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September/October 2020

Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine


Captivating Modern Luxury



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SANTA BARBARA LIFE & STYLE delivered to your mailbox

September/October 2020 Editor in Chief & Publisher Ottocina Ryan Creative Director Silas Fallstich Art Director Riley Yahr Marketing Manager Delaney Willet Photographers Silas Fallstich, Jacqueline Pilar, Jon Premosch, Kennedy Williams, Riley Yahr Stylist Lux Wright Writers Anna Constantino, Tyler Drinkwater, Silas Fallstich, Taylon Faltas, Kim Hashemi, Taylor Roberts, Alexandra Sharova, Celine Wallace, Delaney Willet



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Photographer Silas Fallstich Cocktail Old Fashioned at Norman at Skyview Los Alamos Sunglasses Eva Masaki, Jake & Jones

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contents september/october 2020



Take time to enjoy the simple things. Like the charm of a floral sundress or a glass of Folded Hills rosé.


Life is good at El Capitan Canyon in a cozy flannel ensemble.



While “like mother, like daughter” may come to mind, this mother-daughter duo is sharing their unique takes on fashion that span across the ages.


Take notes as Santa Barbara realtors, Lori ClaridgeBowles and Dana Zertuche, share what makes American Riviera real estate so extraordinary.


Hear from the women behind the Montecito boutique serving looks of California cool-girl with a Western kick.

HOME dining


Visit Los Alamos for the wine, stay for the food.


Three steps to receiving healthy, satisfying meals on your doorstep.

wine 28 | UNWIND & WINE

A ranch with a zebra and a Jaguar? Follow along as we explore Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead in a Jaguar F-Type convertible.

Photo by Silas Fallstich Norman Creme Brûlée Eva Masaki sunglasses, Jake & Jones 16 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


Shane Brown, pioneer of Big Daddy’s Antiques, reveals his treasure chest, called The Well.


What is decision fatigue and how can we better navigate life’s essential versus superfluous tasks?

travel 64 | OPEN ROAD

Follow along as we trade the solitude of our own homes for the serenity of nature.


Recharge and relax as Hotel Joaquin whisks you away to a haven of fresh decor and unparalleled service.

74 | 48 HOURS

Eat. Shop. Relax. Repeat.


From the mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho, to the

Kathy Carson

coastline of Santa Barbara, California, and beyond, we are dedicated to creating a stunning and memorable event for you

Leah Miller

and your loved ones. @carson_weddings on social media


Let A











t ec

r Perf e t



1150 Coast Village Rd,

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SB LIFE & STYLE dining

Cocktails and California fare at Skyview Los Alamos' poolside restaurant Written by Anna Constantino Photographed by Silas Fallstich


trawberry and lavender dance on my tongue as I sip my sparkling elixir. I sit back in a plush coral booth nestled poolside at Norman restaurant at Skyview Los Alamos. Guests plunge into the crisp water beside me. Looking around the hilltop oasis, I feel I’ve stepped into a retro paradise–adorned with pinstriped lounges, tiffany blue umbrellas, and a flamboyant motel sign towering over the landscape. It becomes clear to me that I have stumbled upon an escape that is quite out of the ordinary.


Mike’s Margarita

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

Roasted Patty Pan Squash

The aroma of basil fills the air as Chef Dustin Badenell graces the table with an array of appetizers. I begin with the Summer Salad–a delicate display of frisée and spinach topped with strawberries, candied walnuts, and thin shavings of parmesan. I get a delicious crunch of the sugar-coated caramelized walnuts, and suddenly I’m like a kid in a candy shop–I can’t get enough. The light tang of the lemon-basil vinaigrette ties all of the flavors together to make for a refreshing starter. Next, my fork darts to the Roasted Patty Pan Squash, perched on a bed of pistachio pesto, drizzled in paprika garlic oil and topped with parmesan. The pesto is mild and creamy, but maintains a rich nuttiness that pairs well with the char of the


squash. I wash down my appetizers with a second elixir–this time a spicier concoction of grapefruit and jalapeño– as my plates are swept away and traded for two stunning entrées. I dive into the chef ’s signature vegan dish–Grilled Corn & Carrots–which is not only presented as a visual masterpiece, but is layered with delightfully unexpected flavors. Crispy onions and microgreens sit atop a mountain of grilled corn and roasted rainbow carrots, which lie on a bed of basil purée and blistered pepper aioli. The purée and aioli, although contrasting flavor profiles, complement each other wonderfully and leave me relishing every last bite.

“ fork darts to the Roasted Patty Pan Squash, perched on a bed of pistachio pesto, drizzled in paprika garlic oil and topped with parmesan.”

Hanger Steak

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

Creme Brûlée Old Fashioned Carla Colour sunglasses, Jake & Jones 24 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

“...a turquoise plate with CrispySkin Salmon is placed before me, featuring a stunning display of charred baby bok choy, greens, and an array of sauces.”

Next, a turquoise plate with Crispy-Skin Salmon is placed before me, featuring a stunning display of charred baby bok choy, greens, and an array of sauces. I soak the salmon in the corn purée and it instantly melts in my mouth. I pair my previous bite with the charred bok choy and soy-mirin glaze, which evokes classic Japanese culinary influence; they beautifully juxtapose the flavors of signature American comfort food. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more satisfied, my two-part dessert finale arrives. My eyes tend to be bigger than my stomach–especially when the plate is smothered in raspberry coulis. I start with the New York Style Cheesecake which

appears to have a layer of zested cream on top. The buttery graham cracker crust absorbs the coulis, and the zing of the citrus and raspberry adds a unique flair to a classic dessert. I make my way to the next plate, cracking the glossed shell of the Creme Brûlée. I transition between bites of the vanilla cream and cheesecake, eventually leaving the plates spotless. Pink skies settle over Los Alamos as the sun sets on a perfect meal. I embark on my road trip back to Santa Barbara with a satisfied palate and a new appreciation for this charming wine country hideaway that is more than worth the drive. *

Crispy-Skin Salmon

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


Quokka F

ood choices, for myself and many of my friends most of life in 2020 has revolved around food. What to eat, where to eat it, and of course how much to consume? Instead of treating COVID-19 as a plot against all sense of normalcy, I have leaned into the opportunity to step outside of my routine to try new things. It was under this guise that I undertook a two week trial of local ready-to-eat food service Quokka. They have a simple three-step process to get started, which begins with selecting the number of meals you want each week, I decide on 10 as I want the full gamut of their menu. The second step is a 30 minute phone call with Christine Ramirez, my personal nutritionist for this process. She is über friendly and relates to my eating habits and activity level. She asks focused questions and offers professional insights that guide me through meal selections, our phone call is painless and by the time we say our goodbyes I’m feeling enthusiastic about the trial. Within 48 hours I receive my personalized nutrition plan. Which outlines each meal, reinforces my goals, and also provides meal suggestions for my non-Quokka meals. The next afternoon my first bag arrives, I open it immediately to find a set of meals and a personalized note from Quokka Chef Julian Martinez. Julian is not only the Executive Chef of Barbareño but also holds an ISSA certification in sports nutrition. His passion for fitness and food has helped him design a menu that promotes clean eating, highlights unique flavors, and most importantly is delicious.


Meal delivery compliments of your personal chef and nutritionist Photographed & Written by Silas Fallstich

Santa Maria BBQ

My first impression, as I organize them in my fridge, is they feel heavy, not what I expected. Later that night I pack my first dinner and drive up East Camino Cielo for sunset. I walk out on an isolated rock bluff with a city view, bringing my Quokka meal. Greek Chicken Skewers are ready to enjoy. The lemon chicken is flavorful and light, with quinoa, baba ganoush, and a refreshing cucumber tzatziki. I’m not able to finish the entire dish and feel completely full, my first meal is a good one and the sunset isn’t half bad either.

