A Fashion Line for a Lifeline

Morgan Lexi Mitchell (top, right) donates half of the profits from her Only Kid fashions and accessories to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Looking to combine her artistic expression with suicide awareness and prevention, 17-year-old Westlake High School junior Morgan Lexi Mitchell designed the Only Kid (only-kid.com) fashion line. “I wanted to find a way to support National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,” says the Assisteens of Conejo Valley volunteer, who donates 50 percent of the profits from the sales of her colorful stickers, iPhone cases, hoodies, and beanies.

“I had been playing around with the idea of Only Kid for some time,” Mitchell says. “When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I had a lot of time on my hands, and that idea became a reality. Quarantine gave me the time I needed to develop designs and products.

“I wanted to make a difference in a way that personally relates to me,” she explains. “I have struggled with depression, and I wanted to showcase my art in a way that would raise awareness for suicide prevention, which is often a silent struggle.”

Cover of 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. This story originally appeared in 805 Living Magazine, November 2020. Click here to see the section as it originally appeared in print.

2020 Best of Santa Barbara

From Santa Barbara Independent, Best Of Issue cover, October 15, 2020.

From Santa Barbara Independent, Best Of Issue cover, October 15, 2020.

I had the honor of writing the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara winners once again this year. It was a huge, fun project, and a little easier the second time around.  Even (or maybe especially) in this weird year, people were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing by clicking here, or on the PDFs below.

Introduction + Eating 770 10-15-20_Part1

Eating 770 10-15-20_Part2

Eating, Drink, Out & About + Romance 770 10-15-20_Part3

Romance 770 10-15-20_Part4

Romance, Looking Good, Living Well, Sporting Life, Little Creatures, Housing + Driving 770 10-15-20_Part5

Driving + Media 770 10-15-20_Part6

Mindful Millinery

805 Living Summer 2020, Mindful Millinery, story by Leslie Dinaberg.

805 Living Summer 2020, Mindful Millinery, story by Leslie Dinaberg.

Lovely, handcrafted works of art, the bespoke hats of Ojai-based Ninakuru (ninakuru.com) are also environmentally friendly.

“Felt hats are ethically sourced and hand shaped,” says founder and designer Jennifer Moray (left). “I source beautiful materials from around the world, such as vintage grosgrain and brocade ribbons, leather, turquoise, and other finishes, ensuring each hat is one-of-a-kind.”

Made of sustainable toquilla straw from Ecuadorean rainforests, the company’s authentic Panama hats are handwoven by master artisans in Ecuador before final touches are added in Ojai.

“The art of weaving an authentic Panama hat is such a cherished skill and so worthy of appreciation,” Moray says, “that in 2012 the handweaving of Panama hats was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

I’m honored and humbled to be able to create sustainably made products and do my part to preserve a precious cultural tradition.”

805 Living Summer 2020, cover art by John Galan.

805 Living Summer 2020, cover art by John Galan.

This story was originally published in the summer 2020 issue of 805 Living. Click here to read it as it appeared in print.

 

Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide 2019

 

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Uptown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Uptown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Downtown Santa Barbara, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Barbara Waterfront, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Barbara Waterfront, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Montecito, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Montecito, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Goleta, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Goleta, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

Santa Ynez Valley, 2019 Shopping Santa Barbara Gift Guide, SB Independent, December 5, 2019.

2019 Best of Santa Barbara

SB Independent Best of

From the Santa Barbara Independent, October 17, 2019.

So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa Barbara winners this year. It was a huge, fun project. People were so happy to hear from me and so excited to have won! You can read the whole thing (203 winners at last count) by clicking here, or on the PDF below.

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part1

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part2

Santa Barbara Independent Best Of Oct. 17 2019_Part3

Best of Independent Cover

Local Lowdown: Montecito’s Upper Village Embodies the Spirit of Community

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Photos by Jordan Duggan

Despite the global sophistication of its residents, the spirit of small town American is alive and well in Montecito’s low key, charming upper village. While last year’s twin disasters wrecked heartbreaking havoc both personally and professionally, they also helped create an appreciative climate of reflection and gratitude for the simple joys of greeting neighbors and supporting local businesses. What better time to pay them a visit than during the holiday season.

East Valley Road carves a graceful path through the heart of the village, where several clusters of retail businesses and service providers make their homes on both the mountain and ocean sides of the street. The porch of the Montecito Coffee Shop/San Ysidro Pharmacy and the fountain patio of Pierre Lafond Montecito Market are both great spots to catch up on the latest scuttlebutt or watch the world go by. Other fine eateries include Pane e Vino, Via Vai Trattoria Pizzeria and Montecito Wine Bistro, as well as food purveyors like Montecito Village Grocery and Village Cheese & Wine (which reportedly kept the doors open and locals who didn’t evacuate fed throughout the nearly three weeks that Montecito was clamped down in a post-flood mandatory evacuation).

