Something to Celebrate

Archive for May 2011

My mom and I looooove a good spa day!  We frequent Sutera Spa in Flower Mound but also enjoy trying new spas.  I did some research and found the Renata Salon & Day Spa in downtown Grapevine.  It really stood out to me in my spa internet search because it is located in the “Dorris House”, a historic, Victorian style home built in 1896.  I also liked its close proximity to Grapevine’s Main Street which is just so cute with its many restaurants, bakeries and fun shops.

We really enjoyed our treatments at Renata but to re-cap our full experience, here are my lists of what I thought was fabulous and what was not-so-fab at this spa:

The Fabulous:

  • Beautiful atmosphere: when you first walk in you notice the gorgeous spiral staircase and then the waiting area (picture above) showcases a comfy couch and cute animal print chairs.  Treatment rooms are also very beautiful.
  • The beautiful jewelry and Bumble & Bumble products they sell and have on display in the waiting area.  I had to buy some B&B Coco shampoo because I love what it does to my hair and it has the best smell EVER.
  • They brought us a complimentary mango Bellini while we waited for our treatments….mmmmm
  • The staff are super-nice
  • They have their own line of amazing make-up and let me try it all on after my spa treatment while I was waiting on my mom (see photo above).
  • In the same room with the make-up is a nice sitting area, beautiful windows overlooking downtown Grapevine and lots of magazines to read while you relax or wait on your spa buddy (photo to right).
  • Their pricing for services is pretty on-par with other local area spas.
  • They offer a variety of massages and body treatments plus there is a salon on the first floor.  I had a body wrap and it was great because it wasn’t one of those where they make you “sweat it out”–they just painted some stuff on me and wrapped me in saran wrap…tmi?  My mom had a 90 minute massage and said it was wonderful.

The Not-So-Fab:

  • Once we arrived and filled out one page of paperwork there was really no quiet, “spa-like” place for us to go.  At other spas you can go change into a robe/slippers and relax somewhere.  At Renata we just sat in their “waiting area” which was nice but a highly trafficked area and we never got to change into a robe.
  • The spa treatment rooms are not completely private.  My mom could hear everything Polka (the lady who did my body wrap–love her name!) and I were saying in our room because the walls do not go all the way to the ceiling.
  • There are no  “extra amenities” as I like to call them such as a sauna, hot tub or cold plunge/pool.

All in all we enjoyed our time at Renata Salon & Day Spa!  On a 1-10 “spa scale” with 1 being a spa I’d never recommend to my worst enemy and 10 being the best spa I’ve ever been to, I would give Renata a 7.  We left very relaxed and ready to take on downtown Grapevine.  I will do a separate post about our experience on Main!

*If you are a spa and would like to be reviewed or “secret shopped” please contact Holly at hdspecialevents@gmail.com!* 

For Staycation Part 1 click here otherwise read on…

Our Denton “staycation” continued on Wednesday with a trip to the zoo since that was Hannah’s actual birthday.  She had been requesting to go to the Ft. Worth Zoo for several months since she actually remembers going there on her 2nd Birthday.  It worked out great that her 3rd Birthday fell on a Wednesday since that is half price admission day at the zoo!  Hannah also requested to invite her Pappy & Gingie so Sean’s parents met us there.

Before we got to the zoo, however, we had a birthday breakfast at IHOP in Hickory Creek.  We had a free Rooty Jr. coupon so Hannah got good and fueled up for the trip.  I fueled up on lots of coffee.  Hannah got to open her first birthday present from us which was a Beach Boys CD…yes, she really did ask for that and we listened to it all the way to Ft. Worth and back.  At least it’s better than kiddie music all the time!

The Fort Worth Zoo is really a great place and gives you MUCH more for your money than the Dallas Aquarium.  They happened to have a Dinosaur exhibit going on which Hannah loved because there were real looking dinosaurs throughout the zoo that moved and made sounds.  She was continually on the look-out for the next dinosaur.  There were signs posted by each dinosaur that told its name and what part of Texas their fossils were found which was neat.

