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An excuse to pamper Mom - and yourself

By Ami Albernaz
Globe Correspondent / May 7, 2009
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We've all gotten better at budgeting, mostly because we've had to. No more impulse buys, fewer trips to the local sushi haunt, shopping in our closets. But Mother's Day is different. Skimping won't do. Rather than buying Mom yet another pair of fuzzy slippers, pamper her with a few hours at a luxurious spa, a date with a personal shopper, or a trip to the gym. There are plenty of ways to spoil your mom this Mother's Day, no matter what your budget. Here are just a few.

The royal treatment
If you're looking to go all out, there's perhaps no better way than to splurge on a spa package. Emerge (275 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-0006, www.emergespasalon.com) offers an enticing menu, including the two-hour Emerge Sampler ($215) - a thermal mineral bath, a Swedish massage, and a classic manicure. Or try the Ultimate Facial at Ardan MedSpa + Salon (72 Central St., Wellesley, 781-235-7788, www.ardanspa.com), with antioxidants from apple stems and anti-aging biopeptides. This month, Ardan offers the facial plus a manicure, pedicure, and makeup application for $165 (normally $260).

Waited on hand and foot
Perhaps Mom's hands and feet need a little TLC. Maybe yours do too? Spend some quality time indulging together. Salon Capri (31 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-969-1970, www.saloncapri.com) is offering a dual manicure-pedicure deal next Monday through Thursday (call to book in advance). For $75, you and Mom each get a standard or eco-friendly (i.e., chemical-free) manicure and pedicure (normally $124 for two). Top off the deal with gift certificates for a free dessert and coffee a few steps away at Bakers' Best.

Makeup with Mom
The skin-care and makeup pros at Sarra (840 Summer St., Boston, 617-269-8999, and 104A North St., Hingham, 781-749-5599) will tell you which toners, moisturizers, and colors work best for your face, and will show you, in minute detail, how to get your eyebrows, lips, and everything in between just right. The two-hour service is normally $180 per person (with $80 going toward the lesson and $100 for the makeup, Sarra's own mineral formula). But come in with Mom, and the cost of the lesson will be waived. Total for both of you: $200.

Dress her up
Maybe Mom likes to shop, but complains she has nothing to wear. A gift certificate for a wardrobe consultation might be in order. Methuen-based Susan Kanoff, whose clients include a few of the personalities on New England Cable News (NECN), offers gift certificates for her services, including closet revamping (weeding out unflattering duds) and personalized shopping trips. The services are $75 per hour; see www.agreatnewlook.com for more information.

Get her in shape
Treadmills and barbells are not what come to mind when thinking of Mother's Day. But if Mom has thought of joining a gym, Sunday might be as good a day as any to give her a jump-start. Revolution Fitness (209 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-536-3006, www.bostonfitness.com) is offering a free workout on Sunday for members and nonmembers and their moms, as well as a free lunch entree at the gym's FUEL bar. (The health-minded selections include a sesame glazed salmon salad and a turkey and green apple wrap.) If Mom enjoys the visit, she can sign up for a free monthlong membership while she's there.

Wine and dine her
Mom enjoys her wine, but wishes she knew a bit more about it. Consider the Mother's Day dinner and brunch offerings, tomorrow night and Sunday, respectively, at the Boston Wine School (1354 Commonwealth Ave., Allston, 617-784-7150, www.bostonwineschool.com). Tomorrow night's event includes a class on wines, pairings with hors d'oeuvres, artisan breads, and cheeses, followed by a wine-pairing dinner. Sunday's event includes a tour of wines around the world followed by a wine-pairing brunch. Cost for each event is $100; call or visit the website to check availability and to register.

Take a stroll
You've likely given Mom flowers a few times on Mother's Day, so this Sunday take a stroll through them. The Arnold Arboretum's annual Lilac Sunday will include tours through the arboretum's more than 180 lilac varieties, along with folk dance and musical performances. Lilac Sunday is also the one day of the year that picnicking on the grounds is allowed, should you and Mom decide to pack a lunch. Food and drinks will be available for purchase as well. Admission and tours are free. Public transportation is strongly encouraged. Call 617-524-1718 or visit www.arboretum.harvard.edu for more information.