Sunday, January 8, 2017

Post-Holiday (Pet Friendly) Desert Retreats

 Avalon Palm Springs-Pool and outdoor dining at Chi Chi Restaurant

Getting caught up in the excitement of the holiday season can be fun, with the steady stream of celebrations, gatherings and feasts. Yet when it’s over, many of us need a time out to get back into balance. A healthy escape to the Palm Springs, California area to destress can be the perfect anti-dote to over indulgence. (Even your precious pooch needs a time out alone with you after all the excitement of the holiday festivities!)

While this year’s holidays brought colder temperatures interspersed with heavy downpours, the aftermath was clear, sunny skies. Heading out from the beach cities one can see snowcapped mountains and breathe fresh air.

Here are two very special petite boutique retreats that have been upgraded to more elite status, where one can chill out and get toasty at the same time.

If you want to be in the center of town within walking distance of all the hot spots, but also have your privacy, The Avalon Hotel and Bungalows is the perfect spot. For fans of the authentic Spanish architecture from the Golden Age of Palm Springs, this old-world hideaway has a history. When you step into the entry you feel immediately ensconced into the tasteful design elements of the Hollywood Regency decor. If you have a penchant for design hotels, Kelly Wearstler has done wonders to transform this four acre property, with maze like manicured gardens into a tasteful setting. As the style maker of note, especially for her bespoke design elements, it is a delight for all the senses.

Stepping into a bungalow suite for the first time, you are hit with the intense whiteness, like glacial snow with contrasting elements, including the crystal glass-lined fire place and burnt orange flames. There is something magical about a white on white space, framed with touches of black especially when centered on the small bold wall/ceiling stenciled eating area. The blinding purity of the super-white space is intoxicating when reflective elements of silver, paired in the crystal light fixtures, mirrored tables and hardware on the cabinets. This is a lyrical play of light and dark. Each time you enter the space, you are lifted up. For many of us, escaping the the monotony of a beige world outside is exciting when most places are reminiscent of the Spanish adobe styles.
The property is designed to create intimate spaces, with each little vignette for seating, as well as a couple of swimming pools, fountains and citrus trees to shield you from the sun.

Avalon Palm Springs Suite 
Since it was cold outside, the best way to get R&R was at the Estrella Spa. It’s a petite retreat with the same stylish touches. A lounge with a fireplace, a perfect cozy spot for a lazy afternoon before or after your treatment. The spa menu is limited but what’s more important is the incredible healing hands of the masseuse and facialist. Oftentimes one might go to a fancy spa with all the bells and whistles but the bottom line is the talents and skills of the practitioners. This is definitely worth the time and experience. Some of the rooms have their own fireplace too, so you can be comfortably warm.

For the epicure palate, Chi Chi restaurant hits the spot, with an indoor dining room right off the main lobby entrance, which serves all meals. The food is fresh, healthy fare with some unique spins on California Cuisine. But the most charming are the two little outdoor spaces, one that is along the main pool and the other, more cozy and private is an intimate outdoor lounge with a Moroccan themed dramatically lit effect at night.

If you want to go out on the town, you are in walking distance of the main drag, Palm Canyon Drive and can be in the limelight in a matter of minutes. There’s even a gym and yoga classes offered, so check out the schedule. However, staying put, with the twinkly lights and charming garden vignettes, you will find this a romantic setting for stargazing.

Top Tip-This is a dog friendly place so you can include your favorite Fido in the getaway.

If you’re seeking a special hideaway with the feel of a bed and breakfast, check out the ambiance at The Chateau at Lake La Quinta.
The Chateau at Lake La Quinta
This is a unique experience, especially while getting access to the views of this tony enclave of exclusive, elegant residential lakeside properties. This chic boutique hotel is nestled alongside with scenic surroundings, and charming, tastefully appointed hotel rooms. In fact, the beds are so comfortable and the views are so lovely you may not want to leave the room! You can step out for a breath of fresh air onto your private patio, and enjoy the upfront view. Casually elegant design, matched with top of the line accoutrements makes this property a must for couples who are seeking a romantic weekend getaway.

For the celeb or those who require privacy, there are also two 500-square foot bungalows tastefully designed with a private guest entrance.

If you are seeking seclusion, you will enjoy the ‘stylish comfort, luxury and panoramic views of picturesque Lake La Quinta and the surrounding mountains. This is especially picturesque during the winter with the snow capped mountains in the distance.

