Monday, August 9, 2010

Sting Ray-Slimy or Silky?

One of my favorite animals is a Meerkat. Many years ago I saw a documentary about these little creatures and fell in love with them. They are so small that they naturally stay in groups as they understand the power in numbers. Like puppies, they love to play and are very affectionate with one another. I couldn't get over the way they groom each other so meticulously! And how they love to lay in the sun, lounge around and take turn baby sitting for the youngsters. There is one assigned watch dog who will stay on call to let the pack know of any inpending danger. And when danger comes their way, these little Meerkats will create their own army and take on other animals much bigger. Many times they are successful warding predators away. I was in Meerkat heaven when I heard they were exhibiting at the Maritime Aquarium. I told my daughter we would go and she wanted to bring a friend. So yesterday I went with the two eight year old girls to see my lovely Meerkats. Although I was anxious get to the exhibit, I had to excercise patience and follow the girls lead. First we stopped to pet Sting Rays. Believe me I would have skipped this in a heartbeat. Not only did we stop once, but three times. They could not get enough of a touch out of these slimy fish. I reluctantly put my hand in the water and touched the skin of the Sting Ray which was surprisingly silky. Then we looked at ALL the fish, ALL the coral reef, the Seals, the Penguins and finally the Meerkats. The girls named whcih of the animals they liked the most and why. They played with the fake sushi and fish platters, went on a play fishing boat and pulled me on the Happy Feet IMAX ride. What I realized after the events were over, was that had it been up to me I would have walked into the aquarium, made it the Meerkat exhibition and proably left soon after. But I had so much fun living through the eyes of my daughter and her friend, allowing me to see so much more, (feel more). It made me realize that adults probably walk through life missing so much of the magic and beauty in every day living. Oddly enough I got an email quote from a friend yesterday about our society stating that although we Live Longer we Live Less Fully. While it may be true, we do get reminders that life is so wonderful especially when we have the opportunity to watch how our children enjoy it! And the irony is that while we are teaching them they are really teaching us.
Marlene Katz is the founder of ISS, intelligent skin sense, a green boutique and spa in Fairfield CT. She is currently writing a lifestyle book called "Age Rebel" which features her beauty and wellness tips, inspirational anecdotes and spa cuisine recipes. Marlene can be reached at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wake up your senses with a sniff of Sassafras and an Amuse-Bouche

How often have you dreamt of a spa get away? Well that was my dream for awhile but with a business of my own, and family obligations it just wasn't happening. But I knew I was reaching the place of exhaustion when I couldn't create anything new or interesting. New as in a great recipe or an arts and crafts project with my daughter. I had reached a loll. So one day with out much thought, I just did it. Made a call to work that I would be a no-show for a few days. Checked in with my parents to see if they could watch my daughter. And off I went. Yes, a cringe of guilt crept up on me when I left my husband with the dogs (even though I made him home cooked meals for three days..). That guilt lasted all of five minutes when off to PA I drove. When my daughter was safe with her grandparents I headed to a wonderful lodge near the Pocono's. For two days I was in "Alone Heaven". I took an art class, a cooking class, hiked some and got a massage. This short trip rejuvenated me. On my hike I smelled natures best aromas, some sassafras and spearmint. I learned that dinner can begin with Amuse-Bouche-just the word itself is appealing-"entertainment for the mouth". So sometimes it is just a change of scenery that is needed to revive the senses. Now that I am back to cooking I will have lots of recipes to share. Tonight is Mexican cuisine with fresh veggie fajitas. And my Canopi (Spanish for the small tasting) will be gazpacho served in an espresso cup.

For more spa tips and recipes visit

ISS Pick: Cellaction Contour Gel

It’s summer and once again you wish you had some magic trick to get rid of unsightly dimples better known as cellulite. Well, you are not alone. Statistics say nine out of ten women have cellulite. Between the skin and muscle, fat is held together by collagen fibers. With age, gravity pulls down and creates a pressure that causes fibers to swell with fat and fluid. This action manifests as cellulite which affects mostly women.

