Romantic Spa Night . . . at HOME!

Valentine’s Day is almost here!  Have you gotten the perfect date night planned with your “someone special”?  Spa treatments are always a great option for a romantic gift!  But, if you are not near a great spa, or are watching your wallet, you can create a romantic spa night at home!  Spa.ology is here to help …

It’s easy to turn your bathroom and bedroom into a private oasis for that special occasion. Choose the best blend of spa products, music, lighting and foods that appeal to each other’s senses for a welcome retreat from the busy world.

Gather your most romantic supplies: candles, massage oil, salt or sugar scrub, soft music, towels, freshly cut fruit or hors d’oevres, chocolate and wine are some of the items you’ll want to get started.  Chocolate scented oils, candles and body scrubs are a favorite at Valentine’s Day!

Focus on the senses:  Use ALL of your senses as a guide.  The sense of touch will be stimulated, so soothe your sense of sight and sound with soft lighting, an uncluttered space and soft music.  The sense of taste can be stimulated with your favorite foods and wine of your choosing.  Don’t forget the sense of smell – your products and candles need to have similar scents so they don’t compete with each other.

The little things:  Prepare your hors d’oeuvres in advance and chill the wine.  Remove any bedding that is not washable in case your massage oil stains it.  Clear space on a dresser for supplies and food.  Remove distracting clutter from your “spa”. Be sure to use your fluffiest, softest towels.

Get the romance started:  Plan to start the spa night with a hot shower or bath. Use a salt scrub on one another to relax muscles and exfoliate. This will involve the sense of touch and complement the spa theme. Rinse the scrub and wrap in fluffy towels to keep the muscles warm. Each partner can provide a massage for the other. Serve hors d’oeuvres and wine after the massages.

Spa.ology hopes that these simple ideas will inspire you this Valentine’s Day and remember … everyday can be Valentine’s Day with a little creativity and care!

DIY: The Perfect Pedicure … at HOME!

It’s hardly the end of January and the sandals are already hitting the store shelves!  That means it’s time to start getting your feet pedi-ready!   Follow Spa.ology’s tips to give yourself an at-home pedicure and look like you just stepped out of the salon!

  • Gather your supplies – To achieve a salon worthy pedicure, you need the right implements.  Quality clippers, pushers and products are worth the investment.  Here are the essentials to creating your Perfect Pedi Kit:
  • Remove the old polishSpa.ology Tip: acetone polish remover is not harmful for your nails and cuts through the polish quicker!  Be sure to use those lint-free cotton pads from your pedi supply kit!
  • Soak and relax – Fill your footbath with warm water and Epsom salts (or your favorite pedicure soak).  Pick up your glass of wine and celebrity gossip magazine and relax for 10-15 minutes.
  • Control the cuticle – Remove one foot from the water, dry and place cuticle oil or cream at the base of each nail. Massage product into your cuticles, push back with your cuticle pusher to remove from the nail plate.  When you are finished with one foot, put it back to soak.  Repeat with other foot.  Easy so far, right?
  • Exfoliate – At the nail salon around the corner, this is when the scary razor blade makes its appearance.  At home we’ll take it a bit easier and work with a foot scrub and a good pumice or foot file instead.   Spa.ology TIP:  If you want to step it up a notch, put a damp towel in the microwave and wrap it around your foot/leg after exfoliating and use it to wipe the excess product off. Make sure to rinse well.  Smooth any rough patches with your foot file.
  • Moisturize – Choose a rich pedicure cream to hydrate your newly exfoliated feet.  Massage your feet, and feel free to spend more time on your heels and cuticles!
  • Prepare for polish – Trim your toenails with the straight-edge toenail clipper.  File to smooth edges.  Spa.ology TIP:  File from the edge inward, don’t “saw” back and forth – that will just weaken the nail.  Remove any residues from oils and creams with polish remover.  Now is the time for the toe separators.
  • Polish Perfection – You’ve heard it a million times and we are going to say it again!  Use a basecoat, two coats of color and then finish with a shiny topcoat!  Yes, extra steps, but it’ll be worth it!  Wait a couple of minutes in between coats, and at least 15 minutes after your topcoat.  Spa.ology TIP:  Use Quick Dry Drops if you just can’t stand sitting still!

Now that you have all of these steps for your at-home pedicure, you may be wondering where do I get all of these goodies listed above.  Click HERE to find all of those important implements needed to maintain sandal ready feet all year long!

