Spa Night In

October 30th, 2009

In these shaky economic times, it seems everything’s been flipped upside down. Less is more, small is good, and staying home on a Saturday night is infinitely more chic than an evening at the hottest restaurant du jour. Especially when you light some candles, flip on the iPod, and make it a spa night in!

The key to your delightfully pampered evening at home involves some slight deception and a bit of trompe l’œil. Namely, that of tricking your house into believing it’s a spa! Even if you use your home spa on a regular basis, nothing feels more luxurious than adding little touches of escapism to your everyday space. Doing so really allows you to relax as fully in the environment of your home as you would when going to a spa.

Towel and candlesFirst, start by breaking out the Good Stuff. That’s right – I’m talking capital “G,” capital “S,” Good Stuff. Like towels from Restoration Hardware’s Ultimate Turkish Towel Collection. I promise, you’ll never want to leave your bathroom. And lotions and scents from the skin geniuses at Kiehl’s. The Ultra Facial Cleanser is to die for, but don’t overlook their bath products either, like the Lavender Foaming-Relaxing Bath with Sea Salts and Aloe. Just because it’s spa night in doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself! Here are some other little touches that make a big difference:
• Dazed and Infused. Try adding lemon and cucumber slices to your water pitcher for a delicious (and very spa-esque) touch to your normal H20.
cucumberwater• Eye Love You. While you’re near the fridge, don’t forget to toss your eye mask in to chill – it’s the perfect way to relax at the end of a luxurious spa evening in (and easier too, than cucumbers…which, of course, you’ve used in the water).
• Tune Out. Put together a spa-night-in playlist with songs that bring out the calm in you. And don’t worry if they’re not conventional songs-of-relaxation – Enya isn’t for everybody.
• Food for (Relaxing) Thought. Don’t spend spa night slaving over a stove! Pick up some of your favorite pre-made bites and appetizers and make a home spa spread. Goat cheese, grape leaves, fresh berries, roasted red pepper dip, edamame, and gelato are some of my favorite spa-night-in treats.
• Don’t Be Spa-ntaneous. Spa night loses some of its panache when the kids are watching cartoons upstairs or your spouse has friends over for drinks in the next room. Best to pick your spa night a few weeks in advance, mark it on the calendar, and make sure everyone has an activity to attend to that won’t interfere with your chillaxing.
• You Light Up Your Life. Nothing sets the spa mood more than little beacons of flickering light (especially when they smell like vanilla and clean linen). Dim your main house bulbs, load up on the candles, and put them all around.
• And…break! Now, all you have left to do is, well, relax!

What is an Eco-Friendly Steam Shower?

October 29th, 2009

lillypadAny eco-conscious individual understands the importance of energy and water conservation and will be satisfied to know that they no longer have to sacrifice comfort for conservation. A more luxurious alternative to the low-flow steam head, ThermaSol’s steam showers, equipped with the new technological advancement SmartSteam™, maintain the user’s optimal steam room temperature negating the all too common drastic fluctuations in steam temperature.

Most generators use a mechanical power contactor to turn the generator on and off.  As the steam room reaches the desired temperature, the control switches the contactor off. Then, when the room drops in temperature the control activates the contactor again. The SmartSteam system uses a liquid cooled server-duty solid-state relay as the heater control device. This advanced system contains a micro processor control and built-in intelligence. The unit learns the response time required to get the room to a desired temperature and after a few uses, the technology, rather than completely shutting off, can silently pulse the heater allowing the maintenance of the room temperature at a reduced power level. The result? Optimum temperature maintenance and lower energy usage.

Implementing a steam shower in one’s home also conserves a great deal of water. In fact, the water heater is the second most energy consuming unit in the home aside from the heating system. The best way to reduce water heating costs and usage is to increase efficiency and reduce consumption and this can be as simple as incorporating more steam showers into your bathing rituals.

Data supports that steam bath users take considerably shorter showers than those who do not use steam baths. The reasoning is simple: most people spend up to 20 minutes in their steam bath and then complete their bathing routine with a short five to 10 minute shower. Those who do not partake in steam baths take a 20-minute regular shower on average. Here is where the green part comes in: steam baths conserve a great deal more water than regular showers because they only require two gallons of water to power a 20-minute steam bath. Conversely, it takes over 30 gallons of water to power a regular shower for a 20-minute session.

