Breath of Fresh Air
Anna Getty's Ojai lifestyle is impressively unpretentious and completely gorgeous, jut like Anna herself. Living mindfully starts at home...
For philanthropist/cookbook author/film producer Anna Getty and her husband, former professional skate-boarder/deejay Scott Oster, their move from Los Angeles to Ojai was a gradual but organic one. The couple—who were married in Big Sur in 2015 and have two children together (2-year-old Bodhi and 4-year-old Roman) in ad-dition to Getty’s two older children from her previous marriage)—initially bought a modern Mediterranean house by architect Catherine Moore nestled among 50 acres of orchards in Upper Ojai to serve as a retreat from their city lives. They were in search of a sense of commu-nity and a simpler and healthier way of life for their fam-ily. “We used to come for weekends,” says Getty, “but as of the last two years, we now call Ojai home.”
Recently, the environmentally conscious brood moved closer to town in a newly remodeled, sus-tainable design by Getty and her husband. “We used FSC-certified woods and really focused on purchasing second-hand and vintage furniture,” she adds. “We found all-organic beds, bedding, and pillows from Good Night Naturals, an eco-mattress store in L.A. All of the textiles are made of natural and sustainable fibers. We also spent time researching low/non-VOC paint and energy-efficient appliances.”
To keep her tribe full of life, Getty is open to alter-native healers and keeps abreast of the latest research on health. “I try to cook well for the kids—we love our green smoothies, drink celery juice, green tea, and make our own almond and walnut milk as well as bone broth, all of which really help to keep wellness at an optimum.” Getty boosts her own immune system with vitamin IVs and also keeps up a rigorous workout rou-tine—switching between cross training, hiking, Pilates, and yoga. “The whole family loves to rock climb and snowboard,” Getty says. “My mother has osteoporo-sis, so I focus on keeping fit and building muscle mass, which makes a big difference.”
Locally, Getty and Oster are involved in Prima, a hemp company with an educational platform. “I believe in CBD as a modality for wellness. I know how beneficial it can be for people’s health, especially for older people who are having pain issues,” Getty says. “We use CBD regularly for anxiety, sleep, and inflammation. Being involved with it on a grassroots level feels good.”
Outside the home, she leads her menage to do their part of having less of a footprint and practice sustainable actions. “We have a bin in the minivan that’s full of reus-able mugs, coffee cups, and straws to replace disposable ones,” she says. “We are becoming more mindful about what we use and throw away. Of course I have been us-ing cloth bags for 15 years, but making changes is a slow process. A lot of it is about being open and reeducating myself and then, in turn, the kids.”
This year, the family is taking an educational expedi-tion to the Galápagos Islands to trawl for plastic. They will be working with The 5 Gyres Institute to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure.
Getty’s most recent passion projects include donning the hat of executive producer for two environmental film projects—The Fantastic Fungi with Paul Stamets about the many uses of mushrooms for health and stress and to combat global warming; Kiss the Ground, directed by Ojai residents Josh and Rebecca Tickell, focuses on food and wellness. “I never set out to be involved in films,” she says, “but if things resonate with me and contain an exploration of a better way to live, then I enjoy support-ing those projects.”
Living life in an artful yet eco-minded, global way is Getty’s true vision and vocation. “I work on staying posi-tive, being in a place of intention, and being joyful. I work on myself and try to hit all the quadrants—emotional, spiritual, physical—and being of service to friends, fam-ily, and humanity.”
Valley Girls: A Look at Ojai's Contemporary Female Artists on the Rise
SALLY ENGLAND is a fiber artist who specializes in large-scale modern macramé. “I work full-time creating custom artwork (wall hangings, dividers, window screens, sculptures, etc.) for commercial environments like hotels and restaurants as well as private residences,” she says. “The intimacy of using my hands as tools, and the slow and repetitive process of craft has always been very meditative and therapeutic for me. In an age of mass production and
immediate gratification, it is more important than ever to keep craft-based traditions alive.” In January, she’s traveling to Miami to install two large 8-by-10-foot custom panels in the lounge of the recently renovated Kimpton Anglers Hotel, and
she also teaches macramé classes at the Ojai Valley Inn.
