Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Confessions of a Hedonist!

When my husband recently deserted me to go heli-skiing in Canada, my daughter suggested that instead of staying home alone, I should spend the week at a Spa. Why this had never occurred to me to do before, escapes me. Firstly, because I love being pampered and secondly, because it turned out to be one of the best weeks of my life!

A quick google search of Spas in Colorado brought up St. Julien’s in Boulder. This funky, college town is nestled against the foothills of the Rockies and enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year. I’d only spent the day here before, but I’d liked it and the thought of spending time close to home, but not too close, appealed.

Within minutes of picking up the phone I was booked into a kingbed room with a view of Boulder’s famous “Flatiron Mountains”. And less than two hours later, down the Interstate from my home in the Rockies, I was being warmly greeted by the hotel staff and shown to the Spa where I had a pedicure booked.

Positive the therapist would run screaming when she got a glimpse of my feet that had been squashed into ski boots for a good part of the season, Renee, was instead the picture of discretion. I was given a glass of water, offered grapes and dipped my feet into a swirling, warm bath. An hour later, my lower legs and feet, scrubbed, massaged, primped and nails painted, I emerged feeling as if a quarter of my body was already on the way to feeling restored. In an effort to feel fully restored I booked a sugar body scrub and revitalizing facial for the following day.

Proud of my pretty pink-painted size tens, I padded around the hotel in the hotel provided robe and slippers and went to check their restaurant menu. Not in the mood for dressing up – or dressing at all, for that matter, I opted for room service.

I caught up on emails via the free wireless internet in my room and my smoked salmon walnut salad was delivered 20 minutes later with a smile and the good wishes of my waiter to have a good night. There’s something wonderfully decadent about lounging across the bed, eating and watching really trashy TV programs. Ever wondered where they find those people in the People of Walmart emails – just take a look at some of those reality television shows – particularly ones dealing with repossessions, bounty hunting and anyone who lives outside the law!

Dinner finished, I decided on an early night as I had a book to write during my sojourn. However, sleep didn’t come easily as the plot of a new story teased at my consciousness. Midnight found me typing the first words of book four of the O’Malley Men series, about firefighting brother, Adam. Two hours later, I had over 3,000 words down and was ready for sleep. This time it came blissfully quickly as I sank into the soft-as-a-cloud mattress and pillows. Such bliss!

After a late breakfast of smoked salmon bagel, which was so delicious, I couldn’t wait for breakfast the following morning to order it again, I wandered into the spa for my Body Scrub and Vichy Shower. Having never experienced one of these before, I had visions of myself glowing in the dark, I’d be scrubbed red raw.

I was greeted by my therapist and directed me to lie on a bed in a room that looked like an enormous shower. I was draped for modesty and Mary set about massaging the rare as hens’ teeth (apparently) sugar into my legs. Far from being rubbed raw, this was an amazingly relaxing experience. I tried not to think how much dead skin was being rubbed away after a winter spent two miles high in the dust dry atmosphere of the Colorado Rockies. Backs of legs, back, shoulders and arms rubbed, it was time for the Vichy shower. As I lay on the bed, several gentle jets of water washed the sugar away as my therapist used a hand-held spray to gently wash away the last of the sugar crystals. Then it was time for my tummy, front of legs and arms to be given the treatment. I was then toweled off and massaged with a soothing palm oil butter. I emerged feeling re-energised and extraordinarily clean and smooth!

Kerrie welcomed me into the facial room where I lay on a heated bed and it was deemed my skin was in desperate need of a Revitalizing Treatment – recommended for mature, fatigued, dull, sun-damaged, pigmented, and sluggish skin types. Since I felt my skin pretty much slotted into all those adjectives, I lay back and let Kerrie do her best. I tingled when the alpha-hydroxy exfoliant was applied and felt nicely burned when she applied a paprika mixture to help the alpha absorb. None of this was unpleasant and I satisfied myself with the knowledge that the more it tingled, the more help my skin probably needed. A soothing cream was then massaged in, a honey scented mask applied and hands massaged while this did its magic. An hour later my skin felt like a two year old’s bottom and I was practically drooling with pleasure. But wait, my ecstasy dose wasn’t over yet. Then followed a hot oil head massage and foot reflexology. By the time I left the salon I was floating on air.

