About lesliedinaberg

When she's not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine, Leslie Dinaberg writes feature articles, columns and grocery lists.

Efficiency Begets Quality Time

The Efficiency Project, from 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

The Efficiency Project, from 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

Founded by sisters Alia Glasgow, an event producer, and Casey Geeb, an interior designer, The Efficiency Project (theefficiencyprojectsb.com) helps families create time-saving interiors that free up more precious moments to do the things they enjoy the most.

Creating a drop zone for keys near the entry to a home, for example, can save time spent
looking for them.

“Design and organization really do go hand in hand,” says Glasgow, who specializes in the organizing side of the business, “and the fact that we can support and brainstorm with each other on both means Casey’s design is stronger. I help her with the functional [aspects], and she makes it look really great.”

They also offer help for those moving from one home to another and enhancing the appeal of a home to live in or to sell.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Overarching Principals

From 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

From 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

The global pandemic may have made it difficult to hang out with neighbors, but Spotify has made it easy to plug in and connect.

The new Archewell Audio podcast series (sptfy.com/5nto) from Montecito residents Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, launched in December with a holiday gathering of inspiring guests from around the world.

Joining the royals to reflect on the challenges of the past year and offer hopeful toasts to 2021 were former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, World Central Kitchen founder José Andrés, University of Houston research professor and best-selling author Brené Brown, self-help guru Deepak Chopra, CBS’s The Late Late Show host James
Corden, music icon Elton John, three-time tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, and entertainment mogul Tyler Perry, among others. The series continues this year.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Going With the Flow

From 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

From 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company (firestonebeer.com) ventures into new territory with Flow State, a monthly video series (youtu.be/Invvcsi2P24) hosted by adventurer Dylan Efron, who grew up on the Central Coast and honed his thirst for pushing the limits as a professional triathlete before becoming a producer and star of the Netflix show Down To Earth and launching the Off the Grid YouTube series with his brother, actor Zac Efron.

Flow State challenges world-class athletes and performers with outdoor exploits that are unfamiliar to them. For example, in one episode Brazilian professional skateboarder Leticia Bufoni learns to rock climb despite her fear of heights, and, in another, beach volleyball
superstar brothers Riley and Maddison McKibbin go off-roading.

“Outdoor adventure is a way of life around here, and it’s something we’re passionate about,” says Firestone Walker cofounder David Walker. “The Central Coast has been our home for 25 years, and as a local, Dylan is the perfect friend and partner to help us tell these stories.”

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

A Tip of the Hat

From 805 Living Magazine's Pulse section, winter 2021.

From 805 Living Magazine’s Pulse section, winter 2021.

Launching a retail business during a global pandemic is surely an act of faith, which fits right in with Desert Rose Hat Co. (desertrosehats.com) owner Marlene Taylor’s mission to
make “quality goods for a higher purpose.” The cozy space in downtown Santa Barbara’s
historic La Arcada Plaza is tailor-made for her handcrafted hats—which are inspired by her father’s western wear and her own bohemian style and made using century old techniques—and her curated collection of clothes and accessories.

As for the higher purpose: 5 percent of hat sales benefit two Santa Barbara nonprofit organizations, Domestic Violence Solutions and CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation).

“It was important to me that this brand be more than just a brand,” says Taylor. “My
hope for this company is to create ripples of change in my own community.”

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Latte on the Spot

Photos by Melissa Alves, courtesy of Clevr Blends. Originally published in 805 Living Magazine, Winter 2021.

Photos by Melissa Alves, courtesy of Clevr Blends. Originally published in 805 Living Magazine, Winter 2021.

Instant superlattes—chai, matcha, golden turmeric, and coffee flavors combined with adaptogens, probiotics, and plant-based milk—are now available to make at home thanks to Clevr Blends (clevrblends.com), a Santa Barbara–based business that started as a pop-up latte bar.

“The transition to making a DIY product really happened once we realized that, despite
our drinks making people feel amazing, they were difficult for most folks to recreate in their
daily lives,” says CEO Hannah Mendoza. “At that point, we knew we needed a more accessible way to bring the plant magic into people’s homes.”

Clevr Blends are available online and the company donates one percent of revenues to organizations that further food justice. “As a food brand with a mission to help people feel better through easy, accessible wellness products rooted in ethics and sustainability, it is extremely important to us that we ensure we apply the same values close to home,” says Mendoza.

Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

UCSB Teaches Thriving During Chaos

UCSB Teaches Thriving During Chaos, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent Self-Care issue, January 7, 2021.

UCSB Teaches Thriving During Chaos, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent Self-Care issue, January 7, 2021.

The pandemic has been stressful for all of us, but the abrupt shift to online learning —coupled with social isolation, political unrest, and the loss of just about everything that makes college fun— has been particularly difficult for students.

