A La Carte

Merry & Bright With Luigi & Yon-Ka

December 10, 2017

With champagne flowing, what better time to try a signature Yon-Ka Paris facial with aesthetician Valentina Montevecchi, who, along with Nadia Ouellette and Evelyn Ellis, form the experienced skin care team at Luigi Parasmo's second floor Spa.

Valentina Montevecchi (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Valentina Montevecchi

Celebrating the Spa's third year anniversary, Luigi had invited his friends in for a special day of pampering.

Full disclosure: I am a long-time client and devotee of Luigi for my hair but have never been a spa junkie. Luigi has been raving about Yon-Ka Paris since the spa opened, and so I finally had to see for myself.

It was only after the soothing, hydrating and most olfactory of experiences that I learned about the science behind this skin care line, thanks to Yon-Ka's Jill Larue and Marta O'Connor.  

Since 1954, at the heart of the French, family-owned business is what Yon-Ka calls their DNA, an exclusive formula of five essential oils: lavender, rosemary, geranium, thyme and cypress.

Jill Larue with Yon-Ka goodies (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jill Larue with Yon-Ka goodies

There’s a hint of these oils in almost every product and it’s their properties of calming, regenerating, anti-inflammatory, stimulant and decongestant that makes them work synergistically.


Spa treatments employ the Lucas sprayer, invented by French surgeon, Dr. Lucas Championniere in the late 1800’s. A very fine mist increases blood flow to the skin and facilitates deeper, micro massage.  


As Larue summed up Yon-Ka’s allure, “It’s a spa experience with results.” To that end, the brand calls on the skills of an in-house team of expert scientists: doctors of pharmacy and biology, chemical engineers, biologists and bacteriologists for regular testing.


“For Yon-Ka, each product must adapt to an essential criterion: gentle efficacy that restores the skin’s natural ability to preserve or regain its balance.” 

Luigi Parasmo Spa (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Luigi Parasmo Spa


All good.


I left the spa with a healthy, dewy glow and enough samples to do my own in-house testing. There are several Yon-Ka lines depending on skin type and age. Of course I needed their top-of-the-line ultimate “Revolutionary Anti-Aging” cellular Excellence Code line-up for mature skin.


It’s only been a couple of days, but I love the products' texture and fragrance.  I promise to report back in a couple of months. 

Felice Anniversario, Luigi!

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December 7, 2017

Joe Sternlieb and his team at the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) welcomed guests to a holiday cocktail reception at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown Wednesday evening to celebrate 2017 Georgetown GLOW. 

 BID Marketing Director Nancy Miyahira and Jamestown Urban Management's Renee Finnerty (Photo by: Judith Beermann) BID Marketing Director Nancy Miyahira and Jamestown Urban Management's Renee Finnerty

From December 8 through January 7, 2018, this free exhibition is open to the public from 5:00-10:00 pm nightly. 

Jennifer and David Romm (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer and David Romm

The region’s only curated show of outdoor public light art installations, for the fourth year, GLOW invites visitors to interact, connect and play with nine artists' whimsical and dazzling displays.

Ritz-Carlton Georgetown lobby (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Ritz-Carlton Georgetown lobby

From Washington Harbour to Grace Street to the Georgetown Waterfront, our historic neighborhood is transformed into an illuminated playground. For a complete list of Georgtown GLOW projects and locations, click here


And don't forget to mark your calendars with special holiday happenings including an extended evening of shopping on Dec. 14.

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A Look Inside Private Prisons with Lauren-Brooke Eisen

November 20, 2017

Jackie Pletcher and Charlie Eisen welcomed guests into their Georgetown home Sunday to celebrate Lauren-Brooke Eisen’s new book, Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass IncarcerationHer study examines the relationship between profit and incarceration in America.

Jackie Pletcher chats with Diane Rehm (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jackie Pletcher chats with Diane Rehm

Introducing the senior counsel at The Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan public policy and law institute, Charlie Eisen proudly explained that his daughter also researched the book while raising two small children, “Like Ginger Rodgers, she did it all backwards and in high heels.”

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Guest enjoyed champagne cocktails and a scrumptious brunch as Eisen gave a brief history of correctional facilities, starting with the “tough-on-crime” 1980s (specifically mass incarcerations for crack cocaine use), followed by the rise of for-profit prisons, turning us into “the world’s biggest jailor.” 

Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Rachel Briggs at the buffet table (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Constance Chatfield-Taylor and Rachel Briggs at the buffet table

The trend to privatize stemmed from growing costs of imprisonment and a desire to reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

The creation of rural prison towns and the housing of immigrant detainees helped create an $80 billion dollar prison industrial complex.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Today more than 100,000 Americans and half of all immigrant detainees are held in private prisons. With $4 billion dollars in annual revenue, financial incentives play a huge role in their proliferation.

Lauren-Brooke Eisen tells guest about her book (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Lauren-Brooke Eisen tells guest about her book

In her book, Eisen examines the complex issues of an industry where filling beds and lengthening prison stays gets more attention than reducing a long-standing 75% recidivism rate. 


She writes, “The nation is warehousing so many of its parents behind bars that just a few years ago Sesame Street introduced Alex, a muppet whose father is in prison.”


Through interviews with inmates, families, correctional staff and policy makers, the author takes a look at all sides with the objective of improving the outcome for those incarcerated.


Recognizing that private prisons are here to stay, the author recommends “a good first step would be to structure contracts around reorienting incentives, something that we might call performance-based contracting” that improve prison conditions, and create training programs for successful reentry.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

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