How Aromatherapy Could Potentially Promote Generous Behavior

October 28th, 2009

AromatherapyA recent article in the Journal Psychological Science states that individuals are more inclined to behave in a generous and charitable way when they are in a room that has been spritzed with a citrus-scented spray. These findings were the result of a recent study covered by the journal.

The research team led by Professor Liljenquist at the Brigham Young University, Utah, recruited 28 participants. Half of the participants were placed in a clean, nicely scented room and the other half were placed in a non-scented room. All of the participants engaged in an anonymous game of trust. The 28 participants were told they would be the “receivers,” dealing with an anonymous group of “senders.” The participants were instructed that they were to invest the money given to them with the senders, and that each sender had been given $4. They were then told that any part of it invested with receivers would be tripled. The job of the receiver, then, was to decide what portion of the dividends to return to the sender.

In reality, there was no sender, and each study participant received $12, making it seem as though the senders had entrusted them with the full $4 they had been given. But would the receivers reciprocate that trust or exploit their unidentified investors? On average, those in the plain-smelling room returned $2.81 to the sender, pocketing the lion’s share of the money. But those bathed in the scent of citrus smelling spray sent back an average of $5.83.

In another experiment, the researchers were trying to see what type of effects citrus smells played in their participants’ charitable behavior. This time 99 participants were assigned to either a citrus-scented room or a neutral-smelling room and given a packet of tasks to complete. Included in the packet was a flyer soliciting volunteers and donations to the charity, Habitat for Humanity. As expected, people in the Windex-sprayed room were more inclined to volunteer and give money than those in the unscented room — 22 percent of those in the clean group said they wanted to donate money, compared with 6 percent of the controls.

Whether or not the results of this study are because of the smell of citrus, cleanliness or because the smell was pleasant or positive, the one conclusive result is that aromatherapy essential oil scents appeal to all of us. One test we can all do at home is to get your husband in the steam shower or bath with a bunch of good aromas circling around him, and then ask him for shopping money!

Try A Pumpkin Facial Mask This Halloween

October 27th, 2009

If you get a moment to yourself this weekend then you might want to take a moment for yourself and whip up a nice organic pumpkin mask. Pumpkins are filled with antioxidants, beta-carotene and are also great for exfoliating your skin. Some spas offer these treatments because they contain such valuable vitamins and nutrients. Treatments you may see in the spa include a pumpkin enzyme scrub, which is a popular treatment in the spa any time of the year. You can purchase a pumpkin facial product or even a pumpkin peel, but if you have some pumpkin guts laying around and have a minute try this recipe:

 

-2 teaspoons cooked or canned pumpkin puree

pumpkin

Pumpkin Facial Mask

-1/2 teaspoon honey

-1/4 teaspoon milk

Moisturizer for Dry Skin:

– 1/4 teaspoon heavy whipping cream

-or-

– 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

Moisturizer for Oily Skin:

– 1/4 teaspoon apple cider

-or-

– 1/4 teaspoon cranberry juice

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients together and mix gently. Apply to face and let sit for 10-15 minutes for a gental, nourishing, condishing face mask. .Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type.

Six Luxury Swiss Spas From Around the Country

October 22nd, 2009

The six Swedish spas listed below are some of the nicest in the country according to Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. So if you’re traveling to Switzerland make a spa detour to one of these luxurious spas. Click on images for a larger version.

– Dodler Grand, Zurich – thedoldergrand.com– This spa is located in a castle in Zurich and features luxurious and modern interiors. The spa is broken down into two separate spas: a Ladies’ and a Gentleman’s’ spa. Each area offers a sauna, steam bath, kotatsu footbath, aroma pool, steampots, cold water basin and solarium. You will also find glass pebble filled baths in the swimming pool and the suna-buros for an added touch.

Dodler Grand Hotel, Zurich

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Cruise Ships with Luxury Spas

October 21st, 2009

One thing I take a long hard look at when I’m choosing a cruise line for a vacation is the quality of the spa on the Cruise Ship. I look at what features and amenities the spas offer and over all what spa will fit me best and make me the most comfortable.

