Monday, March 14, 2011

Waiting to Exhale

Yes, this is me. And yes, I am praying - thanking God for allowing me to sit back in the "child's pose" after working my glutes into a frenzy with enough back leg extensions to give me race horse thighs. Believe it or not, this photo was snapped as I took part in a beautiful surprise gift. Let me explain.

"Something good is going to happen to me today." I try to say this affirmation out loud to myself every morning. And I have to thank Morris Baxter, the morning show personality on Clark Atlanta University's WCLK Jazz 91.9 for sharing what he calls his "Morris Code" daily. The mantra really works for me, whether it's appreciating having a traffic-free ride home from work or getting a "thinking about you" text from my new honey.

These daily blessings are lovely. But about a week ago, something REALLY wonderful happened. I found out that I'd won the opportunity to check out the serene Exhale Spa in the swanky Loews Hotel in Atlanta from Atlanta Moms Like Me, a cool social networking group for mommies in and around the A.

I joined about 25 other moms for some much-needed pampering, which was right on time after the challenging Core Fusion Basic class I took as part of our visit. From dedicated parking spaces and comfy robes to roomy showers and soothing scents, I felt the stress melt away as soon as I arrived. Plus I ran into my girl Christie Crowder (aka TheChatterBox) of the fabulous BlogRollers, who was just as excited as I was to engage in a few hours of therapeutic bliss.

They have a hammam!

After a quick tour of the steam room, sauna, fully-equipped workout facility, and even a hammam (yes, a detoxifying and relaxing Turkish bath experience), I suited up for Core Fusion Basic, a class that took me completely by surprise. I'd read a bit about the principles behind the toning class (Pilates meets strength-training and dance), but I wasn't ready for how challenging it was going to be and how great I was going to feel afterward.

Instructor Brandy guided about 10 attendees through the moves, occasionally providing personal attention and gentle physical pressure or alignment encouraging me to push myself a little further to get the most out of the workout. We used balls, straps, mats, light weights and even a ballet bar to push, pull, stretch, resist, and lift our bodies to improve athleticism, flexibility, posture and overall well-being.

After letting the hot water massage my tender muscles for a good 10 minutes, I sprayed on the complimentary Calyx perfume in the dressing room, threw on my work duds, and grabbed a refreshing blueberry-raspberry yogurt parfait waiting for the mommies. There was a bit of a wait for the chair massages and I really wanted one, looking at the ladies exhaling through pleasant expressions as the masseurs worked their magic.

But I opted for the hand paraffin wax treatment where I enjoyed in-person connections with moms I'd only known by their online names, PinkRibbon, Niamaya1 and JamJ. I slid my hands out of the wax at the end of a short and interesting presentation about the spa's facial services, and reluctantly said my goodbyes to the moms.

So thanks Exhale, Loews and Atlanta Moms Like Me for starting my weekend off right. I floated into work mid-morning and was able to maintain that vibe through Friday and into the weekend. Of course it didn't hurt that when I opened up my Exhale goodie bag later that evening, I found a gift certificate for a complimentary class and $25 discount for a spa service. You've gotta love a gift that keeps on giving.

And unlike Terry McMillan's nineties heroines, I won't be "Waiting to Exhale" like the title of this post. I'll be giving myself this spa experience again sooner than later. So ladies, when things get hectic in your world, do something special just for you. You can only take care of others when you take care of yourself. And remember, "Something good is going to happen to me today." Keep saying it and I promise it will come true.

I'm off to continue Enjoyceinglife. Hope you are, too.

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