By Molly Freedenberg
My Dad was one of those people who cared about money and the success he thought it implied. The doctor son of an East Coast Jewish family, he seemed to think his red BMW, sprawling SoCal house, and ski cabin timeshare in mammoth proved he was, indeed, the golden child his (almost entirely female) family always told him he was.
Me? I never cared much for the trappings (and pressure) of upper class society. I just hoped to one day earn enough income to pay for the basics -- plus a weekly spa treatment and really nice sheets. I somehow always felt that it was experiences, not stuff, that made life feel full and rich. And every experience is enhanced by a happy, healthy body. Unfortunately, at age 31, I still find myself scrambling just to pay rent. Thanks to my Mom and her indulgent Christmases, my bedclothes are awesome. But regular facials, massages, and body wraps are still painfully out of reach (and shockingly ignored by health insurance companies, though I whole-heartedly believe that if we all had more of such treatments, we'd need less trips to the doctor, dermatologist, and chiropractor later on).
However, I still find my way into a spa whenever I can: to celebrate friends' birthdays or weddings, to take advantage of sales, or, sometimes, just because I can't stand waiting anymore. Most recently, it was for an eyebrow wax at Cocoon Day Spa, which happens to be my friend on Facebook. I noticed a message advertising half off any waxing service, as a way to train a new aesthetician. I calculated quickly: I couldn't afford a leg or bikini wax, even half off, but the eyebrow wax would be $9 after the discount. And I hadn't had someone else shape my brows since 2003, so it seemed about time. I was on the phone half an hour later, and in a cab two hours after that.
First off, I have to say that Cocoon is brilliant for not only being on, but using Facebook. I never would've sought them out on their own, or even responded to a newsletter. But the short, simple advertisement for a two-day sale was impossible to resist. It was both the method (Facebook) and the sale itself (a great deal offered for a short time) that grabbed my attention. When I saw another offer a few days later - this one for discounted body work - I would've jumped on that too, but, of course, still couldn't afford the discounted price. (They're also constantly advertising sales and specials on their Website. Check out the Mother's Day specials, with endless complimentary champagne, good through May.)
And secondly, about the South Beach spa itself: I love this location. The spa is open and bright, with lots of windows and hardwood floors. A combination spa, nail salon, and yoga studio, it has an atmosphere that's both calm and indulgent. And I'm pleased to see the way the owners have settled in to their space since I visited during their grand opening more than a year ago. Treatment rooms are simple but inviting. The nail salon area is a separate area, where I can imagine girlfriends chatting during manicures without disturbing individuals getting deep tissue treatments on the other side of the building. The lobby area also is chock full of clothing and accessories -- all with a natural-meets-funky feel -- including fabulous jewelry by Monkey Meditates (whom we featured in last winter's Holiday Guide). The whole place manages to tread the line between snooty luxury and too-casual accessibility. The staff, especially, are attractive and well-groomed but not intimidatingly so, and I was comfortable there even in last night's clothes, last week's hair, and last decade's eyebrow hairs. As for the waxing I got: 'twas great. Not much else to say about it, other than both the trainer and trainee seemed skilled, attentive, fun, and comfortable.
It's possible I've found my favorite new beauty/body destination. Now for the money...
Cocoon Urban Day Spa
330 First St., SF
(open the big clear door and go up the stairs. It's a bit elusive at first.)