Spa Parties

August 27th, 2014

If orange is the new black, then “girls’ night in” is most definitely the new “girls’ night out.” (Cue: tremendous sighs of relief from ladykind everywhere.) The Sex and the City days of high-cut dresses and higher heels have given way to a fantastic tradition known as the spa party, in which living rooms and master baths transform into havens of terrycloth and cucumber water, and friends leave bowled over instead of hungover. Ready to create a sparadise of your own? Here’s our guide to hosting your own day of Zen!

First step: plan your menu*. (*Which in spa-party-terms refers to both your menu of activities and your menu of eats!) Ever go to a spa and read over the list of services, only to say “Meh”? Or “If only I could get a facial with a mani instead of a massage and a scrub”? Good news: when you’re the spa, you’re in control! Decide on three to four “spa stations” to offer to your guests, which could range from a pedicure area to an aromatherapy setup to a relaxation station (think a quiet corner of a guest bedroom outfitted with vanilla candles and a stack of People magazines). And if you find yourself stuck -or overwhelmed – on what to offer, try to create “stops” that cater to different parts of the body and mind. So instead of a mani station and a pedi station and a foot scrub area (read: your extremities will be well-cared-for much to the chagrin of the rest of you), mix it up, and make one station for nails, one for hair care, and one for skin.

Activities: check! Next up: shopping! The best part about throwing a spa party is that you can give your guests an amazing experience without breaking the bank. First, make sure you have the basics: tea lights, flowers, lotions, and towels…even disposable flip-flops if you’re fancy. Pick up anything specific you need for your stations, like nail polish, aromatic oils, or face scrubs. Remember – “pampered” doesn’t have to mean “elaborate.” And in fact, with a spa party, sometimes, less is more! Pay attention to the little touches (relaxing lighting, calming music, comfy pillows for lounging) and don’t worry about going overboard. Your friends will still be blown away.

Alright, activities, done, supplies, done…ahem, we think it’s time to talk food. Light, delicious, refreshing food, aka, the perfect menu for your spa party. Like fresh fruits and veggies (grapes, watermelon, cherry tomatoes, zucchini spears…think bite-sized and portable), tiny tea sandwiches, grain salads (like quinoa!) made with fresh herbs (like basil!) and a light dressing (like a red wine vinaigrette!), and baked goods infused with healthy twists, like whole-wheat flour, oats, and honey. Keep the snacks on the lighter side nutritionally, aromatically (as in, that delicious, but ever-so-stinky gorgonzola will wreak havoc on your lavender essential oil station), and volumetrically. And no, we don’t mean quantity; we literally mean “volume.” As in, foods whose crunch factor is less than that of a baby carrot, because nothing says “ruined spa party” like a soundtrack of celery sticks.

And no spa spread is complete without hydration! Flavor-infused water is a must-have. Cucumber is a classic (and don’t forget to buy an extra one for the ever-essential slices you will be putting out for your guests to use on their eyes) but there will be nary a complaint if you mix things up, like rosemary-and-peach. Herbal iced tea also makes a lovely addition to your beverage menu, and we certainly won’t tell if you put out a carafe of rosé or a bottle of bubbly (as long as promise to invite us over).

With your menus locked and your supplies in hand, all that’s left is setting the stage! Pick a room with plenty of space to lounge in (and if this means nicely kicking the hubby/kids/dog/neighbor’s cat out for the afternoon, so be it!), plug in your iPod (and keep it simple – let Pandora/Spotify act as your DJ), and set up your spa stations, remembering the little accessories like a box of tissues by your mani station in case of smudges and a bowl of clean water by the facial scrub stop. And when the doorbell rings, there’s just one thing left to do: relax!

Pamper Your Pet At A Pet Spa!

August 5th, 2014

Just outside Seattle lies quiet Woodinville, Washington, a small town known for its local wineries and extraordinary landscapes. It’s also home to an exclusive relaxation resort, where patrons can indulge in massages, water therapy, and luxurious skin treatments. There’s just one catch: you have to have a tail.

