Before I knew and experienced the world of travel and spas, I would immerse my passion, feelings, and thoughts into words. Pencil to paper, I had a passion for poetry and have realized it’s been quite some time since I’ve tapped into my treasured gift .
The last few years, I’ve been on a mission, a journey to combine all my passion and purpose into my business, and live a healthy and fulfilling life doing what I love! With all the stimuli the external world fills our minds with, it’s easy to loose yourself in the whirlwind of negativity, conditioning, and information that takes you away from your own sense of self.
My motto is it’s important to “take the time to take a time-out”, and through my travels and spa experiences, SPA has become more than something to do or somewhere to go for relaxation. SPA has afforded me a place, a community, a family, and an opportunity to connect more deeply with my mind, body, and soul.
With “The New Language of Spa” being this year’s theme for next week’s Washington Spa Alliance Symposium, I felt inspired, and wanted to share with you, through these words, what the Language of SPA means to me.
The Language of SPA
The language of SPA has no barrier It’s as pure as essential oil without a carrier It whispers through water in a thermal spring And raises my vibration when the Tibetan bowl sings
As if the clouds heard my cry and came rushing to ease my pain Vichy and aromatherapy drip down my back like summer rain It’s calm in the chaos, an umbrella in a storm It flows through your senses and becomes your lifestyle norm
Gender, race, and social status, the language of SPA rises above Because the only thing that matters, is how it wraps you up in a blanket of love It carries no age, and wears no face The language of SPA transcends time and travels at its own energetic pace
The language of SPA reminds you to recognize and value your self-worth As it reconnects you to the healing benefits naturally provided by the earth It fills my breath like salt from a Himalayan cave And caresses my fears like the tides from an ocean wave
But yet, the language of SPA, some fail to hear Though the mind, body, spirit dialect sounds oh so clear You may have misconceptions, and associate its history with luxury, indulgence, and wealth But when properly translated, you’ll find roots in self-care, mindfulness, and better health
You can only understand it if you’re willing and able It may come to you in the sauna, during meditation, or on the massage table The language of SPA is spoken around the globe With a universal outfit..you know.. the spa robe
The language of SPA makes no promises, it’s no magical fountain of youth Instead it opens up your mind and encourages you to seek your own truth Delivering unique messages in the silence that only you can see Your “Soul’s Purpose Aligned” is what the language of SPA says to me
The language of SPAHH, YES, you can speak it too Just close your eyes, now listen….what does SPA say to YOU?
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When the multi-award winning skincare collagen drink brand, Skinade, reached out to me to see if I was interested in trying a 30 day trial of their product, I thought how much more fun and better to track “real” results, if I was able to do a challenge with a few of my clients. I pitched my idea back to the company, and as a result they agreed to partner with me and sponsor the challenge! This article provides an in-depth review of our Skinade experience.
Four very different women, of different ages, with different skin care goals and desired results.
I first learned about Skinade during a special Mask-querade media event hosted by Argentta Spa at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC back in October. What is Skinade? Skinade is a once daily collagen drink that improves skin from within. Skinade boosts the body’s natural production of collagen in as little as 30 days. Our body’s production of collagen decreases as we grow older, and can be depleted through environmental and biochemical changes. Beyond, anti-aging and overall skin appearance there are so many other amazing benefits to taking collagen:
Triggers the body’s production of hyaluronic acid to leave skin hydrated, plump, smooth, and glowing.
Strengthens hair, nails and teeth (reduces inflammation of the gums as well).
Helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite, can help with other skin conditions as well such as acne and eczema
Reduces joint pain
Boosts metabolism, muscle mass, energy output
Improves liver health
I chose the month of love, February, to kick off a challenge that embraced LOVING THE SKIN YOU’RE IN – STARTING WITH BETTER SKIN FROM WITHIN! On February 14th, a total of four (4) participants (including myself) committed to the 30 day challenge. Four very different women, of different ages, with different skin care goals and desired results. Each participant was given a 30 day supply of Skinade (20 days worth of ready-mixed 5 FL OZ bottles and 10 days worth of 0.5 FL OZ travel sachets), and we all took no filter, no make-up selfies on Day 1, so that we could monitor any progress over the 30 day timeframe.
“I would like to take this challenge hoping to find a product that will improve my skin, especially my face. I hope the product will help me reduce the lines around my cheeks and the dark circles under my eyes.” – Renee
To support each other on our journey, I created a private Facebook messenger group chat, so that participants could communicate with each other about our skin goals, beauty rituals, and Skinade results throughout the process. Now, let me introduce the four participants, so that you can learn a little bit about their skin care goals before starting the 30 Day Skinade challenge.
The Challenge Participants*
Renee – Age 60 – Biggest Skin Problem: Dark circles under the eyes. “I have always had problems with my skin; breakouts all over my body which will leave marks. I also suffer from dark circles around my eyes. I’ve used several products and spent hundreds of dollars. I have yet to find help other than concealer. I’ve seen several dermatologist receiving creams and medication that don’t work. I would like to take this challenge hoping to find a product that will improve my skin especially my face. I hope the product will help me reduce the lines around my cheeks and the dark circles under my eyes.”
