By: Phylicia Hisel
On February 24, 2019, we hosted our 3rd spa day for women-identifying survivors of domestic abuse and those experiencing homelessness. Unique for an event geared toward this community - there were no homelessness or domestic violence resources. There were no services that would give recipients cause to self-identify as homeless, survivor, or “at risk”. This event was simply a spa day geared toward helping women feel their best.
Leading up to our Women’s Empowerment Day, we sent flyers to our partnering shelters, safe places for survivors of domestic violence, and resource centers advertising something seldom offered our most vulnerable neighbors: a day of pampering. Residents and clients of these organizations, as well as staff and volunteers, all came together for facials, makeovers, hair styling, manicures, professional headshots, massages, bra fittings, and lunch.
Attendees were greeted at a private space in Macy’s Union Square with warm smiles, lemonade, service menus, and offered bag and coat check. Inside the large, sun-filled room, a facialist from Macy’s offered eye masks and high-end serums and gels that she used to gently massage and brighten. Two makeup artists sat guests, now aglow from their facials, in tall chairs and chatted while they applied the look each woman requested. Popular eyeshadow palettes and stark black eyeliners added color and expert wingtips for a dramatic eye. Special brushes gave brows the perfect boost, and bronzers completed our ladies’ glow-ups. Three hair stylists, equipped with enough straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers to blow a fuse or two, tailored their services to each woman’s style, preference, and hair type. We let our hair down and relaxed while the pros worked their magic! A full table of manicurists offered a host of lacquer and polish, and excited nail spa conversation while the colors dried. Four trained massage therapists worked stress out of necks and shoulders, and even gave mini-massages to mini-attendees. Rolling waves and other very zen music played from a nearby speaker, completing the spa effect. ThirdLove consultants found each attendee’s perfect fit and gave them the gift of a beautiful, comfortable new bra to take home. With hair styled, mascara expertly applied, and nails freshly painted, attendees picked out scarves and blazers for headshots with a professional photographer.
Hearty sandwiches and a variety of chips and cookies for dessert were served throughout the event. This part seemed to be a favorite of the children in attendance. Each of the kids received a bucket of fun, including toys, crayons, and activity pages. Two young girls laughed and made faces at a glittering ball of purple “slime” that got stuck on a coat - don’t worry, we got it all out. A very popular baby in a fox onesie was passed from one adoring fan to the next until it was time for lunch and a nap. The big kids lined up at the massage station to test it out, which resulted in lots of wriggling and giggling.
At the end of the event, Simply The Basics Founder, Meghan Freebeck, gathered the stylists and volunteers to remind us all that no woman is less deserving than another of a couple hours of relaxation and to feel like their best selves. San Francisco has a plethora of social services available, but few are meant simply to give participants a chance to relax, to feel good about themselves, and maybe even forget their troubles, if just for an afternoon.
Thank you to Macy’s, ThirdLove, our volunteers, donors to our programs, and the women we serve.