Sandra

Jun 282011
 

Charles Barkley

When Charles Barkley was an NBA player, he gained a reputation for being one of the most aggressive players in history – both on and off the court. On the court, at 6’4” he was the shortest player in NBA history to lead the league in rebounds. Off the court, he was arrested more than one time for his post-game shenanigans, including the time he threw a man through a plate-glass window.

Given his reputation, it’s a little surprising that Miami Heat fans had the audacity to throw their towels at his head during a live recording of TNT’s Inside the NBA. The crowd was packed full of towel-twirling fans doing their best to drown-out Barkley’s praise for the Chicago Bulls. Ironically, he was in the middle of complimenting the Heat’s two star players, LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, when a towel hit him in the back of the head. It was the second time a flying towel had hit him or come close to hitting him, and this time Barkley had had enough.

Like a mother scolding naughty children, he whirled around in his seat and told the crowd, “Hey! Hey! Don’t make me come over there. Don’t make me come over there, now. ‘Cause if I come over there, it’s gonna be hell to pay!”

Another TNT commentator, Kenny “the Jet” Smith, quickly added, “And I’ll come with you, Chuck.” The Jet is another retired NBA player who’s normally known as Barkley’s “straight man.”

The towel-throwing incident wasn’t the first run-in Barley had with Heat fans. The day before, as Barkley headed inside the arena, the crowd started to chant at him, “No rings!”, presumably pointing out that for all Barkley’s fame, he never won a championship game for any of his teams. Barkley told the press he found the “no rings” comment amusing.

“I always laugh at that statement, ‘You didn’t get a ring,’” said Barkley. “I’m like, dude, you work at McDonald’s. My life’s a lot better than yours. You relax.”

(Source: MediaBistro.com http://www.mediabistro.com/sportsnewser/update-tnt-pregame-show-will-be-moved-inside-following-fans-run-in-with-barkley_b9536 )

It all goes to show that you never know what kind of situation an innocent towel can find itself in.

 

Jun 012011
 

Towel Exercises

Want to take your workouts up a notch? Consider adding a towel. No, not the kind of towel you carry around with you to wipe off the sweat; use towels in creative, simple ways that don’t even require you to leave the living room. Here are three towel exercises you can do at home with a regular bath towel.

1. The Standing Twist

Twists are a good way to build the strength of your core muscles. Add a towel for even better results. Begin by holding the towel in front of you, a little wider than your shoulders. Pull on the ends of the towel and twist slowly from right to left as you do so. Pulling on the towel works your upper body, keeps your posture upright, and puts your shoulders into alignment as you do the exercise.

2. Tricep Extensions

Start this exercise by putting one hand in the small of your back, grasping your towel with your palm facing out. With your other hand, grab the other end of the towel and bring your elbow up, pointed at about a ninety-degree angle at the level of your ear. The towel is behind your back, as if you were going to dry your back off after a shower. Now, simply pull with both hands; you are using the towel as your resistance or weight.

3. Towel Squats

Squats are one of the most classic quad exercises of all. As with your standing twist, you grip the towel at either end, a little wider than your shoulders. Hold the towel in front of you as you squat down to workout your legs. The towel will make your posture correct and strengthen your upper back muscles as you tone your quads.

All three of these exercises are simple ones that you can do at work or at home to keep your body moving and start working out your muscles.

May 092011
 

towels

I remember being on a family vacation at about the age of ten, and as we were packing up to leave the hotel room, my father started to pack the hotel towels into our suitcases. My mother looked at him with a puzzled expression and asked him what he was doing. He replied, without fanfare, that we were taking the towels home.

“No!” she immediately exclaimed. “That’s tacky.”

They argued about it for a minute or two, but my father finally acquiesced and returned the towels to his rack. His argument had been that the hotel simply expects patrons to take the towels with them, not unlike the mini-soap and the mini-shampoo. My mother had a very different view on the situation, and couldn’t imagine (a) that the hotel wanted us to take their towels or (b) what need we had of the scratchy, white, and oft-used hotel towels at home anyway.

Technology Bests Criminals Again

If that family vacation had been taken today, however, my father might not have been so quick to start packing the towels. These days, many of the fanciest hotels are incorporating radio frequency identification, or RFID-chips, into their towels and robes.

There’s nothing new about RFID-chips. They have long been used to prevent the theft of books, to track the movement of animals, and to prevent illegal logging, but up until now they were not part of a hotel’s security system.

