Haute Health

Benefits of Therapeutic Yoga by guest blogger Lisa Muehlenbein, E-RYT 500

Originating in India 5,000+ years ago, yoga emerged as a way to prepare the body for lengthy meditation. Here, in Western culture, we often think of yoga as a form of exercise…and it is; however, utilizing yoga therapeutically allows practitioners to address certain health conditions and regain the mind-body connection that we tend to lose as we run on the “hamster wheel” of daily life.

After recent back problems, one on one sessions with Lisa has improved my mobility tremendously.

Many clients have contacted me with the desire of regaining mobility and working with their special conditions and limitations. Together, we discuss their goals and evaluate how they move, where dysfunction in the body is occurring and use yoga poses to address these concerns and help heal the body.

therapeutic yoga technique
Using the bands to get an amazing stretch.

When a client comes to me, I use restorative and therapeutic techniques that I have learned from my teachers, including Leeann Carey of Yapana Yoga, Brian Legere of YogaWall® and Christopher Harrison of AntiGravity® Fitness to address their specific needs. We can use props like the bolster, blanket, strap, block and chair to support the body bringing stretch as well as release. The Great YogaWall ® allow us to provide strength and stretch through the application of traction. AntiGravity® techniques give us the ability to move freely through all planes of space while giving us the accessibility of a zero compression inversion to relieve stress and compression on the spine.

The Great Yoga Wall ®
The Great Yoga Wall at Zen Garden Yoga
Private sessions on The Yoga Wall

Together, we work in the studio privately to address the client’s needs; however, I also give the client suggestions that they can do at home between appointments allowing for them to feel relief in between sessions as well.

Some benefits that my therapeutic yoga clients have described include:

  • Decreased pain
  • Improvement of physical limitations
  • Improve flexibility
  • Reduced stress & anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • A greater sense of wellbeing
  • Improved posture
  • Better overall quality of life

The relationship between the client and yoga teacher is one that is built on trust and respect and the mutual desire for improved health and wellness. For me, using yoga as a complimentary aspect to enhance someone’s life is a gift. Being able to watch someone improve their mobility, regain confidence and feel better is a pleasure and privilege that I am grateful for each day.

Lisa Muehlenbein, E-RYT 500


Lisa Muehlenbein, E-RYT 500

Owner of Zen Garden Yoga


Passion. Transparency. Essential.   If I don’t have a connection with something, I become bored and restless. It needs to mean something to me on some level. During my latest mission to find a product to offer in my retail shop, Couture Closets, I discovered a new skin care line called Beautycounter. My immediate ‘catch’ was the essential commitment of the safe, toxin free products, that are not only good for you, but also adheres to extremely high environmental standards and stay true to their strict “Never List”.

This I also found interesting, and rather alarming. The cosmetic industry in the US has not been regulated thoroughly since 1938. REALLY?!?! Oh, yes. The US has banned only 11 ingredients where as Europe has banned 1300…just a little difference!  Beautycounter had banned 1500 ingredients from their product line up. I wanted to learn more and try the product.

The CounterTime line had me at “balm”! The cleansing balm, which can also be used as a mask is like bathing your face in liquid silk. Their Lustro face oils are just that…something to lust over. From calendula #1, jasmine #2 to ylang ylang & wild chamomile #3 are all designed to work in different ways. I personally use #2 for my skin type and #3 is designed to help acne and rosacea. Yes you fight oil with oil so don’t be afraid if you have oily skin.

The makeup line that just recently launched includes a tint, concealer and lip sheers. With makeup artist to the stars, Christy Coleman, as Head of Creative Design I knew it must be great…well…it’s incredible. I have pushed my Chanel, LaPrairie, Dior and even my beloved Armani to the sidelines. That takes serious “player power”!


This skin care and cosmetic lifestyle/product investigation, can be rather
overwhelming. I’ve discovered an essential tool to check the toxic levels
of many items I was using daily: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.
It’s available as an app (skin deep). I have found this information so fascinating. The app also has a bar code scanner. I’ve been using this valuable tool like a ‘scanning fool!’ However, I do find the website to be more informative and seems to have more items listed. If you don’t find the product your using than get to the bottom of what is in it. Many companies are not so “transparent” for a reason….they are hiding something.  I am marking each product in my arsenal with a Sharpie, indicating it’s 0 – 10 ranking. Zero being the least toxic and ten being the highest. Most of the products I was using rated well over a 4.

