Time to Unwind at Villa Stéphanie

With email at my fingertips, nonstop traveling, and around-the-clock social media delights and business events, actually making the time to unwind and shut down at the end of the day sometimes seems to be one of my biggest challenges. Therefore I was very much looking forward to taking some time off at the VILLA STÉPHANIE in Baden Baden and hope that you all want to hear about the best detox experience I have ever had!

There are plenty of different ways that you can give your body the relief that it needs from all of the pressures and stresses of the day. Each of us has to decide what works best for him or her. I had to try different kinds to finally find this haven on earth that offered me what I was looking for in order to regain energy. Probably you are like me and wished there was an easy, quick way to cleanse your body of all those bubbly toxins. Funnily enough, I believe we are all equipped with a natural cleansing system in our bodies, called liver and kidneys. Together, these two toxin-bashing organs act as a superefficient system for filtering out the vast majority of the harmful substances we eat and drink. The only important factor that those work well is a healthy and moderate lifestyle. And this can be hard sometimes.


Personally speaking that is the main reason why I choose to «detox» from time to time but not in this heavy, depriving way of barely eating anything but dry bread rolls. This doesn’t work for me! I get cranky, have no energy to do sports then and the overall effect is frustration and unhappiness. What I need is healthy pampering. And this is what I got at VILLA STÉPHANIE in perfection.

This luxurious and exclusive destination spa, which is part of the iconic Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, is dedicated to beauty, detox & nutrition, emotional balance and medical care. Every aspect of those mentioned is at your disposal. The beautiful and spacious rooms (15 rooms and suites only at VILLA STÉPHANIE) with views overlooking the River Oos have everything you wish for. There is even a button to turn off the electricity and the Wi-Fi connection in a second so that you will sleep better the old fashioned way without any radiation or e-smog disturbing your system.

Upon my arrival, I had a meeting with Kevin, my health coach. Before deciding on my tailor-made program and menus, I had to stand on the InBody 720 machine, which is a premium, medical-grade body composition analyzer that can fully tell your physical composition and water level in a single test. My results were great and I was looking forward to indulge in the House’s vitality-detox cuisine. Deceivingly filling, absolutely satisfying and beautifully presented, I could not believe that the three meals per day weighed in at around 1200 calories only.

What was served? Typically something like a porridge with berries and nuts in the morning and this fabulous green smoothie, a three-course meal for lunch, including even a filet of beef with a baked potato followed by a light desert. In the evening, I always started with a soup, nothing raw, and an entree such as grilled scallops with vegetables.

One evening, I was spoilt by two Michelin star chef Paul Stradner to a 5-course Vital Menu (completely lactose and gluten free as well as light on the carbs) in the Brenners Park Restaurant. Decadent detoxing I would love to call it.

There are plenty of group fitness activities, such as aqua fitness, yoga, jogging and biking for example, but I preferred working out by myself in the well equipped gym or taking a yoga lesson with a private trainer.

To accompany my detox program, I was spoilt to different treatments, such as a lymphatic drainage, clarifying and detoxifying body treatments and a luxury facial, all with products by AQUA ORGANIC, especially created by Munich based dermatologist Dr. Kuhr to support the cleansing effects of the body, to honor and stimulate the multiple talents of our skin. Other brands the experienced and fantastic therapists work with are SISLEY PARIS and SKIN CEUTICALS to offer also a more anti-aging and nurturing approach to their clients.

VILLA STÉPHANIE is dedicated to the world of spa in every aspect. Stretching over five floors and covering over 5000 square metres, it comprises a 500-square-metre sauna, plunge pool, private gym, hamam and a ladies sauna. The inspiringly designed treatment rooms overlooking the gardens offer complete relaxation. I truly felt the whole time so chilled, quiet (my readers who know me in person can assure you that this can be a challenge for me:-)) and just happy. Even digital detox seemed easy.

On the way to the Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, where I enjoyed lunch and dinner, you pass the entrance to the gigantic swimming pool in Roman style. In the gardens, there are multiple possibilities to relax in the sun or just walk around.

VILLA STÉPHANIE is also connected to Haus Julius, a clinic with personalized state-of-the-art medical care from some of Germany’s top experts in fields like aesthetics, gynaecology, holistic medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology and preventive medicine. The medical teams will even visit you in the privacy of your room or suite if you wish.

I also recommend a visit to the Eden Being boutique located in the main building that offers a lot of one of a kind things. Moreover do not miss a stroll around Baden Baden. You will be amazed how many high end designer shops this little German town has to offer. The only challenging part was to pass the perceived millions of ice cream parlors.

In the evenings, I loved to sit in the lounge with its extensive library, enjoy one more green smoothie and play a round of backgammon or two before going to bed. After one week, I did not want to leave, something that I have never experienced before when being at a detox retreat as I was always looking forward to retoxing again:-).

On my last day, I got a final body analysis with my nutrition expert who gave me individual workout tips and a tailor-made menu plan, including recipes, for me to take home.

