Nusta Spa: A Green Urban Oasis

image copyright GoingGreenDC

I first learned about Nusta Spa in downtown DC two years ago when I read an article in the Washington Post about the state of spas in the wake of the economic downturn. I found owner Elizabeth Snowdon’s perspective interesting in that she viewed her competitive set as not merely other local spas, but rather the larger luxury market (e.g., vacations and other high ticket items). In viewing it this way, she was optimistic that people who might normally spend thousands of dollars to treat themselves would find a day at her spa a legitimate and enjoyable cost-saving alternative. It turns out that she was correct in her prediction, in that Nusta Spa is still here, and it’s thriving. When I visited on a recent Friday morning for interpretive massage and pumpkin facial, the lounge area was filled with people waiting for their treatments. And in a recent thread on a local listserv, a request for referrals to local spas resulted in 10 recommendations, 5 of which were enthusiastic votes for Nusta.

After going way too long without a full day off, I decided to finally use two gift certificates I had purchased through Live Green‘s Greenback program (a socially responsible group buying program featuring only vetted truly green companies). I was pleased upon my arrival to see a decal on the door indicating that Nusta is a Live Green Spot, like Herban Lifestyle!

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And it’s no surprise that Nusta would be among the vetted truly green businesses in DC. The facilities are housed in a LEED Gold certified commercial interior. On their website, they state that “impact on the environment has been an important factor in every decision we’ve made. From the choice of product lines and packaging to the paper and ink used for printed materials, an all-encompassing approach to eco-friendliness is a top priority at Nusta Spa.” They use LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, furniture and other decor made from recycled materials or renewable resources, like bamboo.

Image copyright Anakiri

And, nearest and dearest to my heart, they are committed to using only natural and organic products. I loved inhaling the scent of the massage oils and facial treatments, which smelled of pure essential oils, not fragrances.

Another thing I loved about Nusta was that it feels as if you are at a retreat, rather than just a day spa. There was a peacefulness to the place, and everyone there gave the impression that they had all the time in the world for you. It was so relaxing!

Nusta offers a full menu of treatments, including body scrubs, dry brushing, full body detox, sunless tanning, microdermabrasion, skin peel, manicures, pedicures, waxing, threading and electrolysis. They also offer bridal services.

So, if you are looking for a retreat in town, I highly recommend that you check out Nusta Spa, located at 1129 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.


Goodwill Treasure Hunting

My husband recently purchased some new suits, so purged his closet of his old ones. I offered to take them to Goodwill, as I had heard of a new store opening in Falls Church and wanted to check it out. I had received a promotional postcard a couple of months ago announcing the store’s grand opening, touting it as a “green” way to shop. This was definitely a new marketing angle, and had peaked my curiosity as to how this new store would look.

So, earlier this week, I took the suits and a couple of bags of miscellaneous household items to the new store. The facade was rather attractive, evoking a cross between the free-standing Anthropologie in Westport, CT and a casual-chic American-style restaurant. A sign on the door indicated that this Goodwill store is a Live Green Spot (Live Green is a DC-based membership organization that partners with companies, like Herban Lifestyle, that score high on true eco-friendly practices, quality and price). So I dropped off my donation at the side door, then headed inside for a peak.

The interior was well lit, and there were fun, bold splashes of accent color throughout. The merchandise was well-organized, making it easy to browse. It felt like a well-organized discount department store, complete with dressing rooms. There was a huge selection of glassware and dishware.

Goodwill is a great, green concept. All of the merchandise could have ended up in landfills, but instead it is getting a second life. Besides offering many items that are in perfectly good condition for reuse, I know many crafters use Goodwill finds to fashion entirely new creations. I enjoy browsing Goodwill from time to time for unusual containers and sweaters, which I felt and refashion into ornaments or other decorative objects. Last year, while visiting Connecticut, I amassed a dozen wool sweaters in a rainbow of colors from the Goodwill stores in Wilton and New Milford.

I had a short amount of time, so wasn’t able to peruse the sweaters. But I did come across a big collection of Christmas baskets adorned with jingly bells. I snagged several of them, which I will use to put together gift packets for friends and neighbors.

Do you shop at Goodwill? If so, what are some of your favorite finds?

Here are a few of the sweater cupcakes I made.

