We Spa-Napped a Reader! Watch the Video.

In honor of The Month of Moms, I reached out on Facebook last week to learn some tried and true mom wisdom, and with that, I put the call out for a mom who was long overdue for a day at the spa. Two days later, the spa-napping went down. Watch what happened when winner Jenny Gill got a little taste of her own medicine…

“His mind is in motion and his body is in motion,” New York mom Jenny told me of her 2 year old son, Jack, as we sipped rose at Estancia 460, a restaurant on the cobblestone street next to TriBeCa Spa of Tranquility. “He’s crazy smart and physically advanced. He constantly wants to play a sport, sing the ABC song and tell you about his day. To get him to slow down and understand that you have to sleep, is a big struggle. The just kid doesn’t have time for sleep in his life.”

Although, what Jenny likely didn’t realize in speaking about her son’s misunderstanding of sleep, she was painting a pretty clear picture of her own misunderstanding of relaxation: Jenny has not been to the spa since before Jack was born. Yikes!

Jenny, who happens to be a member of Spa Week’s Hot Mom Spa Squad, clearly knows the importance of recharging your mind and body—so it’s time to give her a taste of her own medicine. How many moms out there dole out wisdom but neglect to follow it themselves? I could say: “To get Jenny to slow down and understand that you have to spa, is a big struggle. The girl jut doesn’t have time for spa in her life.”

Exactly.

When Spa Week reached out to TriBeCa Spa of Tranquility about this great public service for the sake of mom, the acclaimed wellness facility and celebrity hotspot offered up two massages for the cause.

JENNY GILL, You’ve Been Spa-Napped!!!

Our Hot Mom Squad’s Mother’s Day Promise

While we all scramble for those last minute gifts for mom—that beautiful, strong, devoted woman who gave you life—I had a different question on my mind. A question that invokes the inner spirit of who mom is, and who she hopes to become in the next month, year, decade. I’ve reached out to the members of our Hot Mom Spa Squad to find the answer—not what they want from YOU for Mother’s Day (that’s a Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week, of course!)… But:

What me-time promise for health and vitality will you give YOURSELF as a gift this Mother’s Day?

Roll call! Here’s what our Hot Moms had to say:

To log off social networks and the internet by 7pm each night to help me better unwind and sleep more soundly each night. –Shannon Nelson, agirlsgottaspa.com

I just finished a FAB 21 day detox cleanse and lost 10 pounds and then I bought a package of Power Pilates classes to ensure I get my butt to pilates 3x/week over the next 3 months :-)–Romy Schorr, RomyRaves.com

I’m giving myself permission to prune my professional offers. In other words, I may have taken something on expecting to be able to manage it, but when it feels like it’s just too much, I’m deciding to be okay with saying that I will no longer manage this thing. My emotional wellness comes first! –Akilah S. Richards, www.execumama.com

I’m buying myself a new camera and tablet this Mother’s Day so I can get work done more efficiently and have more time to relax! –Chelsea Day, somedayilllearn.com

My me-time promise for health and vitality that I’m giving myself a gift this Mother’s Day is a full out of pampering session just for me! I’m looking forward to my massage, haircut, mani & pedi and I will be looking good with my family this Mother’s Day! –Debra Rutt, TheHarriedMom.com

I am making an appointment for a facial and I simply can’t wait! This is the ultimate me-time, no kids, relaxation and healthy skin! –Deanna Underwood, mommyGAGA.com

My me-time promise is to remember to take some me-time in the first place. I’m making a promise to myself to get more rest and to make sure I get some time to myself each week so I can be a better me. This may or may not include regular pedicures. I wrote about that promise here. –Jenny Gill, nycjenny.com

The biggest gift I am giving myself is permission to delegate some of my responsibilities. I am currently finishing my first book, rebranding myself/my business, and building a new website and being a control-freak do-it-yourselfer, it is very hard for me to ask for help and also trust that other people can do something to my specifications as well as I can, in the time I need it done by. So I have begun working with a fabulous book editor and have entrusted my new site to a web designer/developer so I can stop feeling guilty for taking an evening off to catch up on my DVR and spend at least one weekend day doing nothing but playing with my kids. –Rachael Pontillo, holisticallyhaute.com

For Mother’s Day this year, I plan on giving myself some much-needed spa time. I have gift cards racked up for spa services! Getting away and actually using them is on my list of “gifts” I’d like to treat myself to this year. –Sondra Drahos, happyhealthyhip.com/blog

