Dave Mancuso and the Art of the Perfect Shave


A Master Barber guides us through a classy and classic experience for men…

You may have noticed that this writer has been on a journey of self-improvement…and I’ve taken you along on the adventure. Together we’ve experienced a men’s spa day at Westgate Serenity Spa. Then we shot over to Cosmopolitan for a visit to STITCHED Haberdashery, followed by a series of sessions at Therma Slim Med-Spa. It was only a matter of time before our next must-do experience would be an expert straight-razor shave.

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There’s no question that when you look your best, you feel great too. And it doesn’t matter what brought you to Las Vegas. Even if you’re here just to sight-see or to attend a special event, those photos and memories are going to last a lifetime. Why not indulge in something that will relax, pamper and improve your looks all at the same time? You’ll get all that and more when you schedule a Premium Shave Experience at The Art of Shaving,

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The Art of Shaving at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place is much more than the usual retail outlets you’ve seen. It’s one of about fifty locations that also features a full-service Barber Spa. The AOS Barber Spas offer precision haircuts, beard trims, scalp treatments, express facials and Premium Packages. But as the name would suggest, The Art of Shaving Barber Spa is home to the world’s best straight-razor shave.

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Dave Mancuso has been with The Art of Shaving since coming to Las Vegas eleven years ago. His first nine years were spent at The Palazzo before transferring to Mandalay Place. It’s at their Barber Spas that Mr. Mancuso can fully utilize the skills he’s developed through thirty-nine years as a Master Barber.

The expertise and elevated level of service from a licensed Master Barber gives this Youngstown, Ohio native a distinct edge over traditional barbers. Dave keeps his license and craft up to date by attending regular Continuing Education courses. The fact that Dave’s also a licensed Cosmetologist ensures that your face and skin will be in the best possible care.

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A visit to The Art of Shaving is often a rite of passage. Men bring their sons here for their first professional shave. It’s also a popular must-do for Vegas visitors when arriving in the city. Just like ladies look forward to the many Vegas spas, men often make it their tradition to receive a straight razor shave when they come to town. And of course, many locals make this part of their regular grooming regimen. “We love our locals” says Dave.

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Walk-in visits are usually available, but it’s easy to schedule an appointment. The meticulously-presented retail area leads to a welcoming counter where you’ll be escorted to the Barber Spa. That short walk from the entrance will take you back decades in time, when the Barber Shop was a masculine cultural experience. The spinning barber poles and classic leather chairs set a wonderful mood for what’s to follow.

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Dave guided me through the entire process beforehand, describing every step in their famous Premium Shave. First comes the cleansing process, followed by hot moist towels to soften the beard and open pores. They’re infused with fragrant essential oils…and incredibly relaxing.

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It was at this part of the process that I started to go into a zone of deep relation. “Many of our guests fall asleep ” Dave told me. “Don’t fight it. I’ll wake you up in forty-five minutes or so” he joked. Fair enough….so I’ll let Dave take it from here in his own words.

I start with a warm steam towel, apply Peppermint Face Wash and cleanse the face using the Art of Shaving Power Brush. Next Peppermint Face Exfoliant is applied, massaged into the skin and removed. Pre-shave oil is applied and then a warm lather on top of the oil.

The Royal Shave is performed using a straight razor with a disposable blade (which is required by law so there is never any cross-contamination). I shave with the grain in which the hair grows, re-lather and shave against the grain. Another warm towel is applied to open the pores.

Rosewater Eye Pads are placed on the eyes and a Rose Clay Mask is applied to soothe and moisturize the skin. The mask is removed and then I give a face and neck massage using AOS After-shave Balm. I mist the face with rosewater and finish with a cold towel to close the pores…and more often than not to wake the guest up.

 

After that refreshing towel brought me back to my senses, it was time absorb the experience…and enjoy the feel and appearance of my smooth, immaculate face. Dave then took me into the retail and demonstrated some of the products that have made The Art of Shaving such a gold standard for men’s grooming.

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The New York City-based company was formed in 1996 by husband and wife Eric Malka and Myriam Zaoui. The two combined their skills to create the ultimate shaving products from natural and aromatic ingredients like those found in the kitchen. They published a book about their research, discoveries and a valuable guide to the ultimate shave in 2002. The company was acquired by Proctor and Gamble in 2009, so now the stores also feature Gillette razors and blades.

