Treat yourself to beauty treatments, wellness options, fun fitness, and other indulgences in Manayunk.
By Meghan Sack
Photos by Melissa Kelly Photography (melissakellyphotography.com)
Self-care has shifted from a perceived indulgence to a daily activity in people’s lives in recent trends. Self-care is the practice of staying fit and maintaining good physical and mental health to meet social and psychological needs. Thankfully, Main Street Manayunk has plenty of outlets for self-care that can be taken advantage of by anyone interested!
Whether you are looking for retail therapy, a new workout routine, sweet treats, or meeting new people to change up your routine, Manayunk merchants are here to offer the best experience you might choose. Explore the different ways you can pursue a self-care regimen and where to get started in the following categories: Indulge, Beauty, Splash Out on Wellness, and Go to Town on Fitness.
The typical image of self-care in our minds is indulging in sweet treats, seasonal beverages, and relaxing. Artesano Cafe, located at 109 Green Lane, offers exactly that image with a welcoming atmosphere, drink specials like the maple cinnamon latte, savory treats like the veggie strata, and beautiful potted plants as a reminder of your enjoyment. In the name of self-care, having a morning or afternoon routine can bring you peace and enjoyment.
At the start of the pandemic, Artesano Iron Works was operating as a gallery and event space, mostly hosting weddings. Due to a lack of events, they transitioned to add the cafe and bistro in mid-July of 2020.
“It was not in our plans,” said owners and operators, Jamie and Mildred Kaplan, from Colombia and Venezuela respectively. “The cafe was a way to reinvent our business because the events and weddings were not possible to host. We have our own catering team, our own chef, kitchen staff, and office staff. We said to ourselves, ‘We have this beautiful space. We can use it in another way to transform and invent another business.’”
Upon entering Artesano Cafe, you are transported to a warm, green space with plants of all kinds potted in terracotta pots surrounding you.
“The cafe offers an opportunity to bring where we come from to the community here,” Mildred said. “It is not a nursery, so when you come and shop here, there are plants already in the terracotta pottery that come from Colombia and more homemade items like furniture that is showcased in the lower gallery.”
The novelty of Artesano’s offerings are truly layered with different elements brought to Philadelphia from other countries like Colombia. The terracotta planters are made of the earth from the Andes Mountains and come directly from Colombian artisans in a small city called Ráquira, Colombia. Both Mildred and Jaime take pride in all elements of their business and recognize the way their small business is helping those small communities of artisans in Colombia. Though their terracotta pots are undervalued there where it is common here, they are appreciated for the beautiful piece they are.
“People come here to get what they can’t find anywhere else,” said Shane Davis, barista at the cafe. “Artesano Cafe is like an oasis in Manayunk. People come here for the green wall, the patio, and enjoying the fresh air and the sun, rather than a typical coffee shop where people are on their computers and working. It’s more like you come with your friends, and you bring them here to have a relaxing experience.”
The most unique feature about Artesano Cafe and Bistro, aside from the carefully curated atmosphere provided by the plants and staff, is the vertical, living green wall.
“It is a very relaxed place inside and outside as well,” said Mildred. “There is a gorgeous green wall, which is a piece of sanity in the city. Inside the cafe itself, you can breathe the wellness in with the greens and plants while enjoying the iron pieces on the walls. Artesano is like a secret garden, for you and your friends to come enjoy.”
Furthermore, if not for the coffee, plants, or atmosphere, come to Artesano for the art. Artesano Iron Works has been a gallery for the iron-made art before the cafe was created.
“We bought this building in 2007 in the hopes that we would present metal works as art in a showroom,” Jaime said. “We restored the building to give artisans and metal workers in Colombia a place to share their work and present it on the walls. Art expositions were working very well, but people started asking to host their weddings and other events here.”
Their first event here was their son’s Bar Mitzvah and soon after, the weddings became a mainstay in their business. Artesano Iron Works provides an enchanting background as a wedding venue, not only indoors but outdoors as well. With the iconic Manayunk Bridge right outside the front door, couples can enjoy their nuptials in style when they choose Artesano to host and cater.