Welcome to the wonderful, four-legged world of pet spas, where the furriest among us can get pampered to their hearts’ content! If the notion seems a little im-PAW-ssible to grasp, consider this. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5% of households own dogs – that’s over 69 million canine pals in the United States alone! With numbers like that, it’s no surprise that we’ve found ways to go above and beyond for our wet-nosed loved ones.

So what is a pet spa? At Woodinville’s Paradise Pet Lodge, doggies and kitties (with the help of their owners, of course) can take advantage of numerous health and wellness programs, including relaxation massages designed to alleviate muscle pain and help with anxiety, swimming sessions in a warm saltwater pool, and signature grooming packages. If this all sounds slightly familiar (ahem, like the spa menu at any human resort), you’re right! Turns out what works for people, works for pups!

And much like a People Spa, Dog and Cat Spas also serve the rehabilitative needs of their clients. A therapeutic swim is a fantastic way to help dogs regain movement after surgery, as well as aid those who face chronic pain, arthritis, or any number of physical difficulties. At Cat’s Meow outside San Francisco, kitties can indulge in “Feline Devine,” a soothing experience that includes a signature bath, a heated towel wrap treatment (complete with cat-centric aromatherapy), and a sugar scrub, all designed to calm the nerves of anxious furballs.

Okay, so maybe there’s not a candlelit magazine room and a stack of terrycloth robes (although a carafe of cucumber water isn’t that far of a stretch…). But when it comes to caring for our perky-eared companions who need a little TLC (or are just going through a “ruff” time), pet spas are an amazing resource for man’s best friend. Now if only Rover could master downward-facing dog…

What is a Wetroom?

January 17th, 2014

(Image from http://www.houzz.com/photos/72148/Carpenter-Gothic-Shower-transitional-bathroom-boston)

The home bathroom has been undergoing some extensive makeovers in recent years. As space becomes more important, bathrooms are transforming into multitasking rooms that go beyond their utilitarian purpose. A popular new take on this trend is getting rid of the bathroom altogether in favor of a wetroom.

While a traditional bathroom has a built-in, enclosed shower cubicle, the wetroom essentially serves as the enclosure. These waterproof rooms feature a drain in the middle of the floor, which has a subtle gradient so the water doesn’t spill out. Typically made of ceramic tile, these open spaces have no walls, doors or shower curbs to get in the way.

The benefits of the wetroom are varied. Wetrooms can eliminate moisture damage and prolong the life of tile grout. They are compatible with underfloor heating systems and can be easier to clean. And they are better for those with restricted mobility since there’s no shower curb to step over. However, if you’re concerned about getting water everywhere, a glass panel can be installed to contain the shower area while still keeping the room transparent and open.

Due to its space-saving practicality, the wetroom has taken off in Europe and is increasing in popularity stateside. Because a wetroom is smaller than a bathroom, it can also make for a more affordable remodel – particularly for those who prefer showering to bathing. However, removing a bathtub from your bathroom can affect resale value, and bathroom furniture and placement must be considered so towels don’t get wet.

From a design perspective, the barrier-free nature of wetrooms allows for more creative freedom in color, layout and style. A variety of looks can be achieved, from cool and modern to warm and natural – whatever is desired.

Would you install a wetroom in your home? Let us know!

Build the Perfect Home Spa Experience

September 27th, 2013

When it comes to creating the ultimate bathroom oasis, the home spa calls for an environment that’s peaceful, luxurious and stylish. While channeling peace and luxury may be a given, style is an element that’s just as important. A space that doesn’t suit your specifications is hardly conducive to relaxation. Along with your residential steam shower, the right mix of bathroom fixtures and furniture work together to produce a personal retreat that’s truly reflective of you. For those seeking stylish inspiration, here’s a look at some of our favorite designs for a traditional or modern home spa.

Traditional

Stately and elegant, the traditional style represents luxury from a bygone era. Inspired by ancient Roman baths, Stone Forest’s Old World Bathtub is a stunningly-crafted testament to times past. Carved from a solid block of carrara marble, the bathtub features unique veining and natural coloring of the distinctive stone, which complements a rich, traditional aesthetic.

Distinguished by the sinuous, semi-circular projection of its basin, the Stone Forest Renaissance Console brings an“old world” feel to the bath. Also carved from honed carrara marble, this classic vanity sink combines the subtle detailing of the washbasin with traditional console legs in aged brass or polished nickel.