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While their high-end product line has been expanded to include all manners of body wash, beard care, grooming and fragrances, the core of their business is what they call 4 Elements of a Perfect Shave. These basics start with their pre-shave oil, a highly concentrated shave cream, a natural-bristle shaving brush and an after-shave balm. I picked up the 4 Elements set and was eager to try them in my own shower.

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“You only need to use a very small amount of our items to get the best results” Dave cautioned me. “One jar of our shave cream, for instance, will last for over eight months. In the rare event that someone is unhappy, it’s more than likely because they’re using too much. Once they use less, they’ll fall in love”.

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I left The Art of Shaving feeling like a million dollars and ready to enjoy a Saturday night on the town. Dave’s departing words were echoed a few days later after I’d given my Art of Shaving products a whirl at home. I wrote to express my appreciation…and my pleasure with the 4 Elements Gift Set. “I love my face again!”, I told him.

Mancuso’s response was priceless: “That is almost always the reaction we hear once someone plays with our products themselves. It will even get better with continued use. ENJOY!!!”

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The Art of Shaving/Barber Spa of Mandalay Bay is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm. It is located at Shoppes at Mandalay Place, 3930 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Call 702-632-9356 to make an appointment with Dave Mancuso. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Therma-Slim Med Spa Turns Up The Heat


Locally-owned body-contouring center will help you get sexier for pool season and beyond…

When I moved from my rural Pacific Northwest home last fall to the excitement of Las Vegas, I was frequently reminded of that line from The Wizard of Oz… “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Indeed, life in Sin City exists on another plane. Packed with models, dancers, strippers, acrobats, athletes and great-looking members of the service industry, the residents of Vegas go out of their way to stay fit, youthful and great-looking. After all, it’s their bread and butter in a very competitive field.

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                                              Yours truly, then and now…

Having reached the heart of middle age, this writer has done plenty to fight the inevitable affects of aging. Regular workouts, elevated skin care, a cleaner diet, improved grooming and gallons of water have helped to fight the ravages of the years. But sometimes your self-improvement plans could use a little nudge.

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After doing a substantial amount of online research, I decided to visit Sean R. Baughman‘s Therma-Slim Med Spa on West Russel Road. After our initial consultation, I was convinced that Baughman was the right man to trust with my self-improvement goals:

I have clients who are in their suggested BMI (body mass index) range and want to lose that last inch they just can’t seem to get rid of. There are clients who are clinically obese and looking to kick-start their weight loss journey. Not all clients are candidates for my elective procedures. Unlike many clinics and med spas, I don’t see clients as dollar signs. I see them as people…people who are looking for help to better themselves both physically and emotionally.

A statement like that immediately suggested that Sean could be the right person to entrust with my goals. So I asked him about the types of clients he sees most frequently and what they’re most often looking to achieve:

My demographic ranges all over the spectrum from young adults that are looking for a little extra advantage to clients in their 60’s and 70’s that want to age gracefully. I will say that the women to men ratio though is about 80/20. Most of these people are already living a healthy lifestyle. They’re happy with their overall appearance and just need that extra boost to target one or two problem areas.

That was all I needed to convince me to move forward with Therma-Slim to get “some work done”. Med-spa treatments aren’t a quick fix for people unable or unwilling to be proactive with their health and appearance.  But for a guy like me who’s already making a valiant effort, stepping things up a notch with a little assistance can make a big difference in results.

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                      As a fitness trainer, Sean practices what he preaches…

The fact that Sean comes from a background in nutrition counseling and fitness training with a degree in biology naturally lends itself to a venture like Therma-Slim. Knowing that Baughman attended UNLV’s pre-med program and is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine assured me that my body and health would be in good hands.

My degree in biology from UNLV was originally to prepare for medical school. I wasn’t sure what direction to go in so took a break, which led me into personal training to fill the time. That in turn put me on the road towards becoming a nutritionist. I’d found a happy medium with a real interest in helping shape people’s bodies as well as their minds.

I decided to open Therma-Slim after coming across a clinic that was hiring a nutritionist. They needed someone to help with nutritional guidance for their patients, the majority of whom were there for elective procedures like Laser Lipolysis (or Laser Lipo). The clinic introduced me to the more aesthetic side of the medical community and happened to work out great with my education.

My personal training clients are much more likely to listen to recommendations because of my educational background in kinesiology, biology and fitness nutrition. I’m able to identify in each individual a specific plan of workouts and nutritional guidance, mixed with weight-loss procedures, to maximize their results.

With that said, not every client is a candidate for a few of the procedures I perform and I’ll be the first one to tell new patients that. My number one goal is for each client to receive sound advice and be given realistic and obtainable goals. I want them to succeed.

