Nicole

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.

Dec 162010
 

bathroom

Although luxury towels, bath mats and bathrobes may seem like Western concepts, a little research will show that almost every continent has chipped in to make robes, hand towels and bath towels what they are today.

The more popular styles of bathrobe include the waffle kimono and the terry velour kimono robes, and, of course, everyone knows that the kimono came out of Japan, where, for centuries, it was the outfit of choice for not only men and women, but children as well. The modern bathrobe is, in fact, extremely similar to the classic kimono as, not only can it too be worn by both sexes – and there are also special kids robes – the luxurious waffle and terry bathrobes can, just like today’s kimono, also be made from cotton and polyester.

The oriental influence can also be seen in the stunning line of quality bamboo towels and bathrobes that are made of an innovative bamboo cotton / rayon mix and that are also available in a myriad of colors. Bamboo is an extremely versatile plant that’s used to make anything from fabric to musical instruments, and it grows naturally in both East and South East Asia. Bamboo rayon is also a very important component of the soft, organic and eco friendly Turkish bathrobes/towels that are so popular today, and, as Turkey is one of the world’s major exporters of textiles, the latter also serves to highlight the Eurasian influence on quality bathroom wear.

Moving from Asia to Africa, the dark continent’s influence is nowhere more noticeable than in the world of bath towels where Egyptian cotton towels, although fairly rare, are among the best on the market. With or without a monogram, Egyptian cotton washcloths, hand towels and bath towels are highly sought after and are found not only in the luxury spa but also in the middle-class home right next to the more pedestrian tubmat and floor mat.

The USA is also part of the equation, and the cotton used to make the delectable Supima towels and bathrobes is cultivated in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Nov 182010
 

Robe

The bathroom in my new one-bedroom apartment was covered in small tiles of speckled robin’s egg blue-on-white, but the carpets in the living room and bedroom were champagne brown, which dictated that all bath towels, bath mats and bathrobes had to be in shades of brown.

I had moved into my new apartment on the Monday and, by Thursday, was ready to launch myself into the mundane yet delicate business of populating it with quality towels and luxurious bath robes. I had never, however, suspected that my choice would be limited by the apartment’s color scheme, but I was now convinced that nothing but beige, chocolate brown and perhaps a greyish-hued taupe would compliment the carpets and painted accent wall. Hand towels, a tubmat or two and almost certainly more than one soft waffle bathrobe were on the must-buy list, and the challenge would be to find them in colors complimenting those resident in the apartment.

I chose to shop online and was immediately confronted with choices that ranged from eco friendly and Egyptian cotton to organic and bamboo rayon/cotton mix. I was also barraged with browns and found myself contemplating the advantages of the ecru – whitish brown – bamboo bath towel over those of the chestnut-shaded luxury supima towel. The waffle bathrobe was brilliant in beige and looked equally as good with or without a monogram, and I was debating whether or not to buy it along with either the taupe and chocolate renaissance towels or the coffee and linen organic towels. As far as bath towels went, however, the adventure was not over, and my attention was soon diverted by the cayenne-colored elegance towels and – this was possibly the most exciting of all – the espresso, lite gold, chocolate-charcoal, cream and rosebud Egyptian cotton towels.

All too soon my buying spree was over, and I was anxiously awaiting delivery of my delicious cream, chocolate and espresso Turkish bathrobes/towels and tub mat set. When they arrived, they complimented the apartment’s color scheme perfectly and even made the somewhat unappealing robin’s egg blue tiles seem more acceptable.

Oct 232010
 

I have always been fascinated by colors and am totally in my element whenever I’m in a paint or crafts shop where hundreds of hues are displayed for my enjoyment. It wasn’t, however, until I started shopping for luxury towels and bathrobes that I realized I could provide a fix for my color addiction in my very own bathroom.

Quality bath towels and hand towels were on top of my list of must-buys, and I was simply stunned at the number of colors that towels are available in today. Egyptian cotton towels, for instance, come in no less than eight different colors ranging from the fairly predictable white and cream to the excitingly new espresso, meadow, rosebud and air blue. Supima towels, on the other hand, which are made of American Superior Pima cotton, come in such intriguing shades as bisque, merlot and tarragon while organic towels – 100% eco friendly – come in, among other colors, green tea, Aegean blue, coffee and stone. Bath mats were next on the list, and, when I looked at the luxurious Bamboo bath mats, I had a hard time choosing between the mat in adorable aloe, the tubmat in calming cloud and the bath mat in soft sandstone.

The world of bath robes also opened up a world of colors for me, and I was totally in my element exploring the different robe brands and their cleverly creative colors. The Terry kimono robes, for instance, came in sparkling white while the Waffle bathrobe was available in a beautiful shade of beige. The Ultra Soft cotton / bamboo bathrobes, on the other hand, dazzle the eye in coffee and the interesting shade of light blue that’s known as rain, and kids robes – possibly the most fun of them all – are pretty in pink and wonderful in white.

