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.
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!
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?
This video highlights the first stop on my #spabunnyonthemove spa adventures in Jamaica. First up on the confessions list, the Awe Spa at Moon Palace Jamaica Grande @palaceresorts in Ocho Rios. A sneak peak inside… check out my confessions!
I love spa happy hours, and though there aren’t as many as I would like, I always look forward to the events and happy hours hosted by The Pearl Spa in Fulton, MD. Last week, I attended their “members only” happy hour event, invited a few VIP guests to join me, and we had a good ole time enjoying Lotus Wei flower reading, Wei of Chocolate meditations, artistic moments with the Buddha Board, herbal tea shots from Tea Forte, aromatic candle scents and body products from Red Flower, 21 Drops essential oil samples, homeopathic oral sprays from Sprayology, sangria, salad in a cup, and much more!
Their spa boutique is filled with many of my favorite brands and products, and you can find some great gift ideas for Mother’s Day!
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?
During my visit to Costa Rica, I was able to discover the gem that is Terra Spa, located in the lush Gaia Hotel & Reserve complex in Manuel Antonio. Nestled on top of a rainforest lined path, the only way to the top was via a golf cart ride provided once you arrive at the reserve. The scenic ride was just a teasing preview of what was in store at the spa!
Check out my “confessions” video for a sneak peek inside Terra Spa:
Ensuring I indulged as much as possible on my last full day in paradise, my day of treatments consisted of a:
Costa Rican Ginger & Honey Scrub with Vichy Shower -hand crafted with fresh ginger, honey, and cane sugar, a truly invigorating and refreshing mix provided a light exfoliation, hydration, and anti-inflammatory effects. Combined with the warm pulsating pressure-point massage of the 5 head vichy rain shower, I felt renewed and relaxed.
Hair Hydrating Mask – a mixture of rosemary, lavender, cedar, and ylang ylang, my therapist, Milton, applied the mask during my vichy treatment. I was surprisingly impressed with the care and patience that was exhibited as my hair was gently washed, marinated, and detangled, in addition to a scrumptious scalp massage.
Rainforest Hot Stone Therapy – Costa Rican river stones and essential oils relieved the remaining remnants of my week of zip lining and hiking adventures in the rainforest.
Arco Iris Facial- an organic experience with a cleansing coffee/vanilla scrub, volcanic clay mask, and aroma soothing facial massage. I emerged with a glow as radiant as a Costa Rican sunrise highlighting the ocean.
I wrapped up my visit to Gaia with lunch and panoramic views of the Pacific ocean and surrounding rainforest at the reserve’s La Luna Restaurant. I was whisked away the same way I arrived, and started feeling sad as the beauty of the rainforest, the spa, and everything I was leaving behind got further and further from my reach as I sat on the back of the golf cart and prepared for my return home the next day.
My second encounter with Spa Holis happened a few days following my in-villa spa birthday party. I got the opportunity to visit their tranquil sanctuary with state-of-the-art yoga studio, and meet the founder, Evelina Bolognini.
The entrance was at the rear of what appeared to be a fairly new building. After climbing a full flight of steps, and pausing at the top to observe the ocean view, I entered the quaint and welcoming lobby, which housed a vibrant spiral staircase that led to the yoga studio.
My day consisted of an Aerial Yoga session with Adi Dela Rosa, a traveling yoga teacher, who ironically, was teaching her last day at Spa Holis before setting off on the next adventure. Followed by a D.E.I Holistic Kinesiology Therapy session ( a spa bunny first) with the owner Evelina.
Check out my “confessions” video below to get more spa bunny highlights from my visit to the Holis Wellness Center in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
Pure Vida! That’s the most appropriate beginning to start of my first spa bunny “confessions” from Costa Rica. My weeklong escape to this country left me awe-struck and inspired by its natural beauty. I wanted to immerse myself in nature and take in all the rainforest had to offer. Not only did I find solace, serenity, and nourishment for my soul amongst the sights and sounds of the trees, animals, and ocean, but somehow the beach waves, lush greenery, and refreshing vibes also resided within the Manuel Antonio spa scene as well.
I had plans, plans for a”spa bunny” spa birthday party as I celebrated another year of life in a setting that felt so alive. I engaged in dialogue with the dedicated staff at Spa Holis, aka Holis Wellness Center, well before my arrival to seek their assistance in executing my vision.
With a menu of services that covered your basics and beyond, I confess I was committed to fitting in more than one experience with Spa Holis during my visit. The first encounter, they were the ones who visited. Offering in-villa spa services, the two lovely ladies, Dilana and Ambar, arrived promptly and with a professional ensemble of massage tables, and freshly blended botanicals for the holistic treatments me and my party guests were scheduled to partake in.
After a morning of zip lining, waterfall rappelling, and other rainforest adventures, I was really looking forward to my treatment line-up for the afternoon: a Muddy Buddy Body Treatment, 2-hour Total Body Awareness Massage and Essenthya Deluxe Facial . Me and one of my guests sipped tea and chatted as we awaited our turn. The two therapists had already started the Totally Unplugged four-handed massage for another friend, on the villa’s open-air deck.
With a scenic set-up in the villa’s Master’s suite, even the monkeys wanted to get in on the birthday fun. Using Thermal Mud sourced from the base of Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano, I was covered in the warm clay-like mineral and gently wrapped to allow the detoxifying benefits to marinate. A series of organic cleansers, masks, and moisturizers were painted and soothingly massaged on my face, releasing that lingering frown of tension from my brow. After a shower rinsed off the mud, and revealed newly nourished skin, my treatments concluded with a carefully crafted massage that combined Deep Tissue Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Reflexology, Thai Massage, and Acupressure.
Needless to say, if you haven’t figured it out by now, the party was a great success. The therapists disappeared as quietly as they came, and we continued the night in a state of relaxed bliss over conversation and reflection at the dinner table.
My next encounter with Spa Holis happened a few days thereafter, when I got the opportunity to meet the founder, Evelina Bolognini, and visit their tranquil sanctuary and state-of-the-art yoga studio.