I made a commitment to myself to reduce the toxins in my arsenal by 75%. Eliminating anything over a 3. My new newest obsession aka. Beautycounter rates 0-2 so I had certainly found a product to achieve my goals…from skin care to body care. They even offer a children’s line!


You will find the whole product line at Couture Closets located at 192 E Main Street in Spartanburg, SC or shop on-line with me at www.amyz.beautycounter.com

Kiss of Couture,


Turning back the clock…one layer at a time.

There are countless new ways to repair skin damage. Now, more than ever, people are becoming more aware of protecting their skin. SPF is included in so many products, cosmetics, even hair care products & that is such a great advancement. However, there are other professional level procedures, that do not include invasive operations. Many are performed as outpatient routines, like the one I am getting ready to tell you all about.

I recently found myself in a discussion with my friend, a local plastic surgeon Dr. Shawne Birchenough, about a particular laser procedure I had heard about, unofficially called “The South Beach Peel”. I had been admiring his wife’s beautiful skin as well as another friend of mine. She just happens to be the wife of  Dr. Micheal Orseck, Birchenough’s partner. I thought, ok these wives have a secret and I want to know what it is. After seeing before and after pictures I decided to take the plunge. Honestly, I was rather nervous & somewhat scared. I did it anyway.

My main target was repairing past sun damage and improving the area under my eyes. We all have sun damage, but it appears on different areas of our skin, primarily face, neck, & décolletage. After reviewing the pictures that are taken of you before you have the laser treatment, it confirmed the area I need improvement on was removing the sun damage.

Obviously these pictures have not been photoshopped or altered in any of my favorite apps like Facetune so brace yourself! #nomakeup #nofilter

First stop…numbing station! Once this took effect the laser treatment began. It lasted maybe 30 minutes and I did it without any medication. If your the nervous type, you may want to take a mild “happy” pill and have friend drive you home. Just warn them by showing them my picture of what you will look like when you come out.

I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!
I knew I had something in common with Faye Dunaway, portraying Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, numbing cream!

Days 1 & 2 – Aquaphor was my new best friend. My pain level was alleviated by simply taking a few ibuprofen. Sleeping with Aquarphor is a bit tricky, just be prepared to wash your pillow case!

Day 1 shortly after treatment


Day 2: I had swelling under my eyes and extreme fighting of the skin. Brown spots from sun damage surfaced.
Day 2

Day 3 – different areas of my ‘previous’ skin, just began to slough away. I was excited to see the condition of my new skin being exposed as the day progressed! Say goodbye to brown spots!

Day 3 in the morning...by the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!
Day 3 in the morning…by the end of the day I had shed all the brown spots that had surfaced!

Day 4 – my shedding was almost 100% finished! My skin was glowing, vibrant, & felt like a babies bum!

Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.
Day 4: most of the old skin had peeled away exposing beautiful skin asking for a second chance.

By the time Day 6 rolled around my skin was on cloud nine and so was I. All the worry I had put myself thru before the treatment was a passing memory…all that was left behind was skin like a new born and plump tight new skin that gave the impression of having cheek implants.

Day 6: no filter...just the amazing transformation!
Day 6: no filter…just the amazing transformation!
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50
Tip: have on hand a tinted moisturizer with a high SPF. My favorite was Bobbi Brown tinted balm SPF50

So, as you can see, doing this drastically improved my skin. FYI – ALWAYS use an SPF of at least 30-50, everyday. Just one more reason to wear big hats & big shades!

I say let’s bring back the parasol!

Kiss of Couture

xoxo Amy

For more details on this procedure contact:

Magnolia Plastic Surgery (Dr. Birchnough & Dr. Orseck)

