Four Spa-Inspired Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. For most of us, this usually means hunting down a last-minute gift and scribbling sentiments of love and appreciation in a mass-produced card. This year, do something a little different by going the extra mile and showing your mom how much she really means to you. While a luxurious day at the spa is a popular gift for mothers, help her create a spa-like atmosphere at home instead with these bath accessories perfect for any mom. Pick and choose which you think she’d prefer, or combine them all into an oversized gift basket that’s sure to make her smile.

1) Luxury Spa Robe
No spa day would be complete without a robe that exudes luxury and comfort. Offered in traditional, kimono and wrap designs, and in materials that include velour, terry cloth, and cotton, you’re sure to find a Luxury Spa Robe that will match your mom’s style and personality. No matter which design or color you choose, their robes are built to last and will evoke the same relaxing sensation she’ll get at a luxury hotel or spa. As an added bonus, ground shipping at LuxurySpaRobes.com is free on orders that exceed $100 and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee.

2) Bliss Fabulips Treatment Kit
This four-piece lip-conditioning set includes a foaming cleanser, sugar lip scrub, instant lip plumper, and softening lip balm. After just a few uses, your mom's lips will be fuller, softer, and more beautiful than ever before. Designed to lift impurities and remove dead skin, her lips will reach new levels of moisture and health. For women concerned about lines around the lips, Bliss Fabulips may help reduce the appearance of fine lines, as well. And, with a $74 value for just $45, you might just have enough cash left over to treat your mom to a beautiful Sunday brunch.

3) Flavor Infuser Water Bottle
With this flavor-infusing water bottle, anyone can be a mixologist. Whether your mom likes her water with lemon, strawberries, or mint, this sleek water bottle will infuse her water with flavor in just a few minutes. Now, mommy dearest can treat herself to a refreshing, mid-day pick-me-up after a trip to the gym, or a soothing mint and chamomile concoction while relaxing in the bath. Not only will you be giving mom a delicious treat, but you’ll be treating the environment as well – this sleek, glass bottle will reduce her dependence on plastic water bottles!

4) Crabtree & Evelyn ‘Hand Therapy’ Box Set
This beautiful box of 12 ultra-moisturizing hand lotions is guaranteed to nourish and pamper your mom’s skin. With eclectic scents that range from avocado, olive oil, and basil to pomegranate and grape seed, this box set is the perfect gift for the one you love. With ingredients that include shea butter and macadamia nut oil, her hands will be noticeably softer and smoother with each use. Not only is the Crabtree & Evelyn ‘Hand Therapy’ Paint Tin Box Set a great value, but mom can re-use the tin to store other items once she’s used all the lotions.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Bathroom Smelling Fresh

In the small, damp quarters of a bathroom, odors can quickly become an issue – especially if the bathroom is shared or frequented by more than one person. It’s not a secret that bathrooms are ground zero for some of the dirtiest and most pungent odors in your home, so in addition to frequent cleanings it’s important to take proactive measures to keep odors away. Although keeping your bathroom smelling fresh and clean may seem like an arduous task, with these simple tips it doesn’t have to be.

1) Let the Air Flow
After a steamy shower, it’s important to let fresh air circulate. Whether it’s by turning on an overhead fan, opening a window, or leaving the bathroom door open, this will help freshen stale air and rid the room of humidity which, over time, could help mildew grow. If keeping the bathroom window open for a few hours each day is a possibility, it is greatly recommended. By doing so, your bathroom will begin to smell fresh due to all the natural air flowing in and out.

2) Use Essential Oils
Instead of masking your bathroom’s smell with artificial scents and chemicals, consider taking a natural approach. Lavender oil is a good choice because of its calming properties, but citrus oils like lemon, tangerine, and wild orange are a great way to perk things up. Take a Q-Tip and dip each end into your essential oil of choice. From there, fasten it into the inside of your toilet paper roll or hide it in a bathroom vanity drawer for a secretive way to create a fresh-smelling bathroom.

3) Plants or Flowers
Potted plants and flowers aren’t just for looks – they’re also natural air purifiers. While an automated air purifier can make air seem cleaner and fresher, plants can do a much better job of filtering air, and at a fraction of the cost. Not only do plants filter the impurities from the air, but they’re pleasant to look at and provide us with a sense that we’re one with nature. If your bathroom is on the small side, consider incorporating hanging plants into your shower.

4) Freshen Your Fabrics
In the moist environment of the bathroom, it’s easy for fabrics to pick up a musty smell. Launder towels and washcloths at least once a week, and don’t forget to also wash the bath mat and shower curtain. After your shower, be sure to pull the shower curtain closed, which will allow air to circulate within the folds. You’ll be less likely to see – and smell- patches of mildew forming on shower curtains. For towels with a musty odor that lingers, try running them through a washer cycle with a half-cup of white vinegar, followed by another cycle with detergent.

