Champagne makes me happy… today and every day

There is a running joke in my family that the Pollas have champagne running through our veins instead of blood. That would be something we inherited from my mother’s side of the family. Indeed, since I can remember as a little girl, champagne has always been her drink of choice, in the non-traditional form of a “piscine” (literally, “swimming pool”), meaning champagne served in a large cabernet wineglass with lots of ice cubes.

I, personally, prefer champagne served the traditional way, without ice, in a long flute. To many, in particular here in the US, champagne is something to reserve for very special occasions, such as a wedding, New Year’s Eve, maybe Valentine’s day. In the Polla household (in Geneva, growing up, and now in Georgetown and New Orleans), champagne is something to have as frequently as others might have wine. Indeed, Mom always said “don’t wait to have something special to celebrate to drink champagne, or indeed you might not ever drink it!”

The sound of the cork, the beautiful bubbles, the golden (or pink) color, even the glasses used to drink it, everything about champagne makes me happy. I collect champagne flutes (I only like to have two of the same; I am not one to have a set of 12). I collect champagne corks (with the date and occasion written on them when a special occasion is to be remembered). I once started collecting “special occasion” champagne bottles, until my husband suggested that collection was taking up too much space.

While my very favorite champagne is Champagne Drappier, from a boutique French vineyard, still relatively hard to find stateside, my go-to is Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label, and my favorite pink champagne is Veuve Cliquot Rosé. I love everything about this brand – the history, that Madame Cliquot (the widow) took over the running of the business in 1805, that the company is now owned by LVMH, that its former CEO Mireille Guiliano wrote “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” and that Veuve Cliquot every year honors a woman in business with the “Business Woman Award.”

Not that I need an excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly, but Le Figaro Magazine (a French publication, of course) this past November did a story on the health benefits of champagne, recognized as early as the 18th century to help with digestion, have anti-aging benefits, have antiseptic properties, and, most importantly, “cure black thoughts” (Le Figaro Magazine, November 30, 2012, pages 118-120).

On that note, it is almost time to have a mimosa to celebrate the end of 2012, and the impending start of a New Year. After all, the NPR team had champagne earlier this morning on air while doing a story on this very topic… so it must be 5 o’clock somewhere!

BeautyView: Damone Roberts, Eyebrow Guru

Today, I am making two exceptions to my rules about who I interview for my BeautyViews… First, Damone is a man. Second, I actually have never had the pleasure of meeting him. Why, might you ask, is he this week’s subject of a BeautyView? First, I am obsessed with eyebrows and eyebrow gurus. Second, my BFF and business partner Catherine told me that he is the one responsible for making her eyebrows become “eyebrows.” Enough said. (Oh, and he wants to go to dinner with Diana Ross!).

AP: What city were you born in? DR: Long Beach, CA.

AP: What city do you live in? DR: Beverly Hills, CA.

AP: What is your middle name? DR: Anthony.

AP: What is your astrological sign? DR: Pisces.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? DR: Showing people how to become the BEST version of who they are.

AP: Least favorite thing? DR: People coming in with the intention of looking like someone else.

AP: What is your most prized possession? DR: My dog Franswaa!

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? DR: I love watching old TV shows. Give me an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock presents” or “Murder She Wrote” any day.

AP: Do you wear a watch? AP: If yes, what model? DR: Yes, a Rolex.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? DR: Diana Ross, to ask how is it she has always been and still remains so damn fabulous!

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? DR: I try to spend and hour each morning alone and doing something to fill my spirit. That can be a hike, bike ride, walk, etc.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? DR: 1. A fabulous pair of jeans to change up from day to evening. 2. A nice scarf to wrap around your nose and mouth on the plane, to protect you from germs, and also around your shoulders if it gets a bit chilly. 3. Lastly, some healthy snack such as almonds or popcorn (I’m obsessed with Skinny Pop) to munch on, avoiding all the unhealthy options that present themselves when you are hungry and on the go.

AP: What is your favorite book? DR: The Four Agreements has changed my life!

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? DR: I am a red wine kind of guy and I love Opus One.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? DR: The right brows can take 10 years, or 10 pounds, off anyone’s appearance. They are the single most important, underestimated feature of the face!

