The Hip Mom’s Utica Square Redux
In my never-ending pursuit of all that is hip in Tulsa, sometimes I forget some of the most obvious fonts of coolness. Utica Square, despite being home to venerable Tulsa traditions such as Miss Jackson’s, the Wild Fork, Petty’s Fine Foods, and Pavilion, also manages to be rather cutting edge. I discover this one fine day where I convince myself that a pleasurable way to spend a day with my daughter – who is heading off to kindergarten in the fall – would be to meander around Utica Square! OK, OK, she probably would have loved the playground and McDonald’s just as much, but isn’t it fun to do stuff we BOTH enjoy sometimes? So Colette and I (and, yes, her two little sisters) schlep down on a sunny day to Utica Square and waltz into Saks to spritz on some of the parfums du jour. When lo! I note a large Star Trek-like sphere sitting on one of the cosmetic counters.
Pretty soon the girls see me sitting like this:
No, I am not actually having brain surgery or an MRI. I am getting my old, icky skin analyzed! Our little Tulsa Saks is just one of five Saks nationwide which carries this new Parisian-based skin care line, Ioma (that’s à moi – for me – backwards in French!), along with Houston, San Antonio, South Coast Plaza and New York City. This high-end cosmetics line is tailored to your personal skin- care needs, which are analyzed by this space-age technology. Because I love you so much, dear readers, I will gladly share with you the horrifying close-up results of my skin care analysis:
So I’m thrilled that I have very few pore clog-ages. And minimal pigmentation. But: boo! Moderate wrinkling (hello, a jillion kids, seven-hundred-thousand hours logged at the baby pool, and pushing 40). It’s all quite fascinating to me.
After my skin analysis, I am escorted upstairs to the Saks facial spa, where Nyla, the Ioma esthetician, performs an expedited facial (expedited because my 11-month-old is sitting on my chest). After some Ioma cleanser, exfoliant and mask, my skin just seems to glow. Both Nyla and I are quite impressed with the results! Even better, the Ioma analysis and facial are complimentary. The Ioma line is targeted based on the results you receive from your skin analysis: I get line 2 – Fine Lines – which will address my awful Grand Canyon forehead (I suppose I could address this outrageous aging with Botox, but I’m just not ready to go there yet. Oh, and I’m still nursing a baby). But there are product lines for Dry Skin and UV Damage; Wrinkles and Lack of Firmness; Diffuse Redness; Bacterial Infections (eeww!), Oily Skin, and Dark Spots. So be a big girl, and go get your skin analyzed in the big Ioma sphere – I promise you’ll learn a lot from the results, no matter what skin care line you use. (At the very least, I hope you are inspired to bathe in a vat of SPF 9000 every time you go outside in Oklahoma!)
Then we meander out from Saks to check out the newest boutique at Utica Square – Native Boutique. At first I conjure up images of Native American clothing, and maybe looking like a suburban Pocahontas. But no, it’s not Native American clothing per se – it’s just more of a native Tulsan vibe! The clothing is affordable, trendy and very cute. Formerly Flirt, the store changed ownership and is now owned by Michele Owens, who also owns Rockin’ Sooner Ranch on Brookside. The dresses are fun and flirty, but not too over the edge – even for us “older” types. Native targets ladies ages 18-60+, and sells a wide variety of brands such as Splendid, Vince Cavuto (this is a brand I’ve had a lot of luck with – hip but not slavishly trendy), Wild Fox, Maison Scotch, and quite a bit of Ella Moss (also a line I’ve always loved – I have a couple of Ella Moss dresses from five years ago that I still wear and feel hip in!) Native also offers a wide selection of fashion jewelry and fun girlie indulgences like “Glass Glitz,” which is sugar or salt with glitter – yes, glitter! – with which you can rim your happy hour cocktail glass. Now that’s a great way to feel somewhat glam even if you’re whipping up Kraft Macaroni for eight kids fresh in from a run in the sprinklers. So be sure to check out Native’s offerings – your teenage daughter will love it, but so will you!
Finally we pass by a new-ish yoga studio that I hadn’t noticed before: Salt Yoga. “Stretch. Strengthen. Sweat. Smile” is the studio’s welcoming siren call. Salt offers a slew of yoga classes, and specializes in “hot” Bikram yoga. For most of its classes, Salt uses a state of the art infrared heating system, which penetrates below the skin, into the muscle tissue. Warming the body with this system enables muscles to stretch further and more deeply with a lower risk of injury. This radiant heat is like the sun (except much nicer than Tulsa’s sun in July): natural, silent, draft-less and odorless. The heat purportedly aids people who suffer from seasonal allergies (isn’t that every Okie?) and arthritis. Salt claims that practicing hot yoga will also detoxify your body, increase circulation, strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve skin appearance, strengthen the immune system and reduce pain and cellulite – woo! The temperature in all “Strengthen and Sweat” classes ranges from 80 – 90 degrees.
But Salt doesn’t just offer their signature hot class. They also offer yoga for preschoolers, yoga for tweens, girls’ yoga (5-10 years) and boys’ yoga (5-10 years) – classes for the kiddies are not heated. They also offer private instruction and sell yoga retail items – clearly an all-inclusive yogi nirvana! Salt has a great introductory program – just $10 for unlimited yoga for 10 days, to decide if it’s something you want to pursue. This is a super cheap way to experiment with different classes and teachers. I decide to try the Strengthen and Sweat class – I did take a hot Bikram yoga about 12 years or so ago, so I should be fine, even if I’ve had a million C-sections since then, right? Wow, the class is fun – and challenging! I had forgotten how completely drenched in sweat one becomes when performing – or attempting to perform – the yoga poses. Luckily, Liz, my instructor, is both passionate about yoga, and patient no matter whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned practitioner. That’s Salt’s motto: “No shoes. No cell phones. No egos.” There’s none of that yogier-than-thou vibe I’ve gotten at some yoga studios; everyone seems happy and relaxed, without a big agenda. I just barely make it through the class – there are a lot of muscles I haven’t used in a long, long, time – and lay for an inappropriately long interval in “savasana” – which is a fancy yoga way to say “nap.” But I feel generally more energetic and alert all day after the class. So whether you’re new to yoga, or can do a lean, mean warrior pose with one brain tied behind your back – go try Salt.
So that surprising Utica Square — you’ve probably been there a million times, but there’s always a new reason to go back – like getting your skin over-analyzed or sweating your brains out! Go on, shop, sweat and have fun!