Category Archives: “Confessions of a Spa Bunny”

In the Flow: 2018 ISPA East Coast Media Event

There’s always something magically majestic when you walk through the doors of Gotham Hall and revel in the beauty of the grand architectural details that surround you.  I always feel like I’m about to embark on a grand adventure, on the hunt for the perfect story, as I enter the International Spa Association’s (ISPA) annual media event.

This year was no different, but different in that the pace flowed a little easier than my attendance at previous events.  The format was slightly different, and without having to rush off to a pre-booked appointment, it allowed for a more free-flow interaction.

With 16 sponsors spread out across the internal landscape, time was my only constraint. I was able to spend quality time with 8 of those, who all showcased their latest spa industry trend or treatment. New faces provided fresh stories, and veteran participants always share the latest buzz and newest offerings.

In hindsight, after reviewing my interviews, photos, and notes from last month’s event, the “flow” was present in several categories:  Fitness, Vibrational, Wellness, Water, Dream, and Growth.  This is where my story begins..

View video to start your journey in the flow.

Fitness Flow

My first stop was to catch up with Todd Shaw, National Manager, from Technogym and learn all about the Skill Line group of smart connected equipment. With training features found nowhere else, you can connect with others for competitive fitness around the globe. Todd calls it “an around the world connective experience.”

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The Technogym SKILLROW™, designed for ease of use, I found the handlebar, intuitive console, integrated phone holder, and turn dial all within easy reach (perfect for the vertically challenged folks, like myself). Technogym’s AQUAFEEL™ gives you the unique feel of fluidly rowing on water, and the MULTIDRIVE TECHNOLOGY™ provides for cardio and power training, using air and magnetic resistance. You can further enhance your Skillrow workout by downloading the Technogym “mywellness” app to receive real time biofeedback, virtual trainers, and compete with others rowing around the world.


With only “Five Feet to Fitness” this revolutionary room at Hilton Hotels & Resorts ensures there are No Excuses for travelers on the go to miss out on continuing their fitness routine or jump starting new wellbeing goals within the comforts of your hotel room. With over 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options within FIVE feet from your bed, you can easily engage a workout before or after that cat nap.  Fitness tools that would be at a guest’s disposal in a Five Feet to Fitness room, include a Gym Rax™, Kiosk with guided exercise tutorials, Spinning or Wattbike for indoor cycling, and TRX® workout system. Available in select Hilton properties.  Check out my video interview with Melissa Walker, Senior Director for Hilton Hotels & Resorts Global Brand Wellness:


Vibrational Flow

The Didgeridoo Vibrational Sound Therapy, one of many mind, body, spirit centered therapies Hippocrates Health Institute, bathes your body in a universal tone, harmonizing through prime resonance, to re-align, re-boot, and re-balance your energetic body.  Joda Cook (pictured below) uses the didgeridoo, an ancient Aboriginal wind instrument, to open the heart chakra for guests during the media event.  Listen to the deep soothing sound, as he opens my heart chakra by viewing the video here.

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Wellness Flow

The newest luxury wellness destination YO1 Luxury Nature Cure opened June 2018 in the New York Catskill Mountains.   YO1, or “Yovan” in Sanskrit, means youth, and is the only Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture wellness destination in the U.S. focused on offering authentic and customized, all-inclusive experiences.  This destination boasts 131 guest rooms and 68,000 sq. ft. dedicated to therapy that includes massage, mud room, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, yoga, and indoor pools with reflexology walkways and hot tub.

In this picture, a YO1 therapists provides an Abhyanga foot massage, an Ayurvedic technique using a Vata dosha oil.

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Aspira the Spa, located at The Osthoff Resort on the shores of Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin, showcased a tasting of organic treats, made with select ingredients grown and harvested from the resort’s very own Osthoff Garden. A wellness food philosophy overlays the entire resort.  Featured tastings at the event included mini samples from Aspira the Spa’s Cafe menu such as the Awakening, Cleansing, and Transforming Smoothies, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Chia Seed Pudding w/Berries, and Lavender Cookies to name a few.

