Oasis Salon and Day Spa

The waves toss my worn body in relentless succession. My strength has diminished along with the sun’s fading rays.

 

I can’t go on much longer.

 

Then I see it in the distance.

 

Land.

 

It’s not big, but the sight of it is enough to spark renewed energy in me, and I swim towards it with new resolve. As I approach, I see shadowy outlines of people. Are they just figments of my imagination?

 

I forge ahead.

 

Just a few yards from shore, the remaining sunlight illuminates the faces of the shadowy figures. My friends! They wave their hands and shout my name when they see me approaching the island.

 

I stumble onto the coarse sand, then my wet and bedraggled body collapses in sweet relief. I look up to see that I’m surrounded by my equally-exhausted friends. We made it! Finally we could rest at our island oasis.

 

I know what you’re thinking: This story is a too dramatic to be true. You’re partially correct; my friends and I did not wash ashore on some remote Pacific island. But we were rescued – mentally. We found relief from being battered by wave after wave of the daily stress and challenges in the vast sea of life.

 

And we found it close to home at Oasis Salon and Day Spa.

 

oasis front

 

I remember how excited I was when Oasis opened its doors in 2001. It was the first large-scale, full-service spa and salon in Joplin. Darlene Shepherd and her two granddaughters, Aubree Templeman and Adrian Petticrew, started Oasis with just 12 employees. Today, this family-run business has over 50 employees and services more than 3,000 clients per month.

 

Whenever I pull into the parking lot at Oasis, I immediately relax. The sight of the sprawling red-tiled stucco building with its ornate fountain and manicured topiaries is reminiscent of a Tuscan villa.

 

oasis fountain

 

Okay, so I’m not in the Italian countryside, but my mind perceives that this place is something out of the ordinary, something special. And that’s what counts.

 

Recently, I met three of my friends there for an afternoon of relaxation. When I arrived, Carrie and Erin had already been brought back to their treatment rooms for massages while Donna and I unwound in the tranquil spa’s lounge area, waiting for our facial appointments.

 

Then I heard the sweet sound of my name being called. This was it. This marked the beginning of my time – my time to forget responsibilities, my time to release all of my worries, my time to have somebody else take care of me for a while.

 

oasis lounge

 

When the esthetician began my facial, my skin was confused as to what was happening. It’s used to me giving it a whopping 20-second wash at the end of the day (and that’s on a good day) so I think it felt embarrassed by all of the sudden focused attention.

 

There was cleansing and toning, followed by a rest period during which a hot towel was placed on my face. While my skin relaxed under the warmth, the esthetician massaged my arms, hands, and neck. I felt as melty as butter – or maybe it was more like Parkay?

 

When the facial was over, I reluctantly left the treatment room and followed my esthetician to the spa’s lounge area where Donna was flipping through a magazine on the sofa. She told me that our other friends had finished their massages, changed into their swimsuits, and were now enjoying the jacuzzi and sauna area which was available for all spa clients to use during their visits.

 

I quickly changed and joined them. I didn’t want to miss one moment of indulgence that afternoon. This was bona fide “me” time.

 

I found Carrie and Erin in the sauna as the steam was just beginning to fill the tiny room. Once the steam reached full force, I could barely see my hand in front of my face. This cleansing steam, I imagined, was removing all toxins and impurities from my body through my skin. I was going to leave this place shiny and new! Well, shiny, at least.

 

When we could no longer take the heat in the sauna, we took a short break before soaking in the therapeutic jacuzzi. We had the entire area to ourselves, and it felt like we had traveled out of town to a resort rather than just down the road to Oasis. Convenient pampering – you’ve got to love it.

 

After getting dressed, all four of us were led to the other side of the building to our pedicure thrones (I’m not joking; that’s what they’re called).

 

oasis thrones

 

These thrones had a massaging feature built into them, which we immediately activated with our individual controllers. I think I got a bit overzealous with mine; sometimes when I talked, my voice would vibrate because I had my massaging throne on the highest strength setting.

 

The pedicure at Oasis includes a sugar scrub exfoliation, plus a leg and foot massage. After an hour, our feet were buffed, polished, and prepared for flip-flop season.

 

oasis toes

 

I enjoyed each moment of my spa afternoon at Oasis, escaping from my daily routine and allowing myself time to be pampered while I spent time with my friends.

 

I felt refreshed, revived, and ready to ride the next wave of life.