Spartanburg, SC office (864) 560-6717

Greenville , SC office (864) 849-9330

or visit this website





Mixology – Creating Your Perfect Skincare Cocktail

I was chatting with a friend of mine, Dr. Shawn Birchenough, the other day when he mentioned an event he’s hosting soon. Shawn is a plastic surgeon with Magnolia Plastic Surgery here in town, and he’s planning an event called “Spring Spectacular” on May 9th. But our conversation got me thinking…
When people think plastic surgery, the first thing that comes to their mind is “frozen face” and surgery-gone-wrong horror stories. There is certainly a lot of stigma surrounding this practice, but why? Plastic surgery doesn’t have to be something negative. A lot of time, whatever procedure you have done can truly change your life. New age cosmetic medicine is all about looking relaxed and refreshed, and that’s what Shawn wants to do for his patients.
So many times, people have asked me “what have you had done” or even better asked my mother “when did she (referring to me) have a facelift”! After my initial shock wore off, I had an “aha moment” because I myself have looked at someone with envy because of their great skin or their smooth, wrinkle free complexion. I can certainly attribute my great skin to not only good genetics that mother blessed me with but also a skin care regime that started at an early age. I remember in my teens never going to bed with my makeup on. During my long overnight flights to Europe, the first thing I do after my meal is take off my make up and apply an über hydrating crème, la prairie is my go to. High altitudes and the air on a plane can be very drying. In my 30’s I started with the Obagi skin care program, which Magnolia Plastic Surgery carries, and that truly change my skin and gave the “glow” that everyone asks me about. I am not opposed to botox or injections to give me a more relaxed look, however, I am not ready for the knife and if I look at my mother nearing 70 years of age, I may never need the knife. Entering my 40’s has made me more aware the importance of staying out of the sun as much as possible and the important role a great “cosmeceutical-cocktail” can play in my life.
If we keep tight-lipped (no pun intended) about the things we’ve had done, Shawn’s open house will be for naught. Spread the word ladies! Plastic surgery isn’t something to be ashamed of, and most times, it isn’t even surgery. There are plenty of things to do to help your skin be at its best that don’t include going under the knife. If you’re looking your best (even with a little help), that should be something to celebrate! So celebrate by bringing a friend, I’m sure they want to know your secret to looking fabulous.
Great skin starts with your genetics. What your mama gave ya is valuable. Climate also helps. It’s no surprise that southerners have great complexions because of the humidity, and where we live gives us that boost. But if neither of these aspects play in your favor, skincare treatments offered at a plastic surgeon’s office might be for you. We want to help you create your perfect skincare cocktail! MIXOLOGY
Like any good recipe, you have to start with some basic ingredients…

What Shawn suggests:
*A good diet


*Regular hydration

*Minimal sun exposure

*A skincare regimen

*Treatments that won’t break your bank and will keep you from going under the knife…

*Regular facials – A spa facial will do wonders for your complexion and getting them regularly can only improve your skin.

*Cosmeceuticals – This is a mixture of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, something that you would put on top of the skin to correct it. Shawn suggests the Obagi or Revision lines.

*Chemical peels – Peels work by targeting the first three layers of dead skin and sloughing it away. It creates a refreshed look by diminishing the appearance of wrinkles. There are many types of chemical peels, so make sure to ask Dr. Birchenough which is best for your needs.

*Laser peels – A bit stronger than a chemical peel. This can be used to target certain areas and dark spots.

*Injectables – Botox and Juvederm. These are injected into the skin to fill places that need a little lift. Fillers are made of natural proteins that are found in the skin and injected to the deeper wrinkles.

These are just a few of the procedures that can be performed on you at Magnolia Plastic Surgery. All are non-invasive and can prevent or hold off surgery until you’re ready for a major change. Shawn recommends starting your “skin maintenance program” as early as possible and says it is helpful to mix and match procedures and products.
Join him May 9th for Spring Spectacular for a day of beauty. All patients get a free consultation with him so they can ask questions and learn what procedure is best for their individual needs. Many procedures and treatments are discounted for that day only and can be done in the office. Please call now for an appointment as private time fills quickly or visit his website, magnoliaplasticsurgery@srhs.com to learn more and to RSVP!
Magnolia Plastic Surgery 864-849-9330
A Kiss of Couture,
Amy R Zimmer


Juicing is Liquid Gold!


