Tranquil Moments Day Spa: A Review

A couple of months back, I did a post on my personal view of the city I live in, Columbia South Carolina.  https://whimsingtongardens.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/perceptions-of-columbia-and-self/. As promised, I have been exploring Columbia more open-mindedly, though not as much as I’d like, mainly due to the 9 to 5 grind and time consuming side projects.  But, when I make time for fun and leisure, I have been tending to look at my experiences in this city through the lens of whimsingtongardens.  This puts me in a journalist-esque frame of mind and I start picking up on undertones and subtle nuances of experiences, so that I’m able to give a rich and detailed description of places visited, food eaten…fun had.  I also want to make responsible recommendations or dissuasions when necessary, although naturally I am just one person with one stance.  My opinion may differ very much from someone else’s….but it’s not my fault they aren’t blogging about theirs.  🙂  So today, I will tell you about my experience yesterday morning at Tranquil Moments Day Spa.  Tranquil Moments in an Aveda concept spa.  I’m making an educated guess that this means it is sort of an Aveda franchise.  I researched this online and couldn’t find a direct answer, but I am relatively confident in my hypothesis.

To begin with, I got a one hour facial for a straight STEAL this morning thanks to Groupon.  I paid $55 for what would have normally been a $90 treatment (plus tip… thanks to my days in the service industry I’m privy to the knowledge that you tip on the pre-discounted price of the treatment).  Traquil Moments is located at 715 Queen Street in downtown Columbia in a residential home that has been very nicely converted into a spa. The secretary was…brusque, to put it politely.  Slightly annoyed with his demeanor, I was led to the waiting room and began filling out my paperwork (treatment history, skin type, skin issues etc.)  Mr. Secretary offered me a choice of beverages while I waited:  water, coffee or tea and then brought me a “complimentary heated aromatherapy towel” to relax me while I waited.  So I decided he wasn’t so bad after all…frienemy. 

I had hardly draped my aroma therapy towel around the back of my neck and begun sipping my coffee when my aesthetician came out, all smiles, to greet me and lead me back to her lair.  As we took a few twists and turns into the depths of this former home, passing many closed doors along the way, I decided it was a very good floor plan for a salon considering once we reached our room I felt very far away from the waiting room environment of just moments before.  The treatment room was small, dim and cozy, painted a warm greyish blue.  I unrobed and toweled up in private and then we got started.

I suppose I should inform you that the majority of my previous facials have been received at Urban Nirvana….local super chain of spas.  I have never before been disappointed at Urban Nirvana and so I was a tad nervous to try out a new-to-me place that was less glitz, glamour and publicized. That said, Tranquil Moments does not touch the aesthetic of Urban Nirvana, the zen Asian feel of the super spa vibrates at a high frequency.   But, that is very secondary to the actual treatment….and there were some extras in today’s experience that are not part of the package at UN.  The first of which being, a foot bath.  As soon as she re-entered the room, post unrobing, she had me sit down and put my feet in a huge metal bowl while she poured very warm fragrant water over my feet and used a mild scrub to soften them up.  After, she moved me to the spa bed where I snuggled in and relaxed.  She turned off the lights, except for one very soft one and at this point I noticed the calming nature sounds being piped in through speakers in the room.  Very chill.  Upon examining my face, she suggested the Outer Peace facial which targets breakouts and blemishes…sigh.  Usually I am a hardnosed upsell rebel, never giving in to the sales pitch.  But I knew this was no sales pitch, well, even if it was…it was genuine.  I needed the upgrade, so I took it.  Before actually diving into the face work she had me smell three different scents and pick my favorite of the three, I chose the “rose” scent which she then used as aromatherapy throughout the treatment. 

She used a cleanser, cooling astringent, a series of warm face towels to steam open my pours a series of masks as well.  The masks each have to sit a while on the face to work their magic.  She would apply the mask and then wrap a towel around my face to make sure my pours stayed open for the treatment.  Between masks she targeted relaxing different extremities.  On a few different occasions I got a mini shoulder massage.  Then one foot gets massaged with a warm, rich lotion…switch towels, the other foot.  Then the hands…my favorite part of a manicure, the hand massage.  One hand, switch towel….other hand.  I mentioned at one point that I was getting a strange pain in the back of my head, which lead to a mini neck and head massage.  I felt very well taken care of and found myself imagining that this woman must be a very good wife or girlfriend. 

