Jan 272011
 

BanyanWikipedia

Bath robes belong to the same garment family as housecoats, kimonos and dressing gowns, and all of these serve to conceal either a wet body – the bathrobe’s specialty – or the fact that a person is dressed in informal clothing. What is, however, not very well known is that all of these robes are generally thought to be descended from one common item: the Eastern-influenced banyan.

The banyan came to popularity during the mid-19th century and was mainly worn by men of the upper and upper-middle classes while engaged in leisurely pursuits like studying in their libraries or writing in their studies. It became, furthermore, quite the thing for men to be wearing brightly colored banyans in their formal portraits, and, without this very obvious record, the wearing of the banyan would probably have passed into history without so much as a whisper echoing down the decades.

Just like modern bathrobes, banyans were made of fabrics like cotton and silk, but, most definitely unlike modern bathrobes, banyans came with matching long caps or turbans instead of matching sets of bath towels. A further difference between the banyan and the bathrobe is that the banyan was always worn over a suit of clothes and was never intended to be a wet body’s first refuge after hopping out of the bath.

Although the exact origin of the banyan is rather unclear, most sources agree that its loose fit was adopted from similar robes that had made their mark in the 17th and 18th centuries in such exotic places as Persia, Asia and Turkey. Early banyans did not sport sleeves and were almost exclusively the domain of men – rich and leisurely men – and only later did it become accepted practice for women to wear housecoats, dressing gowns and bathrobes. Surviving patterns for the banyan also show that it could be made entirely out of one piece of fabric, often with an inner lining of a complimentary color.

Banyans were the status symbols of their day, and this is where they part company with bathrobes, which are more practical than precious.

Jan 252011
 

cotton

Lovers of cotton bath products are on the look out for premium cotton, such as Egyptian or Supima. Premium cotton is better than conventional due to its strength, absorbency and softness, a feeling that becomes even softer after each washing. These towels cost more, but because of their quality, the price is worth it.

Another cotton in the premium category is Turkish cotton. Turkish cotton is a cotton with long fibers, and most are grown in the Aegean area of Turkey.

What is the best way to care for products, such as bath towels or bathrobes, made from Turkish cotton? Wash the towels in warm water with laundry detergent. The best laundry detergent for this type of cotton is natural laundry soap or detergent that is not filled with chemicals. Do not use fabric softener.

With towels, it’s best to place them in the dryer, but feel free to use a lower setting than high. A hint, put a cup of white vinegar in your rinse cycle once a month. The vinegar will remove excess detergent.

Jan 212011
 

Prince William - Kate Middleton

If you want your wedding to be classy, give your guests commemorative china, but if you want a truly royal wedding, don’t leave out the commemorative tea towels.

People Magazine recently reported that the Royal Collection will be producing tea towels for the April 29th wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Royal Collection, in case you didn’t know, is a trust held by the Queen on behalf of the nation. It includes artifacts gathered by more than five hundred years of English royalty, with such items as sculptures, jewels, manuscripts, suits of armor, delicate fans, paintings, furniture, ceramics, and more. The items within the trust date as far back as King Henry VIII, but most of the older items were dispersed when Oliver Cromwell briefly ousted the English monarchs.

Why is an institution of such regality and historical significance putting out a line of tea towels? It probably has something to do with the way the china sold: the commemorative china sold tens of thousands of units, or roughly thirty times better than the Collection anticipated. Because the marriage of William and Kate has become a worldwide news story, more than half of the sales came from outside the United Kingdom. No doubt, the Royal Collection is hoping the tea towels garner the same sort of response.

The towels will not picture William and Kate, but they will feature their embroidered initials entwined upon each towel, along with the prince’s coronet. In US dollars, the towels will sell for about $12 each.

Jan 182011
 

bathmats

There’s nothing worse than coming out of your shower and stepping on a cold bathroom floor. That’s why bath mats are wonderful. They are a necessary piece for your bathroom. We use bath mats as devices to place on the floor of our bathrooms to provide comfort for our wet feet, to give us a secure place to put our feet and also to add some color and warmth to our bathrooms.

However, not all bath mats are made equal. Cheap mats get dirty easier and retain mold. A good mat will be not only soft and absorbent, but they will be less likely to get moldy.

