We hear it on every flight: Secure your oxygen mask before helping others. But what does it mean to take care of yourself on land?
Right now, we’re wrapping up our season of giving. Just as it’s important to carry a generous spirit throughout the year, indulging yourself is important, too.
I make sure to give myself what I need to be healthy. And I give myself what I want, too. Once a week, I do something just for me. Sometimes, that means buying a cheeky T-shirt from Westside Storey or getting my hair done. Other times it’s soul food to go from Peachtree Cafeteria and a Beyoncé workout at Dance Fit Flow to balance out the calories.
My gift to you: a few of my favorite indulgences that you, too, can enjoy now and into the new year. And for more ideas, I asked the people behind those indulgences to share the ways they treat themselves as well.
A toast to making it
Too often, we reserve champagne for New Year’s Eve and special occasions. For me, bubbles make the bad days better year-round. On those days I remind myself that I made it. I’m still here. And that’s worth celebrating. So I find solace at Ça Va. With its hashtag of #champagneforthepeople, how could I not?
And you don’t have to break the bank. Ça Va, 4149 Pennsylvania, hosts happy hour 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with discount small plates, select bottle specials and a menu of $6 glasses of champagne. Catch me with a bottle of Ca Va Rosé ($22) so I can feel like I’m in a Drake video. From 4 to midnight Dec. 26, the bar celebrates an all-night happy hour. Make reservations at cavakc.com.
When she’s off duty, Caitlin Corcoran, Ça Va’s managing partner and super bartender, tells me she has a drink at Corvino Supper Club. She also turns to Inner Space on Troost Avenue and stretches out her stress with yoga. But her favorite part of her self-care routine is massages. “I’m on my feet all of the time,” she tells me. “It’s important to be nice to yourself.” She has a private masseur for full-body pampering, but for a quick fix, she heads to Imperial Foot Care in Westport. If you have $15 and 30 minutes, your feet will thank you. See the full list of services at imperialfootcare.com
Smelling the flowers
Over the last year and a half, I lost two of the most important ladies in my life — my mama and my oldest dog, Charli Brown. One of them loved plants. The other one never met a flower she didn’t stop to sniff. I don’t have a green thumb, but I’ve taken to keeping flowers and succulents in my home. They remind me both to grow and to let go.
My favorites come from Fiddly Fig, 22 W. 63rd St., where you can find everything from simple bouquets to unique finds. The Kansas City Skyline Bowl is actually a pasta bowl highlighting KC gems like the Plaza, Brookside and the Kauffman Center. They’ve turned it into a succulent planter, because it’s OK to be different. Order one at fiddlyfig.com.
The shop’s retail manager, John Brant, says the movies are his go-to treat. A drama, like “The Shape of Water,” “transports me out of my real life and opens your eyes to other people’s experiences,” he says. But he’s also a superhero film junkie and one of my favorite nerds to watch blockbusters with. “It’s pure fun,” he says. “It distracts your mind from the everyday goings on.” His favorite theaters are Alamo Drafthouse for the comfy seats, vegetarian options and adult milkshakes and Screenland Armour for its fun bar and fried green beans.
My friends ground me, lift me and ensure I treat myself. Our group chat stays lit. And every month, we host a special event. We’ve had a sleepover, a book party, a fancy dinner at Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen downtown. Next month we’re making vision boards. The solidarity is real.
One of my favorite moments since returning to Kansas City is when we all woke up and made breakfast together. “A Different World” marathon was on the television, and each of us brought something to the table. My friend Brandi Crawford made a Pumpkin Spice Latte to rival Starbucks. She put a little Hennessy in mine.
She’s a financial analyst by day, but her indulgence comes in the form of a food blog, Stay Snatched. She experiments with recipes like shrimp po boys, vodka-filled gummy bears and Instant Pot and slow-cooker favorites. The one I plan to try next: a copycat of Starbucks caramel apple cider. I’m adding a splash of Virginia Black to my cup. Visit staysnatched.com for DIY deliciousness.
“I used to be a crash dieter,” Brandi says. “Every birthday, beach vacation or important event I would go on a diet. Stay Snatched has allowed me to focus on a lifestyle. I can be me. I can reach my goals by focusing on health, self-care, and fitness every single day. And it’s fun!”
Work it out
Sometimes it feels like all of my rage and blues live in my back and shoulders. At those times I don’t want the beautiful zen of classic yoga. I need something that is equal parts slay and namaste. Core Power Yoga sculpt classes are my answer. Sometimes I start off in child’s pose with Sam Smith playing in the background and by the middle of the class I’m sweating and busting out a squat series to Rick Ross. The emotional roller coaster of my days gets sweated out in that hour. Core Power Yoga on the Plaza, 4725 Wyandotte St., offers a free week to first-time visitors. For a complete schedule, visit corepoweryoga.com.
Tyra Prosser, studio assistant and teacher, treats herself to the stage: She’s a comedian. “I think laughter is the best medicine you can ever give yourself,” she says. “It gives me a release.” Her go-to place is Comedy City, 3600 Broadway, where she finds a stunning, open-armed community. For audiences, Comedy City is open 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. comedycity.cc
That’s my jam
I have a never-ending list of favorite songs. From 2017 alone, there’s Drake’s “Free Smoke” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Element.” But nothing made me come alive more this year than hearing Cardi B.’s “Bodak Yellow” while popping a bottle of champagne at brunch in D.C. over the summer. An entire restaurant of strangers sang the words together. Best part? It’s produced by KCK’s own Anthony “J. White Did It” White.
Cardi B. is authentically herself, and her confidence is so big it gives me a boost. When I hear it on the radio, I roll down my windows. Even when it’s cold outside. KPRS 103 Jamz personality Julee Jonez says it’s one of the songs she plays most.
When Jonez is off the air she’d like to take a spa day at Curly Girl Salon or Salon Ami. But that’s rare. Instead, brunch is her jam. “I believe in eating healthy and working out, but I also believe in living life,” she tells me. “If you want some French toast, have some French toast. Do what you need to escape that negativity and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.”
Louie’s Wine Dive in Waldo is where she gets her fix. She says the Praline French Toast ($11) with candied pecans, rum butter, whipped cream and brown sugar is her comfort food. Louie’s Wine Dive, 7100 Wornall Road, serves brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Make reservations at louieswinedive.com.
Basically we all need to take our cue from Tom and Donna on TV’s “Parks and Recreation”: Treat yo self.
Jeneé Osterheldt is a Kansas City Star culture columnist, @jeneeinkc