Quokka Parfait Ceramic bowl & mug, Letter Perfect

In the morning after a high intensity circuit workout, I return home and skip my usual protein shake and reach for the Quokka parfait—home-made muesli with protein-rich Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and spiced pecans. I love this dish, a subtly flavored Greek yogurt is complemented with a wide variety of fruit and spice flavors and it packs 40 grams of protein. After much failed research on proteinpacked yogurts, Julian lets me know that they add protein supplements to the yogurt so each client gets the exact protein portion they need. At exactly 10 a.m., usually when I reach for a mid-morning snack, I still feel full. I’m pretty sure the parfait is going to become a new staple for my nutrition plan. For lunch I enjoy Santa Maria BBQ Tofu. Since childhood I’ve had a mixed relationship with tofu, or toad food as my siblings and I referred to it, but this is a dish I thoroughly appreciate. Southwesternseasoned tofu with braised pinto beans, brown rice, and seared Mexican squash, served with pico de gallo and a cilantro chimichurri. Julian has outdone himself; after less than 5 minutes of reheating and plating I have the most flavorful office lunch I’ve

enjoyed in months. The tofu is cooked to perfection and tastes like authentic BBQ, as always Julian’s sauces accentuate the wide flavor profile in the dish. Over the next two weeks I enjoy dishes such as Quokka Mole, Banh Mi Noodle Salad, Pork Tenderloin Al Pastor, Bulgogi Bowl, Creole Cod Croquetas, Basil Tofu, and so many more. In the 14 day period I only had one dish more than once, the parfait and that was by special request. There was never a single meal that I finished feeling hungry, in complete honesty I rarely finished the entire meals. And the real kicker? The flavors were always unique, inspiring, and delicious. I sustained my food goals even when preparing my own dishes and found that I had fewer snack cravings and more energy during my workouts. I couldn’t have asked for a more thorough and well planned out food experience. I came into this wondering if meal kits are worth it. I can give a positive affirmation that Quokka Kitchen is doing everything right, for me the only downside was attempting to recreate Chef Julian’s quality of meals when cooking for myself. If your personal chef and local nutritionist made a love child it would be Quokka, I read this on the Quokka website before I began and was a bit skeptical, but after two weeks I couldn’t agree more with their self-assessment. This year has brought on many challenges but has also brought about some muchneeded change. As simple as it might be for me, that now includes being okay with outsourcing some of my food routine, relying on and trusting a tried and true chef with an authentic and friendly team. * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 27

Written by Tyler Drinkwater Photographed by Silas Fallstich

2021 Jaguar F-Type Convertible



A quick getaway to Folded Hills Winery & Farmstead for good views and even better wine 28 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020


hile jet setting is off the table for the moment, creative, and safe getaways can be found—figuratively and literally—in your backyard. My wife and I were craving an experience outside of drinking wine at home. We’re both cautious and haven’t ventured out since quarantine began. Upon hearing Folded Hills Winery and Farmstead offers socially distant sipping in their vast outdoor setting, we dress up for the occasion, hop into the Jaguar F-Type convertible, and set out for a scenic ride to the vineyard.

moved to Santa Barbara in 2002 and purchased the ranch in 2004. Andy and Kim fell in love with Santa Barbara while Andy was captain of the US Men’s Polo team in 1998 playing in Santa Barbara for the summer. When Andy retired from professional polo it was farm life he desired.

What better way to put the 380 horsepower drop-top to use than a quick jaunt up the PCH? The sun shining, the sea breeze rustling through the open cabin make it easy to forget that we are in isolation.

Cut to the family setting up Folded Hills Winery on land that had been a vineyard site prior to Prohibition. The family dug into the soil (pun intended) and learned as much as they could about what would grow best. It was not the more famed and recognizable varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir. Rather it was the varieties from the Rhône Valley in France such as Grenache, Syrah, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Clairette Blanche. In total the estate features 12 acres of red varietals and 3 acres of white varietals.

Our destination is tucked away in Gaviota, which translates to seagull in Spanish. Here sits the 600-acre family estate. The pristine property is the vision of husband and wife Andy and Kim Busch. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri the Busch family

In keeping with the exceptional pedigree of the estate, Folded Hills wines are free from residual sugar, entirely made vegan, use only native yeasts, and are farmed organically following the biodynamic calendar.

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 29

Andy says he had been a beer drinker up until starting the vineyard; no doubt due to his family’s legacy in the beer world. After all, Andy is the fourth generation—Adolphus Busch is Andy’s greatgrandfather—of the Anheuser-Busch family. What better way to pay homage to his family legacy of alcohol and horses than by stabling a couple of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales—named Gus and Dolph, both 18.2 hands and 2400 lbs—on the property behind the vineyard, kept company by Little Joe, Andy’s prized polo pony.

his deck overlooking the polo field and lake. As we talk, we sip the rose gold “Lilly” Rosé named after Lilly Anheuser who married Adolphus Busch in 1861. Winemaker Angela Osborne of “A Tribute to Grace” was responsible for crafting the stunning Rhône style wines which are part of our tasting. Each wine is varietally specific with unique character and excitement making each sip of each label more fun than one previously. Just as picture perfect as the property, the wines stand up and deliver their own version of elegance.

“Just as picture perfect as the property, the wines stand up and deliver their own version of elegance.”

We traverse the expanse of the ranch on a 6-person UTV; the obvious highlights are the stunning tasting room, rustic farmstead—which sells produce from the 18 acres of row crops on the ranch—next to the small stables housing llamas, pigs, and goats, as well as the vineyards, pastures, polo field, and boathouse for the private lake on property. Each corner of the property is as perfectly kept and manicured as if it were ready to be snapped for a Ralph Lauren photoshoot, which has taken place on the grounds.

A small private tasting awaits us on the dock of the lake where we sit and chat with Andy. He speaks of the natural beauty of the property and his early morning ritual of watching the sunrise with coffee on


After making our way to feed Zazu the zebra and meandering through the cattle that roam the ranch freely, we return to the farmstead for some home-baked treats and to retrieve our car. I can’t help but think about the majesty of the Clydesdales with their inherent power masked in quiet sophistication, a perfect analogy for the Jaguar convertible. We had just seen what two horse power looks like in animal form, now it’s time to feel what 380 horsepower feels like in engineering. *

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

SB LIFE & STYLE fashion

the simple life. 32 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

Photographed by Jon Premosch Styled by Lux Wright Model Lily Easton with Two Management Hair & Makeup by Heather Roach Location Folded Hills Ranch

Left: Vintage Silk Dress, The Bearded Beagle Swarovski Necklace, Sepi Consignment This Page: Caron Callahan Shirt and Skirt, Jake & Jones Jimmy Choo Heels, Sepi Consignment Kai Linz Necklace and Earrings, Allora by Laura

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


Left: For Love & Lemons Dress, Whiskey x Leather Kai Linz Necklace and Earrings, Allora by Laura Grace Lee Bracelet, Jake & Jones George Boots This Page: Stine Goya Dress, Jake & Jones Kai Linz Earrings, Allora by Laura Moschino Heels, Sepi Consignment Folded Hills Lilly RosĂŠ

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

True Royal Suit, Allora by Laura Faux Feather Cape Robbin Sandals Petit Moments Earrings, Whiskey x Leather


@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 37

This Page: For Love & Lemons Dress, Whiskey x Leather Kai Linz Earrings, Allora by Laura Right: For Love & Lemons Dress, Whiskey x Leather Super Duper Hat, K. Frank Takara Earrings, Jake & Jones Kaya Boots


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

happy camper Photographed by Jon Premosch Styled by Lux Wright Model Gabriella Kuti with Wrenn Management Hair & Makeup by Crystal Trottier Location El Capitan Canyon


Pendleton Flannel, The Bearded Beagle Custom Denim Shorts, Loveworn The North Face Hat Kamik Boots Rings, The Blue Door

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

Hunza G Bikini, K. Frank


Silton Jacket, Loveworn Super Duper Hat, K. Frank Hunza G Bikini, K. Frank Vintage Rings, The Blue Door Squirt Bottle, The Blue Door