 

Oasis Salon and Day Spa is located at 2915 E. 29th St.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Shopping in Downtown Joplin

I’m overwhelmed by the choices presented before me in seemingly endless rows: waffle cutout sandals with a sculpted heel, sassy fringed booties, dainty ballet slippers, plus sleek and sophisticated heels, all representing stylish footwear brands like Naughty Monkey, Chinese Laundry, Volatile, and Jessica Simpson.

 

sophie shoes

wish I were an octopus.

 

To my right, there’s a flurry of fringe and rivets, interspersed with bright patterns and sparkles from the selection of handbags made by hip companies like Big Buddha, Steve Madden, and Urban Expressions.

 

sophie handbags

 

My desire to possess multiple appendages continues. How else could I possibly wear all of the shoes and handbags I see here?

 

This is my typical experience each time I visit Sophie (531 South Main Street). Originally known as the “candy store for shoe addicts,” Sophie has added handbags, accessories, and even clothing to its offerings, including dresses, outerwear, and quality denim, making it a candy store for overall fashionistas.

 

sophie clothing

 

While Sophie offers big-city style, you won’t find big-city price tags here. At Sophie, fashion is affordable. Between reasonable everyday prices and hard-to-pass-up seasonal sales, this boutique has become my go-to place when I need to update my closet.

 

Expect to spend some time here, especially if you come with friends. Chances are, each of you will be trying on something at some point, making a visit to Sophie turn into a mini fashion show. This is exactly what happened when my friends and I recently spent the afternoon shopping downtown.

 

Were we exhausted after our trip to Sophie?

 

Yes!

 

Were we finished with our shopping trip?

 

Heck, no! We were just getting started.

 

We walked a block south on Main Street to Blue Moon Boutique (613 South Main Street), a “modern boutique with a vintage soul.” I actually consider this store more of a market, because in addition to apparel and accessories, there’s also furniture and home decor.

 

blue moon moon star

 

Blue Moon’s clothing section is located in the rear of the store, meaning that we had to first walk through the store’s home decor/gift section. Thanks to this brilliant store layout, I found something that reminded me of my mother and mentioned this to my friends.

 

blue moon pig

 

“How does this remind you of your mother?” asked my appalled friend Carrie.

 

“Because my mother collects pigs,” I explained, much to her relief.

 

And isn’t that pig painting cute? I’d found the perfect gift for my mom, and before our trip to Blue Moon, I’d never even known it existed!

 

blue moon jewelry

 

I got sidetracked a couple more times as I meandered my way back to the apparel section. First I looked at the jewelry from the international company Lokai (my daughter collects these beaded bracelets), and then the handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry from local Dalissa Designs.

 

 

blue moon paint

 

Then I saw the rows of Junk Gypsy paints cleverly displayed on brightly-colored repurposed furniture (which is also for sale). I’m currently repainting anything that doesn’t move in my house, so knowing that Junk Gypsy paints are available at Blue Moon may be a bit dangerous for me.

 

blue moon canopy

 

We finally made it to the back of the store and browsed through clothing from brands like Black Swan and Z-Supply. We even tried on more shoes, which is hard to believe after our trip to Sophie. But Blue Moon carries Yellow Box flip flops and, come on, who doesn’t love a pretty, jazzed-up flip flop?

 

Our next stop was Urban Art Gallery (511 South Main Street), which features pieces made by local artists. If you are shopping for a unique gift, this is another great place to look. When I see something here that I like, I usually send a photo of it to my family so that they have an idea of what to get me when my birthday rolls around.

 

I’m helpful like that.

 

Despite my efforts, I still keep waiting to open the package that contains this cute “Fairy Dog Mother” by artist Kim Guthrie that I thought, for sure, my family would present to me on Mother’s Day:

 

first-thursday-kim-guthrie

 

Oh, well. My half-birthday is coming up.

 

Another artist that sells her work at Urban Art Gallery is Kristin Girard, the jewelry artist/scientist behind Kristin’s Laboratory, and one of my favorite local artisans.  Nearly every time I walk into the gallery, I’m wearing a piece that she has made.

 

kristins-lab-compass

One of my favorite works of hers is a necklace with this pendant, an antique compass that she found locally.

 

Urban Art Gallery changes its displays often, so there’s always something new, fresh, and local to be found here.

 

The next stop on our shopping trip was Newton’s Jewelers (428 South Main Street) where we had a fun time looking at and trying on glimmering vintage and estate jewelry pieces.

 

Since 1914, this family-owned and operated Joplin institution has been providing its customers with fine jewelry and watches. Don’t think you have to have three months of paychecks saved up before you visit Newton’s; we saw several affordable pieces, and Carrie came so very close to bringing home some vintage bling.

