In Living Color at MichaelKate

Ann Shelton Beth, “Wave Energy,” oil on canvas.

Ann Shelton Beth, “Wave Energy,” oil on canvas.

Spotlighting the work of four artists—Ann Shelton Beth, Jennifer Boswell, Tanya Lozano and Helle Sharling Todd—In Living Color is on view at MichaelKate Interiors & Art Gallery (132 Santa Barbara St. Santa Barbara) from Jan. 18-Mar. 10, with a reception on Friday January 18, from 5  – 8 p.m. Meet the artists at the reception and hear them speak about their work at the 6 p.m. artist talk.

“The works in this show are mostly based on nature, specifically, the south and central coast. Some pieces more abstract than others, the artists use color and expressive brushstrokes to convey their decisive responses to our beautiful and sometimes ominous natural world,” writes Jan Ziegler, curator of art at MichaelKate.

Tanya Lozano, “Beach,” acrylic on canvas.

Tanya Lozano, “Beach,” acrylic on canvas.

Jennifer Boswell, “Up in the Air” Series Eight 1A.

Jennifer Boswell, “Up in the Air” Series Eight 1A.

MichaelKate Interiors is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Closed Wednesdays. For more information, please call 805/963-1411.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 16, 2019.

Retro-Chic Revival at the Skyview Los Alamos 

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being
remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

By Leslie Dinaberg

On the hilltop overlooking the quaint western town of Los Alamos sits a midcentury modern gem of a new hotel—the Skyview Los Alamos. This boutique, 33-room property—including two spacious suites and 16 deluxe rooms with private decks with outdoor showers and fire pits—opened last spring, somehow managing to maintain the historic 1950’s motel vibe, while infusing it with equal helpings of modern conveniences and hipster coolness.

“We were inspired by the western roots of Los Alamos, the midcentury architecture of the motel, and our love of travel,” explains Kimberly Walker, managing partner and co-owner of Skyview Los Alamos.

“Skyview was built in 1959 and changed hands quite a few times over the years,” says Walker. “At one point, locals used to be able to swim in the pool for 25 cents! We’ve heard many people say the Beatles stayed in room 33 at some point.”

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Like many others (myself included), Walker had driven past the motel for years and wondered what it was. “We always saw the motel sign going, ‘oh, what is that on the hill?’ But we fell in love with Los Alamos, the food, the wine and the people. When the motel went up for sale, we moved on it quickly. We purchased the property in 2016 and spent two years renovating the motel, sprucing up the grounds, updating the design and restoring its midcentury architecture. We also turned the former asphalt car park into communal native gardens with fire pits to create space for guests to relax and gather,” she explains.

The attention to detail is incredible. Guests are greeted with a cup of locally sourced Dart Coffee or a glass of local wine (and soon the 2.5-acre onsite Skyview Vineyards will yield their own Pinot Noir, overseen by winemaker Mikey Guigni of Scar of the Sea Wines).

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room is its own bespoke design, with thoughtfully sourced and unique décor, including flat panel televisions, down duvets, leather club chairs and marble-clad bathrooms with hand-painted tiles and farm sinks, as well as luxury amenities such as locally made Fable Soap products in the bathroom and Abba-Zabba candy, Good Zebra munchies and Casamigos Tequila in the mini-bar.

“We completely designed the property ourselves,” says Walker. “My partner, Mike Kyle, oversaw the architectural design and I oversaw the interior design. This is our second project together as a design team—the first was Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo. As with the property in SLO, we let the building’s location and heritage guide the process. We’re proud and excited to have brought it back to its 1950’s glory.”

Another peek at the room's interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Another peek at the room’s interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A large part of that glory is the restoration of the original 1950’s era pool, with the iconic neon “Motel” sign casting its glow over water that changes color from green to silver to purple and two shades of blue, with the help of an app. The ownership group, known as Nomada Hotel Group, took care to retain many of the motel’s original elements, like the quirky cactus columns in the porte-cochere, and the actual room keys instead of key cards. A fleet of Linus bikes offers a nostalgic way to explore the downtown area of Los Alamos—which is rapidly becoming a haven for foodies—as well as the surrounding wineries
and vineyards.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Forest green doors with a midcentury golden starburst beckon guests to pay a visit to Norman—the excellent full-service bar and restaurant named with a wink to Psycho’s Norman Bates. Norman is well worth the drive on its own, and serves local wines, herb-infused cocktails and farm-fresh fare (think shareable plates and lots of salads, fish and house-smoked meats) both poolside and in the retro-chic reinvented dining room.

The dog-friendly property is a great spot for a romantic getaway but would also be a fun place to gather with a group of friends for a special occasion or just a weekend hangout.

SKYVIEW LOS ALAMOS, 9150 US-101, LOS ALAMOS,

805/344-0104, SKYVIEWLOSALAMOS.COM.

