Living it UP in a Down Economy
Hollywood Hotel Hangout is Really in Beverly Hills!
Did you know that Hollywood is not where the beautiful and famous hang out? In fact, Malibu and Beverly Hills are the two places where they are most frequently spotted. And one place you’re sure to run into them is at the classic Beverly Hilton Hotel, located right in the heart of Beverly Hills.
With its walls adorned with authentic Marilyn Monroe photographs mixed with modern decorative accents, this hotel effortlessly blends the past with the present. Whilst you’re here, keep an eye out for Tinseltown’s beauties, who could be lounging at the poolside or treating themselves at the fabulous Aqua Star Spa. But fret not, you don’t have to max out your credit card if you want to indulge in a spa treatment here. In fact, here’s a recession buster tip: just schedule a treatment for a signature massage, which costs $130, and you’ll be able to enjoy the plush amenities of the spa, including the Aqua Star Lounge, for the whole day. If you’re on an austerity budget, you can get pampered by the pool with a foot massage in the comfort of your lounge chair–all for an affordable $55. Snag a few of their homemade green tea cookies and some organic tea whilst you’re at it.
But the real fun takes place at the lounges around the pool. You may find yourself seated across from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who may be puffing on a Cuban cigar with his friends. And if you’re ready to go for broke, plan a private spa party and invite all of your closest friends ($1000 for a 2 hour minimum.) Enjoy the food, hang out, swim, and of course, indulge in plenty of spa treatments. Then change into your evening attire, have a drink at the Trader Vic’s and get ready for the red carpet ‘Dive-In’ drama at the Circa 55 restaurant as you dine whilst watching your favourite flick projected on the outside theatre wall.
Compared to other hotel spas in LA, the Aqua Star Spa offers plenty of luxe treatments at affordable prices. So spend the whole day in dreamland–it will feel like a weekend in Paradise!
Image courtesy of Beverly Hilton Hotel
Staying Young in the New Age of Lasers
“We’re headed toward less and less invasive treatments in pretty much all areas of cosmetic plastic surgery,”
Recently remarked Dr. Robert Rey of E! Network’s “Dr. 90210″. Lasers and other high-tech procedures have evolved dramatically in the last couple of years in terms of pain and recovery time. And there are different procedures for different problems.
When anyone asks me what is the best way to maintain radiant beauty, I always suggest that they try preventative procedures rather than go under the knife (besides, it is too scary to have surgery of any kind!) Even most celebrities are less inclined these days to seek a complete face-lift. Many patients prefer the shorter recovery time, as they don’t want to be off for two weeks, however the trade-off is that not much is done in a single sitting.’ However, ‘quickie facial repairs’ can be immediately rewarding, whilst surgical face-lift patients must put up with days or weeks of pain, puffiness and bruising before enjoying their reflections again. Experts agree that lifestyle is a major factor in deciding when an individual might need a cosmetic procedure and how long that procedure will last.
Hydration, diet, rest, exercise and sun protection all are important to maintaining good facial skin and muscle tone. Personally, I have always thought that doing a little bit of preventative at a time was the best way forward, that way I wouldn’t have to catch up and overhaul by the time I was 50. After having researched all the latest options, I decided to contact my favorite expert at Dermatique, with Dr. Marc Kerner at the helm and who is a board certified Plastic Surgeon with a variety of preventative procedures at his finger tips
This time, he suggested that I try the IPL: Intense Pulsed Light therapy. Sometimes called the Photofacial, it is basically photorejuvenation which treats many conditions including Rosacea and sun damaged skin pigments, as the heat stimulates collagen production and tones the skin. The procedure is carried out with a topical anesthetic to alleviate the burning sensation. A photosensitizing agent applied to the skin, such as Levulan or Kerastick, can make the treatment even more effective. Like most light and laser treatments, it is not recommended for deeper complexions as it can cause irregularities in skin tone.
Pampered like a Princess
Have you ever dreamt of being pampered like a princess?Have you ever imagined what it must be like to be treated like a celebrity? Well, at The Greenhouse Spa, everyone is pampered to perfection and treated like a star!
Since 1965, this women-only destination spa in Arlington (Texas), located right outside Dallas, has been a beauty haven for some of the most renowned First Ladies, including Lady Bird Johnson, as well as to international royalty and supermodels, such as Cindy Crawford. The surroundings evoke an era that seems to be slowly slipping away, of pure Southern hospitality. Ever since I was a little girl, I remember this spa as being the ultimate place for grown up ladies to be luxuriously indulged. Well, I was finally a grownup, and ready to really appreciate the experience.
I arrived on Sunday evening from Los Angeles. The minute I stepped outside the air-conditioned airport, the dreadfully hot and humid weather stuck to my skin. A dapper gentleman greeted me and whisked me away to The Greenhouse Spa. I had never been outside DFW airport, and on the way, we passed by the Dallas Cowboy’s brand new, state of the art football stadium, which comes complete with a retracting roof. These Texans really love their sports!