AP: What fragrance do you wear? DR: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb!

AP: Botox or not? DR: I’m not afraid of a little injection here and there from time to time…

AP: Hair color: natural or not? DR: Depends on the individual. I’ve seen some fabulous color that has been man-made.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. DR: “Losing you” by Solange, “Wildfire” by SBTRKT featuring Little Dragon, and “Do you wanna funk” by Sylvester!

AP: Quote to live by? DR: “When a person shows who they are, believe them the first time!”

AP: Who is your mentor? DR: I admire the careers of Tom Ford, Martha Stewart, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey and Lady GaGa! They are all brands who have remained consistent. You will never catch Lady GaGa in a drugstore, wearing a baseball cap & sneakers. She is ALWAYS Lady GaGa!

AP: Words of advice for people starting their careers today. DR: Stay focused on your goal, and be prepared to fall a few times, we all do. The only ones who make it, are the ones that keep getting back up.

Beauty industry trends for 2013

The holiday season is not only a time for holiday parties. It is also a time for goal-setting and strategizing, for thinking about the year ahead. It is the time to close one chapter, and open a new one. What will the beauty industry be remembered for in 2012? Top of mind might be the BB cream craze, a few significant M&A transactions—including Markwins’ recent purchase of Physicians Formula and the back and forth between potential acquisition participants Avon and Coty—and the industry’s continued focus on sustainable products and production.

But what does 2013—and the future—hold? Cathy Christensen of Skin Inc recently released her 2013 trend report. Susie Ellis of SpaFinder released a sneak peak of her top 10 spa and wellness trends.

To further help me think about next year, and plan strategically, I asked some of my most trusted industry experts to weigh in on the question. Here is what they had to say. (You can also read this and more on the GCI Magazine website).

“I see several significant trends for 2013. First, DIY. We are continuing to see DIY dermatology treatments at home (the continued growth of Clarisonic is a perfect example).  Whether it is glycolic peels, hyaluronic acid treatments, or tools, tools and more tools – sometimes clients are too busy to make it to the dermatologist and want the intense treatment at home. For example, we are testing an interesting electronic hyaluronic filler patch system. Second, I also expect a return to intensive, active body treatments. While this market fell apart somewhat with the recession, as consumers weren’t willing to invest in the category, I see this as a significant growth opportunity.” Marla Malcolm Beck, Founder Bluemercury and M-61 Skincare

“Although difficult to pin down only one trend, it is clear that the focus on nail care will continue into  2013.  With the gel business booming, nail products should continue to shine in 2013. Nail color is an easy and inexpensive pick-me-up in a difficult economy, which will help that sector stay strong.  We will continue to see new sassy colors and designs from the leading brands.” Jill Birkett, Brand Director, HBA Global

“The beauty  industry continues to introduce diverse and innovative concepts seasonally. Off the runways, we see bright colors, bold brows and the ever-growing nail category for 2013. For me, these trends are important as they continue to drive modernization and dictate growth. For our members that means they expect information and knowledge on where our industry is headed in order for their portion of success to continue to grow.  Continuing to raise the bar!  Pamela Jo Busiek, President and CEO, ICMAD

“Some of the most interesting developments I see happening in our industry for 2013 include: 1. Farm to Spa Table: While this is certainly something that is already happening at some spas (St. Regis Aspen has a very cool version), I think it’s a movement that has legs and is a unique take on the green spa movement. 2. With the continued development of UV gels and other technology (magnetic manicures, etc) in nailcare, the “nails-as-art” trend will continue to thrive. 3. Finally, the prenatal and teen/kid spa market also seems to be experiencing growth with targeted spas, treatment menus, and products that are specialized for these particular niches.” Julie Keller Callaghan, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, American Spa

“Although each year in the new economy is full of its share of twists and turns, 2013 may go down in history as a turning-point year in the beauty industry. Challenges are still many as those who survived the economic crisis are navigating their way in this brave new world; however, things are generally looking up. Beauty brands should be taking this opportunity to look at the lessons of the past and apply them to the future of the industry, which will be focused on how beauty and wellness combine progressively; how to provide consumers with the results they are seeking through the use of quick, multifunctional methods and products; meeting the needs of the savvy consumer who wants products with active ingredients and low prices; and always staying on the cusp of consumer demand.” Cathy Christensen, Senior Editor, Skin Inc. Magazine