Cellaction Contour Gel’s key ingredients blend invigorating botanicals to enhance circulation such as Guarana, Rosemary, and Butchers Broom Extract. Guarana, a small shrub in Brazil, slowly releases a form of caffeine that aids the body to produce its own heat to help metabolic function. A patented ingredient Pronalen™ Anticellulite HSC* complex of plant origin treats cellulite with iodinated plant glycoproteins. In a vivo ultrasound study participants using a cream containing Pronalen™ at 10%, showed reduction in appearance of cellulite in three weeks.

Some Enticing Spa Tips To Reduce Cellulite

It’s New's Year resolution time and once again you wish you had some magic trick to get rid of unsightly dimples better known as cellulite. Well, you are not alone. Statistics say nine out of ten women have cellulite. Between the skin and muscle, fat is held together by collagen fibers. With age, gravity pulls down and creates a pressure that causes fibers to swell with fat and fluid. This action manifests as cellulite which affects mostly women. Marlene Katz, the founder of Intelligent Skin Sense (“ISS”) has done extensive research on this and developed some great products to help reduce cellulite and easy homemade recipes & tips. Products include Diva Soak (SRP: $25), Micro-Manage Kit (SRP: $50), Cellaction Contour Gel (SRP $46), Cellaction Cleansing Tea (SRP: $13).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Leave the dimples on your cheeks and not behind!

Every spring I vow to lose the winter pounds and to tone up. So here I am again, this year early spring and a few pounds more than last! (It’s called “carry over”!) The good news is I know exactly how to do this. The bad news is I have a new issue which is cellulite.

For some reason, American doctors just refuse to acknowledge that there is such a thing called cellulite. Maybe because it is a French coined term. And maybe it is that we are just always a tad behind the Europeans with skin specific science. I will tell you that there is such a thing as cellulite and it is not simply fat.

Well now I am finally a canidate for the treatment that I have been doing at my spa for so many years. Funny thing is that this treatment started out in NYC after I met a great pioneer named Calliope. She learned an herbal body wrap from, who else, a french herbologist and began offering it to clients out of a yoga studio. I would have listened to anything Calliope said, she was Greek and had the strong sterio-typical body. So strong she rode around NYC on bike with swords on her back-yep, she was also a sword fighter. Well enough on Cal, but this opened a whole new world to me. I was like a sponge and so fascinated with how these herbs really worked that I became certified as an herbologist. Over the years I concocted a slew of herbal recipes and saw the benefits first hand . The herbs we used for the wrap were astringent and cooling and helped to jump start the circulation. And that was the key to how they worked. Many people who have a sluggish circulatory system are more prone to having cellulite.

Well long story short, we had clients from all walks of life, the working women, the new Mom’s and many celebrities (and royality I may add…) come in for this wrap. I remember saying that if we could iron out the skin after a body wrap we could really flatten the skins surface and reduce the appearance of cellulite. Little did I know that I was on to something that another now extraordinarily wealthy person invented called “Endermology”. (I also invented the flat iron in the late 70’s when I borrowed my Mom’s iron and literally ironed my hair flat. True story, but you know timing is everything and someone beat me to it.)But this concept of ironing out the cellulite came after I realized that cellulite is actually an accumulation of liquids that has not adequately been carried out of the body through the lymphatic system. This waste rests in between the fat pocket and connective tissue. And since women have so many more fat cells than men, they also have more cellulite. So my idea to heat the area with stimulating herbs and then flatten it with some kind of roller was more revolutionary than I realized.. We did this manually for years until the invention of Endermology which is really a sophisticated version of this. Thank goodness I ordered this large, costly and impressive piece of equipment because this spring, I am going to be my own best customer!

