Just one of the fascinating people I have the pleasure of knowing…

Okay so one of the things I had promised myself when I started this blog is that I would spend some time exposing my readers to the places I frequent and the people behind them!  I am starting out with what (in my opinion) could quite possibly be the best spa in Toronto!  Here goes…

Toronto is typical of most big cities and their “beauty culture” in that almost every type of skin care or beauty ritual you desire (or can imagine) is available.  A mixed blessing of course-the skin care and beauty business is more than a million dollar industry.  What’s new versus what’s pretty versus what’s “good” for you.  How in the world does one choose? While I don’t have the exact answer, I will say that I have stumbled upon what could (quite possibly) be the best spa in Toronto.

Enter Kristen Ma, 1/2 of the dynamic duo that is Pure and Simple Spa.  I was lucky enough to have some time to sit down with her to chat about skincare, living healthy, and why she is P&S!

She just glows, doesn't she?

I have written about Pure and Simple before (chickadvisor).   Thanks and shout outs to Ali for writing a review!!

Kristen has a wealth of knowledge and experience.  She is in the final stages of a new book (with a title to be determined.  Her first book, “Beauty: Pure and Simple” is worth a look (my pages are dog eared, but I had her autograph my copy anyway).  I won’t talk about her bio in too much detail here, but will say that if you would like to know more about her, please visit www.holisticvanity.ca or www.pureandsimple.ca . Kristen also contributes to Tonic magazine and you follow her on twitter as well!

I wanted to stay away from most of the typical questions that I knew Kristen would be prepared to answer (much to her suprise?).  I already knew that she was prepared to talk about her business but I wanted to get to know Kristen-outside of her business.

I had to ask a few questions about how P&S was conceived and born. Simply put, Kristen wanted to offer healthy solutions and natural skin care.  She wanted to offer products that could help people’s common skin ailments/issues through Ayurvedic principles (read more about Ayurveda and Pure and Simple’s approach). It was important to her to contribute and shape a company that embodied these principles and showed true compassion.

Kristen working her magic! Lucky lady!

All that being said, Kristen calls herself a “business woman with ethics”….before you cry ‘Cliche!’, read on.  She is all that and MORE!

Kristen did admit having a travel bug of sorts that has led her to faraway places such as Australia and India.  I asked her about her favorite place and she said it was Australia.  She spent approximately 6 months there, part of that time backpacking up the east coast.  In her words, it was a ‘really beautiful experience’ and the place where she made the ‘most change’.  Other favorites included Italy and it’s fresh coconut and watermelon wedges (drooling) and Paris with her partner (le romantic-no I am not French).

Since I do follow Kristen’s blog, I was pretty curious about what Kristen eats.  In fact, I phrased my question, “Are you a vegetarian, vegan, or hybrid?” She refers to her restrictive diet often.  She started out vegan, and still maintains what I would term ‘vegetarian principles’.  Again,  I will refer to Beauty: Pure and Simple (in this case, page 48):

Diet affects the nutritional environment of our skin.  It is not only what you

eat but eating at appropriate times that gives the body and skin the

nutrients to repair and protect itself.  With diet, again the doshas exert

their influence.”

Following up on the healthy side of things, I was compelled to ask how Kristen stays in shape (even though I know part of the answer already).  We both visit the same personal trainer twice a week.  We are also similar in that we like activities as forms of exercise-things like running, yoga, and rebounding are tops on her list!

Another Kristen hot blog topic is her book title contest.  The book will discuss treating acne holistically.  I was a bit confused about holding a contest to name a book (especially if I was the author-enter control freak in me screaming NOOOOO).   However this isn’t Kristen’s first time in the naming contest arena.  She adopts a “more brains are better than one” principle.  I didn’t take a stab at the latest contest, but the 3 finalist titles are stellar!  When I asked about how she will pick a winner, she said she is going to take a popularity poll (and of course some google analytics).  Ultimately the choice will be left to the publisher (repeat control freak NO! here).  Stay tuned for the title-hint, read her blog.  I was sorry to hear that the book may not be available in Canada-Kristen say it ain’t so!

And now, presenting some questions that will remain in ‘interview’ format:

M: What books are you reading right now?

K: The Ecology of Commerce, Your body’s cries for water, Hope in a Jar,

M: What’s on your ipod?

K: Liars, Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Nick Cave, Kate Bush (she also admitted to Britney Spears Toxic, but denied Bieber vehemently)

M: NY or L.A.?

K: NY-I love the artist culture and raw food restaurants.

Obviously Kristen takes very good care of herself-I was curious about her beauty regime.  She loves the P&S nirvana facial, and uses P&S products for her daily skincare.

Kristen with her products-and oh what great products they are !

Did you know? Kristen’s ‘guilty’ beauty pleasure ……eyelash extensions!

I also asked her about what I would term ‘beauty faux pas’ (this term coined by @FacesbyFarah fyi).  You know, the things  you would see in the beauty ‘don’t’ section of a a magazine at the grocery store checkout.  She named 2 things right away:

1. People with untidy/out of control eyebrows

2. hairpieces (I believe they ‘freak’ her out)

Parting beauty secrets from Kristen include:

1. Never estimate the power of a great face oil

2. If you’re breaking out, steam your face. NOW!

What’s coming up in the near future in Kristen’s world?  Well…..

-a new book

-taking classes (yes, that’s plural) at a university

-developing more new products for P&S

I’ll end by saying that I feel the name Pure and Simple is not only fitting for the spa, but also very fitting for Kristen.  She truly does embody the Pure and Simple life.  When we first sat down to talk, she spoke a lot about her business-but it was wonderful to get beyond the business and find out about the person (or genius) behind it all.  Kristen is the kind of girl that I would want to be friends with-she is focused, determined, and efficient but behind all of that is passion and fire. She values her relationships and has a deep love and respect for everyone around her.  I am so fortunate to have been able to spend time with her, and will continue to follow her blog, visit her spa, and dive into her next book.

Looking forward to my facial tomorrow 🙂

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