Author spotlight: Megan Waldrep

Megan Waldrep is a writer for regional and national publications who lives with her fiancé in a 22’ airstream. She writes a weekly blog about being the partner of a commercial fisherman and authors a relationship column under the pen name Elizabeth Rose. Learn more at

Author Liani Kotcher on Copywriting and Her Latest Novel, Ski Weekend
By Megan Waldrep   |   February 25, 2022

Liani Kotcher is kind of a powerhouse. Not only has she written three novels under the pen name Rektok Ross, but she once practiced law, too. That’s right. She’s an author and a lawyer. And her latest book Ski Weekend launched last fall to five-star reviews. How dope is that? Even more dope is that […]

How Four Local Boutiques are Making it Work
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 17, 2020

Retail shops were some of the first businesses to close when the pandemic hit. Yet they’ve slowly opened up inch by inch as regulations allowed, finding new ways to connect with customers. The silver lining to the world’s current state is a forced creativity it has spurred in us all. For business owners, the pandemic […]

What’s Your Favorite Spot in Montecito?
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 10, 2020

I’m a freshman at UCSB and I commute from Isla Vista, but I’m not a huge fan of all the partying that goes on there. Montecito is amazing. I love that it’s a beautiful little town by the beach and I love the energy here. My favorite spot would have to be the Montecito Hot […]

People of Montecito: Michaela Donahue
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 3, 2020

Where Are You From and What Do You Do? I’m from Colorado, originally. I’ve been in California for 10 years and Santa Barbara for six. Growing up in a small town in Colorado, I didn’t think that existed in California. I thought it was all big city and hustle-bustle.  I’ve been with Wendy Foster/Pierre Lafond […]

People of Montecito: Lanny Sherwin
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 3, 2020

What Makes Montecito Stand Out for You? Montecito Union School was a great fit for our son during his elementary years, and Coast Village Road and the Upper Village have been quaint yet perfectly suited to our lifestyle and needs. But there was some bad to come before it got better. There were fires, then […]

People of Montecito: Patricia Moo
By Megan Waldrep   |   November 5, 2020

I learned to sew when I was probably 13 years. The first dress I made when I was 14. You know, my mama was a seamstress. So when I was little, I used to help her. I’d do the hemming, the buttonholes, sewing buttons, and all that kind of stuff.  Later, I took over little […]

People of Montecito: Shalini Lewis
By Megan Waldrep   |   November 5, 2020

What is Your Earliest Memory of Montecito? I’m 15 and I was adopted from India. I moved to Montecito with my wonderful family when I was two and a half. I couldn’t speak English. I spoke Hindi. And I was with my new parents, so it was a little frightening. You know, not being in […]

People of Montecito: Marlene Vitanza
By Megan Waldrep   |   October 29, 2020

What Did Opening a Shop in Montecito Mean to You? I’ve been in this location for 37 years. My deceased husband and I had a shop in Santa Barbara 10 years prior to this. One morning, (my friend) called to say there was a little shop available in Montecito and maybe we would want to […]

People of Montecito: Brian Brunello
By Megan Waldrep   |   October 29, 2020

What’s your Montecito Story? I was born here. My dad made wine here. All varietals but he specialized in Cabernet and Zinfandel, his two favorites. My job in the operation was all of it. You pick the grapes, you wash the bottles – winemaking isn’t as glamorous as the media makes it look. It’s hard […]

People of Montecito: Erin Wagner
By Megan Waldrep   |   September 24, 2020

What’s Your Montecito Migration Story? I’ve worked here five years. Richie’s Barber Shop actually found me while I was living in Oregon. I wasn’t going to pass up this barber shop because they have a great reputation. One of my friends who owns a winery in Solvang was pouring wine for their Christmas party and […]

How Addicts and Families Seek Help During Quarantine
By Megan Waldrep   |   September 24, 2020

For many people, addiction is a scary word. So scary, just reading it will have some skip over this piece entirely. Maybe it’s a challenge you or a loved one faces today? But don’t feel ashamed – you are not alone. I’ve been there and I still struggle. Alcohol was my first bag and marijuana […]

People of Montecito: Larry Nobles
By Megan Waldrep   |   September 10, 2020

What Montecito Night Will You Not Forget? I would say, when Katy Perry was here (earlier this year). We had about 40 Japanese girls, all 12 years old. They come here every year to learn English and manners, and do four or five dinners with us. Well, it was a night when all the A-listers […]

The People Person
By Megan Waldrep   |   September 10, 2020

Where in the World is Richard Mineards? Our favorite society columnist, Richard Mineards, is missing. Well, his column “Montecito Miscellany” has been missing from our pages, which in itself feels like a big loss. After several months of wondering, Where’s Richard?, I connected with Mr. Mineards via telephone to see what’s shakin’. Right off the […]

