Saturday, November 26, 2011

Her repertoire grows!

Last year I wrote on Bonnie Ulm Holland, a friend of mine, whom I find so interesting and talented.  She keeps presenting me with what I find very interesting subjects I'm compelled to write on.  Last October, I wrote about her newest creative project, Elite Elixir, and carried out my own experiment of this item, adding to what I'm calling her repertoire, which by the way already consists of her botanical artistry, her cooking mastery,  and two cook books, one of which is an award winner.  And by the way, personally I think her botanical compositions are far more exquisite than any other pressed flower art I have seen any where, and I think she continually improves upon her artistry.  Believe me, I do look around checking if anyone out there is putting out better work with pressed flowers.  You really do need to see some of her pieces for yourself to appreciate the detail. I don't know how she does it, but some compositions appear three-dimensional to me. The framed compositions are ready for displaying brilliantly preserved, pressed flowers from any special occasion, which make for a lasting memory- truly something that will be treasured for a long time. And, word as spread so she even has clients internationally.  Just recently I just heard Bonnie's been invited to display her botanical art on an entire wall at Rosemont Gardens, a well-known establishment in Montgomery, Alabama. What an honor to her and treat for those who are going to be awe struck when they see how amazingly attractive her botanical compositions truly are.

Below are two recently framed pieces by Bonnie. View close-up the spectacular colors and detail. Her proprietary technique lends to the most splendidly, preserved pressed flowers. These finished products are big, gorgeous, and fit to proudly display on the wall of any home or art museum.

Pressed flowers- such vivid colors

I think Bonnie is the best botanical artist.

Alas, there is even a newer addition to her repertoire. Bonnie has written the manuscript to her book, Rural Home, Recollections and Reflections.  Below are photos of the loose manuscript pages, and photos of the manuscript in a binder.  Bonnie, et all, are anxiously waiting to hear from a publisher the manuscript has been submitted to. 

Rural Home manuscript next to botanical art

Chapters of Rural Home waiting to be compiled

The finished, bound Rural Home manuscript, was submitted to a local publisher this month. I'm not exaggerating, honestly, I think if anyone starts reading Rural Home, they won't want to set it down because page after page they will become more immersed and engaged in the stories of her life. It reminds me of two novels, Fried Green Tomatoes/Whistle Stop Cafe, and Forrest Gump, in that so many things happen to the main character. I believe Rural Home has all the makings of a classic novel and movie.  And, I'm personally hoping this will be the first of many books written by Bonnie. 

Front cover

 Back cover

So, we will soon be adding- 'best-selling author' to Bonnie's growing list of accomplishments. Hats off to her. She deserves it.

You might enjoy viewing the Nature's Notables website.

Below is the card I saw in a downtown Montgomery art store back in early 1999. I hadn't yet met or heard of Bonnie Holland. I thought this card was so simple, but so beautiful. I had to have it for myself. I've had it displayed on a shelf in my bathroom ever since. To me it brings a smile to my face. Then, later that year I meet Bonnie when she came to my practice and we quickly become friends. She will tell you how I helped her at a stressful time in her life with the therapies I provided to her, including introducing her to therapeutic-grade essential oils. But I say she equally has helped me countless times with her friendship, sound advice and her genuine concern the many, many times I needed relationship and business advice.  Not to mention the sheer pleasure of being invited to eat at her table, which is equivalent to dining in a fine 5-star restaurant.  Need I say this is a special card made by a treasured friend.

Salvia, simply preserved, by Bonnie Holland, 1999

P.S. You may contact Bonnie (at Nature's Notables), then click 'Contact Info' so you can contact her that you wish to be informed when her book, Rural Home, comes out. (I have no doubt whatsoever it will be a successful book, because everything she touches turns out successfully). I haven't asked, but knowing her, I can see her autographing her first issued books. So, go ahead and ask to be contacted as soon as her book is ready for distribution .

And, please share this posting with your friends/family on Facebook and Twitter.   Until next time, have a lovely, blessed day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Victorian Spa & Wellness Center- very impressive

I booked myself a well-deserved facial treatment at the Victorian Spa & Wellness Center in Troy. I scheduled my appointment without knowing anything about this spa. I prefer experiencing new places without prior expectations which was the same way I joined the Marine Corps back in the 70s.  I remember walking into the Marine Corps recruiting office and I let it be known to the fine Marine in his crisp, sharp Blues uniform that I was ready to sign up right then.  Today, I was 'game' to have my facial at the Victorian Spa & Wellness Center, and I can honestly say I was very satisfied, delighted, and impressed with my visit from beginning to end.

