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Eat, Pray, Love on a Budget: Up for Renewal at Alchimie

The way she tells it, by age 37, Cathy Alter had made a mess of her life. Newly divorced, she

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A. Bird
A. Bird

went rogue -- downing endless junk food, dating "highly inappropriate" men, and racking up debt. "I was paying for coffee with piles of change," she said Tuesday night at Georgetown's skincare studio Alchimie-Forever. When her last best friend got fed up with her high jinx and self-absorbed stories, Alter knew she had a problem. She was not happy with the person she had become. What to do? She marched into Georgetown's Barnes & Noble and bought a stack of glamour magazines. Alter gave her life to the glossies for the next twelve months, resolving to follow their advice as her path to salvation. Get rid of flab, crawl out of debt, host the perfect dinner party, be the sexiest woman in the room -- Alter followed the recipies and obeyed the rules. "I only spent $144," she said.

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A. Bird
A. Bird

Speaking to a gathering hosted by Alichimie's Ada Polla, she talked about the transformation chronicled in her book "Up for Renewal," as an inspiration to renew and evolve for fall. The key, she said, was in small victories -- outward changes that allowed inner growth and progress. Call it "Eat, Pray Love" on a recessionary budget. And it worked! Polla was joined in the fall renewal kick-off by Mary-Kate Rasa of Bisnow, Kelly Collis Frederick of City Shop Girl, K Street Kate's Kate Michael, Mary Bird, Simply Sole's Kassie Rempel, Jennifer Altemus and Madeline Wade of Madeline Wade Studio, among others. Alchimie-Forever, the Swiss company whose U.S. operations and international marketing are spearheaded by Polla, offers high-quality botanical skin treatments at a favorable price-point. Alchimie's studio on Wisconsin Ave. feels more like an art studio than a store. For Polla, a Georgetown graduate and resident who believes in self-care techniques to bring out the body's natural beauty, that's the point.

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RJSmith
RJSmith
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A. Bird
A. Bird