Juicing is a trend that’s been around for years, but has blown up with the recent “health food craze.”
Ever wonder why some svelte celebrities, such as Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow , look so
amazing? It’s because they have been advocates of juicing for a long time. We’re not advising that
your goal be to get down to their ultra-thin sizes but to learn about finding a healthier lifestyle for
you. One does not juice to loose weight, however, weight loss is definitely a benefit of juicing.
If you want to make the move towards a healthier lifestyle, a juice cleanse might be for you. Take it
from me , it’s been the best addition I have ever made! I’m a juicing addict now because…
● Clarity- my mind is clear and my body feels great! I’m a creative person, in case you didn’t
know, and when I on my 2nd day into a juice cleanse I have the most amazing clarity for ideas
and stay focused on my task as if I am channeling Super Woman!
● More Energy- with my busy schedule, everything helps. It’s like injecting caffeine into the
veins without making that stop thru Starbucks! Yes, when I am committed to doing a full
cleanse I eliminate coffee! First day is hard but by the second day comes with clarity.
● Reduced craving- I no longer feel the need to eat fatty or sweet foods. However, if I do have a
craving it’s a small one that normally one bite of something sweet can take care of!
● Grab & Go! I’m always on the go and it’s so much easier to just grab the bottle and hit the
● Skin Glow! Yes, your skin will literally start to change over time to reflect all the goodness
you are blessing it with. MAJOR benefit!
The point of juicing is to get rid of the toxins in your body and at the same time fill it with nothing
but goodness from Mother Nature. The benefits are endless. We live in a world packed full of
preservatives, additives, pesticides, science made food and the American “drive-thru” that our
bodies are not designed to handle. The rumor is though, that juicing will be expensive, time
consuming and to be honest, gross. When we think of drinking the juices from raw fruits and
vegetables, it doesn’t sound too appealing. I was a skeptic at first too, but once you try it, you
really won’t go back.
My mother, who is known in our circle as “Paula Deans” fierce rival because of her talented
southern cooking skills has recently taken to juicing. I invited her to a juicing seminar at
Spartanburg’s based Culinary Hub, an über cool event location (more on this below). Understand
I have been juicing for some time now and my mother always thought I was something out of a
science fiction movie because of my “strange ways”! After the seminar and introducing juicing
into her lifestyle she has stopped drinking coke, cut out using splenda, going thru drive-thru’s
and has lost a good 8-10 pds. My friends were worried our “Paula-Dean” had left the building and
we would not have any more yummy pound cakes delivered or coconut cakes on Easter but her
response was “you guys can eat it, I’m not”! So yes, a 10 pound coconut cake was sent fed-ex to
Santa Barbara when my best friend sent her request for Easter! When I asked her how to describe
how she feels after juicing for almost 2 months, her simple response is “much better”! Her goal is to decrease her medication, to loose more weight in a “healthy” way and to spread the good news to her family and friends.

I live in a small town that up until recently had no idea what a “juice bar” was. Tawana Hamby of Good
To Go Juices based out of Taylors, SC is responsible for bringing the juicing trend to Spartanburg, SC-
literally! She delivers her “liquid gold” on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s to The Culinary Hub, located at
147 East Main Street in downtown Spartanburg, SC. If you’re looking to break into a healthier routine,
don’t hesitate to go and see her. She can answer all of your questions and put together a plan that is
customized to your needs. For Spartanburg deliver you must call and place your order Monday
mornings for a Tuesday delivery or Wednesday for Thursday delivery. Make sure to order some
protein balls and tell them I sent you!
Whether you’re looking to cleanse and start over, banish bad eating habits, or feel fit in that summer
swimsuit, juicing can fit into every lifestyle. Make a change for a better you. Feeding your body is
necessary, but feeding it the right things is essential.
Good to Go Raw Juice Bar located 5000 Old Spartanburg Road, East Taylors, South Carolina


This Cleanse at Mayr Clinic in Austria is a life changing experience that I have had the luxury of experiencing. My husband and I try to do it  every couple of years and it is such an healing, fabulous place.

These are my bullet points that I have taken from my cleanse:

*Mental Clarity

*Improved energy.

*Decreased craving for sugars and toxic foods.

*Overall understanding of the benefits that cleansing provides your body, giving it the break it deserves.

*Weight loss, if that is your goal.

Enjoy this amazing article found from Harpers Baazar UK, it really captures the essence of Mayr Clinic

Love ~Amy Zimmer

by Florrie Thomas


The Mayr Clinic in Austria is famous for its fasts, vitamin injections and healing powers.  Jonathan Foreman, a long time fan, takes his fourth trip to the clinic to meet its new director and answer some essential questions.

Who goes?
Anyone who is anyone in the fashion and film world knows about the Mayr, and most of them have been there. On my first trip Uma Thurman was checking out as I arrived. On my most recent one a well-known, slightly plump British cabinet minister had come hoping to drop some serious weight.

