Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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Traditional Luxury with a Twist
By Nirmala Nataraj (Oct 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 (Oct 02, 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 »
Feel-Good and Unfaithful
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 28, 2007)
I haven’t seen Oprah Winfrey’s eponymous prime-time talk show in years, but it’s hard to deny her presence in our cultural milieu. Whether I’m eyeballing the needlessly self-aggrandizing covers of [i]O[/i] magazine at my grocery store’s checkout stand, getting the scoop on a tawdry celebrity confessional on Oprah’s hot seat, browsing her book club selections at Borders, or reading a mawkish inspirational piece on Ms. Winfrey’s symptomatic do-gooding, I’ll be the first to admit that she’s officially planted her flag. More »
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 24, 2007)
A massage is the apex of luxury. What could be more extravagant than soaking in the warm oils of a Swedish treatment and sinking into the bliss of an herbal mud bath after a good hour of deep tissue kneading? Moreover, the spa experience is about wellness and the synergistic mystery of relaxation and their effects on the beleaguered body More »
Creative Ways to Move This Summer
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 18, 2007)
With the subtle sting of almost-summer in San Francisco, there's a new buzz in the air. It's the kind of feeling that makes me thirsty for movement, that makes me desire the 2-3-4-lift of salsa dancing and bored with the uncoordinated languor of club land. Most people plan vacations to fairer climes around this time of year; I, on the other hand, pursue my obsession with dance classes. People haven't figured out why this takes place in seasonal spates; admittedly, it has more than a little to do with being painfully conscious of the unveiling of washboard abs and bikini legs... More »
Allow Yourself to be Seduced
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 25, 2007)
Camille Saint-Saens’ "Samson and Delilah" is perhaps one of the most violently erotic operas in all of history. Far be it from the frivolous coquettishness of librettos like "Don Giovanni" or "La Traviata" -- which despite their illustriousness, border on inconsequential melodrama -- the love story of "Samson and Delilah" is nicely tempered by stuff like religious oppression, psychic torment, and the poignancy of heartbreak, made all the more glorious given the bleak Old Testament mise en scene. More »
An Exotic Oil Showcased
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 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 »
Cheap yet stylish haircuts
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 15, 2007)
I've always fantasized about having my hair hacked and fashioned at Bumble and Bumble, New York's premier salon. Certainly, I've visited some of the more talked-about spots in San Francisco in search of the perfect 'do, but I've always been gun-shy at the thought of shelling out $75 to ensure that my ends are tapered just so. More »
Reinventing the Brazilian Bikini Wax…Sort of
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 31, 2007)
There’s certainly something to be said for San Francisco’s [b]au naturel[/b] 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 »
Provocative Puppet Jokes -- for Adults
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 22, 2007)
The late great Jim Henson spawned a passel of subversive, potty-mouthed muppet performances for adults, most recently, his eponymous Puppet Improv, in which beloved figures like Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog promenaded about the stage, bowing to the dirty dictates of audience members who couldn’t resist the idea of a saucy barb from a plush, lovable childhood icon. It’s a wonderful gambit, if only because the idea of a muppet -- god bless its googly-eyed, yarn-haired soul -- spewing swear words and dealing in risqué puns is invariably hilarious. More »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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