LANA FEE RASMUSSEN is part of the Ojai-based design company Killscrow that sheshares with her husband, Darrick. She is a block-print fine artist who hand carves the blocks and is very focused on the tactile feel of the paper she uses. “I consider myself a craftsperson rather than an artist,” she says. Her work can be found in her retail space Barro Mercado in Ojai. In 2018, she’s working on a “bucket list project,” she says. “I’ll be starting an alphabet book with original block prints and drawings. I am also looking forward to contributing work alongside my Native American artist community.”
KELLIE BOLTON works exclusively in the medium of encaustic, a complex process using multiple layers of beeswax and pigment. Bolton’s paintings capture emotional and powerful moments, memories, and haunting dreamscapes. Her work is available at The Gallery Montecito.
FANNY PENNY is a maker of handmade jewelry and objects for the home. She cites Beatrice Wood and the Dada movement as her inspirations. Each ceramic piece is shaped from stoneware and/or porcelain, and the rope that ties them all together is also made by hand using the finest quality yarns. The artist is working on three separate collections—chain-inspired jewelry, sculptural home goods, and a functional ceramic collaboration with her husband.
Queen of the Digital World
CASSANDRA C. JONES is a photography-based digital artist who focuses on large scale collages. Her compositions are meticulously arranged to illustrate woven patterns, reimagined wildlife, florals, and geometric shapes that from afar look like something altogether different. Jones recently renovated her studio in Ojai and is completing a new body of work, including a wallpaper, that will debut at the Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston in 2019.
One Step Beyond
A dizzying list of projects keeps STEVE AOKI on his toes—he’s a DJ, musician, remixer, producer, owner of the record label Dim Mak, and most recently, a fashion designer. All of this began humbly enough in Santa Barbara.
“I’ll sleep when I am dead.” The motto is tattooed on the back of DJ and electronic dance spin master Steve Aoki’s neck, and it says it all. Living true to this adage has its advantages—he never stops moving.
Aoki’s compulsive work ethic compliments his whirlwind lifestyle, complete with private jets and all-nighters from New York City to Paris to Ibiza and residencies in Las Vegas. He’s famous for his parties, wild romps onstage, crowd surfing, and especially his cake-throwing antics. His penchant for spraying champagne onto an enthralled and pulsing audience during his sets is legendary. Born in Florida to Japanese showman Rocky Aoki (founder of the Benihana restaurant chain) and Chizuru Kobayashi, the family later settled in California. “Let’s wind back the clocks,” Aoki laughs. “I grew up in Newport Beach where it was 96 percent white. It was confusing for me. As an Asian American, I could not see where I fit in. I was the weirdo.”
It was not until Aoki was in college at UC Santa Barbara (earning degrees in feminist studies and sociology) that he ceased feeling isolated and found his footing. “As a student, I was the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed kid who wanted to change the world. In Santa Barbara, I figured out how to use my voice for the first time. I was desperately trying to make some noise and do something with my feelings and my thoughts,” he shares. “That time was really important; it propelled me to learn more about my identity, which I then related back into my music. Music became a tool to share the information and feelings in my head.”
His time in Santa Barbara became the foundation for Aoki’s life in more ways than one. While at UCSB, Aoki played—and also hosted—hard-core punk shows in his house in Isla Vista. The shows became so popular that his living room was dubbed the Pickle Patch. Aoki hosted more than 80 bands a month, and it was the place to be. Most of the acts that played at the Pickle Patch did not have record labels and were not signed. Starting his record label Dim Mak in 1996 “seemed like the natural thing to do,” he says. (Dim Mak is a reference to Bruce Lee’s martial art death touch technique—striking certain points on the body to cause illness or death.)
“I never touched a turntable when I was in college, I only had a record player—two very different things,” he laughs. This was all pre-DJ life. Aoki chose to leave academia and moved to Los Angeles where he met up with a group called The Kills and put Dim Mak on the map. “When I wasn’t touring with The Kills, I was trying to get Dim Mak off the ground. I’d throw parties in L.A. introducing the bands I was producing, and that’s when I started DJing. I invited all my friends, and that’s how it all got started.”
