Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the shower with LaLicious and Sothys

Sothys will make your bath or shower seem like a spa with their Aroma-Sothys body care line. I tried the scrub and shower gel and now I'm in love with the spicy yet relaxing scents of these products.

I grab my loofah and liberally apply the Energizing Shower gel. The hot water mixes with the eucalyptus, cardamom, nutmeg and neroli essential oils and suddenly my tiny shower becomes an aromatherapy chamber. The smell is amazing!

The Delicious Scrub contains spices, ginger, nutmeg, orange and mandarin essential oils, gently exfoliates while the spicy scent lingers on the skin. I wouldn't go crazy scrubbing, more like a light buff on the to get rid of dead cells and reveal brighter looking skin. I need candles in this exact scent because the smell is beyond amazing.

You can look at all that Sothys has to offer by clicking here!

LaLicious Tahitian Flower Sugar Souffle is a delicious smelling scrub that carries the intoxicating fragrance of tropical gardenia. You will be hooked on it! I rub the souffle, made with pure cane sugar crystals, on my hands and feet before I step into the shower then let the warm water wash the sugary scrub away leaving me with ultra soft skin. I've also been known to exfoliate my legs before shaving which always gives me super smooth legs.

Upon my exit from my own personal steam bath ( a really really hot shower), I slather the Tahitian Flower body oil on before my skin is completely dry. This helps seal in moisture and my skin is not only silky smooth but smells amazing. The oil contains coconut, macadamia nut and almond oils. LaLicious offers several other products and fragrances so skip on over and check it out. The perfect compliment to these products is the Sharon Bolton perfume oil in LUV, my favorite creamy musk married to heady gardenia. People stop and ask what I'm wearing when I have it on.

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WIN IT! Clearasil Pimple Blocker Battle!

I have tickets to give out to my New York City area readers! Clearasil is presenting the Pimple Blocker Battle (try saying that quickly) at the Hard Rock Cafe on April 7th. It promises to be an exciting event full of action and music and of course, dancing!
The event features judges Alyson Stoner from Camp Rock, Drew Lachey and choreographer, GEO with celebrity host Michelle Trachtenberg .

Dance Crews will compete to win a prize package worth over $10,000. America will vote on the winners. Its all very exciting and to be there witnessing would be so much fun. Too bad I'm stuck out here in Southern CA!

This event is going on to promote the new Pimple Blocker Pen which stops a pimple in its tracks and sends it packing!

To all my **New York City** area readers, I have tickets to this event so please email me at Cindy@hellodollface.com ASAP to win!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Daily Dollfaces

Cute hair. Paris is actually dressed on the conservative side here! Something must be hanging out...probably her toes.

Jennifer Garner looks like your average mom bringing her daughter to school. Except she probably drives a Lexus, lives in a multi million dollar house and its a private school but other than that- just like us!

Vamping it up, Scarlett Johansson. I like her better with blonde hair. Would have prefered black shoes but she didn't ask my opinion.

Ahoy matey! Its Captain John Mayer of the SS Shorty Shorts. I find this photo deeply disturbing on many levels.

Megan Fox, love the gray nail polish!

Jennie Garth- love the dress and the shoes.

I still get the impression that Halle Berry would be very unfriendly but her baby is a doll!

Goodness, Renee Zellweger is the size of my eight year old. Tiny!

I started watching Samantha Who? last season and really like it. Cute show, Christina Applegate is great!

Love everything but the excessively ripped jeans. Cameron Diaz almost always pulls off a good red carpet (in this case, orange) look!

I've never seen Pamela Anderson's hair lay so flat. I'm thinking its a wig!

Melanie Segal's Platinum Publicity: Kids Choice Awards

Stride Right shoes
Someone was at the Stride Rite booth picking out shoes from Marcia Cross's twins.

Last Wednesday I attended Melanie Segal’s Platinum Publicity event for the Kids Choice Awards. It was held at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. If you’ve never heard of this exclusive gathering place, let me tell you about it. Perched in the Hollywood Hills, the Magic Castle is a place where not just anyone can walk in. You must whisper the secret password to make the bookcase swing open and allow you access to the club.

