Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Through the Golden Door: Leaving the Rest of the World Behind

It’s a magnificently sunny Sunday in October, on the eve of the second presidential debate. One can feel the tension mounting and the news increasingly hunting for more turmoil, especially with the severe storms on the east coast. With unrelenting fever, the pressure is on and many of us are feeling the impending doom. Some of us are also experiencing a feeling of excitement in the air, a certain knowing that if we can seek out the beauty, the grace, the gratitude in the simple things, everything else will somehow be alright.

“The simple everyday experiences become the doorway to new thoughts and inspirations.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri
As a last minute gift to myself I accepted an invitation to visit the Golden Door Spa,  a sacred sanctuary in southern California. Part destination spa resort, part Japanese temple/monastery, part otherworldly, a place that has maintained it’s pristine nature for almost fifty years. After traveling on a meandering country road, I arrived at the secret entrance to a far away place, where I was beckoned to enter through the Golden Doors. After several tumultuous months of uncertainty, experiencing another life quake, I decided that the minute I entered the doors of this zen-retreat, I would let go and leave the rest of the world behind!

Labyrinth Photo by Jessica Sample

An immediate sense of peace and tranquility drizzled over me, as I stepped through the threshold into the secluded setting, inspired by an authentic Japanese honjin inn (which is a series of buildings).

It has always attracted the uber rich, successful and famous who frequented the serene setting and indulged in spa cuisine, body wraps and strenuous exercise. It still maintains it’s purity, as a sacred refuge from the outside world. It feels like you are entering into an authentic traditional village, with a bathhouse, Japanese gardens, a bamboo forest, labyrinths, koi ponds and a significant collection of Asian art (acquired over the years by the founder and spa diva Deborah Szekely.) Notables who have also crossed the threshold into this enchanted place were Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Burt Lancaster and others. These Hollywood icons found their bliss while getting into shape between film roles. Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Barbra Streisand can be found chilling out while discreet fellow guests respect their privacy.

“The moment you enter through the golden doors, cross the yatsuhashi inspired footbridge and release your cares at the turn, you will be nurtured, guided and transformed in our legendary, all-inclusive, 5- or 7-day body and mind program.”
In recent years, the spa industry has become more corporate and sophisticated. When new owners came onboard, this unpretentious hallow ground has had to step up and become au courant with the other spa movers and shakers. By expanding the property, revitalizing the orange grove and bamboo forest and by utilizing the natural resources, each guest becomes enveloped into the specialness of this sacred land. The exciting changes by the new owners including the renovations, and new GM, Kathy Van Ness at the helm, (former fashion biz wiz), The Golden Door has taken a step ‘back to the future’. The newly restored rooms were upgraded and are back to some of their original furnishings while retaining the utmost serenity.

The latest trend in spas is becoming more eco-friendly, sustainable and green. The land has been revitalized with a transplanted olive orchard, new chickens for fresh eggs, a 3,000-square-foot computerized greenhouse and five biodynamic culinary, floral and herb gardens.
Jeff Dawson is the director of a new lands and farms division who previously created biodynamic gardens for Apple founder Steve Jobs. “Produce includes fruits and vegetables in multiple varieties (there are 50 types of tomatoes) and herbs such as lemon verbena and lavender that are mixed into fresh spa scrubs and a newly formulated, locally produced Golden Door skin-care and beauty line.”
Photo:Jessica Sample-bamboo grove

 This idyllic setting, with perfect weather today, and a smooth as silk breeze is just what the doctor ordered. The new guests from all over the world are immediately struck by the essence of beauty through simplicity and can detox immediately from their hectic travel encounters.
Although mostly women grace these sacred pathways, many men have become addicts too!
“Jim Pedas, a film producer and former movie theater owner, has visited the Golden Door 115 times since 1979. “I was a spa-hopper until I settled down there,” he said. “It is very special because of the spirit that Deborah ingrained in the place, and that basic spirit has not changed. Opening those golden doors is like entering the doors of paradise. Suddenly I feel very, very calm.”