These days, the 39-year-old Aoki splits his time between DJing (which is a constant), and promoting his first hip-hop album Kolony, which includes some of the biggest names in the rap world: Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, 2 Chainz, Wale T Pain, Gucci Mane, Ricky Remedy, and more. It’s a change of pace from Aoki’s usual electronica house music. Aoki additionally spearheads his own fashion brand, also called Dim Mak, as well as teaming with Topshop, where his Vision Street Wear collection is set to launch in early 2018.
A staunch perfectionist, Aoki always seeks to improve his game. “It’s very important to me to be on top of the world, but I can never put my feet up because the top is just one peak and there are more.” When asked how he unplugs, Aoki chuckles. “Unplugging…I still have to learn how to do that. Maybe that’s my next goal.”
Vanner Hats’ Western roots, beauty pop-ups and botanical bliss, plus our holiday guide for color-coded gift giving
Courtney Ellzey, creator and designer of VANNER HATS, based in Ventura, California, shares some of her bohemian country taste with the West Coast. “I am from Texas,” she says with a drawl. “My whole life I have worn hats—there’s always been something on my head! I started a company where I could incorporate my love of design, photography, and fashion while simultaneously paying homage to my Southwestern roots.”
Two years ago, freshly divorced, Ellzey came up with a concept that would benefit herself and set an example for her two children, Blade, 19, and Emerson, 3. “Whatever life throws at you,” she shares, “you just have to dig in and make something good out of it.”
Ellzey was inspired by her paternal grandmother, Mary Frances Ellzey, whose style can be found in the soul of Vanner Hats. “My grandmother was this gypsy cowgirl from the South,” she says. “She had daring taste and a flair for eccentricities.” The company is named after the Gypsy Vanner horses, a romantic breed employed to pull caravans in the 1800s by travelers and wanderers in England and Ireland. This adventurous lifestyle struck a cord with Ellzey. “It made perfect sense for me to incorporate my love of horses with my line of hats,” she said. “I love everything that a Vanner life stylistically represents.”
Vanner’s new collection—available online and at Wildflower Women in Los Olivos—has elements of the first collection but with a more classic and tailored look. Ellzey is passionate about using sustainable materials whenever possible, and the handmade hats are manufactured by a company that supports local Ecuadorian female artisans and promotes ethical fashion practices. As Vanner continues to grow, Ellzey aims to engage female hat makers worldwide.
Garden of Earthly Delights
Feting 40 at a feast with friends in Ojai.
Channon and Bianca Roe - thats bohemian, trendsetting couple - have put down roots in Ojai with their family and lifestyle boutique, In The Field. Known for their lively entertaining, the couple enticed many of their far-flung friends (including designer Paul Fortune and his husband, Chris Brock; Walton Goggind, and Nadia Conners' Jason Segel and Alexis Mixter) and other artists, directors, writers, and talented locals to join in the celebration of Bianca's 40th birthday.
For the occasion, they chose a secluded location - hotelier Eric Goode's private residence with its rambling gardens and Spanish-style hacienda surrounded by established orange and avocado trees. Landscape architect and Ojai local (by way of South Africa) Laurence Nicklin designed the lush grounds, using shade-loving plants such as ferns and philodendrons for the wast side of the house, while the rest of the garden is alight with a selection of more drought-tolerant plants: succulenys, birds of paradise, jade trees, Australian rosemary, Mexican marigold, Jerusalem sage, golden breath of heaven, and sago palms.
The sit-down dinner for 60 took place on the rock patio where the Roes created a beautiful, long narrow tables cape with stemware from Otis + Pearl Vintage Rentals and dinnerware from Ojai's own Bernscott Pottery. Large centerpieces of a variety of dahlias, eucalyptus, zinnias, artemisia, pampas plume, amaranth, and ornamental millet by florist and grower MacKenzie Curtis of TopaFlora were held in vases from Churchill Ceramics. Santa Barbara's otter Winery provided the remarkable wines.
"Given our love of Morocco, we wanted a menu with a Mediterranean flair," says Bianca. "All the ingredients were gathered from the Ojai farmers market and from small farms in the area." The mouth-watering, three-course feast was prepared by Chef Robin Goldstein, author of cookbook A Taste of Ojai: A Collection of Small Plates and her upcoming A Taste of Santa Barbara: Crafting a Meal.
