It took a bit of planning, but recently I went with five like-minded Divas on our first-ever (but not last-ever!) “Tiara Trip” (hereinfater called “TT”) and the consensus is that these journeys are now to be considered a fundamental part of our repertoire of self-care.
To begin with – and I shouldn’t need to explain this to my readers, but just in case – let’s get one thing ruler-straight. Self-care is not narcissistic. It is NOT demanding that everyone drop what they’re doing to tend to your peculiar needs. We’re Divas, not Bridezillas. (Horrible women, with little to teach us aside from how not to behave.)
No, self-care is about cherishing yourself enough to treat yourself well so that you can come back to the world refreshed and ready to help create a stronger, better, kinder world for everyone. You simply can’t give-give-give without experiencing burnout and it’s much better to take short, frequent self-care excursions than it is to wait until you smell scorched Self wafting through the air.
For our first trip, we decided to visit Charlotte, which is about an hour’s drive and is a large enough city that just about anything can be found there – from ethnic cuisine that we don’t have here in the Sticks, to sporting events, to museums, to shopping, to clubs. This was to be a day of indulgence and fellowship, so we started by gathering at a local coffeehouse for extravagant beverages and nibbles, along with general conversation (this was our first TT, so we didn’t necessarily know each other all that well), then we got in a single vehicle (a minivan CRAMMED with Girl Scout cookies!) for the drive. It was raining, but our tiaras – yes, we each wore one all day – shone brightly.
We began with a visit to IC London, a jewel box of a shop specializing in lingerie for all women. None of us are models for Vicky’s Secret but no matter. IC London caters to real women – and that means women of various sizes with various issues when it comes to lingerie. Fittings are professional and – dare I say? – fun. All of us found things that worked (and were pretty! So many of us get to a point where we’re only dealing with utility – there’s SO MUCH MORE out there for you, Diva!) and nearly everyone wore something new out of the store! IC London also has an incredible rewards program, so every time you visit, you’re going to have at least one deal waiting for you. Check them out!
We had lunch at Amelie’s French Bakery (We used the Park Road location, but all of them are cheerful and the food is delicious.) It was a cold, rainy day, so soup was especially welcome, along with ridiculously wonderful pastries. I must admit, I think this was my favorite part of the day – but it wasn’t due to the food. The conversation just stretched on and on and grew increasingly honest. I really like these women – all of us have our scars from climbing over/digging under/barreling through some hurdles. It’s easy to forget that other people struggle and we sometimes confuse someone else’s carefully-curated highlight reel on social media with our own awkward dress rehearsals. Trust me, Diva, everyone has challenges, mistakes, and regrets. Find your tribe and you’ll see that clearly.
We dawdled over lunch, so we re-arranged our day a bit rather than rush through anything. So we skipped the museum visit we had planned (it’s on the list for a future TT) in favor of refreshments at Bar Cocoa, which is located in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. (Okay, so we had “second dessert” – it’s a Tiara Trip!) Decadent, delicious, and not to be missed, although we all agreed that having paper cups in a place that has cloth towels in the restroom seemed a bit — off.
Our last stop was a halotherapy spa called The Salt Pad, where the helpful-to-the-point-of-wanting-to-bring-her-home staffer helped us use an unknown Groupon discount, then made sure our belongings were properly secured before taking us into the “tranquility pad” and making sure we were comfortable before the session began. As we reclined under fleecy blankets, soft music played to relax us and salt-infused water was sprayed into the darkened room. I was astonished at how soothing the atmosphere was – it was a GREAT way to end the day!
We came home rested, calm, and much better suited to shoulder the burdens of modern life. Yes, we’re planning the next one already – we’ve got so many options that we’ll never run out of ideas. And yes, the fact that six full-grown women were wearing glittery rhinestone tiaras did elicit a bit of commentary but here’s the kicker – totally and without exception, everyone who asked “What’s with the tiaras?” that we told “We realized we had been taking care of everyone else in our lives and that we needed to stop and take care of ourselves” – every single person had the same reaction.
They got a very thoughtful look on their face and nodded slowly before saying something along the lines of, “That – that is a very good idea.”
Indeed it is, Diva. Indeed it is.