A stately sink requires a faucet just as luxe to match. With vintage styling, the Gramercy collection by Watermark Designs offers inspiration from one of Manhattan’s most historic and exclusive neighborhoods. Classic cross handles displaying timeless “hot” and “cold” labels, while the rest of the collection rounds out faucet, shower and tub filler fittings for your traditional bathroom.

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Steam Showers vs. Whirlpool Tubs

July 31st, 2013

With home renovations on the rise, keeping up with the latest bathroom trends is more important than ever. Bathroom renovations have surged in popularity as homeowners have embraced the bathroom as a relaxation destination. Creating the ultimate home spa isn’t just great for calming your nerves — it can increase your home’s resale value as well. While whirlpool tubs were once must-have features in luxury bathrooms, homeowners are increasingly choosing steam showers to create the spa experience. Let’s take a look at these two installations and see how they match up.

Whirlpool tubs create relaxation by propelling warm water through jets to soothe tired muscles, while steam showers create a steamy, relaxing atmosphere to detoxify the body and alleviate stress. Both provide similar relaxation benefits, but steam showers take up significantly less space. Whirlpool bathtubs can occupy more than 5 to 6 feet, while a steam shower allows owners to create airier, more spacious bathrooms.

In addition, the headache of maintaining whirlpool tubs can far outweigh their relaxation benefits. Because water tends to sit in their internal network of pipes and jets, these tubs can be difficult to clean, which can result in algae growth. The steam shower company ThermaSol offers PowerFlush, a feature engineered to purge calcification build-up from the steam generator’s inner tank – making maintenance much easier.

Should mechanical problems occur, the maintenance costs that come with repairing the motors, pumps and other whirlpool tub parts can add up quickly. While whirlpool tubs usually offer limited warranties, ThermaSol offers lifetime warranties on select generators, meaning they will take care of any repairs should mechanical issues occur. This can be a huge relief and save a lot of stress in the long run.

Whirlpool tubs are often sought after for creating a calming or romantic atmosphere. However, their noisy pumps and motors don’t exactly create a quiet, meditative environment. ThermaSol’s Whisper Quiet technology prevents water hammer and noisy solenoid water valves from disturbing your steam session. With no distractions, you’re better able to relax and focus on increasing your overall well-being.

There’s also the environmental aspect. Whirlpool tubs require a lot of water, between 50 to 80 gallons worth to be exact. The amount of water needed to fill up the tub tends to drain traditional hot water tanks, which leads to higher energy costs. ThermaSol units typically use only one gallon of water to power a 20-minute steam shower session, quite a significant difference.

Because of these drawbacks, whirlpool tubs have declined in popularity and add little to a home’s resale value. Luxury bathrooms that offer increased sustainability, lower maintenance costs and technological advancements are now sought after by home buyers – making steam showers well-worth the investment.

The Importance of Investing In Your Bathroom

May 14th, 2013

When it comes to making an investment in your home, installing a steam shower isn’t just good for your health—it can also increase your home’s value. According to the 2013 Houzz & Home survey, home renovations are on the rise. Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the second most popular room to remodel. As this surge in popularity continues, high end amenities for the bathroom are becoming an increasingly sought after request. For homeowners looking to sell, these aren’t just luxury items— they’re necessities for increasing your home’s value. Let’s take a look at some bathroom trends worth considering for your next remodel.

While once a primarily utilitarian space, bathrooms have gained status as “home spas”— bigger, more open spaces meant for private relaxation. Because space is more valuable, homeowners are replacing their bathtubs with more luxurious spa-style showers. As showers become more upscale and streamlined, it only makes sense to add extra features to help set them over the edge.

While a steam shower is one great way to set your shower apart, don’t overlook the technological features as well. As our lives become more intertwined with technology, homeowners are seeking out more futuristic advancements— Yes, even for the bathroom. Bathrooms that offer touch-free fixtures and the ability to connect to personal devices are increasingly in demand. ThermaSol’s Serenity and Light system allows homeowners to bring their iPhone or iPad in the shower with them to control its features.