As of April 2011, three upscale hotels have invested in the RFID technology. They’ve put tags on their towels, their bathrobes, and other linens. A hotel in Hawaii says that before they tagged their towels, they would lose an astonishing 4,000 per month to people like my Dad. Now that everything’s tagged, that number has fallen to 750. While there are still 750 towel thefts per month, it’s a heck of a lot better than 4,000. The hotels are said to save almost $16,000 per month. Remember this the next time you’re tempted to take a towel or a bathrobe home with you as a vacation memento!

 

Apr 112011
 

towels

I don’t know about you, but for me, I have my two or three favorite bath towels, and it’s never a happy morning when none of them are available. There’s nothing better than being greeted by a dry, warm, fluffy, and sweet-smelling towel when you step out of the shower into the cool air. Therefore, to keep your favorite towels around for years to come, follow these simple tips.

1. Use natural laundry detergents.

Not only are natural laundry detergents better for the environment, they also don’t break down fabric fibers as fast as harsh detergents. Remember that you get what you pay for, so if you consistently use the cheapest laundry detergent you can find, you will probably be breaking your fabrics down much faster than if you invested a little more.

2. Actually read the label.

It seems that hardly anyone actually reads the instructions for care when it comes to fabrics. For example, some fabrics call for cold water wash, but if you wash everything in hot water, your favorite towel will break down much faster. Furthermore, the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science says that the majority of Americans use more detergent than they need to. This, too, will break down your fabrics, so read the label on the towel, but also the label on the detergent.

3. Wash your towel.

Although this comment might seem very Captain Obvious, wash your towel regularly. Items like blue jeans can last a lot longer when you wash less often, but because towels are much thicker and have a much greater surface area, smells and stains stick in them more easily than in blue jeans. Therefore, wash your towels on a regular cycle – don’t procrastinate.

4. Don’t be tempted to put away damp towels.

Towels seem to be one of those items that never quite gets dry in the drier. Nevertheless, don’t be tempted: make sure your towel is completely dry before you fold it and put it away. The dampness will harbor bacteria and mold, causing the towel to get musty – possibly permanently.

Follow these four tips, and your favorite towel will be around for years to come.

 

Mar 232011
 

towels

On March 9, 2011, a fire at a nursing home in North Charleston, SC, forced 170 residents out of their home. The local fire department investigated the blaze to find out what went wrong at White Oak Manor nursing home. What they discovered may be surprising to you: hot towels were to blame. According to a fire department spokeswoman, commercial dryers use a heat setting that’s much higher than an ordinary, household dryer. The nursing home staff used an alcohol-based fabric softener with the towels. While the towels were still hot, they were placed inside a linen closet. The high heat of the dryer, when combined with the alcohol-based fabric softener, caused the towels to ignite, starting the fire.

Not the First Time It’s Happened

Although spontaneously combusting towels may seem like an unlikely cause of a fire, it’s not the first time it happened. In fact, a few months before the Charleston nursing home fire, the exact same thing happened at an education center in Roanoke, VA — hot towels that recently removed from a commercial dryer spontaneously combusted. No one was hurt, but the fire caused $21,000 in damages.

Meanwhile, in the summer of 2010, two Spokane house fires that started within hours of each other both began when someone microwaved bath towels.

Fire Safety Tips

Fans of the old sitcom Seinfeld might remember the episode where the character Kramer decided to use his oven to get that “dryer-fresh” feeling for his clothes, and subsequently caught his apartment on fire. Although the episode was laughable, fires at schools, nursing homes, and houses really are not funny.

When a towel comes out of a commercial dryer or a microwave, be aware that it will retain high levels of heat. Allow towels to cool before placing them on a wooden surface or putting them in an enclosed area, such as a linen closet, where heat cannot dissipate. In particular, check the ingredients to the fabric softener you use for linens, and if it’s alcohol-based, you may wish to change brands. This is especially important when using a commercial-strength dryer.

Finally, even though Kramer seemed to have something going, have the common sense not to place towels in ovens or microwaves.

 

Mar 172011
 

towels

Hand towels and kitchen towels are coming back in style, thanks to advocates for a greener planet. As one towel design company reported recently, 3,000 tons of paper towels are used each day in the United States alone.

What kind of environmental impact do those 3,000 tons of paper towels have?

Consider that for every ton of paper towels, 17 trees are required and 20,000 gallons of water are used. Try to sop up that water spill, quicker picker upper! Meanwhile, those used towels quickly wind up in the garbage, then into a dump or into a landfill. As paper towels decompose, they release methane gas. Although methane is less well-known than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, some scientists say that too much methane is actually more worrisome than too much carbon dioxide when it comes to the problem of global warming.

How many paper towels do you use?

