june 7-towels

Did you know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to choose bathroom towels? More to the point, did you know what makes a towel great for the bathroom?

Most of us don’t give towels much thought … until we find ourselves using them. But if you’re standing in front of the towel aisle at your local bath store, it’s hard to choose one brand over another. They all look and feel soft and fluffy!

Well, here’s what you need to know.

Your goal in the end is to take home towels that are soft, fluffy, and absorbent. Towels that don’t measure up in terms of one or all of those tests either won’t last or won’t do the job they’ve been created to do. Sure, you’ll step out of your steam shower feeling warm and comfortable. But, you still want to wrap yourself in something cozy, right?

Remember this: the towels will feel much softer in the store than at home after a few washes. Many towel manufacturers apply a coating to their towels to ensure that they look and feel great through the shipping process and as they sit on store shelves. Your goal is to buy towels that will continue to feel great after that coating has been washed off. Look for towels that are made from rayon or Egyptian cotton. These are typically the softest towels available.

Choose towels that are as thick and heavy as you can find. These have multiple layers woven together. The extra thickness enhances the softness, and makes the towel much more absorbent. The key though is to avoid using fabric softener when washing towels. The softener coats the fabric making it less absorbent.

Let’s stay with the theme of thick, cotton or rayon towels. Not only are these towels softer and more absorbent, they will last much longer as well. There’s no shame in hanging on to towels for 5, 10, or more years … as long as they continue to look and function their best.

cold shower

A few years ago while visiting the beautiful city of Montreal, I stayed in a hotel that featured not one, but three types of pools. One was a regular, salt water pool that you might find pretty much anywhere. Another was a large hot tub style pool. The third was a frigid, ice cold, polar pool.

There were actually people – adults and children alike – neck deep in that cold water pool! I tried. I could barely sink one foot into it before I felt the cramps begin to radiate through my legs.

Why would anyone dunk themselves into icy cold water for pleasure?

Well, I hate to say it, but I’m not in the majority here. First, most people seem to be able to handle the cold much better than I can. Second, science has found that there are innumerable benefits to soaking in cold water.

Cold Water Therapy

Need better circulation, like me? Apparently, immersing yourself in cold water can help with that. The cold against your skin sends your blood away from peripheral areas, like your fingers and feet, toward your deep, inner vessels. Although limiting blood flow to your extremities might not sound like a good idea, sending extra blood to deep, inner vessels actually helps to reduce inflammation. That affect ends up improving overall blood circulation. The idea is that sending the blood deep inside your body for a short time will allow it to circulate better once it returns to your extremities.

Better blood circulation allows your body to detoxify, disperse nutrients, and heal much more efficiently and completely.

There have also been reports that a few minutes under a cold spray can help reduce the symptoms of depression. The feel of the cold on skin helps your body produce and transmit mood-lifting neuro-transmitters.

But, do you really need a cold body of water to experience the benefits? Lucky for us, the answer is no. We have all we need in our own home showers. You can experience the benefits of both cold water therapy and steam therapy with a steam shower.

One word of warning: don’t jump right into the cold. The stress on your body can cause problems for those who suffer from heart problems.

Instead, begin your shower luxuriating under a spray of warm water. After a few minutes, or when you’re nice and comfortable, start to decrease the amount of hot water flowing through the shower head. Over the next 5 minutes, keep decreasing the amount of hot water until the water temperature reaches about 68°F (and no colder!). The water will feel cold on your skin, but it’s not actually in the zone of hypothermia.

Stand under that cold spray for just 2 or 3 minutes, then turn the water off. You may not step out of the shower feeling all warm and fuzzy. But, you will probably feel more alert!

 

June 1

When was the last time you actually look up at the ceiling in your bathroom? If yours is like most people’s, it’s probably a plain white ceiling with a central light fixture.

Well, here’s an idea that will jazz up the whole look of the bathroom, and give you something interesting to look at when you’re soaking in the tub.

Why not give your bathroom a complete ceiling do-over?

Tin Tile

June 1-1

The smallest – and hardest working – room in the home deserves a special touch. Decorative tin can be molded into a variety of shapes and patterns. Choose your favorite, and install them as you would regular tiles.

The Lacquered Look

Photo: Joni Spear Interiors

The glossy look of lacquer reflects light and gives a small bathroom a sense of spaciousness. In the image above, the walls and ceiling have been painted the same color. You can opt to go with a different color or a flat paint for the walls.

Wallpaper

Photo: Decorpad

Wallpaper offers a huge variety of possibility. Flip through books of wallpaper samples to find a color and pattern that matches your current bathroom decor and is something that you’ll love gazing at.