Ringing in the new year may be the farthest thing from your mind given that it’s mid-July and 100+ degrees but designers and home decor experts are already thinking about trends and styles that extend well past January 2013. With home decor and furnishings trade shows in full swing all over the country, we’re already seeing sneak peeks of bedroom designs that may make you swoon as they begin showing up in stores and in catalogs later in the year. Will chevron be back? Is shabby chic still “in”? Get ready…we’re about to give you an inside look!
2013 Color Trends
According to ultrabright.com, the focus is upon “…the consumer’s ever-increasing need to reconnect with nature and what is around them.” Based upon this forecast, paint producers are creating and stocking hues that feature rich purple variations, greens and blues that are reminiscent of the sea, floral-inspired pinks and reds, and variations of tones visible in a vibrant desert. For a bedroom makeover, consider using the softest shades of those mentioned–sand, sea mist green, eggshell blue–on the walls to create a tranquil space then add pops of Rose of Sharon coral-pink or Rio red to create the bright color interest.
2013 Accessory Trends
The buzzword for 2013? Re-imagine. From antique-laden to mod, anything goes as long as it contains some degree of the unexpected. According to Pam Gaulin, a yahoo.com decorating and design contributor, “…one-of-a-kind items are the key to 2013 decor. Keep the look sophisticated by using common techniques in new ways.” Designers also seem to say that anything matchy-matchy is out. Avoid creating anything that is too themed. For example, if your current decor features modern touches like clean-lined furniture and metals, try adding natural items like seashells or even DIY bubble art to the mix. Again, the key terms are “unexpected” and “re-imagined.”
2013 Textile/Fabric Trends
As with decor, textile trends are moving toward the eclectic for the new year. Don’t get rid of the chevron (a huge 2012 trend) bedding or rugs but don’t pair any of it with other geometrics these days either. Opulent floral and scrolling fabrics offset the linear look of this year’s geometric bedding. If your taste trends toward animal prints, add some by all means but very carefully. The over-the-top leopard and zebra looks paired with fringe or neon of the past couple of seasons now reads tacky rather than fun and whimsical. Mix prints, mix colors but lose the fussy details for the freshest look.
If you follow us on Facebook, you know that we have a lot of fun seeking out the silly unofficial holidays that seem to pop up every calendar day (hello, National Joke Day last Friday). One “awareness week” that recently hit our radar was Every Body Needs A Massage Week, which is observed this month. After a little research, it seems that there’s more substance to this than just the silly name we were bound to make light of.
No denying it, massage is expensive. With prices that range anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars for just a half-hour, historically massage has been viewed as a frivolous luxury that most of us just can’t justify. That being said, perceptions have changed over the past few years. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 90% of survey respondents in 2011 stated that they “perceive[d] massage therapy as effective in reducing pain….” This percentage has grown exponentially just since 2009. Despite this acceptance of massage therapy as a beneficial treatment, the tough economy appears to be keeping people from heading to their massage therapists for even occasional treatments. In fact, 2011 saw a 30% reduction in trips to massage therapists, according to the AMTA, despite the fact that a growing number expressed a need for massage.
Boasting results like a reduction in lower back pain, arthritis pain management, and help with insomnia, most of us would benefit from regular massage therapy. Because it can be hard to add regular massages into a tight budget, we decided to scour the web, finding easy at-home massage techniques to share. They’re safe, beneficial, and best of all…free!
WebMD.com’s “Massage Therapy for Stress Relief and Much More” is an all-encompassing, vital step-by-step guide that explains how to easily apply gentle pressure and massage techniques to relieve tired, strained eyes, ease headaches and tension, soothe tired feet, and more. For example, WebMD explains that you can lessen a headache often by placing your thumbs gently on your temples while moving them in a circular motion.
Another excellent home-massage compendium is LiveStrong.com’s “How to Do Self-Massage,” featuring massage tips to relax shoulders, soothe feet and relax hands–an important area to stretch if you spend a lot of time typing.
While the title is maybe a bit misleading (a facelift is impossible through massage alone), care2.com’s article “Massage Yourself a Face-Lift” takes you step-by-step through a facial massage. Using a great skin oil (no, that’s not an oxymoron) like extra virgin olive oil as a moisturizing slip agent, do-it-yourself massages like this one can help soothe, relax, and rejuvenate.
Of course you don’t have to complete a structured series to feel the benefits of massage therapy. For those who wear high heels often, simply lacing the fingers of one hand through the toes and spreading them gently can reduce foot fatigue and that “pinched” feeling. For those with back pain, place three (or more) tennis balls on a carpeted floor, then lie down on them making sure the tennis balls are arranged near the source of the back pain. The rubbery balls give just enough so that they don’t hurt, yet the rigidity allows the back to stretch and relax.
With simple at-home, do-it-yourself massage techniques like these, you may find that you can stretch your dollar by seeking professional massage therapy less frequently. Why celebrate Every Body Deserves a Massage Week just one week out of the year? With a little practice, you can celebrate relaxation and comfort every single day.
From September through May, most of us dream of vacation season. No work, no school, no worries…all relaxation. It’s a great idealized notion to get us through the long winter months but when vacation becomes reality, it often comes with a fair amount of frustration, stress and exhaustion. By the time you pack a week’s worth of clothing for the kids and yourself, schedule flights and hotels, and schedule pet and/or home sitting, you may find that you need a vacation from vacation. While planning a trip and traveling will always come with some degree of stress, it doesn’t have to become something to dread. We’ve contacted veteran travelers and compiled our own vacation best practices to help this year’s summer vacation feel restful and relaxing. We can’t help you with long layovers and lumpy hotel mattresses (don’t you wish you could take your Spa Sensations mattress everywhere?), but we can help you make some smart choices that will put the vacation back in your…well…vacation.
Kids and Vacation Schedules
We’ve said it many times but it bears repeating: if the kids aren’t sleeping, you aren’t sleeping. With all the anticipation compounded by major routine changes, vacations and travel can wreak havoc on kids’ sleep and rest habits. Once they’re exhausted, they often begin to act out during waking moments, all leading to more frustration for tired, vacationing parents. Especially if you are traveling to other time zones, parents should expect some degree of behavior changes but there are ways to help. For example, work with the new time instead of with your home time zone. If naptime comes at 1:00 p.m. each day, schedule some family rest at 1:00 wherever you are. If the kids aren’t sleepy, just do a quiet time; however, if they can’t stay awake until 1:00, let them sleep. Vacation is about loosening the rules a bit, after all. Just don’t make the all-too-common vacation mistake of scheduling activities over naps and snack times unless you want to face a little rebellion.
Packing for Kids
One of the first pre-vacation steps you probably take is packing the kids’ clothes and toiletries. What many parents often forget is lovies, blanets and nightlights. Every savvy, travel-wise parent knows that a family vacation is no time to forget the stuffed animal or security blanket that their little one requires to fall asleep. Especially if routines are up-in-the-air, kids need something homelike. Trust us…make room for whatever your child needs to fall asleep or soothe. Also plan to let kids scope out their vacation beds and bedrooms. Bedtime is no time to find that your children need to peek under beds and look in drawers.
Build in a Day of Rest
Many of us head out of town the day our vacation starts and come home the day it ends. While this type of schedule does max out the vacation time, it doesn’t build any rest into the equation. In fact, you may head back to work more burnt out than when you left. It may be hard but take one day off your trip and schedule a day at home before heading back to the office. This extra time gives you the chance to do laundry, head to the grocery store and catch up on whatever was missed during the trip. It may be mundane stuff but it will prepare you to get back to the daily grind.
If you’re headed to an interesting locale with tons of activities, your first inclination may be to pack as much as possible into every hour you spend there. Take this avenue and there’s a good chance you won’t enjoy a single thing, plus you’ll come home a bit dazed. Do your homework and decide what activities or events are the very most important to you, then add those to your vacation schedule. Make sure to build chunks of activity-free time in just to wander or relax on the beach or zone out. It will do wonders for your mental state.
