I recently had a chance to check off one of the items on my “beauty bucket list” via a chemical peel from Skin Spirit in Mill Valley. Though I’ve had a number of fruit based peels over the years, I’d never experienced the deep, skin flaking, potential of a real chemical peel.
I was finally ready to lose a layer of my skin and with it, hopefully, some of the damage I’d done over the years with sun, diet and general wear and tear. After an initial consultation, where the Skin Spirit folks asked me some thoughtful questions and described the overall process, it was time to peel. My first move was to choose a time where I wouldn’t need to be out and about for a few days. As I learned, the skin usually starts to flake about a day or two after the actual peel and though it wasn’t terribly dramatic, shedding did occur. Lucky for me, I was able to hide out at home as I got through the worst of it.
Though nothing can turn back the clock, when I did finally re-emerge into the world it was with a fresher face and smoother overall texture. In fact, one of the first people I came upon after my return immediately commented on my skin, noting that I had a “glowy” look and asking me what I’d had done.
Naturally I referred her to Skin Spirit, which already has a reputation as being one of the best “medi-spas” in the area. Skin Spirit takes a careful approach to advanced skin care and I particularly loved how thoughtfully their practitioners explained the process and what I could expect from this treatment.
Skin Spirit offers a wide menu of medi-spa services including Botox, laser resurfacing, fillers and hair removal. They feature six locations, three in California and three in Washington state. You can schedule a complementary consultation by visiting their website: http://www.skinspirit.com/request-appointment/ or calling 855.383.SKIN
I had a great visit to Meadowood in Napa earlier this year and wrote all about it over on Spafinder.com: Is there such a thing as healthy indulgence? On a recent visit to Meadowood Resort and Spa in Napa Valley, I made it my goal to find out. After arriving at the poolside spa and fitness center, I met up with spa director Kerry Brackett to try out Meadowood’s newly launched “Eco-Fitness” program. Designed as a personalized outdoor fitness class, this unique experience includes a trainer guided series of stretches, weights, and a hike through a portion of Meadowood’s stunning 250-acre property. Upon completion of the hour plus workout, I returned to the spa for a seasonal fresh juice drink with ingredients sourced directly from Meadowood’s organic gardens. Pumped up on sun sourced Vitamin D, fresh air, endorphins, and the gorgeous views of the Napa Valley, I was feeling pretty good after finishing my workout and more than ready for something cool and refreshing. My “Spring Blend” cold pressed juice was a fresh and flavorful combo of veggie goodness which included Chantenay & Kuroda Carrots, Red Cardinal Spinach, and Bronze Fennel. Having fulfilled the healthy portion of my “healthy indulgence” experiment, it was time to indulge. So after a sauna in the women’s locker room, I was ready for the next item on my agenda: a Valley Stone Massage. There’s probably nothing better than a good workout followed by a hot stone massage. Sore muscles melt under the weight and gentle warmth of the stones, while stress and tension dissolve like a hot knife cutting through butter. I particularly loved how my practitioner used a firm touch on my feet, which, post Eco-Fitness, particularly appreciated the deep pressure and extra attention. Basking in my massage haze, I decided to continue with the indulgence portion of my visit and so headed over to Meadowood’s lobby for complimentary wine and freshly baked cookies, offered every afternoon from 4:30-5:30. After enjoying a glass of red and a few delicious cookies, I wandered back to my gorgeous “Oakview” room to relax even more. Meadowood Hiking Trail1 300×200 Meadowood Resort and Spa: A Healthy Indulgence in Napa Valley While you could describe the rooms at Meadowood as “cabin style” it would a serious understatement. With spacious bathrooms (including a deep marble soaking tub and walk-in shower), silver fixtures, fireplace, a luscious bed, a view of the trees, and all the privacy you could ask for, Meadowood’s accomodations are nothing short of luxurious. Though Meadowood is known for its Michelin starred restaurant, I decided to venture into nearby St. Helena for a delicious and yes, indulgent, dinner that included an extremely satisfying pistachio milkshake for dessert. The next morning, fearing I’d tipped the balance and was veering a bit too far into the indulgent end of things, I set out determined to enjoy more of the broad range of health and fitness options at Meadowood. Though I had initially planned to take a yoga class (one of many indoor classes offered daily at the fitness center), I found I couldn’t resist a tennis lesson on one of the resort’s many outdoor courts. After my hour long lesson, I took one more sauna and then enjoyed a short walk around the grounds, ending my Meadowood experience in a happy state perfectly balanced somewhere between healthiness and indulgence.
Winter can leave even the most oily of skin (namely mine) feeling dry and itchy. That’s why I’ve been loving Pino’s Ginger Honey body lotion. This rich and nourishing blend of shea butter, Vitamin E and jojoba oil contains warming ginger (a great ingredient to keep circulation moving in winter) and honey extract (both anti-bacterial and healing). But of course my favorite part is the scent which is both spicy, subtly sweet and best of all, completely natural. Pino is a German company that has been around since 1904 and like many European companies their commitment to green, organic ingredients in beauty products is impressive. Pino makes good for you products that are not only are free of all the “baddies”, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, animal testing, etc. but also contain 95% organic ingredients, surfacants and emulsifiers of plant origin and high quality plant extracts in their products. If like me, you can’t resist rich, creamy and sweet smelling lotions, you’ll love this one.