Marlene Katz is the founder (and Age Rebel) of Intelligent Skin Sense (ISS). ISS is a green spa and boutique which features the Intelligent Skin Sense products and signature spa services. Her lastest project is lifestyle book called “Age Rebel” which offers many spa and wellness tips and her healthy spa recipes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Met Barbara Orbison at my spa and gave her beautiful skin my signature facial. Exchanged products and tried her new perfume "Pretty Woman". Hmmm, sexy and earthy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Say Chao to Under-Eye Circles

Surgery won’t fix them, Botox won’t hide them, and so, what do you do with those tired eyes? I’m the recipient of the under-eye circle of drama! My lucky parents do not have under-eye circles so I did not inherit them. I personally think that we all have areas where we put our stress. For some it is a recurring ulcer, for others skin conditions. I know that when I am stressed, my eyes are the first to show it. I mean, let’s face it; there are more “ism’s” about the eyes than I care to remember. But I will say that if eyes are the windows to your soul, then lets leave the shutters off them!

This is not really as bad as it sounds. I am fortunate to be an esthetician and make-up artist so my job is to conceal what nature tries to reveal. There have been many weddings for which I was hired to make-up the beautiful bride who hadn't slept the night before. And I would never let a bride be less than gorgeous. Yet one of the hardest things to correct (or disguise) is tired and stressed eyes. There is the issue of redness in the eyes, under eye circles and puffiness (which also exacerbate the crow’s feet). The good news is I have made the sleepiest of eyes look good. These tricks of the trade are easy enough for anyone to do. But before this…let’s explore a little more about the culprits that cause raccoon eyes!

The fact is that the eyes really do show so much about ones health and state of mind. There is a study of the eyes called iridology which I find fascinating. I once had my eyes read and wouldn’t you know it -my hazel eyes are really a dark blue. I always wanted to have blue eyes and I was told that if I cleansed my body, and improved my health, the color of my eyes would change. Interestingly enough, when I do get a good night sleep often enough, and when I eat properly, my eyes are much clearer and maybe there is a tinge of blue! Well a bit of wishful thinking. What I do know is that there are many Naturopathic doctors who read the eyes, and the skin as a tool to help them diagnose the health of the body. When the body is in good health, the skin responds well, and aging is slowed down.

If I were to sum up aging as simply as possible it would be the breakdown of collagen. Collagen needs a water abundant area to grow and many of us lack sufficient water in the cells. This in turn inhibits the growth of collagen and increases skin inflammation. Both of these are leading causes of premature aging during the pre and post menopausal years. The first major change is usually around age thirty. So many times I hear my clients say how great their skin was until they hit 30. Voila-a shift in the hormones certainly shows up on the skin. The first signs may be weight gain, or overall puffiness. Many women combat weight gain caused from a change in hormones by eating a low fat and low caloric diet that is often lacking in nutrients. A poor diet can tax the lymphatic system. When the lymphatic system is overloaded the drainage process becomes damaged and too much fluid can cause swelling in the connective tissue. This can contribute to skin bloating, under eye circles, and uneven or ashen skin tone.

So what do you do when had a sleepless night and your Cortisol levels have sky rocketed? Or when you didn’t skip that extra glass of wine? I’ve got a few skin care tips that will de-puff, awaken your skin and start the day with a glow. Take a wash cloth soaked in warm water and gently circle it around the skin. This exfoliates dead skin. Next run your sink water until it is ice cold. Splash your face ten times with this cold water. Pat your skin dry. Put on your moisturizer and eye cream. Take a teaspoon and put it in the freezer for a minute or two. While this is cooling, drink a glass of room temperature water with a slice of lemon and cucumber. Take out the teaspoon and press the it on the under-eye area from the outer corner to the inner corners. In less than thirty minutes your skin and eyes will look great.

And lastly I will offer this. There is a Buddhist adage that says when the soul feels hardened soften it. Soften your heart, soften your mind. When the eyes, the windows of the soul, are open they reveal your soft and open and beautiful spirit. This is my best beauty trick of all

Age Rebelling Citrus Zing Juice:
1 grapefruit
1 orange
1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
Grate the ginger (use a cheese grater) hand squeeze or use a juice to fresh squeeze the orange and grapefruit. Add ginger and juice to a cup. Stir and enjoy.

