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September 2 2014

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40 posts tagged "Blackbook"

If You’re Not Swimsuit-Ready, There’s Still Hope

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I will admit that when I was first approached with taking a class at ChaiseFitness, I originally signed up because I thought chaises longues were involved. (True story.) In fact, I rampantly spread the rumor of burning calories while sitting down throughout the Style.com office. I gleefully skipped to the private Upper East Side studio in my spandex with visions of a high-tech La-Z-Boy dancing in my head. When I arrived, however, I was met with the Reinvention Chair (an upgraded version of the wunda chair used for Pilates) and an overhead bungee cord system. In other words, my dreams of doing reclined reps with a koozie in hand were quickly dashed by Rachel Piskin, a very toned former New York City Ballet dancer, who, with her mother, Lauren, developed the program after she retired from the stage.

I quickly realized after getting acquainted with the apparatus that I wouldn’t be doing much in the way of lounging—the chair and bungees are designed to work your entire body via a series of moves that combine elements of Pilates, aerobics, and ballet. I found myself doing exercises similar to those that I had religiously repeated in a traditional barre class (you know, the ones that involve that thigh- and bum-busting ball), but for once I was actually in the right position (thanks to the bungee cords that each of my hands were looped through and the Reinvention Chair that prevents you from cheating by forcing you to maintain your balance and form). Where it really gets interesting is when you start to “fly,” which entails propelling your body up into the air on the pedal using only your core muscles. I was a bit shaky at first (as were my abs), but Piskin assured me that nobody has fallen from such death-defying heights. (For the record, the pedal is less than a foot off the ground.) After a 45-minute one-on-one, I felt longer and leaner. And even if the immediate gratification was all in my head, I was so motivated that I signed up for group classes (which I am happy to report are small but much more fast-paced than a private session). While I am still disappointed that no La-Z-Boys or koozies were involved, I’ll take a six-pack over a beer any day.

See chaisefitness.com for more information and booking.

Photo: Courtesy of ChaiseFitness

The Best Facial—for Your Body

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My bathroom is brimming with every spinning brush, brightening peel, and wrinkle-fighter on the planet. I even try to keep a standing facial appointment on my schedule. But below the neck, the bells and whistles are few and far between; I’m lucky if I remember to reach for the lone loofah in my shower once a week. But celebrity facialist Mila Moursi, a favorite of Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox and owner of her own namesake spa and skin institute in Beverly Hills, says that crunches aren’t the only key to getting a bikini-worthy bod. “The skin on your body needs just the same kind of attention [as your complexion] in order to keep it feeling soft and looking rejuvenated,” she noted. To keep tone and texture in tip-top shape, Moursi suggests scheduling a body treatment at the beginning of every season. But for those who don’t have the time (or the cash flow) to get pampered on the regular, sneaking in a quick session before an impending beach vacation can help overhaul lackluster arms and legs. In my quest to look more like Aniston naked (or at least get her glow from head to toe), I road-tested Moursi’s Detoxifying & Skin Conditioning treatment, which incorporates a thorough dry brushing and a 45-minute detoxifying sweat wrap, followed by a soak in a hydrotherapy tub, a body scrub, and a customized massage for kicks (and kinks). When I emerged from Moursi’s coccoon-like space, I felt reborn, refreshed, and ready to bare it all. (Let’s just say if there had been a wrecking ball in the middle of Sunset Boulevard, I might have been tempted to pull a Miley Cyrus.) They say your body is a temple, and I highly suggest these 75 minutes of uninterrupted devotion.

Detoxifying & Skin Conditioning treatment, $410; Mila Moursi Skin Care Institute & Day Spa, 9255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 102, Los Angeles

Photo: Courtesy of BFAnyc.com

Sign Yourself Up for This Post-Sunday Funday Spa Service

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The notion of sitting in a spa on a summer afternoon isn’t something that usually appeals to me. After the New York winter we endured this year, I’m making up for lost time in the great outdoors. The newly revamped spa at the Four Seasons in midtown Manhattan, however, might just become my post-Central Park stop. Swiss beauty brand L.Raphael—a favorite of A-listers like Sofia Coppola and Tilda Swinton—has taken over the 4,500-square-foot space that boasts ten treatment rooms and a salon. The service I’m most excited about is the Oxy-Star Treatment. Using the brand’s proprietary Oxy-Tech II machine, this facial employs jet-speed pressure to help ingredients—like white truffle extract—penetrate deeper into the skin, in addition to gently exfoliating. A collagen-boosting mask helps to round out the experience. While the device sounds a little bit like a rocket launch (i.e., you won’t hear the gentle spa music over the rumbling), the intense blast of cool oxygen feels refreshing after a sun-soaked and sweaty day on the Great Lawn. Plus, it leaves your complexion hydrated, glowing, and ready for sunset cocktails at the Boathouse.

See fourseasons.com for more information

Weekend Escape: A Spanish-Style Retreat You Wouldn’t Expect in San Diego

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It might seem completely illogical to travel all the way to San Diego and not set up shop directly on one of the many (some, heartbreakingly picturesque) beaches, but spend time at the Rancho Valencia resort, tucked away in the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe, eight miles east of the ocean, and you’ll reconsider the merits of a countryside getaway. The spa, housed in its own Spanish-style compound, offers thirty-five treatments—some of which make use of the shower or tub in the private outdoor patio found in many of the rooms. (I had a particularly deep massage that unwound muscles that had been coiling for months and ended with a delicious green juice in lieu of the usual cup of water or tea.) For those who want to jump-start their morning before winding down, a complimentary workout session at the yoga pavilion, sunlight-filled Spin studio, or TRX room are also on offer. Still itching to feel the sea breeze? Hitch a ride to the coast from one of the three complimentary Porsches available to guests.

Why go now: The resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by offering its guests a major party favor: Rates that typically start around $700 are now beginning at $420, and no matter what type of room you book, you’ll get a $250 resort credit until June 30.

5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, California 92067, ranchovalencia.com

A Beauty Bungalow You Should Visit Before Hitting the Beach

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California is consistently on the cutting edge of green beauty, and keeping pace is Côte, a newly opened nail salon located on a busy stretch in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood that boasts an extensive in-house line of 109 hand-poured, five-free (i.e., formulated without formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, and formaldehyde resin) polishes. This “eco-friendly” destination is a literal breath of fresh air—the Cape Cod-like bungalow houses eleven manicure and pedicure stations with both indoor and outdoor seating options. And though Earth-conscious, the total experience is far from crunchy: iPads are available for smudge-free perusing while clients indulge in the spa’s signature Luxe treatment for hands or feet—a service that incorporates an exfoliating massage with the brand’s own sugar scrub, a collagen treatment, argan oil application on cuticles, and for pedicures includes a hot-stone foot massage. Classic manis and pedis, along with stand-alone foot massages, are also on the menu. And post-polish job, you can browse the boutique filled with Côte’s candles and body goods, as well as home and fashion accessories from local designers. But no matter how you decide to de-stress, the fresh scents and open-air space make for an innovative nail care concept where luxe, all-natural products are front and center—a place they should undoubtedly remain.

11714 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles, (310) 820-0906;
coteshop.co

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