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MofoBack-2Twice this week I have read about non-new agey yoga. This month’s Yoga Journal is all about doing it to music, and today’s NYTimes profiles LA yoga guru Vinnie Marino, who was lead to teaching yoga by Grace Slick and kicks off his class with Led Zeppelin (maybe they are so old, they now qualify as new age?).

Vinnie trains the requisite celebrities and devotee Heather Graham is quoted, “Yoga people on the whole are super cool…I don’t find any creepy people in this class!” 

So this reminds me of my friend Jaene, who turned me on to NamasteMoFo, which is just filled with t-shirt awesome-ness! Their mission: “We at NamasteMofo believe that human beings are complex and can honestly embrace holistic ideals and still be totally punk rock.”

Check out the Yoga Bitches t-shirt designed by Jaene, in honor of her play of the same name.  Ladies, I sun salute you!

HouseM.D.GregoryHouse1479How’s this disparity? On May 11, the New York Times penned a lengthy piece on how, even with the recession, “Concierge Docs” (where well funded types pay a lot of money each year to have more personal relationship with their physician) were still doing bang-up business. On May 12, the New York Times penned another lengthy piece about hospitals setting up clinics in supermarkets and other stores to reach patients who do not need ER treatment.  This is not purely for altruistic purposes, of course. Apparently, their most desirable consumer is women of childbearing age. Presumably if she gets treated well at the walk in clinic at Wal-Mart, she will decide to pop out a kid at the affiliated hospital.

Business model aside, I am kind of intrigued by these so-called  retail clinics. It really fills a void for people who cannot afford health insurance (at one of the clinics profiled, the cost for a routine physical was $30).  In the article, of course the Doctors interviewed waxed poetically about the importance of a one-on-one relationship between patient and doctor that does not exist at these clinics—the Primary Care physician knows their patient’s medical needs.  Each and every patient.

I have  seen my PCP once in the four times I have gone into her office. The only time I did get my actual Doc, she looked like she wanted to kill me for actually nabbing her for the appointment. Her disinterest in my medical needs was astounding.

Isn’t that what those Concierge Docs are for, anyway?  For a whole lot of money a year, that Doc promises to not have more than 600 patients per year so that the Doctor can have a much more personal relationship with the patient. If a doctor with 600 patients a year is considered a high-priced Concierge Doc, would a regular plain old PCP know the medical needs of a patient load that reaches into the thousands?

carrots_night_creamI have been hearing forever about the Yes to Carrots brand.  The product line is supposed to be so fabulous that it has the “cult beauty editor” following.  So when I saw it sitting at my local Walgreen’s, I snatched up their C Thru the Night Moisturizing Cream.

The ingredient list was so promising–carrot seed oil, cucumber water, Dead Sea  water, hyaluronic acid and other really sensational ingreds–that I was psyched to try this skin care cocktail. Since I am a bit of a product snob, to find a drugstore brand I could really get behind would be  a Very Big Deal indeed.

Then I opened it…  There is some sort of fragrance in there (listed only as “fragrance” in the ingredient list) that made me begin question applying it to my skin.

It was not completely awful scent exactly, just kind of flowery with a slight undernote of chemical. Since I have a pretty sensitive sniffer, I held my nose and applied every night for two weeks. The result was a very angry chin and jaw line–with several small pustules popping up. Disaster.

spaweekIt was Spa Week a few weeks ago. While in theory it’s a good idea, friends who have gone to some pretty well regarded spas walk away from the experience totally thinking that spa is crap. And I know why.

Generally bookings are back-to-back without time to even PEE, and the clients are not terribly interested in listening to advice to improve their skin. This past Spa Week promo was spent with some serious skin know-it-alls, who clearly got their info from Allure Magazine, and we all know how I feel about THEM.  These clients just want a cheap treatment and lots of extractions no matter WHAT the damage. Extractions at any cost is asking for disaster.

Rant over.

I promised to share some tips and ideas for those willing to brave Spa Week, so here are eight for the brave souls willing to negotiate Spa Week:

1. If you have serious skin issues, pass over the promo, spend the extra 50 bucks and get a good facial where you and the esthetician can make a smart decision about what your skin needs, instead of this steam-and-cream business that goes on during Spa Week.

Now the rest of the tips are for those who simply cannot pass up a bargain:

2. Book your appt for early in the day. If that’s not possible, try to find out when the shifts change and book early in the change-over. Given the sheer volume of people that come in during Spa Week (particularly on the weekends), you are better off with an esthetician who is fresh and ready than one who has not eaten all day and probably has to pee. If a spa is open 9AM – 9PM, the shifts are generally 9-3 and 3-9.  If the hours seem odd, or they extend hours for Spa Week, try to find out when (and IF) there is a change over and book accordingly.

3. Try to go during a weekday. Weekends are crazy busy booked up and you will get a better treatment before or after work or during your lunch break. If that’s not possible, see above.

4. Be prepared to leave your credit card number to hold the booking. It’s standard. And you will get charged if you pull a no-show. The esthetician could have easily filled that appointment during Spa Week.  Most estheticians work on a commission only basis, so if the appointment is blown off, she doesn’t get paid. And that sucks. We are trying to make a living. Respect that.

5. If you think you had a great facial and are super happy with the treatment, tip on the regular price of the facial, not the discount price. The esthetician will remember the good clients for the next Spa Week, so you may get an add on for no additional charge. I’ll throw something in discounted or free if a client is a good one.

6. If you are not at all interested in purchasing product, politely tell the esthetician at the end of the treatment when the product sale happens. All spas work differently, so if you are in a spa were the esthetician walks you to the front desk to go over  product options, she will appreciate not having to spend the extra five or ten minutes. It could give her time to pee or gulp down a power bar!

7. Show up 15 minutes prior to your appointment to fill out paper work and get changed. This will maximize your treatment time. Because bookings are on top of each other, we simply cannot fall behind since there is no room for correction. If you arrive even “just on time” the clock has started and you will receive a shortened treatment since 10 minutes of that time was spent filling out forms.  This is actually a good rule to follow in general, but particularly crucial during promo weeks.

8. If there are spas you really want to try out, go to their website and get on their email list. Spas offer promos year-round, and you can snag a good deal without facing the Spa Week madness.