Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Those born under the sign of the Ox are not fans of stress, or the feeling of being overwhelmed. Pretty much everyone is feeling the crunch. Spas are a necessary luxury to help reduce the negative effects of stress while offering a safe place to simply breathe. Spas designed with harmony and nature in mind may find themselves doing better than those nestled in the shadows of a big, noisy city. Why? Oxen graze in wide open, green spaces where meditation and relaxation are abundantly accessible.

There should be a tremendous surge in the green movement in all businesses during this period of time, fashion and beauty included. Excellent customer service is critical during the Year of the Ox. Compassion for the challenges we all face, the need for a peaceful respite, and a creative flair for structuring new mini-services and treatments for those who really wish to continue their services but need to cut back on their spending. These things will go a long way for everyone at the (and on the) table. This can be a very rewarding time of give and take, back and forth, foundational growth and unity.


It is time to let the Ox lead the way back to the basics. Focus on the most important task at hand. A good skin care routine is essential, but for what purpose? Maintenance, anti-aging, specific skin conditions? Since simplicity rules in the year of the Ox, it is time to forget the fancy schmancy beauty care routines that may not be working well. A great deal of money is spent on beauty products, but are they the right products for you?

What is your skin type? Dry, Combination, Oily? Clear, Troubled, Dehydrated? The year of the Ox places a big priority on heightening skills and knowledge. " If you don't know, you can't grow." The Ox is not a fan of tricky short cuts, so, this is the year to put all of your beauty products on the table and analyze what you are using and why. Is it good for you? Is it doing the job? If the answer is yes, excellent . . . if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you feel it is time to 'switch it up', then begin with a proper skin analysis to understand what products you truly need and upgrade your skin care regime with a few really good products. Kick the rest to the curb.

The Ox is a saver not a spender, but acknowledges a good investment. A good investment in skin care is a great moisturizing cream and/or serum that is formulated for your particular skin type. You can save on the other end of a skin care line when it comes to cleaners, toners and some masks. Try to commit to one line of products and not the mix-and-match, patchwork-quilt program. The good news is, within 27 days, or so, you will know if it is the right product or line for you.

The Ox is a big fan of tradition which is not a particularly great sign for trend setting or watching. Not too busy to look good, just to darn busy to be watching everyone else. It is a leader of substance over style, darker colors, durable fabrics, simplicity, classic clean lines, modest but neat styles, and fixed patterns. The color of the Ox is violet which expresses relaxation, spiritual endeavors, accumulated wisdom and strength. Violet is the perfect creation from red and blue. Red is the color of courage and freedom and blue is the color of a calming stability.


The year of the Ox could be described as a "pay-it-forward" year as a direct result of their determination and committed work ethic. A cultivator of hard work, the Ox has a practical and determined sense of sensibility and does not like taking risky shortcuts. Work over play is the flavor of each day.

The Ox symbolizes integrity and prosperity backed by hard work. It is not a great believer in short-term, firecracker turnarounds, but is a devotee of steady and calculated progress through carefully planned out strategies, good communication . . . and when necessary . . . compromise. Mysteriously, the sign of the Ox seems to pop up when our economy is in a crisis. In 1949, (another year of the OX), the economy recovered from a serious recession. Will the Ox save the day? Who knows if history will repeat itself. It usually does, but worst case scenario, with a year dedicated to keeping our noses to the grindstone and ploughing through the year working hard, the timing for the Ox could not be better.

Does the Ox have any negatives? Yep. Bossy and stubborn. But then, when you know what you want and are willing to work for it, it comes down to a very simple order of the day . . . lead, follow or get out of the way. Never underestimate the power of an Ox. It is said they may be subtle and soft spoken, but they carry a big stick . . . no bull!

THE OX - Gentle, intelligent, methodical, dependable, trustworthy, faithful, conventional, disciplined,stable, slow and steady, firm, gentle, patient, methodical, determined, self-made, quiet, calm, authoritative, compromising, communicative.

Monday, January 26, 2009


January 26th - February 14th, 2010
Mine is the stabilizing force
That perpetuates the cycle of life.
I stand immobile against the
Test of adversity,
Resolute and unimpeachable.
I seek to serve integrity,
To bear the burdens of righteousness.
I abide by the laws of nature
Patiently pushing the wheel of Fate
Thus, I shall weave my destiny.

President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was born under the sign of the Ox (1961). Who else? Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Jim Carrey, Meg Ryan, George Clooney, Jane Fonda Michael J. Fox, Neve Campbell.