Room at Chateau at Lake La Quinta

The piece de la resistance is the fine dining at the restaurant, Melange. You don’t have to step away from this charming property because Chef Nestor Ruiz has tastefully designed family farm-sourced ingredients and offers a menu of classic and contemporary dishes. The outdoor patio is replete with fire pits for a year round dramatic dining experience. The menu is diversified for the most distinguished palate. There are also monthly wine pairing dinners, a rotating series that pairs wines from California’s top vintners alongside custom dishes.

To say that some just come for the gourmet dining is true, but once you experience the property, you will definitely want to book an overnight stay in one of the 24 suites. In fact, the special experiences for a couples retreat can’t be beat!
Melange Restaurant (Patio) at Chateau Lake La Quinta

It is a perfect setting for your next event-including small weddings or up to 250 guests where you can book the whole property.

The Idyllic resort grounds, enchanting guest suites, and attentive personalized service are yours when you book your special event at The Chateau at Lake La Quinta.”

Romance is in the air, while reminiscent of a private European chateau on a lake, this is truly a tasteful and lovely spot. Come dine, visit and make a it special occasion. The staff loves to join in!
“Saying “I do” has never been more romantic than besides the lake. It is a memorable way to begin the rest of your lives together; celebrating in style and with privacy.”
From a rendezvous to a repeat performance- ‘same time next year’ spot or take the next step to an engagement surprise, and then make plans for the wedding!

Top Tip-Pampered Pups get the royal treatment at the only lakefront resort in Palm Springs! “Lap of Luxury with New L’Petit Pup Program” special treats and amenities for our guests’ best friends to help them relax. Your pets will feel at home in the room furnished with their own plush Martha Stewart™ pet bed, plus fresh food and water doggie bowl, Nyla bone and all natural, grain-free organic treats from Ry’s Ruffery (as seen on ABC’s “Shark Tank”)”

Yoga De-stress-If you’re a yoga buff, seeking a great class, there’s a fab studio nearby in La Quinta to get your daily dose. Evolve Yoga is a studio with a unique blend of classes like meditation or a Reiki and Flow, combining different aspects for healing and expanding your practice.

The future is bright for luxury travel with your best friend, especially in the Palm Springs area! This historic resort playground has always been a favorite escape for snowbirds and big Hollywood Honchos, where guests can explore five PGA golf courses, plus boating, hiking, horseback riding, hot air balloon tours, fishing and mountain biking. The Living Desert, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park are also within reach.

5 Star News for 2017-Sign up to be a subscriber-we will be offering free spa gifts for all new subscribers!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Healthy Vegan Holiday Recipe-Creamy Yam "Ice Cream" Dessert

Ipomoea batatas 006.JPG

Marjorie’s Super Fudge 'Ice Cream' Dessert

Intuitive concoctions can be created when cravings are high for something sweet, creamy and rich tasting. Last month I was at Hugo’s Taco Stand in Sherman Oaks , California, across from Hugo’s Restaurant which has a one of the best healthy menus in LA.

They have a yummy soft serve mock ice-cream that is rich, creamy and very flavorful. I was told the main ingredient was yams. Most of the icecream copy-cats are dense with cashew nuts. I wanted a low fat alternative.

Then I was at the Asian market on Sepulveda down the street from Costco and got some purple yams and other colorful potatoes to add a rainbow to my healthy diet. I found one gigantic yam, it was enough for an army and decided to experiment with  it.

I baked the smaller yam and had some for a sweet, rich healthy superfood dessert.

The other day I went to the fridge and the giant super size one was  still there. So I decided to experiment and voila! I ended up making a creamy fudge dessert that can be frozen into an icecream, too.

Here’s what I did:  Another Guiltless Pleasure Chocolate Fudge Dessert

1 cooked Yam/Sweet Potato peeled 
1 cup of Organic Coconut Milk (or any nut milk)
1-2 tablespoons of Coconut Cream (or more)
4 Deglette dates and soaked date syrup*
3 tablespoons of organic cocoa powder
(You may add a few ice cubes later when the mixture is moving)

Peel and slice Yam/Sweet Potato into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Begin slowly adding the cut up peeled yam sections into the Vitamix
Blend in gradually adding the Organic Coconut Milk,Coconut Cream, and slowly add the cocoa or cacao powder into the mixture

If blender gets stuck or moves slow, scrape the sides and mix a bit with a spatula, then start up again and additional milk or water may be used. Use the damper rod to aerate the mixture as it gradually blends, while remaining thick.

