Love Makes the World Go ‘Round    

It’s mid-February. The week of Galentine’s and Valentine’s days. The week that the price of red roses goes up. The week that reminds us to say I love you…

It’s mid-February. The week of Galentine’s and Valentine’s days. The week that the price of red roses goes up. The week that reminds us to say I love you. It’s also (almost) Random Act of Kindness Day (yes, this is a thing, and it is February 17th), a reminder to always be kinder than we feel.

I am not a huge fan this “Hallmark-created holiday,” but I am a huge fan of celebrating love, in all of its forms. Self-love. Friendship love. Family love. Sexual love. And every love in between.

This week is a good reminder to:

  • Call a loved one just because. Tell them you love them, say thank you.
  • Buy yourself some fresh flowers (once the prices are back to their post-Valentine’s day normal).
  • Visit a grandparent, if you are lucky enough to have a grandparent. Or write a letter to an elderly person through Love for the Elderly.
  • Surprise a co-worker with their favorite coffee or treat.
  • Forgive yourself for something.
  • Smile to strangers. Uber drivers. Cashiers. Baristas. People you cross walking the street.
  • Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
  • Reconnect with an old friend.
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful.
  • Compliment a stranger.
  • Fall in love with life. All over again.

La vie comme une cuisine

Je m’amuse à comparer la vie à la cuisine pour trouver les recettes du bonheur.

J’aime imaginer la vie comme une succession de plats. Certains on les avale crus, d’autres mijotent longuement… Certains ne sont que nutritifs, d’autres se consomment avec délectation. Je dirais que notre régime de base provient des produits à disposition dans le garde-manger ; petit à petit on y ajoute nos ingrédients « signature » ; et au fil du temps on y intègre des recettes apprises en observant ceux qui nous ont nourri avec amour.

On dit souvent que les étudiants mangent mal. C’était mon cas ! Durant mon parcours académique j’ai écarté la nourriture de mon quotidien et de mon horizon. Les restrictions se répercutaient sur mon existence. J’avais écarté petit à petit le sucre, le plaisir, la viande, le charnel, le pain, le partage, le goût, la rencontre. Il m’a fallu du temps pour réaliser que pour être créatrice de la vie dont je rêve, il me faut réveiller la cuisinière en moi. Pour ne pas me décourager devant l’ampleur de la tâche, je me rappelle qu’une cuisine simple peut être excellente si elle est honnête et sincère.

En juillet dernier, alors que j’entrais dans ma quarantième année, je me suis posé cette question « Cyrille, comment aimerais-tu dresser ta table et ton assiette ? ». Tout d’abord, j’aimerais prendre le temps de me crémer le corps après la douche, puis ne porter que les vêtements qui me mettent en joie et me donnent envie de chanter (voir mon ancien blog « Mon arc-en-ciel »). En amuse-bouche j’aimerais regarder les passants dans les yeux et lancer des invitations spontanées à mes amis. En plat principal j’aimerais trouver l’équilibre entre mes projets d’écriture personnels et mon métier dans la communication. Le dessert je le partage toujours avec mon fils, ce grand gourmand : il y aura des jeux à gogo et des inventions à tire-larigot ! Dernier en date, le badminton d’appartement… 😊

Quel délice d’expérimenter dans cette cuisine qu’est la vie. Certes, il y a des jours plus pétillants et des nuits plus tourmentées que d’autres. Mais continuons d’utiliser la nourriture pour créer et partager du bonheur !

Happy & Sexy Countdown

In 5 months, my partner and I will be celebrating our love and commitment to one another; an outdoors wedding in tune with the summer solstice. Obviously, I want the whole experience to be as magical as in my childhood dreams: the sunset between the vineyards and the lake, the gathering, the dress, the music, the love declaration… And I wish to feel my most beautiful self, to honor and dazzle my man, our families and friends. Do you see what I’m getting at? 😉

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So here’s my Forever beauty countdown program to get ready for the D-Day