A Dash of History. The driver was a total gentleman, and as we drove along, he began telling me about the week of Hollywood Legends that had just visited the spa (and that I had missed). He had in fact chauffeured some of these special guests, including Anne Jeffreys, Ruta Lee, Joanne Worley and (my favourite), Lily Tomlin. During this special week, which happens once a year, the spa hosts a unique event of outstanding performers who mingle with guests and share personal stories (and from what I heard, everyone had a grand ol’ time…)
The minute you set foot into The Greenhouse’s entry parlour, you feel as if you are visiting a private mansion and you are an invited guest. Greeted by a tastefully dressed hostess, I was escorted through the white marble entrance. The drama begins when you arrive at the grand ‘greenhouse’ courtyard surrounded by guest rooms. The most outstanding feature is the exquisite, light-filled greenhouse roof with southern style white trellis, which casts a crystal-like radiance onto the white marble pool. There is a special kind of energy which emerges from this space that feels like a sacred sanctuary. For over 40 years, The Greenhouse Spa has been a refuge, a retreat from the chaos of everyday life. This is the kind of place where anyone who is accustomed to the best of the best in old world southern charm can feel right at home. This is a place of simple luxury, and being pampered is de rigueur.
Surrounded by Beauty. By the time I settled into my room, it was 9pm and the atmosphere was enveloped in complete silence. My table was set for dinner, which was surprisingly warm and delicious. As I was on a strict 1100 calories-per-day diet plan, I had expected a meal that resembled the scent of freshly cut grass. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with a formal tray filled with a gourmet-styled entrée of sea bass, lightly steamed veggies and a salad. The pièce de résistance was a deceptively naughty chocolate mousse dessert–simply delectable! Each dish was presented as if it were a work of art: accents of fresh berries, a hint of mint and all kinds of beautiful sauces.
I ate in total silence and savoured every bite. On 1100 calories a day, even the sprig of mint was a delicacy. Oh, and I must not forget the daily dose of pink orchid, dressed to kill (so to speak) on my plate (although I’m not entirely sure how many calories that contained). I then slipped into my high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, and blissfully fell asleep into the total silence of the night.
The First Day. The next morning, I was awakened with breakfast in bed. It has been decades since someone awakened me in such a mild and gentle way, instead of a glaring alarm. The shades were drawn and I was served upon propped up pillows with a tray of formal china (Villeroy and Boch, with hints of silver-plated Oneida). The chef is a master magician, having created an egg soufflé that appeared to be truly rich, yet puffed with air and veggies.
On my tray was a menu of spa services and classes for the day, which served as a guide, so I didn’t have to think about absolutely anything. I surrendered to this new lifestyle, and let go of all responsibilities. My commitment for the week was to detox my body, and free my mind from any unhealthy habits, including my addiction to the Internet and my cell phone. Having finished breakfast, I opened the door to the courtyard room that overlooks the Roman style indoor pool, the central point of the spa and where it all happens. Water classes in the pool were taking place, a lively beginning to a day of energizing and awakening the body, mind and spirit.
Two Bunch Palms:Eco-spa with a twist
Two Bunch Palms is an eco-spa situated in Palm Springs that offers a peaceful sanctuary of sacred spaces, natural mineral spring pools, fountains and waterfalls. There is also a tranquil lake, the shores of which are inhabited by exotic birds, natural wildlife and (my favourite) a family of turtles that bathe in the late day sun. The grottoes are the unquestionable highlight of this relaxed environment, while the lithium-rich pool is so soporific that you will notice the healing qualities immediately. Private artesian wells spring from the deepest underground sources that are located right near the San Andreas fault line. The pre-existing formation of palms are so unique, rumor has it they have flourished from Native American sacred grounds.
While everyone else is increasing their prices, Two Bunch Palms scores full points in my books with the introduction of its new ‘insider’s prices,’ which are offered not only to its loyal guests who return year after year, but also to newbies. In fact, this distinct spa is so au courant with its guests’ needs that it even offers special packages which promise to ease your financial concerns with discounts and reduced rates on food (such as complimentary breakfast buffet and US$55/person gourmet lunch and dinner package). Their unique spa treatments are truly world class, and include water yoga, Watsu and the best spa facial in the West. Who else can boast newly refurbished rooms and lush landscapes that offer lower, not higher pricesr?
So the next time you need a weekend of R’n'R, head for Desert Hot Springs and get ‘Two Bunched.’ For further information, visit www.twobunchpalms.com or call (+1) 800.472.4334
Confessions of an X-Shopaholic
Talk about bad timing. A new movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, was released, although postponing things in an attempt to avoid mass offense sounds like a far better idea. Things are rough for practically everyone these days, especially for an artistic soul. It seems as though everyone is feeling the pinch–except for the stratospherically rich of course, who are now finding that Living the 5-Star Life is even better than ever. For these lucky few, the New Economy is tantamount to cruising the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning. No traffic, no riff-raff. Just smooth cruising all the way. Here in Hollywood, you will still see the young and restless shopping, but now they’re having a right field day at the ultra-hip Fred Segal. This is just one of the many trend-setting boutiques that line Melrose Avenue which are packed with overpriced things you don’t need (unless your name ends with Hilton, Lohan or Trump.)
