For a country built upon the remnants of prehistoric tectonic plate movements, the Maldives certainly know how to pamper in true 21st Century style.Read More
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When it comes to travel, the more exotic, the better. The downside of this adventurous nature is being understood. Insight has changed all of that with their new nifty travel app. The Insight Guides Phrasebook app is packed with all the words and phrases you need from ‘How do I get to town?’ to a very cool menu reader.
Easy to use and a lot more convenient than a bulky phrase book it features a fast search engine, cleverly categorized content and simplified phonetics for easy pronunciation. Featuring audio of all the most essential phrases spoken by native speakers, this is the perfect app for stress-free travels. The only thing left to decide is where to travel first.
Find more Summer Travel inspiration in our latest issue of Heaven Has Heels Magazine.
“Sometimes beautiful things are born from struggle,” says beauty maven Sarah Kugelman. Her own pursuit of health and wellness led her to the pristine shores of one of the world’s most beautiful and untouched landscapes. It was here that skyn ICELAND was born.
How did you get started in the beauty industry? I think I was born a beauty junkie, so when I was getting out of business school with a concentration in marketing (and background in retailing), I went aggressively after every program/job at a beauty company I could find. I ended up landing at L’Oreal, which is a tough environment but an exceptional training ground for establishing yourself in the beauty industry. I was there for a couple of years and learned the ropes. I then moved onto a marketing position at Bath and Body Works, from there I went to Banana Republic to run their fragrance and body care business and then started my first company Gloss.com which I ultimately sold to The Estee Lauder Companies. I then spent a few years in management before starting skyn ICELAND. Although I think I was always an entrepreneur at heart, I needed to get an education in beauty and feel like I had built a solid foundation before going out on my own.
Why Iceland? During the time that I was researching the connection between stress and skin, I traveled to Iceland as part of my lifelong quest to find and explore healthy, “green” places. I completely fell in love with the country, the culture and the pure, unspoiled nature. I was amazed at how beautiful everyone’s skin was and started thinking, ‘What are they using that makes their skin look so flawless?’ I realized it was the incredible, natural, mineral-rich glacial waters that Icelanders bathe in everyday. Now we incorporate those waters into each and every one of our products. Now that I’ve traveled there quite extensively and spent a great deal of time experiencing the wonders of Icelandic nature, I learned, that there is a short growing season in Iceland (because it is dark for half the year). That combined with mineral-rich, volcanic soil, produces some of the world’s most potent botanicals and herbs. Not to mention the amazing algae and kelp from the Arctic waters. I incorporate many of those natural ingredients into skyn ICELAND’s products, and I am always searching for new ones! I find it amazing and inspiring that the people there are all so environmentally conscious—they are the first country to use thermal and hydrogen power—and have a long history of living off the land and using botanicals/herbs for all types of health issues and imbalances.
What ingredients does skyn ICELAND use that differentiates itself from other products on the market? I focus on specific symptoms and attributes of stressed skin, and then I develop products with specific ingredients/technologies that address those problems. We have special antioxidants that address free radicals created when we’re stressed. I use adaptogens that are certain herbs proven to bolster the immune system of skin that’s attacked by stress. I use potent/natural anti-inflammatories that reduce irritation associated with stress, special peptides that make skin ‘happy’ by releasing endorphins on the skin, and more. Lately, I’m into extremophiles; these are ingredients that grow in very cold climates but thrive. They develop certain enzymes to help them acclimate, and these enzymes can work miracles on the skin. I seek out unique potent naturals and new technologies that specifically address the type of damage stress inflicts on the skin.
Why are these ingredients important? These ingredients are important because they work. And at the end of the day, it’s all about performance for me. Do the products really work? Do they do what they say they are going to do? I’ve been unyielding in my standards to create high-performance formulas, and I am proud to say that we have thousands of customer testimonials that support how well our products work.
What has been the most exciting part of your journey with the skyn ICELAND? The most exciting has been to see the brand thrive and become successful despite the long journey and rabid competitive landscape. It’s very hard to rise above the fray in this industry, and there are very few independent brands that do. We only hear the success stories, we don’t hear about all of the brands that struggle and fail. To be living my dream and succeeding at it, is no better reward. The icing on the cake is that I get to help women look better, feel better and live healthier lives, that gives me a tremendous amount of gratification and makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile every day.
What exciting developments do you have planned for 2015? We are going to be launching an arctic face oil in the fall that I am extremely excited about. It’s a completely new and innovative technology. We are also launching a new eye treatment into our assortment, as we are known for our eye products, I think this is going to be highly anticipated and the product is great so I look forward to the reception! Plus, we are going to be expanding our distribution all over the country this summer. Finally, our loyal clients who have been dedicated users for years will be able to find us in their home towns. I am over the moon about that. SkynIceland.com
When we grow up, we want to be Ilse Jacobsen. The Danish designer has built an empire that includes a collection of resort wear, ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear. She has three flower shops (Blomsten by Ilse Jacobsen), her own spa (Kurbadet by Ilse Jacobsen) and an award-winning line of beauty products (Ilse by Ilse Jacobsen). Better yet, she does it all from the idyllic seaside village and summer resort where she was born and raised Hornbæk, Denmark.
“I start my day very early in the morning,” says Jacobsen. “Each day I head of to the spa to get the physical benefits of the spa facilities, read my paper and drink my cup of tea in silence. This way I start every day doing something good for myself and gather my energy for the projects ahead.”
Jacobsen suffers from a form of rheumatism. For her, the spa is not only a luxurious place to forget about the pressures of everyday life, but it is a place of healing.