Years of the Ox: 1901,1913,1925,1937,1949,1961,1973,1985,1997,2009


The Top Spas of North America for 2008 were named by five 'take-it-to-the-bank' reliable sources; SpaFinder, Spa Magazine, Spas of America, Vanity Fair, and Conde Nast Although the lists are different, we did note some of the same spas show up on more than one list. Aha! We decided to cross-reference and compare the lists to find out which spas really stand out.

Spa Finder and Spa Magazine name their winners through their annual Reader's Choice Awards. Conde Naste prepares its list with nominations from their readers. Spas of America determine its winners through the analytic viewership to their website and specific spas. Vanity Fair sends a team of experts from to travel the world to select their winners.

Here are some of the names that repeatedly show up on the best of the best lists, in alphabetical order, not in order of popularity.

Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona
Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, Texas
Mayflower Inn and Spa, Washington, Connecticut
Mii Amo, Sedona, Arizona
Mirbeau Inn and Spa, New York, New York
Red Mountain Spa, St. George, Utah

St. Anne's Country Inn & Spa, Grafton, Ontario, Canada
Willow Stream Spa, The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada

Rancho La Peurta,Tecate, Mexico

Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Cunard's Queen Mary 2
Freedom of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Our congratulations to all of the award winning spas, to those who are fortunate enough to visit them, and to the magazines who take the time to find and share the best spas of the year, . . . year after year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

SpaWeek - Allure Giveaway sent us news that has been giving away free makeovers and beauty appointments every day this month. Haircuts, hair color sessions, makeup makeovers, and personal training workouts by high profile "makeover masters" to the grand tune of $146,676! Oh, for the love of pampering. There may be only nine days left, but that means there are nine more chances to win. Go to or and fill out entries each day until January 31st and see if you will be one of the lucky winners to get a new look for 2009.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MYTH INFORMED - "Day Cream vs Night Cream"

"Day cream vs night cream - only one will do."
Hmmm, it is true that many creams can be used as a day cream and a night cream, unless you are trying to work on specific skin care needs, or have creams formulated with ingredients specified as day or night use only. There are several reasons for am/pm directions. For example, some creams contain a lot of titanium dioxide, or other sun protecting ingredients, which should be kept for daytime use only. Others may have ingredients that sensitize the skin, or oxidize themselves if exposed to UV, and are therefore better used as night creams.

More importantly, the skin is twice as active at night in regenerating, detoxifying and building up anti-oxidants to defend against the stresses it faces during the day. The increase in micro-circulation also ensures better availability and use of product ingredients at night. If you are using a cream that does not specify day or night only, it can be used both am and pm, . . . the day for protection, hydration, offering specific ingredients for your skin (the skin will still use the “goodies” just not as efficiently as at night), and at night to help the skin refuel, regenerate and rebuild. We strongly recommend a good, solid cream designated for night time repairs. You may be sleeping, but your skin is doing double time.

Monday, January 19, 2009


This anti-wrinkle specific serum is loaded with three of the most sought after anti-wrinkle peptides in skin care (Argireline, Snap-7, Leuphasyl). These peptides have different actions on the cells, proteins and muscle receptors that are involved in wrinkle creation, and will collectively interrupt the muscle contractions that contribute to wrinkle formation. They block some of the neurotransmitters that trigger the muscle to contract, and when the contraction is avoided, there is less degradation and less likelihood of wrinkle formation. Argireline is often thought of as having Botox-like effects.

To compliment these highly efficient peptides, Derma Excel 7 also contains DMAE (dimethylethanolamine), a naturally occurring substance proven to promote the synthesis of neurotransmitters, encourage healthy cell membrane function and nourish the longevity of cells. DMAE is a nice anti-age ingredient that also kicks in a firming, tightening action on the skin. There are also the hydrating benefits of shea butter, the soothing effects of allantoin, and the superb anti-oxidant action of ALA (alpha lipoic acid) . . . an antioxidant that is both water and oil soluble making it effective in both environments. The olive and soya oil provide another antioxidant, Vitamin E, while promoting the absorption of the active ingredients into the skin. All in all, Derma Excel 7 is a results-oriented, effective weapon to use in the war against time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

MYTH INFORMED - Skin Care - The Price of Progress

"The more you pay, the better the cream."
Just because you pay a lot of money for a cream does not mean the cream will be the best one for you. It is true that a good anti-age cream is more expensive than a basic hydrating cream, but if you are in your twenties, there is no need to buy a cream formulated to address age related concerns. If you are in your 40s, well, that's another issue. What is most important are the ingredients in the cream, . . . the ones needed for your particular skin type. A good skin analysis and determination of the correct approach to care for your skin will give a better guideline for choosing ingredients and products that will deliver results.

