Note from Ilana

“Early Detection For Your Protection”

October is a month that holds a special place in my heart. Not only because I love the crisp autumn air and changing leaves when visiting up north, but also because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For me, this month represents hope, strength, and determination in the face of a disease that has taken the lives of my mother and grandmother.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer suffered by women, and it is not something to be taken lightly. That's why October is dedicated to raising awareness about this disease, with the goal of sharing information and encouraging women to pay attention to their health. Although fewer than 1%, men can also develop breast cancer. Male breast cancer is more common in older men, however it can occur at any age.

One thing that is vital when it comes to breast cancer is early detection. This can often be achieved through regular screenings, which can catch the disease when it is most treatable. This is why I am always grateful to hear the words "you’re good, all-clear, no change" when I undergo my own screenings.

But beyond regular screenings, women (and men) can also take control of their health by educating themselves about prevention. Whether it's through word of mouth, charity donations, or getting involved with organizations dedicated to breast cancer research, we can all make a difference in the fight against this disease.

Awareness is powerful. It not only helps us to stay vigilant and proactive about our own health, but it also brings hope for a future where breast cancer is no longer a threat. So let's keep spreading awareness and fighting for a cure. After all, as the saying goes, "early detection is for your protection." We need to do our part this October and beyond to raise the alert about breast cancer. Together, we can make a difference. It’s important to share information and encourage others to pay attention so they take control of their health. As someone who has been personally impacted by breast cancer, I am beholden for all efforts being made. My hope is to work towards a future free of breast cancer. Make October - and every month - a time for hope, strength, and determination in the face of this disease, because finding a cure is worth fighting for!

In Wellness,



FSA "SPA-liday Cheer" Event

@ Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Make this season extra special at the FSA annual Holiday Event!

Meet us at the luxurious Carillon Miami Wellness Resort for an extraordinary time of celebration and networking. Revel in the warmth and cheer as you meet new friends, catch up with colleagues and take in the majestic ocean view.

This event features Carillon's cutting-edge hi-tech spa experiences, an innovative resource expo, a collaborative silent auction sponsored by ISPA & FSA, delicious hors d'oeuvres and…lip-smacking bubbly. Plus, learn more about how and why the FSA supports our spa community. Also check out our new FSA elevated spa membership, Source4leaders (S4L). See how it will enhance your career and how you can get more involved in our dynamic spa community.

Don't miss this unforgettable holiday event and make some SPA-liday magic!

We look forward to seeing you!

Thank You Tammy!

Thank you to Tammy Pahel for her continued support of the Florida Spa Association (FSA) and for co-hosting our annual holiday event. Her generosity in partnering with us has allowed our spa community to experience the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, a wellness sanctuary known for its innovative hi-tech, hi-touch equipment and treatments.

Tammy is dedicated to promoting overall wellness and self-care within the spa community. That's why she provides opportunities for our members to learn and grow.

We are grateful for Tammy and her unwavering support of the FSA - here's to many more years of partnership!

Contact the FSA to learn more about the upcoming SPA-liday event at the Carillon Miami.

Let's make self-care a priority and continue on this journey towards wellness together!


Silent Auction

at FSA SPA-liday Event

ISPA + FSA = Family

For the first rime, FSA is partnering with ISPA to host a silent auction in support of the

ISPA Foundation's critical industry and consumer research efforts.

Please donate artisan gift baskets, a spa day or spa experiences, exercise equipment or other items to highlight your brand, raise bids and give our community a fun holiday shopping outlet.

Bidding begins November 1st!

Donate Now

Bidding ends at the Carillon event,

which is the perfect time for us all to do some pre-holiday shopping for loved ones. 


Thank you in advance for your consideration. 


"Voice-It" Spa Talk with Mitchell

October's Mitch's Mind "Eco-Anxiety"

The Spa & Wellness industry has lead so many trends in self-care, most notably the yoga/mindfulness boom. We may promote breathing, mindfulness and a better life on a sticky mat, but did you know that most yoga mats are made from PVC that can take 500+ years to decompose, if ever.  “Uh, Hello! Earth to Mitch,” you say. “We do so much good in the world and make a difference in the lives around us.” YES! WE DO! But the cost of our inner peace has come at a price totaling into the millions…millions of tons of plastic and garbage that is. 


Full disclosure, my Club alone in 2022 purchased and distributed over 120,000 16-ounce plastic water bottles to our residents. As I try, with minimal success, to initiate alternatives to plastic at work, I still look at my personal consumption at home and am ashamed. With our country expected to generate 114,000 tons of garbage in the holiday season, what will you do to reverse this trend at your Spa? Each year, our 21-billion dollar industry’s addiction to plastic packaging dumps 70% of its 120 billion units of skincare products into a landfill near you. Sobering, right?


So what happens to our inner calm when confronted with outer calamity? “Eco-anxiety” is the diagnosis, but there is a cure. Become an eco-warrior and don’t just commit to doing better, JUST DO IT. But where to start? Well, I swapped out my favorite facial cleanser in a tube for an unwrapped bar of organic gentle skin cleanser available at Whole Foods. Sure, there are trade-offs when following this path, but sacrificing my favorite luxury vendor’s pump bottle for an eco-conscious alternative truly gives me a sense of inner peace that I am making a small, but individually significant difference. Wishing you peace without plastic this year.


Always my best,

Mitchell Berkman

Spa & Wellness Director

Porto Vita Club at Villa Grande

FSA Board Member


Norman Sarmiento, Spa Director at The Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale

Norman’s career has been an evolution of growth, perseverance and success. Norman has more than 30 years’ experience in customer service with complete knowledge of spa operations, fitness, and retail in the hospitality business. He has held various positions such as front desk, sales, therapist, supervisor, lead therapist, trainer, manager, and director. Norman’s background includes Spa Director at The Atlantic Hotel for 6 ½ years, Spa Director at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale for 8 years and currently the Director of Spa at Four Seasons Hotels and Resort. 


