Author spotlight: Leslie Westbrook

A third-generation Californian, Leslie, currently resides in Carpinteria but called Summerland home for 30 years. The award-winning writer assists clients sell fine art, antiques and collectibles at auction houses around the globe. She can be reached at LeslieAWestbrook@gmail.com or www.auctionliaison.com

On My Soapbox: To Agree or Not?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 1, 2020

This week I’m taking the opportunity to sound off from my soapbox, since the lead item on the Summerland’s popularity vote “yea” or “nay” for a cannabis dispensary in town, which ran a few weeks ago, created quite a little stir that resulted in three letters to the editor printed over three issues. First, I […]

More Messages from ‘The Great Beyond’
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 17, 2020

Congratulations to Summerland-based author Cynthia Hamilton, whose latest mystery book, the fifth in her private investigator Madeline Dawkins series, The Patience of Karma, came out this week from her new publisher, Severn River Publishing. This story revolves around three crimes, including a tragic boating accident off the coast of San Diego, some Santa Barbara shenanigans […]

Porch Opens: It’s in the Cards (Tarot Cards, That Is)
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 17, 2020

Porch, the popular Santa Claus Lane home, garden, and gift store, has moved from Santa Claus Lane and officially opened in its new location in the space long known as Just Folk on Lillie Avenue. With a new coat of white paint and the two-story space filled with lots of tempting items, large and small, […]

Not Safer At Home
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Quarantine can heighten the risk of domestic violence, but help is available Maria Carbonell gratefully remembers the week she took refuge at a Domestic Violence Solutions safe house eight years ago. “A lot of people didn’t know I went to a safe house. I never shared it with anybody,” says Carbonell, 52, in a recent […]

Santa Barbara Magazine Summer Issue Out: A Secret Message?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

A reader called me to ask whether I knew why the summer issue of Santa Barbara Magazine with a wonderful, whimsical piece of cover art by Pedro de la Cruz included the number “45” on it? “Was the magazine promoting the re-election of our 45th president?” she pondered. Nope, this is not some subliminal message: […]

Space Opens in Carpinteria: You’re Invited!
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Congratulations to Zelda Prune and her business partner Jonathan Brandan, who have opened the doors to their new home and garden showroom, Space, at 4856 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria. Stop by for some socially distant shopping, mint lemonade, and “safe” nibbles this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (August 28-30) from 11 am to 6 pm. Vintage […]

Summerland People: Nancy Aviles
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Her faith, and the views, help her through One Summerland family that is looking forward to the changes at Lookout Park is Nancy Aviles, her husband, Rodrigo Campuzano, and their two young children, Amy and Roy. “Living in Summerland is a wonderful experience,” says Nancy, a child development specialist who works for an early intervention […]

A New Look for Lookout Park
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Summerland residents and visitors who enjoy Lookout Park should be feeling pretty hopeful: the construction aspects of the long-anticipated improvements to the east end of the ocean view community recreational area are almost complete – but there’s still a three-month waiting period for the official opening. The project will open to the public in December […]

Summerland Cannabis Survey
By Leslie Westbrook   |   September 3, 2020

Decisive Opposition to New Dispensary Despite 70 percent of Summerland voters in the state election voting in favor of marijuana legalization, residents and business owners are overwhelmingly against the establishment of a cannabis dispensary in town. So says a recent survey with a sample that comprises 25 percent of residents and almost all business owners […]

Natalia Alarcon: Bringing Diversity to the Table
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 20, 2020

Natalia Alarcon, 34, is not the first woman, nor is she the first Hispanic, to run for a seat at the Carpinteria City Council dais. But she is the first Latina woman – and the youngest – to run, at least in recent history. Two seats are open in the race – a new mayor […]

Closed in the Time of Corona
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 14, 2020

As I waltzed through the mostly empty streets of Summerland this past Sunday, the cowboy ballad “The Cowboys Lament” (aka “Streets of Loredo”) came to mind: “As I walked out on the streets of Laredo.As I walked out on Laredo one day,I spied a poor cowboy wrapped in white linen,Wrapped in white linen as cold […]

A Final Love Note
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 6, 2020

From the Gandhi of the USA John Lewis (1940-2020), activist and congressman, penned an essay that ran in The New York Times on the day of his funeral. Lest we be reminded, or perhaps you missed it if you were hiding under a rock, here are a few highlights worth remembering or even clipping out […]