  • Laser hair removal: already done!
  • D-5 months (now): start using Alchimie Forever’s Advanced Retinol Serum twice a week at night
  • D-4 months: laser facial with Picosure Focus to fade away brown sunspots and tighten my skin (I’ve already done 1 session, so 2 more to go over the next two months)
  • D-2 months: A light version of the Softlift , performed by my dad Dr Luigi L. Polla. A very subtle and natural way to enhance my facial features (cheekbones, jawline), reduce the under-eye circles and nasolabial folds, and most importantly generally rejuvenate my skin
  • D-7 weeks: Hyaluronic acid filler to plump-up my lips (not the ones you think; see my blog on the injection of the “other lips” ….)
  • D-6 weeks: Get a Hydrafacial Boost and start using the Pigment Lightening Serum of Alchimie Forever to complement my treatment
  • D-2 weeks: get a Hydrafacial Pamper to have the perfect skin tone and enjoy a little bit of pampering on top
  • D-3 days: my sister Cyrille has advised an eye-lash tint. Knowing me, for sure there will be tears! That way no mascara leaks 😉
  • D-2 days: a lymphatic drainage should help me relax and detox
  • D-day: my Forever Beauty program being over, I will get my make-up and hair done by Le Bal des Créateurs, the crème de la crème in Switzerland

I’ll keep a beauty journal to share my experiences, as well as before and after pictures. Stay tuned!

Regarder son corps à travers l’oeil d’un artiste

Il y a quelques mois je vous ai parlé du fait que Guillaume, mon mari, m’offre des sous-vêtements et combien cela est fabuleux pour mon image corporelle. L’autre chose qu’il fait que j’adore et qui a le même effet positif sur moi que la lingerie, c’est des photos de mon corps.

Les premières années les photos illustraient surtout un jeu de séduction entre nous. Je me sentais alors désirée, désirante et puissante. On devrait tous se faire prendre en photo nu afin de réaliser le pouvoir de notre corps. Au fil du temps, tout comme la pratique de Guillaume, les photos ont évolué. Maintenant, Guillaume et moi travaillons ensemble, car ses photos sont devenues un travail artistique. Aujourd’hui, elles montrent le corps de la femme, sans jugement, tel qu’il est, plein d’amour, dépersonnalisé et en même temps si intime.

De voir mon corps nu de cette façon me permet de l’appréhender différemment. Je ne le juge plus (ou en tout cas moins) selon les standards de la mode ou sociétal mais plutôt selon sa beauté artistique. Du coup, je le trouve magnifique, car à travers l’œil d’un artiste, tout corps humain l’est, qu’il soit grand, petit, enrobé, maigre, masculin, féminin, tendu, mou, jeune, vieux…

Les galeries devraient montrer beaucoup plus de nus de femmes et d’hommes de tout âge et de tout horizon pour nous donner une image du corps autre que celle des magazines et ainsi nous montrer que, quel qu’il soit, le corps est beau et sujet de désir. C’est dans cette optique-là, que Guillaume va prochainement exposer aux côtés de Maïa Mazaurette, dans une exposition intitulée « Elle et Lui » à Analix Forever. Elle, elle dessine des corps d’hommes et lui, il photographie le corps de la femme.

Rendez-vous pour le vernissage le 11 février 2020 au 10 rue du Gothard, 1225 Chêne-Bourg, Suisse.

Our New Year’s Resolutions

When we were children and still spending New Year’s Eve with our parents, they implemented a tradition of discussing our current year successes and New Year’s intentions and…

When we were children and still spending New Year’s Eve with our parents, they implemented a tradition of discussing our current year successes and New Year’s intentions and resolutions over New Year’s Eve dinner. We did this for so many years, all four of us still live a version of this tradition ever 31st of December.

Here are each of our 2020 resolutions.

 Roxane: Be ok alone.

My husband just started a new job that requires him to be away during the week and home only on the weekends. This is a wonderful opportunity for him, but a challenge for me. I have never learned how to spend time alone nor do I like it. My 2020 challenge and resolution is to be ok when I am alone. I’ve come up with a number of tactics and strategies to set myself up for success:

  • Getting to know my neighbors and having dinner parties with them.
  • Becoming a regular at the local diner.
  • Having friends over and/or test new restaurants with them.
  • Going rock-climbing once a week with a colleague.
  • Engaging in local activities: Thursday evenings in Nax (the village I live in) I can do yoga classes or ski under the stars.
  • Working late or going to bed early (instead of binging on TV shows).
  • If I am eating at home by myself, I will try reading a book, listening to an audio book, watching a good movie, calling family and friends or Skyping with my husband and having a virtual dinner with him.
  • Creating evening routines: turning music on when I walk in the door, starting a fire, lighting candles, doing 30 minutes of yoga, taking a long shower and treating my body with many Alchimie Forever products.

