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Tag Archives: Midtown
“Farm-to-table was so last year,” the enticing email from Vital Juice started. “The new local food trend: farm-to-face.”
“Townhouse Spa (the go-to spa for fashion industry insiders) is partnering with South Gate’s executive chef Kerry Heffernan for the new Fresh Skin Balancing Facial.
You’ll relax under an enzyme mask while an esthetician whips up a farmers’ market-driven “dish” for your skin (you’ll wear it, not munch it). The recipe might include oatmeal to soothe, avocados to moisturize, cucumbers to remove puffiness or tomatoes to brighten.
After the hour long facial ($150), you’ll be given the remaining mixture to take home. Use it to give yourself a mini facial a few days later, and prolong the results.”
How awesome does that sound? I saved the email, which came just about a month ago, for a rainy day.
Well, that rainy day came today, literally. Having Fridays off, I decided to to something out of the ordinary and devote a day to vapid, socialite pursuits. I made my appointment, mentioning the 10% off discount in the email. “I would like the farmers market facial,” I said.
“Um, I haven’t heard of that one,” the receptionist said. “I’ll just put it as ‘open’ and we’ll see what we have when you get here.” That wasn’t promising, but I honestly don’t remember the last time I’ve had a facial. At the risk of sounding snobbish, why not treat myself just because?
I started my day this morning with a jog, sloshing through the three-inch-deep puddles pooling on the cobblestones in Riverside Park. It was all but deserted except for a few intrepid dog walkers and one or two joggers like me squinting through the downpour.
After taking a shower and reading some over some toast and almond butter, I set off for Townhouse Spa on West 56th. The storefront wasn’t anything to look at, but I warmed to the well-appointed womens locker room, outfitted with rosewood lockers and keys tied with big tassels. The receptionist apologized. “We don’t have hot water right now, unfortunately. If you were planning on taking a shower after your facial…” I wasn’t, but that ruled out the sauna. I love saunas. The robes were soft and fluffy, though the slippers were extremely uncomfortable rubber slide-ons. Just the walk down the hall to the private room was a trial.
My esthetician, Krystina, was an older woman with cropped blond hair and bangs, and a thick Russian accent. I discussed my routine with her. (Pangea organic face routine at night, Aztec mud masks once a week, light Burt’s Bees moisturizer in the morning after a shower.) She placed eye protectors over my eyes and pulled a light over my face to examine my pores.
She admonished me for not exfoliating. “Once a week, you must exfoliate.” I asked her if a honey and baking soda mixture would do the trick. She shrugged, saying she’s never tried it herself but she didn’t see the harm. Honey has antibacterial properties, so I could even use it alone. She has one client with perfect skin who swears by baking soda. “But of course she just has perfect skin. Anything will work for her.”
I like an honest esthetician.
I asked her about the farmers market mask. “It’s made from food?” I ventured.
“We have a milk and berry facial,” she ventured. “It has lactic acid and…” blah blah blah stuff I can’t remember because it was too complicated. I agreed. At this point I had lost all hope of having the fabled Farmers Market facial. “Do I get to take some home?” I asked (After all, it said that in the email.)
She compensated by recommending a homemade mask of strawberries, banana, honey, and sour cream. Sour cream has lactic acid, apparently, so it is good for your pores.
She applied potion after potion to my face. Cream, hot cloth, spray, massage, tingling lotion, massage, spray, pat dry with a paper towel, toner, cream. “Now the painful part begins. Extraction.”
“Extraction,” I found out, means that she uses her nails to force out blackheads. She worked her way all over my face, squeezing the offending pores. I wondered why I couldn’t just do this at home. What was the difference between this and all the admonishments by magazines not to pick at your face?
I did a mental shrug and decided to use the time to meditate instead, listening to the typical spa music of unidentifiable chanting mixed with synthetic background. When she was done she applied three more layers of stuff and massaged my neck with essential oils. Every layer smelled lovely, like a subtle fruit cocktail at PDT.
I have to admit, while my pimples didn’t vanish (isn’t that what we all want?) my skin felt super soft. I’ll have to see how I feel in a week or so about the results.
I just looked up what the treatment might be, and here it is:
The VerryBerry Glo starts with a thorough cleansing and an exfoliation with a natural pumpkin enzyme scrub. After a light extraction, the skin will be prepped for a mixed berry and lactic acid peel. A mixture of blueberry, bilberry and mulberry will brighten, exfoliate, and promote softer, smoother skin while improving fine lines. An anti-inflammatory soothing gel mask will soothe and calm the skin. Enjoy a relaxing shoulder, neck and arm massage while the mask permeates through the skin. A vitamin concoction of super serums and moisturizers will then hydrate and protect the skin. Results will be immediate and noticeable.
