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Day 197: Get a facial at Kanvas

23 Jul

Though you can get the usual array of spa services at uber-charming boutique Kanvas, such as manicures and pedicures, they are really known for their fabulous facials. Kanvas offers eight different kinds of facials, including one just for men and another for pre-teen skin. If you have never had a facial before, they are superbly relaxing, and kind of like a massage just for your face and head. You leave feeling and looking better than when you came in. If you are pinched for time and money, try the $45 half-hour “express facial,” short enough to do on a lunch hour. Even better, Kanvas is also a makeup and beauty store with a solid array of products that you wouldn’t find at a large department store. For instance, they offer the popular “poo-pourri,” a product designed to disguise certain unpleasant bathroom smells. Kanvas is also the best stop in Tallahassee for manscaping. They offer man makeup and men-specific lotions. The only tough thing about Kanvas is resisting the cupcakes at nearby Lucy and Leo’s Cupcakery.

Address: 1123 Thomasville Road


Day 195: Get a massage at Advanced Alternatives

18 Jul

Earlier I wrote about the “ultimate massage” at Chelsea Salon. While that was a truly indulgent, pampering experience, Advanced Alternatives is where I like to go for maintenance massages. I’m a bit of a massage slut and have tried a lot of different masseurs in Tallahassee. Through my “research,” I have found that Advanced Alternatives offers a really knowledgeable, professional staff in a really quiet, relaxed environment. They understand how to deal with injuries or the wear and tear that come with sports. It can be a bit pricy, as massages usually are. An hour costs $75 and I recently paid $110 for a 90-minute massage. They do have occasional coupons and, best of all, online gift certificates. Advanced Alternatives has a staff of several masseurs, men and women, and offer some evening and weekend hours. I like Saturday appointments myself.

Address: 1258 Cedar Center

Day 187: Watch ’em wobble around the softball field

7 Jul

There are some sporting events at which no one, not even the hardiest fan, would be willing to pay to watch. And I’d be willing to bet that one such event is my slow-pitch softball games. During the last two summers I’ve joined office colleagues on a co-ed “state league” team that plays about once a week on the diamonds at Tom Brown Park. Starting at 6 p.m. most weeknights, the park lights up as a field of dreams for a wide range of Tallahasseans, but mostly you’ll find a bunch of struggling, middle-aged bureaucrats. The play is always very serious but not so intense that players aren’t afraid to laugh out loud at themselves when easy pop-fly catches slip out of the glove. Though free to watch, fans are few, especially on humid evenings. There are viewing stands near each diamond and a concessions desk. The city hosts slow-pitch softball leagues at both Tom Brown and James Messer Park. Team fees are affordable enough that it usually doesn’t cost each player than about $10 or $15 per season. My team, which sports light-blue shirts, is the “House of Pain” – we are all staffers in the Florida of House of Representatives. Catch our season schedule here at this link. — Mark Hollis

ADDRESS:  Tom Brown and James Messer parks

Day 164: Watch the dust fly at R/C Racing

13 Jun

The road buggy kicks up a patch of cinders and dust as it jets down the main straightaway. At the first sharp turn, a 180, the four-wheeler jolts sharply left and nearly topples on its side. The driver recovers. He presses the throttle down. The engine again whines to a high pitch and the vehicle races toward a series of short jumps. At the last of the tiny mounds, there’s sudden acceleration as the buggy flies in the air with all four wheels lifting way off the red-clay track. After another seven or eight loops around the curvy path, at times at speeds of over 50 mph, the driver, a hefty middle-aged guy, brings the vehicle to a stop. It’s time to change the battery pack. This is remote-control car racing at Tallahassee’s Tom Brown Park. Here, behind Tom Brown’s BMX racing track, R/C cars and trucks flip, roll and perform stunts. But most days there’s hardly anyone to watch despite it being nearly as exciting to see as full-size vehicle races. These cars and trucks are about 1/10th the size of real ones and are powered by high-tech rechargeable batteries or fueled on “nitro” — that’s nitromethane gas. A driver, out here on a late Sunday afternoon practice run, tells me that there are races with big gatherings of fans and racers about once a month. The next is set for July 9. He says the event will likely bring followings from several nearby counties and out-of-state. — Mark Hollis

LOCATION:  Tom Brown Park, 1125 Easterwood Drive

Day 156: Visit an acupuncture physician

6 Jun

The last time I tried acupuncture, I was 14 and suffering from sinus infections. After several visits and swallowing lots of Chinese herbs, it seemed to have no effect. I went the Western route and got surgery, which fixed the problem. Even though I have some skepticism about acupuncture, I’ve heard stories from friends who swear by it. One friend, for instance, said it helped her conceive both her children. Through a LivingSocial deal, I visited Erin Taratoot, a newly licensed acupuncture physician who studied the alternative medicine at the Dragon Rises College of Medicine in Gainesville. I filled out an exhaustive medical form detailing every possible medical ailment. In the first session, Erin spent a good bit of time understanding my medical history and taking my pulse. She learned more about me in one meeting than my regular physician has ever bothered to ask. After studying my situation, Erin pricked my skin with about a half-dozen needles. They sting for just a split second. It hurts far less than waxing, for instance. And it is very relaxing. I nodded off to sleep during the approximately 10 to 15 minutes I laid on the table. It is costly. For one visit I paid $55 with my coupon. A typical first visit costs $110 and follow-up visits are $80. (Soon, she will also accept health insurance).  I do think acupuncture is worth a try, especially if you suffer from something chronic.

Address: 1620 Cedar Center Drive

Day 85: Get the Ultimate Massage at Chelsea Salon

27 Mar

I’m no rookie when it comes to massages. I’ve had the stretchy Thai massages, Swedish, deep tissue, chair massages and sports massages. The Ultimate Massage at Tallahassee’s Chelsea Salon definitely rates up there as one of the most relaxing experiences of my life. Chelsea Salon is a full-service Aveda salon, so they do haircuts as well as waxing and massages and facials. Save the Ultimate Massage for a stressful time or important day in your life. The entire thing lasts 90 minutes and starts with a full-body exfoliation. Basically, your whole body is scrubbed to get the dead skin cells off.  You’re then wrapped in warm towels and your head, neck and scalp are massaged for 20 minutes. That’s just the warm-up. Then the masseuse digs in for a full-body massage that lasts an hour. I definitely couldn’t afford to do this type of thing very often. It costs $100. If you can afford it, the Ultimate Massage is just the right thing to escape from the wearying concerns of your everyday life.

Address: 1629 Mahan Center Boulevard



Day 37: Get a massage at the Aveda Institute

6 Feb

The Aveda Institute is a training salon used to teach an army of young hair stylists, estheticians and massage therapists how to do their jobs. The trade-off for the customer is lower rates for services. My hour-long massage, for instance, was only $40. When I first walked in, I was impressed by the sheer size of the Institute. The cavernous and sleekly designed building has high ceilings with exposed ductwork and rows upon rows of black chairs facing mirrors. High-energy dance music blares from unseen speakers. I was whisked to a back room with billowing white curtains. The dance music was replaced with soothing New Age piano and harps. I received the full Aveda pampering experience, which includes soaking your feet in warm water prior to the massage, having warm, soft towels envelop you at the start and end, and aromatherapy. I could hear the murmured conversations of the people next to me getting massaged, though there is visual privacy thanks to those white curtains. My masseuse was fantastic, and no different than a professional. The only negative is they do push you to buy their products at the end. In my case, it worked, as I found myself taking home a bottle of massage oil.

Address: 2020 West Pensacola St.