Edition Encapsulates the Glitz & Glam of Los Angeles

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The West Hollywood Edition’s grand opening events span over a week, including charity galas and banquet dinners, as well as rooftop soirees and late nights in the underground club facilitated by surprise performer Janelle Monae. My time at the property burns bright and fast, lasting just about twenty-four hours, but filled with tales to last a lifetime. I thought making the necessary unprotected left onto Sunset Boulevard would be enough excitement for my day. Little do I know what waits for me behind those behemoth green hedges that guard The Edition’s exterior like loyal watchmen. Before pulling up to the shrouded entrance, I note police presence as far as the eye can see, forming a grid-like pattern around the property perimeter. Burly men sharply dressed in black suits and earpieces stop my car upon entry, asking for every detail short of my social security number. This is when I realize, prior to even completing my drive into the valet, that this property is larger than life. Or rather, larger than the traditional concept of what constitutes a hotel. I catch on to the fact that Ian Schrager has once again created an oasis for all walks of life to escape the day to day and transport to a luxe euphoria. The lobby boasts ceilings so high I question if there is a ceiling at all. The exaggerated airiness of the space is complemented by the angular simplicity of design, the most color in the room supplied by the Lobby Bar’s extensive collection of alcohol bottles.

ushered into the restaurant by a soft golden light reflecting off a maze of palm trees, seemingly growing out of the tiled floors, so abundant you would think that the sunshine of the tropics nourished the forest from above. The outdoor space is transcendent (save the occasional honking car echoing from Sunset Boulevard), outfitted with candelabras, lush greenery, and intricate red rugs, something out of a Havana fantasy. Fraser’s food awakens sensibilities of my palate of which I was not previously aware. The menu cannot be pigeon-holed into a single strain of cuisine, but is rather an amalgam of Fraser’s fancies across the globe. Brussels sprouts and carrots take on new lives with truffles and tandoor, respectively. Just when I think I will never taste anything as luscious as the garlic-chive-butter-soaked Alaskan crab, a ten-pound sharing portion of dry-aged Porterhouse makes its way to our table and my preconceived notions of what steak is supposed to taste like melt away with each exquisite bite. With dinner’s conclusion, we are whisked into the night behind Mr. Schrager, Paris Hilton, and myriad faces you may have seen grace Vogue covers or the silver screen. Celebrations continue down three flights of stairs in the uber-private Sunset club. Hollywood’s biggest names (Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Idol, Diplo) dance and sip under the ceiling’s impressive disco ball installation, which douses elite guests in sparkling red light. Whether they are shooting pool to the left or indulging in signature cocktails and bottle service at the bar and lounge to the right, everyone holds that same glimmer in their eye that tells you this hotel is going to be a mainstay, a haven for adults that had seen it all, or thought as much before tonight. Until the morning’s wee hours, the room buzzes with awe over their surroundings. The evening, however, reaches its climax with the appearance of the Sunset club’s surprise guest. The intimate audience collectively gasps as Janelle Monae takes the stage in an architectural red and black bodysuit and rhinestone-adorned microphone, christening the exclusive space with a night of revelry.

Behind the lobby’s double doors lies a world unbeknownst to the bustling streets outside of the walls.

Once escorted into my room, I notice a welcome amenity perched upon the refreshingly stark built-in beneath the television. What appeared as an avocado at first glance turns out to be an expertly-crafted cake shaped to fill an actual avocado skin and topped with a rounded chocolate truffle. Details like this, aside from the lauded location and overarching allure of the uniqueness the property offers, is what sets The Edition apart from any property, hotel or otherwise. I try to maintain delicacy out of respect for the bespoke dessert, but as the light pastry cream touches my tongue I know not even the most prized California avocado will ever live up, and devour the sweet on sight. This homage to such an implicitly Californian treat pays respect to the West Coast as Edition settles into new territory. The marriage of old guard glamour and quirky-cool accents is expertly arranged within and around the West Hollywood Edition. Guest rooms are outfitted most notably with a massive, low-sitting bed, just the right amalgam of natural light and fixtures, and a breathtaking view. Views may just be The Edition’s most striking amenity, whether it be from the comfort of your private terrace’s chaise lounge or the vibrant pool scene on The Roof, the Edition’s rooftop pool, bar, and Latin restaurant. No matter where I settle in, I find the property is well-stocked with remarkable scenery and delectable bites across the board. Dinner at the hotel’s upscale restaurant Ardor is prepared by Michelin-starred head chef John Fraser. Though, to call it a dinner is reductive and mundane. It is more of a dream sequence. I am

