Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Little Slice of Relaxation in the Middle of My Family Vacation

For those of you who don't have kids, you probably think of vacation as a time to relax. For those of with kids, vacation can be as much work (or more) than our actual jobs. I love my kids, but they can be a real handful. And when we're all holed up together for hours in the minivan and then in a hotel room, it can be almost too much togetherness. So I was really excited to find out that there was easy spa access on my most recent family vacation.

We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, KS. It's a super fun hotel and huge indoor/outdoor water park. The kids, of course, had a blast, and I enjoyed a few trips down the Triple Twist water slide myself. But my mom and I did manage to sneak in pedicures at the on-site Elements Spa Salon. It was a small, but nice little Aveda Concept spa, that offered facials, mani/pedis and massages. (I wish I had scheduled in a massage after running after my kids all day, although I did sneak in some time at the adults-only hot tub in the water park.) There was a small relaxation room for waiting. I was offered water, but they didn't have tea or snacks available. My nail technician did a good job on the pedicure. My feet felt super smooth and my polish looked great. (I went with OPI Strawberry Margarita.) They carried mainly OPI. I think I saw one Essie polish.

They also have a Scoop Kids Spa for 4-12 year olds. I have boys, so I really don't know what to think about the whole kids spa thing. For pre-school and even young elementary kids it seems a little weird to me, but I can't really explain why. And I have to admit that I have painted my 4-year old son's nails quite a bit. He thinks it looks cool, and he really doesn't think of it as being a girl thing. He go for the blue or green polishes though.

Anyway, I would definitely give my experience a thumbs up.I think it's great that the Great Wolf Lodge provides a place to take a break amidst all of the buzz and craziness of the family activities. And next time I will make sure to schedule a massage!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My New Favorite Hand Cream: love + toast

I don't have a lot of time to post this week. Going on a short trip with the fam, and somehow I have managed to misplace my swimsuit. Maddening!

Anyway, I did want to give a quick review of the love + toast gin blossom hand cream I picked up the other day. I saw this at a local shop and the packaging was so cute that I couldn't resist. And I'm glad I didn't. The scent is great but not overpowering. I have to say that I love a good G&T, so I loved this combination of gin with a nice floral scent. This cream is also nicely moisturizing without being overpowering. Only downside is that it doesn't have any SPF. I really don't know why all hand creams don't have SPF. When I am the ruler of the world, they will! Actually, I've been using my facial moisturizer with SPF on my hands, and I have been using this cream to refresh my feet before I go to yoga class. There are some other great scents, like Sugar Grapefruit and Mandarin Tea, that I'd love to try out too. Also, love + toast supports Girls, Inc., which provides vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Love that!

OK, now I'm off to buy a new swimsuit. Ugh!

P.S. Thanks to The Simply Luxurious Life for the link to A Spa Life in her newsletter. Make sure and get on her mailing list!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Don't Want No Scrubs

Ok, the title of my post is a little harsh. But when I saw a post on Daily Beauty Reporter about the importance of body scrubs if you want celebrity-style glowing skin, it reminded me that I've been neglecting my exfoliation. Courtney over at Beauty to the People mentioned recently that even though she's a beauty editor, she never uses masks. So I think we all have our beauty steps that we prefer to skip. Mine is the body scrub.

I actually own the Soap & Glory Body Scrub pictured above. And really it's a pretty good scrub. It comes in a super-cute package, has a nice scent and seems to do the job. But I still almost never take the time to use it. I guess I just don't feel like my skin is that desperately in need of being scrubbed, although I am probably wrong about that.

If you do love a good body scrub, which one do you love? Fresh Brown Sugar and Origins Ginger seem to get a lot of press. I do love the smell of the Origins Ginger.

What beauty steps do you read about but never get around to actually doing?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spa Envy: Umstead Hotel and Spa

I just saw Travel + Leisure's list of the Top 50 Large City Hotels. A bunch of these are in my old stomping grounds and favorite city Chicago. Of course, I haven't stayed at any of these great hotels. I really should work on that!

I'm sure many of these hotels have great spas, but the only one listed as a hotel and spa was Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina. It is described as a:

"Tranquil property with art-filled public spaces on 12 wooded acres, minutes from downtown Raleigh. The outdoor pool backed by pin oaks and a three-acre lake resembles an Alpine spa."

I really never have any reason to be in North Carolina, but I may have to go anyway.

Have any of you had a chance to stay at any of the great hotels listed on Travel + Leisure?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bath and Body Deals

Here are some coupons and deals that will help you relax even if you're trying to be a frugalista:

  • Time to Spa has 20% off the entire site with the code SAVE20. They carry some great brands like Bliss, GoSmile and Elemis. 
  • The Body Shop has buy two get one free on their Body Butters. I may get Mango (a classic), Japanese Cherry Blossom (recommended by Vogue), and Love, etc. (just like the name).
  • Check out Crabtree and Evelyn's online outlet. They have up to 75% off some of their great products, including value size lotions and shower gels for $15.
  • Some of the coveted (by me) items currently on sale at Sephora include the Caudalie Spa in a Box, CLEAN Warm Cotton Gift Set, and the Bliss I Like Big Butter and I Cannot Lie Duo.
 If you know of any great deals that I've missed, let me know. Happy bargain hunting!