Reserved for magicians, somehow the Magic Castle let Melanie hold the event in the elusive halls. Maybe she secretly studies magic in her spare time- I don't know but it was a very cool place to hold an event. When you walk in to the Castle, you notice how very old everything is. It looks like it should smell musty and be very dusty with cobwebs dangling in the corners. The Magic Castle is a treasure trove of artifacts from the world of the supernatural. Posters and photos line the walls and there are so many architectural details, you don’t know where to focus your eyes. Its dark and a little creepy, old fashioned and I swear I felt a tingle go down my spine as we walked up the carpeted stairs.

We were assigned a personal assistant (for lack of better term) to show us around and walk us through the maze of vendors once we reached our final destination. Down the stairs, to the side, around the corner, turn left, more stairs…I couldn’t have found my way back if I tried.

Everything was very organized, our assistant helped introduce us to everyone and we were able to meet many cool people. One of the first stops was to the Stouffers suite where I decorated my own plate. Of course I drew a little Marilyn Monroe caricature with Hello Dollface written on it. I sat next to Wayne Brady and his adorable daughter. I wanted to blurt something out about watching him on Who's Line is It Anyway but--- I didn't.

Jewel and Melanie Segal

We made our way around the room, meeting vendors and chatting about new products which was so much fun. Since we arrived at noon when the event began, it wasn’t too busy or crowded although celebs were pouring through the doors as we began to say our goodbyes. Isn't that always the way, things begin to heat up as its time to go! The sweet smell of cupcakes and cotton candy hit us as we winded our way around the room. There was a huge tower of cupcakes, a cotton candy machine next to the Bonne Bell LipSmackers display and the Wrigleys 5 Gum. My stomach rumbled dispite the fact I had eaten a giant frittata at the Griddle Cafe earlier.

Our last stop was for a quick nail polish change from the girls at Mani-Pedi-Cutie. I choose Bubble Bath by OPI, the color that Giada de Laurentiis wears on her cooking show. On our way out the door, I met the adorable girl behind the brand Nettie Scrub, an all natural line of products including balms and scrubs which smell divine!

I will be playing this soon, Guilty Pleasures

And then it was over and we were back in the car, headed home. What a fabulous time! Big thanks for Melanie Segal who always, always throws a fabulous event! I enjoyed the Magic Castle- way cool if not just a wee bit creepy!

Kristy Swanson

Check out the vendors who showed up to promote their goods:

Dream Arcade, Dance Dance Revolution. ManiPedi Cutie, Stouffer’s, Flip Video, Blockbuster, Dance Dance Revolution, Richard Solo Electronics, Transworld Skateboards, Crayola, PNY computer electronics, Wrigley’s 5 Gum, Scholastic books, K’Nex, Stride Rite, the Game Doc, Lipsmackers, Barts Carts, Fab Fan Arcade Game, P.A.C Perfect, Guilty Pleasures celebrity trivia game.

Stouffer’s provided enough meals to Feed LA for a Day – supplying approximately 70,000 people with food. Research from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) supports that kids who eat meals together with their family are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.

“Celebrities are trend setters.” Says Melanie Segal, owner and CEO of Platinum Publicity. “If we can get celebrities to show the world the importance of family values and giving back, then we can slowly make the world a better place – one meal at a time!”


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Read it!

This novel is coming out on April 7th but I got a sneak peek. Elizabeth Brundage is the author of the highly regarded book, The Doctors Wife. And her fans will rip right through this novel too. Somebody Else's Daughter is the complex story of Nate, the father who gave up his his baby daughter for adoption as his sick wife dies. He is reunited with his daughter Willa, when he begins teaching at a private school in the Berkshires. Only she doesn't know the handsome teacher is her dad. There are other circumstances and characters giving this novel a lot of weight. An element of suspense keeps you flipping pages. This is not one of those light funny novels that will take you one day to read. This is a complicated, serious novel that you dig into and ponder about as you're reading.

