A Little Something for Your Lady: A Women’s Holiday Gift Guide

Gentlemen, the holidays are here and it’s that time of the year to spoil the special woman in your life. This gift guide will help you get into the giving spirit and hopefully entice you to shop and explore the local Santa Barbara area. Not only are these gifts unique, the majority also offer opportunities to spend some quality time with your lady, an added bonus. Simply click on the links and pictures to discover more information. Happy holidays!


Shangri-La Spa Package from Ojai Vally Inn and Spa, $560

No one can say no to a day at the spa, especially when you spend it in scenic Ojai. This particular package is the full deal including a choice of three classic spa treatments, a lavender or seasonal manicure and pedicure, and lunch at Cafe Verde.

Cuddle Up

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Exotic Faux Fur Blanket from Restoration Hardware$239

Luxuriously soft and warm, this faux fur blanket is likened to a personal cloud. It’s perfect for those rare cold and rainy winter nights in Santa Barbara when you’re cozied up by the fire place. Order from our local Restoration Hardware on State Street.


“Top Deck” Tour from Captain Jack’s, $400

For the adventurous couple who wants a little bit of everything, this tour is the perfect fit. A guide will accompany you throughout your day as you start off by kayaking the Gaviota Coast. Next, enjoy lunch at a secluded resort, horseback riding through the beautiful mountains, and, to top it all off, wine tasting at two local Santa Barbara wineries.

The Ultimate Luxury


Paraiba Tourmaline Earrings from Silverhorn Jewelers, contact Silverhorn for pricing

Jewelry is a classic and timeless way to express your love for someone. Silverhorn jewelers in Montecito has a variety of unique and elegant pieces that are sure to impress. They also have gem carvings, mineral specimens, gem stones, and other stunning objects of art available so be sure to explore their entire store.

Splurge Day

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“49 Square Miles” Outfit (left) from Wendy Foster, total $1,658

Back to the basics: a new outfit never hurt anybody. Wendy Foster is a high-end fashion boutique with locations in Montecito, State Street, and Los Olivos. This store has clothing options for every type of woman – from casual to business attire, accessories to small gifts, this place has trendy written all over it. Buy her a full outfit or take her on a shopping spree, if that’s more your cup of tea; there are plenty of delicious restaurants nearby to make this a splurge day for your special lady.

For the _____ In Your Life: A Men’s Holiday Gift Guide

During the holiday season you want to impress that special someone with a gift that’s as incredible as they are. Good news: we’re here to help. This men’s holiday gift guide has a little something for every type of personality to ensure that each individual’s unique needs are satisfied. These distinct items may be purchased or experienced locally in Santa Barbara, simply click on the pictures and links to discover more information!


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9′ 10″ Andreini Owl Tribute Vintage Longboard from Surf-n-Wear’s The Beach House, $1,650

Winter has arrived and so has the swell. What better way to ride those long waves at Rincon than with a vintage longboard from a local surf shop established in 1962. Sounds like a surfer’s fantasy!

Food Fanatic

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Farmer’s Market-To-Fork Dining Experience from the Four Season’s Biltmore Santa Barbara, contact the Biltmore for pricing 

With Executive Chef Alessandro Cartumini as your escort, visit the local farmer’s market to select fresh produce. Then, continue your journey with a private cooking class; finish off the experience with a remarkable four-course lunch and wine pairing at the oceanfront Bella Vista restaurant. Guests at the Biltmore resort are invited to partake in this gourmet dining experience, so book a room and enjoy a romantic day!

Business Man

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42 mm Burberry Round Leather Strap Watch from Nordstrom$695

Keep things classy and traditional with this Burberry watch. It’s available at Nordstrom in the Paseo Nuevo Mall in a variety of colors, making it a quick buy but a guaranteed timeless piece.

Adventurous Spirit


Hot Air Balloon Ride from Cloud9Living, $432 for two people

The sky’s the limit with this fantastical adventure! Experience a Santa Barbara sunrise and California wine country from an entirely different perspective. And to top it off, enjoy complimentary champagne and a continental breakfast upon landing.

Health Conscious


Fitness Retreat from Sky Ranch Fitness, $2,900 for 4-day all inclusive trip

Fitness, nutrition, and rejuvenation are the highlights of this retreat. Whether you’re trying to kickstart a healthy lifestyle or simply desire a wholesome fitness trip, this gift is great for every fitness level. Hikes, training, healthy cuisine, therapeutic spa treatments, personal coaching, and a 4- or 6-day stay at the Bacara Resort and Spa are all included.

The Spectacular Santa Barbara Lifestyle

There is no question – Santa Barbara is one of the most incredible places in California. Effortless expanses of coastlines and the stunning Santa Ynez Mountains serve as a backdrop for a picture perfect locale. Any day could offer a variety of adventures and that’s exactly what photographer and videographer, Eric Foote, has captured in this amazing video. Using some of the newest aerial video technology, he has been able to share with us the natural beauty and essence of Santa Barbara County.

