Body-Mind Connection

UCSB Campus Bluffs, painting by Chris Potter.

UCSB Campus Bluffs, painting by Chris Potter.

BMCA somatic movement conference focuses on embodiment and brain research, with an indigenous education element

By Leslie Dinaberg

Monday, August 5, 2019 – 10:15

Santa Barbara, CA

Bringing together more than 70 presenters from around the world, the Body-Mind Centering Association (BMCA) presents its 34th annual interdisciplinary laboratory, research and workshop conference at UC Santa Barbara August 6-11.

brooke smiley.  Photo by Peter Aguilar.

brooke smiley.  Photo by Peter Aguilar.

Hosted by brooke smiley, a lecturer in the Department of Theater and Dance, this somatic movement conference features an array of workshops, panel discussions, presentations and performances. The theme, “Self and Other,” reflects the conference emphasis on the evolving indigenous embodiment in relation to dance, song and land.

“I wanted to create a focus on what it means to value our differences and also bring focus to our interconnectedness,” said smiley.

She anticipates approximately 130 participants at the conference, which is open to the public. “It’s interesting because we have a lot of people from different realms: science, dance, academia, choreographers, dancers, therapists and infant movement development specialists,” smiley said. “Movement research takes a lot of different forms out in the world. As host, I’ve been able to be supported in bringing a focus to an indigenous educational awareness about the land here, specifically before UC Santa Barbara was here, and the dances and the songs that came from the bodies in relationship to this land.”

With that awareness in mind, the Friday, Aug. 9 plenary session led by smiley, titled “Embodying Land in Dance and Song: Addressing Decolonization in Indigenous Ceremony and Performance,” includes a panel from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. An indigenous dance artist herself, smiley was recently named a 2019/2020 Advancing Indigenous Performers Fellow by the Western Arts Alliance, a program made possible by a lead grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Among the conference highlights:

• A two-part presentation by BMCA founder and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. “Engaging Self and Other through Embodiment, Part I” will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10. Part II will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.

• 2019 Guggenheim Scholar Ann Cooper Albright’s two-part “Cultivating the 3R’s: Responsiveness, Resistance, Resilience” (Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 7 at 9 a.m. ). Cooper is professor and chair of dance at Oberlin College.

• Two evenings of dance performances (Aug. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m.) in 1151 Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Admission is free.

Founded in 1985, the BMCA is a professional organization dedicated to exploring, sharing and expanding body-mind centering work. Members reside around the world, including the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Additional conference details and registration information is available at A complete schedule of events can be found at

Originally published in the UCSB Current on August 5, 2019.

Mind, Body, Soul

Mind, Body and Soul, published in 805 Living, July/August 2019.

Click here to read these stories as they appeared in 805 Living magazine, July/August 2019. 805 Living MBS Jul-Aug 2019

SB County Food Action Plan Meeting

Come to a free community listening and activation session on Wednesday, October 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library (40 E. Anapamu St.) where participants will explore the vision, progress and next steps planned for the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. This is a great opportunity to share what your neighborhood, business, or organization is doing, and connect with others engaged in making a secure food system for our county.

Come learn about the goals of the plan and hear about successes from the organizations and individuals actively pursuing these goals. Attendees, including individuals, businesses, schools, and organizations of all types, will also be encouraged to inform the process by sharing about their own regional work to create a more secure, sustainable food system. A networking session will provide time to seek out new partnerships and opportunities to support each other.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 24, 2017.


Cocktail Corner: 7th Annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival

Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, courtesy photos.

Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, courtesy photos.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years, but the 7th  Annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival (SBFF) is coming up this weekend and it looks like it’s going to be even better than ever. For those of you who’ve never attended, SBFF is an annual gathering that showcases the history, benefits, and preparation of fermented foods while encouraging attendees to learn, engage, share, eat and drink!