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

National FFA Jacket, Loveworn Spiritual Gangster Tank, Whiskey x Leather One Teaspoon Pants, Whiskey x Leather Birkenstock Sandals, Bonita Beach Mr. Leight Glasses SOKO Rings, Baske


Vintage Tee by Screen Stars Best, The Blue Door One Teaspoon Shorts, Whiskey x Leather Petit Moments Earrings, Whiskey x Leather jnb Necklace, Whiskey x Leather Wonderland Sunglasses, Whiskey x Leather Coach Backpack, The Blue Door Vintage Fast Color Bandana, Loveworn Philippe Model Hi-Tops, K. Frank

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

Brochu Walker Sweater, K. Frank J Brand Jeans, Whiskey x Leather Brixton Button-Down and Ring, Stylist’s Collection Diemme Shoes, K. Frank CLP Earrings, Bonita Beach


Corridor Flannel, Whiskey x Leather Brochu Walker Sweater, K. Frank One Teaspoon Jeans, Whiskey x Leather Kamik Boots SOKO Ring, Baske Satya Necklace, Bonita Beach Chan Luu Earrings, Bonita Beach @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 47

National FFA Jacket, Loveworn Spiritual Gangster Tank, Whiskey x Leather CLP Necklace, Bonita Beach SOKO Rings, Baske Mr. Leight Glasses Vintage Lighter, The Blue Door


Brochu Walker Sweater, K. Frank TRAVE Jeans, K. Frank SOKO Earrings & Bracelet, Baske Baske Boots, Baske Levi’s Denim Jacket Dandies Vegan Vanilla Marshmallow Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Mosaic Pale Ale

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

SB LIFE & STYLE profiles

Cut From the Same Cloth Written by Kim Hashemi Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar


ntering into what is safe to call the most *unique* start to a decade, the fashion industry has demanded taking a step back from in-season buying, and towards filling stores and closets with classic, timeless pieces. Located conveniently on the vibrant Coast Village Road in Montecito, Allora by Laura is run by a passionate mother-daughter team, Laura Dinning and Taylorjane (TJ) Harlin, who find ebullience in helping others find the perfect items to express themselves. The boutique offers styles that marry fine European clothing with a soulful California attitude—think luxurious yet laid back. Growing up in different generations, I’m curious to learn about how their style has changed over the years, how they influence each other when it comes to fashion, and their tips for evolving our style as we age.


The mother-daughter duo behind Allora by Laura discusses the evolution of their styles

How do you influence each other's style? LAURA: A perfect example of being influenced by TJ's generation of dressing (for me) is illustrated by the following true event...a few years back the girls in the store were wearing their blouses, sweaters, t-shirts, etc. in a "front tuck" style. Now, I'm not sure where that look originated from (maybe from the trend then in higher waisted pants), but I hated it. To me, it looked half-done, not polished, too sloppy, and an excuse to not have to deal with proportionality. After months of this fashion debate, I found myself in a dilemma. I wanted to show off the detail on a trouser that I was wearing and reluctantly allowed myself to experiment with the dreaded front tuck because the top I was wearing was too bulky to tuck in completely. Well, in that moment I was re-inspired. I thought it looked great and I had to concede that indeed it was a viable and goodlooking fashion statement.

TJ: My mom is the perfect example

not! I might be young, but I know that if you put that tulle skirt on with a classic ballerina and a fitted blouse, you would stun a room at 60 years old. I also hear it vice versa, "It's a little matronly." My response is that if you slicked your hair back in a tight pony, put on some Kai Linz hoops, a swipe of lipstick, and a funky wedge, you would look amazing. Don't be afraid. 2. Three words. Closet clean out. This helps you understand what feels important to who you are (becoming and currently), sheds light on your lifestyle, and lets you know what holes your wardrobe has (or what you need to replace).

“You can find inspiration when and where you least expect it, and it can challenge you to don a look that you would have never tried. ”

of fashion to me because she can rock so many different looks while still staying true to who she is. One day she's in her Southern California vibe with sandals and wooden bangles, and the next she's in an architectural top and modern black trousers. She is also the queen of monochromatic dressing. It inspires me to always mix things up and express how I feel that day.

What's one style you can always agree on?

LAURA: Definitely the love for layering jewelry and multiple ear piercings.

What are your top three tips for adjusting your style as you age?

LAURA: 1. Certain looks can become a person's trademark and should never be changed. It can be a way of wearing your accessories (like in a Chanel pearl necklace layered way) or sometimes it's your hairstyle or your eyewear. 2. Wearing bigger accessories or jewels as you age looks better. Now I can wear bigger baubles and beefier shoes, and it feels like daintier pieces don't make the statement. 3. Keep admiring people—everywhere—in the grocery store, at the beach, at a concert, in a restaurant, or just strolling down the street. You can find inspiration when and where you least expect it, and it can challenge you to don a look that you would have never tried. A color, a shape, or a skirt length can immediately interrupt your thinking about what looks good on you and how to express your ever-evolving self. TJ: 1. Don’t be afraid! I hear women in Allora all the time say "Oh that's too young” or “It's for someone your age" and it's

3. Find inspiration. I love getting re-inspired. A magazine article on a funky art curator’s home can make me feel like I need to start hunting for some vintage pieces, or a swipe through Pinterest can make me feel like I need to streamline things.

How has your style evolved over time?

LAURA: There are certain rules I follow that I have determined are just right for me. For example, I NEVER tie anything at my waist. I, therefore, look for drop-waisted styles, minimalist, biased cut dresses that shape your waist without accentuating it. I also do not wear blazers anymore—although I love the look. Instead of jackets, I choose shawls, capes, cashmere, cropped ponchos. My style feels like it's relaxed over time and the silhouette is softer. Not less of a statement, but rather a less-is-more attitude.

TJ: My style has evolved as I learn about more of who I am. For example, my husband and close friends always joke with me that I never look “casual”—meaning my loungewear is somewhat non-existent. To run errands, I am still in a great jean and blouse, or a tent dress and sneakers. I tried for the last few years to nail my casual or "loungey" wardrobe and have found that it's not who I am...and that's okay! I also haven't pinholed myself into one “style.” There are things that inherently speak to me, and things that feel like a risk, but gathering them all together and giving it my twist is how I would say my style evolves, in comparison to how I used to fall prey to trends. I have learned that if it looks good on you, it’s in style.

What's an example of a look at Allora you believe is timeless over generations? LAURA: Diamond earrings, a Missoni top, a cashmere scarf, and a stretchy, slim legged, cropped black pant à la Audrey Hepburn.

TJ: Peter Cohen bias pant and ethnic blouse. It can be funkified

with sneakers and chains, or worn elegantly to a cocktail party with a kitten heel and diamonds. You could be in 1945 or 2050 and still look so chic and current, yet classic. * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 51

Written by Kim Hashemi | Photographed by Silas Fallstich Hair by Carolina Miranda with Carlyle Salon & Style Bar Makeup by Cynthia Fuentes with Carlyle Salon & Style Bar Location 848 Picacho Lane, Montecito | Listed with Montecito Associates Contact Lori Claridge-Bowles & Dana Zertuche 805-565-8198


Take it from the professionals: there's never been a better time to settle in Santa Barbara


t’s safe to say that collectively, our lives have shifted in many ways this year. While we have been affected differently, one thing we all have in common is that we’re spending more time at home, which has encouraged many of us to rethink our space and how we live. Thanks to historically low interest rates, some have been encouraged to take the plunge in buying after renting for years, and others are looking for more room to accommodate new at-home work environments and more space to, well, socially distance.

I’m one of those looking to take advantage of lower interest rates and purchase my first home. As I research the home buying process, I realize how important it is to find an agent who will lead me through, educate me and provide the resources I need to successfully go through with what initially feels like an intimidating and complex process. After thorough research, I discovered Lori ClaridgeBowles and Dana Zertuche, global luxury specialists and powerful partners at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The initial draw is from their stellar reviews from previous clients who share stories about how they go above and beyond.