I will make time to meditate/pray/read devotions every day, even if I have to lock myself in the bathroom to do it! –Bekah, motherhood-moment.blogspot.com

I promise continue my Weight Watchers and fitness plan to meet my goal. –Nicole Kempka, redlotusmama.com

This Mother’s Day I am taking a great blog trip with 24 of my favorite friends to Destin! We are giving ourselves the gift of friendship, fun, and TIME OFF from our families so we can energize. –Trisha Haas, momdot.com

The “me time” promise I give myself this Mothers Day is the ability to unwind and de-stress at the end of the day. A mom’s to-do list is never-ending, and sometimes you need to tell yourself it is okay to leave the rest until tomorrow. I love relaxing in a nice bubble bator treating myself to a pedicure!
–Jeanine, mommyentourage.net

As moms, we are under a lot of pressure to go-go-go and do-do-do for our families all the time. It’s important, however, to take time to ourselves so we can be the best moms we can be. So, this year I will make time for: hikes to connect with Mother Nature, Pilates classes as a commitment to my physical health, chats with my girlfriends for my mental health, and the occasional ultimate treat—a spa day just for me! –Colleen Lanin, travelmamas.com

I promise to give my body a total makeover with Bikram Yoga this Mother’s Day…since giving birth to my son over three months ago, I have neglected my body but, for the sake of my kids, husband and sanity, I say no more! So vowing to be healthy, will make me one happy mom and wife. Gina Pompono, MommyPosh.com

My gift is to always embrace Skincare Sunday. Skincare Sunday is for that little bit of extra time that most have on this day to use for caring for themselves, including their skin. It makes for the perfect me-time. #SkincareSunday – it’s not just a Twitter movement that’s spread across the world, it can be your reality. –Ava Roxanne, SpaTravelGal.com

I’ve got FOUR teenagers (Triplets + 1, all born within a year) so I’m one really tense mom 365 days per year — though I do love and adore my darlings they are a bit challenging at this stage. For Mother’s Day I will treat myself to a full body massage and margaritas afterward with another
equally haggard mother friend. –Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert.com

DAILY Me Time: Healthy eating, yoga, at least 10 minutes of meditation.
WEEKLY Me Time: Mani/ Pedi, a date with myself, window shopping for inspiration.
MONTHLY Me Time: A Facial, Bodywrap and/ or Reflexology.
Big promises, but I make big promises to everyone else in my life. Why not me?
– Ruth Staiman, Fashion Office

Hot Mom Monday: 3 Tips for Pampering Yourself on the Inside

By Bekah J

Going to a spa can do wonderful things for our bodies and help make us look and feel good. But what if you can’t make it to the spa? Why not try somewhat of an “internal spa treatment”? A pampering of our souls to help us feel good when we can’t receive a physical spa treatment. Here are some easy things you can do to make yourself feel good on the inside so you’re better able to tackle the outside world.

Meditate

 

It may sound a little cheesy, but research is continuously touting the benefits of meditation. The nice thing is there’s really no wrong way to do it. You can spend time praying, you can find all sorts of resources for guided meditation, or you can just take time to breathe deeply and focus on nothing but the sounds and sensations around you. The only thing you need to do to reap the benefits is to give yourself some uninterrupted time – even five minutes will help – is to step away from the immediate cares of the world.

Keep it in Perspective

 

There are two mantras that help me get through just about everything: “lower the bar” and “it’s only a phase.” Although these are particularly appropriate for parents, they work for anything. Most of us keep standards for ourselves far higher than anyone else has for us. By lowering the bar we can make our goals more manageable, and then raise the bar back up once we’ve reached them. Reminding ourselves that “it’s only a phase” can help us weather just about any storm or stressful experience, because we remember that it’s not going to last forever.

Affirm Yourself

 

Did you know that we have tens of thousands of separate thoughts per day? For most people, the majority of those thoughts are negative (regrets, thinking about mistakes, picking out our own faults). Consciously change that pattern. If you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, turn it into a proactive one. And spend time each day intentionally focusing on your strengths and the things you can do. It can be particularly helpful to write down positive comments that other people say about you, so that you can re-read them and remind yourself of your good traits.