Touted as “every bit as fun as it is healthy,” SBFF features four stages offering hands-on fermentation experiences, educational panels and presentations, tastings, live music and more. New this year are DIY Fermentation Stations, “so the whole family can make ferments and enjoy the endless activities on our festival schedule,” say festival Co-Founders Lynn Hartman and Katie Hershfelt. “Get there early and plan to stay all day.”

Exhibitors  include a number of food artisans, brewers and health experts including brewLAB, Biomic Sciences/RESTORE, Wild at Heart Ojai, Fermentality and others. Do-It-Yourself fermentation stations will offer lacto-fermentation recipes including cherry tomato bombs, sweet lipstick peppers, carrot coins and spiced squash pickles. Expert panelists will discuss the latest research around gut health, the microbiome and childhood development, among other critical topics. A complete list of panelists can be found here.

My personal favorite section, the Farm-to-Bar, will feature extended hours to sample locally made adult beverages from more than 40 purveyers, including:

  • 101 Cider House
  • Ascendant Spirits
  • Boochcraft
  • brewLAB
  • Captain Fatty’s Brewery
  • Cutler’s Artisan Spirits
  • Draughtsmen Aleworks
  • Farm to Bar
  • Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
  • Lama Dog Tap Room + Bottle Shop
  • Leashless Brewing Company
  • Libertine Brewing Company
  • Martian Ranch & Vineyard
  • Smoke Mountain Brewery
  • Telegraph Brewing Company
  • Test Pilot
  • The Apiary Meadery and Ciderworks
  • The Good Lion
  • Third Window Brewing Company
  • Valley Brewers
  • Ventura Independent Beer Enthusiasts
  • Wylde Honey Wines
  • and more!

This year’s festival will be held on Sunday, September 10, at Rancho La Patera & Stow House (304 N. Los Carneros Rd.) in Goleta from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are available at

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 8, 2017.

A Day Away: The Oaks at Ojai

Healthy spa cuisine at the Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Healthy spa cuisine at the Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Looking for a bit of spring cleaning for the mind, body and soul? The Oaks at Ojai (122 E. Ojai Ave.) is a great place to refresh and recharge your spirit any time of the year. I had a girlfriend getaway for a few days last fall and was pleasantly surprised and charmed at every turn.

Spring is an even better time to visit The Oaks, as April in Ojai brings special celebrations to honor the Pixie Tangerine, a special orange orb grown only in that area. In prior years, The Oaks’s guests have devoured more than 7,000 sweet, seedless Pixies during Pixie month. Expect to find special deals on tangerine tints and scents everywhere this time of year.

The Oaks at Ojai is a great spot for a getaway with friends, courtesy photo.

The Oaks at Ojai is a great spot for a getaway with friends, courtesy photo.

The Oaks is first and foremost a health spa, offering an all-inclusive healthy fitness and weight loss program with up to 15 optional fitness classes every day; hikes; three surprisingly tasty calorie-conscious meals per day, plus snacks and beverages; an on-site health advisor; evening activities and wellness lectures; and complete use of all resort facilities.

Fitness classes are a key component of the packages at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Fitness classes are a key component of the packages at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Other than spa treatments (which are included with some of the package deals), you won’t have to open your wallet for anything additional at The Oaks. Everything is included, which makes it a perfect time to try out new types of fitness classes. In just a couple of days, I was able to take classes in yoga, aqua cardio, Qigong, stretching, Zumba, aqua tone,Pilates and world grooves dance. Hiking, cardio/sculpting, balance, ballet/barre, dance Beliu and ball & band toning are also offered, along with other classes. There’s also a pool and a nicely outfitted weight room, for those who can’t get enough fitness!

A complete menu of spa treatments is available at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

A complete menu of spa treatments is available at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

The pampering side of the spa experience is also well done, with a nice steam room and sauna available, as well as any spa treatment your heart desires. I had an excellent Skin Authority Signature Facial, as well as a pedicure that lasted several weeks beyond my spa experience.

Fresh local ingredients are on the menu at The Oaks at Ojai, including Pixie Tangerines, which are only grown in the Ojai area. Courtesy photo.