Blending this is an art, as the Vitamix requires experience to work it. At some point taste to see if you need additional flavor or sweetness. I also added a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. 1 tsp of Vanilla extract. At one point it was so rich and creamy I had to stop.

Use a spatula to clean out the pitcher and put in a container. Enjoy it immediately or put extra in freezer.

*Extra Date syrup to taste

Here's another version instead of chocolate:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, purée potato until creamy, about 4 minutes. With a rubber spatula, scrape bowl to prevent syrup from settling on the bottom. Add milk and blend, then add honey, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and process until mixture turns from dark orange to light orange in color and becomes creamy, about 4 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a 9 x 9-inch metal cake pan and freeze for 12 hours, until solid. To serve, remove from freezer and let rest for about 5 minutes, until scoop-able.

Here's a bit of trivia from the North  Carolina Sweet Potatoes Industry

Sweet Potato vs. Yam

What's in a name? When it comes to the yam, a bit of confusion. What is marketed in the United States as "yams" are really a variety of sweet potato, grown in the South. A true yam is a starchy edible root of the Dioscorea genus, and is generally imported to America from the Caribbean. It is rough and scaly and very low in beta carotene. Read More

Sweet Potato Nutrition

A medium sweet potato provides over 300% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which plays a role in eye, bone and immune health. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, so be sure to eat your sweet potatoes with a little fat, like a pat of butter, for maximum vitamin absorption.
Read More

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Healthiest Getaways Where You Can Disconnect And De-Stress

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” - Anonymous


In the mid-sixties there was a hit Broadway play, Stop the world, I want to get off!, and, with all of the chaos going on in the world today, many of us share this sentiment, seeking to escape from the constant stresses. There are many studies that have documented how stressful modern lifestyles have become, and with the increasing influence of technology in the workplace and at home, many industries have an “always on” mentality which can lead to increased stress. We are now living a 24/7 life/work/style. There is more information flowing into people’s lives now than ever — much of it distressing and challenging. And with it, there are even more possibilities for interruptions and distractions.

According to the recent study from Pew research, they were able to establish a measurement for stress that is known as the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). To do so they created a list of 10 questions for participants to answer, which explored the relationship between a variety of digital technology uses and psychological stress.

“These technologies are said to takeover people’s lives, creating time and social pressures that put people at risk from the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.”

Because of this increased stress, there is a growing emphasis on overall well-being and wellness sweeping through modern culture. It is also a backlash from the influx of new addictions such as the fears of not being connected, like problematic internet use or nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia). With the fast paced onslaught of technological advancements, there are now scientific studies finding a rising trend in anxiety disorders around not having access to a mobile phone.

Unlike the ‘60s and ‘70s there are more health conscious people, especially the boomers as they near the final frontier of their lives. Many of us are seeking a more favorable balance, going back to the original concept of being in tune with nature. There are very few places in the world that are remote enough to really feel as if we have found freedom from disturbances, into quiet and tranquility. Being immersed in nature and experiencing fresh air, peace, hiking, local farm-to-fork fare and adventure is a rarity. That is why the concept of visiting healing retreats, spas and natural mineral springs are becoming more popular.


After a recent trip to Desert Hot Springs near Palm Springs, California, I discovered the upsurge in tourists who are flocking to this desert oasis, even in the summer. Healing waters from the resort, Two Bunch Palms, are said to be so soporific that they can calm even the most type-A movie mogul! Heavy hitters and Hollywood honchos escape to experience the naturally flowing thermal waters known for the extraordinary purity and rich lithium content as well as a natural mood stabilizer. Mud baths and massages are the favored treatments of many regulars (often booked side-by-side when accompanied by a friend). There are also couples massages offered in a romantic candle lit room. Voted the top rated water in the United States, many well-known celebs hide out from the chaos of their overbooked, social media-hyped lives. Named “Best for Mineral Springs” each year from 2004 through 2010 by the readers of Spa Finder Magazine, it is also ranked by USA Today as “one of 10 great places to relax your mind and body.”