It’s hard to imagine anything I love more than honey, almonds, chocolate and roses. Usually, in the form of some kind of dessert. Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge my love of this fab four of ingredients, but since I’m trying to limit my sugar and caffeine in-take these days, I’m trying not to think too hard about a honey almond chocolate cake with rose essence, or a chocolate rose honey hot chocolate with almond milk, or a honey, chocolate almond rose truffle….well you get the idea.
To try and shift my cravings in a different direction, I started thinking about what would happen if I put these ingredients on my face instead of in my mouth.
This combo may not be ideal for imbibing, but applied topically, it’s a powerhouse of skin care goodness. Almonds exfoliate honey heals scars and soothes, chocolate’s antioxidant’s smooth and soften and rose moisturizes. So mix your mask, apply to your face, sit back, relax and breathe in the decadent aroma of this Valentine’s treat and dream of the day when you can indulge in a rose, honey almond brownie or two….
2tsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 tbl. honey
1tsp. ground almonds
1 tsp. of rose water
3 drops of rose essential oil
I’m happy to announce my first product giveaway featuring Skin Again soothing skin care. Products are fragrance-, paraben-, gluten- and cruelty-free. “Rescue” is designed to care for burns, post waxing, shaving, radiation, laser treatments or for cuts and scrapes. “Vanish” is good for cellulite, stretch Marks, and scars. “Youth” diminshes wrinkles, dark spots, loss of elasticity and hyper-pigmentation. “Relief” is used for relieving itchy, red and inflamed skin, rashes and insect bites.
Skin Again uses a variety of herbs like chamomile, gingko, comfrey and other natural ingredients including fruit and vegetable extracts. Their founder Sherry Berry (love her name!), has a great story about how she came to make Skin Again. With a background in natural healing and energy work, Sherrie brings a holistic approach to skincare and combined with a unique product line and natural toxin-free ingredients, this one looks like a winner! To share the love and win a set of this skin soothing goodness, comment below and tell me what your favorite product is to use on a daily basis. Giveaway offer ends on February 19, 2014, so please comment by then.
Like wine and cheese or chocolate and roses, Sonoma County and romance are a perfect pairing. Add in a trip to the spa and you have the ideal recipe for a Valentine’s Day made in heaven. So get ready to get your “love buzz” on and celebrate this day of love in true spa style.
While there are plenty of Valentine’s Day offerings in Sonoma County, the properties showcased below are artisans when it comes to crafting fairytale style getaways that fulfill all your most romantic dreams. Each has a unique style, offering a slightly different experience, but all are sure to deliver when it comes to creating a unique experience to share with that special someone.
Read more here
The buzz at Bardessono Hotel in Napa was all about spas on Monday, January 13th, 2014 as local industry professionals gathered to network and sample new products. Organized by the Spa Buzz, the Garden Party themed gathering featured mini-treatments, a raffle, wine tasting from Napa’s St. Clair Brown winery and a prix-fix dinner by Lucy, Bardessono’s signature restaurant. Local spas and businesses represented included Meadowood, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Matanzas Creek Winery, The Lodge of Sonoma, Osmosis Day Spa and Mandarin Oriental of San Francisco.
Samantha Silver, director of communications with Spa Buzz, said “these gatherings are a chance for the spa industry to network and build community while trying new products”.
Some of the most interesting offerings included the Nu Face facial toning device, a non-invasive face lift tool that is said to improve skin tone and reduce wrinkles. Also featured were the Grande Lash MD’s mascara and lash enhancer, paraben free and made in Italy, this natural mascara conditions lashes while adding volume and length. SmileActives Teeth whitener is a handy little pen that can be applied twice daily for whiter teeth. Pino, a 100% natural skincare company from Germany featured a line of massage candles, available in a variety of essential oil based scents.
After mini-treatments and wine tasting, the prix-fix dinner at Lucy was offered for event goers. The meal began with an amuse-boche of crab salad. Light and refreshing, this starter was a great way to introduce the winter themed menu. Lucy specializes in farm to table, “field to fork” cuisine and incorporates produce and ingredients from their on-site garden. The first course of Lucy’s garden mixed greens, pomegranate seeds, persimmons, apple and a pomegranate vinagraite was fresh and vibrant, with a nice balance of sweet and tart. The main course featured local petrale sole with brussels sprouts, black trumpets, pickled fennel, green apple and whole grain mustard jus and continued the theme of local and seasonal. Dessert was a pear soup, with lemon sorbet and lavender from the Lucy garden.
Spa Buzz events are held regularly in major cities around the country. Upcoming is the “Diamond Standard” event to be held in Atlanta, Georgia on February 20, 2014.