 

When we finished our shopping adventure, we stopped at downtown’s Spiva Park (Main and Fourth Streets) to take advantage of the warm, sunny day and to chat a while longer while we let our feet rest.

 

spiva park
This was a well-spent afternoon.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.

Murphysburg

There are several distinct districts in Joplin and, like pieces of fabric sewn together to make a quilt, these districts mesh together to form our unique city.

 

Just off of I-44, Joplin’s Range Line Road District whirs with activity as vehicles travel from hotels, gas stations, and a myriad of retailers. Cutting through the center of town, the post-tornado district glistens, as sunlight reflects off of the shiny, new construction that’s modernizing our city.

 

The Downtown District bustles with pedestrians walking to offices, shopping at boutiques, and eating at restaurants. And just a few blocks away, Joplin’s original district stands proud and elegant, its structures having been rooted in the soil for over a century.

 

This is the area where Joplin’s founding fathers built their residences, proclaiming to the world that this small city in southwest Missouri is overflowing with rich natural resources – and worthy of being the place they called home.

 

Tour statue

Fountain at the Austin Allen House, 112 South Sergeant

 

This is the Murphysburg Historic District, and it was named after Patrick Murphy who, in 1871, purchased 41 acres of land near what is now downtown Joplin. In 1873, the Murphysburg area merged with nearby Joplin City to form Joplin.

 

Today, the buildings in the Murphysburg Historic District wear the history of the city on their facades, from Charles Schifferdecker’s dense German “castle” to Albert Winchester’s sunny Queen Anne home. Whether you are a lifelong resident of Joplin (like me), or a first-time visitor, walking through Murphysburg is a gratifying experience, providing insight into the lives of the people who molded the character of this city.

Thanks to Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc., there is an actual walking tour brochure that you can follow to learn more about the architecture of the homes in this district. The tour includes 37 structures and takes about an hour to complete if you walk it, but you can also tour the district by car.

The tour includes structures in the area between Jackson Avenue and Byers Avenue, and between 1st Street and 7th Street (the portion of 7th Street that borders Murphysburg is on historic Route 66, so this walking tour makes for a nice activity for cruisers on the Route).

Put on some comfy walking shoes and come along with me as I share some of my favorite bits of history that I learned in Murphysburg.

 

Tour-sign

 

Note: The numbers next to each building correspond to the numbers on the walking tour brochure. Information about the construction date and architectural style of each building is listed next to its respective address.

 

 

THE TOUR

Tour Olivia

Olivia Apartments

2. Olivia Apartments – 320 South Moffet (c. 1906): Built to house 34 luxury apartments, this building cost $150,000 to construct and was designed by local architect Austin Allen, who named it after his mother Olivia. The fifth floor of the building once housed a grill room where residents could eat. Click here to see historic photos of the building.

 

Tour Snapp

Fletcher Snapp House

5. Fletcher Snapp House – 501 South Sergeant (c. 1905, Colonial Revival): Designed by architect T.R. Bellas, this brick home features a unique rounded bay window on the upper right side, plus a welcoming porch.

 

The home was built for Fletcher Snapp, who was a member of Joplin High School’s first graduating class of 1887. Snapp went on to found Citizen’s National Bank in 1901, and also served as Joplin’s mayor. During the Depression, Snapp lost his money, so he then divided his home into apartments for income. In 1950, he and a handyman were repairing an oil furnace in the basement when it exploded and killed them both.

 

Tour Winchester

Albert Winchester House

6. Albert Winchester House – 507 South Sergeant (c. 1905, Free Classic Queen Anne): This home was built for Dr. Albert Winchester, a graduate of Vanderbilt University who delivered over 2,500 babies in the area.

 

tour kleinkauf

Gustave A. Kleinkauf House

7. Gustave A. Kleinkauf House – 523 South Sergeant (c. 1905, Arts and Crafts): Do you want to experience what it’s like to be a resident of Murphysburg? This bungalow offers you the chance to do just that. You can spend the night in the Creative Cottage, a quaint bed-and-breakfast located on the second floor of this home.

 

Tour Spiva

Mathews/Spiva House

8. Elisha Mathews/George N. Spiva House – 611 S. Sergeant (c. 1902, Colonial Revival): The home was built for Elisha Mathews, the president of the Foust Automatic Concentrating Company. In 1917, George N. Spiva moved into the home. His son, George A. Spiva, became an avid supporter of the arts in Joplin, and today there is an arts center named after him.