Upon meeting Sean, you might be surprised by his relatively young age. But this ambitious businessman has paid his dues to establish himself in the community. He’s worked the Vegas service industry for many years, often a difficult and thankless profession. This no doubt gave him a distinct edge when preparing to launch his own business.

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I was a bartender for many years while putting myself through school. I’d come to an age where I needed to do something more substantial with my time. Not that tending bar isn’t respectable… I was just at a stage where I needed to feel a sense of accomplishment.

I opened Therma-Slim med-spa in July of 2018. I’d learned a lot from the previous clinic and decided it was time to go on my own. One thing I never studied was business, yet I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot. Soon after opening I realized that I actually understood business operations and surprisingly, really enjoyed it!

Being a business owner can be taxing both mentally and physically. Those who work within the professions of health and aesthetics have it even harder. They’re expected to “talk the talk and walk the walk”. That means looking your best 24/7. Luckily, Sean excels at burning the candle at both ends…and sometimes even lighting a few extra when needed .

I’ve built a reputation of honesty and integrity. My clients know it’s not about money for me…it’s about results.  That being said, my work days can be long. Most are twelve or thirteen hours. I’m normally up at 3:30 am and off to the gym to train clients by 4:30. I typically train until around 9, then head to the clinic to start seeing clients from 10 until 5.

Even though my business is relatively new, I’m normally busy the entire day. I enjoy it, though, so the day doesn’t drag. It’s very important to still find the time to work out at least one hour a day. That definitely keeps me mentally focused and physically healthy.

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So what exactly is a med spa? Simply speaking, they’re hybrid clinics that combine the atmosphere of a traditional day spa with the advanced care of a medical office. These unique facilities perform health and beauty techniques which require the expertise of a medical professional.

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Therma-Slim specializes in procedures to aid in weight loss, body contouring and skin tightening. All treatments are non-invasive/non-surgical and offer minimal to no “down time”. This means you can improve your face and body without missing work and usually without anyone knowing….that is, until they start commenting on how great you look.

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One Therma-Slim treatment is Strawberry Lipo, named for its bright red lasers that irradiate fat cells under the skin. Those cells release water, glycerol and fatty acids that are processed by the kidneys and liver, then exit the body through your urine. To make that process work properly, clients are required to drink plenty of water before and after a treatment, along with performing physical activities like strength training or cardio to keep the lymphatic system flowing properly.

Ultrasonic Cavitation is another non–invasive treatment that attacks stubborn fat deposits. It uses sound waves and suction directly to the tissues to turn fat cells into free fatty acids, which once again get flushed away…literally. This body-contouring technique is safe to use on the midsection. arms, legs, love handles and even the chin.

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I’ve always had a jowly round face and gravity hasn’t helped that. The body naturally produces less collagen as a person ages, causing the skin to lose elasticity. I originally sought out Thema-Slim to undergo RF Skin Tightening, a simple way to help “send things back where they came from”.

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A series of short, painless visits will soon induce tissue remodeling on my cheeks and jawline by stimulating natural collagen and elastin production. With my 56th birthday taking place this weekend, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. And it’s quite affordable.

I asked Sean if there were any techniques that he particularly enjoyed administering:

I Just recently started performing Cryolipolysis or “Fat Freezing” at my clinic. I really enjoy this procedure because of what it does to the fat cells. The biological reaction of it is fascinating…and it’s just fun to do.

Like any entrepreneur with ambition, Sean has already expanded from his original location to a larger, more modern facility in the same office complex.

Therma-Slim is not a part of a corporation. I am happy owning and operating solo. The prospect of expanding is definitely an option down the road, but for right now I like doing what I do. I get enjoyment out of making people look and feel better about themselves. I like that I can be that solution for them.

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Therma-Slim Body-Contouring and Laser Lipo Center is located at 4815 W. Russell Rd. Suite 16P, Las Vegas, NV 89118. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday (closed Sunday). Call 702) 366-6574 to schedule an appointment. For a list of treatment options and current specials, visit the Therma-Slim Facebook Page

 

 

STITCHED & CHILL at Cosmo Delivers the Ahhhhs….


Men’s haberdashery pampers guests with spa treatments, sexy cocktails and delectable dishes…

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It’s always enjoyable to report when businesses and individuals “give back” by way of charitable events, humanitarian causes and acts of kindness. Sometimes a simple thing like showing appreciation for your team can set a business apart from the rest.