“For 2013, I believe that the therapeutic benefits of skin care and facial treatments will begin to be more understood. In the past 10 years, we have seen millions of Americans exploring massage and bodywork to help them manage chronic physical conditions, decrease pain and stress, and increase flexibility and quality of life. Spa modalities like massage and bodywork have moved out of the luxury category and into the “needed” category as more folks take control of their own health and overall wellness. In the coming years, the spa industry will see more consumers seeking out skin care services for therapeutic reasons, not just to pamper themselves.” CG Funk, Vice President of Industry Relations & Product Development, Massage Envy and Spa

“I’m expecting natural BB Creams (or CC Creams) and more products that multitask and combine aspects of skin care and makeup to be a significant trend in 2013.” Melisse Gelula, Co-founder, Well+Good

“In what has become a hyper visual and technological environment, there will be a trend toward tactility.  While consumers will continue to digitize their lives and engage with brands online and on social platforms, there is a heightened desire for sensory experiences that can really only be articulated in a retail environment.” Kelly Kovack, Partner, Brand Growth Management

“As the farm to fork movement continues to grow in popularity, the International SPA Association is seeing an increase in our members partnering with local farmers or growers to enhance the spa experience, either through ambiance and décor, food menu items, skin-care products or treatments.” Lynne McNees, President, International Spa Association

“The trends for 2013 I expect are: 1. A continued increase in male participation in the beauty and wellness market. 2. I expect spa prices to continue to decrease. We are seeing an increased resistance from consumers to prices higher than $100 for any one hour spa treatment. 3. In Mexico, most inclusive resorts and hotels are now including in their room rates a $100+ spa credit, illustrating that many spas are moving from a revenue concept to a service concept, in order to maintain hotel occupancy high.”  Diana F. Mestre, Owner & Director, Mestre & Mestre Spa Consulting (Mexico)

“In the salon industry, I expect to see a significant increase demand for and acceptance of hair extension. This year will see extensions cross the over from the 20-somethings to women in their thirties and above who want more, and thicker hair. We will start to see hair extensions aimed more towards volume than length.” Edwin Neill, CEO, Neill Corporation

“For 2013, slowing down to take care of our self and our loved ones will be a major trend. The values of the slow food movement will influence all aspects of our lives, especially how we approach our beauty, health and wellness. Specifically, I see meditation becoming a go to resource to help us mitigate stress. With recent studies being released on the benefits of meditation, more and more of us realize that a regular mediation practice is an excellent resource to slow down the aging process. In terms of color, people will gravitate towards calming shades. Although we will see more common shades of pinks and neutrals, there will be surprising pastel-like hues in blue and green that people will find soothing and relaxing for Spring.” Shel Pink, Founder & CEO, SpaRitual

“I expect to see further developments in medical devices for the shaping of the silhouette. Zeltiq pioneered the development of cryolipolysis, a concept that other manufacturers are now embracing. As always, this competition within the marketplace is leading to new developments and improvements in the devices offered, and thus in the results we can give our patients.” Dr. Luigi L. Polla, Founder, Forever Laser Institut and Alchimie Forever (Switzerland)

“I think, a significant trend in the beauty industry will be products that provide spa, salon & in-office results in-store at a mass retail level with comparable results. The average consumer is becoming much more educated in her knowledge of ingredients and what she are looking for, so the market will adapt to give them more efficacious products in store at a mass retail value.” Alexandra Gonzalez Repetto, Beauty Assistant, REAL SIMPLE

“Non-invasive anti-aging solutions are a major trend that will continue into the year 2013. Consumers seem to seek innovative products that provide multifunctional benefits. Therefore the extension of BB creams and CC creams are expected to continue with major brands addressing these consumer demands by developing all in one skin care solutions. The development of different at-home sonic and light devices are of growing interest to many. With many people living the fast paced lifestyle consumers are drawn to more simplicity and how they can enhance their at-home treatments. Leading peptides, retinol and skin brightening ingredients will remain a constant through the next year for reducing the signs of aging as well. The search for more natural and organic products continues due to increased consumer awareness about sustainability. The focus of skincare products has changed because the spotlight has been placed on what products do not contain rather than the exceptional ingredients they do contain.” Gogi Sangha, President and CEO, G.S Cosmeceutical USA, Inc.

