Friday, September 26, 2008

I just couldn't do it.

Nope, I didn't get my Amazon Rainforest at the MGM Grand Spa after all. I just couldn't justify spending the $280 plus built-in 20% gratuity of $56. I just felt so....irresponsible that I could not do it.

But I do so badly need a massage, so I am getting one tomorrow at Pavia, plus a facial. For the same $336, I am getting an hour massage, an 80-minute facial, and eyebrow and lip wax. And my people are waaaaayyyyyy better than any hotel or resort spa, simply because they cater to locals and we all care that they come back.

I also didn't sleep well in Vegas, for some reason. The lights outside the MGM are an eerie green, and all night long I would toss and turn and stare out the window at them, reflecting on my life. Vegas in general seems like such a hollow place for me now, whereas I used to love love love it! How strange that I've grown out of gambling, drinking, clubbing, partying, and gambling some more.

I used to think nothing of losing $300, back when I was a student and losing just my loan money. Now that I work so hard to earn it, I can't even stomach the thought of putting down $10 for a hand of blackjack......I keep thinking to myself, "$10!! That's a movie! That's 1.5 to 2 hours of entertainment and I would lose it in 2 minutes here!"

Yup, I've become a turnip, for sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vegas, baby!

Well, I flew into Vegas today for business (for my high-tech marketing consulting practice, that is), and am staying at the MGM Grand. I figured, why not avail myself of the spa services here? After all, I haven't ventured out and tried a new place in a while. In fact, I haven't had a treatment since that RIDICULOUSLY GOOD facial Kristine VanTassel gave me at my own spa on Sunday, 9/14. Yup, I'd say that 1 week is too long to go without a good spa treatment. :-)

So, I scheduled an "Amazon Rainforest" ritual tomorrow at the spa here. Can't wait can't wait. Among the other attractions, the spa's web site here plays soothing music. And THIS is how the service is described:

Amazon Rainforest Ritual (100 Minutes)
This healing ritual contains Plantain and Cocoa Powders, and a South American herb called "Una de Gato", used for many years to stimulate the immune system and to reduce inflammation. The rhythmic massage uses Cocoa butter or Passion Flower oil.

But DAMN! It's expensive. It's $280, plus a mandatory 20% tip!! So it's a whopping $336, and do you know how much you could get for that at my spa?!? An hour massage, an hour facial, a Gardener-manicure and a Lavender & Lemongrass pedicure! So, what would buy you 4 hours at Pavia buys you 100 minutes here. Sheesh!! It better be good! I will update later, after I've lost an arm and a leg to the spa.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A facial so good, it was ridiculous!

I had a facial yesterday with Kristine VanTassel, my newest esthetician. It was SO good, it was ridiculous. Ridiculously good. Everything was perfect, her touch, her massage, her extractions, everything, EVERYTHING! I can't say enough about her, I am just so honored to have her on my staff!

FINALLY! An esthetician who is my perfect ten! I know we all have different preferences, but this facial was the closest to my ideal experience that I have ever had. Kristine has IT. I mean, I think all of my esthetics staff have been very good facialists (otherwise they would never have made it through my screening process), but I did not actually audition Kristine because I had my lead esthetician, Sushila, try her out first. Sushila gave her the thumbs up, and I have to agree! Two thumbs, way way up! I wish I had more thumbs, I'd give her 3!

I looked in the mirror this morning and my face was almost glowing. I pretty much did not even have to put makeup on...I had the cleanest pores and the freshest complexion and I was just so thrilled. I am so glad she joined my staff and isn't out there on her own would be HARD to compete with this woman!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Neverending Quest for the Perfect....Massage Lotion?

You would not think that massage lotion would be a difficult thing to settle on at a spa, but believe me, when the egos and opinions of seven different massage therapists are in play, it can become a hornet's nest.

We had been using Soothing Touch for a while, which seemed to be a great choice for both clients and therapists alike, and everything was hunky-dory. And before I went to go and knock everything out of whack, I mayhap should have just asked myself, "If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?" Well, the reason WHY was that Soothing Touch was not organic. It contains such chemicals as Diazolidinyl Urea, a compound that was recently classified as IARC-1 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer - IARC 1 means it is a known human carcinogen - as well as parabens (both methyl and propyl), as well as TEA stearate.

And I'll be damned if all I'm going to do is talk the talk and not walk the walk. That is in no way, shape, or form the kind of person I am. So, I decided to stop getting Soothing Touch and go get Bon Vital. Oh my good Lord, what a hot mess that was. Everybody hated it, saying it was slimy, smelled like old sweat, you name it, that was a complaint about that product. "But it is organic!" I protested. "Well, it's unusable," was the reply.

