When I was first considering enrolling in massage therapy school back in the day, I came in contact with a great lady who answered my swirling cloud of questions, helped me sort my thoughts, and voluntarily shared all the information she had about starting a practice. I asked her how I could ever thank her, and she said, “simply do the same for someone else”. That sounded quite logical to me.
Unfortunately, due to reasons I may never know, we’re no longer friends. I’m sure she’s still a great lady and try as I might to review the facts and our last few encounters, I still can’t fathom how things fell apart. But that’s neither here nor there. The fact is, we had some good times while it lasted over a several-year period, and I felt like fulfilling at least part of that karmic circle here.
After I graduated, I went around and around with myself about which motif to decorate my new massage studio. I wasn’t sure which vibe (or combo thereof) I wanted to convey. I had so many options. Native American, with feathers and dream catchers. Hippie, with lava lamps and wood beaded doorway curtains. Japanese Zen, with Tylan Shoji room dividers and bamboo plants. Southwest, with pottery and vibrant blankets. Country, with patchwork, denim, and wood. Typical massage with lavender and pump-driven water trickling over little rocks. Indian, with Ganesh statues and Aum oil dish warmers. Well, I kind of ended up with a rockin’ combination of several of the above. Your motif is up to you. However, I thought it’d be helpful to cover good places to get stuff to decorate your studio with.
IKEA. If you have one of these near you, great! Go at 10am on a weekday, and prepare to spend several hours. The place is huge, and the walking traffic flows only one way. Make sure you have everything you want from your vehicle before going in, because getting back outside once you’re a quarter of the way in is a bitch. Once you’re in, you’ll find a ton of ideas. This place is good for lots of things – basic furniture (organizers, chairs, workbenches, and the like) and accent decorations (fake plants, tealight candles and their holders, and wall art), and best of all, it’s pretty cheap.
Quality is hit or miss (mostly hit, though–haven’t had much bad to say). The only drawback: if you’re boycotting China or sweatshops or whatnot, this isn’t easy to do here. IKEA’s stuff is cheap because it comes from anywhere around the world; chances are, these boycotted places are involved.
Earthbound Trading Company. These are popping up in malls across the land, so finding a location is getting easier. Here you’ll find mostly accents, bonus points for the worldly flare, especially African, Turkish, and Oriental. Buddha Statues, candle dish warmers and their scented oils (great variety and great quality, too), French lamps and their oils (good for cleansing the air from emotional or pathogenic gunk), throw pillows and blankets, incense (also good quality and variety) and their holders/burners, Indian elephant statues, Egyptian pyramids, and don’t forget the beaded doorway hangings and amazing brilliant-colored themed mirrors. You’ll also find some livelier cultural CD collections here, too–specifically the Putumayo CDs.
Ross. This is where you’ll find an awesome variety of decent quality sheets – year-round bounty of jersey tee, awesome designs, and designer brands at very cool prices. You’ll also find a few scented candles and holders, but come for the sheets.
Garden Ridge. This may be a local or regional chain, I’m not sure. It’s basically a discount craft warehouse. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these near you, they rock. We found beautiful pottery, a huge variety of good-looking synthetic plants (larger trees and smaller potted plants), statues, little trickling fountains, small desk fans, French lamps and oils, candles and holders, tons of stuff.
Central Market. This is basically where health food store meets conventional grocery store. They have a whole section devoted to aromatherapy oils, candles, incense, and more. This is where I get most of my more common essential oils, because they sell the bigger bottles, and at reasonable prices.
Whole Foods Market. Same as Central Market, only they don’t often have the bigger bottles. They have a wider variety of scents, though. Sometimes they carry massage oils, but I order mine elsewhere. The only drawback: getting run over with the shopping carts of yuppie stay-at-home-moms who have nothing serious to do, but the store is still their own personal Indy 500. It’s like they think they’re starring in the movie “Speed”, where they’re scared they’ll explode if they drop below 50 mph.
Bostonjojoba.com. This is (exclusively) where I get my oil. Due to severe skin allergies to chemicals, the increasing number of people with chemical sensitivities, and the fact that I use a lot of warm/hot stones during therapy and I also do a lot of Lymphatic Detoxification–both of which require oil only–I use jojoba oil. It’s practically hypoallergenic, it doesn’t smell, and it’s the only oil that won’t turn sheets rancid. This particular company rocks (I have no vested interest at all in promoting them) because they do everything they can to ensure the quality of their oil (including going organic where possible), they’re not too big a company, and their oil comes in a wide variety of sizes–and at awesome prices.
Indian grocery stores. Most major metro areas (and even some smaller metro areas) have at least one, if not several. If you like nag champa incense, this is where to get it. They typically sell their incense in bigger boxes and for lower prices. The only drawback: anything other than nag champa is typically the cheap kind that may not be the best to breathe. It hasn’t caused any problems, per se, and it still smells great, so if you’re not particularly sensitive and your budget is tighter, this is a great option.
Silver Pyramid. This is a local mom-&-pop store that’s here in Dallas only, but it’s worth mentioning. BIf you cater to more of a new age, Reiki, or even Wiccan crowd (or you’re that type yourself), look no further; this is the place for you. Dragon and Merlin pewter statues, little colored glass pyramids and iridescent crystal balls, healing stones, incense, incense holders, oils, new age music CDs, and beautiful artwork abound. The store has Indian, Oriental, Buddhist, and Egyptian overtones as well. The only drawbacks: there’s only one location that I know of. Also, the prices aren’t cheap. However, they’re not outrageous, either.
Outlets. Don’t overlook or forget about these! Good for carpet remnants to use as rugs, material pieces for curtains, sheets, blankets, or dividers. The only drawback: they’re often located in seedier parts of town, so go in the daytime. (They’re often only open during the day anyway.)
Amazon.com. This place has been a Godsend. I found jersey tee sheets here (although a limited variety, but some great colors nonetheless). I also found a decent quality professional hot stone warmer and 2 sets of volcanic basalt stones. Their customer service is great, too. The only drawback: again, tough to help out the local ecomony. I lucked out; the people I purchased the stones from were listed through Amazon, but they’re a mom-&-pop operation based in Fort Worth 🙂
Don’t bother with: Linens & Things (affectionately known as Sheets & Shit–that’s mine! I’m proud of that one 🙂 they’re going out of business and they didn’t have great selection anyway), Walmart (they were only good for sheets anyway, and when their twin sheet prices doubled overnight I stopped battling the crowds; once I stopped saving money, the effort wasn’t worth it), Target (they’ve gone way downhill in recent years and their products are crap, with no real price break), Bed Bath & Beyond (their selection is nil and their prices kinda suck), Costco, or Sam’s (again–quality of product versus the price versus the hassle of the places – applies to both Costco and Sam’s). Save yourself the trip and cross these places off your list 🙂