One of my dearest friends Ms. Dani recently bridged The Great Divide and celebrated her 30th birthday. Because she has brought so much awesomeness to my life, I wanted to step it up and toast her new decade in appropriate, triumphant glory.
Day #11,156: After getting stuck in ridonkulous gridlock bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 (something I decidedly do NOT miss about living in LA), I finally made it to Dani’s place in Irvine, took a deep, Zen-like breath, and remembered that a 2.5hr rush hour drive is totally worth it when you’re headed to the Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach.
A little backstory… Dani & I love a cheap massage. Correction: we love massages, and we love a good deal, and this leads to cheap, often amusing, sometimes inappropriate adventures at hole-in-the-wall beauty schools. I wasn’t gonna celebrate Dani’s 30th writing the next chapter in our Cheap-Ass Guide to Day Spas- she deserves way better than that. Besides, with our 30’s upon us, it seemed age-appropriate that we experience at least one bona fide, ladies-who-lunch day out.
We wanted to start our day at the Montage as early as possible, as spa-goers can take advantage of any of the fitness classes offered at the resort. After pulling up to the Montage’s valet parking and doing the awkward “wait I’m not ready where are my shoes do I have my phone stop hurrying me out of my own car” dance, we headed in to the spa.
The day could not have been more perfect- 80+ degree weather in November, with twinkling ocean views that had me trying to remember why I had agreed to head east for Mr. M’s job. Something about marriage… or commitment? Hmm.
Natalia, the very lovely spa lady, took us on a tour of the facilities, and Dani & I oohed and aahed over such amenities as: Real live robes! (Wha? No changing into see-through sheets in the massage school bathroom followed by an embarrassing walk back through the school lobby?) Cucumber water! Chilled washcloths for your face! We likely betrayed our ghetto-day-spa roots by way overreacting to this Real and Genuine Day Spa for Fancy Grown-Ups.
Dani & I decided to partake in the morning’s mat pilates class, which was hosted in a beautiful studio overlooking the ocean.
Like pickles, Ernest Hemingway novels, and the tv show Mad Men, pilates is something I desperately want to like but just… don’t. Some of the drop-dead hottest women I know- scratch that, all of them- swear by pilates, and this has a lot to do with my desire to love it. But, girls, it’s just so sloooow. If I’m gonna spend an hour in spandex, I’d rather run and subsequently eat everything in sight. Me, my running shoes, & my insatiable appetite are doomed to stand outside the Drop-Dead Hottest Women Club, nose pressed against the glass. Damn you, pilates. Such a tease.
As we made our way back to the locker room un-sweaty but very well-aligned, Natalia surprised us with a chocolatey bday cake for Dani.
A bubbly fellow spa-goer, fresh from a shower and completely nude, got a little too close for comfort and wanted to gift Dani with a rousing rendition of happy birthday. We politely declined the X-rated serenade (although I do love free & friendly Californians) and- to the dismay of men everywhere- figured the spa pool would be a more fitting place to enjoy our cake & champagne.
Bubbly with champagne, we strolled on the cliffside paths of the resort and took the staircase down to the beach.
The sparkling coves were little golden crescents of Eden. Just beautiful. I decided right then and there that I was meant to live at the Montage. Mr. M was not as excited & spurred into action by my Life Revelation as I’d hoped.
We robed up just in time for our massages and were remarking on how relaxed we felt even before our treatment. It honestly felt like a tropical vacation rolled up into a day.
The massage was wonderful and- surprise, surprise, at least for us- completely professional! No awkward draping techniques or inadvertent molestations. Let’s just say one not-on-his-game first-year massage school student accidentally made me molest him by leaning way too far over the table and inadvertently depositing his genitals into my previously relaxed and cupped hand. He was mortified. I was so mortified that I overtipped (I should’ve included a note with the gratuity: “A little something extra to help you forget The Incident That Shall Not Be Named”). Mr. M- when I recounted the story later- laughed & laughed and asked what Dani & I expected for a $20 massage.
Halfway through this far superior Montage massage, I forgot my very appropriate male masseuse was 30 yrs my senior and very clearly ‘batting for the other team.’ I considered proposing marriage. It was fantastic. Dani even got a take-home bag of Epsom salts as another bday gift.
The Montage spa facility includes a dry and wet sauna, a cold plunge, and a huge outdoor whirlpool, all of which we tried for completeness’ sake… with cucumber towels over our eyes just because we could.
Then, tummies a-growling, it was time for poolside lunch.
With tropical blended drinks and deelish lunches brought to us by the genuinely friendly pool staff, Dani & I visited and laughed & chatted and wholly enjoyed one another’s company until the sun dipped down into the Pacific.
One last dip in the outdoor hot tub and two looong hot showers later, BDay Spa Day was sadly over.
I’m a strong believer that birthdays, as doorways into subsequent chapters of our lives, should always be celebrated. It’s especially an honor to celebrate with friends you know will still be there for your 40th… 50th… and decades beyond.
Happy 30th Birthday, Dani!! Here’s to many, many more birthdays celebrated together.