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I'll have the Pattie Lynn special

October 17, 2011

I know I’m in the minority. Never liked spa treatments, massages, mani-pedis, or facials.  Not that I didn't need the relaxation and pampering. Simply, I preferred to do my own nails and see the best dermatologist on the planet  for ‘tune-ups’ and ‘spackling’ as often as I could afford. In between, I followed the regimen Dr. Tina Alster recommended, and tried to stay out of the sun.

Until  now. When she launched her own line of skin products last month and brought in the best aesthetician around, I could not resist.

As marketing and media relations director, Andrea Rodgers explained, “Dr. Alster redefined the idea of a spa. SKIN IS IN is more results-oriented and medically based. The facial treatments and procedure are an extension of her practice.”

Pattie Lynn Pumphrey, Andrea Rodgers and Wendy Burton (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Pattie Lynn Pumphrey, Andrea Rodgers and Wendy Burton

Sunny and bright as the décor, Wendy Burton greeted me at the door, offering a Perrier.  The walls are pristine white, with SKIN IS IN-filled canisters in primary colors (coded to skin type) adorning the walls. In a slight southern accent, aesthetician Pattie Lynn Pumphrey, petite and radiant, ushered me into a private room filled with ultrasonic equipment, aromatherapy and soothing music.

As soon as I changed into a gown and reclined on the facial bed, we started with a deep cleansing. Her gentle fingers massaged my face and neck. Steamed towels with a hint of lavender essence were applied to lock in moisture.

Once my face was free of make-up, it was time to analyze. No surprise. “Dry, sun damage, congestion in the T-zone.” We talked about a treatment that included some products I was already using (clearly not often enough) and a suggestion for a more hydrating cleanser, eye and neck-firming cream.

Next, a customized Microdermabrasion. Think light sanding with a wand that reinvigorates the face, and minimizes pores, exfoliating the top layer of skin to give an all-over glow.

Another massage, this one included the neck and décolletage. Relaxing and stimulating at the same time.

Cucumber and Vitamin C. No, not a smoothie but a hydrating mask that smelled like a day in St. Barths. Aaah , more steaming lavender-scented towels.

Color-coded SKIN IS IN adorn the walls (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Color-coded SKIN IS IN adorn the walls

As I relaxed for about eight minutes, Pattie Lynn slathered my hands and arms with moisturizing cream, then warm towels covered my arms.

What followed was a brief LED (light emitting diode) procedure “using variable wavelengths of light to gently reduce the effects of sun exposure, pollutants, and stress.”  As Pattie Lynn told me, “The flashing lights reduce redness and promote healthy healing.”

More warm towels.

“I’ve always had a passion for skin,” Patti Lynn said. She knew Dr. Alster’s reputation when she sought out the right place to work her magic. “That was five years ago. "Until SKIN IS IN opened, I was a medical aesthetician for WIDLS (Washington Institute for Dermatologic Laser Surgery), her practice upstairs. It’s a fabulous establishment, and I’m so proud to be working for Dr. Alster."

Leonard Cole begins his monthly ritual (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Leonard Cole begins his monthly ritual

As we were wrapping up, exchanging make-up routines, a Pattie Lynn regular arrived. “Grinning from ear to ear, Leonard Cole, also a long-time client of Dr. Alster's said, "I come every four weeks. Just love the way my skin feels and looks. I’m totally relaxed.”

SKIN IS IN is not just for faces. Treatments include body sculpting and contouring, and a new laser procedure for thinning hair.

I’ll be back.

SKIN IS IN is located at 1430 K Street NW. Tel: 202.628.8855


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My Parisian play date with Jess Brown

October 9, 2011

Crayon in hand, I was the first to sign it. Within minutes of M29 Lifetsyle swinging open their doors last spring, kids and dogs have found the playhouse irresistible.  Look at it now.