If I were Nate, I would have blurted out immediately that Willa was my daughter. Then again, maybe I wouldn't. A good book should make you question choices and make you think. Elizabeth Brundage is a skilled writer who, with deft hand, draws you in to the troubled lives in Somebody Else's Daughter.

One morning when my kids were fighting over something silly and I couldn't take it anymore, I turned the television on to take the focus off whatever is it they were fighting about. Do they need a reason to argue? No. But they do, all the time, every day.

Jon & Kate Plus 8 happened to be on. At once my kids quieted down and over the weeks, began to look forward to the watching the Gosselin family in the mornings. Thank goodness for this show because once we began tuning in, their arguing stopped!

I recently read Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin. Many people criticize her for being a controlling Type A who berates her husband but I've grown to like her. Sure she's has strong personality but thats probably whats needed to run a family of ten. After reading the book, I felt she was a genuine person who loves God and her family.

The book didn't take too long to read and I thought it was engaging and interesting. Imagine being pregnant with SIX babies! I could barely do it with one at a time. And then taking those six babies home and caring for them? Not everyone would be up for the challenge. I'd love to read a follow up and learn how their family functions with boom mikes and cameras in their faces everyday. Hey, if being on TLC enables them to live in a nice house and afford little luxuries, I'm all for it. Click here for more.

White Sands Shampoo and Conditioner

I'm going to sing the praises of White Sands Phase One Shampoo and Conditioner. Not only do these smell amazing but they don't weigh my hair down. Not one bit. Sometimes products that nourish and moisturize can make hair a wee bit heavier than usual but not these. I'm happy that after using the products, my hair turned out great- full of volume, looking healthy. Lathers up well yet rinses clear with no residue.

The Phase One products "contain Heliogenol, an herbal extract that protects tinted hair from color loss by neutralizing the oxidative radicals generated by daily UV exposure while slowing down hair-dye oxidation, leaving hair shiny and healthy without residue or buildup."

So basically, it won't strip color treated hair, it protects from the sun and also improves the shine and texture of hair. It works! Click here for more information.


Elnett, the holy grail of hairspray?

Elnett has long been a favorite of hairdressers everywhere. Previously available only in Europe, I've read stories of women who, on their way home from overseas, stock up on this hairspray before heading back to the USA. One suitcase for clothes, one for a year's supply of spray. Makes sense to me.

Although the formula changed slightly when L'oreal made it available in the United States, Elnett is still getting rave reviews. Because I can't live without shellacking my hair to high heavens, I couldn't wait to get my manicured mitts on it and give Elnett a whirl. I drove to my nearest Super Target and once I got over the price- I didn't expect it to be $14.99- tossed a bottle in the cart and happily drove home, eager to coat my locks with the potion.

The smell took me back to my grandmother's bathroom where she would wind her thinning gray hair around pink foam curlers and liberally spray Aquanet to set her coiffure. Elnett definitely has an old fashioned scent, reminiscent of Grandma. Once I got used to the smell, I quite liked the spray! It does everything I hoped for- held my hairstyle, didn't make my hair look or feel stiff, brushed out easily. I could definitely part with fifteen dollars in order to keep up using Elnett.

However, and this is where my story takes a sad turn; I have very sensitive skin and after using Elnett for a few days, I noticed red bumps cropping up on my chest and neck. I get these if I use a product that doesn't agree with my skin. I immediately ceased the Elnett usage and I haven't noticed any more unsightly bumps. This is a huge bummer for me because I really liked this hair spray!

I recommend it to those who don't have sensitive skin and you can find Elnett at Target, here. I wish they would make a sensitive skin formula but I highly doubt that will happen. Maybe fragrance free wouldn't be too much to ask?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

dermalogica Clean Start

When I first learned about dermalogica's Clean Start line, I thought it would be perfect for my pre-teen son who sometimes gets pimples. I feel so sorry for him because I can't keep my hands off of his poor face.

"Come here...let me take care of that for you..." I say, with an evil glint in my eye and my hand closed tight around a comedo extractor. This happens a lot. And he hates it. But I do it anyway.