I left my stay calmer, balanced and more upbeat, regenerated by the surroundings of this picturesque resort in the Black Forest. During my whole stay at this former royal residence with its classic architectural heritage, I have never felt like being on a diet or deprived of anything. Old-school service reigned supreme. The friendly staff and professional executive team added a high touch to my experience. I will be back – that is for sure!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

An Exceptional Trip to Paris with Sisley

My avid reader know how much I love Sisley products. Without my beloved Black Rose Cream Mask and  or the So Intense Mascara my life would definitely not be the same. Therefore, I was all over the moon to be invited to Paris to visit their newest spa and boutique which marks the first in Paris for the upscale French beauty brand and to finally meet Sisley co-founder Mrs Isabelle d’Ornano in person.

Having beautiful skin is a state of mind, it helps lift the spirits and improves the deep sense of self.” – Isabelle d’Ornano

The 360 m2 space is situated on 5, Avenue de Friedland, in the centre of Paris’s 8th district off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Divided into four areas, it is the perfect place to unwind after a busy week.

The beauty salon houses five treatment rooms - including one double treatment room and offers a menu of facials as well as body treatments for every age and skin type. I had a facial that was truly special as Sisley has developed exclusive “rituals” designed to combat the effects of urban life.

It is one of the most tasteful places I have seen, a haven of good taste inspired by Isabelle and Christine d’Ornano’s love for a quirky mix of interesting furniture and designer pieces, sourced from both flea markets and luxury brands.

There’s for example a «Jetlag» sofa by India Mahdavi and framed sketches by Marc Chagall in the lounge area where pre-treatment consultations take place.

The bathrooms have wallpapers that are made from magazine articles featuring Sisley.

The «secret» café is exclusively reserved for clients and invites them with tribal elements to relax and have a drink. This house is also home to the first Sisley Boutique in Paris where you can buy all the products the brand has to offer.

Traditional and modern touches mingle in this space where painted woodwork and mouldings exist alongside an animated, luminous wall display. Isabelle d’Ornano’s niece Elzbieta Radziwill painted the central lampshade, and the walls are covered with hand-painted wallpaper from 1874 called “the Cells” by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, which was remodelled, reproportioned, and recoloured specifically for the space. I especially adore the handpainted sofas.

Sisley, 5, avenue de Friedland, 8th arrondissement. Phone: +33 1 86 21 11 11.
www.sisley-paris.com

From left to right: Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream, Black Rose Cream Mask and Black Rose Precious Face Oil.icon

On display of course the newest addition to the Sisley Black Rose family: The Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream iconfor plumbing and radiance (Baume-En-Eau à la Rose Noire). Infused with soothing rose and magnolia essential oils, this nourishing cream absorbs deep into the skin for a plumper, fresher complexion. Black rose combats free radicals, while red vine extract evens tone, leaving a glowing more radiant finish. Its texture is absolutely different from what you might have ever experienced due to an exceptionally sensorial application as it transforms into micro-droplets of water and permeates into the heart of the epidermis. Hydrated, the skin is infused with moisture, as if rejuvenated.

After this beautiful experience in the spa, I was fully of energy the next day and so much looking forward to finally meet Mrs Isabelle d’Ornano which is not only a style icon for me but whom I also admire for her way of combining work, motherhood and success.

In 1976 she launched Sisley with her husband Hubert d’Ornano who headed the company for over thirty years as a visionary creator and daring entrepreneur until his death at the age of 89 in 2015. He believed in aromatherapy and phytotherapy as one of the first ones in the cosmetic industry. Until today, the brand is family owned, distributed in over 90 countries with 4000 employees worldwide. Mrs d’Ornano, President of the Supervisory Board, is chiefly in charge of creation and advertising, while her son Philippe d’Ornano is President and directs the company’s International development. Her daughter, Christine d’Ornano is Global Vice President, also heading one of the group’s subsidiaries in Britain.

Mrs d’Ornano is truly amazing. I learnt from her employees that until this day she reads all the sales reports personally to understand how her customer tick. Sisley is a brand that launches a product when it is ready and not when a line has to be completed.

Above the new Maison Sisley, on the top floor, Mrs d’Ornano has furnished a private apartment overlooking the rooftops of Paris that is quite stunning. Here we chatted about the brand she built up, life and faith.

Mrs d’Ornano, I read once that your key to a strong marriage, family, work, and a happy life in general is your faith. Can you explain this a little further please?

I believe in God. The world has been created by God. We all have a special mission. I pray. The more comfort you need, the more you pray. I was born in Poland that had a difficult history in the 19th century. Therefore Christianity played an important role. Personally speaking, I don’t understand people who don’t believe in anything.

Together with your husband you have built up this beauty empire. Your whole family is involved in the business. How can we imagine your daily life? Were you able to leave the business behind to a certain point when being on vacation for example?