Eat (and Drink) Smart
Your idealized version of vacation may include unlimited tropical beverages and multiple desserts. A steady stream of Key Lime Pie and Mai Tais can absolutely ruin vacation. Eat, drink and enjoy the local flavors, but don’t go overboard. Gaining weight may be the least of your worries. Too much sugar, alcohol and heavy fare can cause indigestion and gastro problems that will not lead to a happy vacation. Absolutely indulge but keep your body healthy and your head clear with moderation and light meals when you aren’t allowing yourself to feast on a local delicacy.
Set Realistic Expectations
Things are going to go wrong. Don’t get down if an event is rained out or if your toddler melts down in the middle of a wonderful family outing. Unrealistic expectations are public enemy number one when it comes to relaxation on vacation. Mentally prepare yourself to laugh off these little obstacles and view the vacation as the sum of its parts. One bad experience shouldn’t ruin the entire trip.
If Sleeping Beauty had a sister named Waking Beauty, it’s a sure bet there would be some sibling rivalry. It’s all well and good to look lovely while sleeping but it’s something altogether more magical when we awake looking good. Between the hair knots, facial creases and puffy eyes, most of us spend the greater part of our morning routine battling the effects of how we’ve slept. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Truly, a few easy steps before bed can have you looking your best the moment you finally submit to the alarm’s call. Ready to look better tomorrow morning? Read on because we’re here to help.
Bad Breath: Our mothers always told us to brush our teeth before bed, and you have probably heeded that advice throughout your lifetime. As it turns out, it’s probably not enough. A bedtime routine should include a three-pronged approach: flossing, brushing and mouthwash. Not one of the three steps can adequately remove and kill bacteria alone, and this bacteria causes both bad breath and cavities. Take that brushing a step further and you’ll have better breath in the a.m.
Facial Creases: When it comes to the ideal position for sleeping, your back is the best way to go. Between the weight of your head (7 to 9 pounds) and the friction caused by your pillowcase as you move during sleep, creases and wrinkles are bound to happen. Of course the creases go away within a few hours but the cumulative effect can lead to deep wrinkles. Your best bet is to try to train yourself to sleep on your back every single night. If you still find that you’re migrating onto your side or stomach, try a satin pillowcase. The slip factor of satin means less friction.
Shop affordable satin pillowcases at walmart.com.
Puffy Eyes and/or Face: Like facial creases, puffiness and bloating can be caused by sleep position. A bit of gravity helps fluids drain. Sleeping slightly elevated on your back is the best position. Try doubling your pillows, one on top of the other, for a good angle. A second culprit is diet. Dehydration, salt and carbohydrates can cause whole-body bloating. The MSN Living article “10 Ways to Wake Up Beautiful” explains that a dinner of rice, pasta or potatoes can lead to “carb face,” that pasty, bloated look the next morning. Of course salt causes the body to retain water, while drinking plenty of water helps flush your system for that coveted svelte look.
Breakouts: No matter what time you go to bed, wash your face before you turn in. You may be tempted to skip this step when you’re exhausted but that’s always a bad idea. With or without makeup, dirt, oil and toxins build up on your face throughout the day. Failing to remove this dirt leads to clogged pores. For a deep, relaxing clean, choose a cleansing brush. The Clarisonic is ideal but expensive. An effective but more economical choice is the Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System. Use your favorite cleanser and brush away the poor-clogging dirt and debris.
Dull Skin: Night is the perfect time to work a skincare treatment into your beauty regimen. If you’re feeling a little lackluster, try a sunless tanning cream. A gradual tanner like Coppertone Sunless Tanning Lotion goes on clear and builds gradually, which means you won’t stain your sheets with the formula and you won’t have to worry about fast-forming splotches. An AHA skin moisturizer like St. Ives Naturally Smooth Fruit AHA Complex Body Lotion also does wonders for uneven skin tone, light sun damage and breakouts.
