Three brave SJ women who battled – and beat – breast cancer were treated to a glorious day of beauty and rest, celebrating the end of their long, tumultuous journeys. Where better to experience a wonderful array of pampered luxuries than at the new, 14,000-square-foot Rizzieri Salon and Spa in the ever-evolving Moorestown Mall? Some days just don’t get any better.

For Lauren Altman, Rachel Toomey and Darlinda Bayard the past few years have brought many challenges. Altman, now 40, found a lump in her breast while she was nursing her 7-month-old son. Toomey, now 28, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer the day after her 24th birthday. Sixty-one-year-old Bayard was diagnosed with stage 3B cancer (“That means almost stage 4,” she says.) and was given a 30 percent chance of survival.

The months after their diagnoses were jammed with doctors’ visits, treatments, pain, tears and then, eventually, recovery. With those trying times behind them, the three survivors welcomed a day where the focus was only on them – not their illness.

Having recently opened their new, expanded location at Moorestown Mall, the staff of Rizzieri Salon and Spa knew they could give the women a fabulous experience – one they would never forget and certainly one they deserved.

“We consider having these women in our salon and spa an honor,” says owner Frank Rizzieri. “Every woman should feel beautiful. Every time someone comes to us and we have an opportunity to help them feel beautiful – that’s an honor.”

The women began their day in the newly designed spa, with its illuminated stone path and serene hospitality room. Each received a self-renewal facial, elemental nature massage and reflexology treatment.

Guests can also receive physician services at the facility’s medical spa, directed by Dr. Donna Wilcox. Services include Botox, fillers and laser hair reduction, as well as procedures like permanent cosmetics, medical-grade peels and skin resurfacing.

“The spa industry has changed, and we’ve had to change as a company,” says Rizzieri. “We’ve designed the new salon and spa to be a place where you can spend an hour or a day. We want our guests to feel beautiful inside and out in a comfortable, relaxing, modern environment. We believe we’re providing affordable luxury. A 50-minute massage is $55 – all the time.”

Once relaxed and refreshed, Bayard, Altman and Toomey headed to the salon for makeovers. After consultations with their stylists, the women were ready for a change – actually, some were more than ready.

“I’ve been beating myself up about my weight and how I look,” says Bayard, who lives in Gloucester Township. “I’m always doing my hair the same way, so this is an opportunity to have a new look. And I always feel better when I like how I look.”

Still, Bayard found it wasn’t easy to spend the day focusing on herself; she’s usually the one helping other women feel good.

On Darlinda: MM6 Sweater Dress in Gray, Erdon, $540; Heyne Bogut Tube Skirt in Black, Erdon, $196; Suzi Roher Printed Scarf, Erdon, $299; Robert Clergerie Dylan Wedges, Erdon, $650

On Darlinda: MM6 Sweater Dress in Gray, Erdon, $540; Heyne Bogut Tube Skirt in Black, Erdon, $196; Suzi Roher Printed Scarf, Erdon, $299; Robert Clergerie Dylan Wedges, Erdon, $650

As the founder of the nonprofit “Reasons to Live,” the grandmother of 15 motivates women to get mammograms, and she encourages diagnosed women to include a spiritual approach in their healing.

“I tell women their mental state has to be strong,” she says. “When I was feeling down, I told myself jokes. Just because you find out you have cancer, you don’t have to be afraid. I tell them, ‘Look at me. I had cancer, and now I’m doing well. You can, too.’”

At her consultation with stylist Tom DeGrandis, Bayard mentioned that she had been thinking of cutting her hair short. That was all he needed to hear.

“We decided to go drastic,” DeGrandis says. “Darlinda has a square face, and I want to soften that by creating angles. Her cut will give a slight asymmetry. We’ll open her face and keep some length on top.”

For makeup, aesthetician Melisa Ortiz used soft, natural tones. “I’m working with what I see,” Ortiz says. “This is not a trend. For proms and special occasions, we might do more trendy looks, but for every day, we try to enhance the natural beauty. Every face is different, so every look should be customized.”