Having said that, new research is offering specific ingredients with new delivery systems that are making ingredients more targeted and precise. These ingredients produce greater results because they are more easily assimilated and have a much better affinity with the skin. All of the new research, new ingredients and new technology costs more. It is simple math. There is a definite price to pay for progress.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Law of Lipstick

What has a lifetime of experience in the cosmetics industry taught us? When the economy goes down, cosmetic sales go up. Way up. When higher priced items become harder to get, sales of smaller luxuries go through the roof. This is the Law of Lipstick.

Leonard Lauder, Chairman of Estee Lauder, coined a theory called, The Leading Lipstick Indicator, which simply states the economy can be read by the rise and fall of lipstick sales. Some of the darkest moments in the history of the United States, financial and otherwise, are followed by a hefty increase in lipstick sales. That is not to say women throw discretion to the wind. Quite the contrary. Women are smart consumers. They will buy one thing while sacrificing another, . . . it is the perfect order of things. Big value will be switched up for a better value. Feel good purchases will prevail.

Make no mistake, female consumers are a force to be reckoned with. After all, women comprise just over 50% of the population, make over 80% of the purchasing decisions, own 40% of all businesses, employ more people than the Fortune 500 companies worldwide, start 70% of all new businesses for the past decade and control over half the private wealth. That, friends, is what we call the Female Factor.

Hold on to your lipsticks, ladies, while we continue to drive the marketplace forward and meet the expectations of those financial wizards who predict the beauty industry will become the fastest growing retail sector despite the financial downturn. More sales, more money, more employment, more growth. Never underestimate the power of lipstick.

Quote of the Week:
"Not even the threat of a recession comes between a woman and her lipstick." Jen Melocco, Fashion Editor

Monday, January 12, 2009

EUOKO Eye Contour Nanolift

Now, this is a serious eye cream with a price tag to match. The saying, "you get what you pay for," seems to be the theme of this product. Results can be expected within a few days of use. It is particularly great for intensifying and maintaining the results of plastic surgery, laser, or peels in the eye area.

The nano ingredients from plants like pennywort and rose moss have incredible smoothing effects, help tissues to revitalize, promote collagen synthesis and help to counteract inflammatory responses triggered by those nasty free radicals. The lipopeptides from lupine ensure the skin barrier's function preserving the moisture and integrity of the epidermis. Rhodiola extracts, high in vitamin C, boost the cellular immunity, promote collagen synthesis, and provide anti-oxidant properties as well. This extract is claimed to make the skin more efficient at dealing with the stress, minimizing damage to cells and tissue, and is credited with offering a tonic action helping to reduce puffiness while firming the tissue.

The Eyeliss™ is a trade marked ingredient containing hesperidine (one of the bioflavanoids of vitamin C complex), an ingredient that improves capillary function, reduces fluid retention and discoloration. It also contains peptides to increase the elasticity and firmness of the skin in the eye area. To complete this treasure there are the ceremides and hyaluronic acid to ensure that the hydration of the delicate skin of the eye area is secure. Long story short . . . this product packs a wallop in the ingredient department and is definitely a secret weapon to keep that refreshed twinkle in your eyes.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Start out the New Year with a 'head-to-toe' makeover by the Editors at Vogue.
VOGUE Ultimate Makeover Sweepstakes
Enter by January 19th
Grand Prize: One trip for two (2) to Los Angeles, three (3) nights at the magnificent Beverly Wilshire, daily continental breakfasts, two (2) Spa treatments (for 2) at The Spa at the Beverly Wilshire, one (1) Philip Lim dress, one (1) Kotur evening bag, one (1) piece of Irene Neuwrith jewelry chosen, one (1) pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, haircut and color from Serge Normant Salon for the winner. Approximate retail value of prize package: $8,150

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

EMINENCE ORGANICS Sweet Red Rose Treatment

Eminence's Sweet Red Rose Treatment is an interesting product to start out the New Year. It can be applied like a mask and left on for 5 to 10 minutes, or can be applied and massaged into the skin. During a spa treatment, it can be combined with a galvanic current to increase the penetration and transport of the nutrients to re-energize and revive dull skin. Dry, dehydrated skin lacking radiance will appreciate the emolliency this treatment provides. Oily skin, on the other hand, may find it a bit too rich if choosing to massage it in, and in that case, the 5 to 10 minute method would be best.