On Dana: Zero + Maria Cornejo Dress, Allora by Laura Kai Linz Necklaces, Allora by Laura Stuart Weitzman Heels

On Lori: Peter Cohen Dress, Allora by Laura Kai Linz Bracelet & Ring, Allora by Laura Sartore Booties, Allora by Laura

Lori and Dana have extensive understanding of real estate transactions, unmatched dedication and loyalty to their clients, and deep knowledge of Santa Barbara County. Whether it’s picking up mail or watering the plants while their clients are away, there’s no job above or below them. In addition to their real estate careers, they’re both mothers and find time to manage it all. Working with Zertuche and Bowles means having two trusted friends who are passionate about real estate and truly have your best interests at heart—pertaining to real estate and beyond. And when one agent isn’t available, the other is. A beat is never missed; they practically finish each other's sentences. With newfound excitement for the real estate buying process, I chat with Lori and Dana to get to know them better and understand how the market has shifted since COVID.

What is your experience with the Santa Barbara real estate market and how do you bring above and beyond value to your clients?

We laugh sometimes when we say we are a “fullservice salon” but it’s true. It is no secret that our exceptional customer service speaks for itself. We pride ourselves on professionalism and confidentiality and with a combined 40+ years in the real estate industry, we have the depth and knowledge to conquer the most challenging or difficult situations. There is no property too big or too small for us to tackle. If we exceed our client’s expectations, we have done a good job! @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 53

What are some of the changes you have seen to the Santa Barbara market since COVID? COVID completely changed the way buyers, sellers, and realtors do business. The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® offered “Best Practices Guidelines and Prevention Plan for Showings” to assist in the safe practice of real estate for the health and well-being of clients, associates, and the public while conducting business. The guidelines, while restrictive, have provided us the opportunity to continue serving clients, all while safely social distancing. Working remotely and conducting virtual showings and 3D tours has quickly become the norm for us. Although it does not replace seeing and feeling a home in person, we are embracing social media and Zoom. And yes, we happily wear masks and gloves to all showings. When COVID first hit, there was a sense of anxiety for us all. Some Sellers immediately halted showings due to the fear of Buyers bringing the virus into their homes. Buyers that were engaged in a property search paused their exploration due to an overall fear of the unknown.

What are some qualities a buyer should seek in their realtor?

We pride ourselves on our honesty and integrity, trust, and commitment to our clients. In addition to those qualities, a Buyer (or Seller) needs an agent who is constantly up-to-date and knows their market well including new and upcoming listings, responds in a timely manner, and listens to their wants and needs. Connecting Buyers with properties and Sellers with prospective purchasers is what we strive for and achieve on a regular basis, which is evident by our past sales history.

“Your real estate agent is one of the most important people in the home-buying process. We are not just their agent, we are their advisor, confidant, counselor, and in the end, a trusted friend. ”

Once the pandemic evened out some and as the economy reopened, more Buyers surfaced, business began flourishing again, and we regained somewhat of a normalcy. With the current market, we have seen activity in all price ranges. With people spending more time in their home, they are reevaluating their lives and determining that they want to live away from larger cities and with the prospect of prolonged telecommuting, they have learned it is possible to run their businesses remotely...just like us!

What are some unique aspects of Santa Barbara you believe are currently attracting out of town buyers? While there is always something to see in a big city, sometimes you just want a more leisurely pace. In addition to the very inviting climate, Santa Barbara is a safe, secure environment in which to live, work, and raise a family. You cannot help but expand your possibilities in a town that so gracefully embraces the arts, nature, storybook architecture, scenic stretches of beach, the beauty of the surrounding mountains, and a generally free-spirited vibe.

How important is the relationship between buyer and agent?

Your real estate agent is one of the most important people in the home-buying process. We are not just their agent, we are their advisor, confidant, counselor, and in the end, a trusted friend. A buyer needs to feel assured that their agent is their advocate whose primary obligation is to represent their best interest throughout the entire process of finding a home and completing


the transaction. The biggest compliment an agent can receive is a referral from a past client, which is where most of our business comes from.

What is one memorable experience you had working with a client?

We have a friend and client who lives in Ennisbrook, and after the debris flow, they called us and asked us to check on the house to see how much damage was done. We put on our rubber boots and gloves. As we were walking in her backyard, Dana saw what looked like a picture sticking out from the mud. We carefully dug out the picture which was a wedding picture that belonged to a personal friend of Dana’s who lost her home in the debris flow. It was her only wedding picture that survived. We got to call her and tell her that we had this photo for her. We were doing a favor by going to check on the home, and it turned into something absolutely wonderful and rewarding.

What are your favorite things about living in Santa Barbara?

We love seeing people we know almost everywhere we go. It is a real connection to the incredible community in which we live that helps create a sense of normalcy. We appreciate living near the beach and not having to drive very far to get where we want to go. We like the fact that you can literally “take a hike” and get educated at one of the world’s most beautiful colleges. We love the natural beauty and being able to look at a blue horizon every day. We value all the activities that are available for children to enjoy such as water polo, surfing, tennis, and junior lifeguards.

What do you believe makes Santa Barbara special, from a personal and real estate perspective? There is a beautiful naivety to living in Santa Barbara. The people here are amazing! There is an opportunity around every corner to volunteer and make new friends. We love seeing our friends and clients wherever we go. Real Estate will always be a part of our lives and blends nicely into our personal everyday existence. *

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 55

JUST ADD An inside look at Montecito boutique Whiskey + Leather Written by Taylon Faltas Photographed by Jacqueline Pilar

When building their dream of a unique luxury boutique in 2015, co-owners Ariel and Zee, and their team of kick-ass ladies valued both comfort and style in their inventory as well as their own closets (I have a feeling that working at Whiskey + Leather means they never have to shop anywhere else). Featuring brands such as Show Me Your Mumu, Joah Brown, For Love & Lemons, One Teaspoon, and more, this Montecito treasure provides something that fits everyone’s style.


On Ariel: For Love & Lemons dress, Whiskey + Leather


reamy and modern paired with western flair to boot, Whiskey + Leather is just the retail therapy I needed as businesses reopen safely in Santa Barbara. I am welcomed to the store by sales associate Haley and she starts a dressing room for me as soon as I have a pair of snakeskin print pants in my hands. My eyes are drawn to the bottles of whiskey displayed against the back wall, in addition to bar stools plucked out of an old western film that are cleverly placed in front of the checkout counter/bar. I’m mesmerized by the intricate rustic details and find myself filling my arms with a heap of eccentric pieces to try on. After exchanging laughs and a shared passion for relaxed fashion with Ariel Hujar (co-founder/owner) and Sam Sook (store manager), I ask about the creative motivation behind this staple in downtown Montecito.


What inspired Whiskey + Leather’s branding? ARIEL: We hope you feel like you’re at a friend’s apartment or

your own home when you shop with us. We offer a variety of brands from different price points, and for men and women, so anyone can shop. Our biggest thing is for people to come out and be a part of the community—everyone is welcome, even if you don’t want to shop.

What did you do before you opened Whiskey + Leather? ARIEL: I graduated from UCSB six years ago and had no idea

what I wanted to do, but I did know that I didn’t want to go into the tech industry. So, I started working retail at Wendy Foster. When Zee and I decided to open the store, we had an “Oh my gosh, what do we do?!” moment, because we didn’t know how to do anything besides sell clothing. With that knowledge in our back pockets, we figured everything out along the way. Before we knew it, our dream was a reality. Sam has been here for a year and a half and is a huge part of this company. I wouldn’t have been able to open the San Diego store without her here.

“We carry items that are fun and funky, so encouraging our customers to be bold and showing that anyone can pull anything off is something we cherish here. ”

How is Whiskey + Leather different from other stores in the area? ARIEL: We’re a little younger than most stores in the Santa

Barbara area. We cater to all ages, but our atmosphere is very different—I like it that way!

What’s the best thing about owning a small business in the fashion industry? ARIEL: My favorite aspect is learning about different people’s

lives and where they come from. An outfit can make you feel so much more empowered in any situation that you're in and I love helping bring that confidence out in people. Another perk is that all of my employees over the years have become my lifetime friends.