As a young adventuress, traveling by air was a more dignified experience. The excitement of planning, imagining and escaping by plane was exciting and beckoning. We were allured by the promise of being able to experience other cultures and the world at large. However, for the younger adventurer of today, traveling by air is a completely different prospect altogether. We live in a time where the experience of traveling has become less about experience and more about price. Something which doesn’t help those who grew up with the over saturation of technology and in even greater need of escape. However, the great part about being alive at this time is the amount of affordable luxuries being offered to counteract the techno influences. With all of the conveniences available, we are able to escape from the gridlock and grime, without too much effort. Along with scheduled cruising to remote places, within a relatively moderate budget you can also fly by air charter. Instead of roughing it by land and sea, you can fly above the clouds and land in an air strip away from the crowds. Conventional air travel has become almost abhorrent. With the TSA restrictions and Disneyland-sized lines to meander through just to get a tiny seat, we may find ourselves getting stuck between what may feel like behemoth strangers. Mid-twentieth century traveling abroad was a luxury where we were still treated like special guests, even in coach. Now we are just part of the cattle call, crowding onto people movers. While rushing to get to a flight that is usually delayed, we may discover even worse, as it ends up being cancelled after waiting on the tarmac for hours!

Image result for four seasons jet

Last year, Bloomberg reported on a new Four Seasons-branded jet that would be transporting clients on exclusive round-the-world tours complete with bespoke activities. That is one of the most elite examples of a trend that will become significantly more apparent this year: hotels serving as hosts to your destination as a whole. Numerous hotel groups are expanding programs that give customers privileged access to incredible settings and rarefied local experiences.

Yet there are still many opportunities to travel to faraway lands to beat the crowds which are off the beaten path. Although the advent of technology has led to more stress, there are more affordable ways to destress. Flying on a private jet to any destination - something which was once only for the Royals or the uber elite - is now accessible for many of us. With the soaring failure in commercial air travel, there is a boost in business aviation growth and private plane hire.

Some of these luxuries, only reserved for the leisure class are now simple pleasures that are more accessible. What was once a dream, envisioned from reading a book, or watching a movie can be a reality with the advent of new technological advancements. As the world grows smaller, with a global vision, we are able to reach more out-of-the-way places, for business and pleasure. Things are happening so fast that the future holds great rewards with mega-entrepreneur’s like Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic. He is dreaming even bigger by offering suborbital flights into space in the near future! In many ways,

Tomorrowland is here today!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Quest For “My Beautiful Bare Skin”

Looking back from the other side of sixty, remembering the days when waking up in the morning was an exciting adventure. Today it is a variety of experiences depending upon the quality of my sleep and what is happening on the inside as well as the outside.

Gone are the good ol’ days when jumping out of bed, raring to start the day with a quick shower, makeup, suiting up with stockings, pumps and a cup of coffee. Rarely stopping for a lunch on the go, putting myself last. After decades of hyper work, running around the city of Angels, my days of non-stop-shopping for the latest in luxe home furnishing items for my clients are over. My marathon body has run out of steam, never sitting down until the end of the day until after my aerobics class when I would crash.

These days I linger longer in bed, listening to positive meditation audios on YOU TUBE and gather my thoughts, letting go of the negative and reaching for better feeling experiences. It seems as if many are still in shock about the Presidential election. Flooded Facebook pages demanding a recount, while others are fighting for some cause. As for me, I am working on uplifting my own spirits first. Getting into the right frame of mind is the order of the day. When we are in the right frame of mind we can align with our own mind/body/spirit, inspire others and leave the rest to flow.

On my quest for truth, beauty and becoming ageless, I find that beauty flows from the inside out. When I am refreshed, balanced, in the positive stream, connecting with the gratitude of the moment, I see myself in a different light. And yes, lighting is most important, too! The other night after a mid-night wake up, I rushed quickly past my reflection in the bathroom mirror. Who or what I saw was frightening to me. I saw the exaggeration of wrinkles that had taken up residence around my mouth and now creeping further into my skin. I saw myself as if I was an octogenarian! YIPES! Being a naturalist, I have not succumbed to Botox or the other fillers for several years just as an experiment to see what kind of aging would occur.

OK! I’ve had enough!

My quest for becoming ageless, naturally is now weaning. I need help! I have been experiencing the latest in leading edge beauty, writing for decades and always in search of the best results without invasive procedures.

