Sisters = Antioxidants

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules, minimizing the production of free radicals, and thus protecting cells. Antioxidants = anti-aging, antioxidants both prevent and correct signs of (skin) aging. They are at the core of my skin care brand, Alchimie Forever. We use both plant antioxidants (such as blueberries, rosemary, red clover), and synthetic antioxidants (such as vitamin E, vitamin C). We always combine antioxidants in our formulations, because they have synergies. Some prevent the formation of free radicals, some neutralize existing antioxidants, some protect and potentiate other antioxidants. Indeed, in the world of antioxidants, 1+1 = 3, 3+3 = 10, and so on. This is the power of synergy. This is the power of the whole being greater than the parts. 

Over the past ten days, I have realized that sisters are like antioxidants. In the world of sisters, 1+1+1+1 is not equal to 4. Instead, 1+1+1+1 = 10. Or more. Or infinity. We, together, the four Polla sisters, are greater together than our individual parts. We are stronger together. We are smarter together. We are funnier together. We bring out the best in each other. We protect each other. Antioxidants work to prevent and correct signs of skin aging. When we are together, we prevent and correct signs of (our) life aging. I feel more youthful, more childlike than I have all year. (And my first Botox of 2020 is not until tomorrow). 

Merci mes soeurs.

July First Musings

July 1. New month. New quarter. 2nd half of 2020. 183rd day of the year, 183 days to go. Today, I choose to celebrate. celebrate. I have once and for all put to rest all of my grand 2020 plans (made pre-COVID-19), I have once and for all accepted that this current reality is indeed the new normal and will be for quite some time. Today, I choose to celebrate. 

I celebrate the first half of the year.  

  • My family and I are alive and healthy. 
  • My Mom got COVID-19 and beat it. 
  • I have spent 107 days and nights in a row with my husband and we are more in love than ever. 
  • I am still in business.  
  • I work in an industry that will never go away and that makes people not only look better, but also feel better. 
  • I did not lay off or furlough anyone on my Alchimie team. 
  • I became a cat mom. 

Today, I also choose to focus on all that I have to look forward to in the second half of 2020.  

  • My sister Rachel’s wedding (praying to the travel gods).
  • Botox at Forever Institut (praying to the travel gods).
  • A couple of weeks in Tinos, Greece (praying to the travel gods). 
  • Hamilton on Disney Plus
  • The elections. 
  • Quiet dinners at home with my husband and cat babies. 
  • Quiet dinners out in those places that are excelling at safety measures and social distancing (including Bourbon Steak and Peacock Café
  • Getting back out in the field. 
  • And, I am sure, many (hopefully good) surprises…   

 Here’s to the second half of 2020! 

Lockdown Numbers

I love numbers. And putting these numbers down on paper was an interesting exercise… 

Number of days sheltering in place (technically in two places): 83

Number of days without airplane travel: 88

Number of scheduled trips cancelled: 14

Number of road trips back and forth between Louisiana and DC: 3 

Number of days since last Alchimie client visit: 87

Number of Zoom meetings: too many to count 

Number of virtual book clubs: 2 

Number of books read: 5 

Number of email newsletters unsubscribed from: 19 

Number of kittens adopted: 2

Number of pounds gained: 0 

Number of Botox appointments: 0 

Number of consecutive days and nights with my husband: 88

*Inspired by my very smart friend Marc Ross!

Digital Detox and/or Botox?

For 13 years, I have been a member and supporter of the International Spa Association (ISPA) (it is, after all, where I met my husband). I was thrilled to be invited to attend the East Coast ISPA Media Event (I’m late to the party – this week’s was ISPA’s 22nd – but who’s counting?). This annual event showcases some of the most innovative brands and trends in the spa industry.

I looked forward to the train ride (DC-NYC) all morning. The Quiet Car is a luxury to me – one of the few public areas where silence reigns. The silence and the rhythm of the train relaxes me, quiets my mind.

I was still thinking about that when I walked into Gotham Hall and started making my way through the crowd. Somehow the Universe (or was it Lynne McNees?) guided me to the SolTec Lounge, where I experienced something strangely similar yet much more luxurious than the Amtrak Quiet Car. It is a lounge chair like many found in spas – except it is not. The fiber glass base looks like it belongs in a space ship. The feel of the vinyl is like velvet. The curvature of the chair fits my body perfectly. Nestled in the chair, I happily accepted earphones, and was told to close my eyes and let go of my thoughts, let go of my stress. As if (do you know me?). My thoughts stayed with me, but I could see how the vibrations (train, anyone?), synchronized to the monotonous and repetitive music that layers water sounds, chants, and a beat, could indeed help my brain chill out. Dan Cohen, the founder and neurologist, chuckled knowingly when I told him I wanted one in my home. I just hope a DC-area spa invests in these very promptly.  

Still thinking about the need for relaxation, for quiet, and how our brains are so wired that we need assistance (like that provided by the SolTec Lounge) to disconnect, I found myself in the Mandarin Oriental area. Osa Mallo, the Spa Director of Mandarin Oriental Miami invited me to take a Digital Wellness Health Quiz. A what? For the first time in my life, I got an F. Apparently, I am too plugged in and need to bring mindfulness to my technology use. She immediately made me feel better – “you are not the only one with a score above 10,” she said with kindness. This is why the Mandarin Oriental is launching their Digital Wellness Consultations and Digital Wellness Detox Treatments. Guests are asked to surrender their phones as they walk into the spa (Osa smiles at the look of panic in my eyes as she says this). They are invited to enjoy digital-free activities in the lounge, such as reading and coloring. Their phones are cleaned while the guest enjoys their spa treatment. I kind of want to try this, and I kind of don’t.

As I walk from Gotham Hall back to Penn Station, to take the train back to DC, once again looking forward to the Quiet Car, I wonder about the duality of my wishes and expectations. How do I combine my desire for constant connection and my fantasy of spending three hours in the SolTec Lounge? How do I reconcile my love of Botox and my attraction to the Digital Detox?


Pictured here with Lynne McNess (President of ISPA)