“Every single art piece is for sale,” Mildred said. “At the same time, it works as a beautiful background decoration for corporate, bar and bat mitzvahs, and weddings.”
This summer, indulge yourself at Artesano Cafe and enjoy their seasonal thyme lemonade while you peruse the terracotta greenery and relax.
Annie Morris of Salon L Manayunk, located at 4120 Main Street, has been working on Main Street since 1996 and is the only resident esthetician in the salon. An esthetician exclusively provides services focused on skin care, including skin treatments, facials, makeup application, and hair removal. Annie knows the fundamental and advanced levels of the self-care staples.
“Self-care, especially right now, is so important,” Annie said. “There has been a lot of trauma and this is just a safe place you can come to, listen to relaxing music, and take an hour for yourself and your face.”
Annie is an integral part of the luxurious spa treatments available at Salon L. She administers facial and peel treatments in-house including (but not limited to) the Signature Facial, Clear Skin Facial, Men’s Facial, Microdermabrasion, and Back Treatment. All of these treatments are offered from $85-$125. Annie includes a specific, targeted approach for each client.
“No one ever knows what to get with facials,” Annie said. “My motto is, I take each client individually and have a full consultation, and then I customize a treatment for you.”
If you are looking for a more in-depth approach to self-care in this department, Salon L offers Glo Skin Beauty. These treatments cost between $90-$125 and, for the record, do not actually peel your face. The treatments exfoliate the top layer of skin to remove wrinkles, acne, scars, freckles, age spots and melasma. Annie will customize each client’s experience to their own unique skin needs.
There are many options to choose from with GloTherapeutics Peels. With different multi-level needs, you can choose to purchase a “4 Peel Package” and get the fifth treatment for free.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Love to, but who has the time?” meet with Annie for a Target Facial for $50 and 30 minutes of me-time. You’ll get to experience the repair, cleanse, exfoliation, and moisturizing you and your skin deserve in a time frame that works for you. Although, facials are not the only self-care opportunity that Annie and Salon L offer.
“Right now, the big deal, because we’re all in masks, is the eyes,” Annie said. “Brow lamination, lash lift, and lash tint are all treatments that make you look great when you are covering up everything else.”
Whether you need hydration, a neck and shoulder massage, or a facial massage, Annie always incorporates relaxation into a result-oriented facial.
Splash out on Wellness
Heart Strong Chiropractic, located on 4368 Cresson Street in Studio B, is a major key to pain relief in Manayunk. Owner, Dr. Chelsea McLane, is best known for preventive care, athletes, and adjustments. One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to put your physical well-being first.
“Whether you want more energy to play with your kids or want to participate in your favorite activities pain-free, chiropractic can help,” Dr. Chelsea stated.
Wellness is an overall goal of health and well-being that is pursued as a continuous goal. Step by step, you can lead yourself in your own health goals and by doing so, create a life and body that you feel comfortable in each day. Consulting with Dr. Chelsea and taking the steps to help your own body recover is a self-care activity to prioritize.
“As a chiropractor, I work with the body to naturally restore nervous system function so the person is better able to live life and adapt to all of the stress with which we come in contact,” Dr. Chelsea said. “When the joints of the spine become misaligned, they can not only cause joint pain, stiffness, muscle tightness, but also affect the way the body works.”
Dr. Chelsea is available for all sorts of purposes. Her patients seek treatment for feeling run down, fatigued, stressed out, having more colds and flu, having trouble sleeping, are dealing with allergies, or have other ailments. Heart Strong Chiropractic patients have reported better sleep, more energy, better workouts and recovery, and that doing the things that they love become easier to them.
Chiropractic may help improve outcomes of other self-care activities we do, such as working out, eating healthy, massage, acupuncture, and sleep.
“When we only focus on one of those things, we miss a huge part of the picture and that is the nervous system,” said Dr. Chelsea. “The nervous system controls every single process in our bodies and it is vital to make certain there is no interference to the nervous system.”
