Sat, May 25

Spend It Here! Part 13
Finding the right gift to pamper your loved one

VVN/Raquel Hendrickson<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Isolde Dryer tests the scent of a lotion she is creating, one of the many specialty products sold at Desert Dancer, a Reader’s Choice winner for best gift shop six years in a row.

VVN/Raquel Hendrickson<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Isolde Dryer tests the scent of a lotion she is creating, one of the many specialty products sold at Desert Dancer, a Reader’s Choice winner for best gift shop six years in a row.

People like to be pampered. In fact, sometimes they really need to be - especially after the stressful holiday rush.

Whether it’s a personal service like mani/pedis and massages, or feel-good products like lotions, soaps and scrubs, the Verde Valley is filled with shops, salons and spas to help you pull yourself back together. In this shopping season, all offer gift certificates, and feel free to ask about special deals.

Men struggling to find the perfect gift for a wife or girlfriend will find good guidance and plenty of ideas. It helps to ask questions and to know your loved one’s taste.

“We’ll ask what kind of scent does she like - sweet or spicy or musky,” says Isolde Dryer, who owns Desert Dancer gift shop with Michael Sohaski.

From that point, the wizards at Desert Dancer can make up a lotion just for her from a wall full of fragrances right there at the counter. And they can custom-make a coordinated gift basket at any price range. That can include the lotions, soaps and bath products they make themselves, music CDs, books and the easiest of all gifts for girls, earrings. The gift baskets can even take an “adult” turn for honeymoons or bridal showers.

Men become repeat customers not only because they get good advice but also because they are steered away from bad decisions - like purchasing something from Desert Dancer’s clothing line without knowing the right size.

Desert Dancer has been in business since 1982 with locations in Cottonwood and Sedona. They are all about “Feel Good. Look Good. Smell Good,” and that applies to a diverse array of gifts items, from shoes to spa oils.

When it comes to a spa itself, whether a retreat spa or a day spa, gift ideas abound in the Verde Valley and Sedona. Massage therapist Christy Yazdi of Blue Sage Day Spa says it is a good idea to ask about the years of experience when selecting a place to pamper your loved one.

Yazdi has been a professional for more than 20 years but only this year ventured out to start her own business, Blue Sage Day Spa in Sedona. She carries organic and natural skin care lines and offers a range of services from waxing to Swedish massage.

“I’m very committed to making sure they feel pampered, and my products really reverse the signs of aging,” Yazdi says.

Now is the time to ask about a special package that includes facial, massage and brow-shaping, a $220 value at $155. While the gift package can only be purchased during the holiday shopping season, it can be used at any time during 2010.

Those are the kinds of deals shoppers should be asking about as they explore local businesses. Men shopping for women tend to learn that early on.

“A typical guy will ask, ‘What kind of deals do you have,” says Angelyn Johnson, coordinator/manager for SalonVirtu in Sedona.

Along with haircuts, manicures and pedicures, the salon offers a MedSpa with facials, hot stone massages and injections - as in the ever-popular Botox. As with every salon and spa, ask about gift certificates - either per product or for overall service - and any holiday specials. At SalonVirtu there is a 20-perent-off package for custom facials.

If it’s your sweetie’s feet that need special attention, ask the nail technician specifically about spa pedicures, if you don’t know what that is. Signatures Nails by Dani in Camp Verde, for instance, offers the full foot treatment in warm effervescent bubbles to work all that holiday stress right out through your toes.

And a gift certificate at Signatures, besides the spa pedicure, can include a manicure, acrylic nails and the products Dani offers.

And, let’s be honest, we’re not just talking about gifts to pamper women.

“We sell to men all the time,” says Nancy Siegel, owner of Siegel’s Hair & Nail Design and Day Spa in Cottonwood.

Guys like massages, too, and are not strangers to manicures and even facials. Siegel said hair removal is popular, too.

Generally, gift certificates to salons can be used for a range of services, like electrolysis and massage. So if someone does not actually like a massage, though that was the intent of the gift, he or she can get a mani/pedi instead, Siegel says.

At Agape Salon & Day Spa, technicians offer their gift certificates, or you can buy an overall Agape gift certificate for services like hair, nails, esthetics, massage or tanning or the line of products available.

It is always a good idea to buy pamper products and gift certificates from salons, spas and shops that your loved one frequents. They will have a good idea about her (or his) styles and tastes, maybe even more than you do. That takes part of the stress out of gift-giving