Thursday, December 27, 2007

LRS New Year's Eve party

Once again, the Little Red Studio is taking over the Little Red Day Spa on December 31st-January 1st for the New year's Eve Gala. The theme is 1920/1930's and costumes are encouraged. I managed to get a sneak peek of the big aerial/dance piece that is based on a scene in the movie Chicago, and it is amazing!

The Spa will be opened up after midnight for post-fireworks soaking and socializing. There will not be any practitioner's on duty, but all the spa's accouterments will be available for your use and enjoyment.

Entrance fee for the evening is $50 per person for this catered, two part event. Tickets are available for online purchase at Brown Paper Tickets.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday hours.

What a busy weekend! Funny how one small post about it being quiet suddenly gets the phone ringing.

Yesterday was a full day at the spa and today we have half of the day filled with appointments. Tomorrow, Monday the 24th we will be open half the day and Gift Certificates will be available for sale, either via phone or pick up.

Please call me at 206-963-0772 and we will get you all set up with an envelope of pampering and relaxation!

I hope everyone is enjoying time with loved ones.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Everyone is so busy!

Except me. The spa is running at it's regular pace.

I was amazed at how many cancellations have been called in recently, until I remembered what month were in. It seems like the times when we are busiest is exactly the times when we could really use a little extra down time to recuperate. I always feel so bad when I can hear it in someone's voice how much they regret having to reschedule or cancel their appointment. Almost as if it hurts to say the words.

So, if you are noticing you have a little extra time after your holiday shopping, or maybe you want to combine getting a spa session with buying someone else a gift certificate, give me a call. I am ending up with more same day appointments available than usual.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Letting go...

Some people just can't let go during bodywork. They can't let go of the tension in their muscles or the worries in their heads or their expectations of what the experience will become in the next moment. Whatever they can't let go of, it often gets in the way of me doing my job.

Mind you, I am not trying to make it all about me, the therapist. Really it's all about you, the person I am working on. My comfort and ease in and around my job makes for a better massage or watsu experience for my guest. If I stand with poor posture, I can't get enough depth into muscle tissue to work knots out. If I am nervous because the guest keeps asking me overly personal, leading questions then my focus is no longer on my guest but on myself. Every choice I offer to you, my guest, once you are in the spa, is based on your personal preference. I'm only going to offer choices that work for me, so whatever you choose will be fine for me. That is one of the best tricks I have learned over the years: learn how to do something a few different ways in order to give people options that will work for me.

Watsu really challenges me in this regard. And not in a way you would think. Despite having to move someone's body through the water, the buoyancy provided by the water takes away much of the stress bodywork and massage puts on my body. The caveat is that the person has to surrender to the support of the water. When a person is relaxed, limp even, their bodies are easily manipulated, moved in and by the water. I was taught to work with the water in generating movement without it seeming forced or putting undue stress on the body, both mine and my guest's. Imagine the way kelp moves in the ocean; smooth, organic and effortless. That's the way you should look and feel when you are receiving watsu.

Perhaps there is a mild fear, either of water or of having to trust a stranger to support you in the water. Sometimes, people will make their legs stiff and straight during watsu in what is often an attempt to stay afloat. Doing this makes the person more difficult to move and stretch, causing me to be more forceful in my movements, and thereby less relaxed myself. This always transmits from my hands and body to the recipient. Pulling the head up out of the water by bringing chin to chest is another common thing that people instinctively want to do if they feel like they are sinking too far into the water. Ironically, this will cause your hips to sink lower and cause your head to slip a bit out of my hands.

Sometimes there is an expectation of alertness or assistance. It is quite difficult to convince people that the best way to help is by not helping. It's human nature to help someone who is helping or being kind to you. In this case, it is not selfishness, it's a beautiful thing to let me do all the work, because it's really not work at all if you relax and let go.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More fun stuff!

I have a great time making many of the products that we use in the spa treatments. It's my chance to be creative when I am blending essential oils or devising a new salt scrub.

Perhaps this isn't in keeping with the winter theme, but I am infusing sunflower oil with fresh rosemary. While it will be a month before it can be used, I love looking at it in the spa. After only a few days the oil has a green tinge to it that is very lovely. This will become the new base for our regular scented oil, which is a blend of Rosemary, Lavender and Basil essential oils. I am hoping that the infused oil will have enough of the rosemary scent so that I will only need to add the other 2 oils.

I feel like a mad scientist! Where's my lab coat?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ladie's Night at the Spa.

When I first got interested in the spa industry, I took great delight in checking out all the other spas in the area and learning who offered what. It gave me a good idea of what was "out there" and what wasn't. There is a wish list I gave to Jeff, the owner, that is still quite long of what I want to do with the spa. We are slowly ticking off items as the timing and resources present themselves.

