Let The Sunshine In!
After a fabulous weekend playing outside (I mean, how nice was our weather on Saturday?)…almost everyone was lamenting the presence of very interesting farmer’s tans. (Or “executive tans” as my friend Hakim likes to call them)
Despite my best sunscreen efforts, I’m rocking weird, oddly placed bright pink shapes, like a triangle at my neckline from my shirt collar, a random rectangle on my right arm, and so on… I’m a geometry class of sunburn.
You know what IS hot? A perfectly even, perfectly natural-looking and 100% organic and sun-free tan from RAW Organic Bronzing Studio in Inman Park.
Here’s the Q+DD on RAW: Founded by Melanoma survivor, Tiffany Terranova, Raw offers up a completely organic, all natural airbrush tanning experience. No harmful chemicals, no smelly formulas, and best of all – no cancer- and wrinkle causing rays.
Oh – and no judgments either. Even though Tiffany is this teeny tiny gorgeous willowy beauty, I felt 100% comfortable in my skivvys as she airbrushed me from Pasty McPasterson to bronzed goddess!
Here’s the other thing about Tiff – she’s a total perfectionist. I’ve been to her twice now and I have not had one streak, one smear, or one PIECE of my tan that didn’t look 100% natural. Swear. She won’t let you go too dark, either. (Tiff doesn’t shy away from “real talk.” Which I love. I need that in a hairdresser – I’d be platinum if someone didn’t stop me – and an airbrush tanner. No Cheetos skin hues here!)
At present, RAW is located inside the supercool loft in which Tiffany and her Hubs live, but it will be moving very soon to the space next to Wax on Elizabeth. I got the grand tour of the space…it’s going to be QUITE the tanning experience!
I love Tiffany’s whole philosophy – making tanning less of a production More natural, healthier for you, and affordable. She figures – if she can make tanning on par with a mani/pedi, we can make sunless tanning part of our regular beauty routine – not just special events. I mean, let’s be honest – who doesn’t feel better with a tan? Get bronzed at RAW for a mere $35 a pop. Amazing!
Fun bonus: Since her hubs is the co-owner of The Albert – Tiffany has access to an abundance of really cool wine bottles which she’s cutting and re-purposing as home-made candles and selling in her store. Check it:
You KNOW I had to take this one home with me:
If it isn’t apparent – I have a total girl crush on Tiffany. You’ll love her too. Call her up and go get your bronze on! Tell her the Q+DD sent ya!
Tags: ,Beauty is as beauty does., blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, careful cowboy!, healthy as heck, I'm just saying..., Moxie? We got it., No wrinkles please, Things that are awesome..., Things we love!, very important people, You Can Find Me in the A, Yowza.
The Ritz Carlton Holiday Experience.
My friend, Jessica Gorman, is flat out amazing. She is a concierge at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead, and has worked for the hotel in various positions for over six years. (They love her there.) Her job has always sounded pretty amazing to me. While the hours aren’t necessarily typical, the function she serves for the hotel + its guests is critical. She’s a lady who can get. things. done. Even her friends rely on her for it, as she’s very successfully planned + made sure that everything was perfect for several of their marriage proposals + bachelorette parties at various Ritz properties.
Jess regularly helps hotel guests decide where they want to go for dinner + make reservations, arrange for transportation, get their hands on theatre/ symphony/ various show tickets, plan a fun day in Atlanta, impress a significant other with thoughtful surprises, etc. She’s like your fairy godmother, but clad in a crisp Ritz Carlton uniform.
To help me better understand what she does day-to-day, Jess invited me to join her for the Ritz’s Holiday Sunday Brunch + an afternoon at the new Ritz Carlton Spa, Buckhead. (!!!)
Don’t mind if I do…
I’ve been to the Ritz’s Lobby Lounge a few times for drinks, but I’ve never been to the hotel during the holidays. It was like a Christmas explosion! You felt warm + festive the minute you set foot inside.
Jess set up the menorah + lit/ blessed the candles with a few guests throughout each night of Hanukkah!