Some of the best bath mats include organic bath mats that are eco-friendly. Also good for the bathroom are Egyptian cotton bath mats, made from the best materials. Good mats come in pleasing colors that match well with the colors found in nature and are resistant to mildew and stains.

Jan 162011
 

bath

January is recognized as, ‘National Bath Safety Month’ in America, and observed globally by other regions on the planet. Wherever people, slippery soaps, and water merge, there can be unexpected slip or fall accidents happen. To guard against these bath-time mishaps, many people plan ahead before they start their cleaning processes.

Safety tips:

  • Towels, bathrobes, and bathmats should be placed into an area of the bathroom where they can be reached easily from inside or outside of the tub. Bath towels, robes, and thick luxury mats within arms reach can be used to keep a person warm if they cannot get up after falling.
  • Always place a soft cotton towel or terry hand towels under a cell phone that is resting on a bathroom counter. If a fall occurs after a bath, the edge of the towel can be tugged easily from the floor to aide in reaching the phone.
  • For children, your eco-friendly kid’s robes, organic Egyptian cotton towels, and luxurious tubmat collection can be stored in a sturdy basket. During bath-time, this heavy basket can rest on top of the toilet lid to deter small children from playing in that unsafe water.

Bathroom safety goes beyond the preventative steps that we take to avoid injuries and falls. In some homes, kimono robes, waffle bathrobes, and Turkish bathrobes/towels are used to prevent bathers from getting sick after they step out of the bathtub. Monogram spa robes and terry-style bathrobes are popular germ-fighting accessories in homes, at the gym, and in motels or resorts everywhere.

Jan 132011
 

towels

While most of us are struggling to stay warm during this already harsh and snowy winter, some people are engaging in a winter sport that seems like pure madness. Stripped down to just bathing suits, they leap into ice-cold lakes all over the country. As soon as they get out, they busily wrap themselves up in the warmest, thickest towels and bathrobes that they can find.

In Saratoga Springs, NY, this year’s New Year’s Day Polar Plunge will draw more than 1,000 people. Although the event started in the early 1970s, it was fairly small up until the last ten years. In 2000, the event drew about 125 people. Today, whole families come, equipped only with a cadre of warm cotton towels (Source: Saratogian.com http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2010/12/29/news/doc4d1bf0902e68c056953750.txt?viewmode=default).

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Illinois, and Wisconsin, polar plunges are held to raise money for the Special Olympics. Wisconsin’s polar plunge is one of the biggest, drawing almost 10,000 supporters of the Special Olympics to jump into a number of nearly-frozen lakes in February and early March. In Wisconsin, plungers must raise a minimum of $75 to participate; the 2010 event raised nearly $2 million for Special Olympics Wisconsin (Source: SpecialOlympicsWisconsin.org http://www.specialolympicswisconsin.org/polar_plunge.asp).

Is Cold Water Swimming Dangerous?

Perhaps you’re wondering if these nutty polar plunges are actually safe. Indeed, the body reacts instinctively when one jumps into freezing water. First comes the involuntary gasp, frequently followed by hyperventilation. Hyperventilation, in turn, leads to a lowering of carbon dioxide in the blood and an elevated pH level. The heart rate might increase by as much as 50%, while blood pressure plummets.

However, unless you already have heart problems or start jumping in your old age, cold water swimming is not actually dangerous. Just remember to bring a few thick beach towels with you to dry off once you get out, because the longer your body stays cold and wet, the more difficult it will be to recover from the plunge. A nice terry cloth bathrobe wouldn’t hurt, either!

Jan 102011
 

monogram

The concept of indicating ownership of a certain item through putting the owner’s initials on it in the form of a monogram has been around for centuries, and just because monograms were originally put on things like coins, fine paintings and expensive furniture, it doesn’t mean that they can’t appear on more mundane items like organic Bamboo or Supima towels, terry velour bathrobes and bath mats.

