Everythingspa’s Blog

CNYSPAGIRL blogs about all things spa

Studio 8 Fitness and A Time For Me Wellness Center, Clinton NY October 22, 2011

You would never expect an upscale day spa and fitness studio to be tucked away along this mostly rural stretch of Route 5 near Clinton, NY.  But just when I had started to lose confidence that my GPS would deliver me to my pre-programmed location, there it was.

It was a Wednesday morning in early September when I arrive at Studio 8 Fitness, prepared for a serious workout. I am joining a small group of women for a circuit training class as a guest of Kelli Corasanti, the fitness center’s owner. It’s the first time I’m meeting Kelli, but she hugs me like a long lost friend. And before I know it, we’re warming up on the cycles to signal the beginning of our workout.

It doesn’t take long before Kelli asserts herself in a drill sergeant-like manner that you’d never expect to come from the pretty, slim blonde.  One minute, she provides nurturing guidance to this group of ladies that follow her in an almost cult-like fashion. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way!) The next minute, she’s a rough and tumble fitness instructor issuing training instructions that you wouldn’t dream of deviating from.  But it’s all good: Kelli is the perfect combination of Barbie and G.I. Joe.

When I asked the other members of my small group why they come to Studio 8 Fitness instead of a traditional gym, the response was overwhelming:  It’s the personalization and the motivation provided in this somewhat non-traditional environment adjacent to A Time For Me Wellness Center.  But most importantly, it’s Kelli herself. “I love what I do and I think it shows”, says Kelli, whose classes are fun, energizing and certainly challenging.  It’s no surprise that Kelli has such a following, given her warmth, spirit and positive energy.  But she also holds an impressive resume of educational degrees and fitness certifications, so you know you’ll be in extremely good hands:

  • ACE Certified Personal Trainer specializing in functional training.
  • Certified as a TRX Instructor.
  • Certified as a Youth Fitness Specialist through the International Youth Conditioning Association.
  • Master’s degree in Counseling Education.
  • Previous experience as a Mad Dogg certified SPIN Instructor.

Kelli has published two books: Kelli’s Quips: Happy Thoughts for Busy People (available on Amazon.com) and Finding My Way Back to Me: A Journey of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble). Finding My Way Back to Me is also the title of an online life coaching program that Kelli created at http://findingmywaybacktome.com.

When my workout was over, I dragged myself down the stairs and into the day spa.  The tough part of my visit was over.  Now I was in for some serious and well deserved relaxation:  a massage, facial and lunch!

A Time For Me Wellness Center’s owner, Amy Croft, has created a welcoming sanctuary in this unassuming location. When I first arrive at the spa, Amy is decked out in gardening clothes and is going about the business of planting fall flowers out on the deck.  When I emerge from my massage, the first of two treatments in store for me that day, she has transformed herself into a sophisticated spa owner.  Along the way, she and her staff have baked oatmeal cookies (they’re still warm!), made the fruit-infused spa water and are mentally and physically preparing for the clients who are scheduled for appointments that day.  This is the typical day-in-the-life of a spa business owner who wears many hats.  What distinguishes Amy and her family-like team of associates apart is their passion for their clients, the spa and their work.

But don’t take my word for it: just ask the massage therapy client who has just received her 92nd massage at A Time For Me Wellness Center.  If that isn’t a testament to why the spa was Voted #1 Day Spa in the Utica Observer-Dispatch Readers Choice 2011 Awards, then I don’t know what is!

The spa itself is a stunning piece of architecture that has surely caused more than one guest to desire, wistfully, to live there.  The large deck, a spectacular gathering place for pre or post-treatment relaxation during nice weather, overlooks the thickly wooded surroundings, which were already showing signs of the fall spectacle that Mother Nature puts on annually.  I can imagine winters in the great room, in front of the floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, sipping a warm beverage as the temperature dips outside.  It is the most unpretentious of settings – the kind of place where the clients feel “at home” moments after walking through the door.  The décor has a sunny, Tuscan feel – deep green ceramic tiles complement bright yellow walls. Warm wood flooring covered in patterned area rugs and rich woodwork lend a rustic feel to the open, airy design.  A cozy upholstered seating area is perfect for sinking into while you await your treatment; it’s the kind of place that makes you want to linger just a bit longer, so plan on making the most of your relaxation time and not rushing away after your service is complete.