The entrance

First of all, the entrance door is safely unlocked by a staff member when the outside ringer is sounded. That's nice- no unwanted surprises or intrusions to anyone inside trying to relax.  Once inside, there's a retail area and a natural supplements area. Everything looked to be in good taste, but since I arrived just in time for my appointment time, I had no time to browse in these very inviting areas. I'll be sure to arrive earlier next time. The friendly receptionist was at the front desk and I saw facial and beauty literature and products I will have to check out later.
Retail &wellness area-complete with loose teas & supplements

My first visit...
I was greeted and taken through another secure door, once again giving me that secure  feeling, then down a short hallway to a room I privately changed from my street clothes and into a spa wrap and a thick robe and slippers. I stored all my personal belongs in a cubical cabinet which I locked and kept the key in my robe pocket.  Then, I was escorted to a large  "quiet room".  Let me tell you, this is one of those rooms you want to stay in. This is where I thought this is really nice to actually be in Troy, Alabama. Three huge, white lounge chairs lined one wall. Very nice. I was told I could make myself comfortable, and try any of the various coffees, teas, and finger foods that were set out to choose from.  A virtual fireplace on another wall caught my attention, as well as a thick, white rug on the floor in front of it.  Hanging art work with what looked to be water streaming down also added to the room's peaceful ambiance. I glanced at some literature and products on display shelves and thought how nice everything looked.  The lighting by floor lamps wasn't glaring, so overall this made for a warm, comforting room to be in.  I thought if libraries, supposedly 'quiet places' were furnished in any manner similar to this 'quiet room', I promise more people would be flocking into libraries. I know, I used to live in a library practically every weekend during my college years.


Relax in the "quiet room"

Meeting the esthetician ...
This was my first time to the Victorian Spa & Wellness Center, so I completed forms answering questions on my general health, any past and present skin problems, and such. Then Tory, owner and licensed esthetician entered, introduced herself, and took me to one of her treatment rooms.  The treatment room was absolutely gorgeously furnished.  Tory instructed me to disrobe and lay on my back on the table between the sheets.  I think I saw a blanket on the table, but I didn't need it.  The table is well worth mentioning because it was curved, not a flat table. This curved table was very comfortable for me while on my back with lower my legs slightly elevated. I was impressed. And, the table was warmed perfectly the entire time. I believe the temperature at my feet might have been slightly warmer than the rest of my body. All in all, I was neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right. So far, I felt like I'd already been treated, and I hadn't even had the facial yet.

The facial room- see the curved table I liked so much?

My HydraFacial treatment....
I chose the facial treatment I thought fit my skin's needs, called the" HydraFacial".  And let me tell you, it made my face, my skin, my mind, all of me- feel as though I was having a delightful experience- one which I should be treating myself to on a regular basis. I would be a happier person if I had this to look forward to every few months or so. I was having a little sinus congestion, but it cleared up quickly once my face was misted with warm steam. Then my face was cleansed. Then suctioning, which I really liked- I think it lifts dead skin cells and impurities out of my pores. Then, Tory massaged my face like I've never had it massaged before. 'Nice' just isn't descriptive enough to describe how having your face massaged feels. I'm sure the facial products she used had something to do with it also. All I can say is, the face massage Tory gave is one of those things mere words can't convey, and you wouldn't believe how wonderful it is until you have one yourself. It's a combined feeling of peace, wellness, bliss, pleasure, pampering, and warmth that perforates throughout your being.  Then, warm towels were ever so strategically placed over my upper chest, neck and face. The feeling was ahhhhh!  I know for a fact that I dozed a few times, even though I wanted not to.  Next, Tory did some extractions. This was not at all painful.  Then, more warm towels. Tory worked on my face the entire hour. At the conclusion of my facial, she instructed me to slowly get up and off the table.  I felt as if I'd been asleep for half the night and my face felt like baby's skin. My face felt deeply moisturized and smooth deep down, and not just on the surface. It felt dewy without being shiny or irritated or red. Facials I've had in the past would require a day for my face to recuperate and settle down from the treatment. This HydraFacial allowed me to go out in public right away. My skin looked terrific. I was very impressed.

