So, I had the honor of writing up the Santa Barbara Independent‘s Best of Santa 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 28, 2018.
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 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.
The Lower Lodge is located at 609 Mission Canyon Rd. For more information, visit www.thelowerlodge.com.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 25, 2018.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
To support Dream Foundation, or learn more, please visit DreamFoundation.org.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.
Developed by former Hollywood makeup artist Galit Strugano, Girlactik 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.”
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 18, 2017.
Bacara Resort & Spa (8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta) recently added Spanish cosmetics brand Natura Bissé to its world-class 42,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, and as a special treat, had a pop-up appearance of Natura Bissé’s infamous Bubble Pure Air last week.
I was one of the lucky ones who got to be the “girl in the plastic bubble,” and my facial was amazing! The bubble creates an exclusive place to perform treatments where according to a company spokeswoman, “the air guests breathe is 99,995 percent pure. The exclusive experience allows spa goers to immerse themselves in a serene environment filled with soft aromatic notes that take guests on an exquisite journey to well-being. It is a singular experience, providing exceptional results that rejuvenate and purify.”
I have to agree: it felt great and my skin has never looked better!
Established in Barcelona, Natura Bissé has become a worldwide success in the cosmetics industry as one of the fastest growing beauty companies with a strong commitment to research and innovation. The Bacara has launched a new treatment line and service menu with Natura Bissé, with special pop-up appearances of the Bubble Pure Air, so stay tuned for your chance to be the next girl (or guy) in the bubble.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2016.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, which not only helps build awareness about this terrible disease, it also brings a flurry of mostly pink products, specially formulated to help the cause.
One of my favorites is actually not pink: Jane Iredale‘s new limited edition Lemongrass Love Hydration Spray. Produced in collaboration with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Lemongrass Love is a 100% natural, 30% organic aromatherapy facial spritz that conditions and protects all skin types while leaving skin looking smooth and revitalized. Not only is a pleasant, refreshing way to cool off and condition your skin, 100% of the profits (not just proceeds) from the sales of Lemongrass Love will be donated to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national education and support organization whose mission is to connect people with trusted breast cancer information and a community of support.
The Charity Wrap’s scarves are another great way to do good and look stylish when your outfit calls for a little extra touch of beauty. Made of 100% Viscose, they are long (33” wide x 35” long) and great for layering. Ind addition, The Charity Wrap is offering 20% off with the code fightforpink when you make a purchase through them.
One my favorite hair products, Mixed Chicks, has a great promotion going on this month. Every year, Mixed Chicks uses pink caps on their leave-in conditioner and for the month of October. One dollar from each sale of leave-in conditioner at mixedchicks.net goes to Save the Ta’Ta’s.
Another great hair product, Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, offers a limited edition pink design was created in partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. An alternative to dry shampoo, this invisible dry hair spray builds incredible volume and texture and supports the National Breast Cancer Foundation to increase breast cancer awareness for women across the country.
Want to commemorate your breast cancer recovery date or the date of someone you love with a special memento? During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, mark your special cancerversary date with pride and gratitude on a stylish Calendar Key Pendant that features a pink ribbon charm and a Swarovski crystal. Not Just Any Old Day donates a portion of all proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 6, 2016.
Chocolate and roses are two of my favorite things, and the Karin Herzog Swiss-made line of oxygen skincare products (reportedly favored by none-than supreme English rose herself, Duchess Kate Middleton) offers both—minus the thorns and the calories!
Karin Herzog’s Rose Cream smells ever so sweet and combines the detoxifying and hydrating properties of 1% oxygen with the soothing, toning and brightening effects of rose. It works to deep clean pores, calm and treat skin conditions such as rosacea, blemishes and hyper-pigmentation and has anti-inflammatory properties, inhibiting pigmentation and balancing pH for a fresh, luminous face.
Karin Herzog’s Choco2 boosts moisture and evens skin tone, while pampering the senses with the luxurious scent of Swiss chocolate. The combined power of 2% active oxygen and Swiss chocolate provides vital energy to skin while flushing out debris and toxins.
As well, Karin Herzog’s Chocolate! anti-oxident intensive moisturizer is formulated with premium Swiss chocolate, avocado and wheat germ, to create an intensive, vitamin-rich facial moisturizer. This nighttime nourishing treatment soothes skin and restores suppleness. Additional ingredients such as vitamin A help revive and renew dull complexions, while vitamin E soothes irritation and the rich chocolate creates a truly comforting experience.
Still not sure which to try? Karin Herzog also has a fun 7 Creams of the Week sample set available, which includes a travel size collection of these best sellers:
- Rose Calms and regenerates the skin for radiant complexion.
- AHA Cream Gently exfoliates with mild fruit acids.
- Vita-A-Kombi 1 Detoxes, deeply hydrates and fights first signs of aging.
- Additional Sweet Comforts the skin, protects and locks in the powers of the oxygen.
- Oxygen Face Treats blemishes and acne and normalizes the skin.
- Essential Mask Instant Beauty Booster for the weekend.
- Vitamin H Rich in valuable vitamins and skin nutrients to help the skin regenerate.
All are available at www.karinherzog.com.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 19, 2016.