Photo courtesy:Jessica Sample

My Immediate Experience Journal:

1. After the first 24 hours there was a notable release of stress. The property is sacred land, there is a feeling of safety, surrounded by the lush green Japanese landscape design mixed with the minimalist furnishings.

2. Noticing the water features and the FENG SHUI alignments which create a sacred space.

3. After the first night of almost complete silence, early to bed in my huge room with rice paper sliding shades and two opposite walls of windows, sliding glass doors, the slumber was deeper, the top quality sheets and mattress enveloped me like a cloud floating through the heavens.

4.The first full day flowed with ease and comfort. Beginning with a moderate walk in nature with my private trainer, I immediately felt comforted and released tensions. Then walking through the bamboo grove, it was apparent that this hallow land bathed me in a shower of tranquility. The arching of the bamboo stalks and leaves creating a tunnel of nurturing energy, soothed my soul from the daily onslaught of negative fears, worries and survival issues.

5. Meeting and communing with a few fellow feminine travelers on the path to self-mastery and discovery brightened my path. Meeting up in classes, sharing energized movements and new body awareness, strangers become at once new friends. Lingering over lunch, letting go of time constraints and hectic schedules allowed for more sharing and intimate life lessons.

 Bathouse courtesy Jessica Sample

6. In a nutshell-the daily flow of activities, from breakfast in bed, to early morning hikes, yoga to snacks, a variety of fun classes, gourmet lunch with new friends, and more classes, private trainer, snack, facial, massage in room, meeting up for hors d’oeuvres in Kimono, then another delicious gourmet meal and traditional walk to the main entrance after dinner, evening activity and early to bed, early to rise. The days just flew by too quickly.

7.The spa menu is filled with the finest luxury pampering, including many a la carte specialties.

8. Must try- Astrology Reading with Alex Bunshaft, who is not only right on target with your chart, but so entertaining, fun and uplifting, you will gain much encouragement from a private session.
Gourmet Dinner photo-Jessica Sample
9.The gourmet health food is a feast for the eyes and the mouth, with the freshest produce from the garden or local fare. Artfully presented, delicious and nutritious, you can eat as much as you want and still lose weight!

10.The staff and service are beyond 5 Star. The key to this experience is the bespoke attention, and each guest is catered to according to their needs and wishes. Each one is treated like a Queen (or King) for a Week!

Don't forget that even macho guys love it here, too!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Livin' it up on Melrose Place at the Exclusive Emmy Style Lounge and Party!

The awards season is now upon us! The Emmy’s paved the way for the upcoming new season. Thursday, September 15, 2016 we attended the Seventh Annual Style Lounge and Party in celebration of Emmy’s. The location was a star studded event at the posh Fig n’ Olive on the world renowned Melrose Place. From Emmy nominees, presenters to TV’s upcoming show stoppers and winners! The exhibitors were top tier, Red Carpet Fashion Statements and hot must have gifts of the moment.

The attendees were in perfect form, being honored and pampered so they could experience the accolades to come before the big awards show event.

While also in the spirit of giving back, guests & sponsors donated unwrapped gifts for young adults (ages 13-18) for a Pre-Holiday Gift Drive benefiting ‘Wednesday’s Child’ — a weekly segment airing on KTTV FOX 11 News, Los Angeles, with Anchor Christine Devine.

Here are a few stars/winners and nominees that enjoyed themselves:

Title Sponsor EIN DRINK with Jason Ritter, Former Primetime Emmy Nominee and currently a series’ regular on “Another Period” on Comedy Central. (below)