The Clean Start line of products is geared towards teens. There are eight products in the line containing no artificial colors, fragrances, mineral oil etc. Yes, I wanted my son to use these but I started using some of the products. I liked them so much I never actually made it around to giving them to him. But I will!

Wash Off is the foaming wash that takes off dirt, makeup, oils. It has a nifty little pump that squirts out the right amount of product. Washes clean and clear leaving no harsh residue.

Ready Set Scrub is a mask and a scrub. What got my attention is the pore refining properties. I love this for in the shower, I leave it on then gently exfoliate. I don't use it every day more like every other day. If I were younger, this product would be used all the time. Teen age breakouts are the pits.

Bedtime for Breakouts is my go-to product to repel pimples! I've been spreading a thin layer of this around the place where spots seem to crop up, usually on my forehead.

I love this one! Hit the Spot is like a little pen that you paint over the pimple and the treatment works to reduce the size of the zit. It kills bacteria and clears up breakouts. I haven't noticed excessive dry skin where I've used this which is a plus.

There are a few other products in this line, you click here to visit the site which features a skin health forum as well as lots of other information. The products contain ingredients like orange peel oil, botanical extracts, licorice, burdock, lemongrass, birch leaf and more. I appreciate lots of natural ingredients in my skincare!

Sidenote: I love the clean, simple, vibrant packaging that reflects the mood of southern California!


Discounted Kerastase? YES!

Hey readers, if you love luxury hair care products- I know I do- head over to Kerastase to get 30% off select products. Kerastase is a fabulous brand loved by celebs and hair dressers alike. I've tested many of their products and think their conditioners can't be beat. Check it out...

Experience the Ultimate Luxury in Haircare

At a Discounted Price

Receive 30% off select soon to be out-of-stock products from March 26th - April 10th

Enter promo code VIP30 at checkout to receive the discount

Some of the products included are:

Sérum Après-Soleil
Vibrant Color and Silky Finishing Treatment for Sun-Exposed Hair

Vinyle Nutri-Sculpt Flexible-Hold
Shine-Definition Cream

Lipo-Enriching Massage for Tight Scalps and Weakened Hair

Bain Elasto-Curl
Hydra-Toning Bath for Curly, Dry Hair.


A girl can dream...

File this under Products I Would Love to Have, right next to the iMac that I want dropped from the sky, right into my office.
This Darphin cream has already sold out...twice! A $295 a pop, it must be a miracle product. I've tested a few Darphin creams in the past and I love them. I have one that I rub into my neck and chest nightly to improve texture and ward off wrinkles. Id expect miracles from Stimulskin Plus.

Here are the details on the Stimulskin Divine Lifting Cream
*Firms, brightens and hydrates – just like buying three $100 products that work synergistically.

*Just enough richness to not feel clumpy and oily, the buttery consistency melts into the skin.

*An irresistible bouquet of florals uplift the senses for an indulgent aromatic experience.

*Optimal blend of the leading anti-aging technology with 31 high-performance natural ingredients sourced from regions of China, India, Egypt and the United States.

Clinical Studies (after three months of application):
§ 77% improved lifting effect
§ 42% increase in firmness
§ 56% decrease in wrinkles
§ 35% immediate improved radiance
§ 44% reduction of dark spots
§ 48% improved skin smoothness
§ 49% improved hydration

Stimulskin Plus Divine Lifting Cream is available at http://www.darphin.com/ for $295.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Daily Dollfaces

Gwen Stefani rocks the bright red lipstick. I imagine that baby will be covered with red lip prints by the end of the day!

When will the Rachel Zoe Project be back on Bravo? I need my dose of high drama in the fashion stylist world of Rachel.

Mandy Moore and her new husband Ryan Adams, not to be confused with Bryan Adams! I like Mandy's hair color. I think she's so naturally pretty.

Fergie leaving the hair salon. I haven't formed a definite opinion on her darker hair but it looks really smooth and pretty.

Eva Mendes and Liv Tyler. Liv is dangerously teetering on Cocker Spaniel bangs territory.

