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Hedonism and Health Wrapped in One
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 18, 2008)
If you’re into health and wellness, you probably eat organic, go to yoga three times a week and have a sound meditation practice. If you’re into pampering and pure indulgence, you’re more likely to find yourself lounging on a spa throne and getting a pedicure while sipping red wine and gabbing on your cell phone. Needless to say, creating a balance between hedonism and health seems kind of contradictory, but now both yoga buffs and spa babies can bliss out at Yoga Kula, which offers the best of both worlds. More
Deliciously Luxurious
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 11, 2008)
As winter, with its occasional bouts of sunshine-accompanied merriment and invariable frosty spells, gives way to a lovely Bay Area spring, the transition to toastier weather warrants a little celebration. And what better way to usher in the longer hours of sunlight than a meditative jaunt to the heart of wine country? More
Tis the Season for Pampering!
By Nirmala Nataraj (Dec 14, 2007)
The holidays are enough of a pain for even the most creative people to succumb to generic gift-giving. This season, you can dispense with gift certificates, ugly sweaters, and even the well-intentioned homemade tchotchkes, and instead, grace your loved ones with hours of decadence and pampering. Here are some ideas for treats that your friends and family definitely won’t want to re-gift. More
Traditional Luxury with a Twist
By Nirmala Nataraj (Nov 30, 2007)
Over three years ago, I had my first introduction to the glitzy, glamorous world of spa. I was on assignment for a bridal magazine to get the scoop on the latest trends in hair and makeup. After a few phone calls to my most pampered, privileged associates, I was directed to LaBelle Day Spa in Palo Alto. Despite the fact that even on an early Saturday morning, the place was packed to the max with anxious brides and hardcore beauty buffs, I was immediately impressed with the professionalism of the staff, who curled my tresses and polished my visage like I was the only gal around. Three hours and a first-class makeover later, I was smitten. More
Customized, Natural Beauty
By Nirmala Nataraj (Nov 2, 2007)
A week before the biggest event of my life, my wedding, I am exhausted. It’s supposed to be a time of jubilation, when the butterflies in a bride’s stomach are more symbolic of healthy anticipation than things being seriously awry. But all I want to do is collapse on my bed and fall asleep for 72 hours or so. Of course, I can’t complain too much -- this evening, I have an appointment to keep, but it doesn’t have anything to do with a last-minute fitting or bothersome rehearsal dinner. It’s a facial with Kirsten Quint Fairbanks, who runs Apotheca Skin Body Wellness. More
Real Massages for Regular People
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 19, 2007)
As someone who can boast an intimate relationship with carpel tunnel, I’ll take a real massage over fluffy robes and all-purpose Eastern chanting any day. Not the kind administered by a prissy therapist in some froufy, suited-up day spa, but the real kind -- complete with a firm, dexterous touch and a keen knowledge of the pretzel forms various muscle groups tend to contort into. More
An Exotic Oil Showcased
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 21, 2007)
Certainly, proper pampering has its price but if you’re tired of all the superfluous amenities and exorbitant fees that are part and parcel of the typical day spa experience, don’t fret -- classic indulgence can still be yours. Tucked away on a quiet, tree-lined corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley is Argania Salon de Beauté, the perfect one-stop place to address all your beauty needs…at the fraction of the cost and fuss. More
Luxurious Haircraft
By Jialin Luh (Sep 7, 2007)
I have long looked forward to haircuts with childish glee and anticipation. However, it wasn’t until I converted to Mr. Pinkwhistle that I began to look forward to my cut and color appointments as a lavish, pampering visit in a luxurious, superbly designed space. Named after the storybook character Mr. Pink-whistle of English children’s writer Enid Blyton’s creation, this Nob Hill salon draws a varied clientele who have at least one thing in common: the desire to keep their style fresh and impeccable, and to enjoy the experience of getting there. More
Reinventing the Brazilian Bikini Wax…Sort of
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 31, 2007)
There’s certainly something to be said for San Francisco’s au naturel beauty philosophy -- a lenient stance which pretty much dictates that bedhead is sexy and pancake makeup is soooo 1999. All the same, no matter what the purveyors of unfeigned sex appeal tell you, the old adage that “pain is gain” resounds with more than a modicum of truth. After all, in bikini weather, looking good has its price. More
Say Goodbye to Yesterday’s Pampering
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 17, 2007)
So you’ve been around the block a few times: you’ve done the speedy 45-minute mani/pedi combo, you faithfully visit your neighborhood aesthetician every four weeks, and you’ve found the perfect massage therapist (one you’ve decided to keep a secret from even your dearest associates). In short, you have all your pampering bases covered. But even the most discriminating spa connoisseur could benefit from a one-stop place to indulge -- whether you want a quick lunchtime fix or an afternoon of luxury -- that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Muni accessibility doesn’t hurt, either. More
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