When you feel good on the inside, you’ll be able to go through life more confidently. It also helps your stress level, which will have a positive effect on your health and relationships with others as well.

Bekah blogs at Motherhood Moment where she shares family-friendly tips on saving money and time, meal and activity ideas, and more. She also blogs at Motherhood Mindfully where she talks about mindful parenting and eco-friendly living.

21 Genius Beauty Tricks From Mom

 

You may not have wanted to admit it when you were 14, but now you realize: Mother really does know best. That mean kid at school really did grow up to be a loser, it’s probably better you didn’t get that bellybutton ring, and yeah, being tan really isn’t the greatest accomplishment in the world.

She taught you everything she knows about life, and this includes her best beauty secrets. Here, in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, soak up the advice from moms across the country with these 21 pearls of motherly wisdom from Spa Week staffers’ mamas, along with the smart moms of our Twitter and Facebook friends.

Remember, if you’d like the perfect way to say thank you and return the favor, Spa & Wellness Gift Cards are still on sale, redeemable at over 5,000 spas, and you can print them instantly for a last minute gift!

What’s the best beauty trick or tip you learned from Mom?

MOM’S MILKY WAY

“Use whole milk around your eyes to brighten and de-puff under eye bags.” – Kelly’s Mom

USE COTTON WIPES, NOT WHAT YOU WIPE WITH

“Take your make up off every single night and when you do, never use tissue or toilet paper – it dries out your skin.  Always use cotton wipes.” – Samantha’s Mom

SOFTEN YOUR SOLE

“For the most supple feet on the block: 1. Soak in warm soapy foot bath. 2. Lather in heavy, intensive cream or Vaseline. 3. Wrap in plastic wrap. 4. Put socks on over plastic wrap and go to bed. 5. Don’t take them off till the morning.” – Erin’s Mom

YOU ARE ALREADY THE FAIREST OF THEM ALL

“Use Fair & Lovely to “bleach” your skin and make you lighter!” (This is very popular among Indian women). – Mel’s Aunts. And… “Never use Fair & Lovely! You are beautiful just the way you are.” – Mel’s Mom

TWENTY, NO QUESTIONS

“Start using wrinkle cream way before you have wrinkles – in your early twenties.”  - Kaitlin’s Mom

“Always take care of wrinkles. Start when you’re twenty!” (My skin is flawless thanks to that tip.) - Katrina’s Mom

YOGA YOUR FACE

“Do facial exercises to prevent wrinkles. You can do them while driving – don’t worry about what the passerby thinks!” – Anne’s Mom

LOOK RICH, THINK PORE

“Use fresh coconut oil to hydrate your skin – it’s a Caribbean thing. It’s best when applied right after a shower, when your pores are still open. Also, never use foundation, because that clogs your pores.” – Melissa’s Mom

KEEP YOUR HEAD UP

“Mason Pearson brushes can fix any bad hair day.” – Michelle’s Mom

DON’T BE THE MASK

“Always blend your makeup into your neck so you don’t look like you’re in a mask.” – Stephanie’s Mom

HEY SUGAR, SUGAR

“Sugar and honey makes perfectly good exfoliant!” – Lilly’s Mom

“Use granulated sugar as an exfoliant.” – @Float_Center’s Mom

Ole, Ole!

“Use Oil of Olay – it’s the best.” (now it’s Olay) – Snow’s Mom

DON’T LET DISHES AGE YOU

“ALWAYS, always wear gloves when washing the dishes.” – Lei’s Mom

DIY

“Try it yourself! Mani-pedis and makeup applications can be done at home.” – Keonte’s Mom

PALE IS THE NEW TAN

“Sun block!!!!” – Lilbit’s Mom

YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS, BUT…

“Don’t pick your face!” – Emily’s Mom

DON’T BE STATIC

“Stocking static? Use a tiny bit of unscented lotion on your tights when you have a static cling. Works every time!” – Stephanie’s Mom

EVERLASTING LIPS

“If you want to preserve your lipstick, lick your drinking glass before drinking.” – @CourtneyLeiva’s Mom

ROCK-A-BYE BABY

“Always get a good night’s sleep.” – Cure Spa’s Mom

WASH THAT FACE

“Always remove your makeup at the end of your day.” – Maritza’s Mom

“Never, ever go to bed without washing your face.” – @Spillerus’s mom

“”NEVER go to bed with makeup on, and never use soap on your face – just lots of cold water to avoid wrinkles.” – Noemi’s Mom