7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better

Spa.ology recognizes that many of us suffer from a lack of quality sleep.  We have challenges getting to sleep in the first place, staying asleep and then getting back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.  Spa.ology is here to the rescue!  Here are some great tips to put into action to help alleviate your challenges and allow you to be productive, mentally sharp and emotionally balanced.

FIRST – put sleep on a regular schedule.  Going to bed each night and getting up each morning at the same time every day (including weekends) will allow you to feel more refreshed and energetic than if you got the same number of hours of sleep, but at different times.  Consistency is the key.

  • Set a regular time to go to bed each night and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Be sure to prevent after-dinner drowsiness (aka – falling asleep on the couch).
  • Get off the couch and find activities that are only mildly stimulating.  Wash the dishes, get your clothes ready for the next day or talk on the phone with a friend.

SECOND – naturally regulate your sleep/wake cycle.  Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycles.  It is controlled by light exposure.  Typically, your brain should secrete MORE melatonin in the evening to make you sleepy and less during the day to keep you alert.  Be sure that you’re not sabotaging this cycle.  In order to decrease melatonin secretion during the day, you need to increase your exposure to light.

  • Let as much daylight/sunlight into your home and workspace as possible.  Open up those blinds and curtains.
  • Spend more time outside during the day.  Take mini-breaks in the sunlight, walk the dog during the day instead of the evening.
  • Remove your sunglasses in the morning time and let the sunshine onto your face (but don’t forget the SPF!)
  • During the shorter winter days, use a light box to simulate sunshine.

At night, you need to do the opposite … boost the melatonin secretion by reducing your exposure to light!

  • Don’t use the TV to fall asleep with at night.  Not only does the TV light reduce the melatonin secretion, but the TV will stimulate the mind rather than relaxing it.
  • As much as we love all of the new techno gadgets, don’t read from a backlit device such as an iPad.  Either read from a Kindle that is NOT backlit or use the old-fashioned way of reading … an actual book with a bedside lamp!
  • Change your lightbulbs to lower wattage bulbs in the family room and bedroom.
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is DARK!  The darker the better.  Cover up gadgets with the displays that light up the room.

THIRD – create a relaxing bedtime routine.  Follow a routine to help you relax and wind down before going to sleep.  Ideas for your pre-bedtime routine can include: reading a book, listening to music, or taking a bath.  Also … avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep or sex.  Here are some other tips to incorporate into your pre-bedtime routine:

  • Try a light snack before bed. Warm milk and foods high in the amino acid tryptophan, such as bananas, may help you to sleep.
  • Practice relaxation techniques before bed.  Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and others may help relieve anxiety and reduce muscle tension.
  • Get into your favorite sleeping position. If you don’t fall asleep within 15-30 minutes, get up, go into another room, and read until sleepy.

FOURTH – eat right and get regular exercise.  This is probably one of the most important tips for sleeping better!  The combination of good eating habits and regular exercise can make all of the difference.

  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep. Alcohol can cause you to wake in the night. It also interferes with sleep quality.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day. A light snack before bedtime may help you sleep.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. These can affect your ability to stay asleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed. Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can help deepen sleep. Strenuous exercise within the 2 hours before bedtime, however, can decrease your ability to fall asleep.

FIFTH – get anxiety and stress in check.  If you tend to lie awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed. This may help you to “let go” of those worries overnight.

  • Don’t take your worries to bed. Leave your worries about job, school, daily life, etc., behind when you go to bed.
  • Some people find it useful to assign a “worry period” during the evening or late afternoon to deal with these issues.

SIXTH – get back to sleep.  Most people wake up one or two times a night for various reasons.If you find that you get up in the middle of night and cannot get back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, then do not remain in the bed “trying hard” to sleep.

  • Get out of bed. Leave the bedroom.
  • Read, have a light snack, do some quiet activity, or take a bath. You will generally find that you can get back to sleep within 20 minutes.
  • Do not perform challenging or engaging activity such as office work, housework, etc.
  • Do not watch television!

