ABOVE: Laci O’Connell-Tibble, who is five months pregnant, gets a massage from Felicia Talmadge at Celebrated Woman in downtown Naperville. O’Connell-Tibble drives in from Elwood for a massage every week at Celebrated Woman, a new business that also sells natural body products and holds spa parties.
Felicia Talmadge spent time in Cartegna, Colombia, using her midwife skills to deliver babies. She was an intern with a degree in midwifery from Miami-Dade Medical Center. Then she came back to the States and delivered babies at the Hollywood Birth Center in Hollywood, Fla., where she served as the director.
An Illinois native, she returned to the Chicago area about two years ago and has since added “licensed massage therapist” and “licensed aesthetician”to her list of credentials.
“I mostly cater to women. That’s what I do,” she said.
About three months ago, she opened Celebrated Woman, a downtown Naperville spa where she offers massage therapy and skin care and sells a line of her own homemade products. She specializes in massage for pregnant women.
Her shop is hidden from plain view. It is down Tranquility Alley – the name of an alley and a store just north of Jackson Avenue-and can be accessed from Washington Street. The address of Celebrated woman is 231 S. Washington St., Suite 3.
Inside the shop, the massage table looks like a conventional massage table, with one distinctive difference: It has wells-one for the belly and one for each breast. Laci O’Connell-Tibble, a stay at home mother from Elwood, discovered Celebrated Woman this winter, shortly after she became pregnant with her third child. She said she loves the massage table. “I feel like asking, ‘Can I just come over and lie on your table?'” she said.
Uncertain at first that massage could make a significant difference in her sense of well-being, O’Connell-Tibble now makes a point of making the hour long drive to Naperville every week for a massage. She was introduced to Celebrated Woman by a pregnant friend who had discovered Talmadge’s shop. “She gave me a gift certificate to go. I’m so glad. I find the time now,” she said. “It takes away the stress. Any massage will. She just, like, pampers you.” O’Connell-Tibble said Talmadge has helped her deal with several minor problems. “I was having really bad heart burn last week. She said, ‘Okay, I have a technique for that,” O’Connell-Tibble said. Talmadge worked her massage magic, and the heart burn was gone, she said. Talmadge also has suggested comfortable sleeping positions and ways to stimulate pressure points to relieve headaches.
Talmadge said she can also help women with problems related to pregnancy, including infertility, and can help in the induction of labor through massage, relaxation techniques and herbal remedies. “I have a background in herbs because of my training as a midwife,” she said. The store is lined with shelves brimming with soaps, lotions and bath salts with names like “jazz berries,” “ocean sky,” “rainforest” and “delicious vanilla.”
One wall is devoted to Talmadge’s own product line, called Emma’s Natural. There are massage oils, balms, an item called Chocolate Belly Butter, cream for sore nipples and cream for diaper rash. “I make my own products,” she said. “My kitchen is like a laboratory.” O’Connell-Tibble said she was reluctant to try one of Talmadge’s creams to treat her 2-year old son Ethan’s chronic diaper rash. “I was skeptical. I was nervous,” she said. But the cream worked well. “It’s the best stuff I’ve ever used,” she said.
O’Connell-Tibble also keeps a stash of Chocolate Belly Butter on hand at home. Talmadge said it helps to prevent stretch marks on the abdomen.
“I use it on my legs, too,” she said. O’Connell-Tibble has also availed herself of another of Talmadge’s services: belly masking. This is a procedure wherein the breasts and belly are cast in plaster. The finished cast is sometimes painted and decorated and can be displayed in the home, Talmadge said.
Belly masking, massage, facial masks, waxing, manicures and pedicures are all part of the home spa parties that Talmadge offers. She and her staff host parties in clients’ homes or in the shop and dispense various services to all party guests, she said.
For information about Celebrated Woman, call 630.369.8500.
KRISTY RALSTON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER