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LA (BEVERLY HILLS): THE BEST WAY TO EXPERIENCE ila

By Nora Zelevansky / May 4th, 2010

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Not that I would ever complain about the myriad spa treatments I experience for work's sake (somebody has to do it), BUT, after careful research and extensive study from here to India and back again, I'm going to go right ahead and say, I'm not a big fan of the scrub.

Part of what bothers me is the occasional sponge bath element, where a massage therapist rubs off the crystals with a damp cloth.  It just sort of feels like it's for old people or something–eeks.  On the more sane side of things, I also just feel like it tends to be a slightly chilly experience, as you're lying wet on a table in open air, and sometimes it just sort of hurts.

What?  I'm a sensitive lady?  CAN YOU NOT TELL?

ANYWAY, this is all to say that I was really pleasantly surprised when I experienced The Spa at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills' Manipura Experience last week.  The hotel is just finishing up a multi, multi-million dollar renovation (which includes a pool with a PADDED bottom BTW) and so I took a tour of the newly redone Presidential Suite (swanky) and also got pampered at the spa.

The 90-minute treatment starts with a scrub, which is just WAY less abrasive than the usual ones.  Also, you're a bit damp, but not too wet during the process, so you're never cold.  Really, is there anything better than a heated massage table?  Like I need one of those mofos at home.  For real.  ANDRE!  Are you listening?

Anyway, then I got to shower off (without help, thank goodness) and then was rewarded with an hot poultice massage.  Gotta love that.  Poultice massages are most certainly the thing at spas across the country, as–in the last four months–I've experienced them at Vegas' Aria Spa, Upstate New York's Mohonk Mountain House and now here.  Basically, they wraps herbs and good things in a soft version of cheese cloth, tie in up like a pouch, heat and wet it and then press it into your body like a tool for kneading.

I think I have a good massage therapist to thank for my lovely treatment.  But I also think the new ila products the spa is using are just awesome.

Product_CANDLE_ROSE 

First of all, I heart the packaging.  Secondly, the British line is natural and pure and stuff, so you get to feel virtuous about using it.

I do think maybe inside the Four Seasons Spa may in fact be the best way (at least in L.A.) to experience the products, though I really wouldn't mind popping a few candles around my house and some bath salts in my tub to test that theory.  Are you listening?  ANDRE!

xo – N.

NEW YORK (NEW PALTZ): THE BEST TWIST ON A DIRTY MARTINI (IN A WINTER WONDERLAND)

By Nora Zelevansky / February 10th, 2010

DILLYTINI

I'm a big fan of the dirty martini.  Extra dirt (wink, wink).

Don't I sound tawdry?  How sad is it that all I'm really saying is that I love when a boatload of salty olive juice masks the medicinal flavor of vodka?

Either way, if you love the dirty, you love the dirty.  And so, naturally, I was mucho excited when I discovered the above twist on a dirty martini at Mohonk Mountain House.

If you're hanging with people originally from NYC and you mention 141 year old property, you'll find that most of them have some story connected with the place: family reunions, yearly summer breaks, a one time family trip gone horribly awry thanks to a couple brats.

(If that last one sounds specific, it's because it was me.)  My parents brought me and my sis up to the property years and years ago and apparently we didn't behave very well.  Ahem.  Maybe it's because the amazing eco-spa hadn't been built yet???  I could just sense the absence even then, I'm sure.

Still, when we arrived, there wasn't a wanted poster of my six-year-old self tacked to a bulletin board or anything. So, it couldn't have been that bad.

Anyway, I discovered the above cocktail, aptly titled a The Dilly Tini, in their Carriage Lounge.  It's made with, well, what it sounds like: either dill pickle juice OR the dill juice used to pickle the above string bean.

Since I haven't quite shamed my childhood self enough yet today, I'll just go ahead and admit that, as a kid, I also occasionally drank pickle juice.  And, while I abstain from that behavior these days (um, swollen much?), my taste for the stuff has not diminished (as evidenced by my previous mentions of both Pickled Veggie of the Month Club and pickled string beans).

See, this is what I call a dirty martini with a capital "D."  That's right.  "D" for dill.

xo – N.