One of my first, and favorite accounts in Manhattan was (and is again!) Ajune Medical Spa. I worked with them for many years, and was so sad when they closed their Third Avenue location. Nothing could have made me happier earlier this year when Dana Romita, the owner of Ajune Medical Spa, reached back out to me to say she was reopening her spa, and wanted to work with me and Alchimie again. Somehow we had managed to stay on each other’s radar in large part thanks to social media. We met at the Nespresso Boutique on Madison to reconnect, strategize, and catch up.
AP: What city were you born in? DR: I was born in Miami, FL.
AP: What city to do you live in? DR: I live in Cresskill, NJ.
AP: What is your astrological sign? DR: I am all Pisces – a water girl through and through.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? DR: I am definitely not a creature of habit and tend to be a little unpredictable, ergo, I don’t think that much that I do ever surprises anyone. There are a few things that people may not know about me. I am actually a very spiritual person. I keep this aspect of my personality mostly to myself, to the extent that many people may even assume just the opposite. I am claustrophobic, but in a very broad sense that I need to live near a coastline and large city. I am extremely sensitive to light and music in my surroundings, with both having a dramatic effect on my disposition. And, I have a bit of a fixation with music and clothing from the 1940’s.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? DR: Happiness – there is no substitute.
AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? DR: I avoid eating any processed foods. Following a Mediterranean type diet including olive oil, tons of vegetables, meats and fish is what works best for my children and me. If we do have baked goods in the house, they are typically ones that I have made from scratch. When you do your own cooking and baking, you have control over the quality of the ingredients. I don’t consume artificial sweeteners of any kind – they are chemicals and are not meant for your body. I drink unsweetened tea, copious amounts of water, and red wine.
AP: What do you do for exercise? DR: I ride my Peloton bike 2-3 times a week in between my 3 times a week training sessions which are based on high intensity interval training. My goal is fat-burning and cardio health. I always take the stairs and walk whenever possible. I play tennis and golf as times permits.
AP: What is your favorite thing to eat and drink? DR: Pasta, cheese, and great Italian red wine.
AP: Botox or not? DR: Not yet, but I am ready and willing. The trick is to keep it natural. No woman over 40 should have a completely smooth forehead that doesn’t move. We have truly lost touch with the concept of subtlety, and aging with grace and elegance in our society. A confident, elegant woman is so much more attractive than someone who looks like they are in miserable denial about who they are and are trying to become someone else.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? DR: I haven’t found the secret! What is most important is to be honest about the fact that you can’t do everything perfectly all the time. Something’s got to give every now and then, and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to admit this and to ASK FOR HELP! At this point in time, my family has been the priority, but I am sure the balance will shift again soon.
AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? DR: I only fly about 25,000 miles a year. I don’t travel excessively for business.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? DR: When I do fly, I sleep through most of the flight regardless of the timing (you can never get too much sleep), avoid any alcohol or salt, and drink as much water as possible. I carry a Ziploc bag full of face/eye cream samples that I’ve received and apply them several times during the flight. I always travel with a large cotton scarf that I have sprayed with my favorite perfume; I wrap it around myself when the airplane environment becomes less than pleasant J
AP: What is your worst pet peeve? DR: My biggest pet peeves are ingratitude, righteousness, cheapness, and coarse manners.
AP: What professional beauty/fitness/wellness experts do you have on your speed dial. DR: Olga Khaybullina at Ajune. She is the only person I will allow to touch my eyebrows or face.
AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? DR: I am early riser, no matter how late I have gone to bed the night before, normally around 6:30am. I am the quintessential morning person, at my most productive before 4pm and completely useless after 9pm, unless I’m on the dance floor! I try to get at least 7 hours a night of sleep, but sometimes life gets in the way.
AP: Who is your mentor? DR: I often yearn for a mentor. I have many strong, special people in my life from whom I learned a great deal; but I have no specific person who is all-inspiring. I am still looking…
AP: What is your skincare routine (products, facialists, etc)? DR: I base my skin care routine on what I see in the mirror each day. I tend to have dry skin and am not averse to putting oils on my face or any other aggressive means of hydrating. I don’t over exfoliate or scrub my skin; my focus is more on keeping it hydrated and healthy, not irritating it. I don’t over-wash my face and really do just the minimum to remove makeup and effects of the day.
When I do receive a facial, Olga customizes a protocol for me, which is a combination of Microermabrasion, a lactic acid peel and dermaplaning. It is superb and has miraculous results!
As far as products, I use Neutrogena makeup removing wipes; Alchimie Kantic+ Intensely nourishing cream and their Tightening eye contour gel. I change my makeup often, but am consistent about choosing products with an SPF. And I am obsessively conscientious about wearing sunglasses; it’s the best way to protect the delicate skin about the eyes.
AP: What do you do to relax? DR: My choice for relaxation depends on the day and/or source of the stress. Most often, I will ride my peloton, sit quietly and read, or go to a museum by myself. My two ‘happy places’ are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and any beach I can find. Being surrounded by art and history or being near the ocean are both extremely healing for me.
AP: Quote to live by. DR: I have three… “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ” “Forgiveness might make us look weak, but the weakest person is the one who holds anger, hatred and revenge. ” And “CARPE DIEM.”
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. DR: Go for it! Accept no limitations, forge your own path, but always be kind…
AP: Describe your dream day. DR: Any day spent with my children that at the end they would say, “that was the best day ever! Thank you, Mommy.”
AP: What makes you feel beautiful? DR: Being in love and loved in return.