Fresh local ingredients are on the menu at The Oaks at Ojai, including Pixie Tangerines, which are only grown in the Ojai area. Courtesy photo.

The food was also surprising tasty. Quinoa was once a dirty word in our house, but after trying Chef Christine Denney’s clever incarnations, I’m hooked and have tried several ideas from her Recipes From the Heart cookbook. All in all, the 1,200- 1,500-calorie-per-day menu was balanced and tasty, inspired by an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein featuring wild fish and poultry, all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Sure, my friend and I brought in our own wine to reward ourselves at night after all of those exercise classes, but it wasn’t because we were actually hungry!

The Oaks at Ojai is located right on the main drag in Ojai, within walking distance of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. Courtesy photo.

The Oaks at Ojai is located right on the main drag in Ojai, within walking distance of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. Courtesy photo.

An active and inspiring presence at the resort is founder Sheila Cluff, an internationally known fitness expert who created cardiovascular dance in the 1950s, later known as “Aerobics,” and pioneered the concept of the modern destination spa in the 1970s. Now an 80-year-old mother of four and grandmother of seven, Cluff still leads some of the brisk morning walks and hikes at The Oaks and absolutely embodies the lifestyle she teaches.

Cluff has said that she created the retreat to fit the needs of women over 40, and we certainly make up the bulk of the clientele these days. That’s not to say that all ages (and men) are not welcome. The Oaks at Ojai is truly a great place for a girlfriend getaway, but the spa’s approach is casual and welcoming to all, as well as affordable and fun. Plus the charming 1920s Spanish Mission Revival-style hotel fits right in with the artsy laid-back vibe of the town and is right on the main drag of Ojai, within walking distance to boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. It’s an excellent place to regenerate or spring clean your mind, body, and spirit.  

Leslie Dinaberg

The Oaks at Ojai, 122 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, 800/753-OAKS (6257),

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Style File: Natura Bissé’s Pure Air = Pure Bliss

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Bacara Resort & Spa (8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta) recently added Spanish cosmetics brand Natura Bissé to its world-class 42,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, and as a special treat, had a pop-up appearance of Natura Bissé’s infamous Bubble Pure Air last week.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to be the “girl in the plastic bubble,” and my facial was amazing! The bubble creates an exclusive place to perform treatments where according to a company spokeswoman, “the air guests breathe is 99,995 percent pure. The exclusive experience allows spa goers to immerse themselves in a serene environment filled with soft aromatic notes that take guests on an exquisite journey to well-being. It is a singular experience, providing exceptional results that rejuvenate and purify.”

I have to agree: it felt great and my skin has never looked better!

Established in Barcelona, Natura Bissé has become a worldwide success in the cosmetics industry as one of the fastest growing beauty companies with a strong commitment to research and innovation. The Bacara has launched a new treatment line and service menu with Natura Bissé, with special pop-up appearances of the Bubble Pure Air, so stay tuned for your chance to be the next girl (or guy) in the bubble.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2016.


Style File: Five New Skin Care Habits for Fall

Courtesy Sebamed

Courtesy Sebamed

Changing seasons call for a few change-ups in our beauty routine. Dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum recommends incorporating these five habits into your daily ritual for a smooth, soft transition into fall.

1. Switch Cleansers.

Start with the basics – If you’ve been using a shine control cleanser (or skating by with a bar of soap), make the switch to a more hydrating, soap-free cleanser. Coconut oil-based cleansers like Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam are one of the most effective moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients, and act as antibacterial active ingredient that removes bacteria to prevent the formation of new pimples. (

Editor’s Note: Another one to try is “Kate Middleton’s favorite cleanser,” Karin Herzog Professional Cleansing, a gentle cleansing gel and makeup remover in one.