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The garden grown herbs, such as lavender and chamomile, are also used in Aspira’s signature spa treatments to support a “From Seed to Spa” approach. Check out this fun video short of me and Lola Roeh, General Manager from The Osthoff Resort sharing a classic dose of smoothie shots. Who says wellness can’t be fun!? Cheers!


Water Flow

In stopping by to see my favorite spa peeps at Kohler Waters Spa™, I learned about their latest hydrotherapy service, the Thermal Hydro Body Wrap. The treatment starts with a full body dry brush, detoxifying self-heating mud application (which I got to sample on my hands), 16 point acupressure facial massage and cleansing, and a shampoo and conditioning of the hair. The ultimate head-to-toe experience, all performed under the KOHLER® Custom Vichy shower.

In my interview with Garrett Mersberger, Director of Wellness at Kohler Waters Spa, and current ISPA Chairman, he announces the opening of the fifth spa in the Kohler Waters Spa family, located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of downtown Chicago.  Check out my interview with Garrett below.


Dream Flow

Glen Ivy Hot Springs showcased a mini treatment sampling of the [comfort zone] Tranquility Pro Sleep Ritual. Combining sound, touch, and scent to “rebalance the senses”, this treatment is designed to deeply relax the mind and body. A light sensory touch, tunes that mimic a resting heartbeat, and a Tranquil aromatherapy blend containing cedarwood, sweet orange, rose, sandalwood, geranium, and vetiver set the mood for this experience that promotes better sleep and jet lag recovery.

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Speaking of dreams, I always enjoy catching up with Lynelle Lynch, President of Beauty Changes Lives and Bellus Academy. During my interview with Lynelle, I inquired about how the “Get Your Dream Job” campaign was progressing since its launch in partnership with ISPA and Beauty Changes Lives at last year’s ISPA conference. I was thrilled to learn that Ratner Companies has become the first group of salons in the nation to launch the campaign in more than 1,000 of the company’s family of salons including Hair Cuttery, Bubbles Salons, Salon Cielo, Salon Plaza, and Cibu for Hair. More than 12,000 stylists are now helping to spread the word about the 30,000+ jobs available in the spa and salon industry.  Several scholarships are also available to those looking to pursue a career in the industry. Visit www.getyourdreamjob.com for more info.

View my brief video interview with Lynelle Lynch below.


Growth Flow

The spa industry continues to flow and grow! The Big Five* statistics from the 2018 Spa Industry Study, was released by ISPA during this year’s event.  Showing the eighth consecutive year of consistent growth in all five key performance indicators: total revenue, spa visits, spa locations, employee count, and spa revenue.

  • Total revenue surpassed $17.5 billion, representing a 3 percent increase over 2016.
  • Spa visits increased to 187 billion, a 1.6 percent increase over 2016.
  • Spa locations climbed to 21,770 in 2017, compared to 21,260 in 2016.
  • Total employee count increased to 372,100 in 2018, a 1.9% increase over 2016.
  • Spa revenue per visit leapt up by 2.7 percent, from $91.30 in 2016 to $93.70 in 2017.

*Based on data from the 2017 calendar year.

The complete 2018 U.S. Spa Industry Study, funded by the ISPA Foundation and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), will be released at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo in Phoenix, AZ.

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Cherry Blossom Event with Shea Yeleen at MGM National Harbor

Video highlights from the DMV beauty & wellness influencer event at the Spa & Salon at MGM National Harbor, as we celebrate the Cherry Blossom season and learn more about the sustainable side of beauty/wellness industry with Shea Yeleen founder, Rahama Wright.

An evening of delectable delights, networking, and mini-hand treatments with the Shea Yeleen Cherry Blossom Body Polish & Butter, an exclusive at the MGM Spa & Salon.  The 2-level 27,000 square foot luxury spa setting features 11 treatment rooms, 1 Couple’s Room, 1 Vichy Shower room, and 3 Skin care rooms.  The spa also houses a Beauty Studio, Co-ed Reflection Lounge, Barber Lounge, and Spa Boutique.

Head on over to my Instagram page @confessspabunny for details on how to win your very own Shea Yeleen Cherry Blossom Gift Set.  Winner announced on April 10, 2018 on the @sheayeleen Insta-Story.