With a full kitchen available, it’s a sought after place for holiday and office parties and just about any other event that a guest can dream up.  There’s even a designated spa party room in the works that can accommodate private groups. Since it’s opening in November 2006, the 4,000 square-foot three-level wellness center has become a popular place for couple’s massages, thanks to its two couples massage rooms. There are eight treatment rooms in total, with service offerings that include massage, esthetics, manicures and pedicures.

Christine Hansen is one of five Licensed Massage Therapists.  What impressed me the most about her massage technique is that there was nothing perfunctory about it.  If you’ve ever had a perfunctory massage, you know exactly what I mean.  Christine used a variety of techniques and assisted stretching to work all the muscles and areas of the body she knew would be sore the next day, courtesy of my morning workout with Kelli at the in-house Studio 8 Fitness (Coming soon –  more about Studio 8 Fitness). The signature massage is a customized 60 or 90-minute treatment that includes hot towels on the feet, hot stones on the back and a touch of aromatherapy.  During my visit, the spa was running a promotion that included a complementary add-on, normally a $5 value.  There were so many interesting offerings; I opted for the foot scrub as the ideal complement to the hot towels.

Jen Salvo, a cosmetologist who offers esthetic and nail services, gave me a pampering and relaxing facial using products by Plantogen, know for plant derived spa therapy.  Afterwards, I followed my own advice and lingered just a bit longer over lunch on the deck before making the surprisingly quick and picturesque drive back to Syracuse.  A Time For Me Wellness Center and Studio 8 Fitness is a gem of a spot that simply cannot be kept a secret!

A Time For Me Wellness Center

7201 Route 5 West

Clinton, NY 13323




Studio 8 Fitness

7201 Route 5 West

Clinton, NY 13323

(315) 723-9986




Heart’s Content Healing offers massage, yoga, and Reiki in Central New York November 21, 2010

Kelly's Massage and Holistic Health Spa Photo credit: Jeannine Gettis

You’d think that as a freelance writer who covers spas and wellness, the names of massage therapists would roll off my tongue when friends, family or perfect strangers ask me for a recommendation. I’ve had the great fortune of experiencing massages and spa treatments from therapists, estheticians and wellness providers throughout North America. (I love my job!)

To read the rest of the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.


Spa Review: Norabloom Beauty Lounge (Ithaca, NY) November 16, 2010

Norabloom Beauty Lounge

It’s not every day you get an email like the one I received from Holly Green, owner of Norabloom Botanicals and Beauty Lounge in Ithaca, NY.  “I am not a full resort or destination spa, however I offer a heck of a facial 🙂 I am an Esthetician and Makeup Artist and I have designed and created my own organic skin care line. Would you be interested in visiting?”  Would I?  Heck yes!

To read the rest of the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner column on Examiner.com.


Spa Review: The Spa at The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa November 15, 2009


Topnotch Resort and Spa Room 137 and The Esex - 68

Women's gathering room at The Spa at Essex, photo by Michele McIntyre



To read the article, click here to be directed to my National Spa Examiner page on Examiner.com.


Interview with Anitra Brown: About.com’s Spa Expert November 8, 2009

Anitra Brown hiking at Rancho La Puerta

Anitra Brown hiking at Rancho La Puerta, Photo courtesy of Anitra Brown

Google just about any spa topic and the popular search engine will likely direct you to http://spas.about.com/. The website is a great resource for all things spa. I use it all the time to educate myself on spas and to look for trustworthy spa reviews.

That’s why I was thrilled when Anitra Brown, Spa Expert for About.com, agreed to an interview. I wanted to learn more from the writer behind all that great information! In addition to writing for About.com and other publications, Anitra is an esthetician who resides in Cragsmoor, New York.

Here’s what we chatted about:

MM How did you start writing about spas?