Not ready to make a big change? According to Consumer Reports, five simple items can help make a big difference when it comes to bathroom remodeling: heated flooring, stain-resistant grout, skylights, framed mirrors and heated shower mirrors. The smaller amenities are just as important as the larger ones, which further help set your bathroom apart.

Remodels are necessary to keep up to date and offer amenities that no one else has. As the upswing in home renovations continues, the need for homeowners to stand out in the market is more important than ever. So when it comes time for your next bathroom remodel, know the investment is well-worth the effort.

Steam of the Century: The Roman Sudatorium

April 16th, 2013

When in Rome…steam as the Romans do! As we explore the history of steam, we journey back to ancient Rome, where the Roman baths weren’t just a place to get clean— they were a way of life. As a gathering place for relaxation and socialization, the typical bath also served as a community center, a fitness center and even a performance venue. The Baths of Diocletian, the grandest of public baths, covered 32 acres and could accommodate 3000 bathers at a time.

Each bath was built around three principal rooms: the frigidarium (cold bath), tepidarium (warm bath) and caldarium (hot bath). The caldarium was designed to open the pores with hot, steamy air that could go well above 100 degrees F. The floor was directly above the hypocaust, a below ground furnace. The hypocaust would heat the floor and air, which would run through the hollow walls before escaping through the chimney. A round basin called a labrum held cold water for pouring upon the bather’s head before or she left the room.

Some Roman baths also included sudatoriums or “sweating rooms.” These vaulted rooms provided patrons with a moist steam bath. The sudatorium was made from square bricks and featured a suspensura, a raised floor slab that was heated underneath by the hypocaust. Hot air passed through through the walls lined with terracotta flues, allowing steam to circulate throughout the room.

While the Romans may have preferred a social steam bath, today’s modern steam showers offer a more private oasis. No matter what century you’re in, steam has always been an essential source of renewal and relaxation.

Steam of the Century: The Greek Laconia

March 26th, 2013

In this ongoing series on the history of steam, we journey back to Ancient Greece, home of some of the first steam rooms. An ancient Greek steam bath was called a laconia, which consisted of a circular room with a large domed roof. The laconia was heated up with fires underneath the floor or rocks heated in a fire and placed in a tray in the center of the room. Patrons or workers would pour water on the rocks to create steam, sometimes adding aromatic herbs for therapeutic enhancement (and for some ancient aromatherapy)!

While the laconia sounds like a modern day sauna, the use of steam for promoting good health is hardly a new invention. In 450 BCE the Greek historian Herodutus wrote that the Greeks used steam to induce sweating as a form of bathing and to maintain good health. Today’s home steam showers are a great way to get the same health benefits as the Greeks. Thought to support the respiratory system, steam inhalation can help allergy sufferers and relieve sinus infections. And of course steam produces the major benefit of full-body relaxation. No matter what century you’re in, steam plays an important part in staying healthy!

Steam of the Century: The Tradition of the Russian Banya

February 19th, 2013

While steam showers seem like relatively modern advancements, they have a rich history with deep cultural roots. Many qualities of today’s steam showers can be found in the Eastern European tradition of the banya, or Russian steam bath. Dating back to medieval times, the banya is a cultural staple and one of Russia’s oldest traditions. Each village contained a banya as a place for cleanliness and bathing and was overseen by a guardian spirit named “Bannik.”

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Aromatherapy for the Mind and Body: Part 2

October 16th, 2012

Now that you’ve unlocked the healing benefits of aromatherapy and steam, it’s time for an indulgent upgrade. While Thermasol’s Essential Oils offer a wide range of therapeutic and aromatic benefits, their line of Precious Reserve Oils take aromatherapy to the next level. Like fine wines, these high grade oils are distilled in small batches and sold in very small amounts, making them more expensive to produce but more potent and concentrated. Sourced directly from rural distilleries worldwide, these reserve oils are organically certified and free of pesticides and other contaminants.

To get the rejuvenating effects of Precious Reserve Oils, you only need to add 2 to 4 drops to the steamhead reservoir before your steam session. Or you can add them directly to your bathwater for soothing and sensuous aromas.

Which oil is right for you? Check out the list below for the different properties they offer.

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