When in L.A., Nourish Your Seoul

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I call it my “poor girl’s vacation.” Whenever I’m stuck in a rut and crave the exotic, I hop on the 10 freeway and drive north to Rampart and Wilshire, where a monolithic building called Wi Spa is, at 48,000 square feet, the largest spa in Koreatown. As I park in the secure lot, I realize that the on-site auto detailer will do for my car what the spa is about to do for me.

This is where I go to be immersed in another language and culture, one that has a long history of honoring the body with communal bathing–a concept that seems completely foreign to someone who was raised in a little Quaker town and is self-conscious in the extreme. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Wi Spa attracts local Korean families and jet-lagged travelers on long layovers from Seoul who see this ritual as a way to get scrupulously clean, relaxed, and recharged, a tradition born in ancient Korea where most homes lacked bathing facilities. Continue reading “When in L.A., Nourish Your Seoul” »

BEAUTY BOSS: Skin-Care Splurges and Tightwad Tips

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When I’ve tried every drugstore brand in the book and can’t find satisfaction, I cadge skin-care samples from department stores so I can experiment on the cheap. And so it was at Barneys NY in Beverly Hills where I discovered my new favorite sunscreen, which has been a long time coming (it debuted in September) and might appeal if you’re an outdoor exerciser like me and have certain, um, requirements. Not that I’m difficult (!) but my sunscreen must offer tinted coverage (to even out skin tone and disguise freckles), have an SPF higher than 15 (see freckles, above), contain some treatment ingredients (if it’s going to be sitting on my face for 5 hours, it’s going to multi-task), and not be overly hydrating (I’ve already got a “glow” from my sweat). Continue reading “BEAUTY BOSS: Skin-Care Splurges and Tightwad Tips” »

BEAUTY BOSS: Beautiful Nails

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A year in the making, the Nail Bar at the Spa at the Beverly Wilshire hotel debuted last week, just in time to paint the fingers and toes of Emmy attendees visiting from out of town. But locals are flocking there too for a bit of luxury (and a break from street-corner salons that seat you cheek-by-jowl with other customers–and their cell phones). This plush retreat, done up by Barry Designs in rich textures and creamy colors, is on the hotel’s second floor, a.k.a. glamour headquarters owing to the pool, fitness center, hair salon, and spa (where Jennifer Aniston, Molly Sims, and Avril Lavigne were getting scrubbed, buffed, and beautified for the Emmys). Continue reading “BEAUTY BOSS: Beautiful Nails” »

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