friendship, health

Pampered A-Z

The long awaited getaway weekend had arrived. Schedule conflicts hit hard as the time of departure hit. It took some finagling to get all to work out but that was not without added stress.

The take off was planned for early morning with a distance to drive. All attendees were to meet at the destination vs the previous plan of arriving the night before. This special time with friends was a long weekend planned for my birthday. Lots of unknown surprises and adventures were on the agenda. The list was long but there was a PJs party and sleepover, of course. Plenty of sweets to eat for all. Many giggles with the girls took away any of the pre-travel stresses.

One planned event I knew about was a spa day. However, I knew nothing of the venue nor did I really remember what treats were in store for me at the spa. The check in was detailed. A locker was assigned as well as a fancy robe. The cell phone was tucked away for me to adhere to the cell-phone-free zone. Off we went to a waiting room which was more like a grand foyer with a fresh wood-burning fireplace.

The waiting room ended up being a common area or meeting place for us to exchange stories and socialize in between services. At this point I had no idea how much time I would spend here but it was already amazing at this point. This common area had a snack bar with nuts and water and little refreshers which was a nice treat but the log cabin feel of a living room with the fresh fire added to the ambiance. The lounger chairs were placed on the outer edge of the room for reading: the inner area was a plush leather couch and recliners assembled with care for a little closer seating to chit chat. There were so many ladies in and out.

Moms and adult daughters. Girl groups like ours. It was hard to guess the average age or if there were any patterns of ages. While I might have silently people watched or observed my surroundings on my first visit to the common space,  I didn’t care after my first moment of zen. I had entered a whole new state of ooey gooey relaxation.

I had a massage first. 85 minutes of aroma therapy, oils, hot stones and a medium level touch. It was just delightful. Head to toe relaxation. After a huddle up in the common area one pal headed to sauna. Another to steam room and shower. Two of us opted for the salt cave encounter. This was a first but a one and done. A novelty experience but one I don’t feel I would ever do again. 

Back to the meeting place. This time we shuffled around the corner to a semi-private area for a mini lunch and mimosas. Oh, the treats hit the spot. Grapes for refreshment. Berries to add to the mimosas. Meats and cheeses for protein. A few crackers for crunch and orange slices for some sweet hydration. Some chocolate covered nuts and strawberries, however those were not on my tasting list this time. Each table set up was slightly different in theme making such a cute accent for those gathered for these snack sessions.

Next was the facial. Cute little coverup was worn to allow your arms and shoulders to be free. For yet another massage of sorts. The head. The neck. The face. The shoulders. The arms. The hands. Hydrating massages built into the facial process was beyond amazing, the glow after the service was remarkable. Such a rejuvenating experience.

For this spa had rooms upon rooms. Long hallways. An upstairs and a downstairs. Lots of nooks and crannies. I had never been to such an interesting spa. Many had brought their favorite books for reading in between sessions while others were in small groups chatting away.

I will be back for sure. Another interesting tidbit was there were more males than I expected receiving service however they had their own section for gathering. Oh how I wished to be a fly on the wall in the women-free zone to see their snacks and relaxation stations, now I’m so curious. Maybe I will have to make a phone call to inquire about the difference.

Today was a great time with friends but the most pampering I have ever had. Not sure if it was the time, the kinship, the services or the combination but I will cherish the experience. I chose to write about this day for many reasons.

One day I may want to reflect on this day with valued friends.

One day I may not be fortunate enough to receive these kind of services this I would want the detailed memories to relive the moment in my mind.

One day I will want my daughter to read my recap for her to understand how she should value self-care.

And for today, anyone reading along who may not ever experience this bliss, I want to share my experience virtually. Not for a bragging type experience rather for an experience to daydream about what can be someday.

