Nirmala Nataraj

SF Station Writer

Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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Return of the Sun
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 09, 2009)
Tajikistan, Senegal, Hungary, Colombia, the Philippines. Even if youre a world traveler, its unlikely that youve 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The days of weekend getaways to staid, matronly bed n breakfasts sporting out-of-date Victoriana and soigne, hoity-toity guests is officially over. Exorbitant trips to chichi hillside hamlets have been replaced by excursions to eco-chic, casual-meets-upscale places like Solage Calistoga, where youre more likely to sip a martini in your bikini than sup with the Joneses in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 youre fortunate enough to have your mom in close proximity, pass on the banal Mothers 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 doesnt 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)
Youve 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 didnt get too uncomfortable. Thats why its time to treat yourself. And Im 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. Lets try an alternative, shall we? More »
Illuminata Skin Care & Mirsada Skin Care
By Nirmala Nataraj (Mar 03, 2009)
Maybe youre 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 shouldnt 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 »
Treatments Worthy of a Splurge
By Nirmala Nataraj (Feb 19, 2009)
With all the unrelenting media coverage of bailout scandals, foreclosure fiascoes, and the generally dismal state of affairs, it seems a bit half-baked to justify emptying our wallets for pleasant yet inessential creature comforts. But while Im all for downgrading to basic cable or saving your pennies instead of springing for a latte, some things are just too important to pass on: a damn good massage, for instance. More »
Pampering Without Excess
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jan 27, 2009)
Simplicity is the order of the day, economic stimulus plan or no. Cutting down extraneous costs and adopting a more introspective approach to your spending is the imminent result of the current financial debacle and the so-yesterday American raison dtre of mindless luxury. But getting mindful doesnt mean giving up pampering. It just means trading in your regular ol day spa -- debutantes, amenity-packed locker rooms, pretentious tudes and all -- for a place like Avra Organic Spa. More »
Nirmala Nataraj's Articles
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