The FW Zoo has a train and carousel which Hannah enjoyed last year but this year she was more interested in making sure she saw every single animal in the zoo so we didn’t have time for those.  That was okay with us because you have to pay extra for both of those amenities anyways!

The zoo’s website states they “discourage” coolers but I did pack some snacks and a sandwich in the stroller.  No one even looked at our bags or stroller so I say bring your sack lunch (just leave your very obvious gigantic ice chest at home).  There are several dining options if you want to eat at the zoo including a Crocodile Cafe’ (Burger King & mexican food), Grandy’s, & Dickey’s BBQ.  We ate at the Crocodile Cafe’ which gives you a perfect view of their crocodile exhibit.  I was glad I brought my own sandwich because Sean said the Burger King food was not very good.

Hannah’s favorites at the zoo (besides the not real dinosaurs) were the meerkats, gorillas, snakes, exotic fish and flamingos.  It is a LOT of walking so wear your good shoes!

After we returned home from the zoo, I started in on Hannah’s birthday dinner (chicken pot pie) and chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.  The look on her face was just priceless when I stuck a candle in her cupcake and Sean and I sang her “happy birthday.”  She kept saying “Thank you, thank you!”  After dinner she got to open her final present from us which was the Dora version of Candy Land.  And then we played LOTS of Candy Land…Hannah kicked our butts.  Needless to say after 5 hours of walking at the zoo & holding Hannah up to see the animals and lots of cooking, I slept well that night.

After our Wednesday festivities I was ready for a low-key day on Thursday.  Sean let me sleep in (insert angels singing) and he and Hannah went on a donut date.  We went to lunch at TX Land & Cattle in Hickory Creek.  I had a free appetizer coupon so we got the steak nachos thinking Hannah would also like that but they were REALLY spicy.  So not so much kid-friendly but she ate half of the loaf of bread and the entire container of butter so she was happy 🙂  After lunch we had to go to Wal-mart to get supplies for Hannah’s birthday party coming up on Saturday then had a pretty low-key rest of the day.  I did a lot of cleaning to get ready for the party and also my cousin Candace who was coming to stay with us Friday evening.

Friday my mom watched Hannah for a few hours while Sean and I did a little shopping at Target (I got a cute new dress for Hannah’s party) and ate at RG Burgers.  Now if you know Sean very well you know that no vacation would be complete without a burger at his favorite restaurant.  RG Burgers also has good coupons in the Ad Pages magazine so that’s nice.  I like it because I can get a turkey burger on a wheat bun and sweet potato fries.  I pretty much make a million substitutions and they don’t mind 🙂

My cousin Candace arrived about 7 pm on Friday–hooray!  Candace and I spent a lot of time together growing up and since I do not have any siblings she is the closest thing I have to a sister.  We ate dinner at home and then after Hannah went to bed she and I escaped over to my fave coffee place, Cafe’ du Luxe.  We had delicious latte’s and talked wedding stuff since Candace is newly engaged!

Saturday was the big party day–we threw a Wonder Pets themed party per Hannah’s suggestion.  I will post picture on here soon but it was a lot of fun.  Of course, what 3 year old wouldn’t love being the center of attention, opening lots of presents and eating hot dogs, macaroni & cheese and strawberry cake?!?  I also created a photo slide show with music that we showed (thanks to my awesome husband for figuring out how to get it burned onto a DVD that would play on our BluRay).

Saturday night we hit up another one of our fave Mexican Restaurants in Denton, La Milpa, with our good friends Bryan & Melinda.  It looks like a hole-in-the-wall kinda place but it is really good.  And there’s never a wait for a table since it’s not a popular chain type place.  I had their chicken fajitas and they were yummmmmy.  They are also another restaurant that frequently puts coupons in the Ad Pages.

