We moms know to-do lists well. Keep going, keep doing. Take care of everyone and every project – that’s the mom life. But recently, I’ve been granting myself permission to embrace a different mindset: Treat yourself; no guilt allowed. Trust me: Your mind, body and especially your family will thank you for it.
For my recent “treat-yourself” solo date, I was seeking relaxation and pampering. For me to truly recharge, I need to be somewhere that feels “away” but is still close to home. The Four Seasons Westlake Village is an oasis of tranquility just off the 101 Freeway. The hotel is surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains and has beautiful gardens, great restaurants and a staff committed to making sure you’re taken care of.
My day began with a veggie omelet and 33-layer croissant slathered in strawberry-and-thyme jam at the hotel’s recently opened Coin & Candor restaurant. The California brasserie features rustic, seasonal and locally sourced creations by executive chef José Fernandez. Warm, fresh bread is my glass of wine – the ultimate relaxation food. Starting my day with the delightful aroma of fresh croissants and house-milled Red Fife grain sourdough bread created by executive pastry chef Patrick Fahy (formerly at the French Laundry in Napa) was definitely the beginning of something wonderful.
After breakfast, I headed to the Spa at Four Seasons, where I slipped into a cozy plush robe. I tucked my phone – along with my to-do lists, emails, texts, responsibilities and world news – into my bag, zipped it closed and left it in the locker. My only companion was a book.
I poured a cup of chamomile citron herbal tea and headed to a lounge chair by the spa pool. My focus turned to the author’s words as I enjoyed the sun on my face. Before my treatment, I headed to the quiet room, where comfy sofa beds look onto a cascading waterfall filled with orchids. This is the kind of room you wish you could escape to every day.
By the time I walked into the massage room with my therapist, Nancy, my mind had already stopped racing, and thanks to Nancy’s expert hands, I felt every knot in my back and neck untie. I asked Nancy to leave the door to the small patio outside open so that I could enjoy the fresh air and the subtle rustle of leaves.
Post massage, I enjoyed the steam room and a long, hot shower, then headed to the luxe salon, Rhythm & Hair, for a blowout, which began with a wonderful scalp massage and ended with soft waves that I enjoyed for several days. It turned out that hair stylist Ryan (at left in the photo with me) and I had a lot in common. We chatted about our favorite “Friends” and “Gilmore Girls” episodes, growing up in L.A., food and culture.
When I went back to the locker room to get dressed and grab my bag, I felt like I was leaving a week-long beach vacation. I had no makeup on, but my hair felt soft and wonderful, and I looked refreshed and relaxed. I thought about grabbing one of the signature drinks at the lively new bar inside Coin & Candor, but opted instead to take a walk around the property, soaking in the lush mountain views and gardens before heading home.
The happy, relaxed me was ready to dive back into my to-do list.