Do you have any plans to expand Whiskey + Leather to other cities? ARIEL: Our San Diego location has been up and running for

a year now, so I’m looking at a third location, but waiting until next year to go through with it. My dream would be to open 10 of these stores! My dad always said, “What’s the worst that can happen? Life goes on. Don’t worry about the negatives.” So that’s what I’ve been doing. *

How would you describe your personal style and how is that reflected in the aesthetic you’ve curated for the store? ARIEL: My style is casual, I usually like wearing jeans and a

tee. But, owning a clothing boutique makes you excited to wear different pieces because when you see it on someone else, they inspire you. When I buy for the store, I often think, “This customer would look great in that!” I LOVE input and I think it’s important to listen to employees and customers when it comes to picking out pieces that showcase Whiskey + Leather.

SAM: Constantly seeing different styles at Whiskey + Leather formed my appreciation for fashion and makes me choose bolder pieces. We carry items that are fun and funky, so encouraging our customers to be bold and showing that anyone can pull anything off is something we cherish here. What is your favorite piece in the store right now? ARIEL: What I’m wearing, actually! I have on a Pistola jumpsuit.

It’s so easy—I can put it on with some shoes and jewelry and not worry about picking out a whole outfit in the morning.

SAM: I love anything from Scotch & Soda. We have these cute trousers in stock that are fitting and light but have their own flair to them.

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 57


FINDERS, KEEPERS Shane Brown curates a lifestyle of curiosities at The Well in Summerland, his newly opened outpost of Los Angeles’ Big Daddy’s Antiques Written by Delaney Willet Photographed by Silas Fallstich


anta Barbara is a city built upon its creative types and their beautiful endeavors. So, to say that Shane Brown and the space he has created, Summerland’s The Well (elsewhere referred to as Big Daddy’s Antiques), is one-of-a-kind is a weighted—yet wholly true—statement. Brown recounts that he and his work were once referred to as “extraordinarily uncommon,” a phrase which has never been a better fit for an individual and their passion project of bespoke curiosities than for Shane and his breathtaking Summerland shop. He explains, “I didn’t want to be known for one particular style. I have always loved estate sales and upcycling. The more obscure, the better. I love to mix the traditional with the crazy, ‘wow’ factor. At The Well it’s always fresh and you never know what you’re going to find. I want people to come into the space and have their breath taken away.”


From adolescence, Brown has been drawn to oneof-a-kind pieces meant to find their place in the homes of one-of-a-kind individuals. The initial spark that lit a design fire within Shane was rooted in old school California glamour, at the home of our closest family to royalty. “My grandmother took me to Hearst Castle when I was twelve and that planted a seed. I started dabbling in antiques and furniture because I could do that whenever I wanted, even while I was working a non-creative job. Ten or twelve years later, I realized ‘Oh, I like this!’ So I started the company 30 years ago and haven’t looked back.” Exponential growth has been a motif of Big Daddy’s Antiques in its three decades. “I named Big Daddy’s thirty years ago. I started traveling through the Midwest doing bigger shows, then to the East Coast, then abroad. I did that for many years until I started buying and selling at flea markets. I had my own store and began dabbling in design and home staging. It has seen so many phases. We’ve had a few locations over the years—Houston, Aspen, San Francisco, Corona del Mar, Beverly Hills. I’ve even had pop-ups back east.”

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 59

Brown punctuates the conversation with “Love you! Bye girls!” explaining his family is heading out for the afternoon, as they’ve been working at the new outpost to pass the summer days. “Ultimately, we’re in this spot because I completely renovated our house when we moved our family to Montecito three years ago. We bought a fixer-upper and I recently finished it...I needed another project so my wife wouldn’t divorce me,” Shane says with a laugh. “She says I’m like a bee in a jar!” Brown’s expansion of Big Daddy’s Antiques into The Well is the sort of serendipity dreams are made of—dreams that span decades. “I coveted this space for twenty years, I’ve seen it through all of its phases: Mediterranee, Cafe Luna, The French Bulldog. After we moved up here, I was driving home from LA one day (I still go once a week) and noticed the space was empty. We negotiated a lease, we started construction...and then the pandemic happened. Luckily we were able to resume construction quickly and open relatively fast.” Of the welcome he has received from Santa Barbara locals amidst a globally challenging time, Brown can only vehemently insist, “More than anything, I’m grateful for everyone coming in and being so kind. I had a lady come in


and say, ‘You are the best thing that has happened to Santa Barbara in twenty years.’ I’ve had neighbors come in and say, ‘Thank you, you brought up our property value.’ Look, money is great, but that kind of feedback feeds my soul.” With over thirty years of experience under his belt and a penchant for sticking to his instincts (“It has to hit me in my gut. If my gut likes it, I buy it and figure it out. I do have an eye, thank goodness!” he notes), Brown has not only been able to assemble an enviable, priceless collection of goods that pass through his possession into their forever homes, he has also compiled a rather impressive list of clients who keep him on-call, clients whose names we would recognize, if he would only tell. “Of course, I can’t mention any names, but I’m very fortunate that I have an amazing clientele, from the very tip-top. And when I say the tip-top…the richest people in the world, the richest person in the world,” Brown remarks with a hint of pride. At The Well, the customer, no matter who, is the first and foremost priority: “From celebrities to super eccentric wealthy people, to more conservative types, it runs the gamut, the people who take our art home. Kids and eightyyear-old women alike come in and marvel at the place. I don’t care if you’re a celebrity or a homeless person.”

“With over thirty years of experience under his belt and a penchant for sticking to his instincts, Brown has not only been able to assemble an enviable, priceless collection of goods that pass through his possession into their forever homes, he has also compiled a rather impressive list of clients... ”

Throughout our conversation, Shane pauses to greet newcomers and holler prices, “About $1500 for that one, super rare. Out of 450 pieces, that’s the only piece I got!....I have 15 or 20 of these, but I have probably 50 of the more traditional ones.” Clients match his eagerness with every new find. He’s like a well-read auctioneer, rattling off facts, numbers, and deals to his enthralled and equally as enthused audience. He calls out, “Bye ladies!” followed by, “Hi, there!” followed by a long pause as he closes a deal. Without intending it, this has become the most poignant moment of our conversation, showing rather than simply telling that, in Shane’s words, “Customer service comes first. As for what’s next,” he leads, as if about to reveal his master ten-year plan, “We just want to keep being nice.” *

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 61

Model Stav Ben Zur with L.A. Models Hair & Makeup by Leah Washuta

Written by Celine Wallace Photographed by Silas Fallstich

SB LIFE & STYLE wellness


Lorna Jane Sports Bra Lexie LaRae Earrings



By understanding decision fatigue and how to counter it, you can make sure you're operating at 100% for critical choices


ur attention has been pulled in so many directions this year. We have been bombarded by the media, along with balancing our personal and professional lives, during a global upheaval. It’s draining, to say the least.

I was speaking with a friend the other day, explaining how I was more exhausted now, working from home in lockdown, than ever before. I wondered how that was possible during a time where the most movement I had to navigate was from the bedroom to the kitchen, to the living room, and back again? These curiosities about my current wave of exhaustion led me to do some investigative research, and I stumbled upon a concept called ''decision fatigue.’' Decision fatigue is backed by the scientific fact that during a 24 hour day, our brains only have so much mental capacity for cognitive tasks. Like any muscle, it gets tired, and we can't make continuous decisions without our focus deteriorating. Most of the decisions we make are inherently unimportant, like how many times a day do we check our email, or absentmindedly scroll social media, even if just for a minute? What was the last decision you made, consciously or subconsciously? Did the outcome of it fill your life with productivity and happiness? The reality is, probably not.

“When navigating an everevolving to-do list, we need to be clear when and where we're focusing our energy— so we have the stamina for what matters.” It isn't that we don't make important decisions; it’s that we make so many unimportant ones, which drain the attention we need to reserve for the necessary ones. The inconsequential choices of the last decision you made—pants or shorts, walk or bike, read or sleep—led to a loss of energy for the more significant life tasks because the act of decision-making, even when small, contributes to decision fatigue.