The Gardening Lady of Summerland
By Leslie Westbrook   |   August 6, 2020

Sonya Harris keeps the seaside town in the green Most people recognize Sonya Harris from, er, behind. Often seen bent over the landscape edging the 101 northbound entrance, or the Summerland Memorial Garden or other spots in town, Sonya has taken it upon herself to keep the seaside town looking healthy and green ever since […]

Gentrified or Not? A Chat with a Summerland Gentleman and Some Food for Thought
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 23, 2020

Guy Hamilton and his wife, author Cynthia Hamilton, have lived in Summerland for 33 years. He wouldn’t live anywhere else. Guy recently reached out reminding me that he owned Chanticleer (now the site of Lucky’s) back in the late 1970s-early ‘80s and suggested he could offer a “little different perspective on things.” “Wouldn’t it nice […]

More Buzz…
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 9, 2020

Longtime fixture Summerland Oriental Rugs has moved their showroom across the street to the former home of Clive Markey’s Pine Trader. Longtime treasure-filled Summerland Antiques Collective re-opened a few weeks ago and has been buzzing with activity adding to the retail mix… Carpinteria’sPorchis moving from Santa Claus Lane to Lillie Avenue (into the space formerly […]

Meet Shane “Big Daddy” Brown – The Creator of The Well
By Leslie Westbrook   |   July 9, 2020

Trying to catch up with Shane Brown, creator and owner of the newly opened home and garden lollapalooza called The Well, in the indoor/outdoor spaces formerly known as The French Bulldog, Café Luna, Mediterránee Antiques, Summerland Rugs, and more, is a bit like trying to catch a fish with greased hands. “I get things done! […]

Bella DePaulo on Living Single (and Together) in the time of COVD-19
By Leslie Westbrook   |   June 25, 2020

Bella DePaulo is an author, speaker, columnist, and authority on being single who has lived in Summerland for 20 years. She coined the word “singlism” which is “the stereotyping and stigmatizing of single people” and is the author of several books on single people, including The Best of Single Life and Singled Out: How Singles […]

Pilot Organic Agriculture Program
By Leslie Westbrook   |   June 11, 2020

The Carpinteria Unified School District at their May 12 board meeting approved the leasing of a portion of the Whitney acreage that has been in limbo as a potential new campus site for Summerland School for as long as I can remember. Leslie Person Ryan’s Organic Sweetwater Farms (OSF) will be planting four acres of […]

People of Summerland: Gordon Morrison
By Leslie Westbrook   |   June 11, 2020

Every Sunday evening at 7 pm Gordon Morrison, bagpiper, husband, father, and VP of Engineering at Freedom Photonics, steps onto the porch of his family’s Summerland house and plays the bagpipes as the sun sets. It’s a comforting lament during these difficult times. I asked Morrison our usual “People of Summerland” questions. I also sat […]

People of Summerland
By Leslie Westbrook   |   May 28, 2020

From long held memories with old neighbors to first impressions upon new encounters, one thing remains true in our “People of Summerland” snippets: from the terrific views to thoughtful neighbors, the pop. 1,500 town is a magical place. Fran Davis, Writer; Roger Davis, Retired Editor “As Summerland residents for fifty years, we’ve accumulated a staggering […]

The Scoop from Rusty’s Pizza CEO Tyler Duncan
By Leslie Westbrook   |   May 14, 2020

It may be the longest, most anticipated pizza parlor opening in Summerland history: five years in the making. At long last Rusty’s Pizza is finally open in Summerland at the former Stacky’s Seaside spot on Lillie Avenue. The day I spoke with Tyler Duncan, CEO of the family business launched by his parents in Isla […]

Gerri French: Clinical Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Educator
By Leslie Westbrook   |   May 7, 2020

Q. What special memories do you have of Summerland? My fondest memories of the Summerland community come from when I first became a mother. Summerland is a wonderful family town and Summerland Elementary was (and still is) a wonderful school. Families would get together at The Nugget and at the beach. Cafe Luna was a hub, but […]

Kara Richard: Summerland Salon & Spa
By Leslie Westbrook   |   May 7, 2020

Q. With COVID-19 changing the way we interact as a community, how are you making it work through this difficult time and do you have any tips to share? A. Here at the Summerland Salon & Spa, we’ve worked together as a team to think of innovative ways to stay in touch with our clients. […]