I always think I look sooooo awfully ridiculous sitting in the chair with all those foils around my head. Like I'm trying to pick up some signal from aliens. But here Cameron Diaz shows us that everyone goes through the same process, all in the name of beauty.

Angelina Jolie on the set of her movie, Salt. I thought she was retiring from film to focus on her growing family? Hmmmmmmm

Looking gorgeous, Reese Witherspoon at the Monsters vs Aliens premiere. Her legs are killer!

I've always admired not her personal life, but her boho style. I love Kate's hair and sparkly eyeshadow.

What in auf weidersehen is Heidi Klum wearing? From the bottom down she looks like an eleven year old boy!

Photo shoot for the new movie, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. I think it looks like a fun movie. Matthew McCongauhgy (I cant ever spell his name) and Jennifer Garner in a romantic comedy? Im there!

I've always liked Heather Graham. Whenever I day dream about casting the role of Barrett for my movie(as I fantasize about my screenplay Love, Marilyn) I choose Heather. Isn't she looking fabulous?
Like I've said before, below the knee is a dangerous length because it can make legs look stumpy. While her legs don't look bad, Gwyneth's skirt could use a date with a steamer.

Anne Hathaway gets two snaps and a deep fried Twinkie because she's looking fierce from head to toe!

Drugstore.com Special Offer for Moms!

Here is your public service announcement for you today. This diaper bag is FREE with a $75 purchase on Drugstore.com. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through items on this website, just looking at the many products they offer. Do you know how many things you could get for $75? I'd have no trouble at all finding products to buy.
Drugstore.com is partnering with fashion designer and new mom, Jenni Kayne, who designed a chic, portable bag filled with eco-friendly products for mom and baby. The stylish Mommy Bag, available for a limited time exclusively at drugstore.com with a purchase of $75 or more, is a roomy canvas pouch that Jenni created as a compact yet practical alternative to a more traditional diaper bag.
The Jenni Kayne Mommy Bag is valued at over $50 and comes filled with full and deluxe-sized samples for Mom and Baby, many from the drugstore.com Green and Natural store:

Philips Avent Silicone Orthodontic Pacifiers, 0-3 months
Philips Avent 4oz/125ml Bottle BPA-Free, 0-3 months
Burt’s Bees® Baby Bee® Buttermilk Lotion
Belly-bar™ Vanilla Dreams Milkshake
Belly-bar™ Baby Needs Chocolate Bar, Chocolate Toffee Crisp
Seventh Generation™ Diaper
California Baby® Calendula Cream
California Baby® Super Sensitive™ Shampoo & Bodywash
Earth’s Best TenderCare® Chlorine-Free Diapers & Wipes
Earth’s Best TenderCare® Chlorine-Free Baby Wipes Resealable Travel Pack
Susan Brown’s Baby™ Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

Nouriva Repair Moisturizing Cream

Nouriva Repair is what you need to remedy dry heels before the warmer weather rolls in and we are all wearing sandals and flip flops. There's nothing worse than seeing a gross foot in toe- baring shoes. Nouriva Repair Moisturizing Cream provides dry skin with long lasting relief.

I've been using this on my heels every night before I go to bed. I rub the excess on my hands and yes its true, my heels are softer and the dry raggedy cuticles around my nail beds are no longer dry or raggedy. I love the fact that this is not the least bit greasy. Its thick, but absorbs fast.

Nouriva works well on areas of your body that need a little TLC like elbows or rough patches. This product doesn't have a fragrance so you will not be bothered by a perfumey scent if that kind of thing troubles you. You can find Nouriva Repair at DermaDoctor.com.

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H2Pro Nano Hi-Tech Flat Iron

the H20 Pro Nano Hi-Tech Ceramic Tourmaline Styling Iron
By now you know the story: my hair is color treated, damaged, dry and in poor shape on a consistent basis. I must use an anti-frizz cream and some kind of heat styling tool or else those fuzzy strands create a messy halo.