Sunday we went to church then came home and had party left-overs.  After lunch Hannah and I went outside to try out her new sidewalk chalk Candace got her and her new soccer ball from Bryan & Melinda.  It was fun but boy was it hot and muggy outside so Hannah got a bath when we got back inside.  Then she and both napped for about 2 hours to recover from the staycation 🙂

For me, the best parts of our staycation were:

  • sleeping in our own beds
  • eating out more than we normally would
  • exploring some new places in our area
  • not having to spend a lot of money and
  • just being able to relax at home

So, I highly recommend a staycation wherever you live.  There’s more than you think in your own neck of the woods!

stay·ca·tion/ˌstāˈkāSHən/
Noun: A vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

Because we have a limited vacation budget and a 3 year old, Sean & I thought it best to go the “staycation” route for his 9 days off from work.  We decided we would use this week to frequent our favorite Denton spots we usually only get to go to on a special occasion and also try out some new places in the area.  I will be doing several posts with staycation updates but this one will cover Friday evening through today (Tuesday).  Hopefully this will encourage you to try some new places in the Denton/Dallas/Ft. Worth area …and learn from our mistakes 🙂

Friday evening, May 13th:
After a dinner at home that I cooked we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and walk with Hannah in the jogger over to Bliss, a frozen yogurt place.  I love this place–we’ve definitely been there before, especially since it is just around the corner from our house.  We had a $1 off coupon (one of those that is part of the long strip you get hung on your door) so that was a plus.  I love all the different flavors of frozen yogurt & toppings you can choose from plus it’s fun for kids to build their own treat.  AND it’s not loaded with sugar so your kid will sleep at night 🙂

Saturday, May 14th:
Lunch at the new (or new to me) Weinberger’s Deli just off the Denton square.  Fail moment: didn’t know it was UNT graduation weekend and the place was packed so it took awhile to get our food.  Win moment: we had a good coupon and the food was super  Hannah & I had this turkey sandwich that had avocados, cheese and this really good basil mayo.  The sandwiches automatically come with Lay’s Potato Chips (bleh) but next time I will just sub those for one of their other sides because they looked really good.  Saturday evening I made homemade pizza & we watched the Jonah Veggie Tales movie…sometimes the 3 year old wins out…okay a lot of times.

Sunday, May 15th:
After church we had Sean’s favorite–LEFTOVERS! for lunch (sarcasm).  But he ate them anyways.  I needed to clean out the fridge.  Had dinner at another one of our Denton favorites, a fairly new restaurant at Unicorn Lake called Los Toreros.  The weather was awesome so we ate outside on their patio.  Really nice.  And yes, we had a coupon, how did you know?!?

Monday, May 16th:
My mom offered to baby-sit (hallelujah chorus begins) so Sean and I did some birthday shopping for Hannah, made a Costco trip (I know, we are fascinating people), had lunch at Pei Wei in Denton (no coupon, boo!) then saw Thor in 3D at the Rave in Hickory Creek (2 free passes woot!).  I realize Pei Wei is a chain BUT we hardly ever get to eat there bc Hannah does not dig it at all and I was majorly craving their Vietnamese chicken salad rolls…get them, so good!  After we got home while Hannah was napping I went for a nice run–loving this weather!

Tuesday, May 17th:

Sean & I have talked about going to the Dallas World Aquarium for years so we decided we’d finally spring for the $40+ it would cost us to go and just go.  We figured Hannah would like it which she did.  It was a fun family outing but let’s be real here–$21 per person is WAY too much for what you get.  Plus you have to pay $6 to park on top of admission.  But, it was fun for that special vacation memory…just wasn’t as impressive a

s I thought it would be paying that price and all.  We ate lunch at Sonny Bryan’s in the West End which was pretty good but nothing extraordinary.  My chicken sandwich was really good and their sauce is awesome  but my onion rings were not good and the green bean casserole had too much pepper.

So far so good though!  Have any staycation recommendations for us?