On Lauren: Uptown Knit Top, New York & Company, $42.95; Textured Midi-Skirt, Charlotte Russe, $18.99; Jacket, Francesca’s, $58; Scarf, Lord & Taylor, $24.48; Clutch in Black, Charlotte Russe, $19.99; Single Pair Earrings in Gold, Body Central, $5.98; Boots, Lord & Taylor, $189

On Lauren: Uptown Knit Top, New York & Company, $42.95; Textured Midi-Skirt, Charlotte Russe, $18.99; Jacket, Francesca’s, $58; Scarf, Lord & Taylor, $24.48; Clutch in Black, Charlotte Russe, $19.99; Single Pair Earrings in Gold, Body Central, $5.98; Boots, Lord & Taylor, $189

Mullica Hill’s Lauren Altman was a bit apprehensive about her makeover. “I’m curious to see what they do,” she says. “But I always worry they’ll do it so fancy I won’t be able to do it myself at home. And I don’t usually wear makeup.”

Altman says the rug was pulled out from under her when she received her diagnosis four years ago. “I never had a mammogram, because I was only 36,” she says. “Now I know how important self-exams are.”

To begin Altman’s makeover, hair colorist Rosa Maria Gomes added a touch of contrast to Altman’s chocolate-brown locks. “The layered lighter pieces will be more underneath, so they will frame her face. It’s not a highlight. It will look sun-kissed.”

For her cut, DeGrandis took off almost two inches from the back to create an elevated bob. “She has great texture to her hair and she has a great amount of hair, so it’s foolish to go against that. We’re working with it.”

Since Altman isn’t a big makeup user, makeup artist Maria Rich provided an “everyday” style. “I created a contoured fall look to enhance her features. It brings out her eyes and bone structure. This is a classic application.”

On Rachel: High-waisted Skinny Jeans, Cotton On, $39.95; Shelly V Front Top, Cotton On, $10; Kaftan Jacket, Zeyzani, $449; Long Necklaces in Gold, Body Central, $7.98; Bracelets in Gold, Body Central, $5.98; Pull On Cowboy Boots in Fire, Zeyzani, $299

On Rachel: High-waisted Skinny Jeans, Cotton On, $39.95; Shelly V Front Top, Cotton On, $10; Kaftan Jacket, Zeyzani, $449; Long Necklaces in Gold, Body Central, $7.98; Bracelets in Gold, Body Central, $5.98; Pull On Cowboy Boots in Fire, Zeyzani, $299

Rachel Toomey, who grew up in Sicklerville, couldn’t wait for her makeover since she spends a lot of time talking in front of large groups. As a “survivor speaker” for Susan G. Komen, Toomey has talked to audiences of up to 1,000. She also helped create Big Pink Footprint, which is a group of young survivors who reach out to other young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It’s really important that you have a lot of support, and for me, I was never able to speak to someone who was my age and had been diagnosed,” she says. “I felt so alone.” But those days are gone, and Toomey’s positive attitude made her excited for her makeover.

Gomes decided that since it’s fall, Toomey should bring some color into her blonde hair. “We’re giving her a two-tone look,” says the colorist. “The light on top gives brightness, but the darker blonde underneath gives it depth. It’s a softer, cooler blonde.”

Stylist Mary Kay DiGilio tried to mirror Toomey’s cheerful personality in her cut. “I used the razor to add a little bit of texture, and I left a long, sexy bang on her face,” says DiGilio. “Rachel is upbeat; she was ready for a change. With her really long neck, that textured, layered hair really falls against her neck in a complimentary way.”

For makeup, Maria Rich stayed with warmer tones of pink because of Toomey’s fair skin. She used nude pink lipstick and shades of nude with a charcoal liner for the eyes.

Since Rizzieri is part of a new section of the Moorestown Mall called Boutique Row, it was only fitting that the three new friends get decked out from head to toe in the most modern outfits from two of the mall’s new boutiques.

The upscale high-fashion shop Erdon, which was located on the upper floor at Rizzieri’s Marlton location, has now joined the mall’s Boutique Row. And Zeyzani, brimming with one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered designs from owner Zeynep Yurderi, has relocated from Haddonfield to Moorestown Mall.

Boutique Row is a new concept for the mall, housing a section of high-end, luxury retailers for the fashion-forward shopper. Newly opened restaurants Osteria and Distrito complete the corner, along with Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar, set to open this fall.

Orange Theory Fitness, offering a unique one-hour workout that balances cardio and strength training, is also scheduled to open soon.

Ready to show off their fabulous new looks and wardrobe, Bayard, Altman and Toomey headed to Marc Vetri’s Osteria for the perfect ending to a special day. “The day at Rizzieri was just great,” says Altman. “I wish time could have stopped, and I didn’t have to go home. It was nice to get away from running around; our lives are so busy. We all need a break once in awhile to do something for ourselves – all women deserve that.”

October 2014
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