5) Potpourri
By using natural, dry ingredients found around the kitchen, you can create a fantastic and wonderful smelling potpourri in no time at all. Leftover lemon peels from last night’s dinner, mint leaves, and cinnamon are popular potpourri ingredients. These spices, when combined with flowers and woods from your garden, are guaranteed to create a pleasant scent in your bathroom. Additionally, potpourri makes great gifts and allows you to ‘recycle’ your garden while using fresh ingredients.

Four Bathroom Vanity Installation Tips

Although bathrooms begin to look dated very quickly, it’s not cost-effective or practical to renovate them completely every few years. Instead, you can improve the look of your bathroom with a few simple changes – like incorporating a brand new bathroom vanity, or updating your cabinetry. In an effort to save cash, many homeowners are opting to take the DIY route, and choose to install vanities and other bathroom fixtures themselves. Here’s four tips for installing a new vanity in your bathroom:

1) Consider Your Needs
Before purchasing a new bathroom vanity, take some time to plan out your installation. Why did you get rid of your old vanity? Was it lacking counter space? Did you want an extra drawer? Once you have an idea about what type of vanity you need, measure the space you have to work with. Take your time and be sure to carefully measure the area; measure two or three times to ensure your measurements were correct the first time. Although bathroom vanities can be purchased online, many homeowners enjoy visiting showrooms where they can touch the items and truly get a feel for how it will look in their bathroom.

2) Don’t Forget About Plumbing
Although you can go from a pedestal sink to a vanity, it’s important to remember that you’ll probably have to re-do the plumbing within the wall to make it work. If you have to make any adjustments at all to the plumbing, you’ll probably have to rely on the services of a professional, which can blow your budget out of the water. You’ll need to install faucets and water lines to the sink before you can install most countertops. Once your water lines, faucets and drains are installed, put a line of silicone caulk around the edge of the countertop and set the top in place.

3) Make It Easy on Yourself
When you’re ready to install your vanity, start by making it easier on yourself. Remove all drawers and mirrors, take off the doors, and don’t try to set the vanity in place with the sink top attached. (Note: Always check manufacturer installation instructions first before removing doors or sinks.) Line up the new vanity with the wall, and measure where the pipe holes and drill holes need to match. Cut the holes at least 1/2" bigger than the pipes to ensure easy installation. Mark where a stud is on the wall, and mark the same location on the inside of your cabinet. Now you’re ready to slide the vanity into place, fit the pipes through the holes, and attach your vanity.

4) Keep Things Leveled & Secure
Now that your vanity is ready to be attached and has been pushed against the wall, you can begin to level the cabinet. Use a level to measure from wall to wall, to ensure the vanity sits evenly. If you need help balancing the vanity permanently, use a few wooden shims under the base. Once your vanity is level, you can secure it to the wall with a few screws. Many experts recommend using at least three 1-1 1/2" screws per wall stud.

Create a Chic Bathroom on the Cheap

Although the cost of a bathroom makeover can be daunting, there are plenty of ways to save. One smart way to save money during a renovation or bathroom upgrade is to focus your efforts on smaller, more commonly used areas of your bathroom instead of replacing large, expensive, fixtures. Make your project even more affordable by selecting lower-priced fixtures over their higher-priced alternatives. The less need there is to relocate plumbing and electrical, the lower the renovation bill will be. Here are some inexpensive ways you can improve your bathroom while staying on track with your budget.

Coordinate Accents

An easy way to give your bath a designer touch is with matching accessories. If your medicine cabinet has a silver frame, find a faucet with a similar finish. Similarly, if you have an accent wall painted a particular color, make sure any rugs, carpets or towels in the bathroom are of a corresponding color. By using colors that clash with each other, you’ll be detracting from the visual aesthetic of your bathroom. Certain colors can be used for different purposes – blue-green hues and yellows create a peaceful sense of tranquility, while deep reds and blues can create an almost majestic atmosphere.

Add a Natural Touch

Although a bouquet of flowers in the bathroom may seem unexpected or out of place, incorporating a small vase of yard-cut greens is a unique way to add freshness to a bathroom. If you plan on purchasing flowers for your bathroom, be sure to take into consideration the location and amount of light your bathroom receives before making a trip to the nursery. Those looking for a natural way to deodorize can slip a perfumed tablet of preserved cranberries and orange slices into the drawer of a vanity.

Brighten Up

In many cases, homeowners decide to replace bathroom tiles on a whim – without ever actually taking the time to find out if they can be salvaged. Just because the tile in your bathroom looks old and worn, doesn’t mean it can’t be brightened up with a bit of elbow grease. By purchasing an eco-friendly acid etcher, you’ll be able to remove ground-in dirt from the surface in addition to grout lines. Spend some time with the etcher, and you may be surprised by the difference it can make – old, worn out tile can be transformed to something lighter and brighter before your very eyes.

Make Investments in Your Future

Installing a shower door is a very popular renovation and can typically be done for as little as $150. Although the price may seem high for a simple shower door, think of it as an investment: you won’t have to continually replace your shower curtains, and you won’t have to worry about children or guests making a mess on your bathroom floor. Additionally, many shower doors come with built-in towel storage, so you can create room on your walls for a mirror, photograph, or other type of accent piece.