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Shopping for unique items is a pleasure at Imagine Artful Things, a beautiful gem of a store that defies categorization. Trust us, you’re sure to find distinctive gifts for the home as well as everyone on your list (including yourself). Other notable art, gifts and home good dealers in the area include Upstairs at Pierre Lafond (with everything from home dècor, to tabletop pieces and gorgeous local artwork), The Stationery Collection, Tecolote Book Shop (complete with a lovely grassy outdoor area to pull up a seat if you just can’t wait to dig into the latest bestseller), Village Frame & Gallery, Clare Swan Clothing & Travel and Jenni Kayne Home & Apparel.

An impressive number of antique stores are in the area, including Josephine’s Antiques, Davis & Taft Antiques, Country House Antiques, Carty & Carty Antiques, Brostrom Antiques, William Lahman Furniture (a charming mix of antiques, accessories and garden objects) and Haskell Antiques.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Stylish women’s fashions can be found at Juniper Women’s Boutique (the handmade belts are one-of-a-kind), Glamour House Intimate Apparel (which has beautiful nighties and PJs for holiday gifting), Giuliana Haute Couture, Julianne Boutique and two stores—Wendy Foster Clothing and Wendy Foster Sportswear—from Santa Barbara’s long-time doyenne of style.

Health and wellness salons include Skin Essentials, Dadiana, Beauty & Hair Salon and Mareva International. Jewelers in the village include Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Tresor Fine Jewelry & Collectibles, George Meta Jewelry and Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

In addition, there’s a wealth of services available in the upper village, including Automotive & Repair, Montecito Village Hardware, Sotheby’s International Realty (Sandy Stahl and an additional office), Wells Fargo Bank & Trust, ACI Jet, Blake Ashley Design, Montecito Executive Services, Montecito Library, Montecito Associates, Union Bank, Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, Elder Studio, Northern Trust (two offices), Coldwell Banker, Hogue & Co. Florists, House of Honey, American Riviera Bank and Gazebo Gardens.

In keeping with the small town retail vibe, many of these retailers are entirely owner run and operated, ensuring a
personal touch. Please call individual stores for hours of operation, as they can vary.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Seaside Makers Funk Zone Opens

Seaside Makers Collective, photo by Kelsey Crews.

Seaside Makers Collective, photo by Kelsey Crews.

Don’t miss the grand opening of the new Seaside Makers Funk Zone location on Thursday, Nov. 29. This is a great opportunity to support 15 of the best local artisans in one amazing spot—209 Anacapa St. The newly transformed space (formerly Youth Interactive, which moved to a new State Street location) is a curated collection of local art and gifts for bath, body & home, put together by Kristin Fraser of The Grapeseed Co. and Jules Kramer of Jules by the Sea.

Other artisans at the collective include Asher Market, Sarka Photography, Jess Conti Leather Goods, Meadow Rose Photo Art, Blue Planet Eyewear, Whimsea, Mission Canyon Collective, and a beautiful collection of art by Karin Shelton, Pedro De La Cruz, Alana Clumeck, Katie Kramer, Anthony Barbaria and Kelly Clause. In addition, other artists, makers and pop-ups will rotate in and out, starting in December with some amazing one-of-a-kind handbags, jewelry and other special treats.

Seaside Makers Collective opens 11.29 in the Funk Zone, courtesy photo.

Seaside Makers Collective opens 11.29 in the Funk Zone, courtesy photo.

“This is a dream come true to land in the heart of the Funk Zone with this extremely talented group of makers and artists,” explains Jules Kramer, who will be managing the Santa Barbara store.

“The collective will highlight and celebrate the amazing artisans in our community by offering much more than a great place to shop… we will tell the stories behind the makers, and also look forward to hosting Scent Bar parties, pop-ups, live-painting and workshops in our event room space and parking lot,” says Kristin Fraser.  

Fraser opened Seaside Makers flagship store in Carpinteria (961 Linden Ave.) in September 2018. Response from the community was so positive that she partnered with Kramer to open a second location in Santa Barbara.

The shop will host a Grand Opening Celebration on Nov. 29 from 4-8 p.m. to give the community a chance to “meet the makers” in person. Seaside Makers Collective is located at 209 Anacapa St. in the Funk Zone, with parking available in its own lot.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 28, 2018.