If you’re like most Americans, you’re using about 3,000 paper towels (that’s towels this time, not tons) just at work alone. That doesn’t count the number of towels you’re using at home.

“But I use recycled towels.”

Good for you! That’s an excellent start, but even towels made out of recycled paper are still responsible for the release of chemicals into the environment, gas into the atmosphere, an extra use of energy, plus more water.

Maybe you should switch to hand towels?

Reusable towels, such as hand towels for your bathroom, kitchen towels, and worn out towels for cleaning purposes, stop the problem of paper towel waste before it starts. Plus, using real towels instead of paper towels will put money back in your pocket as you stop using roll after roll of paper towel.

As you switch over to real towels at home, maybe you can convince the people you work with to switch to real towels at work. A pack of hand towels can be found at a cheap price at most stores. Replace the paper towel dispenser with a basket of hand towels, then add a laundry basket to the office bathroom. It will look better than paper towels, be less noisy than hand dryers, and best of all, you’ll be doing something good for the environment.

Feb 252011
 

bath

The word “Zen” is used in popular culture in many ways, but its real meaning is often obscured under layers of confusion. Zen is a lineage, or school, of Mahayana Buddhism. The religion is most prevalent in Japan, but Zen practitioners can be found in other countries around Southeast Asia.

The “Protestantism” of Buddhism

Zen developed as a reaction to more hierarchical, ritualistic forms of Buddhism that were developing in other parts of Asia. Zen practitioners called for a return to Buddhism’s most basic principles, leaving behind some of the ostentation that was forming within other Buddhist schools. Like early Protestant Christians, Zen practitioners wanted a return to the basics of their faith.

The Zen Style

As a result of this call for simplicity, the exterior style of Zen looks and feels very different from other types of Buddhism, such as what is commonly called Tibetan Buddhism. Zen monks and nuns favor simple, neutral-colored robes over the brighter maroons and saffrons in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism. Their temples, too, have a clean, open, simple look and feel that contrasts sharply from the intricate ornamentation of a Tibetan Buddhist temple.

Zen Ideas for the Home and Bathroom

If you like the look and feel of the open spaces, clean lines, and soft earth tones of the Zen style, consider simplifying your own home into a Zen-like sanctuary. Here are some tips for your making your home more Zen-like:

  • Get away from bright, loud colors and go with tans, chocolates, blacks, and creams instead
  • Use light-colored woods, especially bamboo
  • Decorate the walls sparely, with prints that convey a spiritual meaning
  • Reduce heavy drapes and fill the house with natural light

For your bathroom, try these tips:

  • Use bamboo towels for eco-friendliness and comfort
  • Bamboo bath rugs and bamboo bath mats are also available
  • Trade in the hot pink bathrobe for a tan or cream-colored bathrobe
  • Keep decoration minimal, and use a shade-loving house plant to add a splash of color

Ultimately, Zen is a spiritual tradition and a way of life, not a decorating style. However, you can encourage your inner peace by letting your inner sanctum copy Zen’s design principles.

 

Feb 192011
 

towels

Even during a down economy, stadium vendors and hawkers of souvenirs manage to make a living. As the Associated Press reported after the Super Bowl, one of the most popular items being sold outside the Cowboys Stadium before the Super Bowl kicked off were towels – specifically, Terrible Towels.

Who would want to buy a Terrible Towel? Apparently everyone did. The towels were selling at a much faster pace than the foam cheeseheads, according to stadium vendors. The Terrible Towels, though, were not made for Packers fans, but for Steelers fans. A gold-colored yellow towel, it says simply, “terrible towel” on it. The towel also came in black, with gold “terrible towel” printed on it.

The towel has a long history; designed by radio broadcaster Myron Cope in 1975, the towel has become a tradition for Steelers fans for a generation. One popular gimmick is to take the towel on vacation and snap a picture of it in odd spots. Photos of the towel have been taken on Mount Everest and in outer space.

The last laugh, however, goes to the Packers once again. Not only did they create their own green “Titletown Towel”, it also so happens that the Terrible Towel is, like the Packers, produced in Wisconsin! Furthermore, Gregg McArthur, who produces the towels in his Baraboo, WI, factory, is a deeply devoted Packers fan.

Did the Wisconsin-made towels, which are meant to curse the other team and convey the Steelers wrath, actually turn on their owners and hex the Steelers? Surely, there’s probably at least one rabid Steelers fan out who thinks the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Feb 122011
 

leopard1

Teenagers of America, prepare to roll your eyes at your parents, and possibly shout “Gross!”: Mom and Dad might be coming home from their next romantic getaway with matching, leopard-print bathrobes.