Extractions were relatively painless compared to sessions I’ve had in the past.  The worst being the Swedish lady next door to a restaurant I used to work at.  I appreciated her zest but my eyes would be pouring water by the time we were finished.  Extractions can be risky, chancing irritation and doing more harm than good but today’s aesthetician took a conservative approach.

I appreciated her demeanor, she seemed very dedicated to making it a relaxed and therapeutic experience for me.  In the past I have had aestheticians who can be a bit chatty.  Not to be inhumane, I’m sure they’re wonderful people who I may love to talk to in a different setting, but when you’re trying to zen out it’s not the time for small talk. 

She mentioned two products that I could purchase and a spa package, but did so in a way that wasn’t pushy or obtrusive.  She was a class act; I couldn’t have asked for more grace and effort from her and tipped her accordingly.

Mr. Secretary was characteristically abrupt on the way out as I paid for my treatment… but I was floating on my way out and hardly even noticed.  Over all, the treatment was highly satisfactory and I would recommend this spa to anyone who is looking for a truly relaxing and physically rewarding experience.  Upon leaving the spa I had a noticeably glow for the rest of the day.  We’ll see how my skin fares for the rest of the week.  If you’re interested in checking out Tranquil Moments Day Spa you can visit their site at www.TranquilMomentsDaySpa.com.  

 

 

Joshua Aaron Photography Shoot…True Professionals.

The following pics are from a shoot I did with Joshua Aaron Photography yesterday afternoon, these two are amazing (Joshua and Aaron, that is).  They’re a husband/wife duo with the cutest little girl you have EVER met, Caroline, who has the personality to match her looks!!  Aaron and Josh are regulars at a certain monopoly status coffee shop that I work at, ahem… Pumpkin Spice will be back next week! I can’t gush enough about how rewarding of an experience this was.  As soon as I got to their studio they were making me comfortable AND making me a latte (how did they know that noon is early for me?).  The spectacular lighting in these shots is no accident; the two of them really speak their own language when directing the lighting.  It’s hilarious and mesmerizing at the same time.  Aaron helped me get my poses just right and gave me some tips on face positioning. The soundtrack was DubStep and laughter, Josh is a quite the comedian!  Great experience with true professionals…check out their website, specializing in weddings.  It’s impressive to the extreme:  http://joshuaaaronphotography.com/

Custom Creative Photoshoot

Last Sunday, I had my first indoor studio shoot with Lou from Custom Creative Photo.  Another first…my friend Courtney who is a liscensed hair and makeup artist added her talents to the mix.  Combined, the three of us produced a succesfull shoot.  We are all highly satisfied with the shots and have photos to add to our respective portfolios.  Networking is where it’s at.  Now that we have broken the ice, there are more conept shoots in the works with each of us contributing our unique perspectives and styles.  I can’t wait to shoot and share.  I hope you like the photos.

 

 

Fun times indeed, and educational as well.  Lou had great tips on posing, lighting, angling, facial expressions etc.  I’m really learning with each shoot, learning about posing as well as myself.  The shots that I post on this blog, the shots Lou uses for his site, the ones Courtney uses for her portfolio and the ones I’ll be using for my portfolio are the best out of 200 shots taken on Sunday.  The others range from blooper status (blinking, weird mouth syndrome etc.) to bad shadows on the face and other maladies.  When I get the reel I cringe at 9/10 of the photos of myself and find moments of solace in the photos I post on here.  But I always try to maintain a positive and eager attitude when looking at the bad photos, instead of dwelling on the flaws I try to figure out how to improve the photo next time.  “How could I have positioned my legs differently, or angled my face differently to improve the shot?” versus “Omg, look at my wrinkly knees” or “How does a 26 year old have jowls?”.  I assume the amazon supermodels must have the same experiences as well, on a different scale, naturally.  I would bet that Giselle, Tyra, Chanel, Joan, CoCo and the like have all at many many points been aghast at photos of themselves, and then sift through the hundreds of shots to find that one where posing, lighting, camera and makeup all come together to make magic.  It’s all a finely orchestrated, well tuned image machine.  Gaining an understanding of this is helping me to appreciate not only that one in a hundred shot, but to take it easier on the other 99.  As well as myself in the mirror in the typical crazy hair minimal makeup and blue jeans mode, that I really prefer myself in.