May 2003

This Mother's Day, surprise her with a trip for two at a day spa
Pilo Arts Day Spa & Salon featured in The Brooklyn Papers Newspaper Article - Time Out for Mom Put her feet up: Pilo Arts Day Spa & Salon aesthetician Vogue Gaal with co-owners Paul Pastore and Elena Solitario at one of the salon's luxurious pedicure stations.

The Brooklyn Papers / Greg Mango

By Lisa J. Curtis
The Brooklyn Papers

This Mother's Day, don't take mom's love for granted. After all, she still loves you unconditionally - despite the fact that you drove up those insurance premiums after your many fender benders in high school, that you moved to New York City after college, despite your huge wedding but I digress.

This year, take some time to be with your mother and leave your whirlwind of a life on the other side of the soundproof doors of a day spa. I brought my mom to Pilo Arts Day Spa & Salon in Bay Ridge for the "Pilo Day of Beauty," which includes a 55-minute facial, one-hour massage, a manicure and pedicure, haircut and style with a master stylist, makeup application and lunch ($314).

But my real present to her (and myself) was that I booked the same Day of Beauty package, so I could be right by her side and we could enjoy the day together.

We began in the morning with facials, then massages in private rooms. At Pilo, facials include paraffin hand treatments and incorporate some hot and cold massage stones. Although we both had "signature facials," they were customized for our different needs by our aestheticians Bela and Sara.

Our Swedish massages were also adjusted to our very different specifications. Our massage therapists asked where our aches and pains were and they inquired if we preferred massage cream or oil. (Massage cream is absorbed into the skin, and doesn't require a post-massage shower.) Mom wanted to relax, and Terry offered a massage without beating strokes - only relaxing, de-stressing pressure, said mom.

"When I go to a spa, I go to relax," she said, her newly exfoliated cheeks pink and dewy. "At my age, I don't want anything too energetic."

I requested a deeper tissue massage to work out the sore muscles from our recent SoHo shopping spree. (When mom and I go shopping, I'm the bag lady.) My masseuse Stuart worked deep, detangling muscles and leaving me with limp-noodle arms that he was ultimately able to swing around like slack string.

Mom and I reunited in the relaxation room, where mothers and daughters can compare notes and enjoy bellinis and a light lunch. Spa-goers also have the option to shower and steam or relax until the next treatment.

We were pressed for time, so we had lunch delivered to us on clever tables attached to our adjacent leather, massaging pedicure chairs. Shirley and Maggie rescued our battered tootsies, while mom enjoyed a light lady's lunch of tuna salad and I tucked into a giant cheeseburger deluxe (with extra mayo, thank you). I chose bright-red lacquer while mom opted for a subtle beige, with fingers to match.

After her short, sleek locks were styled by Leah Shortall, mom was ready for makeup.

I opted for a precision haircut with Pilo co-owner Paul Pastore, who snipped away with inverted V-cuts to give my long, recently straightened hair a style that had movement, and layers that so perfectly complemented my round face that family members asked if I had lost weight! Pastore also offered much-needed styling tips: blow-drying hair upside down adds extra volume and applying oil adds extra shine and protects chemically treated hair. He instantly became my hair guru.

After makeup applications by Suzanne Alfonso and Christine Vallaro in the latest spring colors, our eyes literally twinkled with sparkling "eye dust." Mom and I emerged buffed, gleaming and infinitely more glamorous and rested than when we had arrived. And the real luxury of the day: we were finally able to spend time alone with each other.

As I waved goodbye to my mom, who was driving back home to Massachusetts, I felt of pang of sadness. She called the next day to thank me, and said that when she was looking back at me in her rearview mirror, she felt sad, too. I blinked back tears with my sparkling eyelids, and wiped another tear from my moisturized cheek with my perfectly manicured hand and vowed to schedule our next day at the spa.