A special thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to share their 2013 expectations with me for this post.

BeautyView: Anna Bjurstam, CEO of Raison d'Etre

I have admired Anna Bjurstam, CEO of Raison d’Etre, from afar for a couple of years now, mostly through her presentations at the Global Spa and Wellness Summits. How lucky did I feel during the last GSWS when we were seated at the same dinner table… (I am sure you have heard me say such a thing before; indeed, I really think I should attend more industry dinners…) We hit it off immediately, and my admiration grew when I realized that she travels more than I do! She has since already made a couple of important introductions for me, which I am grateful for. And as always, I am even more grateful to learn from her. Her “strict personal rule” about when to read emails is something I may have to implement… and her recommendation to focus on doing the right things instead of doing things right will be my inspiration for today…

AP: What city were you born in? AB: Gothenburg, Sweden.

AP: What city to do you live in? AB: Stockholm, Sweden.

AP: What is your middle name? AB: Margareta.

AP: What is your astrological sign? AB: Gemini.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? AB: It works!

AP: Least favorite thing. AB: The gimmicks and false promises.

AP: What is your most prized possession?  AB: Our house, which is my sanctuary.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? AB: I have worked with healing in almost everything I do for the past 15 years.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? AB: No. I used to have an Omega which I loved, but about a year ago I left it in the robe pocket in a spa and I am still punishing myself about it by not buying one as it was so terribly clumsy.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? AB: Both.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? AB: Robin Sharma.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? AB: Meditation, very strict personal rules about when to read e-mails, and to be home every day to eat dinner with my children if I am not traveling.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? AB: 1. When going to another time zone, set your watch (if you have one) and program your brain when you get on the plane of the time zone you are going to, this way you program your body to not be jet lagged. 2. No naps during the day! And get a massage or workout to get circulation going when you land. 3. Treat yourself to something special (chocolate, shopping, a glass of wine, a massage), which will make traveling enjoyable.

AP: What is your favorite book? AB: There are so many….. I have just read Biology of Belief which was very good, and I also loved Steve Jobs’ biography, which was very inspiring.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? AB: A Mojito.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? AB: Natural products (chemicals age cells faster).

AP: What fragrance do you wear? AB: Sama (natural perfume) at the moment.

AP: Botox or not? AB: Not, there are so many other alternatives.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? AB: Not, but I am currently using natural colors instead of chemicals.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. AB: I am not my hair by India Ari, Valerie by Amy Winehouse, and Save the world by Swedish House Mafia.

AP: Quote to live by. AB: “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree I would start with sharpening my ax for 6 hours” by Abraham Lincoln.

AP: Who is your mentor? AB: I am in between personal mentors at the moment, but will sign up with Anders Erikson (very good Swedish one). I am also a fan of Robin Sharma and try to read or listen to something from him at least a couple of times a week.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. AB: My favorite quote above. Also, give yourself time to think and to polish your strategy. Don’t focus on doing things right, but rather on doing the right things. And never write anything on e-mail that you do not want to have on the first page of the daily newspaper (i.e. be careful with emails!).

The perfect gift for everyone on my list

Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, I could not help but do some holiday shopping this weekend. Here are some of the items on my gift list, to help you get started and find the perfect gift for that special someone.

For my mother, a “Feu de Bois” candle by Diptyque is always a winner.

For my sisters, I love the Beaded Pearl Bracelets, in all of the colors they come in, silver, gold, black and aqua, an exclusive design at Simply Soles.

For the many young children in my life I found great gifts on PsychoBabyOnline… including pink ear muffs for my niece and god daughter, and a great Hero Beanie hat for my nephew and god son.

For my best friend who has everything, I am getting a Roarke necklace, truly a “statement accessory.”

For our Alchimie holiday lunch, during which we will be playing “white elephant,” these ornaments are just too cute!