The next morning, my room’s stunning view embraces me in the new day, especially as I remember my plans for a mid-day massage. The spa’s decor is nearly, if not just as relaxing, as the massage that waits beyond the lounge. Oversized beige couches with tonal cashmere throws envelope me, allowing me to bathe in the ambient light that is nearly the same buttery color as the couch. Singular green palm leaves punctuate the space and carry the modern lively decor of the hotel to even the property’s most serene corners. The festivities of The Edition’s opening week are a mere glimpse into the potential of this property, sure to become a Los Angeles landmark for the new age as its distant cousin Studio 54 was to New York’s 1970s. The West Hollywood Edition is, at its core, much more than a hotel. It is instead like a social club, a collaborative site for creation and celebration for civilians and celebrities alike that is only just beginning to morph into the legend it will become. * editionhotels.com/weho @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 69


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From Russia with Love Written by Alexandra Sharova

I’ve always wanted to travel back in time,

not to change anything, but to experience another era, a world that can only be read about in books. Going to St.Petersburg—once the capital of Imperial Russia—is as close to time travel as one can get. The city is overflowing with history, seen in its largely preserved architecture dating back to the 19th century, and the art culture it holds within multi-colored walls encased in meringue moldings. With an array of styles, from Neoclassical to Baroque, and everything erected pre-and-post-Soviet rule, it’s a dream for an accelerated two-day deep dive into the city’s heritage.

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It truly feels as though I’ve been transported to another time, reliving an evening from the 19th century. To experience the Russia of Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, and Pushkin in all its glory I took a solo adventure to the Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, right in the heart of the city. No place is better suited for soaking in the splendor and spirit of St. Petersburg than a hotel that’s more like a living, breathing part of the local story. Like the city itself, it has undergone tremendous changes to fit an everevolving socio-political climate, since its opening in 1875. Even back then, it was at the vanguard of innovation and style; boasting the first restaurant with electric lights, which drew in nobility and artists to its lavish Hall, where a stained-glass mural of Apollo served as the backdrop for countless ballets, operas, and even Rasputin’s secret meetings. A delayed flight from Moscow cut my first day of exploring in half, but nothing was going to stop me from rediscovering the city I visited as a child. I conveniently arrive at sunset to the Art Nouveau decorated hotel, and my butler—yes, butler!—guides me to a themed suite that honors Fabergé, the locally founded jewelry company whose illustrious jewel-encrusted eggs stand in a class of art all on their own. Just like the intricately adorned pieces, the suite is drenched in opulent, jewel-toned details: gold-accented wallpaper, a plush velvet chaise, Fabergé egg paintings, and a mahogany desk equipped with custom stationery, that makes my inner-writer light up with uncontrollable glee. I feel as though I’ve transformed into a member of Russia’s aristocracy. I walk out onto Nevsky Prospekt and though the evening air is brisk, the city is scintillating in a bevy of warm lights. Strolling towards the historic Anichkov Bridge, which happens to be the oldest in the city, I find myself mesmerized by the incredible mélange of periods towering before me in pastel hues. My daze is interrupted by an explosion...fireworks are bursting into a thousand scarlet smithereens, miniature flames burning over the