Right now is a very exciting time with whispers of a merger and moving the spa into a new building. I shouldn't say much right now, because everything is still in the "this is a good idea" and early planning stages, but come summer time, I just might get some of my bigger wishes fulfilled.

In the meantime, the idea of having a Ladies' Night at the Spa is reaching maturity. (The Men's Night is a little farther down the pike.) This will be a weekly occurrence on Mondays, costing $10 per woman, starting at 6pm and going until 10pm. This evening will be a mellow event with all the spa offerings available for women to indulge in, either as a self-service of with help from a friend or other spa guest. I will be there, of course, facilitating the use of products and the space. Normally, coming to the spa is restricted to one appointment at a time, so this event will be quite different in that it will be on a drop-in basis. Reservations are requested so that I can have enough staff on hand. If I get enough people to make reservations, I plan on bringing on a massage therapist and an esthetician to do mini-massages and facials as an add-on service to the entry fee.

I am looking to start having the Ladies' Night at the Little Red Day Spa in early January. Any feedback or suggestions you would like to offer are most welcome.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Open House today!

Everything is almost ready. All the product for the new Winter Warming session is ready. My practitioners are all scheduled to come in over the course of the open house so that there will be plenty of different perspectives for you to hear when you come to visit. It's going to be a nice little event. I have spent the last week getting all the details taken care of and now it's down to just that last few things. Cross your fingers for me that I get them all done.

The open house is from 3pm - 6pm today (December 9th) at 1506 Franklin Ave. E. in Seattle. If you have been coming to LRS events for a little while, it is located at the "old" studio. Please note we still do not have our Little Red Day Spa signs yet. Please look for the white and black A-board sign at the end of the drive way that says Hengst Studio. Parking is free and easy on the street.

Call 206-963-0772 with any questions you may have.

See you soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New Session Available

To keep things at the spa fresh and interesting, I have been reviewing our offers with an eye to change things up. We have a "Hot Stone Massage" session, which I don't much care for. I don't believe in using tools to do massage as it takes me a step away from the real power of bodywork: touch. Add in that I have a fear of being burned and it's not really a good fit. Fortunately, Zan, another LMP at the spa, loves doing the stone massage and has been more than happy to take those sessions. Unfortunately, because of my bias, those sessions aren't promoted as much and it bothers me that the stones often lie around unused. That seems wasteful.

Along with revamping existing sessions, I decided to start developing seasonal sessions. So here we are, entering the depths of winter. I, for one, always get hit by the winter blues. Aside from the full spectrum light bulbs and increasing my exercise, I also indulge in anything that reminds me of summer or warm weather, such as eating more oranges (I once read a book with a line describing orange juice as liquid sunshine,) or buying flowers, sitting on sun warmed rocks in the mountains. Wouldn't it be nice to combine all those things into an experience that warms you up makes you think of sunnier days?

Behold! The Winter Spa Session: Imagine rolling your feet over and around smooth, heated river rocks while getting your feet washed and rubbed in a warm foot bath. You'll be floated into oblivion in our spacious hot tub by your attentive practitioner until all your stress had been drained away by the swirling water. After being deposited back on dry land, you'll be given warm stones to hold during your hot oil body treatment. A Pomegranate Tangerine Salt scrub will enliven your skin, which you will shower off in our custom shower, emerging refreshed and rejuvenated.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

LRS Pilosophy - Part 1 of 3

"Erotic Art is all art... well, almost."
Written by Jeff Hengst.

"Erotic" does not have anything necessarily to do with sex and so it follows that "erotic art" does not necessarily have anything to do with sex. To see "erotic" as synonymous with sex and to set oneself up to emphasize this aspect of "erotic" in the spirit of reclaiming an open honest awareness of sex in the face of a sexually oppressive society, is to still be caught up in the oppression.

Another way of defining "erotic" is to think of it as a god/dess form, a kind of energy that animates the human spirit through bodily means. It is the energy which calls us to spirit which is a “body” or plane of being where-in there is a rich tapestry of connection and meaning-fullness. Seen in this light, nearly all art is erotic. Why else would the human animal make art? Surely art has its uses, but we consider it “art” precisely to the degree that it has no practical use. Its real use, if it is art, is its ability to help us experience the spiritual, to get us to a place where we can remember and experience these connections and sensations of meaning. As modern people we have come to see "utility" as antithetical, or an encumbrance, to art's ability to steward us to spirit.

The ancients made tons of art, and they had no sense of "utility" encumbering them. What is amazing to me is that they made any art at all. Life was very difficult for them. The simple basics of life required enormous amounts of time and energy. And yet they still found time to carve, dance, write poetry, draw and paint as well as ornament their everyday objects with an artfulness which is utterly lacking today. Nevertheless, we live in a modern world where these distinctions have become the fabric of our life and culture. And so we must find ways to overcome this distinction which has for so many of us become a barrier to ever reaching spirit which is so essential for rejuvenating our bodies and souls.