Primetime Emmy Winner, Patrika Darbo, Best Actress Short Form (“Acting Dead), Primetime Emmy Nominees, Jane Lynch (“Hollywood Game Night”), Ariel D. King (“People vs. O.J. Simpson”), Jeffrey Bower Chapman (“UnREAL”), Marsai Martin (“Black-ish”), Tye White (“People vs. O.J. Simpson”) joined Damien Whitewood, Edyta Sliwinska & Alan Bersten (“Dancing With The Stars”), Naomi Grossman &  Jamie Brewer (“American Horror Story”), Jason Ritter (“Another Period”), Kimberly Elise (“Hit The Floor”), Dot Marie Jones (“Glee”), Hollywood Icon Diedre Hall, Lydia Cornell, Areva Martin (TV Legal Analyst), Tony Denison (“Major Crimes”), Tasha Smith (“Empire”), Stephen Kramer Glickman (“Big Time Rush”), Michael Campion & Soni Bragas (Choice Teen Comedy/FOX Teen Choice Awards “Fuller House”),  Charlie Koontz (“CSI: CYBER”), Darius McCrary (“Transformers”), John Savage, Kelsey Scott (“12 Years A Slave”), Eric Millegan (“Bones”) & Lucy Butler (“The Last Ship”) and seasoned actress, Lydia Cornell (lovely, talented and with a heart of gold) to name a few, were among the cadre of celebrities and industry VIPS who were treated to the best of the best!

Jason Ritter and MOI

I had the pleasure of meeting Jason and getting a great selfie. FYI- He is even much cuter in person and taller, too! Loved him in Parenthood and anything he does, he brings his authenticity and from the heart appeal. Women love him, too! Handsome without ego, he has the generosity of spirit that reminds me of his Dad, John. What a guy! I loved Jason the award winning, short lived series, The Event, which seemed to have been aborted too soon.

Presenting Sponsor Dioo Audio with Edyta Sliwinska, “Dancing With The Stars”
VIP Sponsor The FootMate System with Primetime Emmy Winner, Patrika Darbo, Best Actress Short Form (“Acting Dead)

 VIP Sponsor Sue Wong Couture with Primetime Emmy Nominee, Jane Lynch

VIP Sponsor Personal Touch with Award-Winning Actress Kimberly Elise, currently starring in VH1’s “Hit The Floor”

Here’s a short list of some of my fav featured guests and services:
Debbi DiMaggio, Realtor to the Stars & Author of “Real Estate Rules” (probably the most generous realtor, sharing her success secrets in her book), The FootMate System by Gordon Brush(nothing like a selfie foot massage), Nu Bra(best kept secret for that bra-less look), Personal Touch Lingerie, Rekorderlig Cider,Pretty Places, Twisted Silver, My Saint My Hero, Arbonne, Spongelle, Art Lewin Bespoke (GQ watch out, this guy has your back for being in style !), Couture Gowns & Fragrance by Sue Wong(luxury, glam at it’s best), Hint, Single Dress (got a great dress!), Kaya Di Koko, Single Underwear for Men, Shear Wear, Pura d’or Hair Care, FulHum Water, Cultures for Health, Josh Cellars Wine, Medium Fleur, Shahnaz Husain Ayurvedic Beauty Products, Hair By Lance Lanza and exquisite VIP Gift Bags provided by MD Sun Skin Care.

Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry (Got a great signature necklace)

The Coffee Chef (Also sampled a delish Chai liquer), Royal Elite Vodka (off the wagon today), Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry (Got a great signature necklace), Fibrum Virtual Reality Headsets (for your teenage ninja gameplayer), Skin Tech Studios(Must try out that The Venus Legacy for smoothing and tightening) and Dr Sal Nadkarni with his elite mobile med-spa for personalized med aesthetics, True Love Skin Care (A new fav organic, all natural healing cream that is beyond rich and creamy).

The best part of the event was that everyone who attends Doris Bergman’s pre-awards parties is always a winner!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How To Live The 5 Star Life Without Limits? Top Tips Today (podcast link)

I have lived my life through the eyes of an artist. Everything is a work of art to me. Clouds in the sky coming to life as the sunsets; flowers illuminated, singing in the rain; a home with heart, where the flow of color, design and art moves throughout the spaces. It is my passion to assist people to live in beauty, harmony and balance. Even the Feng Shui Gurus love working with me. I’m a natural intuitive with space, form and energy. It must be because of my years of training as a fine artist.
                                                  Four Seasons Westlake Resort and Spa
My desire is to help people create the home of their dreams, and Live the 5 Star Life without limits, on any budget. After decades of studying different philosophies and spiritual pursuits, it just makes sense that we are here to experience the ‘Art of Living Well’ which comes from the inside-out. No matter what circumstances on the outside are occurring, home is where the heart is. To live well is to experience joy, bliss, gratitude and a reverence for life which can heal the soul. This is precisely why I teach my clients the process of learning how to experience Beauty for the Soul.While most design for a look, I design for a feel. After years of study, I have a degree in fine arts from NYU, and a post-graduate degree in Interior and Environmental Design from UCLA. I have learned more from the school of life and although I have worked with top designers, studio executives and celebrity clients, my desire is to be more than a decorator, I am a Life Stylist, who shares ways to live your life with style and grace