I discovered a hidden gem last February when I was invited to one of the Awards Show gifting suites at the tony Luxe Beverly Hills Hotel. They were offering dozens of glam goodies and beauty finds. Yet there was one person in the back with a wait list who was doing a very unique facial. I discovered Susan Carlson, of My Beautiful Bare Skin, who is located in Beverly Hills. We immediately connected during my demo, and she shared her highlhy educated background with me as a healer/aesthetician with a magic machine.

She explained that “We specialize in giving skin treatments that truly heal from within. Our Lift facials will substantially reduce deep lines, wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles, tighten sagging skin on both the face and neck, will diminish scars, fade brown spots and will effectively treat acne and Rosacea. We offer body treatments to smooth cellulite, detoxify the body and relieve pain due to arthritis or trauma. It is also very successful for therapeutic stress reduction.”

While this may not sound so unique, especially if you live in Los Angeles, her instant face lift and body contouring are non-invasive yet have a visible effect even after one treatment. While she recommends a series with consistent follow up, even occasional visits are effective. She personally works with a microcurrent machine that is specially attuned to healing the body and also can be refinely calibrated for the face and skin. The machine has the capacity for deep healing for wounds and pain, but her ingenious combo can do wonders in one session. While in her care, she also makes sure you are listening to positive healing audio so you not only get the physical relief, but after an hour of Wayne Dyer or your favorite guru, you are fully revived and feeling great!

    Our remarkable adaptive (cybernetic) facials and body treatments use technology previously used extensively in the medical field to heal injuries. This technology, microcurrent, affects the way your skin cells actually function. It works on the very foundation of your skin — muscles, blood and lymph — to repair, rejuvenate, nourish and maintain your skin at its optimum state of health and functioning, resulting in a more beautiful you, from the inside out.

    The Los Angeles Times: Her remarkable adaptive (cybernetic) facials and body treatments use technology previously used extensively in the medical field to heal injuries. This technology, microcurrent, affects the way your skin cells actually function. It works on the very foundation of your skin — muscles, blood and lymph — to repair, rejuvenate, nourish and maintain your skin at its optimum state of health and functioning, resulting in a more beautiful you, from the inside out.

The Electro-Acuscope, packaged in an easily transportable case, emits a low-level electrical current. Physical therapists, acupuncturists, M.D.’s and other health professionals prefer it’s effectve treatment for pain and athletic injuries. Carlson has experimented and discovered that combining a healing machine that addresses medical aesthetics, can yield a more comprehensive effect.

By adapting the Renaissance machine for facial treatments (which is distributed by the same company as the Electro-Acuscope) medical doctors, acupuncturists, cosmetologists and physical therapists report they are seeing growing numbers of clients who are pleased with the results.These “micro-current electrical facials” are a natural solution to aging, and instead of just a pretty facial, it is recommended for both facial rejuvenation and overall health benefits. Not only is it used for an instant facelift, but for deep relaxation and healing.
It is advisable to have consistent treatments, and is considered safe and effective by the AMA. Dr. Valentine Birds, a North Hollywood internist remarked that “I had used the Electro-Acuscope for muscle spasm and found that facial improvement to be a side effect” he says. ‘My theory is that if it won’t hurt the patients and it can help them, I’m willing to use it. It’s one thing to treat the disease and another to normalize the physiology and make the person healthy, which the machines help the body to do. I’m not satisfied with only diagnosing and treating the disease. I’d rather improve the basic physiology, that way you don’t have the disease problem. If you feel good, you’re going to look good. And if you’re hurting, it’s going to show up in the face.”

The best part is that after just one session you will feel a remarkable energizing effect! So not only does it address the quest for ‘my beautiful bare skin’ but it also has a treatment effect for better sleep and relaxation!
Susan is born to be a healer. Her microcurrent facial is lifting, and makes my skin flawless!!! She is extremely dedicated to her clientele, and I feel lucky to be a client. I love how my skin looks years younger than my true age!

    Melissa S.

    Los Angeles, CA

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Hotel Bel Air: Every Guest Gets the Royal Treatment


What could be better than being a guest in the palatial ‘home’ of a royal? When Prince Jefri Bolkiah, member of the Brunei Royal Family (BIA, Brunei Investment Agency) purchased the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, California, they closed down this landmark for over 2 years to remodel the already posh property. According to wiki, “His elder brother is the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah. While Prince Jefri is known for his extravagant lifestyle, he has assisted in creating a stunning portfolio of the finest hotels, His personal holdings (were at one time) a huge art collection, the British jeweler Asprey, The New York Palace Hotel, The Beverly Hills Hotel, also in Los Angeles and Plaza Athénée in Paris.” Without digressing into the mystery of this backstory, suffice it to say that the level of taste is beyond extravagance.