LIFE HACKS TO AVOID DECISION FATIGUE: 1. Limit unnecessary or unimportant decisionmaking. The most straightforward way to avoid decision fatigue is to make fewer inessential decisions. Eliminate or automate trivial choices to reserve brain power for meaningful decisions. For example, I lay out the outfits I'm going to wear the next day the night before, so it's one less thing to think about that morning, which leads me to my next point.

2. Make important decisions first thing in the morning. After a good night's sleep, you have the most focus and mental energy of the day, so design your day around making big decisions in the morning. Even better, if you have to make a decision that you get information on in the afternoon, when possible, sleep on it. A good decision one day later is better than a poor decision made right away.

3. Support your blood sugar levels. Your body needs energy to function, and your brain is no exception. A 2007 study found that self-control requires glucose to operate unimpaired. If you feel tired, avoid caffeine, instead find a healthy snack that has sugar, like dates, which will boost your blood sugar levels, providing you with the clarity to execute your decision most effectively.

4. Be self-aware. Self-awareness, though not a solution to decision fatigue, is an essential step to ensuring you aren't making poor decisions. Check-in with yourself; take a moment to question whether you would address a decision differently if you felt more refreshed. Not every decision needs to be made now. Although it may often feel like it, because of our fast-paced society, in actuality, some decisions never need to be made again. *

Luckily, there are strategies to keep decision fatigue at bay. When navigating an ever-evolving to-do list, we need to be clear when and where we're focusing our energy—so we have the stamina for what matters. @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 63


SB LIFE & STYLE travel

Written by Ottocina Ryan Photographed by Silas Fallstich

A socially-distanced California road trip from Tahoe to Santa Monica

Popo’s Trail, Wylder Hope Valley 64 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

Meadow Lake


t’s day 120 of lockdown and the walls of my apartment—once reserved for sleeping and packing suitcases—are getting a little too familiar. I’m craving open space and nature. A change of scenery. A road trip sounds like just the thing. So my coworker Silas and I plan a two week California road trip, spanning from Lake Tahoe to Santa Monica, from safe haven to safe haven. We handpick luxurious properties where nature is at the forefront of activities and social distancing is innate. On a Monday morning, we check out an Audi S6 Prestige sedan for an extended test drive, pack enough for a month into the trunk (mostly his camera gear and my shoes) and are off. First stop: Wylder Hope Valley. Seven hours later, we near South Lake Tahoe and towering pine trees jutt up from the landscape. The Audi glides along the winding mountain roads with ease, throwbacks pumping through the Bang & Olufsen speakers. The S6’s user-friendly tech, red leather interior, and 444 horsepower ensure that getting there is half the fun. We pull over by a river and shuffle down the slope to the crystal clear water rushing through the forest. I hop along the rocks before grabbing my bikini to go for a swim. With no people around and just the sound of the rapids, it’s only day one and I’m already getting the recharge and uplift I needed. We pull up to Wylder Hope Valley and are greeted with a friendly, “Hey I’m Rick, I’ll show you to your yurt.” We pass The General Store and Rick notes, “They have baked goods, beer and wine. There’s WiFi at the store but once you go down the hill to the campground the WiFi drops out, sometimes I think that’s a good thing.” He points out a swimming hole in the river as we approach seven brand new yurts. The historic Sierra Nevada property has been around since 1926 and was renovated this year. Nestled in aspens, the yurts are the most luxurious version of tents I’ve ever seen. My yurt has all the desirable aspects of glamping—woodsy surroundings, a fire pit, a skylight to see the brilliant stars, yet doesn’t look out of place with a new Audi parked next to it. The interior decor is clean with almost a Japanese influence, and the freestanding tub is a giveaway that this is not roughing it. We head back to the cabin area of Wylder to the property’s restaurant, Sorensen’s Cafe, for dinner. We sit at a picnic table on the deck, wool blankets cover the benches. Nearby a campfire crackles. A friendly server in a mask and hiking boots takes our order for a Skinny Margarita, Old Fashioned, Chicken Marsala, Eggplant Parmesan, and their famous Beef Burgundy Stew. The drinks arrive from behind a bar made from a 100 year old tree, followed shortly by our meal. We watch a couple energetic girls in PJs with their grandparents by the campfire. They're jumping around, roasting jumbo marshmallows, and enjoying their fifth marshmallow as much as the first.

Wylder Hope Valley 2020 Audi S6 Prestige ROAM suitcase,

After a wholesome dinner, we return to the campground. A neon pink sunset swiped across the sky casts a blush glow on the yurts. We make the most of the lack of cell service and play backgammon by the campfire. As the temperature drops, I settle into the cloud-like bed under a gray linen duvet. It’s so comfortable it could be in a 5-star hotel. The skylight illuminated with stars makes it even better. @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 65

settling into our redwood lodge. The freestanding one bedroom suite has as much outdoor living space as indoor. The front deck has a jacuzzi, seating area, and fireplace that connects to the indoor living room. The back deck has my favorite aspect: an outdoor shower. Surrounding oak trees afford the utmost privacy. After unpacking, we head straight for the pool. Various greenery ensconces the pool area with voluminous white flowers. Each pair of chaise lounges has its own secluded area, separated by planters. I unwind and take in the views of pine tree covered hills. The music wafting through the atmosphere sounds as if they are playing our playlists. The only thing that could make it better? Fish tacos. The three mini Baja Fish Tacos are the perfect amount of spicy, and as I finish the server comes by with skewers of frozen grapes, a refreshing palate cleanser. When we’ve had enough lounging, Silas hits the open-air gym while I rinse off in the outdoor shower, the sun a natural towel warmer. Now, you can’t go to Napa and not sip wine in a vineyard. Luckily, no need to leave the resort for the quintessential wine country experience. We grab the welcome bottle of Calistoga Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon from the room, pick a table in on-property Sotero’s Vineyard, and play backgammon until it’s time for dinner.

Wylder Hope Valley

I wake up to the dome filled with light. We return to Sorensen’s Cafe for breakfast. The french toast is Silas’ favorite meal of the entire trip. My hearty omelet is the perfect start to a day spent outside. After cleaning our plates, we hike up Popo’s Trail. The trailhead is past the cabins and behind a wooden swing set. We wind up the mountain, passing through meadows of wildflowers with swallowtail butterflies dancing around. The summit overlooks all of Hope Valley. I carefully climb out to the point of the cliff to take in the view. On the way down a couple mountain bikers dart by, other than that I don’t see a single person. The rest of the day we have no plans but to find a lake to jump into. A fifth generation local directs us to Meadow Lake. After hiking several miles we are rewarded with a sapphire blue lake. A couple trees breach out from the water, there’s a rock island in the middle, just big enough to tan on if you’re up for a short swim. It’s scenic and deserted. Nothing like an expansive view of a lake to swallow your memory of the latest headlines.

Calistoga Ranch

A thunderstorm prompts us to return to Wylder. We stop at the property’s sauna before swinging by The General Store for beer and freshly baked banana bread. I would have happily stayed another week at this secluded alternative to Tahoe. The next afternoon, we leave for Napa, winding past roads with quaint names like Dew Drop and Sugar Pine. Vineyards signal our imminent arrival to Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort. Initial impression: it’s more woodsy than Napa’s wine focus would lead you to expect, making you feel like you could be 100 miles from the nearest store, not 15 minutes from world renowned wineries. Check-in is a breeze and within minutes I am 66 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

We walk up to The Lakehouse restaurant and are seated on the balcony. The lake and surrounding forested hills span the spectrum of green. The atmosphere is rustic, there is nothing glossy in sight. The antique silverware, wood tables, and ceramics are all matte— bread plates depicting a sliced tree trunk. I scan a QR code with my phone to access the farm-sourced menu. We start with the Shaved Summer Squash & Zucchini Salad and the Grilled Cucumber & Peach Salad. The peaches are so good that I insist they make an appearance in everything I order. I add vodka to the seasonal mocktail of K & J peaches, lemon, rosemary, and Fever Tree soda. Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with pecan crumble and peach cremeux is the finale of a meal brimming with local produce. The Specialty Popcorn section of the room service menu caught my eye earlier, so I make a call on the walk back to our lodge and arrive at the same time as a bucket of fresh popcorn. Movie night has a new standard that will never be met.