Marlene Katz is the founder of Intelligent Skin Sense Boutique, Spa and Product Line. She is the author of the upcoming book “Age Rebel” which features her many beauty tips and spa recipes. When Marlene is not concocting skin care she is home cooking for her family (and dogs.)
spa tips, wellness recipes, spring beauty-read more

Monday, March 15, 2010

Zen and Chaos meet again

Give me at least bragging rights for my is not for lack of trying or even for lack of knowledge that I stumble upon chaos when I try to be Zen. Do you know how many times I've read Marianne Williamson's Gift of Love, or reread paragraphs from Gangaji in You are That? I've got the beginners guide to Buddhism and Hatha Yoga at my fingertips. I will tell you that despite my sincere wishes to have peace, I have chaos all around me. The dogs bark at 6 am. My seven year old daughter creeps in the bedroom at wee hours. My husband patiently awaits his morning coffee which if you haven't guessed, I am preparing. I vowed to give myself private time, so I set my alarm for 5:30 am. I tip-toe out of bed, and feel the peace entering my body, until BOOM, my husband appears, the dogs and my daughter all wondering if everything is OK? Well I can joke about this now, but at the time I wanted to cry. But Gangaji made a point in saying that the calm can be found in a NYC packed elevator. So I realized this recently that Chaos is to Zen, as labor is to birth. I finally am embracing that both can coexist and I don't need to have one or the other. Just need to explain to the dogs that licking my face is not a part of my meditation!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is Water Enough for Hydration?

I see it all the time. My clients come to the spa faithfully with their water bottle in hand. So why are so many of these same clients complaining that their skin is lacking hydration?

The way I see it is if water were enough to stay hydrated, you could simply drink it, spray it on and bathe in it.
But as you know just by feeling your skin after a bath or a spritz, it is not adding moisture. Water does not permeate the skin and for this reason, most hydrating sprays have the other "bells and whistles" which are water binding ingredients. I have added to ISS Saturation Mist Macadamia Glycerides, Aloe Vera Juice and Sodium Hyaluronate which add moisture to the skin as well as retain moisture in the skin.

This idea of retaining water in the skin is what is so important. If you drink your eight glasses and flush them too, you are not necessarily keeping the water in the cells. A medical doctor explained to me that cells which are not healthy will not retain the fluids. This makes sense when I hear about so many women in particular who run more to the bathroom then when they exercise!

It's important to understand that in order for the cells to be healthy they need all the nutrients provided by many sources. Oils that are beneficial to women 30 on up are evening primrose oil, borage oil, cod liver oil and coconut oil. These lubricate the organs, and the skin as the largest will look better too. Water that comes from fruits and vegetables is the best as you not only get the hydration but the antioxidant vitamins as well.

So my advice is eat your water, and leave the bottle behind!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Update to "Eating My Way Skinny"

It's been two weeks since I have been "eating my way skinny" and although I don't have earth shattering results, I do have a weight loss of two and a half pounds. This is significant is because I have not dieted a day! As I said, I wouldn't count calories, fats or do anything more than be conscious of the foods I eat by balancing the plate with a little from each food group. So far it has worked.

I recieved great feedback. One women called me as she said she had so much to say that she couldn't use the blog format. Her comments were about exercise. She is a fan of running and has kept her weight down this way. For the most part she can eat what she wants but honestly, from what I heard, she eats pretty healthy. As a working mom, and over 40, she saw changes in her body (like cellulite). She started jogging and saw great results and now has buddied up with a friend. She actually has two treadmills in her home so she can do this buddy system well.

When I stopped jogging regularly I did put on weight. I love running as it is quick, efficient, and works well for me. But in the winter it's tough. The snow, the cold, the slush, need I say more? Also, I have so many friends with knee injuries from over doing the running. So I think it is still a good idea to mix exercise with healthy eating so you're not dependent on excercise alone. For now I am on an Elliptical Trainer and doing Pilate's. And on the nights where I have really slept well, I have ventured out for a run. When I exercise daily I really feel my best so even if it is 20 minutes I try to make it happen. If I have an hour even better.

I know that Valentines Day came and went, but why wait till next year. Here are my recipes and spa tips.
v-day recipes are here Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Eating My Way Skinny!