Even a true Royal appreciates the warmth and ambiance of this secluded hideaway. As Prince Charles once described, “it’s like staying at a rich friend’s home.”
The 3 most adored guests are still the gems of the Swan Lake in the picturesque front lawn. The original vision of “creating a natural California oasis, planting palms, coastal redwoods, ficus trees and perennial blooms” are still the focal point. Sun worshiping at the shimmering oval-shaped pool is still a private affair. The Celebs still love the secluded privacy and anonymity.


When it opened in 1946, Hollywood flocked to the see and be scene at the fresh and luxe retreat. Even in the glam era, Hotel Bel-Air was a haven for camera shy celebrities including Grace Kelly, Jackie Gleason, Cary Grant, and Marilyn Monroe, served celebrities, heads of state and dignitaries. It is still visited by the uber rich and famous.

According to, “Virtually everyone who is anyone has stayed at the original 92-room Bel-Air hotel, including Britain’s Royal Family, Presidents, and the biggest names in Hollywood, who prize the hotel for its charm and its seclusion. Warren Beatty and his wife Annette Bening stayed here after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Jim Carrey was recently spotted singing at the piano bar. Nicole Kidman and Hillary Swank were also guests. Oprah Winfrey threw a slumber party here when she turned 40, while Diana Ross recently stayed here to unwind.”
“Oprah Winfrey has a long history with Hotel Bel-Air. As Oprah stated on her 50th birthday to People magazine and on national television, “Hotel Bel-Air is my favorite hotel.” She gathered friends on the front lawn where Celine Dion sang “Happy Birthday” to her as a surprise. She hosted a luncheon at which she was the guest of honor alongside 50 women, including Diane Sawyer, Toni Morrison, Ellen DeGeneres and Salma Hayek. As a frequent guest, the beloved Chalon Suite was also made over at Oprah Winfrey’s request.”


“The hotel offers 103 rooms, all of them Mediterranean-style villa/bungalows, yet no two the same. Room 160 is known as the Princess Grace Suite, and according to L.A. Magazine, Carly Simon likes to stay there. Joan Collins prefers room 166. Room 138 is known as the Swan Lake Suite, because of its view of the swan pond. Other guests have included Prince Charles, Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tina Turner, Al Pacino, Whitney Houston, Mike Nichols, Diane Sawyer, Val Kilmer, Martha Stewart, Kenneth Branagh, Robert De Niro and even the very private, Michael Jackson.”

During the Academy Awards week, 2013, a couple of award nominees had their hair coiffed by Sam Kavenchy at the exclusive salon, Joseph Martin. One of the nominees sported a totally new look and when his name was announced as the winner, he was almost unrecognizable from his powerful character role in the academy award winning film. Another winner also had his hair styled by Sam and they both were beaming with their new, award winning looks! So if you intend on winning an Academy Award, you should definitely get a winning hairstyle at this tony salon!
The private enclave in the heart center of the property is the favorite restaurant for all occasions,Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air. “To be a part of this extraordinary restoration is a great honor,” said Puck.  “The Hotel Bel-Air is one of the most beloved icons in Hollywood history and has created many wonderful memories for such a long time.  It was important for us to respect its heritage, keeping menu favorites like the famous tortilla soup, while creating an entirely new concept that features the wonderful, fresh and local ingredients which surround us.”


Over the years, the hotel has developed into one of the most sybaritic and profuse properties, highly acclaimed throughout the world. As the hotel and city have matured, Hotel Bel-Air’s original ambiance has remained intact.  Some loyal guests are pleased with the new facelift, while others are reminiscing about this Grand Dame who has gone to the plastic surgeon and is now a bit too slick for her age. Whether you’ve been there before or are a newbie, it is still a must see beloved landmark in the shrinking style of true luxury and class in Los Angeles.
The makeover which took two years to complete boasts a new 12,000-square foot building with a fitness studio, loft guest rooms and a 4,134-square foot La Prairie Spa is a welcomed addition to this secret hideaway. The spa menu is a rich array of luxurious treatments and offers the one of the most exclusive, coveted skincare lines in the world.