For my husband, well, I can’t say as I know he reads my blog. And I am still at a loss as to what to get my father, so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

And for the few people whom I still need to shop for, I cannot wait for Saturday to see the 50 “perfect presents” by 24 fabulous designers that came out of the partnership between Target and Neiman Marcus.

BeautyView: Julie Keller Callaghan, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, American Spa


It is rare at a magazine to have one person be both an amazing publisher and an amazing editor-in-chief, but somehow Julie Keller Callaghan of American Spa manages to be just that. And she does it while looking absolutely stunning. I love our frequent get togethers, and always learn something from her, be it about the latest spa opening, a new treatment, or an important trend to watch for in the coming year (she is predicting developments in the farm to table movement and in the teen / pregnant segments of our industry for 2013). And now, I know she has 40+ cousins!

AP: What city were you born in? JKC: Hartford, CT.

AP: What city to do you live in? JKC: New York City.

AP: What is your middle name? JKC: Anne, after my Mom.

AP: What is your astrological sign? JKC: Leo.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? JKC: I love the passion. People in this business love what they do. It’s also a nice business filled with genuinely kind people. I think that is rare, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

AP: Least favorite thing. JKC: I wish that our industry had a more formalized, official regulation process or organization when it comes to vetting products and ingredients for efficacy and accuracy. I think it detracts from the industry as a whole when some of the “fluff” is billed as effective or legitimate simply because there isn’t really a regulating body.

AP: What is your most prized possession? JKC: My bulldog, Winston, and my two cats, Kitty and Havana. It’s actually a good thing I live in a New York City apartment. Otherwise, I fear (well, actually my husband fears) I would have about 20 pets. I love animals.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? JKC: I have an enormous family with more than 40 cousins, several second cousins, and 20-plus aunts and uncles. My mother is one of 12 and my father is one of 5 (yes, Irish Catholic on both sides). Amazingly, we all get along and have a blast together, which I know is also pretty unusual.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? JKC: I have a silver Gucci and a gold Coach that looks a bit like the very pricey Cartier Tank that I really want.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? JKC: Diamonds.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? JKC: My grandfather. He passed away a few years ago and remains to this day one of my favorite people in the world. Since I was a little girl, we could always talk for hours, and I miss him every single day.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? JKC: Well, I have to admit I don’t have much of a balance and tend to work too much, but I love what I do. So even when work is overwhelming, I am grateful to have a job and to be doing something I am passionate about.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? JKC: 1. Drink lots of water on the plane. 2. Dress in layers. 3. You never need as much as you think when it comes to packing (I am still struggling with this one).

AP: What is your favorite book? JKC: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? JKC: Pretty much any Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I’m not too picky.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? JKC: Although I’m always testing a lot of product lines, I am pretty religious about my beauty routine—twice a day, I use a cleanser, toner, serum, lotion and eye cream. So far, so good on the wrinkle front!

AP: What fragrance do you wear? JKC: Santa Maria Novella Iris. I visited the original pharmacy in Florence a few years ago, and I have been hooked ever since.

AP: Botox or not? JKC: Not, but not for any philosophical reasons. I just really hate needles, hence the pretty rigorous skincare routine.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? JKC: Well, my hair is about the same color it was when I started highlighting it in high school. But it’s been a while, so I’m pretty sure it’s much darker and most likely fairly grey in real life.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. JKC: I’ve been listening to a lot of Pandora lately, and my repeats seem to include Snow Patrol, Coldplay, and Mumford & Sons. But sometimes, I’ll just have an all-Madonna day, which always makes me happy.

AP: Quote to live by. JKC: Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff. I try to remind myself of this when I start to get really stressed.

AP: Who is your mentor? JKC: One of my first bosses, Julie Macdonald, was my editor at one of the first magazines I ever worked on. She was an incredible example of the type of woman I aspire to be—she’s a great editor, an excellent businesswoman, and a very kind person. It was wonderful to work for someone who was so smart, insightful, and supportive, and I try to emulate her today when working with my team.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. JKC: Integrity will always pay off in the long run, and there is no substitute for hard work and experience. So put in the hours, and be true to yourself. It will take you far.