Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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Vino DIY
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jun 02, 2009)
Ever wanted to make your own bottle of wine but feared that you just didn’t have the know-how to tell your Barbera from your Dolcetto grapes? Then a summer learning session at Crushpad, the five-year-old DIY winery located in Mission Bay/Dogpatch, is definitely in order. And don’t worry -- you won’t need to crack the books too hard to try your hand at being a vintner. Crushpad’s no-nonsense yet down-to-earth approach to the fine art of winemaking lets you make your own barrel without the inconvenience of hauling your own grapes or selecting the right fermentation vessel. More »
Meeting All Your Clinical and Facial-Sculpting Needs
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 19, 2009)
The medical spa seems to be the new preferred method of beautification and pampering among some circles. A hybrid between a clinic and a day spa, at its very best it’s the kind of place that takes its relaxation seriously, but never at the expense of its service. All the same, spa establishments that often dress themselves up as serious clinics seldom sport both medical know-how and aesthetic panache in equal measure. That’s where [b]Medical Skin Aesthetics[/b], the brainchild of San Francisco clinical aesthetician Alisha Valverde, comes in. More »
Return of the Sun
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 09, 2009)
Tajikistan, Senegal, Hungary, Colombia, the Philippines. Even if you’re a world traveler, it’s unlikely that you’ve trekked through all these terrains -- but not to worry. If the globe-trotting budget is tight this summer, simply head on over to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival to get your requisite dose of culture. The festival, which has wowed thousands of audience members for three decades now, has challenged the already-permeable boundaries of world dance (despite its “ethnic” moniker), as well as viewers’ understanding of the intersections between dance, tradition, and artistic innovation. More »
A Slice of the Good Life for the Next Generation
By Nirmala Nataraj (Apr 29, 2009)
The days of weekend getaways to staid, matronly bed n’ breakfasts sporting out-of-date Victoriana and soignée, hoity-toity guests is officially over. Exorbitant trips to chichi hillside hamlets have been replaced by excursions to eco-chic, casual-meets-upscale places like Solage Calistoga, where you’re more likely to sip a martini in your bikini than sup with the Joneses in a cavernous dining room. More »
Whisk Mom Away to This Affordable Haven
By Nirmala Nataraj (Apr 08, 2009)
If you’re fortunate enough to have your mom in close proximity, pass on the banal Mother’s Day options and head over to a special spot nestled deep within the rolling vineyards of Napa Valley -- complete with tranquil, lushly manicured landscapes and a clean sophistication that doesn’t play itself up with unnecessary extravagance. More »
Karuna Healing Arts and Urban Oasis
By Nirmala Nataraj (Apr 01, 2009)
Just so you know, holistic bodywork is about way more than incense, aromatherapy and New Age music. In fact, the more effective the practitioner, the less likely it is that your massage will be accompanied by hokiness or fluff. Case in point: here are two therapists who understand the old adage, “Healer, heal thyself.” More »
Hotel Resto Remodel Yields Mixed Results
By Nirmala Nataraj (Mar 23, 2009)
In June 2008, the JW Marriott Hotel's "is it a bar or is it a lobby?" Pacific Restaurant, which sat pretty above Union Square, underwent a much-needed makeover. Jazzed up by an airy new design and revamped interior (complete with atrium, vaulted skylight, marble floor, and a sprawling assortment of lounge, lobby, living, and restaurant spaces), the newly christened Level III appears to be part of a larger sea change among chains like the Marriott: forego the default mode of generic, muzak-infused hotel restaurants, and opt for chill-out environments meant to attract all types -- from brunching girlfriends to the pre-theatre Friday night crowd More »
Four Top Pampering Picks
By Nirmala Nataraj (Mar 15, 2009)
You’ve been good this year -- paid your dues to Uncle Sam before the ides of April, took your Sigg to the gym instead of springing for environmentally unfriendly plastic water bottles, tightened the belt enough so you felt it but didn’t get too uncomfortable. That’s why it’s time to treat yourself. And I’m not talking about a Louis Vuitton bag or a new iPhone. After all, any excessive non-essential purchases made in the heat of a stressful moment might just yield diminishing returns, if not for your wallet, then certainly for your health. Let’s try an alternative, shall we? More »
Illuminata Skin Care & Mirsada Skin Care
By Nirmala Nataraj (Mar 03, 2009)
Maybe you’re the kind of person who puts off going to the dentist every six months or getting your physical, despite those persistent little postcard reminders they send you in the mail. But taking care of your skin shouldn’t feel quite so daunting. Spring is in the air, and given our heat-driven susceptibility to clogged pores, as well as the propensity for those of us who don skin-baring clothes to dispense with the sunscreen, a little seasonal cleaning is just what the doctor ordered. Check out these two skincare studios, which specialize in getting your pores squeaky clean and all geared up to face the light of day. More »
Whimiscal Holiday Items
By Nirmala Nataraj (Feb 27, 2009)
Modern legends often conjure a time when holiday gifting actually meant something. Back when families and communities gathered ‘round the Yule log, making merry and celebrating the fruits of the season, meaningless consumption and obligatory but grudgingly given gifts were unheard of. Which means generic gift certificates for the hard-to-shop-for, as well as mass-manufactured Walmart fare, was refreshingly absent from all the festivities. More »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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