Enter the 300 SE H2Pro! From the moment I took the iron out of the box, I could immediately tell the difference between this and my fifteen dollar cheapie. Simply holding it in my hands, I felt the superior quality. This flat iron gets up to 450*, you could bake potatoes on this thing! The 300 Special Edition smooths hair quickly, the plates give hair long-lasting shine and my hair doesn't look fried afterwards. Even running this through my hair for a few minutes gives my mop a more polished look.

I don't have time to sit and wait around for a tool to heat up, this one gets to the max temp in seconds. I can pack away my other iron because this one will be used when I want to transform my gross hair into a straight coif. I'm always curious if the pricier heat styling tools are worth the extra money- having used this I think the answer is yes. Good styling tools, great product and the basic know-how to put it all together is what you need for a good hair day.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

*New* from Bare Escentuals

Bare Escentuals is introducing new products, every one better than the next. I've always liked Mineral Veil and love Buxom Lips. I'm excited to see BE grow and grow. Just to think they were known for their mineral powders, now beauty loving girls have a whole slew of products to love in addition to the powders. The new products featured below are available at Sephora.

Free To Be Naturally Adventurous is the little kit above with the cool turquoise bag. I can't think of a better suited kit for myself. The colors are very flattering especially the blush, a peach shade that compliments the lip color, a pale peachy pink. I'm getting the hang of applying the loose powder eyeliner which normally spills all over my bathroom counter!

Here's what you will find in this kit: Exquisite Eyecolor (medium cream beige glimpse)-Cleopatra "Cleo" Eyecolor (deep hazelnut glimpse)- Dare Liner Shadow (aqua teal)- Morning Blush (fair peach)- Natural Lipgloss in Sugar Cookie (pink peach).

Prime Time is the primer that preps skin for mineral powder application. I dab this on after my moisturizer /sun protection. Prime Time helps the look of pores, fine lines, and it smoothes over dry skin. It also helps keep my oily skin in check. I also use this on my eyelids to get ready for a little eye shadow.

Perfect Bronze Lip Kit will give you gorgeous bronze lips for a night out! This isn't a look I employ every day but in the evening, watch out!. In this kit you receive a lipliner, lipstick and gloss, all in bronze. The lipstick is smooth, fluid and creamy in texture. The gloss couldn't be improved upon, I'm in love with the BE glosses. Shiny and sexy with no sticky, tacky texture. The lipliner goes on without looking thick or chalky. The result is a perfect pout!

And if you are in the mood for a few portable lip colors, check out Buxom Babes Flower Girls. The glosses will plump up your lips and give you lots of shine. Colors include Rosie (ballerina pink)- Lily (pink lavender)- Iris (sheer periwinkle)- Poppy (carnation pink). All the shades are ideal for spring- think sheer, glossy lips for the warmer weather along with sweet sundresses, strappy sandals, blooming flowers. I always have one of these nearby and I apply and reapply all day long.

Say YES to the Buxom Lash mascara! One or two coats gives your lashes a huge boost. The consistency of the mascara is super smooth and won't flake, clump, or smudge. It comes off easily with a little cleanser or makeup remover. It has a cool hour-glass shaped brush that helps lift and coat lashes with an anti-oxidant loaded formula. I apply two coats and the a third swipe at the lash tips for long, thick lashes.
Head over to the Bare Escentuals shop at Sephora to do a little more browsing. I urge you to check out the Rare Minerals line. I use the moisturizer, along with the Skin Revival Treatment every night before bed.


Friday, March 20, 2009

St. Regis Monarch Beach, Part I

One of my favorite photos from the day.

I don’t take the time to pamper myself, I’m too busy. Or I feel too guilty. For example, over one year ago my friend gave me a gift card for a massage and I have yet to use it. The last time I had a professional mani/pedi was last October for the Glamour Reel Moments event but before that, it had been five years. My last facial? Let me search my memory bank…six years ago? I resort to cutting and coloring my own hair because I hate to take the time for it.

I had the opportunity to visit the St. Regis Monarch Beach for a few hours and get a massage at Spa Gaucin, a five star spa located in Dana Point. This is an incredibly special treat. Because these things don’t happen on a regular basis. I'm lucky if I get all ten fingernails painted at one time.
The pool almost doesn't look real.

