Bath Water Brewing: 8 Recipes for a Soothing Soak

It's easy to upgrade your next bath with one of these simple recipes for relaxation!

A relaxing bath starts with a relaxing atmosphere. Here blue and white create a serene space.
A relaxing bath starts with a relaxing atmosphere. Here blue and white create a serene space.

A gorgeous bathroom demands a special beauty treatment. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money on luxury products. Here are some recipes for creating your own soothing bath treatments at home, for a fraction of what you’d spend at a spa.

Bath Tea

As an alternative to bath salts, bundle lavender, chamomile, peppermint and rosemary in a cheesecloth pouch or large metal tea strainer. Leave in the hot water for the duration of your bath and you’ll emerged feeling relaxed and energized. Pre-filled bath sachets make great gifts too.

Eucalyptus Oil

Blend eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils with almond or coconut oil (use 10 drops of essential oils to every ounce of the carrier oil). Store in a small bottle and use 1 tablespoon in your bath to rejuvenate your senses.

Milk Bath

Combine 2 cups powdered whole milk, ½ cup cornstarch and ½ cup of baking soda in a glass jar and shake well. Add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil, shake again and let it sit for 24 hours. Pour one to two cups of the powder under warm running water to moisturize, exfoliate and soften skin.

Champagne Bath

Did you forget about that bottle of wine in the back of the fridge? It may not be good for drinking any longer, but it can still benefit you. Pour a glass or more of champagne or red wine into the water when you run the bath to lighten skin, reduce discoloration and cleanse pores.

Oatmeal Bath

Not just for treating skin rashes and sunburn, an oatmeal bath can soften the skin, reduce acne and revive aging skin. Fill a new, knee-high stocking with a cup of oatmeal (not instant) and tie at the top. Toss it in the warm water, and squeeze it occasionally to release the oatmeal-infused water. You can even use the stocking to give yourself a good all-over scrub.

Honey Bubble Bath

Mix a cup of a light oil, like baby, almond or sunflower oil, with a half cup each of honey and unscented shampoo, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Shake well before adding a quarter cup to your bath. If you want bigger bubbles, add one egg white into the mix.

Chocolate Bath Salts

Combine four cups of Epsom salt with 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Epsom salt is good for soothing aches and pains, while the cocoa will help keep your skin clear and hydrated. Try combining this with a milk bath for an extra luxurious soak!

Finishing Touches

The perfect bath isn’t complete without quiet music, soft candlelight and a plush towel to wrap yourself in when you’re done. To stay hydrated while you soak, avoid diuretic beverages before, during and after your bath. Instead of tea, coffee or wine, try cool lemon water. And don’t rush yourself—a good bath should last at least 20 minutes to give time for the oils, salts and other bath ingredients to really work.

Enjoy Holiday Hygge with Nordic Christmas Décor

Nordic comfort and French elegance blend perfectly for a traditional Christmas in this rustic and romantic home.

Christmas dinner table with mix of white and brown chairs and rustic decor.
A big family always requires extra chairs at the table. Here, Cindy has combine two different styles that blend effortlessly together. A smattering of red ornaments and accesories stand out against the white and burlap on the table. Cindy made the ruffled burlap wreathes that hang on the chair backs herself.

In Southern California, where sunshine and warmth are plentiful even at Christmastime, you can still bring the magic of winter indoors.

Nordic style living room with Christmas tree.
The chippy benches placed around the tree add a rustic dimension to the room, and also provide additional space for packages. The ornaments on the tree itself are simple and in keeping with the decor of the room.

For Cindy Roberts, owner of Cute Pink Stuff, and her family of six—which includes her husband and four children, ages 10 to 19—her suburban Los Angeles home is kept looking pretty all year in a style inspired by feminine French-Nordic design. By adding her own handmade and natural touches, she’s able to capture a blissful and memorable winter theme.

“Each year presents a different decorating style,” says Cindy, iwho refreshes her home’s holiday scenery by introducing new DIY projects, color combinations and ornaments. Starting with a neutral background gives her plenty of room for her creativity to flourish.

The hardwood floors and most of the walls are painted in a cottage-white, which opens up the space and provides an easy opportunity to switch out the décor.

Kitchen counter set for casual holiday meal.
Christmas breakfast can be a casual affair, with fun place settings arranged at the kitchen counter. Each spot has it’s own special tree. Note the blue and white tile from the backsplash is repeated here on the counter.

Because Cindy prefers a simple color scheme of red and white, borrowed from Swedish and French design, she can easily mix in Christmas décor with an occasional pop of pink—a beloved hue.

White nordic style room with rustic holiday decor
Vintage ornament garlands are an easy way to add holiday charm to any room.