The video highlights some of the many perks available to locals including picturesque sunrises over the Pacific Ocean, hiking, biking, rock climbing, and serene yoga sessions in the mountains. Additionally, golfing on the beach bluffs at Santa Barbara’s Sandpiper Golf Course, beach volleyball games at picturesque East Beach, and even paragliding near Arroyo Burro Beach County Park. The video also features some of the most distinctive Santa Barbara landmarks such as the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, State Street, breathtaking Spanish Revival Style architecture, and the renowned University of California Santa Barbara. Watch the video above to experience the little piece of heaven that we enjoy here!


Start living the Santa Barbara dream

Montecito – The Zip Code of Wealth

Every year Forbes.com releases a list of the nation’s Most Expensive Zip Codes, and like clock work, Montecito’s 93108 makes the list in the top 20. Home to not just millionaires, but a healthy number of billionaires and celebrities who either call Montecito home or their favorite place to keep their vacation home. In 2013, Montecito ranked #17 on the Forbes list, with a median home price of $3,740,091. This year, with property values across the state of California slowly inching upward, Montecito comes in at #14 and $4,236,951.

Other than exceptional year-round weather in an incredible coastal location, what defines a wealthy zip code. Firstly, the neighbors. Montecito is a mingling of staggering mega-mansions, distinctive historic houses, expertly designed new constructions and quaint cottages. A cozy 2 bedroom home may rest adjacent to a 10,000sf manse. These large estates tend to rest on acres of superbly manicured grounds with lavish outdoor entertaining spaces – perfect for lounging in warm, Montecito sun. These large properties affect the values of every property in their vicinity – driving up the value regardless of size – and increasing the average property value.

Secondly, that million dollar view. Montecito can be found between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. These higher elevations afford stunning views of both the mountains and the ocean. Some homes boast views so expansive, you can see the Santa Barbara harbor and the coastline to Ventura.

Next, the schools. Montecito is home to many of California’s finest primary schools. Montecito Union and Cold Springs schools regularly rank as two of California’s best public schools. Crane Country Day School, All Saints by the Sea, Music Academy of the West and Westmont College are all excellent private schools in the area. Being within the Montecito Union School district directly affects the price of a home when compared to homes which sit in neighboring districts.

Below, enjoy a few of the fantastic properties which have helped land Montecito’s 93108 make the Forbes list once again. For more information on each property, simply click the image…

This exceptional Standford White home circa 1895 is offered at $11,900,000

This exceptional Standford White home circa 1895 is offered at $11,900,000.

Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,695,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.

Expansive ocean views, a pool with lavish pool house and approximately 8,000sf of living space command a $13,650,000 price tag for this Montecito estate.

$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.

$9,250,000 will buy you a historic English Manor with ocean views and a location that allows for walking to restaurants, shops, luxury resorts and beaches.

In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.

In a private, gated community, $2,195,000 will buy you a beautiful, flat 1.5 acre lot to build your dream home.

LIVE! The Riskin Associates Mobile App

RA-icon-196  Introducing the Riskin Associates mobile application 

  We are pleased to announce the availability of the Riskin Associates mobile application. Based in Montecito, CA, Riskin Associates has been the    top selling Santa Barbara real estate team for the past decade. The award-winning team lists some of the most coveted estates on the south Santa  Barbara coast. We were engaged by them to create a mobile application that would add to the services they provide their buying and selling clients  that have made them a market leader.

  Goals and Approach

For the design of the application, we took queues from the Village Properties mobile website we developed since the Riskin Associates team is part of the brokerage. We decided to keep the overall flow of the application intact, but the branding, content and functionality needed customized for Riskin Associates. We wanted to accomplish a number of goals with the modified design:

  • Produce a clean, elegant design that conveys the elegance and luxury of the properties they represent
  • Provide a vehicle for them to highlight and market their distinctive properties
  • Incorporate visual imagery that reflects the unique nature and beauty of their listings and the surrounding area
  • Create a finished product that would further differentiate their brand and set them apart as a leader in the market

Riskin-Associates-Featured-Properties-199x300-1Key features of the application

In order to develop the key features of the application, we evaluated their online presence which uses vivid photos and imagery to highlight their property listings. We wanted to provide a similar visual experience on mobile and give Riskin Associates the flexibility to highlight the different properties they represent. In addition to the essential features such as property search (both by location and by criteria), methods to contact the team, and an about us section, we incorporated the following:

  • A vivid home page focused on a full width image that can be dynamically changed by Riskin Associates
  • A featured listing section that allows them to highlight the properties they represent – each listing is its own interactive photo gallery that can be compiled and controlled by the Riskin Associates marketing team
  • Links to custom content created by the marketing team such as property brochures that are hosted through Calaméo