Anne – Age 43 – Biggest Skin Problem: Cellulite and usual age related changes. “I’d like to do the challenge to see if I can improve my skin overall. Im especially interested in seeing if the skin on my belly and thighs improve or reduce the appearance of cellulite as well. My goal is to just see any improvement in my skin overall. I don’t have any problems with wrinkles and stuff as of yet.”
India – Age 38 – Biggest Skin Problem: Puffiness under eyes. “My puffiness/bags under eyes and hyperpigmentation in some areas on my face are my biggest skin challenges. Also, with the winter months, my skin seems dull, and I experience occasional redness under my nose. Otherwise my skin is pretty healthy and clear right now. I’m hoping the product will bring some vibrancy back to my skin, and reduce the puffiness under my eyes”.
Erica – Age 32 – Biggest Skin Problem: Acne. “I wanted to do the challenge because as a makeup artist I know your makeup is only as good as your natural skin. When the Spa Bunny introduced me to Skinade, I was happy to try it out as one of the perks was aiding in acne, which I suffer from often in my adult life. With other benefits such as energy boost and speeding my metabolism… This product falls right in line with my new lifestyle for working out. I will be adding Skincare to my daily routine before the gym in the mornings.”
*All ladies have natural nails and hair.
The Commitment: Use product for 30 consecutive days. No caffeine within an hour of taking Skinade. No major changes to your current beauty routines.
The Drink: You may be wondering, so what does a collagen drink taste like? Skinade is flavored with natural peach and mangosteen, and does not contain gluten, dairy, lactose, bovine or porcine products, hormones, genetically modified organisms (gmos), artificial flavors or artificial colors. What were the challenge participants first thoughts on the Skinade drink?
R: “The drink was refreshing, I liked the color.”
A: “I was glad it was more like a thin juice than a thick shake.”
I: “It tastes good chilled. I finished the bottle in no time and was still thirsty for more!”
E: “Mine was slightly chilled but good to taste!!”
Spa Bunny Skinade Tip #1: When using the Skinade travel satchet (also in a liquid form), recycle by reusing an old Skinade bottle. This helps you mix the contents with just the right amount of water.
The Results: Challenge participants experienced at least one or more of the following results during the 30 day period.
Day 10 – Skin a bit more vibrant.
Day 20 – Nails growing, less visible bags under eyes, clearer and brighter skin.
Day 30 – Reduced appearance of cellulite, acne less visible, more energy, stronger nails, hair stronger and shinier.
Spa Bunny Skinade Tip #2: Incorporate dry brushing into your routine, it helps exfoliate the skin and reduces appearance of cellulite when done regularly. A great addition for improved results with your collagen shots.
Watch our 30 Day transformation and Skinade journey in the video below:
Post-Challenge Survey Results:
“Im especially interested in seeing if the skin on my belly and thighs improve or reduce the appearance of cellulite” – Anne
In a post-challenge survey, when asked if Skinade helped to improve any of the skin problems they identified during the challenge, each participant responded favorably that Skinade produced visible results in resolving some of their issues. 100 percent of participants indicated they would likely take Skinade in the future and would recommend the product to others.
“I can see the difference. We look more alive or something… I see the glow.” – Erica
“I admit I was skeptical at first, but definitely a product I can vouch for 100%. I loved it so much, I’ve committed to another 30 days!” – India
The 30 Day Skinade Challenge was a huge success. I admit, I was skeptical at first, but the product delivered on many of the benefits advertised, and all challenge participants were pleased with their results. I loved it so much, that I’ve committed to another 30 days!
Want to try Skinade for yourself? Use code “confess10” at skinade.com and get 10 days free with your purchase of a 30 day Skinade regimen. Offer good until the end of April 2018.
New York City – Gotham Hall was transformed as attendees at the 2017 International Spa Association‘s East Coast Media Event stepped into a natural rhythm of treatments, innovative technology, and spa retreats that brought you back to nature and nourished you from the inside-out. The story begins as I invite you to feel the beat, admire the scene, and get a glimpse at some of the creative spaces and sponsors that invited media was able to experience and interact with during this year’s event.
I confess, it wasn’t my first time at Argentta Spa, it was my fourth to be exact, with previous visits during my November birthday, over New Year’s, while hosting a Confessions of a Spa Bunny “Spa Scandalous” Time-out event, and now, for their official “grand opening” party. Compared to the other relatively quiet visits (you know, what you normally expect at a spa), this visit was not for solitude, but more for celebration. Celebrating the iconic Watergate Hotel‘s past, while diving into its revamped future, or for starters into the beautiful historic pool.
