My carriage arrived at noon.
Of course, not a real carriage, but a town car to take me to lunch at the Fontainebleau, a swanky Miami hotel dating back to the era that defined swank, circa Mad Men.
It was not your average Thursday.
I was invited to an intimate luncheon to learn all about Hollywood beauty secrets, so I could share those tips with you. To be honest, my expectations were low. I thought the event would be lovely, but mamaguru embodies a holistic lifestyle. Although a touch of glamour and fabulousness is always fun, I’m much more concerned with helping people live lives of meaningful happiness. Smokey eyes don’t contribute much in that regard. What a surprise it was for me, when the speakers spoke about substantive beauty, not a flash and dash trip to the salon, but cultivating beauty that comes from within.
The first speaker was Kino MacGregor, an Ashtanga yoga instructor who began studying yoga in India thirteen years ago. I’d like to say our lives were parallel, because I studied Ashtanga in India twelve years ago, but that wouldn’t be accurate. Vertex is a better word to describe our lives, a point where two lines come together and then leave in different directions forming an angle. I saw in MacGregor what my life would have been if I had completely devoted myself to Ashtanga.
What an opportunity, to glimpse at the path I did not take.
I am a yoga instructor and still base my practice in Ashtanga, although I have a looser interpretation. After India, I opened and closed a yoga studio, wrote two books, travelled, moved across the country, got married and became a mother. MacGregor, in turn, returned to India multiple times to deepen her practice, recorded yoga videos, wrote a book and opened her yoga studio in South Beach. She is lovely and exudes the joy of someone who has daily practice. She gave me an advance copy of her book to review, so expect another mention of her. What I appreciated most were the connections she drew from the physical practice of yoga to the spiritual benefits that manifest in our lives from practice.
The next speaker was former Top Chef contestant, Andrea Beaman, also known as the healthy chef. Regular readers know how much I love Bravo trash TV, and Top Chef is a favorite with me because I love to see people cook things I can’t. So many other cooking shows are either at my level or below, but Top Chef blows me away with creativity and skill. I have only learned one thing in all my years of watching the show (how to flash freeze), because it is so over my head.
Back to lunch. Delicious, I might add. Lots of yummy nibbles from Hakkasan.
Tender-crisp beans were my favorite.
Along with a dessert of white chocolate mouse paired with a very sour lemon sorbet. You had to combine both of these components in each bite to achieve a balance that was spectacular.
Ok, back to lunch, for real.
The positively radiant Beaman told us the story of her own journey into healthy cooking. It started with a problem with her thyroid. Her doctor recommended medication, but she simple changed her eating to whole, healthy fare. In nine months, she had reversed her condition. After Top Chef, she went back to her partying ways and once again became sick. This time she didn’t mess around. Her doctor explained that her body simply couldn’t go through the ringer anymore, so she returned to her healthy lifestyle for good.
As someone who suffers from an autoimmune disorder, it is so inspirational to hear about someone who changed their lifestyle and prognosis. Like Beaman, I resist taking medication for life. I want to feel well by living well. I asked her about moments when diets get off-track. So often, my healthy eating gets derailed by a party. There’s nothing wrong with having a piece of cake now and then, but I notice that it activates all sort of cravings in me. The next day, I obsess about sweets and it feels like I’m back at square one. Beaman explained that there is an enzyme activated by chewing that satiates us. Sweets are usually soft and we scarf them down without noticing, which means we don’t ever feel satisfied. Hmm, I can’t wait to try that out next time I have a treat.
The other two speakers were more about topical beauty. Krystle Poulin, a celebrity make-up artist, spoke about the importance of using natural skincare and using lots of sunscreen. She recommends the Neutrogena Natual Collection and using powdered sunscreens. Powdered sunscreens are a physical, rather than chemical sun blocker, which makes them more effective and safer for your skin. Dr. Wendy Lee spoke about a new botox treatment, and I had to remind myself that it’s OK if life marks my face. I do have a worry line I tend worry about.
And then, lunch was over. I bid good-bye to the ladies I lunched with and found my driver waiting to take me home.
To my mop.
Because Thursday is cleaning day, and Cinderella still had to do her chores.
But that night, full of inspiration, we feasted on cold cucumber soup, avocado toasts, ginger and garlic sauteed spinach, followed by dripping ripe peaches for dessert. This morning when I unrolled my yoga mat, my boys rushed from the breakfast table to join my practice. Our practice. You see, I know I am not Cinderella and that’s fine by be.
I am already living happily ever after.