The Sanctuary Resort and Spa, Arizona  
As a professional Life Stylist, spa trends specialist, boomer-consumer expert and columnist who focuses on cutting edge breakthroughs in health, wellness and beauty for the boomer consumer. She urges everyone to live the 5 Star Life without limits!

In this podcast Marjorie will be revealing some insider tips to living your best life now. How you live your life is your greatest work of art, so it should be a masterpiece!

Live The 5 Star Life!

What is the 5 star life? How to you begin to build one?

Why should you work on feeling beautiful first? What’s the first step?

Are spa treatments realistic for the budget crunched boomer?

How do you create a life full of the finer things without breaking the bank?

What are some insider tips you can share?

Marjorie is available for personal coaching online to help women create a new blueprint for their lives! Contact her at the5starlife@gmail.com for more information.

To learn more about the 5 Star Life Maven, Marjorie Hope Rothstein and the art of living well, see her columns on popular sites such as HuffingtonPost.com,  Justluxe.com, Fountain Of Youth/Spa/Travel Examiner.com, PeterGreenberg.com, among many others.

To find out more about experiencing BEAUTY FOR THE SOUL
And visit her other blog

This podcast is presented by the National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR.  Annie is the Creator of JenningsWire, an online magazine that features a diverse community of talented bloggers.

Please enjoy more posts on JenningsWire.com and discover the bloggers that might be perfect for you!

Listen Here

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Beauty Glows From The Inside Out--But it helps to have a great stylist!

Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.  ~Author Unknown

It's summertime again and the heat is ON here in Los Angeles. Summer is always a time for trying out a new look. While searching for yet another trendy stylist in the heart of Hollywood to brighten my looks. As luck would have it, I discovered a certificate for a a certificate for a haircut in one of my swag bags (from all the gifting suites this year) It was from Lance Lanza. I had never heard of him before, but whenever someone is 'awarded' a place in the most coveted bag in the industry, you know he's got to be good.

As a self-proclaimed beauty aficionado, researching for the best of the best in beauty is a passion of mine.  In fact, the truth is just because someone works at the toniest salon in Beverly Hills doesn't mean they're all that! Many of the top stylists end up having all kinds of hair pros under the tutelage of their salon, but they may not be up to par with the ‘mane’ name on the salon.

With roots way too overgrown, needing a touch up, boomer women like me try to make sure we do the upkeep before it’s too late. I made an appointment with Lance and rushed over to his salon in the heart of WeHo, and was surprised to see that there was ample parking. Upon our first meeting,  he asked to see some of the photos of my own hairstyles that I liked.

When you get to a salon with a new stylist, do you bring in all the photos of styles that you like only to find out that your hair just doesn’t ‘go’ like that? After hunting through the trendy magazines and picking out other people's hair, like celebs or models, you realize it’s almost impossible to copy something exactly. There is always a bit of hesitancy with a new stylist. Will it end up like that Dutch Boy haircut (with bangs way too short) from when you were 8 years old or that bob Mr.Bob butchered right before your engagement dinner?

After a bit of research I found out Lanza had a two-year internship at a top Beverly Hills salon, whose clientele were celebs like Cristina Ferrare, Tori Spelling, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Mary Steenburgen, to European royalty like the Princess of Belgium and US politicians such as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In addition, he even had his own very popular salon in Beverly Hills. After a few minutes in his chair, he was deep in concentration and not like most, who are doing ten things at once. Lanza is a real pro. His approach to styling for each client personally is very helpful. You know you are going to get a look that befits your face and style, not just another cookie cutter head off the chopping block!