If you take my approach and really look over a spa before you choose your cruise line, keep in mind that even with an “All Inclusive” package, often the spas are not included and cost extra, so you should find out if any packages include spa treatments when you are trying to book your trip.

Here is a short list of the top Cruise Line Spas, the treatments they offer and other details you should know about each spa. You can click on any image for a larger version. All photo’s are provided by the cruise lines.

Carnival Cruise Lines– The Carnival Spas feature a health club with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a jogging track, and aerobics classes. They also feature a European-style spa and salon with a steam room and sauna. Some of the services offered include a variety of beauty treatments; specialized for men and women, including facials, acupuncture, massages, tooth whitening, detox wraps and slimming treatments, manicures, pedicures and hairstyling.  The new Carnival Splendor cruise ship, however, has a Cloud 9 SpaOne, which is one of the largest spas afloat with its 40,000 square foot, two-deck spa.

thalasso-pool-smCarnival Splendor’s Cloud 9 SpaOne Waterfall Pool

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Spa Industry Booming Despite Recession

October 20th, 2009

DESPITE the recession, the spa and wellness sector is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth.

A boom in the development of hotel and inner city spas and salons across major cities, from Dubai to New York and London, has brought with it a renewed demand for skilled spa professionals, from therapists and beauticians up to spa managers, operators and developers.

With this demand for skills, comes great opportunities for those looking for a challenging new career… Excerpt taken from PressandJournal.co.uk.

Read more here.

Spa Week NYC 2009 Recap

October 19th, 2009

Spa Week was just held in New York City this past week (October 12-18) and was a great success. Many came out to treat themselves, or to get a break from the cold and damp weather that New York was receiving and others came out just to try something new.

If you didn’t make an appointment early, then you most likely missed out because everything was booked up weeks in advanced. The good news is that many of spas that were included in Spa Week, and even spas that were not in NYC are now extending the Spa Week $50 offers. If you still are looking to take advantage of these $50 deals then you should call one of the participating spas and you may be able to get the Spa Week deal. One such spa is the Crystal Resort & Spa in Thompsonville Michigan, where they have made all of their treatments $50. The Spa at Westwood in Westwood New Jersey has also extended the $50 deal to all massages and facials and if you’re in the Boston area you can visit the Adara Spa for $50 deals until the end of the month.

Some Spa Week highlights that were mentioned on Twitter include great treatments at a great price by Tribeca Beauty Spa and Haven, successful facials by The Red Door spa. Some people were wishing that every city in the country had a Spa Week while others were trying out new new treatments like eyelash extensions were tested out or going to the Hotel ZaZa for treatments with their girlfriends. Not all the talk was 100% positive as one reviewer tweeted that they had a nice facial but have had better in the past.

All in all it seems to have been a great Spa Week, as many enjoyed excellent treatments at great prices. We’ll be looking forward to the next Spa Week event!

How to Have a Home Spa Party!

October 15th, 2009

girls in saunaThere are plenty of reasons to have a Home Spa Party, whether it is a birthday party, bachelorette party, bridal shower or even just a great “Girls Night”.  Here are some easy tips to make sure your spa party is off the “robe” hook:

1. Invite The Right People – One sure way to have a good home spa party is to invite the right people. If you’re inviting all your caddy girlfriends, then don’t invite your grumpy old man neighbor because he might just show up. Also, remember not to invite two people that might end up in a hair pulling confrontation (although the men might like to dream about it). The best way to get the people you want to come to your spa party is to send out invitations. Everyone likes a nice, quality invitation… especially to a spa party! You can even attach little soaps or candles to the invitations if you plan on hand delivering them or if you don’t mind spending a few bucks on shipping.

2. Set Up Well Before Hand – There’s nothing worse for you or your guests to have waited to the last minute to get your home spa ready for your party. It is very uncomfortable for both the host and the hostesses to be subject to a mad dash to throw everything together while people wait, or feel obligated to help.

3. Have Door Prizes – Nothing gives a good first impression like free stuff the minute your guests walk through the door. Even if these prizes are as simple as bath salts or aromatherapy essential oils, your guests will appreciate the thought and the time it took you to go to the trouble to get something nice for them.