BONUS BENEFIT:  As an additional bonus, The Spa & Salon at MGM National Harbor is extending spa discounts to all my clientele and followers!  When booking a treatment or service, use my special code MGMSPACB1 to receive 15% off all retail products and services.  Don’t miss out, take the time to take a “time-out”.  Offer valid until December 31, 2018. #promotionforfollowers

 

ISPA and Beauty Changes Lives Partner for the “Get Your Dream Job” Campaign

This year during the International SPA Association (ISPA) Conference in Las Vegas, ISPA Chairman Todd Shaw, announced a new partnership with the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and launched the “Get Your Dream Job” Campaign during the opening General Session.

This nationwide call to action brings together both the professional spa and salon industries to build awareness on the extraordinary job opportunities, and career growth this sector has to offer.  With nearly 33,000 open positions for service providers, as reported in the 2017 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, the job demand for licensed beauty and wellness professionals is at an all time high.

Have you ever dreamed of pursuing a career in the spa, beauty, and wellness industry? Do you have a need for more qualified talent at your spa/salon? I sat down with Lynelle Lynch, President of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation and Bellus Academy, during the 2017 ISPA Conference to learn more about this new initiative.  Check out the video interview below to learn more.

 

As a part of the campaign, education grants and scholarships are available for prospective students to help them attend an American Association of Cosmetology School  (AACS) and become equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to serve clients in the beauty and spa industry.  In addition, participating spas, salons, and clubs will receive a myriad of marketing and online resources to assist with promoting the campaign.

For more information on the “Get Your Dream Job” campaign, please visit: http://www.getyourdreamjob.com/

 

Story by: India K. Robinson, “Confessions of a Spa Bunny” coverage from 2017 ISPA Conference, October 16, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Contact:

India K. Robinson
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

The Spa at the Ivy Hotel

It was a brisk November day, and I was grateful to have quick and easy access to the front door by pulling up to the hotel’s valet area.  My car keys were retrieved and I was escorted inside the building which looked more like a large residence than a hotel.  I took a seat at one of the chairs within the hall, as there was no traditional hotel lobby area from what I could see.   Only a room with a small sign indicating it was the “reservation” area, and tucked in a corner to my left, an elevator was visible before me.    The elevator car took flight to the 2nd floor, and with a return shortly thereafter, I was greeted by Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at the The Spa at the Ivy Hotel.

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Leslie Doroba, Spa Manager at The Spa at The Ivy Hotel

After a ride on the elevator, I was transported to the real jewel that was hidden from first sight.  Leslie took me on a tour of the repurposed mansion, which was built as a private residence in 1889, but converted to The Ivy Hotel in 2015. The project was jointly developed by Martin Azola, CEO, Azola Cos., and Eddie Brown, founder and CEO of Brown Capital Management, the second oldest African American owned investment management firm in the United States.

Each uniquely designed sitting room felt like every detail mattered.  A mix of old-world charm, with hints of sophisticated modern upgrades. Though the common spaces were mainly unoccupied during my visit, I could almost envision the lively conversations that take place at the billiards table or self-serve bar;  or perhaps the secret whispers and side-eye chuckles that the quaint living room areas seem to invoke. I imagine the solo traveler tucked away in the firelit library with a good book and a cup a tea.  Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.  I wanted to take a seat and stay for a while, and though I didn’t get a chance to that day, I hope to in the near future.

Though you can tell no expense was spared to create a luxe environment, the feeling was warm and inviting, as opposed to stuffy and standoffish.

I took one last look at the historic photos of residents past, discovered the empty antique birdcage set high atop a signature furniture piece, and touched the wallpaper that felt like custom made flooring material before we took to the curved stairs for a quick peep inside of Suite Seven.