For many months by my bedside sat four books all focused on health and well-being. Actually, my night table was overwhelmed with so many books, I finally had to read a few. The lack of time I had for reading was a part of the bigger problem, I had put on weight. No time to read, no time to exercise, not enough sleep and so on. I know enough to know this, if you don't sleep well, your cortisol levels rise, you crave carbohydrates, you gain weight. Not to mention waking up and drinking coffee to kick start the day. This interferes with Lecithin that helps to break down body fat. So it made sense to me, to at least read the books. By downsizing my night table I had high hopes it would trickle down to a "smaller" me.

While I have never been fanatical about being thin or having a flat stomach, I have always been health conscious. I know when I start having sugar cravings that my body is out of balance. And as a beauty consultant, I see first hand how poor digestion shows up on the skin. For me this was in the area of under-eye circles and over all puffiness. So after the New year, among my many other resolutions, I have now added, "Eating My Way Skinny"

I should really say, that first I have thought my way skinny. Each of the books I read below, have helped me to get into the mindset to think about food in a more positive way. I'm inspired now to do what I need to do, and after ten days I can report that I have dropped two of the twelve I set out to lose. My motivation is this simple,
1. To fit back into my favorite clothes. 2. to have more energy. 3. To reduce water retention.

While my goal is to downsize my waist, I have decided to do it by eating and gained some great advise from the books I read. I believe that balance is the key, so I took away from one book to eat more raw foods, from another to eat healthy fats, and interestingly enough, all four authors advocated eating breakfast.

My skinny on the books I read...
Eating for Beauty: The premise is that eating a raw food diet will enhance your health. I love the concept but it is not my calling. I am always cold and can't imaging not having my warm soup. But I have already added many of the delicious raw food recipes and try to eat raw foods throughout the day.
Eat Fat Lose Weight: There is a lot of good information in this book. Basically the book successfully challenges the low fat/high carb way of losing weight. Most of the fats she mentions as being "healthy fats' such as nuts, and avocados I have incorporated into my diet. But I have read controversial research about animal fats and still debating this. The advice is to eat about 30% of protein a day.
Anti-Aging Revolution: This book offers great facts about vitamins, has some decent recipes and would be good for someone to read who wants to become a vegetarian. It is written by a doctor who is steadfast in providing details to support his ideas. Although I have contemplated a vegan diet, I'm not there yet.
The Swiss Secret: I've read this book three times in hopes it becomes ingrained in my brain. This author (also a physician)takes a holistic approach to wellness and believes in the mind and body connection. Since not all of us can make it to his wellness clinic, he offers great recipes for cleansing the body especially if the liver is overtaxed. Not only is the book informative, it provides a balance diet by advocating that one eat from all the food groups.
  • I weigh in once a week at the same time. Since I retain fluids, the best time for me is late morning. (On this day, I prepare a fresh vegetable juice in the morning as my breakfast so my I know that it can't be the breakfast moving the scale.)
  • I don't count calories, fat or protein grams. If you just look at your plate you can divide it in three-one entire half is dedicated to vegetables and the second half in two equal portions; one for protein and one for grains. You'll get fats from fish, chicken and meat. Additionally I cook with olive oil, canola or avocado oil. I have added a tsp of butter to certain recipes.
  • I snack. It may be a small container of Greek yogurt or some nuts. Other days chopped carrots with hummus.
  • My sweet tooth is controlled by organic unsweetened hot chocolate with a tsp of agave or honey, or organic cottage cheese with cinnamon, or a baked apple drizzled with maple syrup.
  • I cleaned out my closet, got rid of what doesn't suit me any longer and went to Good Will and Dress for Success. I have a newly organized closet with a section of clothes that fit now and a section with all my great clothes that I can't wear yet. Everything is hung on my new "skinny hangers" ( I bought these great hangers at BBB-$25.00 for 50)
  • I give myself two off days where I can have a cocktail (or two-but really no more..) and maybe a desert. But even then, I balance what I eat. If breakfast was an egg and bagel, lunch is a big salad.

And the last tip, is I am not on a time table. This is the new me, with a new perspective about eating in a positive way. I am archiving my recipes, many can be found on my website