When the dress to impress, invitation-only crowd descended to level B3 and exited the elevators, the vibrant scene which awaited was not to be expected. I could try to describe it, with creative words to help you visualize being there, though you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you there were models that looked like mannequins, body painted in silver (Argentta is derived from the word Argento, the Italian word for Silver, if you didn’t know), a magician doing card tricks, signature drinks at an open “juice” bar, poolside DJ and hookah, synchronized swimmers, personalized caricature drawings, hand treatments, and more! Sounds pretty amazing right?
It was… so I thought putting together this short video, giving you an insider’s look, would be even better.
When you visit Argentta Spa, and you should, try the Argentta Seven Elements Ritual, which drapes and soothes your body in the natural awesomeness that is red flower. Arrive at least 90 min prior to your treatment so that you have enough time to enjoy the hydrotherapy areas, sauna, and steam room. Ask for champagne, and see if they have those oh so delectable macaroons, while you lounge post-treatment in the relaxation area wrapped in a luxe La Bottega robe.
Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance. She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.
It was the first day of Spring in Washington, DC. While some anxiously visit the city to await the full blooms of the Cherry Blossoms, others came to connect, engage, and deliver for another reason. This year, regional, national, and international spa industry professionals gathered at the newly renovated Watergate Hotel for a meeting of the minds at the 7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance Symposium (WSPA).
Like a recently hatched caterpillar hungry for food, symposium attendees fed and nourished their minds during the presentations from speakers and panelist, allowing them to peel off their layers and grow, with expanded knowledge at their core.
Stories of transformation and growth were told throughout the symposium. A few to highlight:
“Reflections of a Wellness Pioneer”, an inspiring video from Deborah Szekely, transported us back to the creation of Rancho La Puerta, when outdoor tents were made from World War I airplane wings, warm-up suits weren’t yet the norm for exercise, wellness was an experiment, and a sacred mountain “convinced people of their ability to change their life”.
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”– Deborah Szekely
Ophelia Yeung, Senior Fellow Researcher at The Global Wellness Institute, started her presentation on the Spa & Global Wellness Economy with a definition of the word wellness. Wellness, she indicated, is an English word without an equivalent translation in other languages. Yet, despite the void of a one-for-one translation, statistics show the Global Wellness Economy growth at $3.7 trillion in 2015, with categories ranging from Workplace Wellness ($43b), Spa Industry ($99b), Wellness Tourism ($563b), and Beauty & Anti-Aging ($999b) to name a few.
The Global Wellness Institute defines “Wellness” as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.
Co-founder of WSPA and Symposium Chair Emeritus, Mary F. Bemis, gave a brief history lesson on the Seven Timeless Truths of Spa, and then introduced Mia Kyricos, President/CEO, Kyricos & Associates, LLC. Mia presented a “7 Timeless Truths” game plan by showing multiple trends (i.e., reading the tea leaves) for each timeless truth and offering a prediction for the future. Some predictions made: “Spas will become true champions & prescribers of nature” with rooftop gardens in urban settings, and spa services delivered outside of your typical four walls. “Spacernauts” will soon make their debut to include, spas with hourly fitness classes, cafes/juice bars, full-service spa boutiques, and hotel spas with existing local eateries.
Julia Sutton, Chief Operating Officer of Exhale Enterprises, served on the panel which discussed “Pushing the Boundary of Wellness”, her company is working on live streaming of fitness/wellness classes, while incorporating wearable technology, so that “you don’t cheat at home”.
Samer Hamadeh, CEO of Zeel, presented on “Technology: Disrupting the Status Quo”. Technology advancements with Zeel provides solutions for both customers and therapists. Customer Experience: On demand, in-home convenience, therapists verified, vetted, and insured. Provider Experience: Customers ID-checked for safety, more customers who book more often, better payout and flexible hours. A few statistics showed 22% of massages are happening after 9pm and 55% of customers want a massage within 4 hours of requesting. In some cases, a therapist can reach a customer in as little as 30min of a request. Zeel’s “massage- on-demand” has expanded beyond just the at-home customer, but also serves as a resource to brick-n-mortar spas to fill temporary staffing needs.
Rona Berg, Editor-in-Chief, Organic Spa Media Ltd., provided a consumer perspective on how to “Connect, Engage, and Deliver Sustainable Wellness” through the interconnectedness of things – mind, body, spirit, health, and nature. One slide noted alarming data that shows by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish, according to a World Economic Forum report. Ways to help: Consume less, buy fair-trade organic, use cold water for laundry, eat grass-fed beef. One statistic showed eating organic for one week has shown a 6% decrease in pesticides in our body. The importance of bringing self-care rituals into your daily life was highlighted, and another definition of wellness was presented:
Well-Ness (noun): the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.
Each year, after the information shared has rested in chrysalis, these WSPA caterpillars grow into beautiful butterflies, fluttering back to their respective domains to make their mark by connecting, engaging, and delivering, until the life cycle starts all over again.
Creator and Founder of “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance. She is also a contributing author for Insider’s Guide to Spas.
