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MY FAVORITE WEEKEND / Karina Smirnoff

When she's not doing the tango with a star, she's shaking it up at the gym, admiring the Getty's beauty or, yes, dancing for fun.

September 18, 2009|Mark Sachs

In a few short seasons, Karina Smirnoff has emerged as a star in her own right on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which begins its fall campaign Monday night. This time around, the Ukraine-born beauty has been matched up with teen pop star Aaron Carter.

"I've been so busy that some days I just come home and pass out," said Smirnoff, who lives in Studio City. "But think it's going to be a good season. No one knew what to expect when the show started, whether America was going to go for ballroom dancing. But now I don't think there's a person in the country who doesn't know what a samba, cha-cha and waltz are. It's been amazing."

Speaking of amazing, here's her weekend.

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Posh Friday night

On a Friday night, I might go to the restaurant and lounge called XIV, over on Sunset. It's very posh, like something out of "L.A. Confidential." They have an outdoor patio if you're not a big fan of air conditioning and don't mind a lot of secondhand smoke. But the place is very nice, the food is delicious and the drinks are superb.

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Up on the hill

I grew up in New York, and I'm still in love with the climate here in L.A., and a great place to enjoy the good weather is up at the Getty Museum. The views are just sensational, and the gardens are so romantic.

Not that I'm ignoring the beautiful art inside, of course. The whole experience makes it just a fantastic place to spend the day, and you can pack your own lunch. Maybe some panini from Urth Caffe.

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Basic training

For working out, I like Barry's Bootcamp in Sherman Oaks. They really kick my butt, but I love it. Mel B, you know, Scary Spice, told me about it. I needed a place that was going to push me. The instructor screams at you for an hour and you come out soaking wet.

I'll also go to Runyon Canyon or Pacific Palisades on rollerblades. Afterward, I'll go to Moonshadows near the water for lunch. I'll order the salmon or cod. You don't have to dress up, which makes it easy.

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Saturday night fever

I love to dance, even when I'm away from the show. I could be absolutely exhausted and I'll go to a club and have one margarita and I'll be dancing my butt off. I'm like the Energizer bunny.

I like to dance at Velvet Margarita, and also the Conga Room. H.Wood is another great place to go.

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Going natural

On Sunday, I'll sleep in real late and then go to Le Pain Quotidien, a really great organic place. It has these rustic wooden tables and chairs. The organic oatmeal is good. You always feel healthier coming out than you did walking in.

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mark.sachs@latimes.com

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