Poetics of the Handmade Holiday Market

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Looking for a way to “buy local” and support artisans at the same time. Check out Poetics of the Handmade, the third annual local makers market where you can find unique gifts for the whole family.

The market takes place on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Lower Lodge, local artists’ Hannah Vainstein and Nathan Hayden‘s cool 1920’s carriage house studio between the Mission and the Natural History Museum.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The theme for this year is “Plant, Animal, Mineral,” says Vainstein.  “Our makers include Jalama Dyes which makes naturally plant dyed clothes and bags, Poco Farms goatmilk soap, Shepherdess Hides, ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery, Jennifer Morris, Jos Ceramics and Churchill Ceramics. Lindsey Ross will be doing old fashioned tin type photography portraits, plus vintage clothes, handmade homewares and more. This years market will also include a children’s section will an singing circle, and crafts such as wreath making, ornament making and holiday card painting.”

Trust us, you’ll want to go check this one out.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

Ceramics by Polka-Dot-Pottery is one of several makers with work for sale when The Lower Lodge plays host to the Poetics of the Handmade on Dec. 1, courtesy photo.

The Lower Lodge is located at 609 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information, visit www.thelowerlodge.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2018.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The beautiful Nesbitt Estate in Summerland was transformed into a fabulous fashion event when Dream Foundation—the only national dream-granting organization for terminally-ill adults—hosted its fourth annual Endless Summer Dream to raise vital funds for the organization.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

The fun kicked off with a poolside fashion show featuring headlining brand, Wildfox Couture, A Tropical Affair, Bubululu Malibu Bikinis, Jenni Kayne, K. Frank, Lolë, Make Smith, Saltura, Seavees, So De Mel Swimwear and local designer Danielle Rocha of Rocha Swim. Money raised will help bring final Dreams to life for terminally-ill adults and their families across the nation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Top model Alexander Amato was instrumental in rallying 27 of the globe’s hottest talent to model the latest looks down the catwalk to beats from DJ Gavin Roy Presents, accompanied by stunning aerial displays from Santa Barbara Airedanse Collective. Dancer and choreographer Josh Killacky made a surprise appearance, drawing whoops from the crowd. Following a live auction, singer/songwriter Cody Lovaas sang two songs. Along with the show, guests enjoyed food and drink, and visited pop-up shops where they bought clothing and accessories featured on the catwalk.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

“It is an absolute honor to have worked on Endless Summer Dream,” says Arlene Montesano, event Co-Chair (along with Ursula Nesbitt). “It was a compilation of boundless energy and love from the committee to the sponsors to the general public! We are all thrilled to have helped make so many Dreams come true for our terminally-ill recipients. We love Dream Foundation.”

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

After the fashion show was an exclusive After-Party held at the Nesbitt Nightclub, featuring a sneak-peek runway preview of Wildfox Spring 19 Collection “Riot Girl,” fire dancers, Julia Bowerback and Chelsea Pacheco, and an inspiring performance by Los Angeles- based singer/songwriter, Taliwhoah and her band.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

To support Dream Foundation, or learn more, please visit DreamFoundation.org.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation's Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Dream Foundation’s Endless Summer Dream Fundraiser, photo courtesy Dream Foundation.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Style File: Get Your Glow on With Girlactik

Girlactik lip products, courtesy photo.

Girlactik lip products, courtesy photo.

Developed by former Hollywood makeup artist Galit StruganoGirlactik cosmetics are designed as an affordable luxury brand that will make you look great. Plus, the products will actually stay on, so that you can get on with your life and not worry about continually retouching your makeup.

We tried an assortment of products—including pigmented, shadows, blushes, glosses, eye shadows, moisturizers and more—I particularly liked the Long Lasting Matte Lip Paint Liquid Lipstick in Playful and Posh shades and the Tinted Moisturizer, as well as the Soft Powder Eyebrow Pencil

Cosmetics shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and this line of products has grown since it was founded in 2000 to become a true affordable luxury cosmetic with a customer demographic ranging from women in their early 20’s up to their 50’s and beyond. Girlactik has even attracted a celebrity following from people like Eva Longoria, Britney Spears, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Cindy Crawford, Paris Hilton and more.

Check out this video for the lip paint colors:

Look for the pretty packaging (a soft pink chandelier pattern decorated on shimmering pewter boxes) at local drug stores. As  Galit explains, “I wanted a woman who was sitting at Barney’s for lunch to feel comfortable touching up her lips with a luxury gloss vial and I did just that.”

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 18, 2017.