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

Editor’s Letter & Editor’s Picks | Winter 2019

Santa Barbara Seasons Editor Leslie Dinaberg, photo by Tracy Smith.

Santa Barbara Seasons Editor Leslie Dinaberg, photo by Tracy Smith.

“When you start to engage with your creative processes, it shakes up all your impulses and they all kind of inform one another.”  —Jeff Bridges

Relationships and connections are endlessly fascinating, and the art of making a life together while making art is even more compelling. In our feature on creative couples and “The Art of Being Together,” photographer/writer Leela Cyd teams with six local couples who share how they collaborate, cohabitate and continue on their creative paths together.

A change of scenery is always a great way to relax and recharge your energies—and your relationships. Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country makes a great getaway, especially at the newly refurbished Skyview. Read all about this cool place in “Retro-Chic Revival at the Skyview Los Alamos.” Wendy Thies Sell’s guide to  “10 Wonderful Winter Wine Tasting Adventures” also has some terrific recommendations for wine adventures to share with your loved ones.

Beautifully curated by Style Editor Judy Foreman, our Holiday Gift Guide takes you through the winter through Valentine’s Day, and is full of great ideas for everyone in your life, as well as some special items you might have to purchase for yourself (perhaps as a reward for surviving the chaos?). We’ve also got a fun feature from Cheryl Crabtree with “Bright Ideas for Beautiful Bathrooms.”

All of us at SEASONS wish you the happiest of holidays and an even better new year to come. Cheers to a wonderful winter!

Leslie Dinaberg

Managing Editor

Leslie@SBSeasons.com

Ben Rector courtesy Kids Helping Kids.

Ben Rector courtesy Kids Helping Kids.

Winter Editor’s Picks

Sure, there are many, many ways to learn about philanthropy and economics, but the San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique.

JohnnySwim courtesy Kids Helping Kids.

JohnnySwim courtesy Kids Helping Kids.

During the course of 16 years, students have raised more than 3.1 million dollars for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s student-run gala benefit concerts feature Ben Rector on Friday, Jan. 11, and Johnnyswim on Saturday, Jan. 12. Both shows take place at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara). For more information, visit kidshelpingkidssb.org.


One of the highlights of my year is always the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which offers a whirlwind 11 days of more than 200 films, tributes and symposiums that range from American indie films to world cinema and everything in between. At press time, Glenn Close, Melissa McCarthy and Viggo Mortensen were set to receive awards, with many more starry tributes to be scheduled.

Glen Close courtesy SBIFF.

Glen Close courtesy SBIFF.

We can’t wait to see what the organizers have in store for this 34th annual event, which takes place Jan. 30-Feb. 9 at various locations in downtown Santa Barbara. For more information and updates, visit sbiff.org.

Named by none other than Time Magazine as one of the “Most Christmassy Towns

Nisse at Solvang's Julefest, courtesy Solvangusa.com.

Nisse at Solvang’s Julefest, courtesy Solvangusa.com.

in America,” the Danish village of Solvang truly sparkles during the annual Solvang Julefest (pronounced Yule-Fest) celebration, taking place from Dec. 1 through Jan. 4. Highlights include the Nisse Adventure Hunt, Candlelight Tours, visits with Santa “Julemanden” in Solvang Park, Shop, Mingle & Jingle Weekends and the Holiday Wine & Beer Walk “Skål Stroll!” There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than a visit to Solvang. For more information, visit SolvangUSA.com.

World of Pinot Noir, courtesy photo.

A salute to one of our favorite grapes, the 2019 World of Pinot Noir includes the opportunity to learn and taste with more than 200 wineries from around the globe. This marquee event, held at the beautiful seaside Ritz-Carlton Bacara Feb. 28 – Mar. 2, features pairing dinners, Pinot Noir parties and expert-led seminars. Other highlights include a Rosé Party on the bluff and
a special celebration rare library pairing dinner for the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery. For more information, visit worldofpinotnoir.com.

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

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jazz musician Jon Batiste, bandleader on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, makes his Santa Barbara debut on Friday, January 11 at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall, in a UCSB Arts & Lectures presentation.

Wynton Marsalis describes him as “an elegant and electric performer with an unbelievably rich palette of techniques and styles rooted in New Orleans soul.”

Batiste is seen by millions on television five nights a week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “The energy and the excitement, the love of the audience, the humanism that he brings to his music is everything that I want,” says Colbert.

With his soulful brand of high-energy pop mixed with New Orleans funk and American jazz standards, his 2013 album Social Music with his band Stay Human topped the charts as the No. 1 jazz album in the world. His new album was recorded in a church in native city of New Orleans and produced by T Bone Burnett. Batiste’s major label debut, Hollywood Africans, is a stunning showcase of the brilliant pianist and vocalist. Primarily just Batiste and his piano, it includes standards, unexpected covers and original songs. This release displays Batiste’s dynamic talents and highlights his musicality and virtuosity on his instrument.