Last spring, Smaranda Lawrie, a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Psychological
& Brain Sciences, saw how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted her students’ lives. “My students were really struggling,” she said. “I was teaching a lab course online, and there were a lot of hard conversations with them. There were tears and lots of emotions, so I started incorporating positive psychology practices into the class.”

Using techniques designed to “help individuals be stronger versions of themselves,” Lawrie observed such positive results with her students that they were thirsty for more.

Working with undergrads, particularly Samantha Blodgett, “We thought, ‘Let’s just start a series of talks and see what happens,’” said Lawrie. The speakers they approached were enthusiastic, and students even more so. “We were hoping for 20 students, and we ended up cutting it off at close to 1,000 because we didn’t know how to manage everyone.”

Now, four sessions into the UCSB Resilience Summit and Certificate Program, “I’ve just been surprised about these discussions that students are having during the actual lectures,” said Lawrie, who taught the first course, called Positive Psychology and the
Science of Thriving, before opening up to other lecturers on such topics as mindful
attention training, conditioning for resilience, and overcoming imposter syndrome.

“They are very vulnerable and very open, and it seems like they are really relating to the material and appreciating the information and appreciating the speakers,” added Lawrie, who is trying to make the summit live on. “It’s the pilot year, so we’ll see how it goes. I would love to get this info to as many people as possible.”

Upcoming seminars will discuss finding your inner hero, monitoring mental wellness in students, finding silver linings in negative events, supporting “at-promise” students, post-traumatic growth, and more. See ucsbresilience.wixsite.com/resiliencesummit.

Santa Barbara Independent Cover, Self-Care, January 7, 2021.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on January 7, 2021. To see this story as it appeared in print, please click here.

Dancing With Myself

Dancing with Myself, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent Self-Care issue, January 7, 2021.

Dancing with Myself, originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent Self-Care issue, January 7, 2021.

A combination of yoga, martial arts, and dance, Nia was introduced to me by my friend Meg Miller, who’s been an instructor at the Montecito YMCA for more than a decade. When the pandemic torpedoed indoor classes,
Miller started an online “Nia Together-Apart” group, sending videos for people to dance from home “with her” every Saturday at 11:15 a.m., her normal class time.

As Queen of the Procrastinators, I left the link in my inbox, red flagged and scolding me for a week before I finally decided to try Nia. I intended to do it at 11:15 a.m., but it was more like 5:15 p.m., when rolled-back clocks made it too dark for my regular walk.

“In Nia everything is based on 52 moves,” explained Miller. “In addition to what is generally known — that moving to music is
good for us — Nia uses findings from neuroscience to create a holistic experience
through dance. I know this sounds a little woo-woo, but plenty of people do Nia purely as a physical fitness experience.”

I cranked up the video in the privacy of my bedroom, figuring I’d come for the cardio and slip in some metaphysics if the spirit moved
me. The last time I danced was in the early COVID days: a TikTok challenge from my son and his girlfriend. After a bit, I started to let loose. Rather than following the leader,
the idea is to listen to your body and enjoy every movement. So I freestyled instead of doing the floor-play, which looked too much
like pushups for my taste.

Although Nia is meant to be danced communally, my freestyle was definitely more “free” in my bedroom than it would have been at the YMCA. Even Miller, who loves the community aspect of Nia, said, “I’ve found a lot more freedom and self-expression doing it without
an audience of any kind.”

My heart rate was definitely elevated, and my spirit did get a little lift. I’ll try Nia again, maybe even next Saturday at 11:15 a.m.

For more information, visit nianow.com.
Santa Barbara Independent Cover, Self-Care, January 7, 2021.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Independent on January 7, 2021. To see this story as it appeared in print, please click here.

The Books of 2020

Writers & Lovers by Lily King, was one of my favorite books I read in 2020.

So many books, so little time—part 14.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the 14th year we’ve done this.

2020 was such a weird year for everything, including reading. I’m usually a very avid reader, but once the pandemic hit and everything shut down I really couldn’t concentrate on books for the first few months. I felt like I was reading the same line over and over again. It made me so sad that on top of everything else, losing one of my favorite leisure activities  was heartbreaking—especially when it was one of the few things we were still able to do.  I’m not really sure when I started being able to read again, but when it kicked back in I had more time to read than probably ever before. Thank goodness. Traveling with my favorite authors was the only way I could escape this year.

My favorite books of 2020 were Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, Writers & Lovers by Lily King, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, All Adults Here by Emma Straub, Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout, and The Guest List by Lucy Foley. I’d love to hear what else people loved.

Here’s the 2020 list.

