Mark Addison, a top New York City event planner, is the expert on all things chic and clever and has put his good taste to use with Kelly Ripa, Antonio Banderas and Jennifer Lopez. Now, he is providing entertaining tips perfect for the holiday season.
For those of us north of the equator, we see ourselves already combating the rapidly falling winter temperatures. Stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey and Johnny Depp, however, are soaking up the sun on exclusive Mexican spa vacations and spending thousands of dollars for private island getaways. But what about those of you who can't afford to fly south for winter? Why not create your very own celebrity-inspired spa "stay-cation" in your own home for family and friends?
Use these four easy tips to turn your home into an affordable luxury spa resort:
1. Phone the Experts
An inexpensive way to enjoy the exclusivity of an expensive resort without the travel is by calling on local experts to help provide services for your fete. Call local nail salons and spa parlors to see if home services are available. Massage therapy schools are a great resource for inexpensive masseuses. And a local garden store could help you create an inexpensive and relaxing water feature to bring a touch of serenity to your spa day.
2. Stock the Environment
The most integral part of a spa day is creating a relaxing environment that promotes spiritual and mental awareness. Create a playlist of world music or put on your favorite slow-tempo tunes to create the perfect ambience. To achieve a whole-body cleanse but also keep costs down, encourage your guests to bring their own bathrobes and slippers. Also, attain low-lounge seating by setting throw pillows in a circle on the floor. Have guests sit with legs crossed on a pillow and meditate to clear the mind for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Enjoy the Essentials
The most rewarding parts of any spa day are the little goodies you get. Enhance the atmosphere for your guests with a few must-have essential treatments. If you're bold enough, try making your own beauty products -- like natural masks, body polishes and moisturizers -- by combining household ingredients such as avocados, sugar, salt, eggs, olive oil, cucumber, oatmeal, honey, scented oils and even mayonnaise.
Eye Gel Recipe:
Drizzle some honey directly below the lower lid. Place a lemon slice on top and leave for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce puffiness. Wash with a lukewarm rag.
Calming Mask Recipe:
Combine an egg yolk, sour cream, warmed honey, plain olive oil and a sliced avocado in a bowl. Once mixed into a paste, apply evenly over face for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash with warm water.
4. Soothe the Senses
Give your guests something to salivate over! Fill pitchers of water accented with slices of lemon, orange and berry for a hint of fruity flavor. For a speciality drink, mix up a soothing cucumber-lavender cocktail that will ease the body and the mind – with or without spirits.
Cucumber-Lavender Bliss Cooler Recipe:
- 1.5 oz orange juice
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- 6 thinly sliced cucumber wheels
- 1.5 oz. homemade lavender syrup (1 cup water; 1 cup sugar; 1 tablespoon whole lavender flowers, dried or fresh)
- 1.5 oz. SKYY Vodka (optional)
Make the lavender syrup in advance. In a small saucepan combine water the sugar and place it over medium high heat. As soon as the syrup comes to a full boil and the sugar is completely dissolved, add the lavender flowers, push them under the surface with a spoon, and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan and let the herb steep in the sugar water for 30 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine sieve and press down firmly on the herbs with a back of a spoon to extract any syrup that is held in the leaves. Store in a covered bottle or jar in the refrigerator for up to three months.
Mix all the ingredients together in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard for 30 seconds until the cucumber wheels break up. Strain over fresh cubed ice and garnish with either a thin stick of cucumber or 1 sprig of fresh lavender.
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