“I like to take a moment to talk about the client's best features and how to accent each one, down to the color and texture of the hair and what best compliments the skin tone. Every person is unique, and it's important to bring out their best, and to show the client exactly what I'm doing and why during their cut," says Lance. “

When it's finished, I walk them through the styling step by step, giving specific tips so they feel comfortable with their hair when they go to style it themselves. People love to learn the little secrets that will make them look and feel great.”

Lance, like Edward Scissorhands, was in a trance-like state as he began his cutting and you could feel his focus for creating the perfect coif. After coloring my roots in a richer darker tone, he also added highlights.
Like a real pro, he took his time and concentration and did not rush, or run around checking on other clients. It was all about 'my hair' for that time. He goes deep into the process and the end result was even better than what I expected. Perfecto.

His philosophy about what styles are more youthful, he responded,”The best stye for a youthful look is a big smile on your face!”

 ”When people like the way they look, they feel good about themselves. When they feel good about themselves, they can make things happen.”

With a new style of rich undertones and bright youthful color, you I walked out of his salon beaming with a fresh cut, shine and highlights. Lanza seems to understand how to create the perfect blend of hi and low lights to create a picture perfect style. Just know that you can be proud to hold your head up high and prance around the city of Angels. If you're searching for a new, uplifting look to brighten up your life,  check out Hair by Lance Lanza at Gloss Hair Salon West Hollywood

”A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear,” Marilyn Monroe

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Midsummer’s Night: Family Fun in the Sun

If you're a contrarian thinker like me, you may consider escaping to the desert while everyone else is running to the beach to beat the heat.

According to Inc.com: Contrarian thinkers are trailblazers in business. They are the polarizing visionaries who are just as likely to be called crazy as brilliant, and they have the foresight to see hidden opportunities and seize them at just the right moment.

I've discovered that I actually enjoy the clear, dry desert air and peaceful surroundings, which  are number one on my list. After living in Los Angeles for a few decades, I've also discovered that the traffic is so stressful that driving in the opposite direction to escape the crowds is exhilarating. Now, it's hot enough out there this summer in the city, but in the desert, you actually can experience a warm breeze and even rain. In the summer of 2012 there were downpours! Of course you probably won't go hiking in the mid-day sun, but a trip up the Aerial Tramway will be an thrilling experience. Especially since it is the worlds largest rotating tram car, and travels two and a half miles up to the mountain. It will surprise you when you hit the peak and feel as if you're in another dimension, but you arrive at the  Mt. San Jacinto State Park.

"Once you reach the Mountain Station—elevation 8,516 feet—enjoy two restaurants, observation decks, natural history museum, two documentary theaters, gift shop and over 50 miles of hiking trails."

However, if you're afraid of heights, just  visit a top level resort that is surrounded by water. One special place for the whole family is the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, California. There’s something special about a desert resort that boasts “seven heavenly pools to choose from.”

“This mystical palm grove of our children's water-slide, and fascinating indigenous plants showcase seven unique swimming pools, created for sun-worshippers and water-lovers, alike”

The truth is out, this Indian Wells oasis does have the absolute best water features in the desert  for families and adults in the Palm Springs area. This resort satisfies the sun worshiper, the swimmer who loves laps, the peaceful warrior who needs a stress free oasis away from the main action. However, even though is called the Children’s Pool, the Kid’s Corner is also the scene for big kids, like me who absolutely LOVE the 60 foot spiral waterslide! Not content to go up and down just a couple of times, our room overlooked this water adventure and we were beckoned to try it several times, consecutively, each day. While the little ones were racing up and down, over and over again, we also followed and became lost in the fun!

As a boomerbabe/health nut, there is no way I will go to a giant waterpark (as enticing as it seems) because of all the chlorine and chemicals in the pools. However at this Hyatt, you know the water is kept clean without overdosing on all the toxic chemicals. Since it is a ritzy resort, there are less people to crash into and more space to relax. But if you’re not a fan of the daytime summer heat, the pools are romantic at night under the starry summer sky.