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Fontanka River. Although St. Petersburg was likely to join my growing list of favorite cities, the chance performance solidified its place in spite of my Moscow roots. Passing by the Church of Saint Catherine, the Kazan Cathedral, and Gostiny Dvor (all on my “to see” list in tomorrow's daylight), makes me appreciate the central location of my hotel because the river’s breeze is piercing through my leather jacket, making a bar pitstop inevitable. I opt for an intimate spot recommended by a young local couple, Apotheke (a play on apothecary, due to the serious mixology that goes on inside). The vibe is a cross between the 1920s and Brooklyn hipster—befitting the journey-through-time theme of my weekend—and a stark contrast to the neighboring dive bars. A dapper bartender (equipped with a mustache that could make Salvadore Dali roll over in his grave) explains that the slogan here is “think what you drink,” meaning there’s no menu, just surprises with minimal direction. My bespoke cocktail features fresh blackberries and a tart kick within a gin concoction, presented in fine crystal. It’s everything I didn’t know I needed in a nightcap. Since time is limited and St. Petersburg is overflowing with places to see, I rise bright and early for a traditional Russian breakfast at the hotel. In keeping with stereotypes (and historical accuracy), I enjoy blini with a generous caviar spread, and one too many pastries with an array of wild berry jams. I arrive at Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, just as the sun pours over its 70-foot gold-leaf covered colossus of a dome. The Cathedral is imposing, with its marble pillars, nearly blinding palatial interior, and the world’s heaviest Foucault pendulum that was added when the space was transformed into a museum in 1931. Though the murals and icons are marvelous, the 365 degree view of the city from the colonnade, takes my breath away (as did the 262 steps I conquered to revel in the scene). With a cappuccino in hand I walk to my next stop, the Russian State Museum.


The museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of Russian art, is a former palace. Its muted-yellow exterior and Empirical design are quintessential to the region’s style in the 1830s, and a pleasant contrast from the classic beige and cream tones I had grown accustomed to during my travels across Europe. Though my time is limited, and most halls have to be observed with high-speed scans, a few pieces stop me in my tracks. The “Knight at the Crossroads,” depicting a mournful man atop his faithful steed with ominous symbols (scattered bones and a black raven flying overhead), reminds the viewer of the country’s solemn history of war and the many lives lost in honorable battles. Ivan Aivazovsky’s “The Shipwreck,” with a tumultuous sea and Romantic portrayal of daybreak, also made its way into my long list of loved artworks. Leaving in an art-overloaded daze, I grab an Uber—which are thankfully accessible around the city—to see one of the city’s main attractions, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (dedicated to Tsar Alexander II), before it closes for the day. Sadly, the line is weaving around the block. Pro tip: arrive in advance for a chance to marvel at the out-of-this-world turquoise vibrancy and shimmering gold mosaics that span an astounding 75,000 square feet inside the church. The dome-shaped exterior is reminiscent of a fairytale castle due to kaleidoscopic patterns whose brilliance pops against the fading sky. Walking away from the crowd I stop before a local punk band singing a song about Leningrad— the city’s name between 1924 and 1991. Just another reminder of how much history this beautiful city holds. I arrive at my last sight of the day, the Fabergé Museum, as the sun rolls beyond the Fontanka River. Inside, everything is dazzling. Diamonds, rubies, pearls, and emeralds cover miniature clocks, picture frames, hairbrushes and a slew of other accessories, and of course the prized Easter Eggs collection, created for the last two emperors. The eggs are awe-

inspiring; crafted with unparalleled mastery, each intricate detail contributes a themed fantasy. I nearly cave and purchase a replica in the gift shop, but luckily it dawns on me that I am only living like “royalty” for one more night… Back in my suite I indulge in a few truffles from the hotel’s very own chocolate factory before heading down to Tchaikovsky Night at L’Europe. Set in the country’s oldest continually serving restaurant, the evening honors the composer whose ballets have been showing in St. Petersburg since 1895. While a String Ensemble plays heavenly melodies I enjoy the Egg in Egg: a truffle-meetscaviar delight befitting a Tsar. Sticking to Russian dishes, I get a Kamchatka Crab Salad that mingles molecular gastronomy trends with a traditional recipe. It’s delicious thanks to an unexpected basil foam, which provides a refreshing mousse texture to a typically mayonnaise-heavy starter. The performance switches to opera, and between the close proximity to the stage and the powerful tenor, I feel a chill run through me. As the aromatic Duck Supreme arrives in all its seasonal-berry drenched glory, the first duet from the famed Swan Lake begins. The duo is enchanting, and their every move has me smiling from ear-to-ear with nostalgia for my childhood trips to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. It truly feels as though I’ve been transported to another time, reliving an evening from the 19th century. After last night’s magical evening I’m dreading leaving the hotel, but the renowned State Hermitage Museum, whose Winter Palace complex once housed the Romanov family, is on the agenda. Given that I have but a few hours before my flight and the museum astonishingly houses over three-million items in its collection, I get an audio tour and nearly sprint up the winding, velvet-lined staircase. Keep in mind, the museum is in the ranks with the Louvre and the MET, so it’s busy—people waiting for hours to get in, busy. With the help of a map and my handy guide I manage to see a decent amount of my favorite periods, like The Romantics, Impressionists, and plenty of lavish furniture that belonged to the royal family, but it’s clear that a return in the hopefully near future is imperative. With art, history, and an incredibly rich cultural experience all replaying in my mind, I head to the airport. It almost feels like I’m set to return to modern times from a vacation in another world, another time. Regardless of my Moscow background, Russian roots run deep...I feel an inexplicable pull towards St.Petersburg: like it’s a version of home. * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 73


