Common Grounds Wellness Center

Common Ground

Our original plan for Date Night was the OMSI After Dark Halloween edition. It turned out it was about three times the normal cost of OMSI After Dark so we decided to pass. Instead, I whipped out my Groupon coupons and planned an alternative evening.

The first stop was the Siam Society on NE Alberta. It’s a Thai restaurant that I haven’t been to in ages, but remembered liking.

It was a cool, warehouse-type building with exposed cement walls and floors and dim lighting. The music was trendy, quiet trance and mood music. We were seated in a romantic corner of the restaurant and I ordered a glass of Sokol Blosser Pinot Gris wine. Pinot Gris goes well with spicy Thai food.

We had $40 to spend on dinner. Michael wanted the Β Pulled Pork Spring Rolls. (I kinda wanted the spicy green beans but we got this instead.) The spring rolls came with braised pork and wrapped with hazelnuts and vegetables. The dipping sauce was very sweet–maybe plum sauce?

We ordered two entrees. The Pad Thai:

Pad Thai is kind of a must-have when I go to a Thai restaurant. I also order the Yellow Curry dish. It came with lots of veggie including green beans, potatoes and squash and flavorful spices (coriander, tumeric, cumin and curry). I put the jasmine rice into the dish to soak up some of the sauce. I loved the yellow curry dish.

I ate way too much, yet we barely made a dent in the amount of food on the plate! The “After” shot looked oddly just like the above shot. I love having leftovers for lunch! We had some time to kill before our next destination so we stopped next door to get a treat.

Michael got a donut and I decided I just wanted two donut holes. I was honestly too stuffed from dinner.

It was the perfect, small treat.

After dinner we drove to the nearbyΒ Common Ground Wellness Center. You might remember me writing about it at the beginning of this year. I bought the Groupon last time for Michael’s birthday to help his back injury. Well he recently hurt his back again so I made us reservations for the center again.

There’s no photography or phones allowed in the center, which is fine with me! An hour to completely disconnect sounds good to me.

This time I brought my new bikini! Yep, the one I bought over the summer and only wore in my backyard. I figured this was the perfect time to take it out. It was so liberating being able to wear it.

The night was dark and frigid. The patio was dark and only lit by Christmas lights. The steam rose from the hot tub and made it hard to see. It was romantic and relaxing. I laid back in the hot salt water and chilled. It felt amazing.

QUESTION: How often do you do Date Night with your partner? What do you do?

Clothing Optional

Thursday night was a different kind of Date Night for us…but not in that way. πŸ˜‰

I’d purchased a Groupon a few months ago for the Common Ground Wellness Center. I bought it for Michael’s birthday as something that could make his back feel better. I didn’t really notice the “clothing optional” comment on the website when I bought the Groupon. Whoops. But then I was like, “Well maybe that’s because we get private soaking rooms?” When I called to make the reservation for us I learned it was not quite that way.

“Our new facility features a large outdoor hot soaking pool with therapy jets, and a dry cedar sauna.Β  We are a co-ed and swimsuit-optional spa that offers a safe, non-sexual space to relax and rejuvenate the spirit. We also offer men-only and women-only hours during the week.”

I personally am not bothered by nudity and even when I was 250 pounds I was not self-conscious about my body (most of the time). Michael on the other hand is a little shy. Maybe it’s a guy thing? So I told him about the new development and gave him the option to opt out. He assured me he’d be able to handle it.

But first: food. For our Thursday night Date Night, we went out to dinner at La Bonita on NE Alberta. I had no idea the spa was over off Alberta (seems like over in that neck of the woods a lot lately).

The restaurant had great reviews online and it did not disappoint. I had the veggie burrito: bean, rice and cheese with a mild red sauce on top. It was HUGE.

I ate half of the burrito and had to take the rest to-go. Michael and I shared some chips and salsa too.

The place was very cute and hopping! We got there right before a huge crowd of people. The service was nice and friendly. Food was delicious. It was a winning dinner spot.

After dinner we went to the spa–with our swimsuits–and checked it out. The place was quiet and encouraged a relaxing, spa environment. It was decorated with beautiful tile and rock work, cedar plank benches, gorgeous showers, candles everywhere. It was very soothing. We checked in, got a tour and then went to the dressing room to change.

The dressing room was co-ed and basically everyone was naked. πŸ˜‰ It wasn’t uncomfortable though. We got into our swimsuits and took a cleansing shower. The hot tub was in a courtyard outside.

It was drizzling a little bit and even though it was cold out, it felt really refreshing once we were in the hot tub. It was so relaxing! We sat next to each other, letting the salt water and powerful jets massage and soothe us. Several times the rain hit the hot water and caused huge fogs of steam around the whole courtyard.

It wasn’t uncomfortable being around naked people. It was very casual and non-sexual. It was pretty interesting, too, because I had kind of a revelation while I was there. I saw so many different body types: fat, skinny, young and old. The people there were completely unaffected by their sagging skin, cellulite or whatever “flaw” they had. It was a reminder that we are all different shapes and sizes and MORE than the sum of our body parts. It helped me honor my own body and stop feeling critical about my “flaws.”

We finished up in the dry sauna, showered and dressed. I was so exhausted and relaxed I immediately crawled into bed when I got home. Despite the initial anxiety about a potential uncomfortable situation, the evening turned out well. We both liked the Wellness Center but agreed that it was kind of a drive from our house. Since we made a night of it with dinner, it was okay.

If you live in Portland and are looking for a relaxing, therapeutic experience definitely give the CGWC a try. You can wear a swimsuit if you don’t want to be naked, there’s no pressure or weirdness. They also have other spa services like massage, acupuncture, nutritionists and Doulas. It’s also fairly affordable to use the hot tubs!

The next day I woke up and had no hip soreness or pain! The soaking tubs seemed to work!

QUESTION: Would you ever go to a spa like this?