The grounds of the resort are resplendent with lush green landscapes, and artsy oversized pots of palms aligning the passageway from one pool area to the next. There are meandering water features surrounding the 5 Star villas that feel like you are on a refreshing reflective lake in the middle of the desert.

The resort is close the tony enclave of chic El Paseo Shopping and dining. In the heart of all the local sites and activities, the resort felt nice to stay put and not even wander outside the grounds. Besides, the Agua Serena Spa on property is an organic spa that focuses on bringing well-being and balance to the body.

“Agua Serena translates to tranquil waters. Water is the source of life and in this desert region water is a coveted resource.”

The spa menu is unique with clever names like the “Spa Tapas Menu’ which offers two a la carte additions like reflexology or even Elementary skincare for kids! The Serena Skin Specifics and the Facial Summer Cooler Body Treatment for only $190 (That’s two fifty minute treatments)

Of course there's the golf and tennis that cannot be beat. Considering that this is the fav hangout for tennis pros during the tournament season.

If you’re seeking fine dining, there are many spots in the area. However, if you want a meal that will last in your memories, then make a reservation at La Spiga Restaurant in Palm Desert (off El Paseo).

This authentic Tuscan-style villa,  surrounded by rose gardens, herb beds and fruit trees hits the spot for a gourmet meal. In the season, outdoor dining is preferred, with three gazebo's and the patio that wraps around the entire building offering a spectacular view of the mountains. The service is beyond excellent, especially the waitstaff, bar and if you’re lucky enough to get the royal treatment from John, the manager. Everyone that works there takes pride in their being a part of this special eatery. The owners are highly regarded in the gourmet food world.

“Vince is a multiple award winning Chaine des Rotisseur chef who has cooked for prime ministers and other heads of state, ambassadors, movie and sports stars, and international business leaders. As hostess, Connie ensures each and every guest receives impeccable service.” There’s lots of photos, especially a great shot of one of America’s sweetheart couples, Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, in their heyday. All the dishes are a great choice, but especially the homemade chocolate dessert!

If you want to Escape from LA to beat the crowds, cash in on some special discount packages, without going far, then a visit to the Palm Springs area is just the ticket.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Desert Oasis for All Seasons:The Best Kept Secret is OUT

It’s the launch of Summer and everyone is heading for the cool pool or beach. While everyone is complaining about the extreme heat across the country, sometimes “hot” can be a good thing. Especially when you live in Los Angeles. While everyone is headed for the beach, you can go in the opposite direction and head for the desert. According to the latest Tom Tom Traffic Congestion report, “Los Angeles is the most congested city in North America. On average, journey times there take 33 percent longer than when traffic in the city is flowing freely and 77 percent longer during evening rush hour. Rounding out the top 10 most congested cities are Vancouver, Miami, Seattle, Tampa, Fla., San Francisco, Washington, Houston, Toronto and Ottawa.”

No wonder you want to flee the maddening crowds, including the hoards of foreign tourists dashing to the US for cheap deals on everything from hotels to haute fashion brands. Shopping in the US outlet stores these days is like Hong Kong in the 60‘s. Many of you are savvy to escape from LA by going against the traffic. Here’s a great escape with very few hoards to crash into: Two Bunch Palms Resort and Spa in Desert Hots Springs. While everyone is running to the night life and excitement in Vegas, you can be floating in a lagoon filled with the top rated mineral springs in the world!

In the desolate town of Desert Hot Springs, the rich and famous have retreated to a secret getaway for decades. Two Bunch Palms, a beautiful oasis, is an historical landmark setting for total relaxation, especially for Hollywood Honcho types. In fact, it was literally the clandestine hideaway for the infamous "gangsta" Al Capone. This desperado built the original stone fortress as his notorious hideout and exotic playground on a sacred Indian site. The most precious commodity, the mineral rich, high lithium content  healing waters, is surrounded by "two bunches of palms", a.k.a Two Bunch Palms. The healing waters induce a soporific effect that calmed the nerves of the most hardened 'outlaw'. Before it was fashionable to be a modern spa, this was the most sought after place to chill out and 'do nothing' except obtain the priceless benefit of the healing waters. Everyone would flock to this steaming hot pool lagoon, in the middle of nowhere, to rejuvenate like nowhere else on earth.