The hotel’s engineers created this impressive holiday train set display.
The pastry chef whipped up this precious gingerbread house, which is stationed next to hot apple cider beside the hotel’s registration desk.
After spending a significant amount of time admiring the hotel’s luxurious holiday decorations, we made our way over to The Cafe to start putting some of that holiday cheer into our stomachs.
As anticipated, the brunch spread was absolutely unbelievable! Here’s a peek of a few of their over 50 brunch selections from traditional breakfast favorites to an array of seasonal desserts created by the hotel’s elite culinary team…
Everything looked + smelled DELICIOUS! I could hardly fit it all on one plate…and I tried. So, I went back for seconds. Here’s my first plate.
And, my second.
During brunch, Jess went into detail about her responsibilities at the hotel, and how she frequently collaborates with folks in various departments at the Ritz to ensure that their guests have a truly incredible experience. Meanwhile, The Cafe manager, Brian Willoughby, approached our table with a bubbling red martini filled with something very exciting-looking!
Jess had done some research + found out that my favorite alcoholic drink is an Aviation. She informed Brian before our brunch, and he worked with the bartenders to whip up the Ritz Carlton’s very own version of my fancy martini + surprised me with it! I was shocked! Jess does stuff like this every day for guests, but it made me feel like a SUPERSTAR!
We stayed at brunch for quite a while, chatting away + finishing up our delicious meal. On our way out of The Cafe, we walked through the Lobby Lounge, which was being set up for the hotel’s Holiday Afternoon Tea.
It’s one of the Ritz’s most popular traditions. Santa oversees the festivities, including musical entertainment + caroling by the Dickens Singers. It looked lovely.
Then, we ran into HIM!
He was a fantastic Santa! I just love the ones w/ real beards.
Finally, it was spa time. (My favorite time!) We headed upstairs to the hotel’s new spa + were pleasantly greeted by our treatment specialists who presented each of us with a very cute bag of organic dark chocolate-covered almonds.
They led us back to our respective treatment rooms where we were instructed to change into our robes + slippers and meet back up in a common area to relax + sip champagne. (There was not a doubt in my mind that Jess had arranged for this…)
And, again…don’t mind if I do!
Off of the Spa’s extensive Holiday Spa Treatment list, I selected the Cinnamon Vanilla Scrub: Indulge the senses with holiday aromas of vanilla and cinnamon along with brown sugar and honey to exfoliate and hydrate the skin. This experience leaves the skin incredibly silky and soft. Ninety minute service includes a full body massage.
Jess opted for the Warm Vanilla Bean Massage: Take some time out of the busy holiday season to relax and unwind with a customized massage filled with delicate notes of vanilla.
Both of us were in HEAVEN. The treatments were absolutely amazing! It was very, very difficult to leave when they were over – so instead, we went back to the common area + sat around for another hour chatting + sipping champagne. HEAVEN.
On the way out of the hotel, Jess walked me into the Gift Shop to show me what the hotel had to offer guests at a moment’s notice + I spotted my #1 favorite candle EVER – The Ritz’s Signature Pomegranate Citrus candle!
My first roommate in Atlanta had a few of these + used to burn them all the time. It is truly an outstanding candle + I always talk about how great it is to anyone associated with the hotel. However I didn’t get to oogle it for long, because Jess pulled me out of the Gift Shop to introduce me to two celebrities staying at the hotel…
These were the best-behaved dogs I’ve ever met! Definitely Ritz Carlton-quality. They were very popular, too, with a number of people getting in line for photos with them! (They handled the paparazzi very well…)
Sadly, it was time to leave. Our WONDERFUL day had come to a close.
OH – Did I mention that Jess arranged for me to get picked up + dropped off in Midtown by the spectacular chauffeur, Mr. Gary Weaver? Well, she did.
The license plate was my favorite…
RCMB #1 = Ritz Carlton Mercedes Benz #1
As we got into the car, Jess presented me with a bag full of incredibly thoughtful gifts from the hotel + Spa – one of which was the pomegranate candle! (This was just another example of the arrangements she makes for guests.) I was so excited about the candle + have been burning it at home all week long!