AB I’ve been a journalist my entire career, but I started out covering wine and spirits when I lived in New York City. Eventually I moved to the country, went freelance and wrote restaurant reviews and stories about food, farming stories, home and garden. But all my neurons fired when I got a travel assignment from Westchester Magazine to cover six overnight spas within two hours of Westchester. I went to Canyon Ranch and never looked back. I was totally hooked.

MM How did you become About.com’s Spa Expert?

AB I would go regularly to spas.about.com to do research, and noticed when the Guide photo went down and an “apply here” sign went up in late 2003. I was accepted for their unbelievably rigorous application process. You basically have to learn how to use all their tools, write compelling content, and create a sample website — and you’re competing with five other people doing the same thing! It was a lot of work, but it was worth it! Especially since I got the job!

MM What business model does About.com use?

AB About.com is owned by The New York Times Company, and its mission is to deliver high-quality, original content written by an expert you can trust. About.com has nearly 800 Experts covering travel, health, beauty, parenting, cooking, technology, hobbies and so on. We’re there to help consumers get reliable information on just about any topic.

MM What made you decide to become formally educated in skin care?

AB I wanted to develop my expertise, like a restaurant reviewer deciding to go chef school. I spent a lot of time getting spa treatments, and I could tell the difference between the bad, the mediocre and the great treatments. But I wasn’t sure what it took to become that great therapist. I decided the only way to really find out was to become a therapist myself.

I also wanted to find out if what estheticians said was true. You know, “This product will penetrate into your skin and do such and such.”

MM Why did you choose skin care over massage?

AB Esthetician school took 600 hours of training in New York State, compared to 1000 hours for massage therapy! And being an esthetician is easier on your body. Massage therapy can be grueling and has a big drop-out rate. Plus I always loved skin care. I started getting facials at age 24 because my mother always said she wished she had started taking care of her skin at a younger age. But I would still like to get a massage therapy license.

MM Where did you get your esthetician training?

AB Atelier Esthetique in New York City.

MM So did you figure out what it takes to be a great therapist?

AB First, you have to have “the touch”. Some of the girls in my class just pawed at my face like a dog digging in the dirt! You also have to have loving energy and a true a desire to help people. And you have to have the knowledge, technical skill and the commitment to keep learning.

It’s also important to pace yourself and learn how to use your body so you don’t burn out or just go through the motions. A treatment is really a form of living communication between two people, and you have to show up for that.

MM On your blog at About.com, readers comments can sometimes be harsh. It would be natural to take the comments personally, but you seem to take it in stride.

AB Anyone is entitled to disagree with me! I actually love the conversations that get going on my blog And if anything is truly nasty or personal or inappropriate — directed towards me or anyone else — I can always delete it!

MM Your favorite spas of all times?

AB I truly love Canyon Ranch for the breadth, depth, and quality of their talent. There is so much going on there, with their medical emphasis and behavioral health — things you can’t get at other spas. Plus I love to learn and spend a lot of time in the lectures that go on all day. You learn all the latest in wellness from their experts! It’s very stimulating.

Thanks Anitra!

Anitra just returned from a long awaited trip to Miraval Resort and Spa in Tuscon.  You can read about her adventures at her blog at About.com.


Spa Review: Topnotch Resort and Spa (Stowe, Vermont) October 29, 2009

Topnotch womens spa lounge

Topnotch Resort and Spa - Women's Spa Lounge (Photo courtesy of Topnotch Resort and Spa)

It’s October and I’m visiting Topnotch Resort and Spa…(Click here to read the rest of the article)


Friday Afternoon Club at Stowe Mountain Lodge: Happy hour fun and pampering spa treatments October 21, 2009

I’m visiting Stowe Vermont in mid-October on a 6th annual girlfriend getaway weekend to check out the spa scene. It’s somewhere between when the stunning peak fall foliage New England is famous for ends and when ski season begins. We’re here to relax at the local spas, shop, drink wine and enjoy great meals together – no kids, no husbands, just the girls.

We start our weekend and our spa tour of Stowe with a visit to Stowe Mountain Lodge and the Friday Afternoon Club (FAC). From 5 to 7 pm each Friday, FAC guests enjoy paraffin hand or foot treatments, wine, appetizers and entertainment for $20 in the stunning setting of Stowe Mountain Lodge.

To continue reading the article, click here.