I think there is a slight change I might actually start to enjoying spending time with myself, by myself.

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Rachel: Let go of my fear of taking risks.

In 2016, when I became CEO of Forever Institut, I took a big risk to launch our first expansion project, Forever Boutique. This risk has paid off as the Boutique is break-even and showing growth every month, yet more than ever I am afraid of failure, and plagued with too many doubts. Yet, to succeed as an entrepreneur (or as a seasoned business leader), you have to embrace risk. Calculated risk, yes, but risk nonetheless.
This year, I feel sufficiently serene to be able to take a leap forward and embrace a new risk. We will be looking out for our second Forever Boutique, and I trust that my change of mindset will be like a message to the Universe who will answer with the perfect location for our expansion.

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Cyrille: Continued affirmation of (my)self.

Last year I tried yoga nidra for the first time, and it was like a revelation. The practice starts by setting a powerful intention for yourself; creating in your mind of a precise sentence that helps support your heart’s wishes. This intention (or sankalpa, the Sanskrit word for resolve) should be positive, short, and stated in the present tense. Sankalpa is not about achieving goals or fixing something that is “wrong”. Instead, it’s about connecting with your emotions and beliefs. I learned that my sankalpa already resided within me, as a heartfelt longing. And I repeat it to myself everyday “I am a conquering queen, creator of my own life”. I think of it as a vow between the Universe an me.

While this may not be a traditional resolution (I have never embraced these as much as my sisters LOL!), I vow to continue to repeat my sankalpa daily, as I have found it to be a powerful tool, a gateway to positive change and personal transformation.

Cyrille

Me (Ada): Feel (be) healthier.

This may be the most non original and common New Year Resolution, yet it is not one that I have made in the past – so it is new and interesting to me. I am working to feel healthier, to be healthier, despite traveling 100,000 miles per year, sleeping five to six hours per night, mostly in hotel rooms. To start off strong, I am doing a 21-day cleanse that entails no alcohol, no sugar, no carbohydrates, limited fat and limited dairy. As I write this, I am on day 5, and feeling good. To me, this is as much about the physical cleanse, as it is about the emotional breaking of bad habits, such as relying on wine to de-stress, and on food to feel better.

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What are your New Year’s intentions?

“Let it slow, let it slow, let it slow… down”

En hiver, la nature se tait. Comme un arrêt sur le temps jusqu’au printemps. Ce silence, cet instant de repos, devrait nous inciter à nous aussi, ralentir un peu. Prendre plus de temps pour s’écouter, se chouchouter, favoriser son bien-être et préserver ses ressources.

  1. Reconnaître ce dont on a besoin pour briller

Dès le mois de novembre, les journées se font plus courtes et la luminosité décline. Ces phénomènes se reflètent sur notre visage – teint pâle, cernes prononcés, traits tirés – et aussi sur notre moral – on est un peu plus sensible et d’humeur morose. Une solution serait de s’harmoniser avec le rythme de la nature en ajoutant une heure de sommeil à nos nuits hivernales. Et pour ceux – comme moi – qui ont de la difficulté à dormir, il faut trouver d’autres manières de pallier au manque de soleil. Réveil imitateur d’aube, soins du visage à la lumière pulsée, vacances au soleil, beaucoup de câlins… Le but est d’attiser son feu intérieur, de faire rayonner son sourire, sa peau, ses pensées, de faire briller sa lumière sur les autres et le monde.

  1. Manger en conscience

En hiver on a tendance à manger plus ; pour se réchauffer, pour s’égayer, parce que les plats de saison sont souvent plus riches en graisses, parce que les fêtes de fin d’année sont gourmandes. Oui, nous sommes dans une période d’excès ; alors prenons le temps de choisir ce qui nous régale vraiment et contentons nous de cela. On attend des aliments qu’ils nourrissent notre âme autant que notre corps. Alors détendons nous, profitons de chaque minute de partage et faisons de chaque repas un moment précieux empreint de plaisir.