I raised my face to the beaming Tucson sun with confidence that my skin was protected from its energizing and warming rays. With daily outdoor activities, and gazing at the morning sky, it only made sense to pack one of my travel essentials, Alchimie Forever’s Daily Defense Cream, during my trip to Arizona last Fall. A botanical UV ray defense and moisturizer packed with Vitamins C and E, and Alchimie’s signature ingredient, the blueberry.
I first met Alchimie Forever’s CEO, Ada Polla, during a Washington Spa Alliance event in Washington, DC. Our paths have crossed several times since then, and her welcoming spirit and warm smile are just as inspiring as the poetic messages that grace the packaging of her skin care products.
With 2016 being the best year yet for Alchimie Forever, and after trying the products and learning more about the brand, I just had to get Ada’s “confessions” on business, skin care, lifestyle choices, beauty misconceptions, and more!
al·che·my (feminine noun):
a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination
“Confessions from Ada Polla”
There are a lot of skincare companies out there, what is the most unique thing about Alchimie Forever that sets you apart from the crowd.
What sets Alchimie Forever apart from other brands is first and foremost my father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, Switzerland’s top dermatologist. The products are based on his 30+ years of clinical experience treating skin, and his very anti-inflammatory approach to skin aging. Our formulations are results-oriented, but always anti-inflammatory (this is from our post-procedure origins). Inflammation accelerates aging, and aggressive skin care products lead to inflammation. Our products are effective and results-driven, but also feature calming ingredients. The second thing that sets our products apart is our commitment to clean formulations. Rather than being 100% natural (after all, poison ivy is natural, do you want that on your skin?!), we feature formulations that are free of the ingredients you don’t want to see on a label, and also gluten-free, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, and cruelty-free.
“Rather than being 100% natural (after all, poison ivy is natural, do you want that on your skin?!), we feature formulations that are free of the ingredients you don’t want to see on a label, and also gluten-free, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, and cruelty-free.”
Some consumers want quick fixes, instant results, and perfect skin overnight. While ideal, this is not always practical. Yet, consumers may move on from product to product looking for that instant gratification. What length of time do you suggest individuals give a new skin care regimen time to work before anticipating visible results?
One of my favorite quotes is “Overnight success takes 20 years.” I feel the same about skin care. There is no such thing as perfect skin overnight. Perfect skin comes from daily skin care practices. I always recommend people to approach skin care the way they do oral care. You don’t wait to have cavities to brush your teeth twice daily; you don’t wait to have rotting teeth to go to the dentist at least annually. Skin care should be the same – don’t wait to have bad skin, old-looking skin, to take care of it. Don’t wait to have skin care issues to go see your dermatologist and aesthetician. Prevention is the name of the game.
Which Alchimie products would you say provide the most immediate results (that instant gratification) versus those that require more long-term use for lasting results?
All of our products provide instant gratification – the gratification of using a product that feels good, smells good, and makes you feel better. Some results are immediate (cleansed skin, hydrated skin, more supple or softer skin), while other results take more time (4-8 weeks), such as filling in fine lines and minimizing a brown spot.
“There is no such thing as perfect skin overnight. Perfect skin comes from daily skin care practices.”
I received several weird emoji’s and comments from friends/followers when I posted pics of the Alchimie Forever’s “Pigment Lightening Serum”. I think the product name raised a few eyebrows and led individuals to make misleading assumptions. With a disheartening and controversial trend of darker skinned individuals bleaching or using harmful chemicals on their skin in order to become “lighter” or fit into a false sense of what beauty is based on skin color, this raises concern on the intent behind certain products offered in the beauty industry. Could you speak on your thoughts regarding skin lightening/bleaching/whitening, and clear up any misconceptions about what the Pigment Lightening Serum is for versus what “it is not”?
Honestly, while I understand this question, it also makes me sad. Overall, we have always marketed our skin care line to all skin types, and all skin tones, and believe in being inclusive, not exclusive. Specifically, the Pigment lightening serum is meant to even out pigmentation and minimize brown spots – this regardless of skin tone. This is not a product to whiten the skin (it on purpose does not say whiten or bleach), but to deal with uneven pigmentation. All skin types and all skin tones suffer from uneven pigmentation. The non-hydroquinone ingredients that help with brown spots (including vitamin C, alpha-arbutin, and citrus extract) work specifically on areas with higher-than-normal melanin concentrations – so that you are minimizing dark spots exclusively. This is however a product to use on the entire face and neck, not “just” on brown spots, as we all have brown spots forming under our epidermis, there but not yet visible to the naked eye.
“We have always marketed our skin care line to all skin types, and all skin tones, and believe in being inclusive, not exclusive.”
If someone is new to Alchimie Forever and wants to find the best “starting line-up” for their skin, what would you recommend?
