Monday, September 15, 2008

fancy and more expensive isn't always better...

First of all let me start by saying that I like my feet. My feet is the one body part that I've always had a good relationship with. I always keep them clean, well groomed and soft... or at least I always try too. Call me strange, but I've been this way for as long as I can remember. This is why, as you may be wondering after you read this post, I have so many photos of my feet.

And because I realize my feet issues might not be quite the thing you want to read about on a Monday, let me apologize now... but it's bothered me all weekend and I need to get it off my chest.

Last year my generous new husband gave me a half day spa package at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa for my birthday. My birthday happened to fall exactly one month and one day after our family vacation and beach wedding. I guess he felt that I needed some pampering with a half day of massage, a pedicure, a manicure and makeup refresher already a month into our marriage. He's so thoughtful like that. But honestly, I'm one of those typical moms and wives that have a hard time accepting things like this for myself. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problem treating myself with a pedicure every three weeks or so. Or a hair cut every six months or so. Or a nice bubble bath with a LUSH bomb whenever I can. But I have never had a professional massage... I always think I would love to get one, but the reality of it is, I'm a little shy and uncomfortable with my body... especially now with it being almost eight months pregnant. Plus, I have to say, that my husband will give me a massage whenever I request one and he's good at it too... and it's free!
Anyway, back to my point here... I excitedly accepted my birthday gift, stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. Not on purpose though, I swear. I was going to save it for a "special" occasion... after all it didn't expire until December of this year so, I had plenty of time to decide on an appropriate "special" occasion in my boring little life.

So, a year goes by, my birthday rolls around again and my husband scratches his head and says, "Hey, you never used the spa gift I gave you last year". Oh, yeah, that. Ok, I'll use it. So, I call and ask if they do pregnancy massages... and they do. Crap. Then I start asking questions like, "How long does it take?" and "Can I just come in for a pedicure?" and the woman gives me hope with the answer, "Of course you can". So, I make the decision to break up the "package" and schedule just a pedicure with possibly the massage and manicure at a later date.
And I'm rambling here aren't I? Sorry. I have a point, I promise. But wait, isn't my blog called Ralonda's Rambling's? I'm allowed to ramble here if no where else right? Ok good. Back to story...

So, I go Friday to the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa... I even put on mascara. I was excited. After all, it's been a while since my last pedicure. With gas issues and our summer electric bill (ohhh we won't go there) extra funds haven't been so extra for us (like most Americans) the last several months.
Now, the picture above isn't of my pedicure from the Red Door Spa... no, no, nooo... it's from an old pedicure. I told you I liked my feet. And this particular pedicure was one of my favorites. It made me smile. It's the little things in life that make me happy. I'm simple like that. And I didn't spend very much for this simple little pleasure... not even $40.00! But since then my usual nail dive has gone up just a tad... I think I paid $45.00 for my last pedi there.

Back to my point here... let me zoom in and explain to you what I'm talking about... my feet are clean, don't worry. Personally, I prefer the french pedicure over full polish. To me it says clean. Plus, I don't have to make the agonizing decision of choosing a polish that will match all my outfits. *Smile* Also, If you'll notice I prefer the tips to be a little wider and more on the square side. I like to keep my nails short so when I play footsie with JB I don't jab him and make him bleed. He likes that too. My toes are sort of on the square side anyway and I think the wider and squarer (is that a word?) tips compliment my feet. Can you tell I have a little too much free time to be over analyzing this? Yeah, I know.

Here's another photo of a pedicure I got. Well look at that, wide and squared tips... nice! Makes me happy. Maybe I need some sort of counseling... hmmm.

And this is what I got Friday at the Red Door Spa. Thin and round tips... well, at least on my big toe anyway. My other toes look square to me... they don't match. I don't think I like the round look on my big toe. The thin strip would be ok if maybe it were more square.

However, it was a nice experience... I guess. Let me go ahead and describe my experience, just in case you've never been to a Red Door Spa. First, upon your arrival they escort you to a waiting area where you can sit in a red chair and sip (with your pinkie out) some refreshing iced lemon water or cranberry juice in a glass... a real glass, not plastic! Then a woman named, Helena, will come get you and escort you to the leather pedicure chair and begin her magic. Except I did notice that my chair didn't vibrate or massage like at my usual cheapo pedicure dive... hmmm.

I also noticed that Helena was a little rough, liked to ask me too many questions and sell me on the "next package up", "for the best possible experience", unlike my usual dive. My usual dive, has tv's and a huge selection of magazines. The little Asian women are gentle, but firm when giving the massage portion of the pedi. They mind their own business, yet are polite and concerned about doing their best for you. Helena had her own opinions and did her own thing after she selected the magazine I would read. Which by the way, was the thickest VOGUE I've ever held, which was hard for me to hold up because of my protruding belly. I had to slightly turn towards the right and prop it up on the arm rest, which eventually made my back hurt. I also noticed that for the "next package up" I got the exact treatment (exfoliating scrub with a warm wrap) that I get at my usual dive that is included in my basic pedi treatment... hmmm.

One hour later as I stood in front of the check out girl in a daze of upgraded this and that and an extra charge for "french", not to mention the gratuity, my final Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa Pedicure came to a mere $98.00! Yes, you read that correctly... $98.00. Ninety eight bucks for "the best possible experience". Only there's one problem... I didn't feel like I got "the best possible experience". I feel like I could have gotten two pedicures from my usual dive with the wider and more squared tips like I prefer... not to mention the vibrating massage chair, a huge selection of the latest gossip magazines to choose from, a polite, gentle, but firm little Asian woman who does her business and stays out of mine, and the same quality treatment in the same amount of time.

Now, I must say that the flip flops they gave me to wear home so I wouldn't mess up Helena's work were of better quality. They were black (unlike the fluorescent green, orange or yellow) and had thicker soles... I did wear them all the way home.

So maybe that, combined with the half glass of cranberry juice I sipped on with my pinkie out makes up for the other $53.00 that I was charged for... hmmm.

And you know that feeling you get after you realize that what someone is selling labeled "the best" isn't really "the best" and you suddenly sense that you've been ripped off. Well, that's how I've felt about my "best possible experience" all weekend and why I needed to get it off my chest today. I still have a good amount left on my gift card and I have no idea what my next "best possible experience" will be at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. But I do think I've concluded that I'll stick with my usual nail dive for my future pedicure's. I've also concluded, which I sort of knew anyway, that fancy and more expensive isn't always better.

Ahhhh... thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel better now. That is until I happen glance down at my toes.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!
Lots of love,


Amy said...

You are so funny. I love you..and your toes look always!

Jen said...

I agree. When I went to the Arden spa a few years ago, I was less than impressed. The Grand Spa, however, is unbelievable! Maybe I should meet you there, for moral support of course! :)