Monday, October 15, 2007

Alaskan Woman's Day at the Spa

Coming from the land of nail salons on every corner, day spas, and standing appointments with your “stylist”, it is quite an adjustment for me to move to bush Alaska. In my former life I had my hair cut, highlighted and styled every six weeks to the day. I left my appointment with Wayne feeling like a million bucks. Every month I went with my mom to have a pedicure and my brows waxed. For really special occasions I had my nails done and was even known to purchase all of my hair products at the salon versus the drug store.

Moving to Alaska has been quite the “detox” for this diva (and to think I was known as a tom-boy in my former neck-of-the-woods). However, I have risen to the challenge and adjusted well…I think. I now find pleasure in what I like to call the “low-tide exfoliating salt water soak”. You can experience this treatment by putting on your grungiest clothes, grabbing a few five gallon buckets, your clam shovel and driving your four wheel drive down the beach. This spa treatment to the “stars” occurs by quickly forcing your hands into freezing cold sand, scooping out handfuls until your bare arm is immersed up to the arm pit, then grasping the sharp shell of a razor clam, and gently coaxing this clam up through the sand. While kneeling over the clam hole you are exfoliating your knees (which are digging down into the sand), and allowing the salt air to blow through your hair resulting in a nice curl. Not only do you end this ritual with dinner in hand, but your skin is smooth and rosy, pores tight, and if you do this enough times it will even file your nails down.

I have also found a way to put up produce for the winter while giving myself a “steaming mud facial” at the same time. First, you get a five gallon bucket and proceed to your vegetable garden. As you are pulling the garden produce of your choice, you will inevitably rub dirt from the back of your gloves onto your face. Then as you are blanching your vegetables this mud will form into a nice mask that will both open and detoxify the pores. Next, hold your face over the sink as you pour out the boiling water. To complete the process, plunge your face into the ice bath for pore closure. Then place your veggies in the bath with your face. By placing your vegetables in the ice bath this both ceases the cooking process and releases complex “bio-phyto-minerals” into the water and thus your skin. Depending on your vegetable, you might have a slight discoloration to your skin. For that sun kissed look, I recommend putting up carrots. Make sure you don’t put up broccoli before a date as the slight tinge of green is not very becoming.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a new spa treatment while processing moose. We were blessed to enjoy the processing with Danny and Gail Presley. Gail shared her famous moose sausage recipe and in the process I discovered the “deep moisturizing tallow therapy” for the forearms and hands. You begin by taking the trimmings of the butchering process along with other tough pieces of meat. Run these pieces through the meat grinder while combining 5 pounds of either pork or beef tallow (otherwise known as fat) to every 20 pounds of moose meat. Once the meat has been ground you put it into five gallon buckets. This is where the fun and moisturizing begins! You then pour 16 oz. worth of various spices onto this meat while mixing and kneading the spice into the meat…by hand. You must use your entire arm to ensure proper mixing. Once this procedure is complete you end up with a bucket o’ good meat and moisturized arms and hands.

Like any girl I want to look pretty and feel pampered, (and no, I have not turned into a wooly mammoth with dreds) but I have learned that beauty comes not from the dollars you drop at the salon, tanning bed or gym. The Alaskan women I have befriended have never heard of spending several hundred dollars on a purse or buying a pair of shoes to go with just one outfit, but they are some of the happiest and prettiest gals I know. They also know an inordinate amount of uses for a five gallon bucket!