“If you’re not going to be responsible about washing your face twice a day, don’t wear makeup.” (So… she doesn’t.) – @EnvylikeJewelry’s Mom

DON’T SKIMP

“Always buy the BEST products you can afford. Your body will thank you later.” – Vanessa’s Mom

“Never skimp on quality skincare.” – @ChrisOhCOH’s Mom

“Never skimp on yourself.” – Ruth’s mom

SMILE AND BE YOU

“Stay natural. You don’t need so much makeup.” – Shirin’s Mom

“Taking care of yourself is ageless in itself.” – Yvette’s Mom

“Smile.” – @shanegibson’s Mom

“Smile.” – Sarah’s Mom

“Smile often.” – @TheZenGirl’s Mom

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” – Shayna’s Mom

 

Top photo via this post about beauty tips for lazy moms… perhaps the moms not listed here.

8 Mom Rules to Live By: How I Lost 70 lbs With Kids

It’s Hot Mom Monday again, and we can’t wait for you to meet Spa Week’s Hot Mom Spa Squad do-it-all spa mama Rachael Pontillo, who has not only mastered the art of living the wellness lifestyle, she has made it her career to help others do the same. Our kinda girl! Rachael is holistic health coach, licensed aesthetician, certified level II Reiki practitioner, certified Wull Stone therapist, and freelance writer for prestigious sites such as Blogcritics.org and Technorati.com.

You can also find her right where we found her – blogging at holisticallyhaute.com. It’s not just a blog – Rachael owns skincare and wellness company Holistically Haute, LLC where she works with clients one-on-one and in groups, in person or over the phone to provide customized programs to help people reach their health and wellness goals.

For any mom out there struggling with her weight in any capacity, we’re turning it over to Rachael who went from THIS to THIS. Her tips are practical, doable, and clearly very effective. We’re especially loving #8, wink wink. Take it away, Rach!

By Rachael Pontillo

So many moms have experienced difficulty losing their pregnancy weight, or managing to maintain a healthy weight after having kids. I was one of them.

I was always a very thin person and never had problems keeping weight off, but after my second pregnancy that changed completely. I don’t know why I wasn’t able to lose the baby weight the second time like I was able to… it was probably a combination of being exhausted, being overwhelmed, hormones, stress, and who knows what else. Anyway, not only couldn’t lose the pregnancy weight, I ended up gaining more. By the time my younger daughter was 2 years old, I was up to 200 pounds (a far cry from my pre-pregnancy weight of 135). I tried exercising, eating certain “diet foods,” trying different popular diets, praying, etc.

There really are no “magic pills” or short cuts to weight loss.

If you want to lose weight, you have to do it the good old fashioned way: with diet and lifestyle changes over time. Rapid weight loss from fad dieting and diet pills is not healthy and it is not sustainable and I do not recommend it to anyone. Slow and steady is the way to go.

Since we all have different health histories, body types, lifestyles, and goals, there is not one “prescription” for weight loss. However, after finally achieving my own weight loss goals (70 pounds!) while being a busy mom and helping clients with different needs reach their goals with gradual diet and lifestyle changes, I have come up with some strategies that can benefit anyone.

Here are my Top 8 “Rules to Live By” if you trying to lose weight but still have to feed picky little eaters.

 