“In years past, I’ve been exuberant, opting for traditional red and green décor, colorful Christmas stockings,window dressings and poinsettia plants everywhere,” Cindy says.

“This year,I kept it simple with splashes of red on a white background (walls, floors, furniture) combined with rustic elements (burlap, pinecones, bird nests) and elegant shine (mercury-glass ornaments).”

While Cindy designs and sells many of the handmade decorative items found in her holiday décor, her minimalist ambience puts the spotlight on her artful pieces.

“Our home’s year-round style blends French Nordic with rustic and feminine elements,” she says. “Having a neutral palette of white makes it easy to incorporate splashes of red for the holidays. Adding natural tones of brown blends nicely without changing our year-round style.”

A white, Nortic style bedroom with rustic holiday decor.
A pair of garlands over the bed and a few white silk flowers bring the Christmas spirit to the master bedroom.

Cindy’s tips for creating a whimsical winter theme:

Chippy cabinet decorated for Christmas in Nordic style home.

1. Simple crafting materials are all you need to add a festive touch to popular Christmas ornaments and decorations. Tie red, vintage seam binding or ribbon to vintage glass ornaments and hang them from a tension rod above a window.

2. Incorporate elements from nature for an authentic flair. Use pinecones, bird nests and boughs of holly to dress up your mantel and tabletops for a fun and organic seasonal look.

3. Display handmade pieces for a personal touch. Cindy’s burlap ruffle garland and linen rag wreaths create a unique winter aesthetic and cozy feel.

4. If you prefer a less-traditional holiday color scheme, go monochromatic. In Cindy’s all-white, cottage-style home, she opts for touches of red matched with natural tones found in twigs, pinecones and burlap, which add warmth and depth.

5. Scatter sentimental items. From vintage Christmas cards from years past to a favorite handmade piece, Cindy chooses to surround herself with items that she loves. “Collections of the same or similar items work well,” she says. “Each sentimental piece repeats a special memory that can be relived daily.”

6. Start a new holiday tradition that allows you to slow down and savor the experience. Cindy’s family sets out a special wooden bench that each child sits on to open gifts and thank the giver.








Brunch Table Setting

Design a lovely brunch table setting inspired by the beauty of a blue-skied day outdoors.Brunch Table Setting

With a crisp spring day as inspiration, throw a casual brunch table setting where the colors are the main event. Keeping things casual, this table, set at French General, a European-influenced accessories and craft shop in Los Angeles, California, is thrown together with no-fuss embellishments that get their frills from scallop-edged dishware and bright vivacious color. Owner Kaari Meng says that what’s important is the true joie de vivre theme—enjoying the colors of the season, the fresh natural elements and the people who will fill the table. “When setting your table, think about what you already have, things tucked away at the back of your china cabinet. Pull them out and give them new life by using them for a simple meal.” To craft your own brunch table setting, consider these tips:


Choose a few bold colors to carry out the theme without overwhelming the brunch table setting. Here, a rose red is perfectly paired with a heavenly blue recalling a field of red—roses or strawberries since they are coming into season. Creamy white balances the bold color and adds a delicate touch.


Since there aren’t many elements on the brunch table setting, choose dishware with more intricate details. “I tend to pull lots of old ironstone, which blends with everything,” Kaari says. “Think about using special salad plates or platters to mix things up a bit. Have fun with your glassware—using elegant hand-blown glasses makes everything look festive or a set of mismatched old water glasses can look very elegant.” Here, dinner, salad and dessert plates are layered to highlight their similar lacy edges. Each element on the table carries a scalloped detail, from the tulip dessert glasses that hold sweet treats to the cake plate and the antique Cameo Ware by Harker Pottery.


“I always begin by layering the table,” Kaari says. “Whether it’s new or old textiles, I start with a tablecloth and then add on from there. I like to add a colorful striped runner and some simple linen placemats as well as some old linen napkins—maybe even embroidered with an initial or two.” Here, a casual cotton tablecloth in a garden floral is offset by another tablecloth in pink-on-pink plaid folded to create a quick and easy runner. Don’t have a complete set of napkins on hand? No need to worry—a mix of linens adds to the casual feel. Here, a few pieces matching the tablecloth are mixed with antique grain-sack linens in creamy white and red.

Flowers and Fruit:

A generously-sized arrangement of hydrangeas recalls a grouping of lush white clouds. Red roses punctuate the bouquet, adding fun bright details. Apples arranged on a cake plate add more color for a quick and casual addition to the menu. Rosebuds are added to the decadent cake to create a true piéce de resistance to the meal.

For more information on French General and Kaari Meng, visit

Fourth of July Treats

Be inspired by Fourth of July treats and the colors of the American flag.

