Keep Calm…

Our Alchimie Forever marketing calendar says that April is the month of Calm. As in calm skin, and calm spirit.

Calm skin. April is National Rosacea Awareness month. Those who suffer from rosacea know this is the antithesis of calm. Red, angry, irritated, uncomfortable, are words that describe rosacea skin; calm is not. Helping to calm your skin looks like this:

  • Avoid triggers. These will vary somewhat individually: heat, alcohol, spice, and more.
  • Protect your skin. From the sun (always), but also from the cold and the wind.
  • Treat your skin gently. Avoid harsh products, cleansers and otherwise. Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients. Remember that less is more.
  • When all else fails, apply makeup to cover up the red. I so rarely recommend makeup other than for color… but sometimes it really is necessary.
  • Your dermatologist is your friend. Listen to his / her recommendations, follow his / her prescriptions, trust the expert.

Calm spirit. Is there a calm spirit month? This is the time of year when my spirit is the antithesis of calm. Tired, overwhelmed, irritated, uncomfortable, are words that describe an agitated spirit; calm is not. Helping to calm my spirit looks like this:

  • Avoid triggers. I know what mine are, I trust you know yours.
  • Protect my energy. Be more quiet. Spend more time in nature (as I write from the gardens of Salamander Resort & Spa).
  • Treat myself gently. Sleep more, drink less, exercise more. Cancel appointments (responsibly).
  • When all else fails, smile until I make it. A Saturday with absolutely zero commitments is 3 days away. Tinos is 64 days away…
  • My therapist is my friend. For me, that means my massage therapist… thank you Brian!

Calm – of skin and spirit!


BeautyView: Penny Kriel, Spa Director at Salamander Resort & Spa

Penny Kriel, Spa Director at Salamander Resort & Spa, does it all, and has it all. She has a high-powered job in the spa industry, is a founding member of the Washington Spa Alliance, is a wife, a mother of two, and a great, great friend. We used to get together for lunch or cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental (where she ran the spa for may years), and I now have the pleasure of having to drive down to the amazing Salamander Resort & Spa to see her. If you haven’t visited yet, the trip is well worth it, in particular if you have the chance to meet Penny for a Pear Martini…

AP: What city were you born in? PK: Boksburg, South Africa.

AP: What city to do you live in? PK: Haymarket, VA.

AP: What is your middle name? PK: Joan.

AP: What is your astrological sign? PK: Gemini… there are two sides to every story….

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? PK: That my first name is Penelope.

AP: What is your most prized possession?  PK: My children…. Didn’t realize you could love someone that much until I saw their little faces.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? PK: Ellen DeGeneres….. I really need a good laugh!!

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. PK: Elegant, timeless, and fun.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? PK: Yes. Which one depends on the day… today Bulova tomorrow maybe Swatch… aka watch addiction!

AP: Diamonds or pearls? PK: Diamonds.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? PK: Always moisturize…. Face, body, and hands!

AP: Botox or not? PK: Not. 

AP: Hair color: natural or not? PK: Not…. Love changing my hair with the seasons…

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? PK: I do not eat after 7pm and only eat organic animal protein if any.

AP: What do you do for exercise? PK: Yoga… Ashtanga is my favorite.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? PK: Organic Probiotic Yogurts, cheese, and white wine.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? PK: Pear Martini.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? PK: A good routine and don’t take work home.

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? PK: My husband travels most of the time so I don’t fly much, but when I do, it’s usually more than 18 hrs each way (back home mostly…).

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? PK: Stay hydrated (water and moisturizer), homeopathic spray or drops,  and a good neck pillow.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. PK: Al Green “Let’s Stay Together,” Pharrell Williams “Happy,” Paolo Nutini “New Shoes.”

AP: What book are you reading right now? PK: Yardsticks, Children in the Classroom by Chip Wood.

AP: Quote to live by. PK: “Be Yourself.  Everyone else is taken” – Oscar Wilde.

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? PK: People that chew gum with their mouth open… it drives me dilly!

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? PK: 6am and I usually sleep for 6.5-7 hours.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? PK: It’s hard to not write an essay on this question, but if I have to single something out it is that we are able to educate and introduce guests to some amazing products and treatments that will change how they look and feel.

AP: Least favorite thing. PK: I love it all….but if anything, possibly the intense tingling sensation you first get when having a TCA Peel.

AP: Who is your mentor? PK: Elizabeth Vita-Finzi, she was my Director of HR and then Resident Manager.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. PK: Always stay true to yourself and your values, be authentic! Love and enjoy what you do, it makes working long hours so much easier!

Washington Spa Alliance celebrates

While people may not think of DC as the Capital of Spa, and while indeed it probably is not (no matter how I try to argue the case!), last night was a great reminder of the spa and wellness forces in our greater area. We had our Washington Spa Alliance annual in-person board meeting yesterday during the day, followed by a member get-together at my new favorite place, The Capella DC.

Among the attendees of both meetings were represented such wellness entrepreneurs as one of the founders of the International Spa Association; the senior VP of spa operations and retail development of Red Door Spas; the spa manager of Salamander Resort and Spa, which is due to open in Middleburg in August; the president of Relax & Rejuvenate (a company based in Charlottesville that offers in-room treatment programs to hotels that do not have spas, including The Capella DC); a representative from WTS, based in Rockville, a company that manages many of the spas that you have probably been to, and more.

While we might not be the spa capital of the country, there certainly are some exciting developments happening in spa and wellness in this city… today and for the couple of years to come (Trump DC anyone?). It’s a great time to be in the spa and wellness industry in DC!