A Kase of Spring New Beginnings AND Perks!

4 04 2010

What a difference a year makes…. it was year ago on April 3, 2009 that I was let go from my old sales job with Arhaus Furniture.  I was yet another causality of the recession.  A year ago I was crushed; I think I was still in the under-the-covers-hiding-from-the-world state.  As I recall I crawled into bed for about three days to cry it out and lick my wounds.  Then I emerged, looked around and began to get my bearings.

It has been an adventure of a year, and there have been sooo many things which have happened, both good and bad, but today I am feeling the gratitude of the experience.  As I have blogged about before,  it was because of this time off that I was able to discover and fall in love with social media.  I simply cannot imagine my life now without twitter, and with my new WORK BlackBerry, I guess I am falling into that ‘crackberry’ category!  Plus I am so grateful for my NEW  job with MedCity News as Senior Sales Executive – I am using many of the social media skills I have gained over the past year!

Probably the most amazing thing about social media is the real people I have met through it.  I feel like there was an ENTIRE world going on around me in Cleveland that I never even saw or was plugged into until I started doing social media – and I was looking for these peeps!  I had spent years in Chicago and was very used to an urban environment with buzz and energy and I finally found like-minded people in Cleveland thanks to social media.  Now my weeks are not only full with the new job, but also networking and other fun after-work activities , plus, the occasional perk!

My most recent perk came in the form of a free massage courtesy of Savvy Avenue and Spa Bellamara in Beachwood.  Stacy from Savvy Avenue (@SavAveCleveland ) asked if I would check out the full body massage and review it in advance of one of their next offers.  Savvy Avenue provides discounted offers to local businesses (consumer bonus) while also providing charity donations to local organizations (good karma bonus) all while promoting local businesses!  (BTW,  Savvy Avenue has their HQ in Chicago, so once again, it’s the Cleveland- Chicago -Kasey connection….) So anyway, heck yeah, I’d love to review a spa massage!

Spa Bellamara is located in the Hamptons Apartments right across from Beachwood Place.  It’s in the retail center there (kind of a round building with a restaurant, the pool and member workout facilities).  The staff at Spa Bellamara have taken a lot of time and energy to transform the space to look a lot like a European hotel, from the “tin ceiling” look to the trompe l’oeil on the wall – quite the surprise – not what I expected to find in that space!

After filling out the state-required health questionnaire, I was taken back into the dimmed massage room by Lana, my masseuse.  There was relaxation music going complete with nature sounds and soft instrumentation.  After I disrobed and got under the sheet (I kept my panties on, my choice) Lana came back into the room and began the hour-long massage.  I got the Deluxe Therapeutic Massage, which was a more intense version of a traditional European or Swedish massage. It was an all-over body massage which started with me laying on my stomach so she could focus a lot of time on my back.  Lana was amazingly strong as she worked hard on getting out some of the knots in my back, neck and shoulders.

I know as I relaxed, I entered into a semi-dreamlike state; I’m sure I’m not the first person to have dozed off during a massage!  I was surprised how quickly the hour flew by – I could have lingered longer.  After I dressed, the staff offered me bottled water, saying I should re-hydrate and cookies, because, hey, who doesn’t want cookies?

If you want a firm, traditional Swedish massage in classic European setting, Spa Bellamara is your place!  A couple of tips:  They have limited scheduled regular hours they are open, but are VERY accommodating to off-hour services; just be sure to schedule in advance.  They also provide facials and other skin care services.  If going for a massage, if you can come in casual loose-fitting clothes, you will be more comfortable afterwards; also, take your makeup off before the massage as there is sometime spent on your face.

As for what happened after I was all relaxed post-massage, see my blog post from 4-1-2010…. it’s a laugh!

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A Kase of Gasoline and Massage Oil….