2. Don’t Stop Using Sunscreen.

Don’t be fooled by lower temperatures. Cover exposed skin with sunscreen, just as you would in the summer. UV rays are just as strong when hitting the slopes or walking in the rain as they are on the beach. Applying sunscreen daily is the easiest way to prevent sun damage, protect your skin, and not to mention – look younger. Try using products that offer Broad-Spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, and have a SPF of 30 or greater.

Editor’s Note: Check out this post on Double Duty Sunscreen Solutions.

3. Move to a Heavier Night Cream.

Recover and restore your skin after a long summer with a heavier night cream like Sebamed Anti-Dry Night Intensive Cream which works to protect, smooth, calm and regenerate the skin without clogging pores. The intensive and rich properties of this Night Cream stimulate the skin’s own renewal process overnight for fresher skin by morning. The pH value of 5.5 promotes the skin’s own acid protective barrier against dehydration and irritants. (

Editor’s Note: Here’s a Total Beauty survey of the 16 Best Night Creams.

4. Exfoliate Flaky Skin.

In the summer, we don’t need to exfoliate often. As temperatures cool, practice exfoliating once a week to keep dry flaky skin from shedding around the nose and chin. Select a soft facial scrub (those made with rice bran are less rough) that also uses naturally hydrating ingredients like avocado, coconut or almond oils to avoid excessive dryness and irritation. Immediately following, moisturize with balancing night cream.

Editor’s Note: Exfoliation is key for so many skin issues. We recently tried, and really liked, the Suki Resurfacing Enzyme Peel.  This resurfacing masque is effective from the inside out (it treats the source, not just the symptoms) and the outside in (it treats the surface signs like redness, acne, dryness, etc.). (

Courtesy Uni K Wax Center

Courtesy Uni K Wax Center

5. Maximize Moisture in the Shower.

Our skin loses water to radiator heat and dry air all day long. Replenish and balance moisture content by using a hydrating body wash and lotion every time you shower, like Sebamed Anti-Dry Derma-Soft Wash Emulsion and Hydrating Body Lotion. To prevent dry, crackly, irritated skin, pat (don’t rub) skin dry after a hot shower and apply a moisturizer within 3 minutes to seal in hydration. (

Editor’s Note: We also like Uni K’s Ultimate Balm made with Green Tea and Cucumber to restore hydration to thirsty skin. It’s infused with cucumbers, a natural hydrator and green tea, chock full of antioxidants to ward off environmental toxins, as well as rice extracts to help retain the skin retain moisture.  (

 —Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 16, 2014.

Glow in the Park Benefit for Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine

Glow in the ParkJust when you think we’ve had every kind of fundraiser you can imagine, someone comes up with something new. This time the creative group is Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free, volunteer medical care for the homeless and underserved population in Santa Barbara.

Adventurous participants will assemble atop Elings Park to take healthcare to new heights on September 13. Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM) invites the community to take part in an extraordinary experience, right in their backyard. The evening includes a memorable tethered hot air balloon rides, for those who attend the reception, as well as a relaxing meal overlooking the ocean before a dance party amongst the stars.

The evening commences at 4:30 p.m. with an exclusive VIP reception, complete with tethered hot air balloon rides, hors d’oeuvres, and bar. Hosts will be given the special opportunity to thank generous sponsors in an intimate setting as all prepare for the spirited evening ahead.

Glow in the Park opens to all members of the community at 6 p.m. where a gourmet, custom catered field dinner accompanied by signature drinks will be served. Several glowing hot air balloons will illuminate the celebration as the sun begins to set and dinner is savored.

The evening will continue with an AfterGlow dance party with a performance by Hollywood U2, a Los Angeles-based rock band known for their likeness to U2! A heavenly dessert bar paired with Champagne will bring the evening to its peak.

DWW-SBSM saves valuable community resource by providing free, humanitarian medicine for the most vulnerable in the Santa Barbara community. There is a communal understanding of the importance of taking responsibility for our neighbors. “[To combat homelessness] can’t be a cookie cutter approach, and it must be collaborative,” states Mayor Helene Schneider. “We are unique when it comes to our philanthropic community. I like to tease that there are only two degrees of separation in Santa Barbara.” It is this closeness that the DWW-SBSM team relies upon to enable their continued service to the underserved.