You can access the application via any iPhone or Android device by opening the browser (or Safari) on your phone and going to www.montecito-realestate.com. You will be automatically redirected to the mobile application where you can learn more about the Riskin Associates team and explore their featured listings.Riskin-Associates-Home-Screen-199x300

Raising the bar for service and performance

It was a pleasure working with the Riskin Associates team on the development of their mobile application. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the project is evident in the finished product. It is a reflection of the time and personal attention that they give each of their clients. It shows in all aspects of their business, particularly in the level of service they provide their clients and the attention-to-detail they put into their marketing materials. With the availability of their mobile application, they have another tool that reinforces this high level of service, whether it is used for marketing properties or helping prospective buyers identify properties to purchase.

The Riskin Associates mobile application is another example of how leading brokerages and agent teams are embracing mobile to raise the bar on the services the provide their clients, differentiate themselves in the market, and further reinforce their leadership position in the market.

The Riskin Associates mobile website was created by Aumnia.

October’s Epicure.sb Is Back!

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It’s no secret that the Santa Barbara area is well-known for some of the freshest, most delectable farm-t0-table culinary offerings around. All year round, menus across town are tailored to highlight each season’s unique fare and autumn is absolutely no exception. The harvest season brings out robust flavors and heart-warming colors which Santa Barbara chefs take full advantage of. October brings about the fabulous Epicure.sb event which invites locals and visitors alike to experience food-focussed events and creative menus. Special menus, crafted cocktails, wine tastings and more are all spotlighted all month long, infusing a fresh take on Santa Barbara cuisine. Invite your favorite foodie friends and indulge your appetite all through the month!


Autumn Gifts: Santa Barbara Sunsets

While Santa Barbara and the surrounding towns of Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are known for spectacular sunsets all throughout the year, the fall season brings especially brilliant fusions of purple, orange and pink hues. Casting a purple glow upon the Santa Ynez Mountains and Channel Islands, the sky burns the last moments of summer creating a romantic and unforgettable celestial sight.

Enjoyable from just about any point, Santa Barbara’s fall sunsets are particularly awe-inspiring from vantage points overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. The Santa Barbara harbor, Shoreline Park and Montecito’s Butterfly Beach are a few of the area’s most famous spots to take in the view.

But if you prefer to enjoy this natural art show from the comfort and privacy of your own chaise lounge, we’ve got something (a few somethings) for you! Below are some of the most luxurious estates currently on the market, all with one thing in common: a brilliant sunset view.

villa di serenita, california italian villa, luxury ocean view estate

Villa Di Serenita boasts a premier ridge-top location, and views to match.

Perched atop a quiet ridge in Montecito, 550 Freehaven Drive‘s unique location allows for nearly 360 degree views, spanning from the serpentine Carpinteria coast to the shimmering Santa Barbara harbor. Taking full advantage of the impressive view, architect Michael De Rose designed the luxurious home with a tower viewing pavilion where one can take in Tuscany-like views of orchards and the Montecito Valley and endless ocean views simultaneously. It is truly a magical place for private moments and joyous celebrations alike. Offered at $16,950,000.

This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.

This sprawling Hope Ranch estate is perfectly sighted for enchanting sunset views.

Set on approximately 9 rolling acres, 1520 Roble Drive in Santa Barbara’s Hope Ranch enclave boasts a sprawling main house, a luxurious 2 bedroom guest house and an ocean view apartment. Enjoy the view from the loggia surrounded by bougainvillea and fragrant gardens.  Offered at $16,900,000.

1398 oak creek canyon, montecito custom estate

Perched on approx. 53 acres high above Montecito, enjoy an unrivaled vantage point for endless ocean, island and – of course – sunset views.

Described as “quite possibly one of Montecito’s best view properties” by many who have toured it, 1398 Oak Creek Canyon Road boasts 53 acres and a truly panoramic ocean and island view. Not to be overshadowed by the Pacific, the Santa Ynez foothills are the host of this new construction, which offer majestic views in their own right. Multiple terraces and balconies provide choice viewing locations for fall’s stunning sunsets. Offered at $13,650,000.

Santa Barbara Riviera home

Need city views to accompany that sparkling Pacific? You’re welcome.

You don’t need to be sitting on 10+ acres to enjoy a fabulous ocean and sunset view. Sitting high in the Santa Barbara Riviera, 917 Paseo Ferrelo is the coolest house on the block – and then some. The ultra-modern home is ultra-ultra-chic with sensual interiors and expansive glass opening to a fantastic ocean, island and city view deck. Sunset in the fall, fireworks on the 4th and the sounds of the nearby Santa Barbara bowl are all included in this modern marvel unmatched by another. Offered at $3,150,000

Watch the sunset (or rise!) from one of these spectacular homes. Contact Riskin Associates.