Pedicures are for vanity princesses and a waste of cash. So I thought.

I used to think pedicures were for vanity princesses and a waste of cash.

Then I realised it was such a nice way to show yourself love.

As of today, they're now essential. Here's why.

I never used to be a 'girlie' girl. I loathed wearing skirts and my first pair of high heels I got at 21. And I think I've shaved my legs 3 times in the past decade (hate the slow-hair-growth-Asian-genes, not me).

In the last year or so, though, one girlie thing that I've started to make a "thing" is getting a pedicure. I didn't know or understand how it's a way of self-care, until I did. It has come to be one of my favourite ways to top up oxytocin levels.

I've found a gem place; great service, great price and they include the best leg/foot massage as part of the drill. It's heaven.

Today, as I got my slice of heaven, I caught myself not being in the moment. I was profusely jotting down blog posts ideas on my phone... and just got so carried away.

Picture this. Me sitting in the massage chair, looking down at my phone, with headphones on (not only did I think I could type away, I could listen to a podcast as well). Nail technician diligently chiseling off pre-Christmas epidermis build up. (Gross, I know.) Essentially, I was the image of "that gen". Oblivious to the world around. Addicted Android/Apple morsel.

So there I was, hammering away on the keypad, not wanting any ideas to slip.

Type, type, auto predict. Type, type, auto correct. It was like auto pilot. And just as I'm bullet-pointing some words, I'm thinking, "damn this guy's good". (Yes, my pedicurist is a young man.) Hmmm, say what? What the hell just happened there?

RIGHT THEN I STOPPED WHAT I WAS DOING.

How on earth was I supposed to really practise being present with my husband and kids if I allowed myself to not get a grip elsewhere? How could I *really* maximise my Oxytocin Treat if my head was in another place?

I STOPPED TYPING AND PUT MY PHONE AWAY.

And thank goodness I did because here's what happened when I did:

- I genuinely felt more relaxed. Funny that - the purpose of my visit!
- My appreciation for my nail tech went up. Way up. So much so I consciously made eye contact with him to tell him what a great job he was doing. He smiled. I felt even better.
- I observed my surroundings and saw this sense-of-community exchange: another customer brought in a pile of old magazines and replaced the shop keeper's old stack.

I left the shop with two things: baby-bum smooth feet and a lesson.

The Lesson: Practising presence rewards you with real intrinsic gifts.

Oxytocin up; one happy camper.
And, yep, the household saw a happier me. My 5 yr old admired new colour choice. Rob teased my feet (his flirty grin actually says it's a sign of endearment). My 2 yr old couldn't care less. He just wanted cuddles. All in all, I'm swimming in joy.

So here's a little formula which adds to having a Spine Tingling Marriage:

Pedicure + Presence = Appreciation & Gratitude

Appreciation and gratitude always equates to internal happiness. And I'm now very happy to be a vanity princess, it's so rewarding.

Now, do tell. Are you also a pedicure girl? What amps up your Oxytocin? What's your way to increase that feel good hormone? Please do share.