Norman has always been teamwork-oriented, agile in multitasking environments with a wide scope of strengths, and skillful at leading cross-functional teams to common goals. As a certified massage therapist, trainer, wellness coach, home health aide and nurse assistant, Norman has always been customer service-oriented, taking care of all guests and personnel issues to find the appropriate solution and an advocate for wellness.


Although Norman studied and graduated from advertising and graphic design, it was his experience as a professional athlete, figure skater and ballroom dancer that inspired him to take a different path. While training, he blended rigorous physical activities with massage. Reiki, and reflexology. This total wellness philosophy not only improved his performance but enhance his everyday life. Norman then returned to school for his massage license and soon began offering spa services to private clients and hotels throughout South Florida until he became a Spa Director.


“My objective is to help each person to do more of what makes them happy.  To take care of themselves, enjoy life, find balance, and to fulfill their souls.”


When Norman is not busy at work, being an athlete all his life, he enjoys figure skating and ballroom dancing and love doing competitions.  Norman also enjoys doing hand craftsman decorations. 


Soy Delicious is an attractive, clean, hypoallergenic, environmentally safe, candle brand in the industry, with its state of the art, one of a kind wax-proprietary. It is candle luxury at its finest, yet completely safe for the environment on a whole. 

Soy Delicious Moisturizing Candles had humble beginnings that were seeds in the mind of Georgette Hoyo, an entrepreneur who started out as an elementary school teacher. She enjoyed molding young minds, however she felt guilty about missing out on being involved in special activities with her children during school hours. Georgette decided to explore a way to create the life that she desired which involved more flexibility and freedom to raise her children. 

In addition to quality family time, Georgette felt the importance of creating a business that would enable her to do both simultaneously without neglecting one for the other. She set out to uncover the best work-life balance for building a legacy through soul satisfying work. While on this quest, she quickly found that her family showed adversative signs around scents as well as being sensitive to certain smells and having allergies herself. That’s when she began researching optional types of fragrances. 

Soy candles offered all that she desired and were absolutely perfect for her to work with. Soon Georgette began partnering with the best fragrance houses and developers to come up with what is now her successful candle company. Georgette synergized her Cuban heritage with the name of the main ingredient of the candle to come up with the name Soy Delicious.

The word “soy” is not only the main ingredient of the candle but “soy” also means “I AM” in the Spanish language. It is an inclusive tribute to the Cuban roots of the owner, Georgette Hoyo. The hope is that customers will adopt the positive affirmation “I am delicious” and further understand that they are bright like the flame, strong like the glass and delicious like the scents of the candles.

Soy Delicious candles are luxuriously handcrafted and each scent is intentionally made to inspire the user indulging them to feel like royalty. The candles contain essential ingredients formulated for an excellent scent and consistent burn performance.


Career Cushioning Spikes as More Than Two-Thirds of Workers are Actively Seeking New Jobs

Top career-cushioning tactics include monitoring the jobs market, updating CV, and networking

Amid the rapidly evolving job market, a staggering 68 percent of workers have taken proactive career-cushioning measures by embarking on the search for new career opportunities.

Career cushioning—the process of being proactive about your career prospects to soften the blow should anything go wrong with your current job—is a phenomenon that recruitment firm Robert Walters believes has grown in prominence in the face of the ongoing economic slowdown across the U.S.

Read More

Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Why it matters for employee and business success.

Key points

  • Psychological safety boosts well-being, productivity, innovation, and job satisfaction, benefiting business.
  • Commitment, communication, diversity, and a culture embracing improvement foster well-being and success.

Have you ever found yourself holding back a brilliant idea out of fear of ridicule or dismissal by your colleagues? This hesitation signifies a lack of psychological safety in the workplace. But imagine a different scenario—a workplace where you feel comfortable expressing your opinions openly, regardless of their imperfections. A place where you trust that your team members will listen respectfully and be receptive to your feedback. This is the kind of workplace where psychological safety thrives, the kind needed for employees and businesses in times of transformational change.

Read More


High Fashion:

Hemp Textiles are Changing the Face of Fashion

Once, not long ago, the mention of “hemp T-shirts” would have evoked images of coarse smocks from patchouli-scented shops—and even elicited giggles from fashion folks.

A lot can change in a short time.

These days, you’d have to be living under a rock (in a state without legalization) to miss that cannabis is having a moment. And that’s cannabis in all its many forms. Everyone from young adults to octogenarians are giving it a try, ingesting THC gummies for sleep and tinctures for pain; slathering on CBD balms for sore muscles and face serums to promote healthy skin.

It's not surprising then that the apparel industry would be embracing it too. And it most certainly is on board: In fact, the global hemp clothing market was valued at $2.29 billion in 2021, according to an Allied Market Research report, and is expected to grow to $23.02 billion by 2031.

Read More


Fitness Brands Enter Mixed Reality

Quest 3 and Vision Pro offer a whole new world.

Mixed reality has arrived, and fitness brands want in.

Back to the future. Billed as the next big thing, VR fitness has yet to take off. But, recent developments have reignited the hype cycle.

New reality. Getting serious about VR, Apple’s $3.5K Vision Pro goggles debuted in June. And last month, Meta announced its new, cheaper Quest 3 headset, priced at $499.

Blending real-life surroundings with a computer-generated world, both companies now see mixed reality (MR) workouts—not the fitness metaverse—as the holy grail of immersive exercise.

Read More


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Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

The BEST Strawberry Shortcake Recipe you will ever make!

The recipe is simple, totally delicious and just a little bit special with cornmeal drop biscuits!

Get Recipe
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