Top ten spas in America.

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Nearly veryone can enjoy and appreciate a relaxing day at the spa.  These spas spare nothing when it comes to luxury and accomodating their guests every need.  So, take a sip of that minty cucumber water and discover the top ten spas in America with me.

Number 10:  The Spa at CopperWynd Resort

Fountain Hills/Scottsdale, Arizona

This spa features two swimming pools, one spacious resort-style pool and one invigorating lap pool.  Plus, a 5,000 square foot fitness center.  But, who wants to excercise at the spa?  Let’s get to the relaxing part.  They feature all the basic massages:  relaxation, Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone and specialty treatments such as raindrop therapy, a Native American technique that involves sweeping a feather upwards along the spine and 9 different essential oils.

Number 9:  The Spa at the Hotel Hershey

Hershey Pennsylvania

Hint:  Some of their body treatments involve chocolate!

Number 8:  The Lodge at Woodloch, Pennsylvania

Number 7:  Joya Spa at InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa

Scottsdale, Arizona

Number 6:  Heavenly Spa by Westin

Hilton Head, South Carolina

spa-entranceway

Check your cares at the door at this South Carolina spa.

Number 5:  Montage Resort Spa

Laguna Beach, California

This spa’s “palette of therapies” includes reflexology massage, balancing massage, a symphony in therapies which features two therapists, and togetherness massage allowing “you and your partner to share in blissful relaxation.”

Number 4:  Spa Palazzo at Boca Raton Resort & Club

Boca Raton, Florida

Number 3:  The Spa at Manele at the Four Seasons Resort

Lana’i, Hawaii

Number 2:  Ritz Carlton Orlando Great Lakes

Orlando, Florida 

Number 1:  Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

The Four Seasons, Santa Barbara boasts 11 treatment rooms including four day suites each with a fireplace.  There is a stone therapy massage featuring hot and cold stones.  Their “clear mind” massage uses aromatherapeutic oils such as peppermint, lavender, chamomile and patchouli.

Just say Aaaaahhhh...

Just say Aaaaahhhh…

It was incredibly enjoyable to research these spas and some of their unsuspecting locations.  Keep in mind, these massages range from $135 to $240.  The benefit of going to a spa is that you are able to enjoy their pools, hot tubs, and saunas for the entire day.  It brought back memories of being on my honeymoom with my husband last year in St. Lucia.  We did a couples massage and as far as I’m concerned it was money well spent.  We deserve to treat ourselves.

 

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Photo Gallery: My massage office

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421 W. Plumb Ln.

421 W. Plumb Ln.

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Clean, comfortable environment.

Clean, comfortable environment.

Flannel massage linens for your comfort in the warm and cold months.

Flannel massage linens for your comfort in the warm and cold months.

Waiting area.

Waiting area.

Waiting area.

Waiting area.

Massage by appointment.

Massage by appointment.

Located conveniently on the corner of Plumb Ln. and Plumas St. in Reno.

Located conveniently on the corner of Plumb Ln. and Plumas St. in Reno.

Website or bust.

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WebsiteI have been doing a lot of thinking about starting a website.  I have been brainstorming ideas on what I want it to look like and how I want to represent my small business on the internet.  I am currently researching hosting sites and which ones would be both effective and affordable.  When you don’t have the advantage of meeting with a client face to face, the disadvantage is that they become focused on the superficial aspects of your business.  Is the website attractive?  Is it professional?  Will you post a photo of yourself?

When I search for a business online and find them, but there is no website I get discouraged and skip over that business to continue my search.  If you’re interested in trying a new restaurant, don’t you want to check out their menu?  A sleek, simple design and an easily navigatable website are key to a successful website.

At my previous business, their website had online booking.  It was very successful because it offered an incredibly convenient way to book appointments without having to call and schedule, possibly get the voicemail, and then play phone tag for a couple of days.  I don’t want to discount the simplicity of an appointment book though.  The accessability of being able to schedule appointments without having to “log on” to a website is convenient.  In addition, there is generally a monthly cost for the service.

I think I will start with a simple website where prospective clients can view my prices and contact information.  I like the idea of including client testimonials and photos of my office also.  These multimedia elements add features to the website that make  it unique.

 

Is marketing by mail a thing of the past?

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Look at your dining table or desk.  Is it covered with junk mail?  It is overwhelming how much of our mail consists of bulky, unmanagable junk mail.  If there is a coupon or special offer in there you may want to use, it’s going to require some extensive sifting through piles of pizza ads and furniture store ads.  It can be very distracting.

Everyone who starts a new business wants to get their name out to as many people as possible, as fast as possible, and let’s face it, as inexpensively as possible.  The hope is to notify current clients of your new business name and location and woo back some of your clients that haven’t been in for quite a while.