Elena 'wearing' the playhouse (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Elena 'wearing' the playhouse

From day one, my favorite items were the Jess Brown dolls. Saturday I had a chance to meet the designer. California tanned and petite, Brown was definitely not the model for her latest project, commissioned by Italian fashion icon, Bottega Veneta. As she explained, “Bottega contacted me a year ago about an idea for Fall 2011 Fashion Week. One small detail had to be changed from the sample,” Brown smiled. “We had to add shoulder pads so the dolls could ‘carry’ Bottega bags.” Fourteen larger than Brown-size dolls, created for the windows of their flagships stores in Beverly Hills, New York, Paris, Milan, and London, are now on a European tour.

It all started eleven years ago when Brown began making rag dolls for her daughter Stella out of old cashmere sweaters and antique remnants. Each doll is hand-dyed in Persian black teas to create variations in skin tones, made of cotton muslin and linen, recycled and antique fabrics, and stuffed with sustainable corn fiber. Brown also collaborates with several designers, using scrap remnants left over from current season cuttings for her limited edition collections.

Beverly Hills Bottega Veneta window with Jess Brown dolls (Photo by: Jess Brown) Beverly Hills Bottega Veneta window with Jess Brown dolls

Jess Brown dolls relaxing during the party (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jess Brown dolls relaxing during the party

Stella-designed Rae Dunn picnic set (Photo by: Jess Brown) Stella-designed Rae Dunn picnic set

From a small line of hand-made dolls, Jess Brown Design now includes doll accessories (Stella designed the drawings for the Rae Dunn porcelain picnic set), quilts, and women’s fashions. Hand-made, one of a kind, special edition describes everything Jess Brown does, so no surprise that even her frame-worthy 2012 lookbook is in a very limited edition.

When Stephanie Rausser’s daughter Kiki brought Coco, her Jess Brown doll along to Paris a few years ago, her mother took 6,000 photos. Kiki & Coco in Paris is the très charmant result.

A month before the book's national debut, friends of M29 Lifestyle were treated to an exclusive preview. Add balloons, a small theater, mini pastries from PAUL French Bakery (coming soon to Georgetown) and more Jess Brown dolls than you’ve ever seen in your life and, voila, it’s party time!

Elena looking for the right crayon as Kiki & Coco in Paris plays on screen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Elena looking for the right crayon as Kiki & Coco in Paris plays on screen

PAUL Bakery marketing head, Laetitia Steinier with Klara (Photo by: Judith Beermann) PAUL Bakery marketing head, Laetitia Steinier with Klara

Liliana, Paul, Pierpaolo and Alesandro (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Liliana, Paul, Pierpaolo and Alesandro

Nancy Charlene brings her Jess Brown dolls to the party (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Nancy Charlene brings her Jess Brown dolls to the party

Klara making her mark on the playhouse (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Klara making her mark on the playhouse

Strategic's director of retail, Deborah Bush at M29 Lifestyle's window display (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Strategic's director of retail, Deborah Bush at M29 Lifestyle's window display

Antonio and Francesco taking a break (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio and Francesco taking a break

Abby Jones of Chan Luu with her Breast Cancer bracelets (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Abby Jones of Chan Luu with her Breast Cancer bracelets

Antonio and Elena welcome party guests (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio and Elena welcome party guests

M29 Lifestyle is at the corner of 29th and M Streets.


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Stachowski Charcuterie opening in former Griffin Market

September 30, 2011

The first free-standing family owned butcher shop is coming to Georgetown. Stachowski Brand Charcuterie will be opening at 1425 28th Street where Griffin Market operated until February of this year.

As owner, Jamie Stachowski told The Georgetown Dish,"My son Joseph will be managing it. It's a full-service butcher shop where we'll offer high-end raw cuts, cured, and prepared meats and a small sandwich menu."

"We're delighted to be coming to Georgetown," Jamie explained. "It's where all the action is. We've got a sophisticated product, and Georgetown is the best audience for it." Joseph agrees, "If we're in the middle of Georgetown, we're accessible to everyone."

While there's lots of demolition and reconstruction yet to do, including putting in a new floor, Stachowski said, "We plan to open before the holidays."

Stachowski has been selling sausages in Georgetown at the Rose Park Farmers Market and the Georgetown Farmer's Market.

Recently, Jamie Stachowski was featured in "Meat America," a two-hour documentary on the The History Channel.


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