Tag: save money

Trifecta of Relaxation

What’s a vacation at a resort with at spa without a few spa treatments? Let me recommend a particular trifecta in the recipe for relaxation.

Worldmark at Indio has a plethora of activities for people of all ages. For women who think being pampered is a must on vacation, there is The Spa at Indio.

Usually, I’m tight with my money. After all, if I was trying to feed myself on those four “royalties only” writing contracts and that substitute teaching salary, I’d be lucky to get one meal each day.

But this is vacation.

It still took me an entire day to convince myself to splurge on some treatments.

In the end, I built a package of three treatments so I could get a ten percent discount on all of them. See? Frugal to the end.

Balancing Massage

I began my two-and-one-half hours of pampering with a therapeutic Swedish massage called “The Balance” in the spa’s brochure.

My esthetician, Lydia, lead me into a cozy room and told me to “undress to my level of comfort” but “less clothing” is best to receive maximum results from the treatments.

Before you could sing a verse of “Happy Birthday,” me and my birthday suit were lying face down on the massage table, covered in a fresh-smelling sheet and fluffy towel.

Lydia set the microwave to work. Soon weighted, heated packs were covering my shoulders, lower back and butt. She moved to my feet and began the manipulation.

Massage therapists and chiropractors are the only people authorized to manipulate me.

“Relax,” she says.

And I tried. I really did. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Lovely Lydia decided my neck and shoulders were made of steel cables. No matter how often she applied heat and pressure, nothing was converting them to molten lava.

It felt wonderful-even when my body screamed for mercy-and I was more relaxed in the end.

Elixir Hair Treatment

The second step in my trifecta of wonder was the one I was anticipating the most. If you’ve never had a thorough scalp massage, you don’t know what you’re missing.

She worked some sort of oil into my scalp and the back of my neck. The softening treatment she combed through my hair smelled of aloe and sage.

I was nearly asleep by the time this thirty minutes had passed.

Was it really that long? It seemed like it ended much too soon.

Renewing Facial

It’s been several years since I’ve had a facial. I used to get at least one per year, but then my regular income stopped, and the facials went the way of my monthly pedicures.

This was one of the best facials I’ve ever had.

The cleanser and exfoliation scrub brought me to a mango tree and suspended me in gleeful rapture. Citrus scents are among my favorite for body washes-and now facial cleansers.

The steam that accompanies a facial can become suffocating or borderline scalding. Not so at this spa. The constant infusion of warm air did nothing more than open my pores and carry the delicious fruit scent into my olfactory memory banks.

I was surprised when the extractions began. I didn’t think my 50 minute facial included them. Sometimes this process yanks me from floating on clouds and sends me to the stretching rack. As in torture (opposite of relaxation in every way).

Not this time. Yes, there were twinges on my forehead, brow line and nose when Lydia did her digging. They didn’t lift me from my fog of relaxation, though.

The only drawback to this service was that the mask that I had to wear for the last twenty minutes of the treatment wasn’t citrus flavored. In fact, it didn’t smell pleasant in the least. Heavy perfume smothered me.

If it wasn’t for the pleasant hand and foot massage occurring at the same time, this would have left a sour taste in my mouth. The stench was carefully massaged away, though, and the soft, suppleness of my glowing skin made me ignore the insult to my sensory fiesta.

In the end, I left a gratuity in the same amount as my discount.

Why not? The expense lost when weighed on the scales of price verses value. Money or positive attitude and physical benefits?

Somehow, I managed to wear the hair treatment until the following morning. Even with sunscreen and a hat, my tender nose managed to get reddened during my two-hour stint beside the pool.

Ah well. With such a trifecta of perfection, there had to be some negative side effects, right?

What is your ideal way to relax? Have you been to a spa? What’s your favorite treatment?

When the pressure is too much

In an earlier post, I mentioned the pressure to buy-in to a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas. Unfortunately, it isn’t the only pressure we encountered in our sojourn south of the border. And something has to give when the pressure is too much.

At our resort, there are evening performances and themed buffets on a nightly basis. It sounds like a good deal. $29 per person for an all-you-can-eat buffet: prime rib, pasta, salads, fruits and desserts.

A stage show of “Broadway Musicals” is included with your meal. Dinner and a show for $29? Honey, we’re not in Vegas anymore.

On goes the paper wristband (which is a thing because it came with other activities, too). As she’s slapping the colorful accessory to our wrist, the hostess says, “It’s an open bar. Do you wish to purchase all-you-can-drink for $14 per person?”

“No thank you.”

And that should be the end of the discussion, right? Beverages shouldn’t be a topic for concern among the myriad employees in this restaurant.

Another hostess takes us to a table. Do we want to be close to the stage? We’re okay near the back (I’m afraid the blast of the speakers might give me a headache).

They’re all so polite. She’s pulling out the chairs for the women. And talking in barely accented English.

“Jose will be your server, but I can take your drink order.” (Sounds reasonable so far. And then the other shoe drops.) “I highly recommend the all-you-can-drink option. Only $14 per person.”

We have a reasonable explanation for our refusal of this option. We don’t drink alcohol, so we’ll pass. Sure, it includes soda and water, too. It is ALL you can drink, right?

And still we say: No, thank you.

The server appears. She hands him our drink order – five sodas and one bottle of water (no gas – oh, that’s Germany).

The first words out of dear Jose’s mouth: “Amigos, I suggest you purchase the all-you-can-drink option. It will save you money.”

Really? Maybe we are misunderstanding and it is $14 for all six of us to drink as much soda and water as we want. So, we do what reasonable people do: seek clarification. $14 for all of us. No, $14 per person.

Now it’s time to calculate. Let’s do the math; at $4 per non-alcoholic drink, we would each need to drink 3.5 drinks to make this the promised “good deal.”

We’re just not that thirsty. So our answer: No thank you.

And the sales pitch continues. Really? We’re being pressured to buy the all-you-can-drink add-on to our buffet?

In the end, I realize the pressure is to save our server the headache of keeping track of our drinks. We aren’t a difficult tab. Only two people get second drinks. In the end, our drink bill is $21.

Anyone care to do another round of math? $14 times 6 people equals an amazing $84. We spent $21 (in part because three people in our party staged a non-drink protest; the sales pitch apparently dampened their thirst for Coca-Cola products).

At this point, we had to raise our voices. Strenuous refusal was required to end this lengthy discussion concerning pairing bottomless drinks with our buffet.

Don’t give in to the pressure, friends. It will cost you $63.

What situations have you faced where the pressure became too much?