48 hours in

DAY 1 Breakfast

Santa Barbara everything in between. Pair your meal with one of their famous House Margaritas for a midday pick-me-up. @losarroyosrestaurant

The best mornings start with pastries and a latté. Stop by Helena Avenue Bakery for all the breakfast fixings–avocado toast, homemade lemon pepita granola, and honey ricotta french toast. Cleanse your palate with a cold brew coffee or Mizuba matcha latté.

California road trip. Lounge by the pool, dine at Norman Restaurant, or sit around the fire pit under the glow of the pink dusk sky–a motel-stay just became a lot more enticing. @skyviewlosalamos

Shop Calling all beach bunnies: bikini season is here. Head to Coco Cabana in the Montecito Country Mart for all your poolside and beach necessities. Shop colorful men's and women’s swimwear, beach towels, and chic cover-ups. @ilovecococabana

@helenaavenuebakery

Sip on exceptional wine at the Folded Hills Tasting Room in Montecito. The space is charming and modern, bringing a natural ranch aesthetic to the urban setting of Coast Village Road. It is perfect for a casual afternoon walk-in tasting, or you can make a reservation with family and friends. @foldedhills

Hike Not only does the return of spring weather call for a hike, but it summons the annual California poppy super bloom on Grass Mountain. The four-mile trail coined “Lover's Loop” leads you through the flowers and offers stunning views overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley.

Lunch Los Arroyos Restaurant embodies the aesthetic of old-town Santa Barbara. This local staple serves authentic Mexican food from Pozole with homemade tortillas to mouthwatering Tacos Al Pastor and 74 | MARCH/APRIL 2020

DAY 2

Brunch

We can’t think of a better way to ring in spring than celebrating with family and friends at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore’s Easter Brunch at Bella Vista Restaurant. The brunch buffet features a carving station, crudo bar, and a selection of housemade desserts among other brunch goodies. Sip on specialty cocktails, followed by an egg hunt and other festivities on the Monte Vista Lawn. @fssantabarbara

Give Back

Stay Combining desert scenery and the charm of wine country, Skyview Los Alamos embodies the ideal western getaway. The once roadside motel turned boutique hotel is hosting an “Artist in Residence” collection, encapsulating the allure of the

The 7th Annual Rally4Kids supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara is an amazing opportunity to give back to the Santa Barbara community while having a little fun along the way. For this April 25 event, teams will compete in classic and luxury sports cars driving through Santa Barbara with ‘whimsical’ stops along the way, culminating in a gala at the Bella Vista Ranch in Summerland. @rally4kids

Dinner Taste the bounty of the California coast at The Lark. Enjoy dishes such as Japanese Hamachi Crudo and Buttermilk Fried Quail, or opt for something lighter such as Rainbow Roasted Carrots. The plates are meant for sharing, but you don’t have to follow the rules. @thelarksb

Dessert Who doesn’t love a twist on a good classic? Monkeyshine brings together American soft-serve ice cream and Asian-inspired flavors to create a unique dessert. Flavors such as Thai coffee, ube, and mango sticky rice are served in traditional takeout containers and drizzled with toppings. @monkeyshinesb

Written by Anna Constantino

Wine Tasting


Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck

TAY L O R A N N E I N T E R I O R S . C O M


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

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