Without the slick trademarks of many new imitators, the signature treatments remain exceptional, such as the rich mineral mud baths, created from the unusual green clay. This vein of green clay was found next to the artesian well on Miracle Hill, and has been tested by biochemists at NASA's Aces Research Center. The 'Hydra-Terra" qualities have been found to store energy and to catalyze reactions, helping to restore the natural skin tone and balance, absorb toxins and create a rejuvenating effect on the skin. This clay is infused with the natural spring waters, and soaked for millenniums in high heat. Subsequent tests reveal rich mineral content in the natural spring's lagoon, especially high in lithium, which has a very soothing and magical effect on the nervous system.

If you don’t mind driving, the spa treatments are some of the best in the world, and worth the effort. Forget about the fancy-schmancy hotels with fine crystal chandeliers to assuage the corporate clients, wrapped up in a fake spa atmosphere, promising to help you de-stress.

Try the Watsu, a water therapy treatment in private pool that will send you into oblivion and set the tone for the rest of your stay. And don’t forget the Epicuren Facials-there are only a few spas left that use these products-the absolute best! In addition they are leading the trend for utlizing the Himalayan Salt crystals which are known for their exceptional healing qualities. Getting a massage with the smooth heated stones aligned on your chakras is beyond exceptional for quelling the nerves and letting go of the city vibes.

Most of the action takes place around the Grotto, day and night. The landscape also boasts a picture perfect pond with friendly fish and turtles who will chase after you so you better buy some fish food in the office! This is truly a romantic place, especially at night, with star gazing and incredible sunsets and moon risings. Forget leaving the property, there is no place better to experience nature and peace, you are privy to this incredible lush vegetation and subtle lighting. This is one of the most special places on earth. Many say it is located on an energy vortex.

The latest upgrades have really catapulted this resort into a leading edge twenty-first century destination. The resort has positioned itself as a e a leader in sustainability within the wellness-resort industry.

It’s two palms up for Two Bunch Palms when it comes to relaxation and shedding your suit of armor so you can have a total mind/body/spirit makeover.

“Sustainability basically calls for us to use protocols and practices that manage our natural resources and human capital responsibly in order to be efficient, do no harm and preserve those resources and quality of life for future generations.” Under new ownership, their savvy business acumen are at the forefront of  the hospitality industry. Not only have they upgraded the design of all rooms and suites, but the restaurant is au courant in decor as well as farm to table fresh fare.

“From better potable water conservation practices for irrigation, non-toxic and more natural cleaning and treatment products, recycling throughout the property, sell more sustainable retail goods, renovating our rooms with energy efficient windows, doors and hot water heaters or generate our electricity from 100% renewal sources, the company strives to meet its sustainable goals and be an inspiring thought-leader and example in the marketplace.”

The most outstanding advancement is the construction of their solar field. They are taking a stand for not only personal wellness but planetary health at large. They mean business in their attempts to honor the environment by  establishing a partnership with Pear Energy, by building a 3.5-acre solar field. This revolutionary gesture actually generates “the equivalent of 100% of its electrical power needs through renewable energy, making it the first resort of its kind in North America. In addition, it will save over 13 million pounds of carbon emissions and 375 million gallons of water over 21 years, thereby reinforcing our ethos about individual vs planetary health.”

Without question, their efforts will pay off not only for the resort but as a leader amongst the future of the wellness industry. No wonder they were awarded Corporate Brand Dedicated to Sustainability by the Green Spa Network 2015 Awards.

FYI-Many reality based television shows have been rediscovering the natural beauty of the resort. You may have caught a glimpse of some of the most picturesque spots on the "Bachelor" or "Average Joe", or "VH1", and even "MTV Dismissed". The most notable movie, The Player,features his exclusive Hollywood Hangout as a focal point of the film! This natural environmental treasure can be experienced by just making a reservation.