My favorite start is always: cleanser, moisturizer, eye cream. These three products are the foundation of any good skin care regimen. I would recommend the following, based on skin type:
Normal – oily skin: Purifying facial cleanser, Daily defense SPF23, Tightening eye contour gel
And then you add the extra steps, including our Pigment lightening serum daily, and our Gentle refining scrub and Kantic brightening moisture mask once per week.
Alchimie (feminine noun):
the art of purifying the impure by imitating and accelerating the operations of nature in order to perfect the matter
Skincare routines and products can be hindered, or even sabotaged by other lifestyle choices. What lifestyle choices or daily habits do you feel individuals should make (or not make) to better enhance/improve the effects of a skincare regimen?
I just wrote about my favorite 15 Beauty Rules here: www.adamantaboutbeauty.com/15-beauty-rules/ . This addresses many of the lifestyle questions people always ask about. The most two important ones really are no smoking and no sunning / tanning. But everything makes a difference. No matter your lifestyle, however, a great skin care routine will always help!
Interested in learning more about Alchimie Forever and trying their fabulous products for yourself?
Visit alchimie-forever.com and enjoy 20% off your shopping cart by using promo code“spabunny” at checkout! You also get free shipping and skin care samples with each order.
*Definition sources from: Google and Dictionnaires de Francais Larousse
They didn’t gather for the casino, upscale lounges, or signature restaurants. No, this intimate gathering was all about spa, as theWashington Spa Alliance (WSPA) held its first member event of 2017 this past Wednesday at the new MGM National Harbor hotel. Tucked within the fitness center, and past a hall of sheer white drapes, the yoga studio served host to this gathering of the wellness minded. As the mix of spa professionals and resource partners convened, they gleamed with excitement in their conversations about new endeavors, partnerships, and the year ahead.
The new WSPA Board of Directors was announced by Chair, Penny Kriel, as well as the date and venue for the 7th Annual WSPA Symposium, which will move from being held previous years at the National Press Club to the newly renovated Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC on March 20, 2017. The Watergate’s Argentta Spa launch party, led by Spa Director Stephanie Rest, will also coincide with the March WSPA Symposium.
In between the hugs, hors d’oeuvres, and happy people, attendees had an opportunity to tour the MGM Spa & Salon. Greeted by a waterfall backdrop, this modern 2-level oasis comes complete with a co-ed lounge housing sleek chaise lounges draped with blankets, a spacious couple’s suite with in-room soaking tub, full salon with hair, nail and make-up stations, and a dedicated man-cave of sorts, complete with barber chairs, a library of literature, and flat-screen tv for the gentlemen to indulge in grooming services tailored to them.
Though there was no official afterparty, many of the night’s attendees ended up at MGM’s restaurant Marcus to continue the positive vibes and end the night over dinner and cocktails.
The DC-MD-VA (DMV) luxury spa scene is on the rise, and with recent spa openings across the area, a new enthusiastic WSPA board, and Confessions of a Spa Bunny ready to cover it all, 2017 is sure to be an exciting year!
It may seem unrelated, but when I think of holiday cheer, I reflect back to September and my experience at the International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference in Las Vegas. Though it was not the holidays, it certainly felt like one. A big family reunion, lots of hugs, tons of great gifts (some that were even secretly dropped in your room, so you always arrived to a surprise), music and dancing, learning from your elders, friendly competitions, and meeting new people who you instantly connect with.
One such group of people, were the lovely individuals from The Noel Asmar Group, of which I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with at the lunchtime fashion show, exhibit booth, auction, and farewell party. I felt welcomed into their tight knit family, as if I was meeting distant cousins or long-time pen pals for the first time.
I actually reached out to Noel Asmar directly prior to the event, once I heard there was a fashion show planned that would highlight the brand’s spa and hospitality uniforms, as well as debut her new spring/summer 2017 fashion collection, and requested an exclusive interview. To my excitement, she agreed. Check out the “confessions” that were revealed as a result.
“Confessions from Noel Asmar”
You indicated that your motto “Made for the Way You Move” is the vision for everything you do, from your uniform line, to the portable pedicure bowls, the equine apparel, and now even with the the new lifestyle fashion collection. Outside of your business ventures, how does this motto play a role in your personal/daily life?
I have always been passionate about creating garments that would not prohibit movement. Designed to enhance the motion and never restrict the natural movement and shape of the human body, each style is designed to enrich the wearer’s experience. This freedom and free flowing inspiration is truly a way of life for myself. I am always looking for a solution and will not be held back by the notions of “it can’t be done.” I am constantly on the go, with 4 successful global brands, industry initiatives and as a wife and mother of three I am always on the move. I emulate a lifestyle and design philosophy that needs to be made for the way you move in order to just keep up!
What is changing/has changed in the world of spa uniform fashion, and how does the Noel Asmar Group want to influence the spa uniform trends moving forward?