Itching to Re-Open
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 30, 2020

“We’re itching to get open and…” said Kyle Irwin, “Welcome everybody back!” business partner Susie Bechtel chimed in, finishing her business partner’s sentence. The duo opened their highly anticipated Field + Fort design shop and café in Summerland just this past November to great acclaim – only to shutter the doors some four months later, […]

Laughter in the Time of Corona
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 16, 2020

We all need some comic relief in the time of corona, and there’s plenty of distractions around to tickle our funny bones. While watching CBS This Morning news last week, I caught a segment that featured a re-envisioned Fleetwood Mac cover which was originally created by Santa Barbara designer Larry Vigon. Someone had manipulated the […]

A Chat with Summerland Artist Richard Aber
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 16, 2020

Contemporary artist/sculptor and thinker Richard Aber and his wife, Carol, have lived on bucolic Greenwell Road in Summerland, where he has created art diligently in his home studio on their property, for the past 41 years. His contemplative pieces have been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in several exhibitions in Italy, where the coronavirus has […]

What Goes with Chili? Beer!
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 2, 2020

Island Brewing Company recently introduced same-day beer delivery for Summerland (and Carp) residents. Orders placed before 2 pm are delivered the same day between 4-7 pm, orders placed after 2 pm come the next day. All beer must be dropped off with an individual who can display legal ID of being 21+ years old, no […]

Cooking Through Corona
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 2, 2020

The buildings have emptied at 101 Innovation Place – the QAD campus atop Ortega Hill – but the staff of five and volunteers at ShelterBox, the global non-profit whose U.S. staff normally does their good deeds from the building that once housed the original Josten’s college ring manufacturing facility, are spreading a little recipe love […]

Keepin’ it Sweet
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 2, 2020

Sweet Wheel Farms & Flowers just set up shop again in Summerland this week at 2285 Lillie Avenue in the lot across from the Summerland Beach Café. They too are offering free delivery in Summerland. The cart sells organic produce (posted daily on their website www.sweetwheelfarms.com), farm boxes, and homemade sourdough breads (plain and organic […]

Show a Little Local Love
By Leslie Westbrook   |   April 2, 2020

Hey Summerland and beyond, time to show a little love to Summerland Beach Café. The café is open for take-out (8 am – 3 pm) and will deliver to Summerland! Their ever-popular Hamburger Tuesday is still on ($6.99/half price), so order burgers for the family, your neighbors, or someone who may be shut in alone. […]

Through Rain, and Wind, and COVID-19
By Leslie Westbrook   |   March 19, 2020

Since Summerland does not have mail delivery to homes, the Summerland Post Office 93067 has been the unofficial heartbeat and spot to bump into your neighbors. Not much bumping allowed anymore, unless it’s your elbow. Here too, where everyone knows one another, neighbors are helping neighbors. Postal clerk Bert Vega knows everyone as well and […]

Adam’s Angels
By Leslie Westbrook   |   March 19, 2020

Adam McKaig, Realtor and Summerland/Toro Canyon resident, decided to ask friends and neighbors to join him in an effort to help out our neighbors. “Adam’s Angels” now consists of some 40 volunteer citizens who have signed up in the Summerland area and beyond to help deliver supplies to those who are housebound due to COVID-19 […]

A Final Note
By Leslie Westbrook   |   March 19, 2020

A sad goodbye to Layla Azar, who passed peaceful on February 9, and heartfelt condolences to her sweet husband of 37 years Jack Azar, Sr. and their three children Jack, Jr., George, and Danielle. Jack’s father owned the original grocery store in Summerland. After Layla came to this country from her native Lebanon and married […]

Heal the Ocean
By Leslie Westbrook   |   March 19, 2020

A note from longtime Summerlandian Hilary Hauser of Heal the Ocean informs that their offices in Santa Barbara are closed, but that the leaking Summerland oil wells are still being capped in June/July.  “The fishes of the sea don’t know what we humans are doing up here,” Hilary notes in her inimitable cheerful style in […]

Summerland Eats?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   March 19, 2020

Message Machines On… & One, Lone To-Go I called a few businesses in Summerland to speak with a human being but got a lot of recordings. Field + Fort has “temporarily closed until it’s safe for staff and community. We hope you all stay healthy,” notes their outgoing message. The brief message at the Nugget […]