A monogram can be defined as a series of – usually three – letters of the alphabet that are either physically connected or just placed extremely close to one another. These letters can be painted on a hard surface, carved into wood or, for cloth items like luxury bath robes and quality bath towels, embroidered onto the material itself. Over the centuries, monograms have evolved from being symbols that indicate absolute ownership to being symbols of personal indulgence. Who, for instance, wouldn’t feel special to receive a soft beige Egyptian cotton Waffle bathrobe beautifully monogrammed with their own initials in a lovely contrasting color – cranberry, perhaps, or maybe fox – with a set of luxurious hand towels and a tubmat or spa mat to match?

In order for a symbol to be considered a classic monogram, the design has to follow certain rules. It is, for instance, customary to use the initials of a person’s first name, middle name and last name but not in that order: true monograms would show the last name’s initial in the middle and the first name’s and middle name’s initials to the left and right respectively. The last name’s initial would also be designed with a special flourish – perhaps larger or more elaborate than the other two letters – and an example of a traditional monogram found on kimono Turkish bathrobes and towels or eco friendly cotton kids robes for “Joe T Smith” would be “jSt”. Monograms are also available in a stunning array of colors, including such gems as apricot, lavender, papaya and raspberry.

Monograms are here to stay, and monogrammed towels and bathrobes will always make a lovely – not to mention highly appreciated – gift.

Jan 052011
 

bath towels

The relationship between people and bath towels is something that has developed over many thousands of years, and possibly the first noteworthy use of the bath towel was when Noah packed at least a hundred of them into his ark and took to the waters with his doves looking for a drier climate.

Noah wasn’t the only biblical figure to place great value on towels, and they also came in handy for the wedding guests and disciples when the water was turned into wine as there was apparently a great deal of spillage. It is, however, fairly certain that Noah and his ilk didn’t have access to quite the abundance of luxury, quality bath and hand towels that are available to us ark-less people today not to mention the soft and luxurious kimono bathrobes, the many-colored eco friendly bath mats and the plush Egyptian cotton kids robes.

It is also a little known – but perfectly true – fact that Queen Cleopatra did not wrap herself up in a carpet when delivering herself to Caesar but that she chose, instead, to wrap herself in a sparkling white waffle bathrobe, complete with monogram and layered with several organic cotton bath towels. Towels of considerable historical significance next surfaced during the Boston Tea Party where they were used to mop up the excess sea-water after the tasteless tea bags had been upended into the harbor by Samuel Adams and his band of merry helpers.

Last but not least must be the tantalizing tale of the terry Turkish bathrobes / towels and how they figured in the creation of the world’s ultimate social network: Facebook. It is a well known fact that, while Mark Zuckerberg walked the corridors of Harvard and worked out the kinks on his worrisome website, he wore nothing but Turkish cotton terry kimono bath robes and snuggled up only to sandstone, coffee and aloe-colored bamboo rayon / Egyptian cotton bathtowels.

Given man’s past association with quality bath towels – not to mention a tubmat or two in the spa – there is literally no telling where this relationship will go next.

Jan 032011
 

spa

Ringing in the New Year is a great time to renew your spirit too. Even if you’re unable to get away to an exotic spa retreat, you can still take time to pamper yourself. With a few items that you can easily find around your house or apartment, you can relax and renew in a spa environment right in your own home.

If you’ve ever visited a spa, you know that many of them offer different experiences. Think about what you’d like to recreate at home first. Do you want to relax with a long, hot bath or spend some time giving yourself a manicure or pedicure? Whatever treatments you decide on, remember that the most important thing about the spa experience is the ambience.

In preparing to create just the right atmosphere, you should find some relaxing music, bath gel or beads, and aromatic candles. Also, have plenty of plush towels, washcloths, soft slippers, and even a comfortable robe on hand. By having all of the essentials close by, you won’t have to rush into another room to get something you forgot.

The next step is to make an appointment. If you have a roommate, friends that like to stop by, or young children running around, you’ll want to make sure that they’ve got somewhere else to go during your spa time. Distractions won’t allow you to truly relax and enjoy your spa experience.

The last step is to follow through. Now that everything is prepared, go ahead and light the candles, begin the music, and dim the lights. Whether you’ve set aside 30 minutes, an hour, or an entire evening for your appointment, have fun, relax, and enjoy renewing your body, soul, and mind.