Big Apple highlights

I spend a lot of time in NYC. Every 6-8 weeks, I take the train from DC (usually train 180 leaving at 5:20am) and spend two or three days working in the Big Apple. While I could never live here, there are some unique places that make this city truly glorious. Here is where you might find me on any given day in New York City, in between client and press meetings.

My friend Trisala’s apartment in Tribeca. We have known each other since we were 12, could talk for hours on end, and her home-cooked meals are to die for.

SoulCycle Tribeca. To work off said home-cooked meals.  

Edward’s. Also in Tribeca. My favorite place to catch up on emails (free and fast WiFi) with a glass of wine (they serve it European style, in tall “water” glasses) or have apéro with a friend. The terrace is a delight in the summer, the bar is a delight year-round.

Felidia or Il Bucco for the best Italian dinner in the city. I have a sentimental attachment to Felidia, but my Italian father would tell you to head to Il Bucco instead.

You have your choice of amazing museums, but my go-to if I need to clear my head, be inspired, is the Guggenheim. The space itself is like a work of art and usually has me thinking in a different direction by the time I leave. Another wonderful museum, a little more off the beaten track of the “classics” (The Met, MoMa, Whitney, etc) is the Neue Galerie, which was co-founded by Ronald S. Lauder.  

The Highline. This repurposed railway space (almost 1.5 miles long) was inspired by a similar project in Paris (Promenade plantée) and is truly peaceful, regardless of the weather or the crowds.

Heyday. A trip to New York City is not complete without a facial at one of five Heyday locations. Sprinkled throughout the city’s various neighborhoods for convenience, this is the perfect place to get your skin in order and learn about home care and products  (and yes, Alchimie Forever is featured at Heyday).

Julien Farel Restore Salon. Inside the Loews Regency Hotel, this is my favorite spot for the perfect blow-dry. And if I’m lucky, I’ll run into the uber-glamorous Suelyn Farel (CEO of Julien Farel the company, wife of Julien Farel the man).

You may be surprised that there are no stores on this list… Indeed, I am not a shopper. But if I happen to walk by ABC Home I can’t not go in (amazing for gifts). And I feel the same about any beauty boutique

Beating Burnout

Burnout. This could be a four-letter word. While I have never spent time thinking about what this word really means, I think I have come close to burnout twice in the last 5 years. Is that good or bad? I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that for me, Dana Campbell’s (CEO of Optimize Corps) talk on burnout earlier this week at the Women in Wellness Leadership conference was the highlight of the day.

She defined the symptoms: to be burnt out, you need to have 2 of the following 3:

  • Exhaustion
  • Cynicism
  • Inefficacy

She reminded us that we contribute to our own burnout, with the following:

  • Incorrectly defining success (we should all have our own, genuine definition of what success means, beyond “keeping up with the Joneses”)
  • Celebrating busyness (I gave up the word “busy” for Lent one year, I think I should give it up altogether).
  • Striving for perfection
  • Allowing ourselves to be distracted from our goals and purpose
  • Multi-tasking

She made us rank ourselves from 1-5 (1 being great, 5 being abysmal) about how we feel on the following parameters:

  • Workload (how overworked are we really?)
  • Control (burnout feelings increase when we feel out of control)
  • Values (are our businesses’ values in line with our own?)
  • Fairness (how fair is our work or family environment)
  • Reward and recognition (are we being recognized for our efforts, at work and at home?)
  • Community (apparently the #1 thing people need at work is a best friend – how do we feel about our work community?)

(If you are all 4s or 5s, you are in or close to burnout).

So how do we beat burnout? By being resilient: by having the skill and capacity to be robust under conditions of enormous stress and change. She reminded us of a truth we probably all know – that avoiding stress or change is not a strategy. She also reminded us that resilience is like a muscle – it can be trained, it can become stronger.

How do you train for resilience?

  • You create white space. Give yourself time. Silence. Unscheduled moments. Alone time.
  • You objectively face reality. Objectively and calmly. Not with the anxiety blinders on.
  • You find meaning in suffering.
  • You fill your tanks. Whether that is through sleep, exercise, time alone.
  • You claim your truth. You identify what is most important to you, what you are great at, what you need.
  • You see possibilities where others don’t. Instead of focusing on the problem, open your mind to solutions.

Thank you, Dana, and thank you Julie Keller of American Spa for putting on this conference, and for finding such amazing speakers.

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Heyday Bliss

After working with Heyday for the last few years – since before co-founders Adam and Michael opened their first facial shop in New York’s NOMAD neighborhood (they now have 5 locations in Manhattan), I finally made the time to experience one of their facials (yes, this is my first facial of 2018… the cobbler’s daughter and all).

I experienced a 50-minute treatment by the fabulous Jenna who has magical hands. She gently approved of my appointment, saying that indeed it was time for my skin to have a “reset” and that extractions were “necessary” (I loved how she didn’t say “overdue.”).

If you have not yet been to Heyday, they are not a “traditional spa” but rather a “facial shop”. What you will not find at Heyday are no dimly lit rooms, robes, silence, spa music. Instead, the space is open, with movable “walls” made of fabric. The space is well-lit (“Doesn’t it help for me to really see your skin?”, Jenna asks with a smile), and sound travels – which is actually delightful. Looking at the space, I could tell there would be no silence. What I couldn’t experience until lying there was how lovely it is to hear unintelligible chatter from the front area or other “rooms” – it sounds casual, fun, happy (I heard laughter a few times). And the music is amazing – great current tunes (apparently Heyday has a Spotify channel).

Beyond the environment, the facial was one of the best I have experienced. I don’t trust my face to many other than my father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, or the therapists at Forever Institut – but I will absolutely come back to Jenna and will happily recommend Heyday to anyone asking.

She started by measuring my hydration levels (not surprisingly given my travel schedule, my skin needs more moisture). She then proceeded to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, massage, and hydrate, using a blend of products – Alchimie Forever, Naturopathica, Image, and Shaffali, an ayurvedic brand that is new to me. The blend of products was chosen specifically for my skin and created not only immediate results, but also an amazing sensorial experienced. My favorite part of the treatment was Jenna’s massage, which she did with a mixture of Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening moisture mask and Naturopathica Carrot oil, pre-extractions. In effect, as she explained, the massage will soften the skin and make it more malleable, hence the extractions easier to perform. And they were indeed painless. She then used a micro-current machine to help serums penetrate deeper into the skin, and applied multiple masks (for different areas of my face, as my T-zone needed purifying and my cheeks needed moisturizing) before sending me on my way.

I left glowing, without a mark on my face – and photos to prove it. (If you haven’t ever experienced a facial because you think you will leave with blotchy skin, please think again).

I can’t wait for the next Heyday training, which will once again end with a treatment!

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Immediately Post Treatment