Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Face time.

There are certain places people go to when they want to feel as if they have been transported to another world. I love to escape in a dark theatre, or feel like I am visiting another country by eating an amazing meal. In college I escaped reality several times at various Grateful Dead shows.

Today I was transported to another world by visiting Julia at Ethereal Day Spa.

Tucked away in a big old house on NE 28th Avenue, you know Ethereal is special when you walk in the front door. You immediately get a whiff of that lovely “spa smell” and the vibe there is peaceful and serene.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to get best damn facial I have ever had.

Let me set the scene for you.

I would pay the price of admission alone just to lay in the beautiful bed where Julia works her magic. When she led me into the room, my eyes teared up. A bed just for me? In the middle of the day? All done up in angelic white? With the biggest, yummiest, puffiest white down comforter you have ever seen? Upon sight, I felt the tension leave my body.

I slipped out of my clothes and into one of those little white strapless towel dresses and climbed into bed. There were candles lit, the room was dim, and there was soft, pretty music playing - not cheesy massage music - dreamy guy singing and guitar music. I closed my eyes and thought if she just had me lay there for twenty minutes and then came in and told me it was all over it would have been worth it.

When she came back in we talked a little about my skin as she rubbed my head with some amazing smelling oil and whisked my hair into a little shower cappy thing. I mentioned to her that a few friends of mine had raved about the way she waxed their eyebrows, and that she is the best in the business. Now I am not a girl who waxes her brows, but I had heard so many raves I wanted to try it. We also talked about waxing some other body parts but I thought I would start with the brows. Bing-bang-boom, she waxed and plucked away saying, “You’ll look like you had an instant face lift.” So right on - I know it's a small thing, but I can’t stop looking at my newly shaped brows.

Now, on to the really good stuff.

I was getting a “European Classic Facial.” I had no idea what that meant going into it but again, I was just happy to be lying in that bed. I have had facials before; I knew there would be some pampering, some pore-popping, and some more pampering. But like I said, this was the best damn facial I had ever had and here is why...

She started out by standing above me and cleansing my face with warm washcloths and a cleanser that smelled and felt so good. To have someone else wash and massage my face made my head sink deep into my pillow and my mind started to go into a little zen-like trance. She used warm washcloths to clean my face, neck and then my feet – wrapping them in warm towels and then covering them back up with my blankie - heaven on a cold, rainy day.

She then exfoliated my skin, followed by one of my favorite parts - gettin’ steamy. While warm steam was blowing directly on my face to open up my pores, she gave my feet and calves a decadent massage. At this point I wanted to marry her.

By the time she was done with my foot massage the steam had worked its magic and she covered my eyes and got to work on extractions. Now some people may not like this part of a facial but I love it. Having an expert with a giant magnifying glass and a big shiny right light get rid of blackheads and clear the gunk out? Sign me up.

She then painted a cool, wonderful smelling (everything she used smelled fresh and clean, not flowery or fake) mask on my face with a brush. Let me tell you, if you have never had someone paint something on your face with a brush while you lie in an altered state you have not lived. When Julia did figure eights around my eye sockets, I felt like I had tiny ice skaters dancing across my face. While the mask set she massaged my face, shoulders, neck and arms.

No, I am not kidding.

The mask was wiped away with yet another warm, wonderful washcloth and a cool toner spray was applied. We ended with a customized moisturizer to send me back out into the world looking dewy.

This all went on for ninety minutes, folks.

My heart dropped a little when I didn’t hear Julia prepping any more lotions or potions.

“Ok, Lori,” she said softly.
“Noooooooooooooo!” I cried.
It was over.

She left and told me to take my time getting up.
I lay there for a minute and then sat up.
Then I made myself lay back down, realizing there really was no rush.

I pulled the big white comforter back over me and tried to soak in the moment just a little longer.

I headed out the door back into reality. As I started to drive away I worried I may get pulled over on the drive home. I was drunk with relaxation and spa-goodness.

Julia Westerbeck
Licensed Esthetician
Ethereal Day Spa
211 NE 28th
Portland, OR 97232
(503) 245-5993


  1. Sounds heavenly indeed. I now feel half asleep as I sit at my desk. I will start saving my pennies to enjoy the same 'out of body' experience you did. I can't wait!

  2. Tracie,
    Do it!
    A treat for yourself that is so worth it.

  3. That sounds awesome!! What is the price point for the facial?

  4. Brooke, it was $90 (a dollar a minute) and totally worth it.