4. Decorate for Comfort – Make sure you’ve got the decor to please your guests. Now would be a great time to break out a dozen or so of your favorite candles, and you should also set up a few, small intimate seating areas around tables with hand creams, nail polishes and other mani and pedi tools to use while your guests relax and enjoy your hospitality.

5. Provide Spa Food – Don’t forget to surround your guests with plenty of refreshments including bottles of water (which you could print your own labels for), smoothies, small plates of chocolates and candy, fresh fruit and vegetables with delicious dips, or even some caviar or shrimp cocktail on ice if you want to make your cuisine as luxurious as a top resort spa.

6. Spa Music – You should have some soothing natural sounds or new age music playing in the background. If you need help choosing the right music we have an in depth post about spa music with plenty of top sellers here: http://talkspas.com/2009/07/07/music-for-the-spa/

7. Spa Treatments & Activities – Even though keeping company with a close group of friends will often be enough entertainment for a spa party, it never hurts to have professional treatments! You can hire an esthetician, nail technician or masseuse to come to your spa party. Other fun activities could include spa games such as spa trivia, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or 80’s name that tune.

8. Kid Control – If you have children, or your guests want to bring their children, then make sure you have a kid friendly area set up away from your spa party. Provide the kids with fun activities that will keep them occupied, and make sure an older kid can supervise or else you should hire a sitter. Nothing will ruin a good spa party quicker then kids!  I have children and love them very much, just not at my spa party ;-)

9. Adult Drinks – It’s entirely up to you whether or not you’re going to provide alcohol, but if you do make sure your guest also have plenty of water. Some spa-friendly drinks include alcoholic smoothies, pina coladas, cosmos and pink daiquiris. We’ve compiled a list of spa cocktail recipes that are perfect for your next spa party: Spa Drinks

10. Don’t Forget About Yourself – Even the host has to take a load off and enjoy her own spa party. Make sure to have some food, chat and just have a good time. Some people need to be reminded to take care of themselves, so consider yourself reminded!

When your spa party is over, the fun doesn’t have to end. Put on a chick flick or get a game of cards going if you want to continue to have fun with your guests after the spa portion of your part has ended.

Spa Cocktail Recipes

October 15th, 2009

spa-drinksFor many, a nice glass of wine or champagne is the perfect drink for the spa, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, or if you’re having a spa party, then here are some delicious recipes we have collected that are all perfect for “spa” cocktails:

Rainbow Brew

Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz Vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
1 oz Coconut Rum
2 splashes Peach Schnapps
4 oz Cranberry Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice

Pour ingredients slowly into a hurricane glass in the above order.

That Cosmo Girl

Ingredients:
1.5 Oz citron or raspberry vodka
.5 Oz fresh lime juice
.5 Oz Triple Sec
1 Oz cranberry juice

Chill a 6-ounce cocktail glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with the ice and add the citron or raspberry vodka, lime juice, Triple Sec, and cranberry juice. Shake vigorously to blend and chill. Strain the mixture into the chilled glass.

Pink Daiquiri

Recipe from www.epicurious.com

Ingredients:
9 Oz white rum
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1.5 Tsp grenadine
4.5 Tsp superfine granulated sugar

Stir together all ingredients in a pitcher until sugar is dissolved, then add about 2 cups ice cubes and stir until very cold. Pour daiquiris through a sieve into Martini glasses.

Chocolate Martini

Recipe from www.drinksmixer.com

Ingredients:
1.5 shots Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1.5 shots Creme de cacao
.5 shot vodka
2.5 shots half and half

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into a chilled cocktail glass.

Strawberry Pina Colada

Perfect for the Spa! Recipe from www.drinksmixer.com

Ingredients:
1 1/4 oz white rum
1 oz strawberry liqueur
1 oz strawberry puree
1 1/3 oz coconut cream
3 oz pineapple juice
1 tsp whipping cream

Blend briefly with a glassful of crushed ice in a pina colada glass. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry, add straws, and serve.

Diamond Fizz

Ingredients:
1 oz gin
1 tsp lemon juice
sprinkle of powdered sugar
3 oz of chilled champagne

Shake the gin, lemon juice and powdered sugar over ice and strain into an ice filled highball glass.  Top off the glasses with the champagne.  For an extra kick, drop in a couple of frozen raspberries and serve.


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