Saturday, November 09, 2013

Is this your first rodeo?

That's what Guy Kawasaki asked me when I met him at the rodeo in Santa Barbara this past August. I'm pretty sure it was a "meant to be" divine intervention. Ya see, I had been giving my students an article every semester about public speaking written by Guy and I had recently been reading about his new book APE
(Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) as I was considering self-publishing a project. I know his face. I know a lot of other people do too, but a lot of other people don't either. So there I was at the rodeo with a group of friends and I saw Guy several stands away. How I picked him out of a crowd of hundreds is a miracle. I shouted, "It's Guy Kawasaki!" Yes, my friends thought I was insane, "Who?" they asked. I walked over to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're Guy Kawasaki aren't you?" He laughed and said "Yes. I can't believe you recognized me ... at a rodeo." "Is this your first rodeo?" He asked and I explained that not only was it not my first rodeo, but that my dad was a cowboy and that I was writing a book titled "Cowboy Dad" and that's why I knew about Guy's book APE. He then said, "Let's take a picture with my new phone!" Then he asked if I had a copy of APE. I hadn't gotten it yet. He emailed me the pic and sent me the book! What a perfect encounter!

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Yearly Post Update!

Hello fellow spa-goers and estheticians and anyone else following my blog. As I mentioned a year ago, I am not on here often and if you want regular updates, you should "Like" the Facebook pages I mention in this post. For the estheticians and spa-goers and anyone working in the spa industry, visit the Spa & Esthetics Defined Facebook page as well as the Santa Barbara City College Esthetics Clinic page. This has actually been a really interesting and challenging year --I'll give ya the scoop. Also, I've visited many spas this past year including Ojai Valley Inn (a regular favorite), Bacara Resort and Spa, Korean Spa in L.A. and Spring Creek Ranch and Snake River Spa and Resort. Here's a snapshot of my visits: Ojai Valley Inn -- I went there with two of my best gal pals -- it was a celebration of another year. We did the Kuyam which is a Chumash Native American Indian word meaning “a place to rest together.” This treatment combines the therapeutic effects of cleansing desert clays infused with essential oils, dry heat, inhalation therapy. At first, I was a little hesitant sitting in a small space with naked women, two I didn't know, but as usual, I eventually just let it go, as any spa treatment prompts you to do. Besides, I wasn't naked after I slathered by body with mud head to toe. I like to do this treatment 1-2 times a year. The best part of the day was not the gorgeous scenic trip to Ojai from Santa Barbara, nor was it the aromatherapy and hot clay ... it was being with two very lovely and totally hilarious friends. Oh, and my skin felt amazing after the treatment! Bacara Resort and Spa --new leadership there means even better than before new and improved spa! The property is oceanfront and is so rejuvenating simply sitting Indian-style in the sand, closing your eyes, listening to the waves crash and smelling the ocean air. Who needs a spa treatment when you're at the Bacara? Well, I do ... because I'm spoiled. Anywho, I've had two of the facials with the new product lines at Bacara -- one with Babor and one with Osea. I liked both, but I have to admit that I can't get enough of Osea products and treatments. My skin LOVES the ingredients and the Undaria oil ... ahhhh, my skin just drinks it up. I loved the hydrating ampoules too I took home from Babor; not only do the smell lovely, but I tapped the liquid ampoule into a wrinkle and it plumped it right up. I stayed the night at Bacara too and felt so pampered with the view of the pools and the ocean. I took a stressful drive into LA with another great gal pal so that we could experience the infamous Korean spa. We were happily naked all day amongst other birthday suit women. First we tried this pool and then that pool. This sort of ritual is where spa started -- water treatments. It was inexpensive, relaxing and fun to experience something new. Afterward, we had the ultimate indulgence at the famous Diddy Riese --mmmmm! My travels then took me to Snake River Lodge in Teton Village in Jackson Hole Wyoming. I was there with girlfriends again (they really do make everything better, don't they!) and we liked the accommodations, but we loved the scenery more -- pastures of horses just outside. The room was ... okay/noisy ... the customer service was ... okay, but we loved our spa treatments -- all of us got massages. I was disappointed that the lounge/relaxation room was cold ... as all clients were in their robes ... the fireplace was not on and the hot tub in the ladies room was not in working condition. Hmmm, but ... saved by the most amazing grotto pools and hot tubs in the hotel --definitely a highlight! We left with a pretty big scratch left on my car which was not there before valet had it. We contacted the hotel and ... still no answer. Nevertheless, we were off to our next destination! For more scoop on 2013, check out the Facebook pages!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I work for OWN!

No, no, not the Oprah Winfrey Network,but OWN, a new skincare company in San Francisco! I am a writer and consultant with a great team and so far I have loved trying the new products and writing about them. One of my favorite things about the company is that they really believe in educating consumers -- yahoo!, that means teaching -- that's second to writing in my world! Check OWN out on Facebook! And also ... Twitter Pinterest Google OWN's blog

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Want to be a Spa Writer?