Back in my room I ordered a Caesar salad for lunch, then took a restorative nap. I awoke at dusk, took care of emails and started work again. I was so absorbed in my new story, that I forgot about dinner and worked till 3am.

This pretty much became the routine for the week. Wake late, take a walk around historic Boulder, shop, back to the hotel for lunch followed by an afternoon of indulgence at the spa. Dinner in front of the TV and then back to work!

By day three, I was making plans as to how I could stay in this magical place for the rest of my life. I’d gladly sell my first-born (and subsequent issue) in order to do so. I was loving being able to go to bed when I wanted, rise when I wanted and eat what and when I wanted. No children asking: What’s for dinner? No husband saying: It’s late, come to bed!

I finished up my week of indulgence with more massages of body, feet and head, facials, splurged on a body mud masque but didn’t care for it nearly as much as I’d enjoyed the sugar scrub. By the end of the week, I'd worked my way through just about every therapist at the spa and left the hotel vowing to return soon.

By the end of the week, I’d written over 20,000 words towards my new book and felt revitalized, re-energized and ten years younger. As Ryan, one of the many wonderful staff at the hotel, opened my car door, wished me a safe journey home and hoped he’d see me again soon, I decided that if I had a money tree, I’d live in a spa hotel forever!

What’s your secret indulgence? What would you do, where would you go if you had a week completely to yourself, to do as you wished?

CC Coburn


Michelle Beattie said...

Wow, CC. Sounds awesome! I've had pedicures (which I love) manicures (not as much) and facials (my favorite!). Not sure how I feel about the rest as I'm kinda a prude.
A week to myself would be similar, although I probably wouldn't work as much as you did! I'd include golf and a beach, as I love the sound of water lapping.
Glad you had a great time!

cc coburn said...

LOL! Michelle, the water lapping, reminds me that I bought a CD while in boulder called "Gentle Waves". It's so relaxing and once you lie down and close your eyes, you'd swear you were at the seashore. Well, apart from the salty smell and sweating in the heat!
Maybe we should schedule a spa vacation together sometime? I'll get you hooked on body scrubs in no time!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Wow, your spa experience sounds amazing! Lucky you! I would substitute a Vichy shower with a warm chocolate bath. Is that wrong?

~ Vanessa

The Story Road said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful week, Catherine :-) I would probably go have a pedicure then come home and spend the rest of the week writing, watching movies and reading.

I see you have two books on the slate for this year. That's great!!


CC Coburn said...

Vanessa, I'm sure that if you want a chocolate bath instead of a Vichy showr, then they'd be happy to accommodate you. :-)
Nothing is wrong in SpaWonderland!
Cher, I can really recommend spas as a great place for expanding the mind. However, I think I should test this theory again very soon, just to make sure it wasn't an aberration! And yes, I've got 2 books coming ut this year. First up is Sheriff Matt's story and in October, oldest brother Luke's story is told in Colorado Cowboy.

Serena said...

Hi Catherine,
Oooh it all sounds soooooooooooooo winderful! {envy, envy}

I love facials and manicures - not that I have either very often, but it's a great way to feel pampered. I was given a voucher for both by my best friend and we're heading off there as soon as we can negotiate a suitable time. I can't wait!!

Have only ever had physio on my back and neck, but would LOVE a massage - though not sure about a body mud masque. I'm not a fan of a face mud musk - it's OK but not as good as facial.

Agree with you in re-testing the awesomeness of spas - research and research again! It's the only way to be sure ;-P (Inspiring to know you're a dedicated researcher!)

So glad you enjoyed your pampering week - and how wonderful that you managed to write so much! Can't wait to read this one too!!


Anonymous said...

Stop it!!! Stop it, now!! You're killing me. I'm sitting here hunched over computer feeling every twinge and creak. Bet you loved every second, Catherine. It sounds amazing.

Noela Cowell said...

Hi CC,

By the time I finished reading your blog, I was feeling relaxed. I love this sort of pampering, and it doesn't happen half enough for me these days. Sigh! But who knows what the future will being.
I'm glad you enjoyed this experience and I can understand you want to live there.
Great to hear you wrote all those words. This has been great research for you. May the words flow for the rest of your current work.

Anonymous said...

Well, I know it did you good because those words you rit are great! :) When are you going back?
Me? You inspired me into a facial of my own yesterday afternoon, but sadly it was only "up the road", but wonderful just the same.

