Passionately Pursuing the Good Life

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mighty Life List #31: I Played in the Mud!

Glen Ivy Day Spa in Corona is situated, well, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. But I suppose that’s part of its charm. You drive through a whole lot a nothin’ before arriving at a picturesque oasis with lush landscaping and friendly staff members ready to make you feel welcome and pampered.

On a beautiful summer Saturday morning, George and I fueled up with a quick breakfast and hit the road. Despite the early head start and no traffic, by the time we arrived at the day spa (about a half hour after they opened) there was a good 20 minute wait just to get checked into the spa. We paid, received instructions on where to find the dressing rooms, and proceeded directly to Club Mud!

Let me tell you, from personal experience and from simple observation, that playing in the mud is not only good for the skin, but good for the spirit. I watched several women transform into giddy schoolgirls as they helped each other get covered with mud and check out their goofy profiles in the outdoor mirrors. As I had George with me, I was also able to get the unique male perspective of this experience. After covering himself with mud, George proclaims, “Hey, it’s like ‘Predator!’ You know, where the guy covers himself with mud so the creature won’t see him?” Ha! Yes, I...suppose it is! To those of you who might be a bit squeamish, fear not, for this is not your average mud. It goes on smooth and actually feels really nice. The hardest part is washing it off. I was finding traces of mud for a good day and half afterwards!

After our mud session, our intention was to grab a fruity cocktail (OK, that part was really my intention) and find a couple of lounge chairs to relax in. Only problem was…there were none left! The vast sea of lounge chairs had all been marked as taken. Apparently if you plan on visiting this spa during the summer on a weekend, you need to arrive at the spa the minute they open and immediately mark a couple of chairs for yourself. Yeesh. Now I know.

Despite this minor setback, we still managed to find a little corner for ourselves to relax in. With drink in one hand and magazine in the other, I put two regular chairs together to form a make shift chaise. It worked out just fine.

I sipped on a delicious Peach Bellini and skimmed through a Real Simple, and George relaxed beside me while catching up on his Sunset magazine reading.

The rest of the day included a trip to the mineral baths for me, round two of mud for George (he really likes that mud!), and some lounging in a floaty chair in the shallow pool. With the beautiful landscaping surrounding us and the weather not a degree past perfect, it honestly felt like we were on a tropical vacation. I can’t remember a more relaxing few hours so close to home. I can’t wait to go back!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mighty Life List #15 – My Week Without Dairy: Reflections on saying “Ciao for now” to Cheese

My hellish cheese-free week starts off with a slight disadvantage because I hadn’t managed all the grocery shopping and prep work I envisioned when deciding to go a week without dairy (i.e. an entire seven days without cheese glorious cheese…did I mention no cheese???). George and I decide spend Sunday at Disneyland, and after a fun filled day in the sun at the Happiest Place on Earth my original plan of grocery shopping and making dinner turns into a “How do you feel about ordering Thai food?” conversation in the car. To my credit, there was no dairy in the Pad Thai, Spicy Rice, or egg rolls, so come next Sunday night I will be planning a full fledged dairy extravaganza! So it begins…

Monday: I’m finding dairy in all sorts of unexpected places, including the package of instant oatmeal I was planning on inhaling at work. I resist the urge to interrogate the woman at the café at my building on their oatmeal preparation. She tells me they don’t use milk, I take it on faith that she’s telling the truth. Which brings me to my first discovery: Not only do you have to investigate every label for traces of something you are trying to avoid, but you also have to trust complete strangers that they are being honest with you about your food prep. I never considered myself untrustworthy, but as the woman at the café was dishing out my oatmeal I found myself eyeballing the product with intense scrutiny. She wouldn’t lie to me about that…WOULD SHE?

Tuesday: I really miss cheese. And ice cream.

Wednesday: Second unexpected discovery - my temporary parting with said cheese and ice cream seem to have created some extra room in my pants. Nice!

Thursday: I inadvertently come close to falling off the dairy wagon. I remove what I thought was a pork tamale made by George’s mom out of the microwave. When I pull back the husk I am greeted with the unmistakable ooze of cheesy goodness. “This is a cheese tamale!!!” I stare at it. It stares back, daring me to consume it. I sigh. I find George. I hand it over to him.

Friday: My skin is breaking out. What the hell? I thought going without dairy was supposed to improve your skin. I’m peeved. In retaliation for this I allow a modicum of dairy into my system at dinner in the guise of a fried zucchini blossom stuffed with a shrimp mousse. I feel no regrets. I am a dairy rebel! (ok not really)

Saturday & Sunday: The thing I was least looking forward to in this challenge? Weekend breakfasts. How many of my favorite weekend breakfasts have dairy in them? Pretty much all. But I work around it. And Sunday night, I make The Pioneer Woman’s quesadilla with BBQ chicken and grilled pineapple.

Welcome back, cheese. I missed you. Let’s never be parted again, ok? OK.