So I hunted around some more and found a wonderful, all-organic brand called Sacred Earth Botanicals. What a great combination! Vegan massage lotion, only the purest and most natural ingredients in it, and when I got some for the staff to try, they LOVED it! The best of both worlds, right? Well, sort of.

I was afraid they would like it, actually, because that sucker is 45% more expensive than Soothing Touch and twice as expensive as Bon Vital (yes, the sweat-smelling organic lotion). At $54.95 per gallon, this stuff will put me in the poorhouse, so to speak.

Well, what can I say? It's important to me that we use only the best products on our clients, they deserve nothing less than that commitment. If we represent ourselves as an organic spa, then doggone it, we're going to be one, even if my massage lotion costs double. So that's what we did...we've arrived at the end of our quest, we've passed Go a hundred times, we are sipping, at long last, out of our grail.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I am excited that we are going to announce this month that Pavia will be offering BodyTalk Access services. I am so excited about my staff member, Claire Stringer, a BodyTalk Access Technician, performing these services.

Seems like such a simple methodology, just tapping on one's heart and crown chakra, and yet it has done such amazing things for so many people. Claire explained to me that tapping the heart and the crown chakra helps the body "remember" how to heal itself, strengthening the mind-heart connection that gets broken every day through the stress that we modern day human beings incur. Or rather, subject ourselves to, because I think it is a choice.

This morning I got up and heard a frightening thing: Tom Brokaw's voice saying, " least 4 airliners were hijacked, I repeat, at least 4 airliners were hijacked this morning..." I froze while brushing my teeth. Every hair on my arms and the back of my neck stood up. It was like the nightmare was back from 7 years ago, when my husband was in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and I had no idea whether he was dead or alive, and all I could see was a pile of rubble.

I ran outside into the living room and saw that it was a minute-by-minute reliving of 9/11/01. But in that split second before I figured it out, I could feel the stress and adrenaline rushing through me, and I was ready to fight or flee. That was for sure. It just seems that some people spend all their lives in that fight or flight mode - maybe that explains some Yelpers - and of course the mind-heart connection is completely broken.

So if tapping helps it, then I'm all for it. It's completely simple and effective, and you can do it for yourself anytime you want. Now I just want to know if there is a tapping methodology for getting my body to lose weight! ;-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I deleted some posts.

A one-star Yelp review posted by paris h. made me more closely examine my previous posts. She said that I was insulting clients on my blog, and that woke me up because I had never perceived it that way.

But Claire and Sushila, two wonderful members of my staff, got me to see that I was being defensive in my blog. At first, I protested that I had started the blog in the first place to tell the other side of the story, the side that Yelp doesn't allow you to tell, the side that malicious Yelpers also don't mention. Like the fact that they have never visited your spa, for example. I also did it to stand up for my staff, who were insulted in certain Yelp posts and called stupid.

Anyway, when I went back and read the posts, I could see I was being defensive. I could see that I was emotionally charged when I wrote them, and so what I want to say to paris h. from Yelp is: You are right. I was being emotional and unprofessional. Thank you for pointing this out to me. I accept this and I will change.

I realized I was so focused on the unfairness and negativity in the reviews, I was lowering myself to the vibrations of the people who posted them in the first place. And that is not where I want to devote my energy, so thank you for reminding me of that.

And to Claire and Sushila, thank you for sharing your wisdom and opinions with me. I know I have a tendency to shoot the messenger sometimes, so I appreciate your tenacity. See, I do listen!

Thanks for making my newsletter a success!

One of my favorite ways to market to my clientele is via newsletter. I've grown the list to almost 2,500, and have had a great deal of positive feedback about the issues. I don't just ram promos down their throats, because that's not providing anything useful...that's just pandering for business. I take the time to write informative articles about health issues and how spa services address those health issues. I also use the newsletter as a forum where clients can tell me their opinions. If you want to check out past issues, here they are (I am keeping this month's issue a secret because I want to keep the promo for newsletter members only).

August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

That's it.

Well, this past weekend was a joyful one in my family. My brother, Oliver, got married to a wonderful woman named Anika May. Okay, not just Anika May, but Dr. Anika May - she is a first year resident going into Family Practice medicine. The event went off perfectly in Sacramento, CA, and although it was hotter than the 9th circle of hell on 8/29 during the rehearsal, by the time 8/30 (the wedding day) rolled around, it was only 94 degrees out and I barely broke a sweat.

Okay, so this is the part where I said, "That's it, I've had it." Check out this picture of me posing with my new sister-in-law and my first cousin. I look like a beached whale! I am tipping the scales at a whopping 140 or so pounds and for the first time, it shows and I am tired of it. That's it! I'm going on a diet, I am going to stick to it, and I am going to lose 20 pounds. There's nothing like getting your self-esteem steamrolled in a bridesmaid dress to motivate you, huh?