Knotted, Dull Hair: Our mothers and grandmothers slept in soup cans and curlers to wake up with gorgeous hair. Thankfully hair tool technology has changed a bit; however, it’s still a good idea to take some beautifying steps before bed. Night is a great time to apply a deep moisturizing hair conditioner. You’ll have to wash it out the next morning, but your tresses will look silky and shiny. When you aren’t deep conditioning, make sure your hair is pulled up while you sleep. Buns and high ponytails keep locks knot-free. If you’re hoping for beachy waves, try braiding your hair in three or more plaits. Upon awaking, just shake out the braids and spritz some texturizing spray.
Rough Heels: Especially during warmer months, a nighttime foot treatment will lead to perfect sandal-ready feet the next morning. For a head start, slough dry skin and callouses with pumice stone or foot file immediately after an evening bath or shower. Apply an ultra-moisturizing foot cream like Sally Hansen Intensive Overnight Heel Repair Cream, then slip moisturized feet into lightweight cotton socks. By morning, feet will be soft and smooth.
Ah, February. While many of us tend to think of the shortest month of the year as the season of love and romance, it’s also a month devoted to the heart in a very different way. February is American Heart Month. Bearing very sobering statistics, heart disease claims the lives of many every year and is the number 1 killer of women in the U.S. It’s also a disease that is largely preventable with diet, exercise, stress management, and physical rest. Not to minimize the diet and exercise part, we do know a thing or two about the latter. And, really, our heart-healthy tips are absolutely affordably-indulgent. (No tofu and carrot sticks here!)
For a healthier lifestyle, treat yourself to…
Have a Cup of (Green) Tea: With its powerful antioxidants, green tea is widely recommended by healthcare professionals for a number of health benefits. And, in fact, a recent study from the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation found that human blood vessels functioned better within 30 minutes of drinking a single cup. (Source: WebMD.) Besides being so relaxing, green tea is also an affordable luxury.
For about $10, pick up Keurig K-Cups featuring Bigelow Green Tea at Walmart.com or at your local store.
A Yoga Session: Yes, time is hard to come by but in as little as 12 weeks after incorporating yoga into your day, many see a reduction in cholesterol and lower blood pressure. (Source: American Heart Association.) As a bonus, you may experience a greater feeling of relaxation, leading to better sleep and rest.
Whether for cardio or relaxation benefits, you should always consult your own doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. When you are ready, the yoga set featured above garners rave reviews.
Read a Good Book or Begin a Journal: No matter your favorite book or magazine genre, simply taking a few minutes to read each day can reduce your stress level and, therefore, benefit your heart. The American Heart Association recommends finding just 15 minutes in your day to do something enjoyable, whether reading, having a cup of tea with friends, or writing in a journal.
Recording the day’s events or special memories in a journal like the one featured above both beats stress and creates a lasting memory to share with others or just yourself.
Enjoy Aromatherapy During a Relaxing Bath: When it comes to rest, relaxation, and better sleep, aromatherapy and a warm soak each evening can be the ultimate indulgence. Even for just a few minutes between the kids’ bedtime and your own, there’s plenty of time to reap the benefits of this lavish, beneficial stress management technique.
For the ultimate multi-tasker, try this lavender-scented bath product (less than $5!) to calm and relax for a better night’s sleep and, ultimately, greater stress management.
This year, instead of anticipating candy and chocolates for Valentine’s Day, celebrate good heart health with one or all of these feel-good ideas and products.
Welcome to Spa Sensations’ Simple Luxuries blog! As you may already know, Spa Sensations truly believes that comfort is a fundamental human need that should be available to everyone. For that reason, we are committed to designing and creating luxurious, feel-good sleep products that are affordable and therefore accessible to every single person. That’s what we do but our mission is much, much greater. To all of us at Spa Sensations, mattresses, pillows, and toppers are just the beginning. Our goal–our true mission–is to see our customers living a life of health and great wellbeing, and feeling just a bit pampered at the same time.
This blog is one way we hope to accomplish this goal. If you’re looking for a hard sell, you won’t find it here (refreshing, isn’t it?). Simple Luxuries is your place to visit for tips, discussions, ideas, and suggestions to treat yourself and live well. Think of it as the ultimate non-guilty pleasure. Please come back and visit often. We also invite you to visit our Facebook page to share stories, offer feedback, and get the lowdown on new products.