Feel Like a Kingsman at STITCHED

In December I told you about STITCHED, the superlative, unique men’s clothing boutique inside Cosmopolitan Hotel Casino. This week I was lucky enough to attend a gathering called STITCHED & CHILL. This event is an opportunity for the STITCHED team to extend their thanks to vendors who supply STITCHED with their magnificent menswear, accessories and materials.

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Tuesday’s party was created to coincide with the MAGIC Fashion Trade Show at Mandalay Bay. Don’t be thrown by the name….the only illusions you find there may come from figure-enhancing undergarments. MAGIC stands for the Men’s Apparel Guild in California, which was established in 1933. The semi-annual show comes to Las Vegas every February and August, bringing hundreds of exhibitors for a massive fashion showcase.

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To alleviate some of the stress that cross-country traveling and setting up a trade show can produce, the vendors for STITCHED are treated on the eve of MAGIC for a bit of pampering. That means cocktails and delicious nibbles courtesy of Cosmo’s STK Steakhouse and Momofuku multi-cultural bistro. It also means a little taste of luxury by way of massages, mini-manicures and detailing from an on-site barber.

Arriving at a sweet suite on floor 67 of Cosmo’s Boulevard Tower, my pal Danny and I were greeted by STITCHED Marketing and Brand Director Charly Mapes. The scent of the shop’s signature fragrance candles filled the air as we were ushered through the vestibule. The gorgeous space featured a wrap-around balcony with spectacular 270-degree views of the valley.

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Once onside, we were shown around by Sam Glaser, VP of Purchasing and Operations. After grabbing some cocktails provided by sponsors Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Casamigos Tequila, Glaser told us how STITCHED & CHILL came into being and the purpose behind it. Our suave host then invited us to indulge in spa amenities courtesy of some very talented individuals.

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My first treatment was a lush and relaxing chair massage by Valarie Marck of The Body Connection On-site Spa Services. Valerie and her partner Shawna Naylor became quite popular as guests flowed in and Sam Glaser filled up the appointment boards, cleverly mounted in the main entertainment area.

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Next up was a gentleman-style mini manicure by Dominique Pfeiffer of The Body Spa at Green Valley Ranch. While giving me a tasteful trim, shape and buff (along with a wonderful hand massage), Dominique mentioned that her son Nick works for STITCHED. Even though she’s quite busy at her own spa, Dominique said she enjoys the atmosphere of CHILL events and considers it a pleasure to share her skills here.

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As I’d just been to the barber earlier that day, I didn’t slide into the next chair. However, many of the gentlemen in attendance were able to get their necklines and beards trimmed and neatened by the barber. The next morning they’d be able to look their best at the trade show.

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As the evening wound down, we spoke to a few young ladies who were staying at Mandalay Bay Resort. They’d just arrived from New York and had already set up their exhibit, so they were enjoying the opportunity to take in the gorgeous sights, smells, tastes and services for themselves.

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Sadly, the man of the hour, Ricci Lopez-Hammargren was unable to attend the festivities. He was at Cosmo’s second-level STITCHED boutique, giving world-class attention to a visiting customer. As I mentioned in my previous article, men fly into Las Vegas from the four corners of the country (sometimes from overseas) to shop at STITCHED. It’s just that special.

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Why not discover the unique world of STITCHED for yourself? Click here to schedule your own personalized fitting experience. Hours are from 10 am through 11 pm daily. Call 702-698-7630 for more information. 

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MAGIC LAS VEGAS runs through February 7th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Click here for more information. 

 

Hot Guys of Vegas – Humanitarians and the Humane


The latest of my series on the good-looking men who make Las Vegas a better place to live…

Hard to believe so much time has passed, but it’s been five whole months since my last entry in the “Hot Guys of Vegas” series! Since we’ve just come out of the “Season of Giving”, it only seems fitting to salute this current crop of hunks. One way or another, they’re all doing their part to make Las Vegas more live-able, either by promoting businesses, supporting worthy causes…or sharing their love for the animal kingdom.

Ricardo Laguna – Pro BMX rider/ TV personality

 

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                                                          Ricardo Laguna

Where you’ve seen him – sporting events, magazines, community functions

There are very few people in Las Vegas who haven’t encountered Ricardo Laguna. This stunning man has been a resident since the age of thirteen. When he’s not emceeing an event, helping with a charity or enjoying time with his family, he’s flying through the air on his BMX bikes. Sometimes he’s doing all of them at once.