Located in the heart of Hornbæk, Kurbadet by Ilse Jacobsen, focuses on a holistic approach to health and well being. It includes a spa area with a steam room, sauna and an indoor, heated therapy pool. In also has a large outdoor area with a heated pool which allows visitors to swim year-round.
The spa offers a variety of treatments performed by a seasoned beauty and healthcare team. Services include everything from personal training, to massage and beauty treatments. And then of course, there is the restaurant, a must-visit entity in itself. Serving up new Nordic-style food based on seasonal ingredients, this popular Hornbæk hot spot offers unrivaled seaside views and an air of refined elegance and tranquility.
“One of my absolute favorite things to do is cook,” explains Jacobsen. “I relax when I am preparing a meal for the people I love and I can spend all day in the kitchen. When I cook, my mind is all about the meal and I forget everything about my business. Because food is such an important interest of mine, I of course have a fantastic restaurant in my spa as well. In the restaurant you can enjoy healthy and tasty dishes made from quality ingredients.”
Jacobsen may seem to live a charmed life but it has been twenty years in the making juggling projects, deadlines and professional commitments. “My many different products and various brands demand dedication and focus, as well as very hard work and skilled employees,” says Jacobsen. “I am used to balancing the demands of my business and working hard, as this has been part of my core business, for as long as I can remember.”
For someone who seems to done it all, what could possible be next? “We are very focused on our current markets and existing brands to ensure growth and stability and this [Kurbadet by Ilse Jacobsen spa] is our main focus for now,” says Jacobson. “However, I keep on getting new ideas and we are always working on new projects within the company—it keeps us and the customers excited—so who knows, what will happen in the future...” We look forward to the next installment of the world of Ilse Jacobsen. Until then, we will settle back, relax and enjoy a slice of serenity, a world away, with our own Ilse by Ilse Jacobsen products. IlseJacobsen.com— ANGELA GILLTRAP
In Lisbon’s trendy Chiado district, Mini Bar is immediately recognizable. The latest offering from renowned chef José Avillez, it’s housed within the Teatro São Luiz structure—a theater built in 1894 and renovated in 1928. It exudes the charm and understated glamor of an after-hours speakeasy with a menu that is literally, “Epic.”
The “mini” in Mini Bar refers to the food rather than the layout. Split into two sections, the front room plays host to a vast array of tempting cocktails. To the back, frosted glass dividers, wood paneling and art deco light fixtures set the scene for a memorable dining experience.
While the menu could be described as tapas-style, these dishes are quite unlike any you have tasted. Here, it’s best to expect the unexpected as Avillez and his team add an innovative twist to some of your favorite dishes served in “Acts”—as an homage to their theatrical home. Like to kick things off with a drink? Why not try a chewable Caipirinha or perhaps a bite-sized Margarita is more your style?
As for food, I recommend the Epic tasting menu which features over six courses chosen by the chef. It delivers a tantalizing selection of Mini Bar favorites from the incredible Foie gras Ferror Rocher bonbon to the moreish Algarve prawn ceviche served on a lime slice. Each dish is served on its own, specially designed plateware, and perfectly proportioned to add an explosion of flavor in one bite. Finish off with the memorable Lemon-Lime Globe then dance off the calories from 11pm as the DJ takes over. This is experiential dining at its best.— Mini Bar Teatro São Luiz Rua António Maria Cardoso, nº58 Chiado Lisbon, MiniBar.pt ANGELA GILLTRAP
Hotel spas are the things dreams are made of—particularly when it comes to The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. Touted as one of the best spas in the country—by both tourists and locals alike—a treatment here quickly transports you to an indulgent world where deadlines cease to exist, and to-do lists vanish.
On my recent trip, I opted for the spa’s signature treatment, The Portuguese Retreat—a truly indulgent 2.5 hour treatment inspired by the tale of the Almond Trees in Blossom. A well-known love story from the time of the Moors, the King Ibn Almudium and his wife, the daughter of a great lord from the North, Gilda were very much in love and yet, the princess grew sadder each day. Wise men and magicians from all over the world were consulted, but none could find a cure for her sadness, until one day, an old Nordic man told the king that Gilda was longing for the white snow-covered fields of her homeland. Immediately, the king had thousands of almond trees planted in the gardens of their palace in Silves so that, when they were in blossom, the land would be covered in white petals, bringing joy to the princess. And this is why, since that long-gone spring, the Algarve comes alive with the beauty of thousands of almond blossoms each year.
So how is this transformed into a spa treatment? It all starts with a trip through the decadent pool area of the hotel into the vast and tranquil resting area complete with sauna, spa and locker room. From there, your therapist takes you into a peaceful, treatment room for a foot massage then onto a full-body exfoliation using a mixture of grained almonds and Portuguese honey. This is followed by a massage with the inebriating aroma of roses, which acts as an antioxidant to nourish and relax.
The idea of using roses came from yet another Portuguese legend, that of the Miracle of Roses. The protagonist is Elizabeth of Portugal, married to King Denis of Portugal in 1282. It is said that she would leave the palace disguised to take food to the poor, and one day transformed bread into roses.
The result of The Portuguese Retreat is skin that is luminescent, hydrated and full of life; a psyche that feels prepared to once again take on the many pressures of modern day life. Admittedly, these historic tales can be lost as you succumb to the overwhelming urge to relax, however, when others ask how you spent your morning, at least you’ll be able to tell them you were learning about the culture. FourSeasons.com/Lisbon — ANGELA GILLTRAP