Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jewelry Madness

My love affair with jewelry began innocently enough many years ago (when I was in my twenties) and then grew into a full-blown obsession. It got so bad that seven months ago I took what was supposed to be a year’s hiatus from purchasing jewelry. But recently, (seven months later) I fell off the wagon. I’ll tell you more on that topic later.

Over the years I have bought jewelry, out grown it, became bored with it and passed it on, only to acquire more baubles and beads. My taste in jewelry ranges from the subtle to the fierce and I enjoy the array of options. I just accept that on different days I have different vibes and I let my jewelry express the mood I’m in. I have jewelry that’s funky, artsy, romantic, and ethnic, inexpensive, expensive and so on. I can go from the ultra conservative to the wild and funky from one day to the next.

Most folks get dressed and decide which jewelry compliments the garment. I recently spoke with my jewelry mentor, (yes, I actually have a friend who influenced me many years ago with this madness) and she agreed with me that many times we decide which jewelry we will wear and then let that determine which garment blends with the jewelry. This bosom jewelry fiend also has a wide range in jewelry tastes, but loves to purchase her prize pieces at pawnshops. I could never get into the pawnshop vibe. When I’m in a pawnshop, I feel overwhelmed. They always seem to have so much stock.

So yes, I recently went back to purchasing jewelry. I didn’t quite make it through 12 whole months of abstaining, but seven months was a record for me. “What had happen was,” I went bonkers over jet black, crystal jewelry. It all started with a purchase of a lovely vintage, black, brocade dress from fashion stylist, Joan Van Hees at the Fort Greene flea market. Because of the draping neckline, Joan suggested that the dress was probably worn with a broach.

I was able to find a perfect broach after combing through dozens to choose from all around the market. I choose a jet, black, vintage crystal broach, because I wanted something that blended with the garment instead of contrasting. But the reflection from the black jet beads was just magical. I became fascinated by jet black crystals and then I found they can be purchased so cheaply on ebay. My goodness, help me! On ebay the jet black jewelry can be had for half of what it cost at the flea market. Who knew! And all this, after I swore I didn’t even like ebay!

Well enough is enough. I’ve done my regular and gone overboard. Purchasing jewelry is one clear way my obsessive-compulsive nature, rears its ugly head. I need help. If you can relate, please help a sister out. I need to get back up on that wagon.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day Spa - Korean Style

As a birthday gift, my niece, Zauditu invited me to a day at a spa. Now normally, if you say spa I start drooling, but she said Korean Spa and immediately I had a whole different response, because I had heard these spas are like bathhouses. And personally, I don’t go in for “public bathing”. I start having all kinds of ideas about how sanitary can it be? But I decided that since she was so excited about the idea, I would just say yes. Amazing things happen when you say, “yes” in life and I’m definitely up for what’s amazing.

The services offered at King Spa Sauna, are apparently a system of self-care that is traditionally Korean, because you will see generations of Korean women together. You’ll see a grandmother, with her daughter and her daughter’s daughter. Everyone walks around naked, except there are some ladies that are in black underwear. I finally realized they were the practitioners.

We walked into a very large wet room that was covered from floor to ceiling with marble and tile and water everywhere. This one room had a row of shower stalls, a pool of really hot water, a pool with lukewarm water, a pool with cold water, a steam room and rows of seating with shower-heads where you could sit and bathe, wash your hair, brush your teeth etc. You go from one pool to the other alternately relaxing and invigorating your system, depending on the temperature of the water. The herbal steam room was divine; the scent in there was euphoric. Then there were the massage tables where you received wet services such an exfoliation and wet massage.

The exfoliation was incredible. The practitioners wear these mittens that are like “brillo gloves” and they begin rubbing each and every part of your body systematically with these mittens. I was astounded at the amount of black, rolled dead skin that came off of my body. It was like yuk, puke. You want to believe that ugly, gross stuff is coming from somewhere else, somebody else, but no, it belonged to you. Afterwards, your body is as smooth a silk.

Having had a lot of massages over the years, it didn’t seem these were professional masseuses. You get the feeling, they haven’t really been to an accredited massage school, but it still, it feels good and relaxing. The downside of that is that they use baby oil, (definitely not the best). Next time I will bring my own oil.

All is said and done and now it’s time to leave and tip your practitioner. But there’s a “recommended” tip. But in this case “recommended” means a mandatory amount. The amount is $25.00, which is pricy considering that’s double an 18% tip. Oh well, it makes me wonder (like I do in nail salons) if the practitioners are on payroll or if tips are their only source of income???

All in all, I would definitely go again. It's a very relaxing and wonderful way to bond with friends, family, or loved ones. Though I must warn you, that you’ll be wishing you had a personal driver to take you home, and you’ll want to head right home to take a nap. All that water submerging seems to bring your exhaustion to the surface. At least that’s how I felt. I was really out of it for the rest of the day. Maybe, next time, I’ll try it at night. There was a lot more to do that we didn’t get to (like the Amethyst room, mineral salt room, gold pyramid room) but check it out for yourself. BTW, we went to the one in Palisades Park. I've heard the one in Flushing Queens, Inspa World a.k.a. Spa Castle is far more fabulous. And if you’ve already been to one of these Korean spas, tell us your experience.

Thank you Z, for a tremendous experience and for spending time with your Auntie!