Damage control is the name of this product's game. The 'big league' anti-oxidant properties of red rose petal extracts, vitamin C and E, as well as Co-Enzyme Q10 comes to the aid of skin suffering the side effects of a grand celebration, such as rich foods, alcohol, lack of sleep and traveling. The vitamin A helps promote cellular repair, the bioflavonoids increase the efficiency of the vitamin C (as an anti-oxidant and a collagen booster), and NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor) and glycerine ensure hydration for the skin. This product is available in Eminence's Rose Collection Tube. A rose, is a rose, is a rose . . .

Monday, January 5, 2009

DERMALOGICA Skin Hydrating Masque

Dermalogica's light refreshing mask is a pleasure to apply, easy to remove and offers an added advantage, . . . it can be used around the eye area, and the face and neck. This is a big plus as the thin skin of the eye area is usually the first place to show dehydration, and often, the last place some masks should be applied.

Hyaluronic Acid, as well as some hygroscopic (water attracting) peptides, are the key moisturizing ingredients in this formula. We know hyaluronic acid is one of the leading ingredients for hydration because it is able to hold 1000 times its weight in water, makes up about 80% of what gives the skin its plumpness, and is easily utilized by the skin. Also, when combined with the soothing hydrating properties of mallow, the nourishing anti-oxidant properties of hops, and the anti-inflammatory action of arnica (reduces redness in the skin), this product will definitely impress.

This is one of those masks that could be used daily even though they are generally recommended only once or twice a week. For an easy way to change how your skin looks and feels, cleanse your skin, apply the mask, leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse and put a cream on afterwards to protect your skin and enhance the mask benefits. Prepare for the 'wow' factor.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Big Five - The Skinny on Skin Care Ingredients for 2009

What's new in the world of skin care ingredients for 2009? Plenty! 2009 will see its fair share of ingredients containing berries (antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids) and peptides (stimulate collagen and promote repair) galore. The most exciting wave of the future of skin care, however, is the science and technology that produces intelligent skin care, . . . smart, targeted and programmable skin care ingredients.

1. Intelligent Skin Care: Scientifically, skin care ingredients are moving ahead as fast as medicine and medications, and often the science overlaps. Millions of dollars, if not billions, are being spent on research and development for intelligent ingredients. The goal is not to replace skin components, but to make the skin repair, regenerate and detoxify itself more efficiently, in other words, function more like a young skin than a tired, mature one. For example, we cannot replace collagen, but we can trigger the fibroblasts to make collagen. We can also slow down the function of the enzymes that degrade our natural collagen. The science is becoming so specific that some key peptides can trigger the DNA to repair itself quicker, even before more damage occurs. This is great news because as we age DNA gets slower at repairing itself and the more damaged it becomes the less likely the cell will regenerate.

2. Nanotechnology: A science where size definitely matters. The smaller, the better. Microscopic 'nano-ingredients' have the ability to penetrate deeper within the skin, directly deliver active ingredients and increase their efficiency. Companies using this type of technology can promise their clients exactly what they want . . . faster visual results. Older technology is slower to deliver, and unfortunately, the wasted time may allow certain ingredients to oxidize and lose their potency.

3. Targeted Delivery: Ingredients are often encapsulated, vectorized (loaded into a vehicle), or coupled with another ingredient to control a perfect delivery of active ingredients to a specific target. The delivery system is based on the same theory used in pharmaceuticals where each drug knows the location of the problem and is programmed to head straight for it. On that note, Cosmeceuticals, the cosmetic and pharmaceutical pairing, are once again on the rise in 2009 utilizing the successful methodology of targeted delivery.

4. Neurocosmetics: Increasing cellular communication, (the kind you don't need a long distance plan for), is becoming more and more of a priority and the future will bring even more efficiency using neurocosmetic ingredients. Neurocosmetics have the ability to affect the brain's response to topical treatments with specific ingredients programmed to trigger a desired response. The cool feeling that mint has on the skin is a perfect example of a neuro effect.

5. Time Frame Licenses: The scientific realm is accustomed to being immersed in a shroud of secrecy. This type of 'hush-hush' environment in the world of skin care has resulted in more trademarks and registered insignias seen on ingredient lists with no other explanations. Companies are giving the trade names of ingredients without disclosing what they are and how they are created. It is becoming common place for Time Frame licenses to be purchased by skin care manufacturers to use these new discoveries exclusively for a specific time period.

We predict the trend for 2009 rests heavily on science and technology in a bid to boost the efficiency of powerful ingredients. The real beauty of this trend will produce skin care products with the ability to deliver calculated results. Anti-aging skin care at its finest!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


We wish you a very peaceful,
joyous and prosperous New Year!
One year older and definitely one year better.