Calistoga Ranch TEDDYS The Butterfly Sunglasses, @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 67

Picking resorts with exceptional restaurants was key, to keep our “social distance.” Yet as I'd already ordered every menu item with peaches at Calistoga Ranch, the next night we make the seven minute drive to Solage, An Auberge Resort for dinner at Solbar. The atmosphere is modern and bright. Sitting outside amongst trees draped in lights, next to a fountain with fire in the middle, I sip on a Green Flash—a neon concoction with tequila, housemade jalapeño herb syrup, and lime. My eyes go straight to the peaches on the menu: juicy chunks of K & J peaches, with prosciutto woven between, served over dollops of parmesan mousse and sweet caramelized onions, sprinkled with arugula and honey-lavender. The variety of textures and salty-sweet juxtaposition with a touch of lavender is heavenly. This appetizer turns out to be my favorite dish of the trip and our entrees aren't far behind. We’re thoroughly impressed by the New York Steak with Jerusalem artichokes, local porcini mushrooms, sunflower persillade, and black truffle fondue, and Half Moon Bay Petrel Sole with confit of summer squash, toasted pepita seed pesto, and squash blossoms. We conclude with the K & J Orchards Stone Fruit dessert—apricots and nectarines mingle with toasted pistachios and whipped ricotta. The fruit is so good I look up the farm towards the end of dinner. On a trip where adventure and isolation are our primary motivations, a midnight soak in Calistoga Ranch’s hot tub (open 24 hours) to watch the stars is the perfect nightcap.

I wake up early to birds chirping. Deer play peek-a-boo behind the agave outside the window as I make tea in the room. The morning light streaming through trees onto the deck is an invitation to stay for room service. I’m giddy as I remove the silver lids to reveal breakfast. Silas pours syrup on his stack of three buttermilk pancakes bursting with blueberries. He jokes that if he took a drone shot you’d still be able to see the pancakes. They’re that big and fluffy. I slice into my Huevos Rancheros and egg yolk seeps out from the center of the stack—farm fresh from the chickens housed on property. The fresh fruit plate presentation is a work of modern art with varying elevations and accents of fruit puree. For "dessert," I unfurl the Cinnamon Roll, my fingers dripping in gooey frosting with vanilla bean specks. Come time to pack up and check out, it takes all the willpower I have to pull myself away from the spread. Windy roads lined with olive trees, wildflowers, and vineyards lead us out of Napa. Further south, we pass through cities and agricultural land, until reaching Carmel Valley Ranch. Upon arrival, I meander to the garden to join the daily tour. It is exploding with flowers from dahlias to pastel yellow roses. The blooms are so fragrant I can smell them through my mask. Fruit trees teeming with apples and plums fill the orchard, yet the main attraction is a pile of baby white Swiss goats, born two weeks earlier. Adorable would be an understatement. Walking back from the garden I wander around to get a lay of the land. The grounds feel like a camp with so many outdoor activities, from tennis and golf to hiking trails. Lavender flourishes throughout and turkeys and deer roam the pathways like fellow guests. Past a swing hanging from a giant oak I find a gated lawn surrounded by vineyards. We pick up a picnic and a bottle of wine at Valley Kitchen and bring it back for a picturesque lunch. I savor Mary’s Free-Range Chicken Sandwich—a baguette loaded thick with avocado, roasted chicken, bacon, tomato, and parmesan pesto. Silas saves the brownies and chocolate chip cookies to enhance tonight’s s’mores. During dinner at Valley Kitchen looking across the table at Silas’ Braised Beet Salad, I laugh at the realization that it’s the first time I’ve seen lettuce in a while; Carmel Valley Ranch has the healthiest menu options we’ve encountered on the trip. Silas gets the Green Garden Curry, a rainbow of fresh veggies over jasmine rice and a slightly spicy aromatic curry. I order the Day Boat Scallops placed on a bed of corn and grape tomato succotash. The intense sweet corn flavor and bursting tomatoes taste like summer on a plate. Our health kick lasts all of 30 minutes, until it’s time to put the brownies to use.

Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberries, Calistoga Ranch


From 6 to 10 nightly, guests breeze through the lobby to pick up complimentary s’more kits and take to the outdoor fire pits. Silas layers a brownie into a s’more, melted chocolate oozing over the marshmallows. He says the french toast was the best meal of the trip but his reaction implies this s’more is the best thing he’s tasted in his life.

Carmel Valley Ranch picnic

Carmel Valley Ranch

Audi S6 Prestige, Carmel Valley Ranch

@ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 69

The next morning I wake up to a view of the valley, the fireplace flickering in my spacious one-bedroom suite. We spend the morning poolside, reading beneath orange umbrellas, before continuing south on Highway 1. Approaching Big Sur, I roll down the windows to let the smell of redwoods and salty air float through the car. The full campgrounds and closures of main attractions like McWay Falls encourage us to find beauty in new spots. We stop at a pullout to stretch. Waves foam over offshore rocks and I scan the kelp beds for otters. I could stand there mesmerized by the ocean all day, but we want to make it to Santa Monica by sunset. We drive down PCH, admiring the homes. Only to arrive at Hotel Casa Del Mar, which surpasses all dream beach house fantasies I’d conjured passing though Malibu. The brick facade of the hotel and the staff greeting me by name sets the tone for the sophisticated yet comfortable experience to come. I swing open the door to my one bedroom beachfront corner suite and am looking directly at the ocean. The views from the wrap around windows span from

Hotel Casa Del Mar


Venice to the Santa Monica Pier and beyond. Books, from antique Plato's The Republic to cheeky novels like I’m Having So Much Fun Here Without You, fill the living area, alongside candles, coral, and plush seating. I’m assuming the binoculars are provided to watch boats, but I quickly put them to use to get a closer look at photoshoots, people riding tandem bikes alone, and rollerbladers. Preferring the entertainment of the boardwalk from six floors above the action, I consult the room service menu and settle on Roasted Mushroom Pizza, topped with sauteed wild mushrooms, burrata, and sage. The dessert menu is titled ‘never forget something sweet’ and, not one to disagree, add the Ricotta Cheesecake topped with berries. It pairs perfectly with the palm tree framed view of a pastel sunset. About to hop in the marble shower, the rubber duckie wearing a snorkel perched on the edge of the bathtub reminds me that a bath is always the better choice. The bath bomb from the toiletries mini bar, tea lights, and Malin+Goetz rum bubble bath affirm it was the right decision.

“I swing open the door to my one bedroom beachfront corner suite and am looking directly at the ocean. The views from the wrap around windows span from Venice to the Santa Monica Pier and beyond.” After allowing the waves to act as my alarm clock the next morning, we walk next door to Casa Del Mar’s sister property Shutters on the Beach for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at Coast restaurant. Post breakfast, we rent bikes right outside, mini Shutters license plates swing behind the seats as we ride along the boardwalk to Venice. When the pavement ends, we return to Casa Del Mar for an afternoon at the pool—the perfect perch to enjoy both the beach and safety of the hotel.

Hotel Casa Del Mar

Just down the dramatic double staircases is dinner at Terrazza. I savor the ultimate oceanfront meal: Seared Chilean Sea Bass surrounded by Manila clams and leeks bathing in a green parsley sauce. The Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel lights spin in the background as we cheers The Better Gin & Tonic and a Tequila Honeysuckle (St Germain, tequila, grapefruit, and honey) to the last night of our trip. When check-out time looms, we play tetris with our suitcases and the valet offers to help. I explain that we are at the tail end of a two week road trip and there’s a method to our organization. “Two week road trip in the Audi?!” He seems surprised. “You must get everywhere really fast.” I laugh, if he only knew. “It was a smooth ride just coming around the corner but that’s got some power,” the valet observes. I concur, the S6 is not ostentatious but drives like it could be. We make one last stop before home; I can’t leave LA without lunch at one of my favorite places, The Roof Garden at Peninsula Beverly Hills. The yellow and white striped umbrellas and pool views make you feel like you’re on vacation. The Santa Barbara Salmon with asparagus, radish, salmon roe and dill is the perfect segue between an indulgent getaway and home.