For years, we never left the business behind. One of our daughters who was not involved in the company would point it out when it was too much. On the other side, we always had something to speak about. When we had ideas, we could express them immediately. Sisley became my 6th child.

What do you think about this century?

I am happy. It is not on me to judge. We are experiencing an acceleration in daily life, so much more is possible. On the other side, I am sometimes worried that humanity will be lost in this digitalized world. I think for the younger generations it is not always so easy. Of course, there are more possibilities, but on the other hand, they are asked so much more. Men seem to have less work as women are capable of doing the same things.

Your own beauty regime?

I try to walk every day and do gymnastics. In general, I have a healthy taste in terms of eating. But most importantly, I like people, I am always curious and enjoy meeting new people. In my age, that changes a lot.

You in three words.

Loyal, efficient and fun!

Thank you Mrs d’Ornano for this interview and to the whole Sisley team for this beautiful experience in Paris!

TO SHOP SISLEY PARIS ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.
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LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Lean Legs and White Teeth

To be honest, this might not be the sexiest post, but on the other side what is sexier than lean legs and a beautiful smile?! Here are two new products that you will surely like, both made with natural ingredients.

White Ginger Contouring Oil by SISLEY
150ml (CHF 168.00)

This amazing oil is the key to smooth and slender legs. Its nourishing formula is enriched with White Ginger and Gingko Biloba that help to drain swollen tissues, as well as Red Algae extract and Gelidium Cartilagineum that promote the dissolving and burning of fat. The addition of Rosemary and Litsea Cubeba essential oils helps to firm and tone your skin. Formulated with hydrating Shea and Macadamia.

MASSAGE TECHNIQUE
Apply morning or evening, from the ankles to the top of the legs and hips according to the specific toning and draining application method:
1. Apply from the arch of the foot, moving up with circular movements around the ankles with your fingertips.
2. Then massage the calf by lightly stroking with one hand after the other, moving up from the ankle towards the knee, then go around the knee, pressing firmly with an upward motion to stimulate draining.
3. Repeat the same action on the thigh, starting at the knee and moving up to the top of the buttock. 
4. Follow with large, firm, circular movements with the palms of both hands, moving up from the knee towards the buttock and hip. Repeat this technique three times on each leg.

Toothpasteicon by AESOP
60ml (CHF 13.00)

Whether it’s part of the global wave of new naturals taking over the beauty realm or fluoride’s classification as a neurotoxin (shocking as it sounds, it is the same category that lead, arsenic, and methylmercury fall into) this year, there’s no denying that natural toothpastes are having a moment.

So let me present you Aesop’s latest launch that has been developed to maintain impeccable oral hygiene. Distinctly flavored, this toothpaste effectively cleans teeth and gums while essential oils of Anise, Spearmint and Clove provide an eclectic taste alternative to traditional selections.

A fluoride-free formulation, it includes soothing Sea Buckthorn to lessen gum aggravation from frequent and vigorous brushing, while Cardamom and Wasabia Japonica help to maintain fresh breath.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Brands and © Sandra Bauknecht

Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Spring 2014

Sisley Phyto-Lip Twist Spring 2014 Cover

Sisley Paris has been launching many amazing new products lately and their new Phyto-Lip Twist shades will be no exception. Giving lips a deep, luscious colour while moisturizing them at the same time, I am amazed how easy the application is and how long they stay on.

Sisley-Spring-2014-Phyto-Lip-Twist

It’s up to you how you want to wear them as a one-time application gives a sheer colour while for an intense and opaque coverage you can easily build up the colour. And great news is that you don’t need to sharpen them, just twist the end… I always carry one in my bag.

In Switzerland available in 6 colors (1 Nude, 2 Baby, 3 Peach, 4 Pinky, 5 Berry and 6 Cherry) from February 2014 for CHF 45.00 each.

LoL, Sandra

Sisley-Spring-2014-Phyto-Lip-TwistRangePhotos: Courtesy of Sisley

Tropical Orchid by Sisley Paris

tropical orchid by sisley

To complement the Hawaiian-inspired trend for Resort 2012, Sisley Paris has the perfect make-up look, so-called “Tropical Orchid”.

L’Orchidée (highlighter blush with white lily) – 76 € / 93 CHF
Instant Perfect, 20ml (primer) – 48,50 € / 58.50 CHF
Phyto-Ombres Eclat Ultra Violet N°14, Garden Rose N° 9 und Jungle N°6 (eye shadows) – 33 € / 40 CHF
Golden Touch (cream eyeshadow) – 30 € / 36.50 CHF
Phyto-Lip Shine Sheer Coral N°8 und Sheer Fushia N°14 (lipsticks) – 33 € / 40 CHF

Available in February 2012

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The star product of the collection that I can highly recommed is L’Orchidée, a highlighter blush with white lily.

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It has a light and silky texture that makes your skin look smooth and radiant. The white lily extract has also a moisturizing effect. Suitable for all skin tones and seasons.

LoL, Sandra

L'OrchidéePhotos: © Sandra Bauknecht