The one advantage of suffering through another long Maine winter is that we don’t have to feel bad about doing things to feel good. It is, after all, a matter of survival.
“You work so hard through the holidays, it’s cold, and it’s a hectic time of year,” said Ellen Jennison of Calm Waters Salon and Spa in Scarborough. Often, she said, women neglect to take care of themselves because they’re too busy taking care of everybody else.
“Going forward into the New Year, don’t forget about yourself,” said Jennison. “It’s important not to put yourself off the Christmas list. It’s important not to just do everything for everybody else.”
A day at the spa may be one way to help make it to spring. If you can spend a few hours, Jennison recommended treating yourself to a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure with lunch. She also recommended a salt glow treatment as especially luxurious in the wintertime. The salt glow is a treatment that uses a blend of sea salts and essential oils that are massaged into the skin, providing exfoliation, hydration and massage all in one treatment.
“It’s really nice in the wintertime because it warms your body,” said Jennison. “We have one woman who says it just warms you to the core.”
The salt glow and body treatments also help fix winter’s toll on your skin, pointed out Lauren Leavitt of Fabu Salon and Spa in Portland’s Old Port.
“It will leave the skin glowing, and get all the dry and dead skin off,” said Leavitt.
Leavitt said that for a day at the spa, clients can pick and choose services off an ala carte menu that has a range of yummy sounding body treatments – including champagne and rose exfoliation, wine wrap, cranberry exfoliation, mango exfoliation or wrap, and a chocolate exfoliation and a chocolate mousse wrap – as well as Swedish, hot stone, and deep therapy massages. A day of luxury may include lunch or a glass of wine while enjoying the salon’s view of Casco Bay.
If you don’t have a lot of time to spare and just want a quick pick-me-up, Jennison suggested trying out the salon’s mini versions of their facial, adding a scalp massage, manicure, and pedicure, which you can fit in for about an hour and a half at the salon, and allows you to try out some of the services.
“I think pedicures are always nice because it’s warm and it feels good,” said Leavitt. “Some people let their feet go in winter, which can be a mistake if you are at a holiday party where guests are required to take their shoes off.”
Leavitt also suggested trying some small change-up to refresh yourself during the winter, such as adding low lights throughout your hair, changing up the color slightly, or getting a spray tan to add a little healthy glow to your skin.
“I know for myself if I’m put together, it puts me in a better mood,” said Leavitt. “I feel better if I look good.”
And you can’t just go home now that you’re looking great and feeling fabulous after a day at the salon. Why not treat yourself to dinner and a show?
For the dinner part of the equation, Portland offers plenty of restaurants cooking up some scrumptious dishes. Among those, 555, at 555 Congress St., has earned national attention and honors for its commitment to excellence and using the best local ingredients. For a special girls’ night out, every Thursday the restaurant hosts Oyster Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. where you can indulge in $1.55 raw local oysters and drink specials.
Michelle Corry, co-owner of 555 with husband and chef Stephen Corry, suggested the truffled lobster macaroni and cheese made with four types of artisanal cheeses, butter-poached fresh Maine lobster, and both black truffles and white truffle oil as one of the most indulgent dishes for kicking the winter blues.
“If that does not make you feel special, I don’t know what will,” said Corry. “Paired with a beautiful glass of champagne is a perfect cure for the winter doldrums.”
And for the show, give yourself an excuse to dress up by going to a performance of the Portland Symphony Orchestra or by Portland Ovations. Andy Gilbert, director of marketing for Portland Ovations, recommended attending the Afro-Brazilian Bale? Folclo?rico da Bahia – or the Folklore Ballet of the state of Bahia – a colorful, sensual, high-energy show that will make you at least temporarily forget about the cold, slush, and snow outside.
The show, Jan. 19, is based on the traditions of Carnival and influences that were brought to South America by African slaves, includes a lively 38-member dance troupe, instrumentalists, and singers.
“It defies description,” said Gilbert. “If you’re looking for something to spice up your winter evening, this certainly fits the bill.”
The 38-member dance troupe in Balé Folclórico da Bahia puts on a lively performance based on folklore traditions that were brought to South America by African slaves.Give yourself an excuse to dress up by treating yourself to dinner and a show. In January, Portland Ovations will present the Balé Folclórico da Bahia, an Afro-Brazilian dance troupe that puts on a colorful, high-energy show.