One of our sponsors, Mr. Steam, teaches me a thing or two
I have no idea where to start as I sit here in one of my favorite coffee shops, staring at the screen. Do you know that feeling? When you have approximately 80 kabillion things to write about or work on—so much that you’re a little overly-amped about it the night before—and then you sit down and… nothing. Blank slate. Ack!
Many schools of thought would say, just write! Which is why I’m sharing my inner-monologue with you right this moment instead of beating myself over it per usual. There’s been a lot going on. Of course I would blank out on the first day that a sense of calm would settle into my bones. A sense of calm. That seems rather odd to write out. I haven’t had that in weeks.
No, that’s a lie. I felt that way in California on the third morning of BlogTour California.** We’d spent the night at this adorable string of coastline hotels in Cambria, near Sonoma County. They're pretty unassuming from the outside as you drive past, but they’re hiding pure, get-away-from-it-all bliss inside. My room was appointed with a fireplace and two extremely comfortable chairs for reading next to the window while listening to the waves crash against the rocks across the two-lane road. Mobile phones don’t work inside the hotel (don’t worry, there’s WiFi), and while the rooms have televisions, it’s hard to remember that they’re sitting there. I swear that three days of quiet reading and writing at this hidden gem would cure anyone of whatever is making his or her head scream. We all have those moments. I’ve been having a them off and on since the summer. I have this looming spectre of a book hovering over me while I have virtually no child care after noon on most days and a husband who, until recently, was out of the country every week for work. The house has been a trash heap, a little person is trying to drop naps, that same little person is afraid of the toilet, and the bigger little person is wanting to be involved in more and more after school activities. Moms and dads everywhere face this from time to time and we tend to forget that we have to take care of ourselves, as well. One of my big lessons for 2014 has been that if I don’t do the self-care thing I'll sometimes become grumpy and jumpy and I get an awful lot of headaches. It’s something that we preach to our friends when we see them having a rough time, but how often do you give the Self Care Preaching to yourself? My time spent on the BlogTour—particularly the day that flitted back to my brain a couple of paragraphs ago—ended up being my self-preach.
The night before that dawn on the coast, our group had attended a wine dinner at Caliza Winery. We had so much fun, it was the perfect opposite for the scene that would envelop me the next morning. We were all glowing thanks to having spent that morning at Bacara Resort refreshing ourselves with yoga, Mr. Steam, and lunch. We learned about Mr. Steam's latest venture into the world of bath and body products. You may know that the company is part of many fine residential homes in the form of personal steam shower systems. This was my first lesson in steam. I’ve been to a few steam rooms at various spas, but didn’t really know what it was all about. I knew that steam opened up pores in the skin and can help with sinus pressure, and always felt a little more relaxed when I’d walk back out of the white-tiled room, but I really had just gone in because it was there. Because it was at a spa and therefore seemed like something you do when you visit a spa. Martha Orellana, the company's VP of Sales & Marketing, taught us that steam therapy can actually be a significant way to initiate a system of self-care. Martha has her own Mr. Steam therapy system in her home and spends a few minutes a day reaping the benefits to her immune system, skin, emotional well-being and state of mind (you can tell—she’s balanced and beautiful in the most fun, outgoing ways). In order to enhance the home steam bath experience and make it more like a personal hammam, Mr. Steam has come out with a line of beauty products called TALA Bath & Body, which include a Bath & Body Rhassoul Lava Clay mixture, Bath & Body Beldi Black Soap, a Hammam glove and Bath & Body Argan Oil. After practicing yoga on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean we headed for the resort’s spa (okay, so there were TWO days of calm bones), where we smeared the sticky, dark mixture over our skin, relaxed on chaise lounges as we felt the mask start to pull our faces nice and taut as they dried, and then relaxed even further as we settled onto the tile of the steam room. We sat and chatted until the mask re-softened, then washed it off, scrubbed our skin with the soap when we each took showers, and finished off with the argan oil on our skin (and hair for me, because I’m always looking for something to keep its consistency from turning into straw).
Okay, so here’s where I tell a little secret… when I get stressed out I break out. Not like a typical acne breakout. I get these nasty, humongous pits that bury themselves deep under my skin. It’s gross. I had one of those suckers on my chin that day, and the mask drew enough yuck out of my pores to take it down considerably. *Knock on wood* I haven’t had one of those stinkers return since I’ve been using the mask a couple of times a week. Since we haven’t begun to even plan our home re-do we don’t have a steam shower in our narrow circa 1991 master bath (but you’ll hear from us when the time comes, Mr. Steam!), so I call on the Old School to steam my face with the mask—water and essential oils (usually lavender and eucalyptus) in a pot on the stove, which I stand over with a towel over my head as the heat releases steam. A steam shower would be a bit easier, don’t you think?
Anyhow, I don’t just owe Mr. Steam thanks for the fabulous morning of skin care and yoga. I owe Mr. Steam thanks for snapping me out of my own B.S. and making me take a moment to right myself. Self-care isn’t selfish. When was the last time you checked in with your inner monologue to see if it was asking for a little help?
**see what I did there? Circled back! That should be a song if it isn't already.
**I’ve mentioned before that we’d like to get to a less destructive phase of life first—you know, where our furniture doesn’t get peed on by little people who think the toilet is an evil monster