Dreaming big is an important part of my life. I live for new experiences and opportunities. If I never had things to look forward to I would remain stagnant. My hope for readers is to reach for those days ahead that seem impossible for I know one can always reach beyond to get what they are willing to work hard or push for.

adventure

Going Dutch

My daughter and I recently hit the road and headed to Texas.

It wasn’t too far into our trip that I declared “I don’t want to eat at any chains on this trip.”

If you’ve followed the Chicks for a while, you know we try to support local and small businesses as often as we can, so no chains seems right up that alley. But it was early the next morning when I had to add an asterisk to my “no chains” rule. I made exceptions for chains that didn’t have locations anywhere near our home. And so, bright and early, I started a trek to a coffee chain I had heard about called Dutch Bros.

Dutch Bros. is one of those chains with a cult following. There are secret menus. Collectible sticker days. IYKYK kind of stuff. Thankfully, at 5:30 am there was no line, so I had plenty of time to quiz the bubbly young woman at the order window.

I’ve weaned myself from coffee sweeteners and even cream for the most part, so this would be a treat. My favorite holiday drink is a peppermint mocha, so I ended up with a Dutch Bros. toasted peppermint bliss cold brew. My second drink was an Americano with soft top. If none of these make sense, check out the Dutch Bros. website. I also accidentally ended up with a hazelnut truffle mocha.

All were deeee-lish. Positive messages on the windows and the drink tops. And the woman at the window was a total gem! Win all around.

Yes, it was a chain, but still something completely new and different. Get out and explore and try new things, wherever you may be!

adventure

Surprise Adventures

Alarm set: 5 am. I did not want to wake up on a Sunday sleep in day at this hour. Quick shower to wake up. Reality hits. Starbucks isn’t open yet. Arrived at the planned meeting spot for 6 am. Party of six women off to adventure the unknown. Two know the plan. Four only know it’s a surprise. A packing list was assigned. Car shuffle occurred. 2 cars head out with random people assigned to each. Off we go. Oh wait I forgot to lock the car. Back we go and the caravan is broken immediately. Are we lost? 

We are not exactly lost but we are a bit behind. Glad we went back to grab my purse as I had left the car unlocked. Potty break in car two. The car that started out behind added to their delay. It’s about an hour into travel,   And we just completed our first car ride activity. Mad libs virtual edition. We each filled in the blanks and did a FaceTime chat to share answers and giggles. One might have been raunchy while the other one family appropriate.

Now the downpour starts. Visibility is low in the car. Our activities are supposed to be outside. Will we survive the weather?  The packing list called for a poncho and change of clothes. Who actually planned to use them? First stop was breakfast and the coffee art was a big hit. The food was good too, but the coffee art won me over.

Off we go to the next stop. Lula Lake, Tennessee was the destination spot. Only open a few days a month to the public and we were on the list for today.

The first view was the mini falls into a nice pooling area. The picture doesn’t really do it justice but it was breathtaking in person. As we left this area the downpour came. It was like buckets and buckets of rain drops. We were drenched but it added to the fun of the day.

The main event was the big water fall. It was beautiful from the top with the mist and the fog but the real amazing view was at the bottom. A little wet from the rain but the mist of the falls sprayed you when you were up close. It was an experience to say the least.

A lot of wet fun was had on the hike but we then ventured off to the park for a cute fall picnic. Thank you to Trader Joe’s, a ton of fall delights that we all grazed on. Some pumpkin spice hummus, a tasty charcuterie tray, everything but the bagel chips, pickles, moist cinnamon bun cookies, pumpkin white chocolate brownies, nuts, pumpkin flavored seeds, green goddess dip, pumpkin granola bark, cranberry chicken salad, spinach and kale yogurt dip, chocolate almond spread, crackers and so many more treats. It was a feast of sorts in the park. I am so ready for my next picnic. Anyone can make the best of a cloudy day. 

Hopefully you are not hungry after reading this but I am in a food coma thus I must end this post right here.

health, healthy hacks

Just Breathe

Such a simple statement: just breathe.