It was such a spectacular day. Thank you so much, Jess, for showing me the Ritz Carlton holiday experience! You are an incredible concierge + friend!
If you are a Ritz kind-of-person, I definitely suggest checking out the Spa’s holiday treatment list + visiting the hotel for their Holiday Sunday Brunch or Afternoon Tea! The hotel also offers a Children’s Nutcracker Tea, Christmas Eve Dinner, Christmas Day Brunch, Christmas Dinner, New Year’s Eve Dinner + New Year’s Day Brunch. Reservations are required, so book early!
FINALLY, this is my favorite thing I heard about during my day @ the hotel…
Give your child a personal visit from Santa! Overnight guests may surprise their child with an unexpected visit from Santa on selected evenings in December. Santa will knock on the guestroom door at a pre-set time, spend a couple of enchanting minutes with the child + leave a treat-filled stocking. Santa Tuck-ins are offered the evenings of December 11, 17 + 18 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. $50 per visit + includes a stocking. (Jess, of course, makes these arrangements.)
This really is the life. Made possible by your fabulous Ritz Carlton concierge, Jessica Gorman.
The Ritz Carlton – Buckhead
Jessica Gorman, Concierge
3434 Peachtree Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
Tags: ,blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-alcohol, brunch., clean plate club, day drinking, fancy pants, Festive, Gorms, holiday gift ideas, I'm just saying..., Ladies Who Lunch, LMR, More culture than frozen yogurt!, Moxie? We got it., see and be seen, Table for Two, Things that are awesome..., Things we love!, very important people, You Can Find Me in the A
Christopher Columbus of Beauty
Like dear ol’ Chris, I have been braving a few New Worlds of Beauty as of late and I’d like to share my findings with you!
As you might recall, I am a Keratin Believer. Please witness my previous post here. A wise woman named Mara once said to me after her own treatment, “Now I have more time to focus on world peace because I don’t have to wonder whether or not it’s going to be a good hair day. They are ALL good hair days.”
It’s the truth – the treatment is amazing. But the three days you spend as a Gremlin while this stuff works on your hair? Torture. So when Lindsay informed me that her salon, Mint, was offering a Keratin treatment which required a reduced amount of time for the product to set in, you better believe I was all about it. I figured, any second I could shave off that process would be a vast improvement!
I was outrageously and pleasantly suprised when I called in and discovered they have also very recently started to offer the Brazilian Blowout, which is 100% complete when you walk out of the salon, no downtime! AMAZING. It took about 3 hours, and the process was similar: wash, apply product, blow out, bake in strand by strand with a flat iron…
…and the result is EXACTLY the same. I recommend 100%. I’ll let you know in a month or two if it lasts as long as the Keratin, but for right now at 2 weeks out, I am THRILLED. Oh, but please note: you must stay away from Sodium Chloride products (as you do with the Keratin) but you must also stay away from Sulfide products as well. Mary, who performed my treatment at Mint, recommended Prive Concept Vert for my shampoo and conditioner:
You may remember how obsessed I am with Prive as a line, but this stuff takes the cake. It’s 3 liters of product jammed into this little bottle. Yowza! The tiniest bit of this product, mixed with a little water, expands to an entire handful and definitely more than enough for one use. Plus, it smells SPECTACULAR.
Call Mary Joyce at Mint Salon for an appointment 404.724.9669. Tell her the Q+DD sent ya!
- OPI Axxium soak-off gel nail polish
I didn’t think I could do this. I am a commitment-averse person. I can barely decide on a pair of shoes for an evening, let alone a nail polish color for 3 weeks, but I finally bit the bullet and tried OPI’s new gel colors.
Not to be confused with Gel Nails or Acrylics, this gel is painted on like a polish, but dries under the UV light to a smooth, hard finish like the aformentioned products, but with no damage to your actual nail!
Also, the colors are MUCH lighter than they appear. If you are choosing a neutral shade like Bubble Bath, it will dry almost clear.