Anita Joy said...

Oh CC I don't like you very much at the moment, how jealous am I *grin*. Wow, m'dear, that sounds like awesome fun. Having never experienced the likes of pedicures, facials - or any primping and pampering really, I can only imagine how great it must have been. Bet you can't wait to get back. I can expect to see you looking radiant at conference in Aug then ;)

Linda Henderson said...

It all sounds wonderful. I don't blame you for wanting to move in there.

CC Coburn said...

Oh Serena, you must try an massage - but make sure you get recommendations as bad ones can really put you off. Have a lovely girl day with your wonderful best friend - what a gem she is!
Anon, get away from that computer at once and get yourself down to your local beauty/salon/spa and get a relaxing massage - I order it! Or a facial or anything else that you deserve for working so hard.:-)
Noela, I'd never have guessed you enjoy being pampered! You never sit still. So now I know a secret about you I'll file it away for further use. :-)

CC Coburn said...

Jan, I'm a bit worried about sending any further words to you since yerve fergottin' how to talk English! ;-) I'm so glad I've inspired you to pamper yourself with a facial. I think I'll make it my mission in life to make sure more of us take the time to pamper ourselves instead of all those around us for a change. (did you hear that my precious children???)
anita, the next time anyone in your family asks what you want for your birthday/Christmas/anniversary you must say that you want a voucher to your local Ella Bache salon or elsewhere! Now, repeat after me - I want a voucher for a .... at ....! Please report back on the success of this endeavour?
Hi Linda, great to see you popping in here again. If you lie being pampered or want to give it a try, then see above intructions for Anita.

Pamela Stone said...

The spa thing sounds amazing. But for me, I might spend a couple hours getting a manicure and pedicure so my toes would look really cute in a pair of new flip flops. Then I'd pack up the laptop and rent a beach house for at least a week. Walk on the beach, sit on my deck with the ocean waves lapping and write as many hours a day as I wanted without interruption.

I'd have a stocked fridge of goodies for those times when I wanted to write instead of going out to sample some delectable local seafood.

Anonymous said...

That brings back memories! Since we moved to central Europe we've done the spa thing a few times. Arosa in the Swiss Alps has to be my favorite - Kulm resort is just gorgeous, the food wonderful. And we got free chapagne for our 25th wedding anniversary. We recently went to Austria for our 26th, as well. Another excellent weekend. We're addicted now, and planning another day trip to a spa for when our son's away skiing.

Definitely worth the investment, isn't it, CC?

Melissa James

Linda Warren said...

I have a book due on Monday and my neck and shoulders are tight from tying. Reading about your lovely, relaxing time made me so envious. I need a day off!

I'm impresed at all the work you accomplished. I'll have to relay this to my husband, as soon as possible. LOL

CC Coburn said...

Pamela, I agree completely about having ones toes looking cute in a pair of flip flops! I jsut realised I get a win/win with the pedicure I just had, because I'm heading home to an Aussie summer tomorrow, and the only footwear anyone with half-a-brain wears in our heat are flip flops - or thongs as we call 'em. :-)
And yes, the beach would be lovely for a week's break. See if you can find yourself that CD of "Gentle Waves". At least then you could imagine you're at the beach instead of snowed under somewhere!
Hi Lisa, I see you're already a devoted fan of the Spa! And yes,the food - so wonderful not to have to cook!
CC :-)

CC Coburn said...

Hey Linda! Great seeing you here. And pleae do do something about that tight neck and shoulders. There's nothing more delicious than having one's shoulders and back maasaged. Oh, and one's feet, head,neck, legs, calves... I could go on and on!
I'll need a relaxing massage after the stress of allthis packing to go back home to Australia tomorrow.
Hoping to see you in Nasville this year.

Gillian Layne said...

Oh, wow. That sounds like heaven. And such a great word count! You ought to be able to claim this as a tax deduction, somehow...:)

Eleni Konstantine said...

CC, oh what a wonderful week of bliss. Hmm...sounds like something everyone should do at least once. Thanks for sharing.

Nicole S said...

Last September was the first time I had a pedicure and I actually really enjoyed it. Never been to a spa, but from you experienced sounds so lovely. If I had a week to myself I'd go to Florida to visit my cousin during Spring Training for baseball. I could relax and go see some baseball.