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Suite Seven – Photo Credit:  The Ivy Hotel

Oh My…. Suite Seven!  What Leslie described as her favorite suite at the exclusive Relais & Chateaux member boutique hotel, which consists of only Eighteen guests rooms and suites, identified by number accordingly.  Suite Seven housed a separate living room with fireplace, wall mounted flat screen tv, breakfast nook, and a bathroom fit for a Spa Bunny with deep soaking tub, Natura Bisse bath products, heated limestone floors,and a shower the size of a walk-in closet. The wheels of my mind turned as I thought how perfect a future “time-out” retreat would be in this very space, perhaps a slumber party, with complimentary spirits from the inclusive in-room mini bar as me and my besties lounge on the chaise lounges and four-poster bed in spa robes while having crucial conversations about life and love.

What more could be in store at this hidden gem located in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, MD?  Well, the spa of course!   Located behind a secure door showcasing letters adorned with golden ivy vines spelling SPA, I inhaled the calming scent and entered the bright and airy petite retreat.  Day guests are escorted from valet directly to the spa, while hotel guests are picked up from their hotel room or suite prior to scheduled treatments.  Two well decorated treatments rooms can both accommodate doubles for simultaneous service with a loved one. The lounge area overlooks the hotel’s courtyard, and the Foot Sanctuary & Beauty Bar offers another space for customized pampering.

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I was treated to a mini service with massage therapist Ricquel, who started the session by allowing me to pick a custom scent from the Zents Aroma Journey options.  I opted for a blend of Ore (euphoric) and Oolong (energizing).   During a regular spa visit, I normally don’t book anything less than 75 minutes when it comes to massages, so I was honestly surprised at how relaxed and at peace I felt during the 30 minutes I spent in the treatment room.   Though short, it was more satisfying than anticipated, which simply confirms the skill level and natural rhythm of the therapist was impressive. In the words of the Terminator, “I’ll be back”.

Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

In addition to a newly launched spa membership program, noteworthy treatments on the spa menu includes a 2-hour Ultimate Zen body ritual (includes an exfoliation, wrap, hot oil scalp treatment, and massage) or the Perfect Petite Retreat (includes a custom 90min massage and 60 min facial). Spa boutique products range from the pure and organic ingredients with Zents, results-driven facial care of Natura Bisse, all-natural homeopathic oral sprays from Sprayology, and Knesko Skin Nanogold repair masks.  Everything about The Spa at The Ivy Hotel was in line with what I expect from a luxury boutique spa experience.

Take a sneak peek inside The Spa at The Ivy Hotel with this short video compilation from my visit below:

At The Ivy Hotel, good things truly come in small packages.   I close my eyes, and dream of restful nights in Suite Seven, enjoying the simple things and life’s little luxuries, as the days go by.

 

 

Nature & Nurture: 2017 ISPA East Coast Media Event

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.

Confessions of a Spa Bunny was there, and this video highlights the start of my “confessions”…

To be continued…..

Video and photography collaboration presented by: The H.I.S Agency, LLC & EyeConic Photography

Confessions from Argentta Spa Grand Opening Party at The Watergate Hotel

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.

 

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India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 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.  

7th Annual Washington Spa Alliance – Timeless Growth

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.

Seven Timeless Truths of Spa: Community. Nature. Food. Fitness. Water. Quiet. Sleep.

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.

 

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India K. Robinson, President & CEO
“Confessions of a Spa Bunny”, The H.I.S Agency, LLC
spabunny@hisincorporated.com

 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.

Confessions from Ada Polla – Alchimie Forever

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

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“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.”

 

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Ada Polla, CEO of Alchimie Forever|Photo from Adamant About Beauty

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.”
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Photo courtesy Alchimie Forever|www.alchimie-forever.com

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 – dry skin: Gentle cream cleanser, Kantic calming cream, Rejuvenating eye balm

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
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Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask|Photo courtesy Alchimie Forever

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!

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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

The Washington Spa Alliance Kicks Off 2017 at MGM National Harbor

They didn’t gather for the casino, upscale lounges, or signature restaurants.  No, this intimate gathering was all about spa, as the Washington 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.

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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!

Confessions from Noel Asmar – Noel Asmar Group

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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.

Learn more about The Noel Asmar Group brand at : www.NoelAsmar.com | www.AsmarEquestrian.com | www.NoelAsmarUniforms.com  | www.PedicureBowls.com