This week has been a very busy one for me. Well, really, it started with the weekend. Monday marked two years since Andrew and I stood in front of friends and family and announced our (legally binding) intentions of spending the rest of our lives together. Some people might call us still newlyweds, but since July marked 9 years since we first started going out, we don't feel so new to each other! I'll try to avoid the mushy stuff, but suffice it to say that married life agrees with us. And by now, we've figured out a few things that make us happy (besides spending time together). Andrew planned a sort-of surprise weekend at our favorite spa, followed by dinner and a night in a beautiful room at the St. Francis Hotel in SF (thanks to some help from Kim!).
Now, before you get any ideas about "spa" (which comes with so many preconceived notions), let me break down for you what that entails for us. First, the name, Watercourse Way, describes what this place is all about - water. And, being a true water baby, that's enough to make me happy right there. So, private room for an hour with a hot tub, cold water dunk tub (and it is definitely cold!), huge shower in the same room, and day bed, where the entire room is made to have water everywhere and it's not a big deal. Oops, I splashed a ton of water all over the floor! Oh, well that's what the tile floor and multiple drains are for (and yes, they re-filter all the water that goes down the drains). I smell like chlorine, I should shower with the yummy-smelling rosemary-mint soap and shampoo (by the way, there is even a shower in the regular bathroom!). Hmm, should I go back in the hot tub or relax for a while on the day bed? Oh, you gave me a bag with a cozy robe and slip-ons? Well, I wore my own flip flops and sweats, but this is more fun to wander around in.
And, did I mention that the decor is beautiful? I love Asian-style decor (it's inherited from my parents and grandparents; they loved to collect that style furniture and decor). Each room has its own name, like Five Fish, Six Dragonflies (which we were in this time), and the theme of the room matches (a gorgeous stained glass window on the wall behind the tub with 5 koi creating a circle), and just the little details like the wood and tile (I'm a sucker for natural materials). For the dream house in my mind, I've made note of several details from these rooms I would love to recreate!
So, tub time is over. We walk upstairs to the bench outside several doors to wait for our couples massage. The hallway feels like being in someone's house where we're very pampered guests! And, yet again, couples massage - massage, in general - has so many connotations that are just not accurate. I can only say, reserve judgment until you have had a good massage for yourself. You may just become addicted. Our massage began with a wet sauna, which I had never experienced (only dry sauna for me before). It was not the best part of the day; I had flashbacks to why I hated New Jersey's humid, hot summers. But imagine that in a little room that got so filled with steam that I couldn't see Andrew sitting next to me. I like playing in water, and that part I could deal with, but breathing in the hot, wet air made me want to breathe really shallowly, which is not a good idea (especially having skipped lunch!). The 15 minutes of that finished and we had been instructed to shower - with the one available tap reading Cold. And it wasn't kidding. I did feel refreshed after the whole thing, though - sweating out all those toxins and getting our skin ready for the dry brushing, which was next. I still love that the sauna room was built right into the massage room. Somehow it's just not the same as getting out of the shower at your own house. Maybe it's the people who then come in and pamper you!
So dry brushing - no, it's not like grooming a horse. It's good for exfoliating the skin, and feels good because you're stimulating all the top-level nerves in your arms, legs, and back. And then they start the massage. Andrew almost fell asleep. That's a good massage. You go to this calm, peaceful, wonderful place and don't think about anything else. Then they tell you to roll over onto your back, wrap a warm towel around your feet and face, put hot rocks under your shoulders and neck, and work out all those kinks you didn't even know you had. If you're not a puddle by the end, they didn't do it right.
Follow that with another shower - it's just so fun, all day, to be in and out of the water. Really. It's the best. And, of course, by now it's 5:30pm and we didn't have lunch, so we realize we're starving. Andrew's planned on us going someplace in the city for dinner, but there's this great little diner a couple of blocks away from the spa, and they make their own ice cream and have great shakes and serve breakfast all day. Yeah, grilled ham & cheese & tomato and a mint chip shake called my name! Andrew had an array of breakfast treats that everyone who came in the door by our table admired. They practically rolled us out the door, with our take-home containers of corn bread and dessert for later!
And now, the surprise part. Andrew had told me we would be staying overnight somewhere. He didn't tell me it would be at the St. Francis Hotel! If you're familiar with San Francisco, you should know that name. A friend of ours hooked us up with a gorgeous suite with a view (unfortunately, being San Francisco in the summer, it was foggy, but still beautiful), and it was nice to just spend the rest of the night relaxing and being together - and then having chocolate cake in bed for breakfast! Oh, and did I mention that Andrew made me a cup of coffee and brought it to me in bed?! The first time ever. For someone who hates even the smell of coffee, he conquered the "put the pod in here, put the cup under here, push button" directions and brought me my own fresh cup of Starbucks coffee. Let me tell you, I was amazed. And a very happy girl!
And then, to top it all off, we stopped by our favorite burrito place in the Richmond on our way home (I introduced Andrew to it - it was my favorite when I lived right down the street and could walk there!). Pure bliss. I have no idea what next year will entail, but I'm easy to please. Really, as wonderful as all this was, as long as we're together, I'm a happy girl. Here's to many more happy years together!