“We hope you’ll join us for this special evening in honor of the volunteer doctors in our community, in order to further the essential care that they provide,” invites DWW-SBSM Executive Director, Maria Long. “We are so fortunate to live in such an engaged and enthusiastic community!”

For more information on DWW-SBSM visit For more information on Glow in the Park or to reserve your tickets, please visit

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 3, 2014.

Style File: Staycation Day at the Bacara Spa

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Our summer days are dwindling—at least according to local school calendars—which makes this a perfect time for a staycation day at our very own Bacara Resort & Spa.

I recently enjoyed the heavenly Signature Barbor SeaCreation Facial, an amazing treatment that “unites the elements—Ocean, Sun, Earth and Atmosphere—to refine pores and heal sun-damaged skin.” It was lovely. According to the literature, “utilizing precious extracts of exclusive microorganisms found in the depths of the sea, this treatment is designed for those who want to see a dramatic improvement in their skin while indulging in a strategically choreographed stress relieving massage.”

I don’t know if it was the repairing antioxidants, vitamin c, hyaluronic acid and organic seaweed extracts; the healing fingers of my lovely therapist; or just the rare treat of a quiet Sunday of complete rest, relaxation and pampering, but my skin has never looked better. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from this treatment benefits the Gaviota Coast Conservancy.

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

The Bacara recently revamped its entire spa and wellness program to include an oceanview rooftop terrace for open-air massages, a self-applied marine Mud Bar, and two private lounge areas for European sunbathing and relaxation. In addition, there are a variety of new European and locally-inspired spa treatments including the signature BABOR SeaCreation Facial that I had.

Other popular services include the Organic Bliss facial (“50/80 mins Committed to planting a tree for every product sold, this facial by Eminence Organic is ideal for those deeply committed to the health of our planet. Only the freshest, most natural antioxidants, vitamins and enzyme-rich ingredients are combined to nourish and restore the skin to a new level of beauty and health.”), the Citrus Avocado Polish (“50 mins This invigorating exfoliation uses mineral salt blended with oils of avocado, orange, lemon and tangerine rind and is followed by a warm Swiss shower. Includes a shea butter lotion application.”) and the ExFoleyation (“50 mins Out of the Foley wine tasting room and into the spa, this gentle exfoliation with grape seed extracts is followed by a mineral and antioxidant rich grape seed body butter wrap designed to quench and hydrate the skin to a new level of suppleness.”).

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

The Spa Café is also delicious. We tried the edamame dumplings, which were fabulous (and healthy!), as was the soba noodle soup made with rock shrimp, asparagus, snow peas and enoki mushrooms. They also have a full menu of customizable smoothies, as well as a nice selection of breakfast and lunch items.

For more information about The Spa at Bacara (8301 Hollister Ave.) including a complete list of services and amenities, visit For reservations, call 877/935-8415 or email

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 27 2014.

Free Screening of “Dislecksia: The Movie” and Q & A with Filmmaker Harvey Hubbell

DIS-400x600_R3Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 individuals, and Harvey Hubbell (who has dyslexia) is spreading the word across the nation that dyslexia is a difference, not a disability. The award-winning independent filmmaker screens his well-reviewed film, Dislecksia: The Movie at a special appearance at Santa Barbara High School on Friday, January 17 at 7 p.m. (700 E. Anapamu St.).

The event is FREE to the public and is the only Central Coast showing scheduled during Hubbell’s West Coast tour. A Q & A session will follow the film.

The film explores the issue of learning differences that are widely misunderstood, and the reason for much difficulty in school; due to increasing research and technological advances, these differences can be handled in a positive way  when there’s greater awareness and understanding.

The event is sponsored by the Santa Barbara School District, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, The Kirby Jones Family Foundation and The Dyslexia Project. Spanish interpretation will be available.

For more information email

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 13, 2014.