Although the morning is overcast the sun begins to shine over the St. Regis. The place is vast with endless hills of verdant lawns and lush, colorful flowers. When we walk through the massive iron gate, the scent of fresh flowers cannot be ignored. A giant flower arrangement greets us as we step inside. Every inch of flooring in the foyer shines. There is nary a spot or speck of dust in sight. A pleasant reprieve from my normal day of soccer cleats, dirty socks and dog hair. Not to mention crumbs on the floor, crumpled school papers and open boxes of cereal littering the kitchen.

I immediately head to Spa Gaucin for my massage. After my kids fighting every five minutes, various homework issues, and yet another computer virus wiping out the hard drive, my tense back cries out for stress relief. I arrive a little early for my ten a.m. appointment but don't wait around. I am whisked into a comfy room with a giant fireplace. I sit down for less than five minutes and eat a handful of almonds. In white dishes around the spa facility are dried fruits and almonds for snacking along with bottles of water. A tower of Red Delicious apples, bright and shiny, wait to be eaten. I should come here as often as possible. Just to sit and do nothing.

The spa girl tells me everything is ready so I head back to the changing area. I am pleasantly surprised to see a cushy robe and spa shoes waiting for me. Me? Yes. Along with a mug and organic tea bag, a bag of spa treats and a thoughtful shower cap.

Even though there is one other woman in the changing area- strutting around naked and comfortable with it- I change in the curtained dressing room. The robe envelopes me in warm comfort…ahhhh. The enormous sink/makeup/changing area is so clean that even if you bent down to find a stray hair, you’d come up empty handed.

Well-lit makeup mirrors, styling products, blow dryers and curling irons are there to use. The naked woman leisurely fixes her makeup in front of the mirror while I try to hide my eyes. But I can't help but look.

the waiting area inside the spa

Heat rises from the Jacuzzi tub, where the bubbling water signals tranquility. Pitchers of iced spa water are available along with orange and cucumber slices. Beyond the Jacuzzi is the room where I wait for my masseuse. Here, I sink into an ultra-cushioned couch and page through magazines, uninterrupted. Although there is a carafe of coffee available, I don’t want to have a full bladder when I get my massage so I skip it. I bet it was full bodied, freshly roasted and hot.

in the coffee shop

I have a hard time relaxing because I have so much to do on any given day. But being far from home, I don't worry about floors that need to be mopped. My friendly masseuse, Karen, leads me down a winding corridor into a room that features a crackling fire in the marble fireplace. The lights are dim, soothing music plays, I begin to feel my spine untangle. A warm blanket is placed over me. I'm ready for my Mediterranean Massage.

Here’s the official information on the specialty:
The Mediterranean massage offers light to medium pressure strokes which are executed with hydrating Chardonnay grapeseed oil. This signature service includes a warm, tension releasing back compress and aromatic fig and cassis body butter application.

the full bar has everything you need

I chat with Karen while she gently works away the stress from my weary muscles using warmed oils. When my time comes to an end, she offers me a glass of organic white wine. How could I refuse? I must point out the thoughtful gestures of unlimited water bottles, fresh seedless black grapes, tranquil music and how Karen so kindly wraps my hair so it doesn't get oil in it! I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day with an oily coif. Wouldn't that be tragic on such a lovely day?
All chocolate!

As I sip my amazing chilled wine on the way back to the changing area, Karen offers me use of the “tranquility room”. Sounds heavenly, yes? I am in a rush to get back to my friend who accompanied me for the day. It's rare that we venture out of our ten mile radius of school or work, the grocery store or mall so a day at the Monarch Beach was an experience I wanted to share with her. I change back into my clothes, bidding farewell to the robe. It was a light terry cloth on the inside but cotton on the outside…I want to keep it. They sell them in the gift shop so I know where to find one.

Motif, the restaurant.

Grand staircase.

Looking up.

These paintings inspire me to pull out my brushes.

I tried to capture the iron work, the curves, the paintings and flooring.

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