When I launched SpaUniforms.com in 2002 there was no such thing as “spa uniform fashion” – so we have certainly experienced a lot of change in this industry in the last fourteen years! In that time we have seen almost every major hotel property incorporate a spa into their offering and with this evolution came the necessity to offer integrated fashions for various departments within a spa, salon, hotel and overall property. We are proud to have expanded our offering and now service over 4000 properties around the world. We continue to push the boundaries on a traditional uniform to design functional silhouettes that people are proud to wear!
“Designed to enhance the motion and never restrict the natural movement and shape of the human body…”
You indicated how “the uniform is far more powerful than anyone thinks”. What power lies in a uniform, and how does that translate into better business for spas who embrace that power?
After experiencing the power of a uniform while I was working overseas, I understood the value that a garment can truly have. I saw hotel staff in ill-fitting, worn out, hand-me-down uniforms at a property where I worked. These men and women had selflessly devoted their entire careers to the care and well-being of others, and while they took pride in their positions, they had never received any appreciation or recognition of their efforts. I was creating my own personal collection of custom women’s garments at the time and felt that I needed to do something for the staff. I will never forget their reactions after receiving a clean, new uniform made just for them. They were now a part of something much bigger. They always did their best at their job, but now their dedication and passion resonated from them. A uniform had the power to transform them and this reflected well on the business. Never underestimate the incredible influence of a uniform.
What’s the most unique thing that sets the Noel Asmar Group apart from other brands?
I believe that our brand comes from an authentic place. We are constantly inspired by our clients and take their feedback into consideration with each new design. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service because our team is passionate about the product and truly cares about the client. We are constantly evolving, and Noel Asmar Uniforms has adapted and grown with the industry in ways other brands have not. We are proud to offer one of the widest selections of styles for the spa and hotel industries. Our dedication to offer trend setting and in stock styles is a unique benefit of working with our team.
“Never underestimate the incredible influence of a uniform.”
What inspired you to design a fashion “lifestyle” collection for retail?
For many years our existing equestrian and uniform clients have requested contemporary lifestyle fashions that embrace our existing dedication to quality, premium fabrics and expert design that they have come to trust from all Noel Asmar brands. The Noel Asmar Collection was created with our existing clientele in mind, and we have been very well received by the contemporary fashion industry when we went to market this year. From the passionate equestrian fashionista to the jet-setting resort client, the Noel Asmar Collection offers premium fashions for the modern woman living life on the go. This fall we released a small capsule collection with a rich equestrian lifestyle influence and textured palette. The full brand launch will take place with the free flowing and exotic Spring 2017 collection. Inspired by the elegance and breeze of the resort lifestyle, we are looking forward to seeing the line offered in premium fashion boutiques and at luxury resorts around the world next year.
Behind every successful company, there is a support system that keeps things “moving” seamlessly. I had the pleasure of meeting some members of your team, and their energy, smiles, and motivation was infectious. If I was sitting in on one of your staff meetings, what might I hear you telling your team if you were offering words of motivation, teamwork, and encouragement?
If you were to attend one of our staff meetings you would certainly be laughing! Our team is truly an authentic and fun loving group of individuals. We hire for cultural fit and take pride in the creative and passionate community we have built. I believe that when you are passionate about your people, your people are passionate about you. I give them the power to follow their interests and find purpose within the company and in their own life and that karmic energy brings the brand to life.
“I believe that when you are passionate about your people, your people are passionate about you.”
Check out my video highlights from the Noel Asmar Group Fashion Show and Exhibit during #ISPA2016. The show highlighted the brand’s motto of “Made for the Way You Move” with contemporary dancers visually expressing how much you can physically “move” in the attire. I can attest to the comfort of the uniform line, as I wore my own Noel Asmar ensemble (Coco tunic and Ibiza pant) the day of the fashion show, which just happened to be in the signature pink/black spa bunny colors.
In the middle of a bustling financial district, I looked for the branded flag that identified the entrance to the Wall Street sanctuary known as The Setai. Hidden within a residential building, The Setai Club & Spa resides on the 3rd floor, and welcomes you with warm hues of red and tan, dark woods, tiled walls, and an air of seduction.
With a welcome as warm as the decor, I was escorted to the locker room to change into my robe and slippers. I wandered the softly lit corridor to the heat experience area, which was dark and mysterious as if you were far removed from any city and hidden within your own private lair.
My therapist Erica soon came to retrieve me for my “suite experience” with a Polynesian Spa Ritual. I entered a gorgeous room, which included an oversized marble soaking tub, rain shower, plush treatment table, and gorgeous Italian glass tile work. The ritual commenced with a yummy drink called the Yumberry Elixir (no seriously, that’s the name), which I was told is packed with Vitamin A, C, and E, is anti -inflammatory, and lowers bad cholesterol. I then enjoyed a sand, salt, and coconut shell scrub enriched with Tahitian vanilla extracts and Monoi oil, a rinse in the shower, a White Lilly Lagoon bath soak, and ended with a restful full body massage with Bora Bora sand pouches (of which I was able to take home with me).