 

Tour Schifferdecker

Charles Schifferdecker House

13. Charles Schifferdecker House – 422 South Sergeant (c. 1890, Romanesque): This man’s home was certainly his castle. Built by Charles Schifferdecker to resemble a castle from the Rhine region of Germany, the home features a tower and several terra cotta friezes (featuring hops vines), which were crafted by workers brought to Joplin from Germany.

 

At age 18, Schifferdecker came to Joplin from Germany to open a brewery with his partner Edward Zelleken, who built the house next door (#14). The two men eventually gave up the brewery and entered the more lucrative mining industry, where they were very successful.

Schifferdecker was a generous philanthropist; many Joplin attractions bear his name, including Schifferdecker Park.

 

Tour Zelleken

Edward Zelleken House

14. Edward Zelleken House – 406 South Sergeant (c. 1893, Queen Anne): Built by Schifferdecker’s business partner, Edward Zelleken, this 4,000 square-foot home has several parapets and decorative details.

While Zelleken was successful professionally, he endured much personal tragedy. Three of his children died; his 19-year-old daughter Tillie passed away right before her wedding and was buried in her wedding dress.

The Zelleken home housed the Spiva Art Center from 1958 to 1967, and is currently a private residence.

 

Tour Frye

Charles Frye House

15. Charles Frye House – 318 South Sergeant (c. 1891, Second Empire): This home was built for Charles Frye, who came to Joplin from New York to invest in mining. It cost $5000 to build, and originally had a square tower with a pyramid-like roof on the third floor, which has since been removed.

 

tour geddes

James Geddes House

19. James Geddes House – 301 South Sergeant (c. Late 1890s, Queen Anne): This home was built for attorney and newspaper publisher James Geddes. In 1900, Howard Hughes, Sr., came to Joplin to capitalize on the mining boom. Thirty-one-year-old Hughes tried to elope with Geddes’ 16-year-old daughter Francis, but Geddes intervened and prevented the union.

 

Tour McNeal

Charles McNeal House

 

20. Charles McNeal House – 220 South Moffet (c. 1908, Prairie Box/American Foursquare): An avid horseman, Charles McNeal was involved in the mining industry. He owned a stone riding stable at 1st and Adams Streets which is currently the home of Joplin Little Theatre.

 

Tour Sharp

Frank Sharp House

21. Frank Sharp House – 212 South Moffet (c. 1909, Spanish Mission): Built by Frank Sharp (McNeal’s business partner) this home was originally constructed in the American Foursquare style like McNeal’s house next door. But when Sharp’s wife Nellie wanted to remodel the house years later, she strived to make it look like Spanish Mission architecture, which was popular at that time, so a pair of towers was added to the third story and the exterior brick was covered with gray stucco.

In the 1960s, the gray stucco was covered with a pink marble material which was outlined to appear like bricks.

 

Tour Allen

Austin Allen House

33. Austin Allen House – 112 South Sergeant (c. 1906, Arts and Crafts): This home was built by Austin Allen, the architect who designed many elegant structures around Joplin, including the Olivia Apartments, St. Peter’s Church, the Newman Building (which now houses City Hall), and several homes in the Murphysburg district.

A departure from the classical architecture that Allen was commissioned to build, Allen’s home was built in the simple Arts and Crafts style, and was a wedding gift for his bride.

 

Tour Picher

Oliver S. Picher House

35. Oliver S. Picher House – 210 South Sergeant (c. 1904, Colonial Revival): Allen also built this elegant home for Oliver S. Picher, the son of the founder of the Picher Lead and Zinc Company (known as Eagle-Picher today). Picher’s luxurious home, (which cost $25,000 to build) included crystal chandeliers, stained glass windows, stunning woodwork (the exterior of the home is made from cypress), and three double-sided fireplaces.

 

Tour Houk

William Houk House

36. William Houk House – 218 South Sergeant (c. 1903, American Foursquare: Classical Elements): This home, which is still surrounded by its original iron gate, was built by William Houk, an attorney, mine operator, and banker. Houk’s wife Edna was a prohibitionist and feminist, and she wrote a book called Women Wealth Winners: How Women Can Earn Money.

 

Thank you for taking a virtual walk with me through Joplin’s Murphysburg Historic District and learning the history of the homes in this neighborhood. I’m sure the city’s founding fathers would be proud that their stories are being told more than a century later.

 

To read more about my adventures in the area, visit JoplinMOLife.com.