Adding a chiropractic visit to your weekly or monthly to do list can aid your efforts in other self-care engagements.
Healthy Bites Nutrition Counseling, located on the second floor of Cadence Cycling at 3740 Main Street, offers one-on-one nutritional counseling to help people reach their goals. Owner Kristen Kochenour, MS, RD, LDN, helps all of her clients incorporate healthy eating into their existing lifestyle by meeting them where they are with their goals.
“I see clients with different needs — everything from people who want to lose weight or have more energy, to GI issues and athletes,” Kristen said. “I see a variety of clients.”
Using her Online Healthy Eating Program, Kristen continues to connect with her clients remotely. To get in touch with Kristen, visit her website, https://www.myhbnc.com and schedule a 15-minute consulting meeting. Insurance covers most of her clients’ visits and Kristen reports that most major insurance coverages continue to cover telehealth medicine during this time.
“As far as packages, most of my clients are most comfortable with doing remote meetings right now,” Kristen said. “We can still accomplish the same we would in the office.”
After a year of changes, many people have picked up new activities to become healthier.
“People that are getting into cycling, running, or prepping for races — I see a lot more of that right now,” she added. “Boosting your immune system is always important. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we have to take care of ourselves. Put your health first.”
When asked what the best nutrition advice is to achieve relaxation, Kristen said it’s simpler than you may think.
“Don’t think too much about your nutrition,” she stated. “Make small realistic changes and do not feel like you have to do a specific program or cleanse. Avoid the ‘all or nothing’ approach.”
She is frequently asked for exercises to accompany her wonderful nutritional advice.
“Find something you love to do and do not dread,” she said. “It can be 20 minutes. People are working out for two hours a day and that is going to lead to burnout. Do something you enjoy and reach out to a professional to help you do it safely.”
Eating healthy can be difficult. Meeting with Kristen to set you on a path that is better for you is an easy and fulfilling wellness trick to take care of oneself.
Go to Town on Fitness
Fitness opportunities are great for self-care practices. You could start by setting one day a week to try a new workout routine. On Main Street, we have a plethora of exercise classes anyone can think of being interested in trying out. From karate to spin classes, to running groups, rowing clubs and to biking cohorts, you name it and there is a group here ready to welcome you with open arms. Manayunk’s fitness studios have adapted with the pandemic and offer both virtual, in-person, and hybrid classes so you can participate in whatever appeals to you.
Action Karate Manayunk, located at 4799 1/2 Silverwood St., offers a range of karate classes for all demographics. Go online to their website, actionkarate.net, and you’ll see their options for Kids’ Martial Arts, Adult Martial Arts, and Online Programs. With the purchase of your first three classes at $39.99, you get your uniform and belt for free. Action Karate Manayunk also offers Special Needs classes, Family Programs, and a class for Ninja Sharks Ages three to six.
“Think of self-care like four legs of a table, or four legs of a horse,” said Action Karate Manayunk’s head instructor, John Cardinale. “Each leg stands for a needed component of fitness and health: exercise, eating, breathing, sleeping. If any one of these legs is missing, the table is not sturdy. The same is true for you.”
The Ninja Shark Curriculum is for ages three to six and designed to meet kids where they are developmentally in physical, mental, emotional, and social senses. These classes offer a focus on the skills needed to succeed in kindergarten and first grade. This is the perfect opportunity to help your child dip their toes into the social world and learn how to take care of themselves in the future.
Finding your physical outlet for self-care is a rewarding journey. Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new can help you become a more well-rounded person.
“One way to assess your self-care is to rate yourself on a scale of one to 10 on how well you think you’re doing in each of the four categories, and whichever category has the lowest score should get your most attention,” John explained. “You will often find that when one category improves, the others do as well. That’s the approach of the martial arts lifestyle.”
Classes at Action Karate Manayunk include fitness, intentional breathing, and lessons on improving daily habits that all add up to a higher level of self-care. If you think martial arts would help your self-care, you can schedule a trial lesson for free now at actionkarate.net and mention SELF-CARE.