I like to travel ... and be pampered ... and mostly I love to write about it. Often in my travels -- in the airports, on the plane, I meet lots of different people. One of the first questions that comes up in a conversation is "Where are you headed to?" or "What brings you to _______?" When I tell them I am on a spa writing trip or excursion, their responses are often the same -- "Need an assistant?" or "Must be a tough job". Boy, if I had a penny for every time I heard that! Well, the truth is it is a lovely perk to what I do in my every day life (teach spa and esthetics courses), but there is some hard work involved -- research, time, writing, editing, interviewing and LOTS of networking. Drive, passion and motivation and networking are essentially the ways I got this job and it has taken me a few years to get to the point where the trips and treatments aren't just complimentary, but they are also paid (complimentary is nice, but it doesn't pay the bills). It's been and continues to be a fun journey! You have to start somewhere though and many travel writers, photographers and other artists want to learn more about spa writing and perhaps learn enough to get a few or more pampering treatments in their travels. Really the BEST way to do it is to attend one of the spa writing workshops through AWAI, like the one in Ecuador at La Mirage this past November. It was amazing ... I mean the trip, the classes, the excursions ... the friendships...everything was so wonderful! But if you can't make the trips, then I would suggest starting with the online instruction -- very easy and very affordable! Here is the link: The Travel Writer's Life Let me know if you have questions -- email me at or post on Spa & Esthetics Defined Facebook page! Happy Travels and Happy Writing!

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My Yearly Post

Well, I warned you a year ago that I don't blog anymore as much as I post on Facebook, but this is a good thing! I am busy with writing assignments, traveling, teaching, and writing a memoir! I like having more time to do these things with quick, informative and inspiring posts on Facebook. So, if you would like to follow my spa and skincare advice and resources or follow my spa and travel adventures, then "LIKE" Spa & Esthetics Defined and Melissa June B., Skin Consultant Facebook pages. I would love your reply posts and insights too! Still, a great story comes along (like one from my recent Ecuador spa trip) that is just too long to post on FB. If I don't write it for an article or other assignment, you may find it here! The highlights of 2012 were abundant! Here are my favorites: *I finished the bulk of the first edit of my memoir about my dad -- Cowboy Dad. This is my life passion. The book itself and the things that come from it, I believe are my life's purpose. Check out the Cowboy Dad FB page for info on the book and to find out more about Adult Children of Alcoholics and issues surrounding the topic! *I continue to teach at SBCC and become a stronger/better teacher and person each semester -- and that very thing is an accomplishment every year! For the record, I LIKE skincare and consider myself an expert in the field, BUT it's teaching that I LOVE and simply interacting with students almost every day makes me smile. *I continued to offer classes at my own school -- Santa Barbara Aesthetics Academy. Opening this school in 2011 was on my "life goal" list (different than my bucket list btw) and I did it! I did it successfully and every student who comes to SBAA loves it and leaves smiling and laughing and more educated and inspired. I can check "opening my own school" off that list and I may decide that I don't need the space, but will continue to teach and consult on location. The best part about it is that it did exactly what I had hoped -- educated and inspired many estheticians. *I worked with AWAI again this year -- I went to San Francisco to teach another spa writing class and visited Nob Hill Spa -- delightful! But the best part, perhaps of my whole year, was the trip that I took to Ecuador with AWAI to teach spa writing with 6 other travel (now spa) writers. We were there for 7 days and stayed at La Mirage, and indulged in the most divine spa treatments and experiences. It's trips like this that make it more fun to post on FB!:) It was a wonderful teaching experience, but also spiritual experience (aside from spa stuff) that I am writing about. *I started working and consulting with such a fabulous skincare company called OWN; I couldn't be more excited about working with good products and good people! LIKE our page! I would say it was a productive year with many things to be grateful for! Merry Christmas and Happy 2013!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Facebook is my Preference

Can you believe that Blogs are out-dated?! Well ... that's in my opinion anyway! With Facebook, I rarely write on the blog (hence the date of my last entry!). So allow me to first introduce you to "Like" BOTH of my spa and skincare pages on Facebook! "Spa & Esthetics Defined" on Facebook and also "Melissa June B., Skin Consultant" on Facebook. This is where you will find the latest updates of travel, spa info and education!

So since I'm on here, I may as well give a quick summary of updates of the past year! I'm still an adjunct faculty at Santa Barbara City College; they have made me "lead" esthetician (that's very nice of them). I LOVE teaching beginning estheticians and it's been 4 amazing years doing so!

I continued visiting spas and writing articles and I taught a spa writing workshop in Chicago for AWAI, the travel writer's association and that was one of my professional highlights this year!

I did really FUN consulting work for Guthy Renker and Meaningful Beauty and that was also a HUGE highlight (it seems the really good stuff started happening in the fall).

I started being a direct selling rep for NYR Organic, (thanks for the tip MOM!) and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

AND ... I STARTED MY OWN ADVANCED AESTHETICS ACADEMY! It's called Santa Barbara Aesthetics Academy! I will post classes on here, but also Facebook! I'm so very excited about this venture!

