Kick off your shoes, turn off your BlackBerry, and unwind with one of these rejuvenating spa packages. Bonus: they're made for two, so you can spend time with someone special as you relax.
Urbana Cityspa & Tea Bar Try the Escape for Two ($180/hour). Two massage therapists deliver the Swedish Blend, Urbana's signature massage. Afterward, sip a soothing cup of oolong at the bar. 7510 Pineville Matthews Rd., 704-543-1700, escape2urbana.com
Oasis Day Spa Grab your best girlfriend and indulge in the Spa Retreat for Two ($324). It includes a manicure, facial, and full-body Swedish massage—all done in tandem. 2036 E. Seventh St., 704-333-8777, oasis-dayspa.net
Blis Salon & Day Spa The Mother Daughter Days package ($525) offers four hours of pampering and familial bonding time. Catch up over a mani-pedi, massage, and haircut. 136 Main St., Pineville, 704-889-2547, blisinfo.com
Modern Salon and Spa Here, a couple's massage ($275) is followed by the ultimate indulgence: champagne paired with a warm dessert. Mmm. 214 N. Tryon St., Ste. 200, 704-339-0909, modernsalonandspa.com
champagne and wine
Gary Mullis understands that red-letter days are a lot more fulfilling when they're shared with friends and family. As the official wine consultant with Dean & DeLuca's Wine Room (6822 Phillips Pl., 704-643-6868), Mullis earns his keep by helping customers choose celebratory cocktails. Here are his picks for those special occasions when you need to bust out the bubbly. (All selections available at Dean & DeLuca, Phillips Place.)
Promotion Celebrate career kudos with a bottle of Champagne Krug ($209). The high-end bottle is a status symbol (think of it as the Cadillac of Champagne). Sipping a glass will make your hard-working honey feel like a big shot.
Valentine's Day Duval-Leroy Rosé De Saignee ($57/full bottle, $37/half bottle) is pink, delicate, and totally delicious. The rosé Champagne is infused with flavors of strawberry and rose petals. Plus, the label is imprinted with a heart and arrow, perfect for the holiday.
Anniversary Z.D. winery's Abacus ($435/bottle) is made with the unique Solera system, which blends ten new and aged wines together. As a result, this bottle boasts the vibrancy of young wines and the subtle flavors of a mature vino: a great choice for toasting couples new or old.
Engagement Lewelling Vineyard's cabernet ($60) is the product of a small, family-owned winery. According to Mullis, this full-bodied red offers the best value for its price point.
You've always been grateful to your golden doodle, Persian cat, or grey parrot for providing companionship, but did you know that pets also keep you healthy, a comfort you can't put a price on? According to a 2003 study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, stroke victims have a greater chance of survival if they live with a pet. The study also found that the soothing presence of a pet results in lower blood pressure. For the best places to adopt a pet, visit www.charlottemagazine.com.