Polla sisters cooking
Cyrille, Rachel, Ada et Roxane
  1. Slow beauty

Il y a déjà 10 ans, le Dr Polla introduisait la notion de « Slow beauty » à Forever Institut. Ce concept implique une vision consciente, réceptive et durable de la beauté. On choisit des traitements qui respectent l’intégrité corporelle et émotionnelle ; on décide d’avancer dans l’âge de façon digne, en prenant soin de sa personne. On s’accorde le temps de réflexion sur ce dont on a besoin pour s’épanouir, en construisant une vision de soins esthétiques à long terme. On combine les techniques, on séquence les séances, pour un geste plus doux, pour un résultat naturel et progressif.

Alors rendez-vous en 2020 !

My key CEO-takeaways for 2019

I am sure you all know about the concept of “3 take-away messages”. I often use this method in my life, to synthesize and integrate the learnings of a class, a workshop, a book – any relevant experience really. So I decided to apply it to my 2019 business year as a CEO of our family business.

 

  1. COACHING rather than COPING

My first stress trigger was when I realized we didn’t start the year according to the set budget. I tried to cope by myself using various strategies, but by April, I felt powerless to reverse the trend. That’s when I entered panic mode. Luckily I had just started new coaching sessions.

In just a couple of sessions Eva Cruz guided me towards asking myself the right questions – which led me to find the right solutions. Much more useful than panicking! Most importantly, she helped me find my “WHY” – the famous Why of Simon Sinek. Since our coaching sessions ended, I feel like everything kind of fell into place. Even my anxiety level has reduced quite drastically.

Understanding the power of the right type of coaching at the right time, I tried a second approach towards the end of the year. I started Krav Maga with Thierry Colomb, a self-defense and productivity coach. These sessions help me feel more powerful and in charge.

  1. FACE rather than FEAR

This year I have really worked on my tendency to avoid difficult discussions. My coping mechanism was usually to hide in my “cave” (my office for example) rather than face them with trust and strength. It was particularly challenging for me to change this behavior, as it is rooted in my childhood.  But I’m getting there. And the most recent discussion to date I had with a dear colleague has been a relief for both of us; we were able to tell each other what we needed to move forward into a more constructive, and successful relationship. When I received a heartfelt thank you note for what I felt was a tough discussion, I realized how facing issues is key.

  1. ASK rather than ATTEMPT

Lastly, I realized how important it is to ask for help sooner rather than later. As a young CEO, I kept feeling that reaching out for help would hinder the image others would have of me. My eldest sister Ada and her husband have kept trying to change my mind about this. I don’t know if it’s their persistency or simply my growing maturity. But definitely, 2019 has been a year of calls or emails to the Chairman of our Board of Directors (Gilles Bos, a wonderful mentor), asking him for advice. Looking back – and ahead towards 2020 – I feel that I have grown because of this new and positive perception of the act of asking.

 

HydraFacial

This summer, as I turned 30, I came to the realization that my skin needs more attention than it did when I was 20. So when a new device, the HydraFacial, was recently introduced at Forever Institut, I gladly tested it. I love it.

To start, the therapist cleanses my face with the Alchimie Purifying facial cleanser. This sets the mood perfectly because my skin feels clean and fresh and ready for treatment. Added bonus, it smells so nice.

Now, on to HydraFacial. The machine has hermetic tips that are applied one after the other onto my face. Small circular movements are made until the whole surface has been covered.

This first tip delivers water to clean and exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and sebum. Thanks to the hermetic system, no water drips on your face.

The second tip applies glycolic and salicylic acids to the skin. These molecules provide deeper exfoliation and loosen deep pore dirt.

The third tip suctions the skin to remove all the impurities. It painlessly extracts debris from pores while feeling like a refreshing face massage.

The fourth tip delivers a mix of antioxydants to the skin. The therapist can add other molecules to the mix such as pure vitamin C. LED lamps are then applied on the skin to help infuse the products in the skin and enhance penetration.

For the final touch, the therapist applies the Alchimie Forever Protective Day cream SPF 23 to protect my skin from UV exposure post treatment.

