The Wellness Lounge & Treatment People Are Literally Lining Up For

It's essentially a no phone zone, so there are no pics to prove it, but Tao Foot Spa in Boca was jamming yesterday.

And a friend who frequents it, and introduced me, says that's the norm.

At first, I'd misunderstood, thinking that spa translated to pedicures and such. Not the case. This place is all about reflexology on your feet and...your shoulders, back, arms, and legs. There's nothing back home that really comes close in terms of atmosphere and the actual experience. I've tried one in RI. (There may be 1 or 2 others?) This one just feels like more of an authentic escape from the rat race (Yeah, Boca Raton translates roughly to Rat's Mouth, so there's that.). With the dimly lit (and communal, don't freak over the idea of being in that space with a dozen or more people, it's a non-issue once you're there vegging out) treatment room, lined with oversized leather recliners & ottomans, chandeliers, buddha images on the walls, and a zen-tastic soundtrack playing softly in the background. 

After a sort-of-rebuke (for going into that same main room before being called...Would I be the first person to get kicked out? Awkward.) from a woman I can only guess is either a manager or owner, I was ushered in and over to one of the oversized, leather recliners and ottomans. Again, stash your cell and zip it. There's no talking and only low lighting. If you feel the need to let the person working on your feet (or one those other areas) know that they need to ramp up, or down, on the pressure or speed, you're given a card to present. (After the panic of my initial faux pas, I mistakenly stashed my card in my bag along with my smart phone. Oh. Wellie.)

The hour treatment costs about $36 plus tip and starts with a foot soak in a basin with a liner (Raise your hand if you're a germ-o-phobe too.), a warm towel over the shoulders and back, and a neck, shoulder, and back rub. By the time, he or she gets to your feet, you'll probably be half asleep or snoring. (I snored. No biggie. It happens all the time.) Oh, and the only thing you have to remove is your shoes.

Wouldn't it be great if there was a place like this in Rhode Island? It's the most inexpensive way to recover and reboot from uncomfy shoes, text neck (from slouching over our phones), and the stress of those buggers who don't return emails. 

Photo Credits: Interior photos of Tao Foot Spa courtesy of their Facebook Page

**Updated and revised from the original post from Spring 2017

3 Places You Might Be Missing Out On This Week During School Vacation In RI

Sure, you could go to the movies. Or the mall. The next logical question of course would be, "Then what?" Don't feel too badly if February vacation has you stressing (It used to happen to me all the time back when I worked in retail and the store would suddenly be filled with tweens and teens.) and you're scrambling to come up with an itinerary to keep everyone entertained. Here's a short (but mighty) list of three affordable, funtastic, and quite possibly hidden gem-esque places to take your little ones this week in the OS.

1. How about getting up close with dogfish sharks, spider crabs, and sea stars via special touch tanks? Check out Save The Bay's Exploration Center & Aquarium at Easton's Beach on Memorial Blvd in Newport. It's where sanctuary meets petting zoo, and it boosts 40 species from Narragansett Bay including seahorses and rare lobsters. Also, February's theme is “Sensational Seals”, with an extensive schedule of activities celebrating them. Admission is $8 per person, and it's open daily this week from 10am to 4pm.

*Regular winter hours are actually Friday thru Sunday, 10-4pm. 

IMG_2709.JPG

2. Did you follow the recent Elon Musk and Space X Falcon Heavy rocket - and red Tesla with a faux astronaut in the driver's seat, and Bowie on a continuous loop - launch? Then, why not motor over to RI's only Natural History Museum and public Planetarian (I feel like so many ppl are unaware!) for two amazing shows everyday this week at 1 & 2pm, including today on the Holiday - NASA's Journey To Mars and Great Space Adventure respectively. Admission fee is an incredibly inexpensive $3 per person (What a deal!). Seats are limited though, so plan accordingly.

*Planetarium shows are for kids 4 and older. 

IMG_2710.JPG

3. Finally, take the kiddos over to the old time-y soda fountain, dating back to 1940's Chicago, at Green Line Apothecary in Wakefield and you'll score big points. They won't care that the ice cream's organic, but it's nice to know, right? It's bright and cheery, and menu options include shakes, ice cream sodas, sundaes, and the always classic, hot chocolate. A practically perfect way to while away the time, rain or shine.

IMG_2704.jpg

 

Photo Credits: Aquarium and ice cream photos courtesy of their respective social media accounts.

Everything You'll Wish You Knew Before Flying During Flu Season

IMG_2626.JPG

If you're not already a certified germaphobe, the flu season we've been trudging thru is enough to convert you. Then there's travel. Recently I boarded a flight and within 24 hours of deplaning, I was all sorts of sick. Severe sore throat. Major headache. Fever. Body aches. The shebang!

Anywho, there wasn't much I could do at that point except rest, drink lots of water and tea, pop the occassional Tylenol (those damn body aches!), and eat as much fresh pineapple as I could get my hands on (I swear it helped my sore throat, and thank goodness for InstaCart door to door delivery!) All better now, but these are some of the key things I wish I'd done to stay healthy in the first place, including one important lesson from a Bravo tv Real Housewife. 

1. Nose In The Air. To protect yourself from what lurks in that recycled air on the plane, it's a good idea to grab a tube of Neosporin before your flight, and using a Q-tip, lightly coat the inside of each nostril. This should help you avoid anything airborne that might ultimately put the kibosh on future plans, after your arrival, which I'm guessing don't include days upon days of watery eyes, coughing, discomfort, and poor-me-crying-jags whilst you attempt to find something new to watch on Netflix. 

2. The 'New' Masking. Sure, thanks to YouTube beauty vloggers and Insta Famous skincare gurus, unwrapping a sheet mask and taking a selfie while wearing is pretty standard stuff. The new masking, however - that I spied first hand on my flight (at least a dozen or more ppl had them on) - is sporting a surgical one. On the plane. My nurse friends assure me it's not 100% but after my recent experience, I'm seriously thinking of jumping on this bandwagon for my next trip. 

3. Spice Up Your Life.* Learned this from someone on Instagram actually, after I was already under the weather, but will definitely give it a whirl first chance I get. Her doctor had apparently advised that after arriving at her destination, she should eat a super spicy meal. I guess as a way of flushing out anything in the sinuses. (My nose always runs whenever I have any hot and spicy food, how bout you?) Way more fun than using a Neti Pot, that's all I'm saying.

4. Take A Page Out Of The Real Housewives Handbook. More specifically, Lisa Rinna's. And no, I'm not talking about lip augmentation (although for the record, I'm all for it as long as it doesn't look ridiculous). One thing Lisa does when she travels - and boy, is she logging some serious frequent flyer miles this season on RHOBH - is clean every surface in her hotel room with antibacterial wipes immediately. The tv remote. The phones. The light switches. Everything. You do remember that story on one of the news shows a few years back where the investigative reporter went thru a hotel room with a black light and what he found was beyond disgusting. Can I get a collective EWWWWW?

*If you think that's also a reference to the rumored Spice Girls' reunion and tour, you'd be right. Of course, I read the tabs.