Roasted Mushroom Pizza

I return to Santa Barbara refreshed and safe, with a heightened appreciation for properties that offer rooms so spacious I would happily shelter in place for any extent of time. Distancing regulations encouraged me to see a typical road trip route from a different perspective, to stop at places that aren’t the most geotagged, and spend more time in California’s beautiful nature. I’m wholeheartedly adopting this new way of traveling that encourages you to discover less populated places, slow down, and order more room service. * @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 71

REFINED REFUGE Hotel Joaquin’s unassuming exterior offers luxurious privacy on a swanky swath of South Coast Highway


Written by Delaney Willet

f the world is my oyster, Hotel Joaquin is the perfectly-rounded pearl situated on the inner edge of said oyster. The mini-resort, as it is described to me by general manager Reinhard Neubert (formerly of Santa Barbara’s Belmond El Encanto and Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore), features 22 rooms carved into South Coast Highway on the northern end of Laguna Beach. Far-flung gems such as the shores of St. Barthelemy and Montauk are called to mind as I imbibe and unwind in the hybrid bar-lobby-living room, which appears as though it was curated by everyone’s coolest, most well-traveled friend. Records line the wall opposite the crackling fireplace, welcome and inviting although it is mid-July—it is the atmosphere it suggests, that this is somewhere you arrive not to stop in, but to stay awhile. The bartender/bellhop/desk manager (each staff member at Hotel Joaquin wears many hats, primarily that of ‘friend,’ as the quaint property facilitates an irreplicable intimacy between staff and guests) notices my infatuation with my surroundings and offers to make me a welcome cocktail. Sunken into the plush white couch atop a mesmerizing blackand-white checkered rug, I humbly refuse at first, though am easily swayed as he offers to guess my favorite libation. I am initially shocked, and then validated, when he guesses correctly (spicy Paloma with mezcal). This cements my theory that this slice out of the coast must be some fantastical haven. The enchantment grows thicker as my key—yes, a real, manual key!—turns in my suite’s lock and I delight at the unveiling of a bespoke domicile, the interiors as intuitively designed as the lobby’s.


most of which, as you may have guessed, come from the salty Pacific that is Joaquin’s backyard. Fresh catches are prepared daily and enhanced by earthy sides with imaginative finesse. The dining experience alone is worth spending the night. Plus, the feeling of finishing an award-winning meal and merely crossing the well-manicured lawn to text for tomorrow morning’s coffee before melting into a plush duvet to ride out my food coma is utter heaven. As if I am not effectively transported by the property, the pool and its surrounding lounger beds cultivate a beach club sensibility fit for Ibiza with a playlist to match, though at a respectable volume at which you may also choose to read a book or carry on a conversation with your newfound vacation friends. This is the other inimitable fact of Hotel Joaquin: should you be looking to socialize, the intimate atmosphere is a ripe ground for connection building, only adding to the exclusive air about the space. Spritzes are shared over stories on massive white lounger beds and suddenly it is happy hour again, the sun setting beyond the palms that shroud Hotel Joaquin from the particularly suburban strip of South Coast Highway. Another masterful Paloma is concocted behind the bar, and another—the walkability of the hotel into downtown’s exquisite restaurant scene is a hidden plus—before we bid adieu to our acquaintances, though just for a short while. We will reconvene for post-dinner aperitifs and, as always, rousing conversation. And, even after we part the next morning, buzzing from a fresh brew but distraught at the thought of departure, we are comforted in knowing that we will always have Hotel Joaquin, that we will return home into open arms soon again. * Each suite at Hotel Joaquin is unique, with a different view, layout, and slightly variant aestheticism from the next, though all share the common core values of luxury in simplicity and simplicity in luxury. The neutral and art-accented living area is complemented by one of the most beautiful bathrooms I have had the pleasure to use, lined entirely with light teal tiles, a dark marbled sink and bath, and gold fixtures. I am stealing more than a few interior ideas. Every suite also excludes a television or electric alarm clock in favor of a record player, a curated stack of vinyls, and a knock at your door in the morning letting you know your personalized coffee order has arrived. Both this decor and standard of service have facilitated a level of luxury afforded only by the feeling of complete comfortability in my surroundings, as if I may send for my things and move right in. Put simply, the hotel seems to exist at my convenience, showing itself or disappearing into the background of the larger experience with impeccable timing. While privacy is a top-billed asset, the property less so maintains the aura of an impersonal hideaway and more so the air of a highly exclusive club, though Joaquin’s only membership fee is the rate of a room. Enforcing this sanctity is the steadfast rule that Hotel Joaquin’s sole and lauded restaurant, Saline, caters purely to guests. The menu boasts an ever-changing array of seasonal offerings, @ S B L I F E A N D S T Y L E | 73

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sailboat dining experience off the coast, and private fitness classes on the terrace. Or just lounge by the zero-edge pool or indulge in the plush privacy of your cottage. @belmondelencanto



Treat yourself to a Springtide mani-pedi using all non-toxic and vegan products, or shop their retail boutique for body, home, and nail goodies. The airy atmosphere and plush amenities make for a rejuvenating and uplifting wellness experience. @springtidenails


We may be nearing the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain that vacation state-of-mind. Stop by The Webster, the luxury boutique at Rosewood Miramar Beach, to shop their collection of resort wear, fine jewelry, and chic accessories from designers like Bottega Veneta, Celine, and Chanel. @thewebster @rosewoodmiramarbeach


Stroll along pedestrian-only State Street and stop for bites and drinks at Aperitivo. The newly-opened wine bar offers local and imported wines and a fusion of rustic and modern Italian cuisine. @aperitivo_sb


Whether you’re embarking on a fall getaway or simply seeking a Santa Barbara staycation, look no further than Belmond El Encanto. The hilltop hotel offers all-new guest experiences such as private movie screenings adorned with truffle popcorn and candy, a 74 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

Little Dom’s Seafood fuses fresh coastal seafood and authentic Italian cuisine to create a delicious and locallysourced dining experience in Carpinteria. Feast on West Coast Oysters, Squid Ink Mafaldine with uni butter, or an array of wood-fired pizzas to satisfy your comfort cravings. @ldseafood

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Take a scenic drive up to wine country and shop at Wildflower Women Boutique on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos. The rustic, chic store feels like your dream closet and carries everything from evening dresses to jeans to boots to jewelry. Plus, they have an extensive kids’ section! @wildflowerwomenboutique


Nothing says California brunch better than beachside dining at Mar Monte Hotel’s Café Lido. The newly renovated Spanishinspired hotel will turn any weekend into a getaway with sunset happy hours, poolside dining, and delicious locally sourced cuisine. @marmontehotel


Whether you’re in need of new surf gear or simple beach apparel, Mollusk Surf Shop has everything you need to enjoy the sand and surf. The Santa Barbara location carries necessities from boards and wetsuits to bikinis and trunks, and everything in between. @mollusksantabarbara


Ease into the evening at Montecito Inn’s Coast & Olive, a new local hotspot featuring California cuisine inspired by the French Riviera. Sip on hand-crafted cocktails such as the Strawberry Sunset and Mocha Martini, and indulge in the flavors of France as you nosh on lavender baked goat cheese and lobster gnocchi. @coastandolive

Written by Anna Constantino

Take a break from the heat and cool off with Oakberry Açai bowls and smoothies. Pick and choose between unlimited toppings like nut butters, fruit, chia pudding, and more. Build and layer your own superfood bowl experience or swirl toppings into a smoothie for a healthy pick-me-up. @oakberryacai


Open for delivery & curbside pickup! 36 STATE STREET SANTA BARBARA CA 93101 805.882.0137

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