Fashion & Beauty

Pamper Yourself with a Day at the Spa

By Juliana Day

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Spa was a picture of Hallie Barry on the wall. It read, "Thank you for the glorious day." I knew I had come to the right place. Spa Utopia is a full-service salon and day spa in Langley City, B.C. It was there that I had an experience that every woman should have at least once in her lifetime - a day at the spa!

Before this body-pampering experience, I often wondered how one could keep occupied for a full eight hours doing, well, basically things that young girls do at slumber parties. You know what I mean - the face masks, the nail painting, the make-up and hair-dos - all while wearing your favorite pair of flannel PJ's. Perhaps the day spa is the graduation from the slumber party.

If you are looking for a way to reward, perk up or pamper yourself, the day spa is the way to go.

8:30 a.m. - I arrived at the Spa. Mmmm… so nice to have nothing more to do in the morning than roll out of bed and put on my sweats. I am ushered into the spa where I fill out a questionnaire, choose a lunch and receive my uniform: a fluffy white robe and bubble-bottom sandals. The spa is opulent with columns and fountains, art and yes, this month's edition of Vogue.

9 a.m. - A decadent Swedish massage. The room was cool, but the warm heating pads under my body made the experience decadent just the same.

10 a.m. - A luxurious facial. I had to laugh because when I went in the Esthetician asked if I had any skin concerns. "Not really", I answered. Well, after a few moments under the giant magnifying glass, I was ready to buy out the entire Clinique skincare collection.

11 a.m. - A fun pedicure with a talkative esthetician. I went with a dark grape color on my toes… after all, as my pedicurist said, "You want people to know you had a pedicure". True enough!

12 p.m. - A yummy lunch. It was definitely restaurant quality. I chose a grilled chicken breast on foccacia sandwich and a delicious spinach, bacon and mushroom salad.

1 p.m. - A much-needed manicure. Why are your nails always the first thing to go? It was so nice to have them "clipped" back into shape.

2 p.m. - A new hairstyle! Don't you love your hair in the hands of a great stylist? I came out with loads of layers and actually loved it!

3:30 - A new face! - Well, freshly made up anyway. I was no dowdy mommy walking out… I would never have done my makeup that way, and that's what made it so fun!

And there it was - a spectacular day at the spa. In Hallie Barry's words "glorious".

Despite having a wonderful time, there were a few things that I wish I had known beforehand. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your day at the spa:

1. Bring reading material. Although the reading material at my spa was current, you never can be sure. You don't want a 1995 Glamour mag convincing you that backcombing is cool.
2. Bring a friend. The biggest mistake I made was not bringing someone along to enjoy the day with. There were mother and daughters, husbands and wives and friends all excitedly giggling or talking animatedly between intermissions. Plus, it's fun to have someone to eat lunch with.
3. Put your underwear back on! Sorry, I know this is explicit, but it must be mentioned. After my massage, I should have re-robed under the robe. I was totally self-conscious that I was showing off more than my recently oiled legs.
4. Pick a style before you go. Part of the fun working up to "the day" is going for a certain look. Throughout the day you will be asked what shape of nail, what color of polish, what hairstyle, what makeup. It helps if you can provide these estheticians with an idea of how you would like to look walking out; there are so many things they can do for your look. It was easy for me; I just pointed to Hallie Barry and said, "Make me look like her". (I think this is easier said than done).
5. Plan ahead! If you want to go to a great place, you must schedule well in advance. Utopia books sometimes up to six months ahead of time. The best part about this is it gives you something to look forward to.

If a day at the spa is out of your price range, try a home day spa with someone you love to spend time with. Treat yourself every once in a while - go ahead, you deserve it!

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