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           Raising funds for the NSPCA at Vegas Indoor Skydiving Tunnel Jam…

Ricardo’s known for his charisma, community efforts and undying love for the city he calls home. He also owns an eye-catching wardrobe, thanks in part to friend Ricci Lopez-Hammargren at STITCHED Men’s Haberdashery (more on Ricci soon). But underneath those gorgeous clothes is an equally stunning body. In or out of a shirt, Ricardo Laguna is always dressed to impress.

Several children’s charities are close to Ricardo’s chest…er, “heart” . You may find him doling out ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s “Free Cone Day” to benefit CASA Foundation or fighting childhood obesity via Jump 4 Joy Foundation. But whatever he’s doing or how high he soars. Ricardo Laguna eventually ends up with his feet…and his wheels…firmly on the ground.

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Noteworthy traits – defiance of gravity, ability to great cheese on his abs

 

Mike Foland – entrepreneur/reality TV star/entertainer

 

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                                                          Mike Foland

Where you’ve seen him – E!’s Men of the Strip/FLO Advertising/Chippendales

Mike Foland might not be a household name…unless you’ve seen him as the smooth-talking “Money Mike” in E! Television’s Men of the Strip movie event. Nevertheless, Mike’s presence is felt in just about every corner of Sin City. He’s a man on the move, just like his awesome FLO Advertising mobile digital billboards that you may have seen this blog displayed on.

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Foland is one of those guys that everyone seems to know and love…and rightly so. He has his hands in so many operations and activities that it’s hard to describe exactly WHAT Mike does…or just how wide his interests are. Along with the advertising business, Foland works behind the scenes to create new Vegas entertainment, is a member of the National Addiction Center Treatment Alliance and owner of Sunshine Sober Home in Florida.

Mike’s remarkable background is just as varied. The West Palm Beach FL native began as a wrestler which segued into an MMA fighting career. Somehow along the way he managed to become a member of the world-famous Chippendales. No shortage of testosterone in this guy, that’s for sure.

Mike says his dancing days are far behind him now, but love for animals will always be a part of him. Very much a cowboy at heart, Mike enjoys farmer life and outdoor activities. Fishing, boating, hiking and diving are all part of what makes this rugged hunk a real “man’s man”. But deep down inside and underneath that ever-present cowboy hat, Mike Foland is a true softie.

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Noteworthy traits – gentle demeanor, major masculinity

 

Jeffrey Frischmann – showroom manager/animal rescuer

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                                                    Jeffrey Frischmann

Where you’ve seen him – Mike Hammer Comedy Magic/Spirit of the King

If you’ve had the good fortune to attend one of the two sterling shows at Four Queens Hotel Casino, chances are you’ve met young Jeffrey Frischmann. This handsome, soft-spoken boyish gentleman presents himself with a demeanor and elegance reminiscent of the showroom maitre d’s of yesteryear Vegas.

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                  Jeffrey joins Steve Connolly onstage at Spirit of the King

Jeffrey usually wears a wacky logo t-shirt under his dark blazer. which adequately represents the dual personality of this outstanding guy. Jeffrey’s quite formal on the outside but life-loving and adventure-filled within.

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You’d be hard pressed to find a photo of Mr. Frischmann by himself. He’s always with…or holding…someone or something he loves. Married to lovely Ayin with two-year-old daughter Farrah, this family shares their home with some other very special members.

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Jeffrey and Ayin are actively involved in providing homes for French bulldogs. As part of Nevada Frenchie Rescue, the couple has been instrumental in relocating pets from other areas into better situations…and have adopted several of them as well. Of course, they’ve experienced many tearful farewells along the way, but Jeffrey knows that the pain is worth the rewards.

This aficionado of all things retro-cool loves to hit up antique shops with his pal Carrot Top, listen to rock music on his vintage record changer and play pinball with pals. During the scorching Vegas summers, Jeffrey heads out to Lake Mead for swimming, boating and diving. In the winters, there’s snowboarding to keep him fit.

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Being Mike Hammer’s right hand man means that Jeffrey is ever-present at fundraisers and charity functions that Hammer hosts and attends. Most notable is a series of annual Mike Hammer Celebrity Go-Kart Races that have benefited a long list of charities.

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However Jeffrey spends his days, you can always find this great guy charming his guests at the Four Queens Showroom five nights a week. Making people smile comes naturally for Jeffrey. He represents his generation VERY well.