After my facial, I went back to the 'quiet room'. I was the only one in there so I made myself comfortable and thought I so glad Vicky and Tory, Mother and daughter, chose to open such a classy business in Troy and not in Montgomery, Birmingham, Auburn or Dothan. I'm sure they considered opening in a larger town, and it must have been special consideration that chose Troy, a smaller city, to open their Victorian Spa & Wellness Center. Let people in larger cities to learn about of this jewel of a place- and let them drive here.  Then, while I was changing back into my clothes, my thoughts were I must write about my first Victorian Spa visit. This has been such a pleasant treat for me from the friendly, courteous, and cordial staff, to the atmosphere and the excellent service. It could not have been any better. I asked for a tour and found every room to be more impressive than the room before. There is a manicure room, a pedicure room, and two other rooms in addition to the chair at the end of one hall for applying make-up and ear piercings.  Even the restrooms were charmingly decorated and furnished, as I noted attention to detail there as well, like a basket of female essentials and toiletries.

The pedicure room- see the water fountain in the corner?
Chair and vanity for make-up application and ear piercing

Manicure room
Just one of the restrooms-this one also has a shower
My concluding observations.....
My photos don't do justice showing the interior rooms. All the little details made it special, from the lighting, water fountains, the thick bath robe and storage locking cubicles. I was very impressed from the front desk to the restrooms and everything in-between. As a past business owner, I know an awful lot of planning and hard work went into making the Victorian Spa & Wellness Center the fine establishment I have now experienced it to be. I have no doubt this business, providing skilled professional services in a peaceful atmosphere will grow and do very well.

I'm also impressed with the menu of services describing various facials, manicures, pedicures, acne treatments, even a gentleman's facial.  Services range from $28 to $145 depending on the service and how long it lasts.  Other services offered are infrared sauna, turbosonic, foot detox, body massage, wraps and scrubs. These services range from $35 to $118, again depending on the service and time, which could last from 30 minutes up to 90 minutes. I would surely be sound asleep.

I can tell you I am stashing a few dollars every week into my "Spa" envelope for my next anticipated appointment. And, I'm so glad I don't have to travel further than Troy.


     The Spa is easy to locate near Walker's Western Wear off Hwy 231 North.

                   Victorian Spa & Wellness Center
          107 Pecan Street in Troy, Alabama   36081
                    334-566-1287    by appointment
                      their website will be up soon.

Bonus-The turbosonic and the infrared sauna are two services worth investigating in the wellness room. The first four times are free to try them and then you can book a series. Call for more info. I'm going to blog later about my experiences with these services, so check back later about my experiences. By now, you know I'm game.

Infrared sauna (you sit in it) & the turbosonic (you stand on it) 

By the way, initially I wanted to join the Air Force to be an air traffic controller. My Dad worked in the 70's in Boulder, Colorado at an Air Traffic Control Center which kept track of all air traffic over the western United States. I was so impressed with the room with colorful scopes the air traffic controllers sat viewing and tracking air traffic. It was too cool.  I decided that's what I would like to do someday. And did pursue that dream, for some unknown reason, I was turned down after going completing a special military entrance physical for air traffic controllers. The final verdict was I wasn't tall enough. That hurt.  So, I decided I'd join the Marine Corps since I couldn't help but notice the Marines in their uniforms every time I went to the recruiting center. I decided I'd join 'open contract', meaning I'd fill whatever occupation the Corps needed me in. I ended up working on electrical systems of A4M jets. I worked on those jets alright- all over the cockpit, I simulated flight in them, I crawled around almost every inch of those jets to pull out and replaced components. There were miles of electrical wire throughout making every instrument and component function. I could always tell an A4M Skyhawk (my squadron had VL on the tail) just by their sound overhead and every time I thought I had just worked on that jet and now it's in the air flying a mission.  No, none crashed because of me. So, I wasn't an air traffic controller, but instead I got to be up close and personal with aircraft, pilots and others all working to keep A4M's maintained and safe for flight missions.  I was 'game' to go in 'open contract' into the service and I had an interesting run and great four year experience serving my country in the Marine Corps. Glad I was too short.

This short, female, ex-Marine knows a fantastic facial when she gets one.                            GO GET YOURS!

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