Now, since I am not and will never be a naked nail girl, AND since i was in an 80′s kind of mood when I was doing this, I went with HOT pink. I had to have them soaked off early because I could no longer stand the color, but I could have easily gone another week. Check it:
Finally, the last beauty product I need to share with you is…
From the creators of the Sonicare toothbrush, this little hand-held wonder ensures that my mug gets a thorough 1-minute cleaning at least once a day!
It’s completely waterproof, so if you want to use it in the shower that is a-ok and the charge lasts a REALLY long time! My mom brought it in as a gift when she came to visit, and I absolutely LOVE it. I can definitely tell a difference in my skin and it makes my nightly routine SO much easier. I use it with my glycolic cleanser from my dermy and plain ol’ Cetaphil…the Mia works great with both!
Ok, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll continue to look into the open sea of beauty possibilities and report back.
Further bulletins as events warrant.
Putting on Our Fancy Pants
Slick and I just had our one year anniversary, and we celebrated it in style.
On the actual day of our anniversary, we had an amazing dinner at Bacchanalia. I love the Star Provisions restaurants, of which Bacchanalia is my favorite. In fact, it is my favorite restaurant in Atlanta. And, you can quote me.
Dinner at Bacchanalia is an incredibly fancy meal, but somehow it feels laid back. It’s white tablecloth, but jackets are not necessary in the restaurant – in fact the folks sitting next to us were wearing jeans. The service and food are both incomparable in Atlanta in my humble opinion.
Quinones, Bacchanalia’s private room, is an outstanding meal, but the restaurant and the overall dining experience felt a tad geriatric to me when I had the honor of eating there a few years ago. Personally, I prefer the youthful energy at Bacchanalia. Without further adieu, here’s what we ate…
Predictably, I ordered a vodka Gimlet (Would have gotten an Aviation, but they said they didn’t have maraschino cherry liquor…) Slick got a filthy martini.
Gulf Crab Fritter, Citrus, Thai Pepper Essence
Wine Pairing: Riesling, Waterbrook, Columbia Valley 2001
Compressed Cucumber, Caviar
Wine Paring: Champagne, Piper Heidsieck, Cuvee 1785, Reims, France
Local Berkshire Pork Loin, Crispy Belly, Anson Mills White Grits, Fresh Andouille Sausage, Summerland Farm Greens, Pot Likker Jus
Wine Paring: Pinot Nior, Archery Summit, Premier Cuvee, Williamette Valley 2007
Wood Grilled Lamb Loin Chops, Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans, Fiddlehead Ferns, Pickled Onions
Wine Paring: Merlot, Chateau Preuillac, Bordeaux 2005
Cheese + Compliment:
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, Medjool Dates
Chantal, Jumbo California Asparagus, Soft Farm Egg, Bread Crumbs Chervil
Orange Souffle, Tarragon Custard, Pistachio Florentine
Valrhona Chocolate Cake w/ Mint Ice Cream
The meal was so wonderful. In between each of the prix fixe courses, the chef sent out a little intermezzo course. So needless to say, when we left the restaurant we were stuffed beyond belief. It was a super special evening.
To make it even more memorable, Slick, who knows by now that I’d much rather have an “experience” gift over a “material” gift, surprised me and told me that we were going to continue the celebration over the weekend at my favorite hotel in town, the gorgeous St. Regis! To say that I was very excited would be a gross understatement…
We’d stayed at the St. Regis in September for the Shapiro’s wedding and I fell deeply in love with it.
The rooms are gorgeous and everything is incredibly luxurious about it - but my heart truly belongs to the beautiful pool piazza.
Slick was on a roll. On Saturday, we checked into the hotel and when I went up to the room it was filled with surprise goodies for me. Pirate’s Booty, a nice bottle of wine, gorgeous flowers, champagne, truffles + strawberries…Slick had been very sneaky planning all of this!
We threw some champagne into our OJ and almost immediately made a B line for the pool. We spent the remainder of the morning and afternoon poolside enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Later that evening, we had dinner at Lobster Bar – which is walking distance from the St. Regis. It was my first time at the restaurant and I really enjoyed my meal.
