Touched by a Spa Angel

The comfort of my own home was the perfect place to celebrate Mother’s Day when I spent an evening of customized, healthful pampering with two young entrepreneurs.

Former Santa Barbara High School students Monique Rodriguez and Billi Jo Starr brought their Spa Angels company and its customized spa packages to give my daughter Elizabeth and me a full evening of relaxation and well-deserved mother-daughter bonding.

Our treatments included energy work with equipment that implemented Phytobiodermie, which uses three types of proprietary state-of-the art equipment designed to provide a specific range of physical and energetic results. The sophisticated light therapy machine uses dichroic filters for rebalancing and healing. We had invigorating, yet relaxing massages and non-surgical facelift facials through light therapy.

Before reuniting to form their company last August, Monique and Billi Jo split off after high school. Monique, 26, spent lots of her time overseas working for Aspen Spa Management, an international spa consulting company. She was technical director for Phytobiodermie in Casablanca, Morocco, was head trainer for the opening of a spa at the Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul, Turkey and also spent stints in Europe.

“It was a really great time in my life,” Monique recalls.

In 2005, Monique returned to Montecito and took a job with DeeDee Wickman at the Skin Care Institute, on Coast Village Road, where she’d worked during high school.

“She really inspired me from the beginning to have my own company and be a female entrepreneur,” Monique says of DeeDee.

Billi Jo is a graduate of Women’s Economic Ventures, the female-oriented entrepreneurial organization. She’s worked at STW, a financial investment firm, and had her own catering company, Mango.

On August 3, 2006, Monique and Billi Jo merged their respective backgrounds and incorporated Spa Angels. They specialize in coordinating and orchestrating events, coming to clients’ homes to throw anything from a bridal shower to a pre-Oscar Hollywood party. They provide customized spa packages, make food arrangements and take care of the decorations. Every event is preceded by a one-on-one consultation.

At a bridal party last weekend, for instance, the clients requested a pink theme. Monique and Billi Jo provided pink robes and drapings and reinterpreted the motif throughout the evening with pink cake and fresh salad with strawberries. Also on hand for the 11 guests were a massage therapist, a pedicurist and manicurist and an esthetician, all of whom are licensed experts that the girls hire specially for any event.

“The most important part is that Billi and I have fun,” says Monique.

During the pampering session at my house, tables were set up in two different areas of the house. I also had chroma-lift (non-surgical facelift) treatments such as acupressure and color therapy, which is recognized for its positive, energy-rebalancing effects.

High-quality color light is applied to specific points and energy centers of the face and body in a procedure that is found to be effective in beauty and wellness treatments. The appropriate color of light is coupled with lymphatic drainage that plays a significant role in maintaining health and beauty of the complexion. Lymphatic drainage, a non-invasive treatment, has long been a standard part of the European beauty regime because it helps the lymphatic system function more efficiently by facilitating toxin removal, improving skin circulation and promoting toning of the skin.

At 7:30 pm, we gathered in my kitchen in our comfy robes and sat around a table set and fully prepared with a feast. Included in the evening’s menu was a customized dinner of organic foods prepared by local chef John Paul Luvanvi (Billi Jo’s fiancé) and a lecture on nutritional benefits for a healthy body.

Dinner included: iced, fresh watermelon juice for hydrating and refreshing effect with minerals; warm vine tomato gazpacho with baked spaghetti squash with tarragon and fennel balsamic; quinoa salad with white corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, black beans and basil with New Zealand lamb loin and grilled asparagus. For dessert, tofu flan and braised ginger reduction.

It was tasty. But the best part was drifting off to sleep in complete relaxation and knowing that my kitchen was clean.

For more information about Spa Angels call, 805-570-3262 and visit