People of Montecito: Ellie Patterson
By Megan Waldrep   |   September 3, 2020

What Do You Love Most About Montecito? “I think, especially after the last three years with the disasters, it’s the amazing sense of community. It’s always been here, but the true spirit really came out then. More looking after one another, being available to other people, the sense of family. So many people I’ve talked […]

People of Montecito: Barbara Doran
By Megan Waldrep   |   August 27, 2020

Tell Us About Your Time at Bellosguardo I am one of the last people alive to have known Anna E. Clark and her youngest daughter, Huguette (of the Clark estate, Bellosguardo). My father worked for the Clarks and we lived on the property in a home they built for our family. The Clarks were from […]

People of Montecito: Nick Svensson
By Megan Waldrep   |   August 20, 2020

What’s a Montecito Memory Many People Don’t Know About? “I grew up in Santa Barbara and my dad was in Montecito. I’ve been surfing Hammonds and Biltmore since I was a little kid. In high school, I actually used to manage the Liquor & Wine Grotto during my senior year. Then, I was a bartender […]

People of Montecito: Alex Ortiz
By Megan Waldrep   |   July 30, 2020

“I’m not really from here. I come from a city called Vallejo. It’s about thirty minutes north of San Francisco. It’s not a nice area; we don’t even have a community college there. Coming down here, it gives me the motivation to work hard. I see people living in this nice area and I want […]

People of Montecito: Sally Hanseth
By Megan Waldrep   |   July 2, 2020

What is Your Fondest Memory of Living Here? I normally interview each person for this column, but this letter was so good we had to print as is! Hi MJ, I’ve been loving your articles on favorite memories, and wanted to share a few of my own. I was raised here and have great memories […]

NEAT Method
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 25, 2020

So. The stay-at-home order gave you time to organize and clean out your home? Good for you! Oh, what’s that? You stopped mid-way because all that stuff gave you more anxiety than the virus itself? Or, maybe you just thought about cleaning up but never got around to it? It’s ok, my friend. You are […]

Raoul Textiles
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 25, 2020

Though Raoul Textiles can be found across the nation and across the pond, this company is as Santa Barbaran as you can get. “Our family is from here, we all live and work here, and the store is our most personal reflection of our aesthetic and how we live in Santa Barbara,” designer and founder […]

People of Montecito: Elisabeth Fowler
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 18, 2020

What Brought You to Montecito? My husband grew up in Carpinteria and always loved the area. We looked here in Montecito, then Hope Ranch and downtown before deciding that Montecito had all the things we were looking for. Such as, hills for hiking, beaches for surfing, ease of walking and riding bikes for our children […]

I Believe I Can Fly
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 18, 2020

What Flying During a Pandemic is Like from Santa Barbara Airport As you might expect, I had mixed feelings about flying during a pandemic. Thankfully, the Santa Barbara Airport eased pre-flight nerves before I entered the building. For example, there are separated entries for Alaska and American Airlines on the North end, United and Delta […]

Party like it’s 2020
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 11, 2020

Though you can’t hug your friends and extended family, doesn’t mean you can’t dance with them. Just ask sisters-in-law Vicky Harbison and Jill Dyruff who co-celebrated birthdays on May 16. (Vicky’s is the 16th while Jill’s is the 17th.) Thanks to Vicky’s daughter Sarah, a socially-distanced tailgate dinner was arranged in her grandmother’s driveway on […]

People of Montecito: Chris Dabney
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 4, 2020

What’s your favorite memory of growing up here? “One of my favorite memories of growing up in Montecito is walking with friends to the Upper Village from Montecito Union School and getting a sandwich from the Village Cheese & Wine Shop. It was just the most incredible sandwich you ever had. Just cheese and meat […]

The Montecito Pivot
By Megan Waldrep   |   June 4, 2020

Malia Mills “We are so damn lucky to have a store in the little bit of paradise that is Santa Barbara and Montecito,” designer Malia Mills said. She compares her store’s intimate, welcoming feel to the vibe of SB and Montecito. “Plus, we’ve got one of a kind pieces that are hard to find anywhere […]

People of Montecito: Lynn, Montecito Flowers
By Megan Waldrep   |   May 28, 2020

When Did You Start Your Business in Montecito? “I’ve been here for twenty-six years. I used to work at the café at the Montecito Inn. I can’t remember the name now, it was so long ago. But I came to Montecito and was working there for a while and there was a little flower stand […]