 

Notable traits – tough-guy tattoos, boyish grin

 

 

Spa Days Are For Guys, Too


Yours truly indulges in a manly head-to-toe experience at Westgate’s Serenity Spa…

There’s an outmoded perception that spa treatments are something that only women are likely to enjoy. But those in the know realize that occasionally pampering our overworked bodies allows them to recuperate, regenerate and regroup for what lies ahead.

Men are most likely to use the fitness center and steam room/massage at a resort’s spa…but why stop there? Your skin, hands and feet take as much abuse as your muscles. They’ll also benefit from a bit of professional attention. And who knows…perhaps you’ll get other kinds of welcome attention in return.

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As a guest of Westgate Resort, I was invited for a courtesy MVP for the Day package at Serenity Spa. The three-hour session included an aromatherapy elixir massage, Versailles rejuvenating facial and a spa pedicure. The retail cost for this package varies by weekday/weekend rates, but if you’re a regular visitor to my official Facebook Page you’ve seen the Groupon specials I post there (why not head over and click “Like”?).

If you’re new to the atmosphere and procedures of a spa, then read on. Being a former licensed massage therapist myself (hence the pen name “Sammasseur”), I know my way around these places and can help you to feel comfortable and prepared.

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You’ll want to make your appointment(s) in advance, much like visiting a medical office. The staff at any legitimate spa is a collection of highly-trained and licensed professionals. They need to keep to their schedules just like your doctor does. You can always call to check availability during moments of spontaneity, but it’s best to plan ahead. If you happen to arrive late, it’s standard procedure for your service to finish at the originally-scheduled time.

To acquaint yourself with a spa’s services, check their online menu to see what’s available. Then decide what fits your needs and budget. Services can be chosen a la carte or in a variety of specially-priced packages. It’s worth noting that most spas in Vegas have adjoining fitness centers, pools and steam room/sauna/hot tub areas. Your fees normally entitle you to use of these amenities, allowing you to make a full day of it if you so desire.

As spas exist to promote relaxation and balance, it’s best to ease into your visit. Ideally, you’ll want to arrive a half hour or more before your first scheduled service. Once you’ve checked in, an attendant will take you to your gender-appropriate area for a tour. They’ll provide you with a locker, sandals, robe and some bottled water.

Cell phones are strictly prohibited, so you’ll want to shut off your ringtone and store the phone with your other valuables and clothing. On your initial visit you’ll be asked to fill out an intake form with questions about health and special needs. You can look over a description of proper spa etiquette by visiting here.

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Before your appointment you may wish to shower, steam or slide into the hot tub to set that “Ahhhhhh” mindset into motion. Many spas are clothing-optional, but it’s best to bring a swim suit. You’ll want to make a trip to the restroom, too. Once prepared, head for the “relaxation room” until your attendant summons you for your services.

Relaxation rooms are generally equipped with plush chaise lounges, fruit-infused water, light snacks and fresh fruits. There may be magazines, a fireplace, candles and a TV with captions (no sound). Conversation should be quiet and kept to a minimum to foster the atmosphere of peacefulness.

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My three-part package began with the massage. Eric, my usual therapist, is the talented young man whom I mentioned in a past article. Whereas previous sessions had been performed with Himalayan salt stones and deep-tissue therapy, today’s was structured around aromatherapy.

I was presented with a choice of fragrances based on natural elements like fire and water. Each selection is designed to promote a certain type of therapy or wellness. I went for “metal” which offers detoxifying benefits….perfect for recovering from Vegas indulgences.

A first massage can be a little disconcerting for the uninitiated. You can ease that concern by watching internet videos of how pro massages are performed. Let the therapist know of any sore, sensitive or ticklish areas….or just places that you don’t like being touched (bottoms of feet are a common one).

You’ll be placed under a blanket on a warm table with only the treated areas being exposed as necessary. There’s no need to worry about modesty, but once again keep in mind that you’re in the company of a state-licensed professional. Trust the skills of your therapist and allow your body to relax freely. Take deep, regular breaths and provide feedback if something doesn’t feel comfortable (pressure, speed of massage strokes, etc.).

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At the midway point you’ll be asked to turn over. Some clients like to take a sip of water during this pause, which is another good time to confirm that all is going well. After you change from a prone position to supine (on your back), a soft cloth may be draped over your eyes to keep out the light. BTW, it’s perfectly normal and acceptable to fall asleep if you achieve a point of deep relaxation.

After the massage you’ll be escorted back to your respective spa area. You might wish to use the bathroom once again, and be sure to have more water….an essential ingredient in all bodywork applications. Then it’s back to the relaxation room to await your next service.