“What could be more relaxing than the sensation of gently floating on the ocean? Not much. Well,
that’s the feeling the Advanced Marine Biology Facial will give you. For most people, ultimate relaxation is the destination. This is achieved when your brain sends messages to your entire body to release tension. This release of tension causes the blood to flow more easily allowing detoxification to occur. As you lay on a warm water filled mat, muscle tension is released and circulation is increased. The skin is then transformed using sea-born elements found within La Prairie’s Advanced Marine Biology Collection which work to encourage cell turnover, detoxification, hydration and provide anti-oxidant protection”  Joo-mee Song, aesthetician and beauty magician.


Many guests fly across the globe to visit the hotel and spa. Locals swear by Joo-mee’s gifts and make up about 50% of the spa goers. The Hotel Bel Air is so loved by it’s neighbors, all they have to do is walk down the street to get pampered. Many are high end celebs live in the tony neighborhoods of Bel Air, Brentwood and Beverly Hills and just need an escape close to home for some R&R. It is so hush-hush that the locals never tell anyone about it. The Los Angeles glitterati want to keep this best-kept secret hideaway hidden from the maddening crowd.


The most extravagant feature is the hotel’s new Presidential Suite, starting at $15,750 per night, is the piece de la resistance. For the uber rich and famous guests, it is over-the-top-luxury, this 6,775-square feet of suite with private dining for 10, a chef’s kitchen, a study, a great room with grand piano, even has a private pool! It is breathtakingly beyond words, and bank account. Unless you’re in the league with the Royals, perhaps this is just another place to hide away. There are a few more expensive suites around the world, like the Royal Penthouse Suite in the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, at a whopping $52,000
The most fitting description of this enclave of pampering, is from a star of the glam years, Tony Curtis (Some Like it Hot) who lived at The Hotel Bel-Air.
He describes it as the “best wife” he’s ever had. “If I could, I would marry Hotel Bel-Air tomorrow,” he said. “She doesn’t ask me where I’ve been all night. She doesn’t mind if I bring a girl home. She makes my bed every day, feeds me regularly, takes my messages faithfully and puts my laundry in the little boxes tied up with ribbon.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Keeping it Real With Raw Food


Matthew Kenny is crafting the future of food
Update-New Location-Plant Food+Wine-

You can finally indulge in a fabulous ‘tasting’ experience at the new Matthew Kenney’s M.A.K.E. without guilt. Located inside the Santa Monica Place Market, in Los Angeles, California, M.A.K.E. is a living foods, raw restaurant, featuring cutting edge plant-based cuisine. Everything is alive, radiant, nutritious, plant based food that is so full of energy, it is a delight for all the senses. The rich fuschia colored Chidori kale for the eyes, the ears get the crunch of the sesame-flax crisps, Kenney is a master presenting the tastiest raw food recipes with the biggest wow factor. Each bite has a continuous surprise of flavors, layered to discover for the whole palate. The most fun is ‘deconstructing’ the dish and sharing the guess work with your fellow foodies.

Note: Matthew Kenney Culinary is right next door, with a state-of-the-art raw food Academy. It feels as if the student chefs are creating these unique recipes all at once and the dishes are designed in the moment, just for you.
This whole-food centered eating extravaganza is the result of innovative ideas inspired by seasonal, local produce, as well as many of Matthew’s classic raw food dishes.
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
Albert Einstein
The manager and servers were very helpful and explained the dishes so that even a neophyte would understand. When each serving arrives it is like a gift, where you are aroused by the attention to detail and the artfulness of the plate designs.  Here’s a fun game: try to keep the beauty of the plate arrangement in tact (almost impossible) while awakening to the ingredients and enjoying the cacophony of flavors with a surprise in each bite.
Matthew Kenney is taking on the food industry, and leading the global vegan/raw food movement, considered a top chef and trainer in the field, an author of several best selling raw food recipe books. He is also the founder of the renowned Raw Food Culinary Institute “105 Degrees” in Oklahoma City. In addition, “PlantLab is an experimental kitchen and laboratory redefining plant-based cuisine. PlantLab utilizes modernist techniques to develop new culinary innovations, pairings, and recipes. Through strategic partnerships, PlantLab is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, some of which is straight out of a laboratory. We believe that plant-based cuisine deserves the level of attention and analysis that only PlantLab can provide.”
Follow him on the new afternoon cooking show, Fresh Take, on the Health and Wellness Channel. “Matthew is a wonderfully inspiring chef who is on the forefront of the movement to bring nature back into cooking and the culinary arts. We’re very lucky  to have tapped into Matthew and his enthusiasm for something so worthwhile and needed in society today,” says Health & Wellness Channel founder Drew Nederpelt.
FYI-Tony Robbins says, “If you want to be alive, eat live foods”. He also brings up the point that our planet is 70% water and our bodies are 80% water. He says then, that it only makes sense for us to eat mostly water rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and sprouts. He explains that proper diet increases one’s energy, which is necessary for total success.
For further information, books and the Apothecary of Chocolate, check out his site:
He’s got two other restaurants:
IN THE RAW, a vibrant raw food bistro located in the beautiful North Shore region of Chicago.
And soon to be:THE WHITE LOTUS, located at The Space Miami, in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, The White Lotus will be a living foods restaurant, featuring cutting edge, plant-based cuisine with local influences.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Davy Jones:Teen Dream Comes True