Attention had been paid to the seating arrangements, ensuring each guest had the opportunity to meet someone new when dinner was served, as well as a a chance to catch up with an old friends. Biance sats: "It was so important to me to ring in 40 surrounded by the people I love and have the opportunity to pay homage to a favorite phase of my life, right here and now, in Ojai."
Finer THINGS In Life
Erin Wasson is a little bit country, a little bit rock-and-roll. But the selfproclaimed tomboy beauty fits into no mold. The Texas-born supermodel, designer, collaborator, and creator of her namesake jewelry line, Wasson Fine, explains the attraction to her newfound home in Ojai
A love affair that started off as an innocent camping trip turned full-on when Erin Wasson bought an older Spanish cottage in the heart of Ojai. “I’m a Texas girl. I like big, open spaces and nature. I was missing that feeling of community that you most definitely get living in a small town. I moved to Ojai a year ago,” she says, smiling, “and it has changed me. I have a place to grow my ideas. Ojai affects how I live and work and the way that I design. It has allowed me the space to create.
“At the end of the day, I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. But add on the extra touches of a good handbag,
shoes, and some jewelry, and you have the whole package,” says Wasson. “It’s the nuance of accessories
that tells the story of who the woman really is. I am consistently drawn to that.”
Creativity has always been Wasson’s driving force. She credits her design endeavors with maintaining her
stamina in the modeling world. “I came up in the industry when models were to be seen and not heard. I
confused lot of people,” she laughs. “I came out of the gate very opinionated, with a lot to say. I have a voice.”
Accessing and acting on her creativity helped Wasson blur the lines drawn for the models of her time.
Not content to work solely as a model, about 10 years ago, Wasson got a chance to branch out when her
friend, designer Alexander Wang, asked her to create the jewelry for his runway show. “I started making
these diamond body chains,” she says. “That was the inception of Low Luv, my costume jewelry company.”
Low Luv became a successful brand and served as Wasson’s training ground, teaching her the basics of
production, manufacturing, and sales. It helped her to understand what it takes to have a product on the
market. “After seven years of doing costume jewelry, I evolved,” she says. “I wanted to get back to the intention
of what making jewelry represents for me: to create something that was less disposable and trend
driven, with a sense of permanence and longevity attached to it.”
Today, Wasson has returned to what she loves about jewelry—working with gold, silver, and stones— through Wasson Fine and rediscovering the romance of working with elements that have staying power. “I am making jewelry that inspires me—wearable pieces that dance a fine line between femininity and edginess,” she says. ”It’s a reflection of who I am.”
Living part-time in Ojai helps Wasson achieve the perfect mind-set for inspiration: “I always say, ‘The second I turn on to the 33 freeway, my whole life changes.’ I joke with friends that I can literally feel the cells in my body cooling out and suddenly, I can breathe again!
Town & Country
For the past year, LAWREN HOWELL, contributing freelance editor for Vogue, has claimed the ever-evolving small town of Ojai—a community she finds captivating and full of surprises—as home for herself and her family (husband Kristopher Moller and kids Louisa and Peter). “Ojai has a great beauty that is inspiring on a daily basis,” she says. “It also seems to attract a lot of people with independent and adventurous spirits, and we love that!”