SEVENTH – know when to see a sleep doctor.  If you’ve tried the tips above, but are still struggling with sleep problems, you may have a sleep disorder that requires professional treatment. Consider scheduling a visit with a sleep doctor if, despite your best efforts at self–help, you are still troubled by any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Loud snoring accompanied by pauses in breathing
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Crawling sensations in your legs or arms at night
  • Inability to move while falling asleep or waking up
  • Physically acting out dreams during sleep
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times

So now that you are armed with seven helpful tips to help improve your sleep, you should be able to face the world with more energy, sharpness and overall balance.   What tips do you have to share with us?  Post a comment and let us know!

Spa.ology + the PERFECT Home Gym!

Spa.ology is here to help you in 2012 with those pesky New Year’s Resolutions!  Setting up a home gym is a great way to keep that resolution to lose weight, lead a healthier life or exercise more!  The convenience of doing your workouts at home will keep you on track!  You can set up a space as elaborate as a fully equipped workout room or as small as the space in between your coffee table and TV!  Here are some tips to getting started:

  1. Find the Space – Choose the area that makes sense for you.  If you hate going down to your basement, don’t set up there.  Also, avoid your bedroom if you can, save that space for rest and romance!
  2. Create a Budget – Decide how much to invest, what you want to achieve and what will work in the space you have chosen.  Also consider the type of workout you are planning – you may not need a lot of fancy equipment.
  3. Suit Your Style – Is yoga your thing?  Create a calm, serene space.  Like to walk?  Invest in a treadmill.  Need to watch a workout DVD?  Set up in an area that already has a TV.
  4. Feather Your Workout Nest – Natural light is a great motivator, just don’t forget to close the blinds!  Change into your workout clothes, get your iPod loaded with some music to suit your work out and get a portable speaker for your work out space.
  5. Keep It Simple – Keep your focus simple and on one type of workout or routine.  This will make it much easier to purchase the things you need, fit them in your space and stick to your new routine.
  6. Invest in Quality Basics – Many home routines only require simple items – dumbbells or kettlebells, mats, resistance bands, stability balls.  Only choose the items you need.
  7. Choose Equipment Wisely – Unless you are sure you are going to use it, SKIP IT!  Check Craigslist or your local newspaper for second-hand treadmills, stationary bikes or exercise machine.  There are a lot of them out there that are just being used as a clothes rack!
  8. Do it! – Make a schedule for yourself to “get to the gym”.  If you schedule the time you are more likely to do it!

So if exercise was on your resolution list for 2012, Spa.ology is here to the rescue.  Click HERE to find everything “fitness” in your quest to be a better you in 2012!

                                           

Spa.ology – Avoid Dry Winter Skin

If it’s dry and cold where you live, or just plain dry, follow these 5 simple fixes to avoid the scaly skin of winter.

1 – Watch the water temp when in the shower.  Yes, I know, a nice hot shower on a cold day feels great, but it also dries out the skin big time.  With decreased moisture in the air you will be setting yourself up for the “winter itchies”. To avoid this, take a shower in water that is as tepid as you can stand.  Also take fewer, shorter showers and avoid products that have detergent in them.   These will strip the skin of protective essential oils.

2 – To hydrate the skin, drinking water is not enough to keep the skin moist during the winter months.  You need the protective layer of good body moisturizer to prevent evaporation … so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize in the morning and then do it all over again before you go to bed.  Also, beverages  with caffeine and alcohol should be consumed in moderation.  Unfortunately, they just add to the dehydration of winter skin.

3 – When the dry winter months arrive, it’s time to switch up your skincare routine.  The products that you used during the more humid, summer months just won’t satisfy your skin’s thirst.  Use a gentle, milky cleanser along with a richer moisturizer.  Overall, skincare routines in the winter need to be gentler and more mild than the warmer months.

4 – Just because the temps are cooler, doesn’t mean that sunblock isn’t necessary. During the winter months, UV light can be as much as 90% as strong as the summer months, but since we can’t feel or see it, we think at it isn’t there.  Sooooo, be sure to apply a broadband screen once a day.

5 – Your hair and nails need just as much TLC in the winter as your skin.  Cuticles and nails can easily crack and split, mostly due to a lack of moisture.  A weekly intensive hair mask used in the shower will help lessen the dry fly-aways while an old-fashioned fix of moisturizer plus cotton gloves at night will take care of the nails (as well as your hands).

So no matter your winter location, Spa.ology has the fix to beat the “winter itchies”.  Click here to visit Spa.ology and find everything your body needs to survive the season!

Source: Leanne Italie, Associated Press