The Female Persuasion Meg Wolitzer
Country Danielle Steel
Trust Exercise Susan Choi
The Liar Nora Roberts
Every Day David Levithan
Beyond Ever After Catherine A. Weissenberg & Jocelyn Montanaro
Ask Again, Yes Mary Beth Keane
Manhattan Beach Jennifer Egan
My Reading Life Pat Conroy
The Whisper Network Chandler Baker
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be
Your Own Person
Shonda Rimes
Saint Anything Sarah Dessen
My Ex-Life Stephen McCauley
Skeletons at the Feast Chris Bohjalian
Such a Fun Age Kiley Reid
The Proposal Jasmine Guillory
Delicate Edible Birds Lauren Groff
First Star I See Tonight Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Homegoing Yaa Gyasi
Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit Jessica Tom
Come Sundown Nora Roberts
Lost and Wanted Nell Freudenberger
Home Front Kristin Hannah
Where the Crawdads Sing Delia Owens
How Hard Can it Be Alison Pearson
Sophia of Silcon Valley Anna Yen
Three Women Lisa Taddeo
The Broom of the System David Foster Wallace
The Last Black Unicorn Tiffany Haddish
The Dinner List Rebecca Searle
The Perfectionists Sara Shepherd
Stranger in Paradise Eileen Goudge
Writers & Lovers Lily King
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel
Up and In Deborah Disney
Yes, And (The One) Kristi Coulter
Second Glance Jodi Picoult
All Adults Here Emma Straub
Secrets of Eden Chris Bojhalian
Sisters First Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
Olive, Again Elizabeth Strout
Small Great Things Jodi Picoult
The Guest List Lucy Foley
Oona Out of Order Margarita Montimore
Under Currents Nora Roberts
The Bride Test Helen Hoang
Big Summer Jennifer Weiner
Celestial Bodies Jokha Alharthi
Stars of Fortune Nora Roberts
The Assistants Camille Perri
Bay of Sighs Nora Roberts
Island of Glass Nora Roberts
Good & Mad Rebecca Traister
Saving Grace Jane Green
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and our Lives Revealed Lori Gottlieb
This is Happiness Niall Williams
House Rules Jodi Picoult
Fame Adjacent Sarah Skilton
The Book With No Pictures BJ Novak
Wildflower Drew Barrymore
Vinegar Girl Anne Tyler
The Floating Feldmans Elyssa Friedland
Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing Allison Winn Scotch
I Almost Forgot About You Terry McMillan
Modern Romance Aziz Ansari
If You Were Here Jen Lancaster
Followers Megan Angelo
The Vanishing Half Britt Bennett
Nothing Like I Imagined Mindy Kaling
The Plus One Sarah Archer
The Complete Persepolis Marjane Satrapi
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett Annie Lyons
The Girl He Used to Know Tracey Garvis Graves
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill Abbi Waxman
An Anonymous Girl Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
The Identicals Elin Hilderbrand
American Dirt Jeanine Cummins
How to Walk Away Katherine Center
The Undoing Project Michael Lewis
The Honey Don’t List Christina Lauren
Island Visions Pedal Born Pictures
The Wedding Party Jasmine Guillory
The Editor Steven Rowley
Bridal Boot Camp Meg Cabot
Half-Truths and Semi-Miracles Anne Tyler

Fresh Flowers Meet Fresh Thinking

Fresh Flowers Meet Fresh Thinking, originally published in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Fresh Flowers Meet Fresh Thinking, originally published in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

A beautiful floral arrangement is always a welcome gift, but learning to make one can be a treasured experience. That’s the idea behind The Floral Pantry (thefloralpantry.com), a new CIY (create it yourself ) floristry-kit delivery service.

Founder and creative director Kim Wiseley worked with internationally renowned floral designers for years before landing on a way to share their expertise and creative inspiration with home floral enthusiasts, she says. The result of collaborations with renowned professionals, such as English floral designer Willow Crossley and Belgium-based farmer florist Emily Avenson of Fleuropean floral designs, the kits feature seasonal, fresh flowers, a handmade vessel, design tools, and a video design tutorial, all handpacked by Wiseley and her team in a Santa Barbara floral warehouse.

“Nature’s wonder is at the heart of everything we do,” Wiseley says.

Cover of 805 Living December 2020 Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Climb on a Clydesdale

Climb on a Clydesdale, originally published in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

Climb on a Clydesdale, originally published in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.

If you’ve ever dreamed of riding one of the majestic and mighty horses made famous in the Budweiser commercials, now’s your chance. Tour the family-owned Covell Ranch
(covellsclydesdaleranch.com) in the charming coastal community of Cambria on the back
of one of the gentle Scottish draught horses known as Clydesdales.

“We’ve been breeding Clydesdales for over 40 years,” says Tara Covell. Her father, horse
breeder Ralph Covell, owns the 2,000 acre ranch and offers tours and trail rides through
the property, where stands of Monterey Pines grow along rolling hills with ocean views.

Cover of 805 Living December 2020 Click here to see this story as it originally appeared in the December 2020 issue of 805 Living Magazine.