The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule—which often includes his signature, impromptu ‘love riot’ street parades—with his role as bandleader on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs. He played himself on the HBO series Treme and most recently appeared in director Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer.

Batiste is also a coveted artist brand ambassador– currently featured in ad campaigns for Chase Bank, the Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental and numerous fashion brands including Polo Ralph Lauren Black Label, Frye, Kate Spade, Jack Spade Barneys, Nordstrom and H&M.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 9, 2019.

The Books of 2018

So many books, so little time—part 12.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the 12th year we’ve done this.

My favorite books of 2018 were probably Half a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; The Glitch by Elizabeth Cohen; A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles; Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin; and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (soon to be a series with Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, which will be awesome).

Anyway, I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

2018 Book List
title author first name
author last name
Persuading Austen Brigid Coady
The Mephisto Club Tess Gerritson
The Last Mrs. Parrish Liv Contantine
Girl on a Swing Bella Roccaforte
Fitness Junkie Lucy
Sykes and Jo Piazza
Ready Player One Ernest Cline
The Immortalists Chloe Benjamin
Silver Linings Debbie Macomber
Revenge Wears Prada Lauren Weisberger
Something in Between Melissa de la Cruz
Flirting with Felicity Gerri Russell
Love Muffin and Chai Latte Anya Wylde
Turtles All the Way Down John Green
Uncommon Type Tom Hanks
Coma Girl Stephanie Bond
Class Mom Laurie Gelman
Modern Lovers Emma Straub
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance Ruth Emmie Lang
The Cinderella Murder Mary Higgins Clark
The Rules Do Not Apply Ariel Levy
Mrs. Caitlin Macy
Montana Debbie Macomber
Most Wanted Lisa Scottoline
Infinite Home Kathleen Alcott
Half a Yellow Sun Chimamanda
Ngozi Adichie
The Alice Network Kate Quinn
Still Me JoJo Moyes
The Light We Lost Jill Santopolo
What Remains of Me Alison Gaylin
How to Eat a Cupcake Meg Donohoe
Sometimes I Lie Alice Feeney
Sheltering Rain JoJo Moyes
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Arundhati Roy
My Life in Middlemarch Rebecca Mead
This is Your Life Harriet Chance! Jonathan Evison
Into the Beautiful North Luis Alberto Urrea
Wrecked Elle Casey
Lone Wolf Jodi Picoult
The Coincidence Makers Yoav Blum
Suddenly Barbara Delinsky
The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder Caroline Fraser
Before I Fall Lauren Oliver
Sugar Daddy Lisa Kleypass
Summer Hideaway Susan Wiggs
The Favorite Sister Jessica Knoll
Surprise Me Sophie Kinsella
Summer Secrets Jane Green
The Gatekeepers Jen Lancaster
You Think It, I’ll Say It Curtis Sittenfeld
Matchmaking for Beginners Maddie Dawson
Swim Back to Me Ann Packer
How to Survive Your Sisters Ellie Campbell
A Dangerous Game Heather Graham
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl Mona Awad
The Glitch Elisabeth Cohen
Beach Town Mary Kay Andrews
Behold the Dreamers Imbolo Mbue
Hungry Heart Jennifer Weiner
Party Girls Die in Pearls Plum Sykes
I See London Sarah Mlynowski
Bond Girl Erin Duffy
Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng
Baked with love Izzy Bayliss
The Girl I Was Before Izzy Bayliss
Never Change Elizabeth Berg
Not That I Could Tell Jessica Strawser
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed John Ronson
A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles
The Little Shop of Happy Ever After Jenny Colgan
Then She Was Gone Lisa Jewell
The Portable Veblen Elizabeth McKenzie
The Woman in the Window A.J. Finn
Dare Me Megan Abbott
Confessions of a Queen Bee Crista McHugh
Almost Sisters Joshilyn Jackson
Young Jane Young Gabrielle Zevin
The Scrapbook of Frankie Post Caroline Preston
Let Me Lie Clare Mackintosh
The Girls Emma Cline
The Intermission Elyssa Friedland
London is the Best City in America Laura Dave
Nine Perfect Strangers Liane Moriarty
Maine J. Courtney Sullivan
Friendship: A Novel Emily Gould
Maybe in Another Life Taylor Jenkins Reid
Fanny Bower Puts Herself Out There Julia Ariss
Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties Camile Pagan
Give Me Your Hand Megan Abbott
The Bookshop of Yesterdays Amy Meyerson
All We Ever Wanted Emily Giffin
Ghosted Rosie Walsh