HOW HAS A MOVE TO THE COUNTRY INFORMED YOUR STYLE? I definitely have to say that my day-to-day dressing has changed since moving to Ojai. Part of good style is being appropriate, so I’m not wearing here what I would wear in Paris. I like to juxtapose masculine with feminine, old and new, rough and soft in the way I dress, and I’m really aware of balancing textures and proportions. For example, if I wear a bohemian top, I will balance it with a tailored pant or skirt.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WEST COAST FASHION? I think that people often mistake California style for being just a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, but in recent years that has been proven not to be the case. The West Coast is full of
Rodarte, DOEN, Sacai, the punkish brand Libertine, and The Elder Statesman for that California-luxe surf-culture look. West Coast fashion feels like a creative frontier; most of the companies are independently owned and more free to do what they want. They are complete originals and not afraid to cross-pollinate into other art forms. I find them to be really inspiring
Setting the Bar
Named after a summit in Ojai, CHIEF'S PEAK - brainchild of dynamic duo Ariane Aumont and Joya Rode Thomas, whose serendipitous meeting and playful sugestion "Lets open a bar one day!" cae to frutation last summer - is Ojai Rancho Inn's latest addition. A hotel room turned lounge open from noon to 10 pm every day, it's small and friendly with a view of the garden and pool and attracts visitors and locals alike. With both indoor and outdoor seating, it's a place where it's easy to start a conversation or begin a friendship. Inn owners Chris Sewell and Kenny Osehan's refreshing design is keeping with the rest of the property's decor. Heather Levine ceramic lights illuminate the bar, which is stocked with local beer, wine, soju, sake, quirky nonalcoholic beverages and a clutch of cocktail shrubs made by Nostrum. Vintage board games, membership mugs that hang on the wall, and a record player for lo-fi vinyl entusiasts (music is curated by Warbler Records & Good's Kurt Legler) round the space.
A family of five has California dreaming Taylor made
BROOK, BILLY, AND THEIR THREE CHILDREN—Chet, 14, Xiaxia, 12, and Marlin, 4—live a charmed life on Rincon Beach...the quintessential California Dream. Located in the seaside community of Carpinteria, Rincon is home of the fabled longest wave in the state and was even immortalized in the Beach Boys’s famous song, “Surfin’ Safari.”
It also may well be the epicenter of all that is California—sun-bleached hair adorning freckle-faced kids, breathtaking sunsets, wet suited surfers stippling the waves of the Pacific, beach bonfires, frisky dogs playing in the sand, and the natural setting by the mouth of the river. Arriving at Rincon Beach, you get the feeling you’ve stumbled upon a romantic, secret world that belongs in simpler, more innocent times.
As she drives up to her house in the gated residential community, Brook Harvey-Taylor—cofounder of Pacifica, a line of natural, 100 percent vegan beauty products—still has to pinch herself when she sees the surf rolling in. “There is not a day that I don’t think how lucky I am,” she says. “Living on Rincon Beach is most definitely a dream come true for me and Billy.”
All of the Taylors are competitive surfers, more often in the water than not. Chet mends the dings of locals’ surfboards; even Marlin considers herself a surfer. Homeschooling their children frees up the Taylors so they can take family trips and keep the kids focused on what they love most: music and surfing.
Both Billy and Brook attended college in Oregon, and it was ultimately the Portland weather—and the wish for warmer waters to surf—that fueled their wanderlust. One fateful trip, in search of sunnier climes, they decided to scour the California coast for a great surf town to call home. As luck would have it, after landing in Los Angeles, all of their belongings, including their beloved surfboards, were stolen. In a land where every cloud has a silver lining, this seeming tragedy gave the Taylors the opportunity to fall in love with beautiful, sunny Carpinteria, home to Rincon Designs, where they replaced their stolen boards.
Brook, who has surfed Rincon since her early 20s, has always loved it there. “So many times I’d look up
at those houses on the beach and think how lucky the people who lived in them were,” she says. Nine years
ago, their dream came true when the Taylors found their present house. They were encouraged by a neighbor, who seduced them with magical stories of raising children on Rincon, creating such an enticing scenario that they were determined to replicate it, and the deal was sealed.
The house, which started as a 1972 tract home, has now been sculpted into a wonderfully light and airy family home with a good dose of midcentury aesthetic, adding some chicness to the easy atmosphere. If houses are said to create portraits of their owners, then this one is an easy read, especially being that it was designed without the help of an interior decorator. The beach house is the perfect canvas to showcase the Taylors’ eclectic personal style, always taking into account the considerations of real life. Filled with vintage skateboards and surfboards, the fun-loving spirit of the rooms comes alive with colorful objects, art work, and furniture carefully chosen for its ability to stand the test of time—style-wise—as well as to withstand the wear and tear of children. Brook jokes: “Our beautiful Milo Baughman white sofas are now beautiful grey Milo Baughman sofas; but I love that idea of barefoot kids running all over the house, so we made sure it’s very livable.”