There are many times now-a-days I think about this simple statement. In the morning when my coach programs deep breathing in my warmup. It’s almost a time to put me back to sleep but it doesn’t. It settles my mind. It gets me ready for the crazy day ahead. Just simple breathing.

Then I think about the many I know near and far struggling with their breathing. Just breathe is hard for them. They could be having issues with Covid or they could be just aging or they could be dealing with an asthma flare up. Just breathe for them takes on a totally different meaning than my just breathe in the morning.

Then there is deep inhale and long exhale of breathing I do in times of stress. When the calendar is full to max capacity. When everyone needs you in different places at the same time. When life is crazy amidst a pandemic. When you need to make choices. Just breathe. It’s simple but not so simple.

On days like today I take a few minutes to breathe in and breathe out. Appreciating each breath for what it is. An opportunity. A chance to take on a new day. For me the fresh air breathing outside is much more appreciated than indoor but some days I take what I can get.

Don’t underestimate the value of breathing. It can be therapeutic. If done calmly with purpose and thought it can be a reset button of sorts. Just breathing has hidden values.

Take a walk in in the park and inhale the scents, exhale the worries of life.

Sit in your yard and listen to the birds chirp while you inhale and exhale.

Take a trip to the mountains and breathe the crisper mountain air. Exhale the toxins of the city hustle and bustle.

If you are near the the ocean, enjoy calm breathing with the mist of the sea. Exhale any negativity in your life.

Go to your special place. Close your eyes. Just breathe. Remember a loved one. Cherish memories while you breathe in and out. Just breathing slowly with purpose allows up time to enjoy the simplicity of breathing and reflection.

Just breathe. Just breathe as you wait for the big news you are anxious about. Just breathe as you stress about the days ahead. Just breathe as you tackle the the new you that’s on the horizon. Just breathe. It’s simple enough but sometimes we all need that reminder to just breathe through it all.

I’ll leave you with this clip of my morning routine today. Give simple breathing a shot for five minutes. Let me know how this 5 minutes of your day worked to your advantage.

dare to be different

New Ink

Fresh.

Colorful.

Memorable.

Designed with detail.

My body is a temple. A place of art. Unique as the person living under the skin. My ink tells a story or many stories. Some inked pieces are linked or overlapped while others stand alone in their storyline. Some are colored some are not.  Some fade while others stand firm. Some hurt more than others.

Tattoos are interesting. For some tattoos carry judgment on the person adorning them while others are curious about tattoos. Did that hurt? Why would you get that? You do know that is permanent? If god wanted you to have markings he would have gifted them at birth. I have heard them all. I have also shared my tattoo stories to many time and time again. Some show excitement. Some say now I get it. Others say no way. Some conversations ignite a passion to finally get a tattoo. A first for so many.

My body, my choice. My temple, my art. This newest piece is symbolic. I’ve been waiting for a while post-pandemic to get an appointment first of all. Then the timing just fell into place. An anniversary date. A symbol of growth. A unique piece of art. Plastered on my arm. Worn with pride. A reminder of so much. I just love my newest ink piece.

I was lucky enough to share my ink experience with a few gals. We laughed. We took pictures. We marked the spot so to speak.  We met some cool people. I should mention that all walks of life get tattoos and just visiting a tattoo shop is an experience that I encourage. From couples to moms and daughters to those celebrating another’s life are all at the shop for a unique piece of art. The tattoo artist creating that perfect image.

Years of inspiration will be drawn from this inked art as I push through life’s ups and downs. When I am old and wrinkled I will know I have lived my life to the fullest and captured moments or highlights on my canvas to share with others. These memories of life have value to me. The perfect keepsake.

I wasn’t even five minutes from the tattoo parlor when I was asked about my fresh ink. The placement was perfect. The design was just what I wanted. The coloring was spot on. The timing was right. My story continues. My ink will continue to evolve just like me.