Where is it?
The F.X Mayr & More clinic is located on the Worthersee lake in Southern Carinthia, a province of Austria that borders Italy and Slovenia. The Worthersee is the Austrian Riviera, or rather MittleEuropa’s equivalent of the Hamptons. Thanks partly to the famous casino at Velden on one end of the lake, it has been a playground for Germany’s and Austria’s wealthy for decades. The families that own Porsche and BMW both have houses on the lake, and even small lakefront huts here are fabulously expensive.

What is the Mayr Cure?
The Mayr is not about being “pampered”, although cosmetic treatments are available. It’s about health, in particular digestive health.  Dr Mayr, like many of his early 20th century contemporaries, was convinced that overeating and bad diet was at the root of many modern afflictions. He believed that if you give your digestive system a rest by fasting, then the body’s ability to heal itself gets a boost.

The modern version of Dr Mayr’s method is less spartan than the original: you don’t have to live on herbal tea for three weeks. You do eat much less than you would at home or if you were doing any kind of work, and you avoid anything and everything that is hard to digest, including fruit and raw vegetables.

You are encouraged to rest, to avoid TV and to eat very lightly at night, usually only a bowl of soup, taken by teaspoon. At the same time you detox by drinking lots of water, taking a dose of salts every morning to clear out your intestines and doing without things like alcohol, coffee and sugar.

Is it safe?
The Mayr cure is without question the most effective way to lose real weight quickly and safely. It’s less extreme and much healthier than the Spartan regimes you encounter at places like the Ashram in the USA, and it does not involve the kind of deprivation that puts your body into starvation mode and prompts weight gain immediately when you stop. Your weight loss is the by-product of a healthy process of fasting and relaxation. There are several places in the region where the Mayr cure is on offer, but Mayr and More is its original home.

Is the Mayr for me?
At least a third of the people I met at the Mayr were not there to lose weight, though most were happy to have that as a side effect. They were there to boost immune systems depleted by chemotherapy or steroid treatment, to cure irritable or spastic bowels, to deal with other persistent afflictions like candida or to recover from various types of exhaustion.

Should I go alone?
Having to run to the loo frequently, as many people do in their first few days as the salts take effect, is something of an icebreaker. On the other hand, the Mayr is no place to take a lover. The headaches, tiredness and other detox symptoms – and the requirement to monitor the qualities of your stools – don’t make a Mayr visit conducive to romance, despite the extraordinary beauty of the turquoise lake.

Is the Mayr regime physically challenging?
The doctors here are adamant that you should only do moderate exercise while on the cure. You can swim, try acquacycling in the indoor pool, do pilates and yoga and go for good walks in the hills but they discourage anything much more strenuous than that.

What is the regime?
Each person get’s their own diet plan based on a doctor’s examination and blood tests. You are given alkaline powder to take at night and in the morning. This is to make up for the excessively acidic diet of most Mayr clients. It is also because when fat melts as part of weight loss ketonic acids are produced.

You are given infusions of vitamins and minerals to make up for the effect of the salts and the diet. It’s advised that you don’t watch TV – though there are TVs in the rooms – during the cure because it undermines the whole relaxation aspect and keeps people up too late. The Mayr doctors believe that sleep before midnight is especially valuable, and that rest is vital for losing weight. For most people the Mayr fast includes a decent sized, central European style breakfast.

The Mayr has a new director. What changes has he made?
The new director, Dr Stefan Domenig, who was formerly at the competing Viva Mayr clinic just up the Lake at Maria Worth, has to some degree taken the institution back to its roots with a slightly more simplified menu. Monotony, he believes, is extremely helpful both for the cure – “it calms the flora” he told me – and for fat loss. The food served at the Mayr is now exclusively organic.

Domenig also plans some changes to the physical environment that will make it more competitive with its glitzier rival, the Viva Mayr. Soon guests will be able to sip their evening soup outside. He also says plans to boost the exercise component of the cure, which is currently one of Mayr and More’s relative weaknesses. Although the Mayr currently has two first class physical trainers, both women are part-timers, and when they are not around there are no qualified instructors present. Younger clients in particular would appreciate kayaks or stand-up-paddleboards if they were made available on the beach during the summer, and ought to be able to go cross-country skiing in the winter.

Getting there:
The nearest airport is at Klagenfurt at the top of the Worthersee. Klagenfurt is served by Ryanair though given the misery of flying on that carrier many Mayr people instead choose to come via Lubljana which is an hour away by car but reachable on Easy Jet and BA.

CONTACT:  http://www.mayrandmore.com