As an antidote for this malaise, we have, at the Little Red Studio, set forth a definition of art which states that all art that is done in this view is "erotic." That aspect of art whose subject is “sex” is the "Sex Art" subset of erotic art.

There is another kind of art that is made which is not erotic art. All art made for the sole purpose of profit is not erotic art. The world today has many art assembly lines which simply crank out art as a commodity to be sold for profit. Much art that is made is done in part for profit, even my art is for sale after all. The degree to which it is done for profit is precisely the degree that it is not erotic. And this is neither good, nor bad, just different. The difference that makes this worth pointing out is that "profit" is "even" or "balanced." For example, if I sell something money is given back to me in the amount that is determined to be equal in value to the thing I am selling. Moreover, the money is exchanged more or less at the same time as the “art” is completed and delivered. The transaction is complete….done. An erotic exchange is not "done." It is open ended and full of uncertain possibility. The exchange is not equal and fairness is irrelevant. In fact, what seems to happen is that by some unknown mechanism things seem to increase. The openness and “un-done-ness” of the transaction seems to play an important role in this increase.

I don't believe that until the modern era anybody would have even thought of the classification of "erotic art." It is one of the great challenges of the industrial/technological age that we live in to find a way to re-integrate the spiritual back into our lives and find a way to have "erotic exchanges" in addition to the many "profit" or "done" exchanges that make up most of our lives. It is this very lack of spirit or integration of self which is cultivated in "erotic exchanges" that would lead us to even think of classifying art this way and reveals our yearning as a culture.

Re-kindling an understanding of the erotic as an energy form that can embrace and accept our bodies, all of our bodies, even our sexual bodies, could be just the breath of fresh air and honesty that we need. This is the "worm hole" away from the whole Judeo-Christian paradigm that views access to the spirit to be in the hands of a religious elite and sex to be inherently evil. And more importantly, for us liberal and sexual progressives, this different understanding of "erotic" could be the escape pod that could help us avoid the subtle trap of thinking we are free from this tyranny when if fact we have turned the trap inside out and then stuck our foot back in it, which to my mind is what we do by equating sex with erotic and thinking we are balancing out the sexually oppressive dominant culture.

To think of erotic art as simply art that has something/anything to do with sex is to miss a very exciting boat that is going to a whole new dimension of spirited, integrated and animated living that to be sure, includes lots of shame free sex. But it could include more than that. It could include lots of art making- singing, poetry, painting, dancing, miming, sculpting, acting and drawing- much of which may or may not include sex as its subject.

And that kind of experience, I guess, is what we call Little Red Studio.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

All the rain...

I have lived in Seattle for 14 years, and after growing up during a drought, I actually quite enjoy living somewhere so wet. I didn't sign up for the downpour over the weekend though. That was unexpected, much to the ruination of property and the disruption of many lives.

Reading the blogs and hearing the news about all the repercussions of over 4 inches of rain (and that's only in Seattle, other areas had more!) makes me not even want to mention the extremely minor flooding that I have experienced at home. I am incredibly happy to report that no flooding happened at the spa in Eastlake and we are open as usual.

While I am saying my thanks for my good fortune, I'm hoping for good resolutions all around for everyone else.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Yummy body scrubs!

After McAuliflower suggested that I look to seasonal produce for inspiration for new products, I suddenly found myself looking at things much differently whenever I was at the grocery store.

A lovely woman who has recently become involved with the spa was telling me about using ground up pomegranates as a skin scrub. I love everything about pomegranates; their color, taste and smell are so yummy and vibrant. One of my criteria for new products is affordability. I would like to keep our rates stable. Accounting is so much easier when all the sessions keep to the same rules about pricing. For this reason, a pomegranate based scrub is out. However, adding ground pomegranate to a salt scrub is not financially prohibitive.

On to the product testing!

Did you know, pomegranate seeds are mightier than a mortar and pestle? The slipperiness of the seeds combined with my lack of practice with this device was somewhat comical. I have a blender, though, and that worked nicely. The only result of using the blender that I am not pleased with is that the brilliance of the red is somewhat diminished. I am hoping that once all the air bubbles that created the froth settles, the original color will return.

Mixing the pomegranate with the salt and oil mixture was dramatic! Very lovely to look at, indeed. The salt took much of the sweet smell away from the fruit, so I added in a generous amount of Tangerine essential oil for balance.

Happy with the resultant mixture both visually and nasally, I hunted down my house mate and talked her into letting me scrub her arm. She gave the color a big thumbs up and commented it was a bit scratchier than the last batch I made. I did use a different type of salt, a kosher sea salt, this time. Back to the fine grain Mediterranean sea salt, I guess. I don't think it's necessary to take off the top 3 layers of skin during a body scrub. Two layers is adequate.

I am so excited about the Pomegranate Salt Scrub that I am going to find a way to feature it at the spa. Please fell free to request it!