Collecting things that have history, durability, and meaning, the Taylors insist, is a rule of thumb. Brook especially loves the Shepard Fairey prints and fine art photography hanging throughout the house. Everything contributes to a warm and welcoming home. Brook’s favorite purchase: “It seemed like a fortune at the time, buying the Noguchi lamp.” They bought it when she and Billy first tasted success. “It means so much to us.” For Brook and Billy, both self-made with the advent of their company, Pacifica, the purchase became a reminder of how far they have come.
Pacifica conveys the dichotomy of a sophisticated life lived naturally. “It’s about beauty, lifestyle, the use of all natural ingredients, and recyclable packaging,” she says. They were heavily influenced by Jean Michel Cousteau of the Cousteau Society. He encouraged the Taylors to use recyclable materials and natural products, allowing them to “walk the talk” and to be responsible business owners.
Brook reflects on what she took away from her childhood, growing up on a small cattle ranch in Montana. For her, it’s all about the cycle of life and the connection to nature. “For my kids,” she says, “the waves are their horses.” True. And the connection to Mother Earth remains the same.
East Meets West
“Build it and they will come,” Bianca Roe says with her fine Aussie twang and a twinkle in her eye. She speaks of her and husband Channon’s latest endeavor—In the Field, a lifestyle store in Ojai. Three years ago, the Roes came to raise their family far from the hub of Los Angeles. They were attracted by the natural beauty, convinced it acts as an incubator for creativity to the cross pollination of people that make up their beloved town. “Ojai is full of brilliant, progressive locals with innovative ideas,” says Bianca. “Opening this store is a way to share all that inspires us” in a community that is going through an undeniable renaissance.
Drawing on the visuals from a road trip to the Southwest this summer, Channon wanted the interior—with its stark, paired-down, monastic sparseness—to embody the raw beauty of that region. The Roes opted for a gallery feel, keeping it simple so the white walls could act as perfect hosts to showcase their eclectic inventory.
Embodying the couple’s passion for travel, art, and design, the store (also a base camp for Channon’s interior design company, Channon Roe Maison + Design, inthefieldinteriors.com) mixes clothing for men, women, and children by labels such as Mr. Freedom, Imogen + Willie, and Foyer; an apothecary; surf ware; fine art; carefully curated selections of vintage clothing and furniture; as well as a selection of utilitarian tools. Many of the brands they carry are tried and tested. “If I can build our entire house and go through construction with my Mr. Freedom jeans and have them look even better than when I started, we’re on to something,” says Channon. “Our goal is to create a space that will continue to evolve, grow, and give back to the community we love.”
“Cowboy up!” reads a sign at the entrance to the riding arena at Rancho Ohaco.Nestled in the backcountry of Ojai, Jeff Ohaco’s horses roam wide pastures, cows kick up dust in their pens, and a dog slinks outside the fence, keeping a watchful eye on the livestock. It is a different world. One that Ohaco doesn’t mind sharing. “The main goal of our Cowboy School is for people to have fun and get out of the city,” says Ohaco, whose cowboy roots run deep.
Mitch Collier and Molly Holm hold on to their hats as they kick up some dust.
Born on a working cattle ranch Arizona that has belonged to his family since the 1800s, Ohaco paid his dues as a Hollywood stuntman in his youth. These days, he prefers to spend his time breaking colts, breeding and selling well-bred quarter horses, and lending a hand at ranches during round up and branding time.
At his monthly Californio Cowboy School, Ohaco draws on a large circle of talented friends— bronc rider Boone Campbell, the well-known horseman Bruce Sandifer, and leather worker, Chris West—who all share Ohaco’s passion for riding horses and handling livestock. All are profoundly influenced by the historical principles of the Vaqueros, sacred traditions brought to California by the early Spanish settlers. These principles are rooted in classical Spanish riding, which is enjoying wider popularity. Sandifer, who is president of the Californio Bridle Horse Association, shares, “I was raised on ranches my whole life, and this way of riding appeals to me because it is the easiest on the stock.”
For Ohaco, the overriding goal is true unity between rider and horse. “If I manage to instill any of the practices and traditions of the Vaquero style of riding, especially the respectful communication and mindfulness needed to work successfully with horses,” Jeff says as he sits by the fire, “it’s been a good day.”