I’ve done this treatment twice now (once a month) and I love the results. One or two zits appear right after but then for several weeks my skin feels so soft and my clogged pores are finally clean and free. My skin is brighter and especially with cold weather arriving, I can feel my sensitive skin is much calmer than usual.

If you haven’t tried this yet, please do so – it is perfect for all skin types including sensitive.

P.s. A very satisfying part of the treatment is that at the end you can look at the machine’s recipient that collected all your skin’s impurities and actually see all dirt that has been removed from your skin.

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Thanksgiving and Spinach Madeleine

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and I am feeling thankful for so much. Next week, I will celebrate this American holiday in Louisiana…

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and I am feeling thankful for so much. Next week, I will celebrate this American holiday in Louisiana, with my husband’s side of the family. We will connect, we will laugh, we will watch football, and we will eat.
One of the things we will eat, my favorite side dish, is Spinach Madeleine, something akin to creamed spinach with a lot of cheese. This was invented by a lady in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when she had guests over unexpectedly and had to make something out of what was in her pantry… You will notice the 1950s food sensibilities, yet trust me, you can’t argue with the taste.
Add this to your menu for Thanksgiving, for Christmas, for a Fall or Winter birthday party. Below is the recipe for this amazing dish, edited (in terms of ingredient availability in Swiss grocery stores, and spice) by Marty, my Louisiana-born sister-in-law who lives in Switzerland.
Enjoy!


Ingredients

Eh bien ! Dansez maintenant.

Anti-déprime, anti-stress et boosteur de confiance en soi, la danse a de nombreuses vertus – même pour les amateurs !

La fourmi ne croyait pas si bien dire… Car j’ai découvert que parfois la danse nourrit et enrichit plus que le blé.

L’année passée je me suis remise à la danse. Pas le ballet classique et astreignant de mon enfance, mais une version plus spontanée, libre, intuitive. J’ai commencé en suivant l’habitude de mon fils qui danse à la maison sur ses musiques préférées (Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk). Ici, pas de règle ni de censure. On laisse nos corps faire ce qu’ils veulent. Je suis surprise lorsque certains mouvements de yoga s’invitent par surprise dans nos mouvements, comme le balancement des bras qui s’enroulent autour du corps et nos pirouettes qui se terminent (plus ou moins) en position du guerrier de paix. Je pense que faire des gestes associés à la joie, à la victoire et à la force, comme lever les bras et les mains au ciel, contribue aussi au « feeling good ».

Une ou deux chansons suffisent pour que j’en ressente les bienfaits : je suis de meilleure humeur, plus créative, et clairement cette pratique m’insuffle une nouvelle confiance en moi. Je me trouve plus belle et plus affirmée. Selon certaines étude cliniques, la danse active des zones précises du cerveau et génère la libération d’hormones de bien-être qui améliorent le moral (endorphines et ocytocine). Moi j’y crois ! Il suffit de regarder le visage et les expressions des gens qui dansent…

J’ai aussi redécouvert les soirées dansantes entre amis. Le Mad à Lausanne, le carnaval du Bain des Pâquis, La Maison Balkii aux Eaux-Vives, sans compter les soirées privées chez mes sœurs. Et là, d’un coup, je me sens moins seule. Physiquement – cela va de soi –  mais surtout émotionnellement. Quand on danse à plusieurs on se synchronise sur le même rythme, on aligne nos fréquences vibratoires. Cela créé un effet de cohésion que je ressens réellement. Je me reconnecte le temps de quelques heures aux autres, au monde. Et en observant les couples sur la piste, j’ai l’impressions que la danse ravive leur sentiment amoureux. Que du bonheur !

Prochaine étape… je vais m’inscrire à un cours. Mais lequel ? Parmi mes amies il y en a qui font de la salsa, du swing, de la danse contemporaine, du hip-hop, du pole-danse et même de la danse libre, style impro : ” 5rythmes “. Je pense que c’est vers celui-là que je vais me tourner. Et vous, quelle danseuse(-eur) êtes-vous ?

 

Polla Sisters Hoola-Hoop Dancing
Polla sisters hula-hoop dancing in Louisiana