Don't forget to feed the friendly ducks, turtles and fish who will greet you at the peaceful lake.
They may not let you pass by without reminding you that they expect to get a treat!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ananda:The Bliss of an Ayurvedic BodyTreatment


Burke Williams Spa, Westfield Topanga

Visiting a day spa is one of the modern luxuries many of us seek to experience healing, pleasure and peace. In ancient times many cultures sought the healing waters, such as the Greeks, the Romans and indigenous peoples of the world.The Romans are noted in establishing the first spas which were well designed bathhouses built near mineral springs. The definition of the word, SPA means salus per aqua — health through water.

While many spas were cropping up in Europe, the ancient healing techniques of Ayurveda (whole body) healing systems were developed thousands of years ago in India. Based on the belief in the subtle balance of the mind/body/spirit, healing and wellness can be achieved.

In ancient times, a devout disciple and first cousin of the Buddha was a man who was said to have the highest purity of heart. This man was called Ananda, which means state of bliss, considered the highest state of being.

According to Bess O’Connor of the Chopra Center, Ayurveda is considered the highest level of the massage world. It has been around through the ages, not only for relaxation, but for “health benefits such as improving circulation, toning the muscles, calming the nerves, lubricating the joints, and increasing mental alertness. They are also used for supreme detoxification, skin health, energy, stamina, and better sleep.”

Today, the popularity of ancient Indian healing is showing up in spas all over the world. One spa, right here in the Los Angeles, Burke Williams in Woodland Hills, is located at the Village in Westfield Topanga. It is a delightful and fun location in the heart of the valley. The spa has introduced the Ananda treatment and it lives up to it’s name. The results are said to be a release from all sense of the body and its demands. This new location, a step above the rest of the BW family is by far the most fun, peaceful yet playful and airy! As mentioned in previous posts, it is a delight for all the senses. Because it was Father’s Day, the men outnumbered the women and in celebration, there were some yummy snacks for all.

When I arrived, my masseuse, Priscilla, gently escorted me to the treatment room which felt cool and comfortable. (It was almost 109 degrees outside) She explained the treatment process and asked me to smell three different oils which were in attunement with the doshas. According to this healing method, there are three energies believed to circulate in the body and govern physiological activity, Vata, Pitta, Kapha.

Each specific oil, according to your dosha, was infused with different metals. Dosha is a Bioelement that makes up your constitution. The three bioelements are always fluctuating in the body. They change with day and night, and with food.

The Doshas are defined as:Vata (airy element) characterized by properties of dry, cold, light, minute, and movement. All movement in the body is due to property of vata and in this treatment it is balanced by Brass. Pitta (fiery element) connected to hotness, moist, liquid, sharp and sour, its chief quality is heat. Kapha (watery element) is characterized by heaviness, cold, tenderness, softness, slowness, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients.

The main features of this treatment are rhythmic motions, prepping the skin with a microdermabrasion scrub, utilizing hydrating oils and creams, to produce more balance and vitality.The feet, hands and neck are also addressed as well at specific points of energy on the body.

During the massage the ‘monkey mind’ may be racing with all kinds of thoughts. Calming the nervous system can be the first sign indicating the effectiveness of the treatment which can be palpable. As a journalist, one may tend to interview the practitioner while getting the treatment and it is advisable to make sure not to talk all the way through! After asking a few questions at the beginning, the masseuse can remind one to stop and became mindful of their thoughts.

Allowing oneself to become immersed in the rhythmic flow of the massage, noticing the treatment flying by, becoming relaxed and letting go of all the minutiae. It seems as if whenever one lets go and releases the tension, time flies quickly, while experiencing the peaceful and healing effects. However the 80 minute treatment felt as if it was over in a flash!

If you are seeking a new kind of spa experience and haven’t tried any Ayurvedic treatments, you may find that this will become a preference. The combination of the oils befitting your condition, while first doing the microdermabrasion to slough off dead skin and the rhythmic massage is just what the ‘doctor’ ordered. Next time you are thinking of a gift for yourself or your loved ones, this may be the ticket!