The scents transported me to an exotic island, and the spa music made me feel like I was the star of my own Broadway show. Somewhere in between the island and broadway, my own snort awoke me from my slumber. My skin felt radiant and smelled amazing, as I floated in a daze to my next destination.
The Setai is unique in the fact that not only is it an exclusive amenity within a residential building, but they also open their doors to non-residents as a day spa. See video highlights of my visit to The Setai Spa below:
Confessions from Robert D. Henry Architects at the Setai Spa Wall Street
Following my treatment, I had the pleasure of chatting in the Setai Tea Lounge with the architect behind The Setai, Robert D. Henry. Mr. Henry’s love affair with spas started 18 years ago, with his first project being the Mar-a-Lago Spa in Palm Beach for Donald Trump and Marla Maples. I wanted to learn more, and asked Mr. Henry to share more of his confessions:
What do you enjoy the most about designing spas over other types of architectural projects (i.e commercial, residential) ?
Spa’s allow us to create an experiential journey for Guests integrating all the senses, it is our speciality and focus and influences all our other projects. We are doing a number of homes with wellness as a focus, enhancing the quality of life for the Owners.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Wellness research and practitioners; I’ve had more than 300 spa treatments all over the world.
What do you feel is the most unique design feature about The Setai as compared to other spas you’ve designed?
The East meets West fusion associated with the Setai brand. Mysterious, sensuous and exotic, an escape from the everyday…other-worldly.
Spa’s allow us to create an experiential journey for Guests integrating all the senses, it is our speciality and focus and influences all our other projects. We are doing a number of homes w/ wellness as a focus, enhancing the quality of life for the Owners.
Were there any design considerations that had to be accounted for with the spa being primarily in a residential setting as opposed to say a hotel spa?
The aesthetic was brought thru from the Lobby to the Amenities and Residences.
What will the spa of the future look like?
Our next generation of Spa projects will establish new experiences w/our projects for the Mandarin Oriental -NY and the new signature Spa for Ivanka Trump’s Washington Hotel.
Mysterious, sensuous and exotic, an escape from the everyday…other-worldly.
Robert D. Henry recently debuted a new line of signature spa furniture at the 2016 International Spa Association Conference in partnership with SALT Chamber and Touch America.
WASHINGTON, DC (September 9, 2016) – The H.I.S Agency, LLC assigns India K. Robinson, “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” to serve as media correspondent at this year’s International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, NV from September 12-15, 2016.
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny” is making its mark on the spa industry by bridging the gap between spas, consumer, product companies, and resource providers through social media, wellness-centered events, thoughtful content, and building authentic meaningful relationships.
As a newbie to the ISPA Conference, India says she plans “to attend as much as possible, from the first-timer orientation, to the general sessions, and professional development seminars. In addition to discovering all of the innovative products, treatments, and services being showcased on the expo floor, I’m most looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, some of which I’ve never met in person, but have only connected with through social media; and networking to build new partnerships. Oh, and of course, gathering new confessions”.
So what’s on the spa bunny’s media agenda during ISPA? Highlights will include social media and live streaming coverage throughout the week, an exclusive post-fashion show interview with the Noel Asmar Group, relaxation area experiences with Luzern Laboratories Inc., and Decléor, appointments for the Pro Sleep Massage by [comfort zone] and Lava Shell Facial by Spa Revolutions, and planned visits to check out the new Salt Booth designed by Robert Henry Architects at SALT Chamber, the DAFNI hair straightening brush, sound therapy with Eastern Vibration, custom spa tunes at Private Label Music, all of the innovative and therapeutic spa chairs such as Magnesphere by Magneceutical Health and SolTec Lounge from Spa & Club Ideations, and of course a selfie with the Eminence Organics bear to support #EminenceKids to name a few.
“I’m a planner”, says India, “but I wanted to ensure a nice mix of scheduled activities, while still allowing some flexibility for the unexpected. Some of my pre-planned choices are an extension of my experiences from the ISPA East Coast Media event held in NYC this past July, and others are those that sparked ideas for the next series of spa bunny confessions”.
Of course a visit to Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without adding a couple of spa visits to the itinerary, so “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” plans to spend some time at ISPA member spa(s) the Sahra Spa & Hammam at The Cosmopolitan and a post-conference digital detox with The Spa at Mandarin Oriental.
A fan of the industry and spa connoisseur for over 10 years, India dived into the media scene and created “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” over 2 years ago. What started as video “confessions” to educate individuals on the benefits of spa by highlighting different treatments, products, and experiences from around the world, quickly turned into a social spa movement with hosted wellness “time-out” events, retreats and trips, spa concierge services, spa media hosting, and wellness coaching and consulting. The spa bunny’s passion for spa is reflective in her motto and mission to help individuals “take the time to take a time-out”.