And lastly, I am working on a writing project of a lifetime ... wish me luck ... more to come later!

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Esthetician Students Make Me Smile!

I have been having a ball with the esthetician class I teach! Make sure to check out the Spa & Esthetics Defined Facebook Page for recent posts on skincare and class outings! I love my students! In this photo we are researching OTC products and ingredients so that we can get an idea of how and why our clients feel overwhelmed!

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Cow Cookies

Most people associate my travels and spa health with Santa Barbara, Napa, Hawaii and even Italy...but some of the best ways to relax and rejuvenate are with friends in the most wonderful, cozy towns.

I have two amazing girlfriends -- we met when we all lived in Boulder Colorado and worked at CU Boulder; years have gone by and now I am living the Cali life and they are in the midwest. We decided it was time to get together for a girl's weekend in Madison Wisconsin -- what a perfect spot!

My friend Kim and her new hubby live and work in Madison and my friend Jules (I call her Bub) and her family live in Bloomington Indiana. Bub and I ventured our way to Madison and met Kim. The short weekend was happy times for all of our spirits! We shopped at the farmer's market (yummy cheeeeeeese) and bought all of the veggies necessary for a bbq later. We got home, cooked, danced in the kitchen and laughed and laughed. It was one of the best spa health weekends to see two of my best friends and reminisce and laugh!


Harvest Time in the Wine Country

My friend Julia and I recently ventured to the Santa Ynez Valley, just 30 minutes north of Santa Barbara. We love it up there this time of year -- a warm wind, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and vineyards...makes you just let down your shoulders, exhale and ... ahhhh....

Julia and I visited Lane Farms; we skipped and laughed through the orchards, picking our own apples. After posing for a picture or two on the cool farm tractor, we headed to Los Olivos for the most delightful cupcakes and glass of vino at Enjoy Cupcakes. Kevin the owner, said we had to indulge in the dreamsicle say the least...we ate 4 different cupcakes that were divine.

Spa health this weekend meant apple hunting, tractor posing and eating the most delicious cupcakes imaginable.

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Solitude on the Ranch

Being a spa health writer is fun...relaxing...and rejuvenating -- of course all of the words that are associated with "spa-ing". But really...most of my adventures and times of relaxation come from trips that bring epiphanies, characters, and things that surround the idea of spa health.

I recently took a roadtrip to Kay el Bar Ranch in Arizona. It was an amazing 3 days; the roadtrip itself lent conversation, adventure/laughter (ran out of gas in the middle of the desert) and a therapeutic value that made my heart smile. Ya see, I grew up on a cattle ranch; my dad was a cowboy and it was the most wonderful way to grow up. Spring time meant calving and branding season, summer brought rodeos and haying, fall and winter meant ice-skating on the frozen pond (my dad would scape the snow off with the tractor).

My dad passed away this past year and it has been an adjustment getting used to the idea of him not being here, but being at the Kay el Bar Ranch brought great happiness and memories. For me, it was just the "spa health" I needed; we rode horses through the desert, enjoyed the most wonderful meals -- presented with the meal bell ringing and of course the solitude of the big desert sky filled with beautiful stars.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

I want to be a Travel Host!

The past 10 years have been amazing and thrilling leaps of faith and travel opportunities! Many of my travels have come from spa visits, but also roadtrips and mini vacations here and there just looking for the best kept secrets and meeting characters along the way. Living in Italy for 3 months sealed the deal on my travel bug fascination!

So what better way to continue my sense of discovery and exploration...and pushing my boundaries and comfort level...than to apply for a travel host competition!?

Part of the competition and selection for interviews is based on the number of votes I get! So...please, please vote for me (and you can vote once, everyday) and spread the word! Here's the link; watch the 1-minute video and vote for me!

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Facials at La Colina Junior High in Santa Barbara

I am so honored to volunteer with Partners in Education in Santa Barbara. The leadership and team in the organization is both inspiring and motivating. Thank you for honoring me as a volunteer of the month! I look forward to another year of working with the organization and the students supported by Partners!

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

WAY Cute Tee's for Estheticians and Students!

After teaching for almost three years, I have found my (esthetician) sense of humor! I am starting to turn that into fun, educational and promotional products for estheticians and esthetician students!

I just finished two tee-shirt designs and one tote bag. I love wearing my
Es-the-ti-cian t-shirt and have already gotten inquiries about it "Oh you're an esthetician?" The market research worked!:)

If you would like to take a look at these cute t's...just visit Esthetics Defined and also look for Spa and Esthetics Defined on Facebook!

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My Oprah Adventure

As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago...I'm about a year "behind" in blogging about all of my adventures, so...this is old news, but NEW to me!...

I am a contributor for Girlfriend Celebrations (one of my fave websites for us girls!) and the readers chose the write-up about my Oprah adventure as one of their top 10 favorite stories of 2009!

Read about my trip to Chicago...and how I managed to get Oprah tickets!

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