  1. Have them help you shop. Kids love being involved in anything “grown up,” and this includes food shopping. I know that food shopping with small children is not the most fun or efficient way to shop, so plan ahead. Bring snacks or small toys/activities to pacify the little ones if they start getting rammy and put the older kids to work. Make separate lists ahead with specific items (don’t just say to get “cereal,” specify “whole grain” or a certain kind so they don’t bring back boxes of Lucky Charms) for each kid to find and send them off with baskets. Have the little ones help you pick the prettiest apples and other brightly colored fruits and veggies.
  2. Have them help you cook. I know this is a tip you see a lot, and again it is not the most calm or efficient way to prepare meals, but it serves several purposes: it occupies their time so they are not nagging or tugging on your shirt while you are trying to cook, it helps them form an attachment to the food so they are more inclined to want to eat it, it provides a solid, stable routine and quality family time, and you (and they) will know exactly what is going into the food: no mystery meat, special sauce, or questionable chewy bites. So form an assembly line and give everyone a specific job no matter their age (unless they are infants… in that case stick them in the baby carrier/wrap so you have both hands free). You will be surprised how fast the prep time goes.
  3. Learn to read labels. I’m not saying you have to go out and take food science or chemistry course or buy one of those dictionaries of chemicals/ingredients added to food (although the latter wouldn’t hurt). It’s as simple as this: if you don’t know what it is, you probably don’t want to be eating it yourself or feeding it to your kids. Getting rid of processed and packaged foods and going back to real, simple, whole foods was a huge part of my own weight loss.
  4. Find ways to work fitness into your existing routine. The thought of joining a gym or taking a class can be really overwhelming to a busy and tired mom. It is great if you can do that (and use the babysitting services at the gym as long as they provide quality services), but if you can’t then try to find ways to use any downtime you have at home or time outside of the home that the kids are occupied to exercise. I personally found it helpful to do stretches while watching TV in the evening, or doing a short Pilates DVD right after putting the kids to bed. I also joined the local Y and moved my kids’ lessons there instead of other places so that I could exercise while they were in their after-school or weekend lessons. I still speed-walk or job around the track during my daughters’ dance classes.
  5. Only do exercises that you enjoy. We are lucky enough to live in a time where “working out” can mean many different things. We can do anything from jogging, to Pilates, to belly dancing, to martial arts-aerobic fusion classes, to being suspended from a crazy scaffold-like apparatus (TRX), to rebounding, to parkour…seriously lots of cool things here! If you force yourself to do something you hate doing, you will just make fitness a negative experience, which it is not. I can’t stand lifting weights so I don’t lift weights. I don’t like the elliptical trainer so I don’t do it anymore. I have found really fun ways to get my fitness into my very busy life and it has been very effective.
  6. Eat more greens and whole grains. Greens and whole grains are some of the healthiest foods on the planet: high in antioxidants, “good” carbs, enzymes, and protein. More and more studies are showing that when consumed in large amounts, they can really change people’s lives for the better. I suggest eating greens with every meal. For example I have a green smoothie for breakfast, a big salad with lunch, and usually a cooked green with dinner. You can even blend greens in salad dressings and sauces… my kids love basil in salad dressing and parsley and kale blended into my pesto (which we use on our homemade pastas and pizzas). You can even make greens into snack and finger foods… you can make delicious dehydrated or lightly baked kale chips and use collards as wraps for sandwiches instead of bread or flour tortillas. For whole grains, try sweetening rolled oats with yogurt and maple syrup for breakfast or having lightly seasoned brown rice or quinoa as a side dish instead of fries or pasta. Have these foods before the rest of your meal…they will fill you up and you may even find that you don’t want the rest.
  7. Don’t assume they won’t eat what you cook. Don’t make the mistake of becoming a short order cook so you can have your “healthy food” and they can have their “kid food.” That attaches a negative stigma onto healthy food that they will carry with them as they grow. Stop buying processed kid foods like chicken nuggets and cheese sticks and fries and junk foods like chips and cookies. If it’s not in the house, they won’t be able to eat it (and neither will you!). Instead, focus on preparing the foods properly so they taste the way they should and put a condiment tray (with different things like ketchup, mustard, relish, hummus, sesame oil, mirin, tamari, lemon juice, etc.) on the table so the kids can try different flavors with their foods. They will enjoy the opportunity to personalize their foods. The founder of my holistic nutrition school once said something like this “it doesn’t matter if they dip their broccoli into ketchup as long as they are eating the broccoli.”
  8. Get thee to the spa! Moms are often stressed out. We cannot eliminate the stressors in our lives completely, but we can make the choice to try to manage how it affects us. It is a known fact that stress interferes with many of the body’s vital functions necessary for weight loss. If you are walking around all wound up, you will have a much harder time losing weight despite your best efforts. Diet and exercise can certainly help with how the body handles stress, but regular relaxing spa treatments can take it to a whole new level. Many spas now offer holistic treatments like shirodhara, detoxification, and Reiki in addition to massages and facials. Prioritizing Mom-me time by getting these therapies will support and enhance your weight loss goals.

If you enjoyed Rachael’s tips, you may also enjoy her new Holistically Haute™ Salt Bath Ritual, exclusively available at Holistically Haute. Spa time is invaluable to your sanity, even if it’s just in your own bath tub!