Kimpton, an American hotel chain founded in the early 1980s, always strives to offer its guests plenty of comfort and style – they call themselves a “boutique hotel”. This time, they might have outdone themselves. Their current special is a “robe-mantic” retreat.

During the month of February, the hotel chain will offer overnight accommodations for two, along with a $25 credit for hotel dining and, yes, two matching leopard-print bathrobes. The idea is to increase their couples traffic in time for the Valentine’s Day holiday.

Keep the Bathrobes

At many hotels, nice warm, fluffy bathrobes are often on offer – but you’re not supposed to keep them. If you’re in the habit of stealing hotel towels and other amenities, be warned that when it comes to bathrobes, hotels intend to keep them. Some hotels will charge you up to $150 when they discovered you’ve pilfered their bathrobe.

Not in this case – those leopard-print bathrobes are yours to keep.

Teens, you might want to leave the living room now before your parents start fake-growling and clawing at each other.

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 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!

Dec 252010
 

Bamboo Towels

You’ll never guess what the latest craze is to make your bathroom eco-friendly. Want to try to guess?

“Is it saving water with a low-flow toilet?” No, that’s so 2008.

“What about saving water with a better shower head?” No, you’re still off the mark. Think of something other than water.

“I give up. Just tell me already!”

Ok, here it is: bamboo fiber towels. Now, I know what you must be thinking: “A towel made out of bamboo? No thank you, I’d rather use my welcome mat to dry myself.” If this is what comes to mind, however – a scratchy, uncomfortable towel destined to be the latest failed effort of the green movement – you’d be completely wrong.

Bamboo can be used for a whole array of applications. From durable scaffolding on high-rise construction, to resilient, beautiful flooring, it seems that the uses for this Asian plant will never end. The latest among these uses is bamboo towels and bamboo bathroom rugs.

Bamboo fiber is five times more absorbent than cotton, yet it dries even faster. While most types of textiles need chemical treatments or synthetic ingredients to achieve such bragging rights, the structure of bamboo fiber is perfect for drying. Bamboo fibers are oblong and hollow, which explains why they have such amazing absorbent and quick-drying capabilities.

Furthermore, bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial, resisting infiltration by staph bacteria, E. coli, and other bacteria types. Not only can a bamboo fiber towel improve your family’s health, its bacteria resistance also means that the towels don’t tend to start smelling.

Finally, bamboo is a renewable resource that can be grown organically. An organic bamboo fiber towel or bathroom rug gives you all the best that eco-friendly products have to offer.

Dec 212010
 

Platinum Robes

After a long summer that didn’t seem to want to end, people all across the United States are suddenly finding themselves in the midst of one of the coldest, snowiest Decembers on record.

In Minneapolis, there’s been so much snow that the inflatable roof of the Metrodome actually collapsed – a first. For the Twin Cities, the recent snowfall is the fifth biggest on record.

The rest of the Midwest isn’t faring much better; blizzards have been swirling around now for a couple of weeks. Colorado, too, is reporting record snow, and the white stuff has been spotted as far south as North Carolina and Alabama.

Get Thee a Bathrobe!

Given the record cold, anyone without a terry cotton bathrobe is simply tempting fate – or else has never experienced the joy of staying home from work or school wrapped up in a terry cotton bathrobe, sipping on coffee, watching bright red cardinals flit about in a whitened winter wonderland.

A terry cotton bathrobe is both man and woman’s best friend this time of year, and it doesn’t have to remain in use just to make it to and from the bathroom. On those snowed-in days when all you really want to do is sit around the house in warm slippers in front of a peaceful fire, a soft terry cotton bathrobe is the perfect accessory to drape on over your flannel pajamas.

Dec 042010
 

towels

Winter is just around the corner – in some parts of the country it’s already arrived – and that means two important things: it’s hard to get out of that nice, warm, cozy bed, and it’s also hard to finish that nice, hot shower and face the chilling blast of cold air when you open the shower door.

One trick you can use to mitigate the pain of stepping out of the shower is to use a heated towel rack. Place your towel and/or your bathrobe on the heated towel rack, and turn it on before you step into the shower. By the time your shower is done, your towel and your bathrobe will already be toasty.

On the high-end of heated towel racks, some devices have as many as 10 bars, so both your towel and your bathrobe have enough contact with the towel rack to make it plenty warm for you. Other devices are a little less expensive, but have fewer rails for your towel and bathrobe.

With a heated towel rack, you can change your attitude towards ending your hot shower in the dead of the winter. Instead of stepping out of the shower only to be greeted by goose bumps and chattering teeth, you’ll step into a warm towel and a warm bathrobe.