The year was 1963, and Davy Jones was everybody's favorite teen dream in New York, starring as the Artful Dodger in the original Broadway production of the musical, Oliver, based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

It also happened to be the year my father had his favorite Thoroughbred racehorse, a stake winning filly at the track at Belmont Park, in New York. Her name was Miss Twist. This was no ordinary horse; she won a famous race at Santa Anita and took home a big purse. For my Dad, it was like winning the lottery. When his prize filly returned home, she was running at the track at the same time Oliverwas playing on Broadway. This was a winning year, for my Dad, Davy Jones and Miss Twist, which had some breeding, and ties to the name Oliver Twist.

My dad was also a big theater buff and occasionally invested in Off-Off Broadway shows. (That's another story). After seeing Oliver on Broadway, he read that Davy Jones was also an apprentice to becoming a jockey before he became an actor. Miss Twist was running in another big race at Belmont Park, and my dad thought it would be fun to have Davy come and join us in the winner's circle (assuming the horse was going to win again). Somehow, my artful Dad got in touch with Davy and invited him to come to the track, to watch the horse race and invited the main star, Georgia Brown to join us. (This was before Jones was in the Monkees)

As a pudgy faced pre-teen, I was beyond words with excitement and also mortified. I was going to spend the day with teen idol, Davy Jones and my father. As the days rolled by before the big event, I decided to invite one of my best friends along, so we could enjoy it together. Suffice it to say that I was also very, very shy and my Dad was proud, yet a bit pushy with guys and me.

The big day came and when we met we were eye to eye; Davy was about my height, so he seemed like a pint-sized teen (he would turn 18 that December). I was spellbound and speechless, like most teenaged girls in those days, blushing and giggling with my girlfriend in our box seats at the racetrack.

I don't think I said more than one word to the guy, but my dad seemed to be having the most fun. There we were, my Dad, Davy Jones, Georgia Brown, (I can't even remember my mom in this scenario). We all went down to the paddock to meet the jockey, and watch the horse saddle up. Davy had never been to Belmont Park Race Track and he was thrilled to meet our jockey who was quite famous at the time. (Can't remember his name, maybe Manuel Baeza).

As luck would have it, Miss Twist won the race and we all ran down to the winner's circle for the traditional photos. It was a thrilling day for all and we had the photos published in our hometown news, with me standing next to Davy in the winner's circle.

About a year later, February 9, 1964, Jones appeared with the Broadway cast of Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show, the same episode on which The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones says of that night, "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that." (Wikipedia) Then his big break came when he was chosen as one of the stars of the Monkees, and the rest is history.

Around 20 years later, after moving to Los Angeles, I was walking down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (one of the only walking streets in LA) and noticed this really cute short guy with a tall gorgeous lady on his arm. As I got closer, I realized it was Davy Jones, all grown up (as I was too). As I passed by, I found the courage to stop and say hello and reminded him of that day in 1963. He was quite polite and said he remembered the day, and especially my high-spirited dad.

It is now all a blur, but since that day in 1963 Davy Jones has always had a special place in my heart.

Good-bye, Davy and thanks for reminding me that dreams can come true and you can still make this grown-up-little-girl blush again!