Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Plan a Fall Spa Getaway

By Melissa Mellott [Editor's note: Our girlfriend and guest writer Melissa has a tough job: She visits spas and reviews them for the rest of us. Hey, someone's got to do it! As summer gives way to the busyness of fall, we should all be adding some girlfriend time to the calendar. Here are some great ideas from a relaxation expert!]

This fall, organize a girl’s spa day or weekend. Gather your girlfriends and discuss ideas and budgets. Here are a few ideas to get the planning started:
 - Plan a home spa party. A new trend is mobile spas –  specializing in bringing the spa to you – pedicures, manicures, massages and facials.  Just Google “Mobile Spas” in your area. Or, get a few pampering spa products at your favorite spa (or even the drug store) and create your own spa day.  For a real spa effect, create a cozy space — remember candles, aromatherapy, tea, and even spa music. [See Aaah--the Simple Spa Party for more specifics!] 

 - Schedule a spa visit with your friends.  Day spas are wonderful, but consider a resort spa also; if you are a spa guest, this usually gives you pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room privileges, so you can spend all day at the spa – first getting your treatment, then lounging and using the other amenities that may not be available at a day spa. 

 - Planning for food during your spa day enhances the overall experience.  Pack a picnic and stop at a winery or a park to enjoy your favorite foods. Otherwise, most spas with have a café with fresh, light food options.

 - Check for cheap flights; you may be surprised by what you can find for a weekend trip to destination spas.  My favorite spas, Lake Austin in Texas, Enchantment in Sedona or the well-known Miraval near Scottsdale, are all great options.

- Whether your plan is to go to a spa or take a walk with your girlfriends, plan for other activities that may enhance the time together such as time to journal, an art or exercise activity, or a discussion activity.

 - Ask each person to bring something special to share with everyone (a quote, chocolate, flowers, wine.) 

These last two tips bring back one of my most heart-warming memories from Tuscany; it was an afternoon I spent with five fabulous women I met in Siena.  In the midst of our challenging Italian language class, continuous rainy weather and missing familiarity and convenience, we felt it necessary to rejuvenate.     These women:  Denise, from New Zealand, Melanie from Switzerland, Birgit from Germany, Syliva from N. California, Julia from Seattle, Alana from Boston and myself, took our nurturing energy and organized a simple relaxation day.  Sylvia, being a hostess-at-heart, prepared a light lunch for all of us, which included olives, wine, cheese, bruschetta and chocolate. We gathered for an indoor picnic, with candles and great conversation; we sat in a circle and each spoke about our life back home and our time in Italy. We then hopped on a bus for a short ride to Petriolo—natural sulphur hot springs in the hills not far from Siena.  The bus dropped us off and we hiked 15 minutes and arrived in nature.  Lounging in the warm pools in nature, the company of the female spirit, and the connections made through conversation, all were enough to bring back balance and solitude.      

Remember that although visiting a spa is a treat, it’s not a necessity to recharge. Gathering with your best girlfriends and participating in anything that brings you joy and/or rest is “spa– whether it be an organized lunch, home spa party, reading group, afternoon movie, taking a walk or hike or having a coffee with your best gal pal. Ciao!

Melissa Mellott is a spa health writer and reviewer as well as a licensed esthetician. As adjunct faculty at Santa Barbara City College, she teaches and trains aspiring estheticians.  She is is founder of Spa Defined,,  a website featuring reviews of spas in places like Santa Barbara, California; the Napa Valley, and Italy.

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