Serenity Spa Westgate

Step two for me was a facial. Once again, there are a variety to choose from based on your needs and skin type. There’s even a Gentleman’s Facial geared towards shave-weary faces. My slightly-aging (ahem) skin was eager to receive a rejuvenating treatment branded as Queen of Versailles. The line of products used for it are inspired by Jackie Siegel, wife of Westgate Resorts owner David Siegel.

Aside from short demonstrations at department-store counters and fitness expos, this writer had never received a full-service facial. They’re performed in a room that combines the tranquility of a massage studio with the clinical precision of a dentist’s office. My licensed esthetician, Kellee, invited me to get comfortable on a multi-position table before discussing my current skin concerns.

Serenity Spa Guy's Day

After covering my eyes to block out light, she closely examined my pores and skin texture under intense light and a magnifier. Then she discussed options for blemishes and trouble spots that might require special attention. Next was a multi-step process that included steam, applications of various creams/cleaners, massage…and some high-tech equipment.

Serenity Spa Guy's Day

Most of the facial was a relaxing and pleasant experience….some not. You see, trained estheticians perform “extractions” of blocked pores. This process can be little on the painful side…but so are most trips to the dentist. Fortunately it was followed with soothing gels and more massage to reduce redness and impart a healthy-looking glow. Improving your looks isn’t always wine and roses…but the end result was fantastic.

Speaking of wine, MVP Spa Package includes a glass of your choice. It was offered during my final hour, this time in the spa’s nail salon. Tori Lyn invited me to settle into a comfortable recliner with controllable heat and massage. Placing my feet in a glass bowl of swirling, heated water (and enhanced with LED lighting effects), I stretched out and allowed Tori Lyn to work her magic.

Serenity Spa Guy's Day

Getting a professional pedicure was another first for this guy. As you might imagine, the procedure involved trimming and shaping of the nails, neatening of cuticles and more massage.

Serenity Spa Guy's Day

The part I most benefited from was buffing and removal of calluses and dead skin from the toes and heels. That might sound uncomfortable, but soaking in moving jets of water beforehand made the experience quite pleasant. Moisturizers and soothing oils were applied to my feet and nails as a final touch.

After three hours of continuous pampering, I rose from my recliner feeling like a new man. As stated previously, you’re free to stick around and enjoy other areas of the spa. You might even want to get a contemporary new cut and style from the hair salon (Westgate’s iBlowDry Salon is open daily from 9am to 8pm). For myself, this was the perfect time to head back to the suite for a nap.

If you’re next stop after the spa is something more formal, be assured that full showering and grooming facilities are at your disposal. They usually include razors, styling products, antiperspirants and dental hygiene accessories. Ask your attendant for anything that might be lacking. They’re sure to have it…even a plastic bag your your damp swimsuit.

It’s standard procedure in American spas for the proper gratuity to be added to your charges (20% is the current norm). This will be disbursed in appropriate amounts to those who provided your services. I tend to give a little extra cash to the locker attendants, but the choice to leave additional for anyone is yours.

After a “guy’s day” at the spa, you’ll be prepared for whatever the setting sun has in store. With a full package of treatments to make you look and feel your best, there’s no limit to what you’ll be able to achieve in Sin City.

Westgate Serenity Spa’s business hours are from 6am to 8pm daily. Special discounted package rates are available. For more information or to book a service, call 702.732.5648. Groupon is currently offering limited-time deals for up to 50% off. 

Photos: Sammasseur, Westgate Las Vegas, TripAdvisor, Yelp!, Quora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Serenity At Westgate’s New Spa


Park City’s award-winning facility brings mountain-retreat comforts to Vegas…

There’s something uniquely American about the community of Park City, Utah. No matter the season, the mountain top ski-centric Park City offers crystal clean air, gorgeous vistas and a warm, eclectic culture.

Westgate Las Vegas (my favorite middle-tier resort) benefited from Park City’s dining offerings when it opened its own branch of Edge Steakhouse. That exceptional restaurant is always my response when friends/readers ask “Where should I go for that one special meal?”.

It was only a matter of time before the local Westgate Resort welcomed another Park City treasure to their Sin City line-up…and their spa is a great one at that. Serenity Spa of Park City has won dual awards from Best of State – Utah for the past five years, including 2017: “Best Spa in Park City” and “Best Destination Spa”.