Upon starting my business I ordered and mailed out about one hundred postcards.  You can order these and personalize them very easily from vistaprint.  I also included a coupon to use toward your first massage–at times it can be inconvenient to follow someone you like from location to location so I offered the coupon as an extra incentive.  The postcards cost about $30.00 and postcard stamps cost about $33.00 plus time addressing each and every one.

About a week after mailing them, the phone calls started trickling in.  I was somewhat stressed about the newly acquired overhead I was paying, so in an attempt to drum up some business I sent out a mass text messageMarketing to about twenty-five clients that I communicate with via text messaging.  I was astonished by the results–I booked four massages that week and a few for the following week.  I offered a discount as a grand opening special and it was well recieved.  These clients not only now know where I’m located, but several of them have referrred their friends to me.  It was at no extra cost to me as unlimited text messaging is included in my cell phone plan.

Taking the leap, and enjoying it.

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leap

In mid-August, I decided to take the leap and open my own massage business.  In the eight years that I have been practicing massage therapy I have worked in many different settings.  I started out at a massage center owned by the same people who own the massage school I attended.  I felt priviledged to be invited by them to work there and jumped at the opportunity to gain the experience.  I didn’t have to do much work to get clients and I knew a lot of the people that I worked with so it was a comfortable environment.

In January I decided to go back to college full time and I struggled with having a flexible enough schedule to accomodate my classes.  I was browsing on craigslist and found an office for rent for a reasonable rate that I knew I could afford.  I went to look at it and it just felt right.  There were a couple of unexpected things like requiring a fairly large cleaning deposit that made me doubt the decision, but I had to go with my gut.  I could see myself working there and I felt that my clients would be comfortable there as well.

It has been exactly a month since I decided to put my fears aside and open my own business and I am so incredibly glad I did.  I am still working on getting my office organized and creating a relaxing environment.  I am also working on getting my confidence up with encouraging clients to reschedule.  I can now schedule my clients around my school schedule and I will hopefully be earning more money now that I am not paying a high commission rate.

The only thing I would change is making this leap a long time ago!

Multimedia Story: “That’s as bad as it gets.”

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For the multimedia story assignment, I chose to read the New York Times article “That’s as bad as it gets.”  The combination of long form journalism and multimedia made this story very powerful.

The story is set in Huntington, Tennessee, at a school.  Huntington is a town two hours from Memphis and two hours from Nashville, hit hard by a downturned economy.  Having no money and double-digit unemployment rates has made many of the people in this story turn to drug abuse and eventually end up in jail.

Perhaps the most effective part of this story is the opening few paragraphs.  It starts with action, and it’s hard to stop reading.  A 14-year old girl named Hannah is caught in the middle of a domestic violence dispute between her parents–torn between not wanting her mother to get hurt and not wanting her father to go to jail.  Either could be devastating to a family already struggling to survive.  The photos of her and her mother in the two bedroom trailer and the broken down car were very powerful.

Hannah

The beacon of light in this story is the Carroll Academy, a school for kids who can’t make it in public school.  The Lady Jaguars is the basketball team that offers the girls hope.  Though they’ve been on and endless losing streak, the coaches truly care and work hard to keep them on track.  The documentary clip, “Hannah’s Story” was a powerful clip that showed the stark reality of what life is like for Hannah.

I grew up in a small town in Hawaii where a lot of my friends got pregnant in high school.  Without the support of their families, they wouldn’t have made it.  Seeing them struggle motivated me to work hard to not end up in their situation.  That seems to be the conflict in this story.  Parents don’t want their children to end up like them, but some cycles are hard to break.

Multimedia Journalism Takeaway.

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blogging

This was the first journalism class I have ever taken and I believe after taking it I have a new appreciation for the field.  I am now able to recognize multimedia elements when watching television, browsing the internet, and using my smart phone.

My multimedia journalism class at Sierra NevadaCollege has progressed quickly over the last few months. We only meet for two hours and forty-five minutes once a week, but we packed so much into those few hours. Our first assignment was to post a photo slideshow on Flickr. Our next assignment was to post an audio recording using a Zoom H2n recorder to Sound Cloud. Our next assignment was to record an audio interview, take a series of photos and combine them to create an audio slideshow to post on Audio Soundslides. The last and final assignment is to take photos, record video, and record an audio interview from which we are going to post the video to You Tube.

These assignments along with weekly blogging on Word Press has given me a crash course on all things multimedia.  I think I enjoyed blogging the most because there were less strict guidelines and allowed me to express my creativity.  The part of the class I enjoyed the least was posting stories from the Eagle’s Eye newspaper online.  I think it’s because it is very deadline focused, making it an unfamiliar realm for me.  However, the more often I did it, the easier it got.  There were a few learning curves that stumped me along the way, but with practice and persistence I prevailed.

I hope that I am able to utilize the skills that I have learned in my daily life as well as in my professional life.  My newly gained knowledge of multimedia journalism will help with personal branding, ensuring greater success in my career as an elementary education teacher.