Past memorable media coverage by “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” includes the 2015 and 2016 Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA) Symposium, “Celebrating Jurlique 30 Years Young” at the Australian Embassy, WSPA Members-Only “Evening with Caudalie”, and the International Spa Alliance (ISPA) 2016 East Coast Media Event, which included a “Sight, Sound, Touch” event highlight video and exclusive one-one interview with Bellus Academy’s President Lynelle Lynch on Wellness for Cancer. Earlier this year, India also grabbed the attention of spa media maven, Mary Bemis, who invited her to recite her infamous and touching “Language of Spa” poem during Mary’s Town Hall at the 2016 WSPA Symposium, and was featured during National Poetry Month on Insider’s Guide to Spa.
India is an active member of the International Spa Association, Wellness Warrior, and the Washington Spa Alliance.
Out of all of the wonderful things I had a chance to experience during the ISPA East Coast Media Event, and from all the coverage and content I gathered, my interview with Lynelle Lynch, President of Bellus Academy, is the one I want to be heard and shared the most within the spa community. It’s important. You can help make a difference in the industry, so listen up!
During my one-on-one, I learned something that I didn’t even know was happening, or not happening for that matter, in the world of spa. Something that as a fairly healthy person with normal day-to-day life stressors, I couldn’t imagine not being able to experience now, let alone if I was dealing with a life altering disease like cancer. I take for granted how easily I can book a spa appointment, enjoy a relaxing massage or body treatment and de-stress from all of life’s worries, even if only for a few hours. Lynelle Lynch, however, painted a picture of a very different scenario:
“Once if you were pregnant and you went to go get a massage there was nothing. and now pregnancy massages are everywhere. So if you are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation you are not allowed to go to a spa right now, they would turn you away, and how traumatic and emotional.”
Wow. Just think… how heartbreaking it must be, as a cancer patient or survivor you attempt to take back some of the control cancer has spread into your life, only to realize it has raised its ugly head in a place you want to retreat to for sanctuary. So instead of feeling empowered, you have to walk away and leave feeling as if you no longer have any control at all. I agree Mrs. Lynch, very traumatic and emotional indeed!
I was happy to hear, however, there are now options and an educational solution to help spas and spa professionals avoid creating such a devastating experience for the clientele that may need them the most.
Bellus Academy in partnership with Wellness for Cancer, a 501c3 organization, and with support from the Global Wellness Institute, and leading cancer doctors, worked together to develop a custom training program that helps debunk the myths surrounding claims of massage spreading cancer or being contraindicated for cancer patients. Instead, the training provides education on what is safe, proper protocols that should be followed, and helps identify treatments that can be offered at spas to allow cancer patients and survivors to experience the nurturing and de-stressing benefits massage and touch can provide during such a difficult time in an individual’s life.
“First, spas must have the proper perspective about supporting clients with cancer, which means understanding that our role is well-being not disease care. Second, we need to take responsibility for our role in holding space for our clients to reduce their stress, find inner peace and increase their emotional resiliency. Individuals don’t want to go to cancer specific spas; they want to get away from their cancer – they want to visit your spa.” (http://www.globalwellnessinstitute.org/wellness-for-cancer-initiative)
According to the official press release, “Bellus Academy Becomes First U.S. Academy to Offer Wellness for Cancer Massage Therapy Training”. During my interview Lynch indicates, “starting in September we have it built into our curriculum at Bellus Academy, we have a full spa at 20,000 square feet in San Diego, so we’re hoping that we’ll be a catalyst for all other spas in Southern California. Offering the training not just to our students coming in but also to professionals within the San Diego county community”.
The 10 week, 50-hour Wellness for Cancer curriculum is designed to be flexible and can be completed entirely online or at the academy. The hands-on training is held in class with a Wellness for Cancer certified educator. Lynch says the in-class program gives students “a much more in-depth ability to have conversations, and to question things if they are not really understanding it well”. All students will have to complete case study modules where they identify and find patients, offer complimentary services, and help them to relax and de-stress.
Wellness for Cancer has created a little tree logo (pictured above) that will be utilized as the universal symbol for spas employing certified professionals and who have chosen to “debunk the myths” by providing safe treatment options to individuals living with or surviving cancer. Lynch hopes that the symbol will become widely recognized, “like when you go to restaurants and you see the little gluten free symbol”, and that certified partnerships can be further developed on the Wellness for Cancer website, where guests will have the ability to perform a search and find places they can go for spa services, or identify products they can utilize during their cancer journey. Lynch states:
“So in the future, 5 years from now, we’re hoping that this message gets out there and that more spas send their therapists to this level of training, and that more product companies put this into their menu of services so that they actually are identifying which products can complement the different services, and we’re all working as a unified profession. “
The final takeaway from Lynch: “It’s so important we reach the entire spa community and get them trained as soon as possible. Join this movement because it’s very important”. Important indeed! I whole-heartedly believe in the healing power of touch, and though a trip to the spa may not be a cure from a literal sense, we all know there is so much more that can be healed beyond the physical. Will you join the movement and debunk the myth?