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

Bringing the reputation and quality of a popular mountain retreat to the Mojave Valley results in a natural pairing, even without the snow and ski lifts. The expansive and easily-accessible Serenity Las Vegas should be a popular go-to for anxious, tired visitors…especially in these troubled times.

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The impressive footprint of Serenity is located on the hotel’s third level, where a massive pool deck is also home to one of the best workout facilities of any Vegas hotel. In fact, the size of the gym area has nearly doubled since my last visit and it was already superior to most.

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

The spa and fitness center share an entrance with iBlowDry hair salon. The welcoming lobby has a reception counter and waiting area along with various products displayed for sale. Notable is the new Queen of Versailles skin care and treatment line, launched in recognition of Jackie Siegel (Mrs. Florida Pageant winner and wife of Westgate Resorts owner David Siegel).

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

As is customary with stateside spas, there are separate areas for male and female guests with the treatment rooms in between. You’ll be provided with a robe, sandals and a digital locker prior to your treatment, along with a brief tour of the wet areas (saunas, steam rooms, soaking tubs) and relaxation spots. Juices, bottled water, cucumber slices and towel are offered, so be sure to indulge.

Following the tradition of most health spas, certain areas are clothing-optional, so cameras and phones are prohibited (their usage would also detract from the soothing atmosphere). Therefore, expect to leave your electronics and belongings in a secured locker at all times. You’ll note that this prevented me from taking pictures of those areas as well.

Services at the spa are grouped into four major categories: nail services (like a “lush manicure” or gel pedicure), facials (including a 50-minute “Gentleman’s”), body treatments for exfoliation and detoxification…and of course, a variety of individual and couples’ massages.

Serenity Spa Westgate

An entire list of services and prices can be seen by clicking here. For those who are new to the world of spas, a breakdown of procedures and etiquette is included at the bottom of the chart.

Keep in mind that these are luxury services performed by expertly-trained licensed professionals in a custom-designed environment. Therefore, the associated fees reflect that…but are well worth it for the pampering and lasting effects you’ll enjoy.

Serenity Spa Westgate

As an invited guest, I was scheduled for a 75-minute Himalayan Salt Stone Massage ($195). This therapeutic session combines precise relaxation strokes with the melting comforts of heated, hand-carved Himalayan salt stones. My therapist, Eric, was incredibly skilled with them, easing the tensions in my workout-stiff muscles and bringing my mind and body to an amazing level of calm.

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In case you’ve wondered, my pen name “Sammasseur” comes from the fact that I was a licensed massage therapist for many years. I performed hundreds of hours of massage at numerous resorts, hotels, a chiropractic office and in my own studio. So I feel pretty qualified in recognizing a skilled body-worker…and Eric was top-notch.

After your scheduled treatment, you will have access to all of the spa facilities for the remainder of the day. This fella chose to drink in the steam room vapors while reclining with chilled eucalyptus towels on my forehead and neck. Then it was back to the relaxation room for some fruit-infused water.

Serenity Spa Westgate

If you need to prepare for your next adventure or an evening out, fully-stocked showers are available, along with toiletries to shave, shine your choppers and style your hair. Or you can venture out to the pool deck for some fun, sun and refreshments….

Serenity Spa Westgate

On certain evenings, Westgate is one of several hosts to a relatively new activity –  Silent Savasana yoga classes. These large-scale sunset events provide participants with LED-lit headphones that bring creator/instructor Dray Gardner‘s voice intimately close as the sun’s rays diminish. Simultaneously, a custom-designed music playlist yields an enhanced feeling of focus, discipline and strength of mind.

Serenity Spa Westgate

Serenity Spa Westgate

I was invited to attend Silent Savasana but had another adventure planned for that evening. However, I did stop by briefly beforehand and witnessed dozens upon dozens of dedicated Silent Savasana fans pouring onto the pool deck.

Serenity Spa Westgate

If you’re intrigued, the next one at Westgate is scheduled for November 4th at 7pm. There is no entry fee and all ages are welcome.

Serenity Spa Westgate

With all of the tensions that the world throws at us on a regular basis, it’s wonderfully therapeutic to splurge and allow yourself to be pampered on vacation…or during a stay-cation. Serenity Spa at Westgate is a great new destination for your serene experience.

Serenity Spa’s business hours are from 6am to 8pm daily. Special discounted package rates are available each Monday, Thursday and Sunday which include gratuity and a glass of wine. For more information or to book a service, call 702.732.5648.

Photos: Sammasseur, Westgate Las Vegas, Silent Savasana, TripAdvisor