People of Montecito: Trish Davis
By Megan Waldrep   |   May 17, 2020

Where Have You Lived in Montecito? “My husband and I were fortunate to live at El Mirador, the old Armour estate, on Coast Village Road. The owners had been there since 1916. In fact the grand dame, Lolita Armour, just passed away a couple years ago. You would go in on a Friday after work, close […]

By Megan Waldrep   |   May 14, 2020

Shopping on Bree’osh Artisan Bakery’s online store is comparable to gazing through the glass case at the café. Baked delicacies such as a ham and cheese, pain au chocolat, almond, and plain croissants are ready both for online orders and pick-ups. And while you’re at it, add the Kouign Amann to your virtual cart. It’s […]

Imagine Artful Things, Inc.
By Megan Waldrep   |   May 14, 2020

“Before we got our website up and running, customers were calling and asking if they could do a virtual shopping tour. It was amazing,” Billie Vrtiak, owner of the Imagine Artful Things boutique in the Upper Village said. “We’ve also received emails from numerous customers saying they’re thinking about us and how much they miss […]

People of Montecito: Morhaf Trad
By Megan Waldrep   |   May 14, 2020

How Did You Operate Business In Past Emergencies? I’ve owned the Bottle Shop since April 20, 1992. People depend on us. We were open through the earthquake, I stayed open through the fires and the mudslides when I had a chance to open. I opened to supply all I could to the community. During the […]

Child Care For Essential Workers
By Megan Waldrep   |   April 30, 2020

Responders Eligible for Affordable Child Care Families of first responders are the heroes behind the scenes, those supporting loved ones as they leave to do essential work. Thankfully, the Emergency Child Care Initiative (ECCI) is offering free and affordable child care to first, second, and third responders. Scholarships and opportunities for tuition reduction are available […]

People of Montecito: Justine Hamilton
By Megan Waldrep   |   April 23, 2020

Q. How are You Holding up Through Quarantine? As a girl from Iowa, I am channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder (though with an Instacart app), by keeping it simple with a homestead vibe. I also look for ways to keep it light during this heavy time. I do that by creating with what I […]

People of Montecito: Elizabeth Colling
By Megan Waldrep   |   April 16, 2020

How are you making it work through this difficult time? I am struggling. Mostly with my decision to temporarily close Merci. It was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make but at the end of the day, the health and safety of my family (my husband, Stephane, and our two girls, Celeste, […]

Girls Take the Lead
By Megan Waldrep   |   March 12, 2020

Gwyn Lurie sits in the back office of the Montecito Journal. Mock-ups of issues are fanned to one side as she types on her laptop at her long wooden desk. A large-scale photograph by Alan Kozlowski is propped on the wall behind her screen, waiting to be hung. The image titled “The Lake of Turquoise […]

James Perse Makes Home at Rosewood Miramar Beach
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 12, 2019

The main goal of the James Perse concept store is for customers to feel comfortable enough to hang out with a complimentary coffee or water and just chill. This laid-back attitude is what created the cult following of James Perse anyway. The classy California surfer vibe of clean lines and simplistic looks found in the […]

Hair for the Holidays
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 5, 2019

The first thing you may notice about Edward Anthony is his style. Inspired by movies of the ‘twenties, ‘thirties, and ‘forties, his love of fashion means you’ll usually find him in a suit or coordinating ensemble. A “born artist,” Anthony has dabbled in painting, ceramics, and other mediums before finding a passion in styling hair. […]

More Than Fashion at Giuliana Montecito
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 3, 2019

An Upper Village dress shop for over half a century, Giuliana Montecito has a new creative director that is focusing on its past as much as the present. Mandana Mir is a millennial with an old soul, carrying herself with mannerisms reminiscent of English high society. Maybe her background has something to do with it […]

Bob Dylan and His Band Return
By Megan Waldrep   |   October 10, 2019

Where were you when you first heard Bob Dylan? Arguably one of the greatest poets and musical artists of our generation, Bob Dylan has been covered and worshiped by fans and artists of all walks of life. Born as Robert Allen Zimmerman in Duluth, Minnesota, the musician has been in the game for sixty years, […]

Shopping and Buying Local
By Megan Waldrep   |   December 20, 2018

Though the weather might not remind you of Christmas, one glance at the calendar sure will. We pulled together a few of our favorite independent boutiques around the area to help you narrow down the search for the perfect holiday treats. Allora by Laura Owner Laura Dinning of Allora by Laura in Montecito, along with […]

From Dolly, with Love
By Megan Waldrep   |   November 23, 2017

Dolly Parton giggles her way through the last question on our group phone interview and she is refreshingly everything you hope her to be – sweet, humble, funny, the Dolly with whom you’ve grown up watching on TV. Dolly began her solo career in 1967 with Hello, I’m Dolly and has since amassed success in […]