It doesn’t sound that organic to me. “Natural” can mean anything at all. The Skin Deep Cosmetics database has no information on Sonya Dakar, the brand they were using.
Of course when I left, Krystina told me I should try to come back every six weeks for this $190 facial. The only way I would spend that much money that often would be if I wake up tomorrow with a clear, radiant face. I told her I would try.
I popped over to Bloomingdale’s to pick up some fall items of clothing, and I think now I’m going to go get a manicure. Tonight I have a reservation at Rouge Tomate with Mike for dinner, and then Colby, my sister, and her husband arrives. It’s just one of those days….
Why “Our?” This isn’t an aggregate blog, it’s just my personal blog. But I speak for several of my girlfriends when I say this bar ROCKS. Let me explain…
Last Friday I went out with the girls to see a great play, (thanks for the free tickets Liz!) called Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Think Vagina Monologues, but funnier, and with clothing instead of Vaginas. Five women acted out adorable/hilarious/heartbreaking life stories with clothing as the backdrop. Breast cancer and bras, wedding dress shopping, terrible and uplifting romances with cocktail dresses and purses, it was wonderful. I recommend. (Except if you are a guy, then I wouldn’t recommend.)
Afterward we all stood on the corner, discussing where we wanted to get drinks. Girly, fancy, fun drinks. As we talked, I heard a guy shout, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall!” A woman hit the ground next to me. Apparently she had tripped on a manhole, and struggled to catch herself until she finally spilled on the sidewalk. Her cigarette smoked on the ground next to her. Several concerned bystanders helped her to her feet, she was fine, and she left.
One minute later a guy walked by, and in one fluid motion scooped up the cigarette, put it in his mouth and walked on. Oh, New York.
After a misstep where we briefly stepped into a rooftop bar in midtown (“Do you smell vomit?” “Yeah, I was wondering why this place smelled like a frat party.”) I led everyone to the Ace Hotel. I was just thinking the lobby bar, where I’ve been a couple times. But at the door three adorably-attired male employees in suspenders and jeans told us we would have to go through the restaurant next door.
We stepped into The Breslin, and after taking in the vintage decor and calm ambiance, decided to stay. We followed a wooden staircase to the second floor where we seated ourselves in a tiny area with only three tables. “Can I fit my butt in there?” I asked a guy who was seated on the bench at the table next to ours.
“Well, of course,” he said graciously, “You can most certainly fit your butt in here.” What a gentleman.
All five of us crowded around the little table to peruse the drink menu. When the bartender popped over from the bar, merely seven feet away, I ordered a Surfer Rosa with “Rum, Dry Olorosa Sherry, fresh lime juice and artisanal grenadine.” The other girls ordered a Synchronicity (“Pimm’s with fresh lemon juice, mint, cucmber, grapes, Topped off with Prosecco”) two Lust for Lifes (“Gin with lavender syrup, mint and fresh lemon juice, topped with soda water”), and a Rush of Blood to the Head (“Prosecco with Blood Orange Liqueur, Hibiscus Syrup and lemon zest.”) Feeling thirsty yet?
We struck up conversation with the three friends next door. Julie is a recently fun-employed Food Advocacy gal. She filled me in on Breslin’s pedigree. It’s owned by the same people who have a NYC fave, Spotted Pig, so the menu is likely to be conscious and local as well. The cocktails, if you could not gather from above, are top quality. Gin is Hendricks or Tanqueray, for example.
After we finished our first cocktails, Annalee and I decided to test our bartender. We are currently obsessed with St. Germaine, an intoxicating and sweet elderflower liquor. Annalee, after getting home from her demanding finance job, makes her self a g&t and St. Germaine. Classy!
“Can you make us two – no, three – drinks with St. Germaine?” Annalee asked. “And please make them all different.”
He came back with two martini and one highball glass, various colors, with ingredients like orange bitters, tonic, lemon juice, and agave. I love a bartender who uses agave. We kept doing that all night. “Can you make us something….sweet, with blah blah?” He performed every time.
We talked with our neighbors some more. They shared their cookie plate, roasted almonds, and caramel popcorn with us, talked food policy, cracked jokes, discussed the merits of Brooklyn versus Manhattan, and just generally made good neighbors. If these are the kind of people you can expect to find there, than I will hang out there all. the. time.
In fact, you’ll find us all back there again tonight, sipping on inventive cocktails and being girly. Care to join?