The fact that most of these Turkish bathrobes/towels and pure cotton bath mats are machine washable, of excellent quality and can even sport a monogram will – strangely – always be less important to me than the fact that they come in such gorgeous colors.

Oct 092010
 

towel cats

I always knew towels had their place in the home, bath-time wouldn’t be the same without them! but little did I realize how much my bath towels would mean to my cats until I relocated to California.

I had contracted with an international pet courier to transport my precious cats from Africa to Los Angeles, and they had mentioned that it would be a good idea to put some small personal item in the cat-carriers along with the cats to remind the kitties of home and to calm them down during the trip.

At first, I was at a loss as to what to put in the carriers but then I had an idea: I would put the cats’ favorite hand towels in with them. I had often seen how much my cats enjoyed lounging around on the gorgeously soft and luxurious bath towels and bath mats I had populated my bathroom with, and I knew these would be the perfect reminders of home to keep them company during their long journey.

Quality organic bath towels and hand towels – no matter whether they were made of Egyptian cotton, combed Egyptian cotton or the luxury cotton / bamboo rayon mix  have always been favorites of mine, and I’d bought enough of them over the years to keep my cats and I in towels for a good long time. (I had also bought enough matching Terry velour, Supima and Kimono bathrobes to populate a small country, but that’s another story!) It was therefore no problem at all to choose a towel or two to put in the carriers with each kitty duo – cats travel overseas in pairs – and I was happy to see that they snuggled down into the towels’ soft and silky material as soon as they were put into the carriers.

Three days – and many thousands of miles – later, the cats and their towels arrived in Los Angeles. Their flight to sunny California had treated them well, and they had luxuriated in their eco friendly towels all the way across the Atlantic.

Oct 062010
 

Robe

As an actress, I often have to appear on set in exotic and, sometimes, fragile, costumes, and I have found the ideal way to keep warm or to protect my outfit is to wear a luxury bathrobe over my costume.

After some experimentation, I discovered that luxury bathrobes – especially Waffle bathrobes – are the perfect on-set accessory and are extremely easy to slip on or off between takes, and speed is important when shooting feature films where each minute that is wasted costs thousands of dollars. Waffle robes are also very light, and, as such, I have noticed that they tend not to put too much pressure on, for instance, fancy evening dresses or prosthetic suits. I was recently on location in Palmdale, California – dressed in a dark blue formal dress – waiting for several scenes to be shot in this arid and very dusty semi-desert, and, if it wasn’t for the bathrobes that were on hand to slip on over my costume, the beautiful dress would have been ruined.

Both women’s bathrobes and men’s bathrobes are available – so the actors among us don’t have to feel left out! – and it is also my experience that Bamboo bathrobes are highly recommended on-set wear as they feature a shawl collar that is especially useful for protecting a costume from makeup. There are also kids’ robes available, and these would be perfect for pint-sized child actors. As every little girl and boy I know tends to dirty their clothes the second they put them on, bath robes being available for kids to wear on set and between takes seems like an inspired idea. Terry bathrobes are also a viable option to wear while shooting – perhaps while waiting for set-ups to be completed – and these comfortable unisex Turkish cotton robes come in kimono, velour and shawl styles.

Soft bathrobes are, of course, not worn exclusively by actors and are, in fact, highly recommended for people in all walks of life. They come in different colors, can sport personalized monograms and are, simply, the epitome of stylish living.

Sep 282010
 

Bamboo Robe

I grew up in a hotel in semi-rural South Africa approximately thirty years ago, and, looking back at that time, I often wonder what life would have been like if I had had access then to the resources for bath mats, towels and bathrobes that I have now.

As I recall, the towel sets at the hotel consisted of hard, scratchy lengths of material that, now, wouldn’t be welcome in a prison, and, when I compare them to today’s pure cotton bath towels that are silky and soft but still durable, I often wonder how hotel guests dried off from their baths and managed to keep their skins intact. The hotel towels were all one color too – a non-committal off-white – and simply can’t compare to the beautiful Smoke Blue, Terracota, Garnet Red and TeaRose shades that high quality bath and hand towels come in today.

Complimentary luxury guest bath robes were also not an option in the South Africa of 30 years ago, and today’s travelers should realize how lucky they are when their hotels present them with decadent Terry Kimono bathrobes made out of 100% Turkish cotton or beautiful Bamboo bathrobes made out of a sultry mixture of Bamboo rayon and Egyptian cotton. Guests may also be confronted with a complimentary Waffle bathrobe when they open their bathroom door – and these look stylish in either white or beige – or, perhaps, with a Supima robe, which comes in such intriguing sounding colors as bisque and chestnut.

Concepts like “organic” and “eco friendly” were also totally foreign to the hotels of yesteryear because towels, tubmats and hand towels were made to last and not to add value to the environment. Times sure have changed: now guests can wander down to the hotel’s spa dressed in the finest Turkish bathrobes – even kids’ robes are available – and wallow in luxurious hydrotherapy tubs instead of sharing the austere communal bathroom at the end of the passage.

Given how today’s hotels differ from those of years long past, I can hardly wait to see the hotels of the future.