We had an enormous amount of food from the prix fixe lobster menu. I mean, there was probably enough food to feed four people – and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t make a serious dent in it.
As much as I enjoyed stuffing myself with lobster, I have to say that the desserts were the highlight of the meal for me. We had the bread pudding, the toffee cake and the creme brulee. (Don’t judge…) They were all divine.
Unfortunately, though, I think I may have recently developed a lobster allergy. For the third time after a lobster-heavy meal (not sure why it’s taken me this long to admit it), I got pretty violently ill. I still thought the meal was great, though! However, I’m officially OFF of lobster…
On Sunday, we ordered brunch into our room and watched Nat Geo to our hearts content. Mid-morning, we made our way downstairs for a couples massage at the St. Regis’ spa, Remede. I’ve been to spas all over Atlanta, Blue Med Spa is my favorite, but the massage I had at Remede was the best I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not exaggerating. If you are in the mood for a super luxurious spa day, I strongly recommend Remede. It was as close to heaven as I’ve ever been.
Slick had to leave shortly thereafter to play golf with some buddies, but I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet. Instead, I parked myself at the pool for the following four hours or so.
Pretty much, it was the greatest weekend ever.
Happy one year anniversary, Slick! Thank you for such an amazing celebration!
1198 Howell Mill Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
70 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
St. Regis Atlanta
88 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30305
Tags: ,clean plate club, don't judge, fancy pants, I'm just saying..., LMR, More culture than frozen yogurt!, Moxie? We got it., see and be seen, sick sick sick, slick, Table for Two, The Shapiros, Things that are awesome..., Things that are GORG, Things we love!, very important people, You Can Find Me in the A
A colleague and I treated ourselves to a little slice of heaven the other day: manis + pedis @ The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. AMAZING! It was amazing. I was not at all surprised that Atlanta Magazine recently rated it the city’s best luxury spa.
The Spa is incredibly luxurious and feels a bit European. It is not cheap, either, as they use some of the finest spa products available by names like Arcona, Karita, Bulgari, Kai and Sodashi. They will even let you tailor spa services to your specific needs. (Love ordering “off the menu!”) However, I might feel a little ridiculous booking a 60-minute appointment for someone to just rub my feet, although that = my heaven…
The Spa, itself, is relatively small in size, but that makes it feel more intimate - not like you are at a factory. And, it’s open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and you only need to give them an hour or so notice for most services. How nice - a spa that works around your schedule!
Here’s the Q+DD on The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta:
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta reflects the ultimate in luxury and serenity. The tranquil setting allows your stresses to melt away and promises to replenish your total being. Designed for peace and privacy, the facility’s ten treatment rooms, including the nail suite, are soundproofed for a secluded retreat. The colour palette throughout the Spa, including the couples suite, aesthetics room and nail suite, mirrors nature’s calming influence. Materials reflect a dedication to beauty and excellence.
Services are performed by highly trained, intuitive staff who bring you to a place of complete relaxation and renewal. Indulge your senses. Whatever spa services you choose, the experience will be beyond compare. Complimentary fresh fruit and juice are available in the quiet room where guests unwind before and after treatments. Guests can also enjoy a light spa lunch while sunbathing just steps away on the sun terrace.
A list of spa services + prices can be found here:
The nail technicians used the most incredible polish on our fingers and toesies made by SPARITUAL. I loved it so much – I couldn’t leave without a bottle of my own. SPARITUAL is a vegan nail lacquer free of DBP, formaldehyde and toluene. They have about 80 different colors and are only sold at the Four Seasons and Callaway Gardens in and around Atlanta. The color I used and purchased was “Flower Child” shimmer – it’s a perfect purple-based color for winter.
Find out more about SPARITUAL here:
Fight the winter blues by treating yourself to a little spa splurge at The Spa at Four Seasons Atlanta. And, make sure to ask for SPARITUAL nail polish! It’s just divine, dah-ling.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta
75 Fourteenth Street
Atlanta, GA 30309