1 04 2010

Gasoline and massage oil… yeah – how’s that for a headline?  It was the Eau du Kasey Tuesday night… But I’ll get to those details in a minute…

First, a big thanks to the people who have been reading my blog despite the fact I haven’t posted anything in over a month… and what a month it has been!  Here’s a quick re-cap:

The same day as my last post (Fri 2/19/10) I followed up a job lead from a friend (Dan Young @danyoungdxy) and set my resume to MedCity News about a sales job.  The next day the MedCity News President and co-founder asked to join my LinkedIn network (uh, yeah!),  then Monday I got a call from them, Tuesday I had a 2+ hour interview and Thursday they asked for references.  Yes kids, the happy ending here is that after 11 looonng months of unemployment I got a job! *Happy Dance!*

MedCity News is an online publication (www.medcitynews.com) and an industry news service focused on the business side of healthcare.  Plus, we also create custom content for healthcare and other clients. We have been in business 15 months and continue to grow at an impressive rate of 20% per month.  I’m doing ad sales, sales of custom content and some social media.  It’s really a great fit and I’m very excited.  We are a start-up company and with that comes some non-traditional elements (I am split between two offices and my schedule can change on a dime) but that good, because I feel like a animal in a cage when I’m stuck in some silent cubical working the usual M-F 9-5….

So… what about the gasoline and massage oil…  yeah – that was my after work adventure Tuesday.  I had an after work massage which was a ‘gift’ from a social media associate (more details on that in my next blog); the massage was great, I was all relaxed and smelling of essential oils… and then got on the expressway and headed home.  I had to drive from Beachwood Place to my home in Westlake (for you non-Cleveland people, that’s about 35 miles).  I knew my gas tank “empty” light had just gone on, but knowing that my trusty Camry gets about 30mpg on the highway, I calculated that I could make it to my neighborhood & fill up at a gas station where the gas was $2.59/gal.  These days, I’ll save $.15 a gallon whenever I can…

I’m a former math geek so I was literally doing algebraic equations in my head the whole way home, trying to remember when I last filled my tank only half way, how many actual gallons did I put in, how much highway driving had I done and would I have enough gas to make it to the station (if a car is traveling west at 75mph and has 40 miles to go on 1.25 gallons of gas… etc.  Are you having flashbacks to ‘story problems’ from math class.  Yep, this is algebra in real life).  Please note: my car is a 1999 Camry, and it does not have any of the fancy dashboard tricks that do all that calculation for you today!

You know where this is going… I came up just short, and I mean just short…. I ran out of gas on the exit ramp of the stop with the gas station… So there I was in the berm, hazards flashing, looking at the gas station of desire across the street.   Oh well, could be worse; could be snowing, right?  So I didn’t panic – I was a Girl Scout – and I took the little red emergency fill tank from my trunk (thanks to my brother Scott for buying that for me as a gift a few years back) and bought my gallon of gas.  A kind soccer dad at the pump next to me offered to drive me back to my car (BTW, he was filling huge gallon containers of gas to take home as this lower price, so I wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm) and off I went to get my car running again.  Here’s where it got messy…

Apparently these little red plastic rescue tanks don’t dispense the gas into one’s tank very smoothly and it ran all over the side of my car, on my hands and a little on my jeans.  ARGH!  I really HATE the smell of gasoline!  By the time I drove the car over to the gas station, my whole car reeked of gasoline – everything I had touched – door handle, steering wheel, gear shift, all gasoline scented… thought I was going to pass out.  I filled my 16 gallon tank up to 17.35 gallons and went inside to try & wash off the gas smell.

The bathroom inside the GetGo Gas (and food) station was actually very nice and I began to scrub my hands.  As the water got warmer, I started to smell something beside the gasoline… yep, the essential oils from the massage just an hour before were releasing with the hot water.  Suddenly the entire bathroom was filled with this sickly sweet smell and I felt like had been turned into a cheap hooker at a truck stop!  I ran quickly into the evening night, hoping to dissipate the smell in the fresh air….

There’s no great moral to this story – just that it happened, and it took a long, hot shower and half a dozen hand washings before I could get the bizarre gasoline/massage oil smell out from under my nails.  Now, if can only find a nice unscented hand lotion to calm my dried, cracking hands….