It would be easy to devote weeks to exploring the Renaissance ClubSport's 75,000-square-foot facility—spending afternoons lounging poolside beneath the brilliant Orange County sun and taking meals at the sleek onsite restaurant. The club is an innovative fusion of fitness center, spa, and boutique hotel, complete with luxury suites, a 12,000-square-foot fitness center, and kids' club. Fitness seekers of all squares inhabit the athletic facilities, bustling away on ellipticals or playing rounds of racquetball. Others come for the more than 100 weekly fitness classes, which include yoga, Zumba, and extreme conditioning—a high-intensity combination of weight, cardio, and plyometric exercises. The fitness center is staffed by a team of expert trainers and nutrition coaches, who can advise clients on the best routes for reaching their health and wellness goals.
After workouts, guests unwind with a soak in the whirlpool before visiting the spa for a hot-stone massage or detoxifying mud body wrap. Then, it's on to the Citrus Fresh Grill for cocktails and a light dinner of Thai chicken lettuce wraps and grilled salmon. The club even offers a camp, which provides kids with recreational and educational activities while keeping them away from less constructive pursuits, such as watching TV or trying to convince their stuffed animals to do their chores.
Every salon claims that their tanning formula is one-of-a-kind. But at Unique Tan, it's actually true?owner Sherrie Lee Meredith developed it herself. Her signature spray-tanning blend, Unique Excellence, tints skin with a paraben-free solution of organic aloe vera, berry essences, and a firming serum to stave off the signs of aging. The formula also contains erythrulose, which can produce a longer-lasting bronze glow, and, because it's alcohol-free, helps keep skin moisturized and streak-free. The salon's Smart Tan?certified staff uses this in both automated booths and custom airbrushing sessions, which harness the steady hand of a tanning artist to ensure tans completely cover skin and finally even the score with haughty bronze statues.
The salon also offers traditional UV-tanning beds, which contain comfort-adding amenities such as air conditioning, aromatherapy, adjustable facial bulbs, and easy-to-follow voice instructions. Clients can enhance their tans with the salon's line of tan-accelerating products, which extend the life of each tan by keeping skin moisturized and healthy.
The adage that "there are no small parts, just small actors" rings truest at The Center Stage Studio, where budding thespians of all ages get their share of the spotlight. Under the experienced wand of director Tracey DiMiceli, a seasoned performer and theater instructor who also helmed Malibu's prestigious "Fitness by the Sea" summer camp, young actors develop the skills to sing, dance, and deliver heartfelt Tony Award acceptance speeches in a wealth of classes and camps.
In the family-tailored musical theater camps, which feature themes reflecting popular musicals and children's shows, lil' thespians learn the fundamentals of theater technique—including blocking, projecting, and stage direction—and cultivate skills that boost self-esteem and critical thinking. Camps end with a public performance where every child gets a spot in a major musical number and receives a speaking role, curbing the theatrical tradition of jealous prepubescent understudies.
After a fruitful modeling career, Lori Brystan moved to the other side of the camera lens, where she began to capture artful portraits of families, kids, and women that would look at home in the pages of a fashion magazine. In 1989, she opened Brystan Studios, which eventually expanded to include a team of professional makeup artists, hairstylists, set designers, and photographers. Inside the professional studio, a large dressing room brims with props, fan mail, and glamorous costumes. Using in-studio sets, Lori captures images ranging from burlesque-themed boudoir shoots to pared-down images, such as women posing in front of a white sheet or siblings lying in a hammock. The studio also specializes in love-note videos, professionally produced short films that capture the subject's inner starlet without the use of a net. The busy shutterbug also works as beauty editor for the lifestyle pub Greer's OC and penned High Impact Portrait Photography, a book on framing eye-catching portraits.
If you trained in massage therapy every minute of every day for two weeks straight, you still wouldn't be close to matching the amount of training completed by the therapists at the Knotstop. These licensed and certified professionals all boast a minimum of 500 hours of training?in fact, when they're not at the Knotstop, they're sharing their services at some of the most highly regarded spas and physical therapy facilities.
That level of expertise is part of what makes the Knotstop's massages so luxurious. Therapists provide more than 15 modalities ranging from therapeutic to relaxation massage, eliminating the tension that can build up after a long day of remembering action-movie scenes. But the Knotstop doesn't stop at massages. It also offers customized facials, peels, and waxing, each of which uses organic products for a relaxing, natural spa experience.
At OC Fitness Boot Camp, exercise isn’t just about summoning an instant endorphin rush or fitting into a smaller pair of jeans a few weeks down the line. It’s about helping people live longer, healthier lives. Held at scenic parks and beaches, workouts help participants cultivate a love of fitness that endures when life throws them a curveball or a water balloon filled with chocolate pudding. Here, participants of all fitness levels cheer one another toward goals during strength-building exercises such as burpees, squats, push-ups, and sit-up variations. In addition to torching calories, running and jumping drills fill the group with energy, like a pep rally led by anthropomorphic lightning bolts. A seasoned instructor oversees each camper, doling out exercise demos, technique tips, and a hearty dose of motivation.