Just yesterday, as I was stuck in gridlock during on of the city’s rare rainstorms, I spotted an empty parking spot right in front of the boutique. I usually visit during the yearly ‘must-go’ Fred Segal Fall Sale, which rigorously happens only once a year in September. But wait…was that a sign up that read ‘75% off!’–in January? The most upscale store in town, which never has another sale, was in fact having a huge sale–again. And it’s not just happening over at Fred Segal. All across town, from Barneys to Bloomingdales, there are countless of sales being held. For shopaholics, it’s as if they have died and gone to heaven. Yet for most of us, this is just not an option. Nevertheless, I just had to stop by to see what was available. I told myself that I would only consider anything under $50, but when I stepped inside, I realized that most of the items on the racks were similar to things I already had–in fact, my threads are much nicer. I reminded myself of all the clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn in a couple of years, confirming the fact that if you have good taste and buy right, your clothes will transcend the latest trends. All you need are a couple of accent pieces, such as the latest scarf or a funky piece of costume jewellery and voilà, you’re ready to step into S/S 09.
Now is the time to shop your own closet. For most of us, unless you gain or lose weight, you will have enough clothes for at least the next few seasons. Who cares about the latest Ed Hardy jeans showered with metallic glitter, rhinestones and drips of paint? Go out and buy some spray paint and you’ll have your own designer jeans. And then when someone asks, ‘Who’s the designer?’ you can proudly reply, ‘Me!’
Now is the time to be creative, have fun and not care about what’s happening in trends, fashion or shopping. Take care of your inside and your outside will shine. Give yourself the gift of Extreme Self Care. Splurge on meditation, peaceful moments walking in the park and smelling the roses.
Now is the time to find out what really gives you joy and to pass it on to others. Now is the time to use what you already have, and get rid of what you don’t need. Now is the time to change from being a shopaholic to a creativity addict. Step out of the box and be free. Do something different, give away the things you don’t use and enjoy a moment of empty space and lightness. Now is the time to give up your addictions and clean up your act from the inside-out. Enjoy a new sense of freedom and live it isp in a different way.
Taking Care at We Care Spa
If you have ever experienced the signs of burnout, then you will have probably dreamt of escaping the stresses of everyday life and heading to a hideaway to unwind.
Such as the private oasis that is the We Care Spa in Desert Hot Springs, California. This is one of the best-kept secrets of the Hollywood starlets, rock stars and power players who come here to experience the intensive cleansing and personal touch of this healing retreat. We Care really does care about your health, with its specialized protocol of juice fasting and practical classes on healthful diet, which ensure that you are also educated on the benefits of detoxing, so that the results are life changing and long term. We Care is also a spiritual retreat that will soothe both your mind and soul.
Argentinean-born Susana Lombardi is the founder of this exceptional healing retreat and the embodiment of the healthy lifestyle. ‘Once your body is cleansed, your mind defogs and you can think clearly. Then you can make more appropriate decisions for yourself…You can see and feel things from a different level. When you have the energy to accomplish change in your own life first, then you can help change the world.’
When I asked Susanna what motivated her to open up this healing center, she replied that it was because she saw ’so many people experiencing unnecessary pain and heartache because they were uninformed about health and self-care.’
Susana’s epiphany was discovered whilst on her own spiritual retreat many years ago with Elizabeth Clare Prophet, a world renowned spiritual leader and mystic. This is where Susana learned to meditate, and received a clear message in her mind to go back to Palm Springs and enlighten others on the benefits of these practices.
‘After my divorce and in my search for my personal healing and peace, I began researching holistic health, and studying and teaching yoga. Following fasting, I noticed that my personality totally changed, and it was from my personal experience that I realized that I needed to share this with others.’ Her desire is essentially to help people turn their lives around. ‘You come to the We Care Spa to change your life for the better.’
If you love pampering, this is also the place to get some unique whole body care and signature treatments in the desert. My favourite is the 120 minute We Care Euphoria. It starts out with a sumptuous Rainforest, Green Tea, and Vitamin B mineral bath and a lemongrass exfoliation. The next step is an algae and Sedona clay body wrap that stimulates your lymphatic system and enhances the cleansing and nourishing of your skin. Your scalp is massaged with aromatherapy oils, which is followed by a body massage that leaves you in pure state of bliss.
While you are there, you may run into Alanis Morrissette, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, or Matt Damon. However the proper etiquette is to allow them their space and privacy. Remember, they are there–just like you–to escape the maddening crowd, so asking for a picture or an autograph should most definitely not be on your agenda.
So if you are ready to change your life, then check-in to the We Care Spa today.