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Eco-Beauty Event on October 20th

By Vanessa Ferragut, of Ferragut Event Group

The key to healthy and beautiful skin and hair isn’t methylparabens, an ingredient found in almost every face wash and shampoo in the United States, but in knowing that the products you use have no toxic ingredients at all!

With the rising trend of consumers purchasing healthy products to use in their bodies and on their skin, more and more companies are jumping on the “natural” bandwagon and mislabeling products to keep consumers happy.  According to Annie Leonard’s documentary, “Story of Cosmetics,” terms such as “herbal,” “natural,” and “organic” have no legal definition, so products claiming these may still contain ingredients such as petrochemicals (ingredients made from crude oil), parabens, phthalates and other toxic ingredients known to cause cancer, asthma and other reproductive disorders.

But little do they know that these consumers have a plethora of information at their fingertips.  With recent documentaries such as “Story of Cosmetics,” round-the-clock access to search sites such as the Skin Deep Database, education and advocacy provided by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and events such as Herban Lifestyle’s Product Launch and discussion, consumers have more opportunities for information today than they did even a few years ago.

Join Chief Herban Developer, Mary Kearns, on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at One Lounge located at 1606 20th Street NW, Washington DC for an evening devoted to truly natural and organic products.  Herban Lifestyle’s NakedTM line uses only the highest quality natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients that have been minimally processed and void of any harsh chemicals.  The line includes body butter, belly balm, mineral soak, bath tea, healing salve, lip balm, body soap, facial soap, facial masque, and facial toner.

“There is so much natural beauty in the world there for the taking. My new line celebrates the gifts of the earth and the naked beauty in each one of us,” says Kearns. “Each product is designed to provide luxurious body care while using rich natural ingredients and making a minimum impact on the earth.”

To RSVP or for questions about the event, please email ferraguteventgroup [at] gmail [dot] com. The first 50 RSVPs get VIP tickets, which include goodie bags and drink tickets.

Thank you to our sponsors Zosimos Botanicals, Live Green, Karen Leonard Photography, Danielle Pilon Makeup, Erin Mapes and Vintage Renewal!

Live Green Birthday Bash, August 26th

LiveGreen is turning 2 years old and they will be celebrating with a great party on August 26th at U Street Music Hall with live reggae by See-I, eco-inspired slam poetry and environmental artwork from Gemini Gallery.  There will be awesome appetizers catered by Java Green and Cafe Green, drink specials and door prizes from our great sponsors (including Herban Lifestyle!).

Tickets can be purchased online for only $15, or $20 at the door. And Live Green is offering you 2 months of free member pricing for their Greenbacks program. Greenbacks offers absurd weekly discounts on fun and useful green products and services. The prices are always great but the member prices are even better!

Use the code: lgparty2 to get tickets for $10 (if you’re already a Live Green member) or $15 for non-members.  Purchase them from the Live Green Greenbacks site before they’re gone!

Live Green Birthday Bash
Thursday, August 26, 6:30-9:30 pm
U Street Music Hall: 1115 U Street NW

Live Green Membership Giveaway

This month, Herban Lifestyle was made a designated Live Green Spot, providing shoppers with the confidence that it embraces green practices and provides high quality products at a reasonable price. Herban Lifestyle now offers a 20% discount off all products purchased online at for Live Green members.

We are proud to announce that we are a new LiveGreen spot. Live Green Spots provide members with an array of discounts at partner businesses andorganizations that have proven eco‐friendly practices. Partners listed on Live Green’s website,including Herban LifestyleTM, have passed a rigorous screening process and provide qualityproducts at a discounted price for Live Green members.

What is Live Green? Here’s their answer: “Live Green makes eco-friendly living and business practices easier and more affordable in DC, Chicago and beyond. We are a membership organization that provides support to green businesses in the local community and secures great discounts on everyday green products and services for consumers.”

In addition, they throw several wonderful events throughout the year, where you can eat delicious sustainable food and meet other people on the eco journey.

To celebrate, we are giving away three (3) free 1-year LiveGreen memberships (valued at $13 each). To enter, please email me at info [at] and tell me 3 ways in which you are living the green lifestyle. To enter, you must be 18 or older. The contest will end at 11:59pm EST on February 5, 2010. Three winners will be chosen at random from qualified entrants.