Fourth of July Treats

It is a day to celebrate American style. The Fourth of July is a holiday built around nostalgia, and traditions reign. There will always be red, white and blue; parades; fireflies caught in jars and the tastes of summer. We put a sweet spin on our celebration by creating Fourth of July treats: cupcakes donned with sparkly sugars in patriotic colors and star-shaped shortcakes livened up with fresh cream and berries.

For the setting, contributing editor Diane Sedo favors ruby glass on the table, which works with her Wilendur red rose tablecloth. The yard is fully mature by now, so green grass sets off the bright colors perfectly, and nothing says Independence Day better than buntings tied to a white picket fence. The scene beckons golden-haired dogs being chased by children in paper pirate hats.

 Star Shortcake

Star Shortcake

Makes 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
3/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Stir in the milk with a fork until the mixture forms a ball.
5. Knead dough several times on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a 3-inch star cutter.
6. Place on ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

For the fruit filling: 1 cup blueberries and/or 1 cup raspberries mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar.

To assemble: Cut the slightly cooled shortcakes in half. Place some fresh cream (or whipped topping) on the bottom half of the shortcake. Add 1/3 cup of the fruit. Top with remaining shortcake. Garnish with a dollop of cream and fruit.

Holiday cards flowers and ephemera
Holiday cards, flowers and ephemera from the past are elements that add style to the table setting.

8 Reasons to Love Berries

Now with spring in full swing and summer on the way, outdoor gatherings and picnics are here to stay. For the meantime, anyway. With so many to host and attend, you’ll be racking your brain for quick food inspiration. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover why you should serve berries at your next soirée.

Plate Full of Berries
A bowlful of raspberries and blackberries makes for a classy treat.

They’re quick. When planning a party, you’ve got a million things on your to-do list. Berries are a low maintenance food, making hosting that much less stress-inducing. Just give the berries a light wash, unpack them into a charming bowl and serve. It doesn’t get easier than that!

They’re super. A superfood, that is. Berries–all kinds–are packed with antioxidants that help ward off illnesses. Antioxidants are also known to improve your health and combat the adverse effects of aging. Your guests will thank you for keeping their health in mind. Remember, a handful of berries a day keeps the doctor away.

They’re good for the heart. All berries seem to be heart-healthy fruit, but research shows that blueberries may reduce the risk of a heart attack. However, generally speaking, berries are high in fiber, lowering the risk of high cholesterol. Even guests with a family history of heart disease can benefit from this.

They’re juicy. The water content found in berries is high and food with high levels of water make you fuller faster. Since you won’t feel the need to eat as much, berries can aid in weight loss and guests with strict diets will be grateful to find something tasty to snack on.

They’re versatile. Give your guests the gift of creative leeway with a bowlful of berries. Berries can be eaten alone or sprinkled into salads, yogurts, ice creams, and wherever else life takes them. Guests can mix and match for a refreshing bite or to add some texture.

They’ll keep you on your toes. Sort of. Studies show that berries can reduce the rate of mental decline and memory loss, meaning that guests are more likely to remember “that exquisite berry salad” they had at your get-together.

They’ll look great on your table. With such a vibrant array of colors to choose from, berries will add delight and interest to the tabletops upon which they are bestowed.

They’re delicious. Let’s face it. Berries are delicious and with so many different types to choose from, everyone can find something to enjoy.


3 Reasons to Have a Spring Outdoor Gathering

There’s no better time to revel in nature than in the spring. Pack a picnic lunch, head to your nearest nature getaway, or invite a few loved ones over for a spot of tea during high noon–the point is to enjoy the great outdoors. Not convinced? The following are reasons why you should throw (or attend) a spring outdoor gathering.

Spring Outdoor Gathering
Decorate your backyard with fresh flowers and nature-themed trinkets as a perfect complement for your gathering.

Celebrate the season. Think about all you’ve had to overcome in the past few months–chilly weather, strong winds, dry skin. It’s time to give yourself a break and enjoy mother nature’s gift of sunshine, life, and whatever else spring means to you. Throw a spring outdoor gathering simply because you can and because no outside element is going to stop you.

Be in the company of loved ones. Show your loved ones how much you appreciate them with a spring outdoor gathering. Bask in one another’s glory over finger sandwiches and a bowlful of berries. Your guests will be honored by your thoughtfulness and you’ll have a reason for getting the ol’ gang back together.

Celebrate your hard work. Why not show off your newly planted garden or that great recipe you just discovered with a spring outdoor gathering? Even better, treat your guests to a new dish featuring some delicious new fruits and vegetables from your garden. Your outdoor party will be raved about for months!


Antique Enthusiasts Create Seaside Glamour

Learn how to give your home a touch of glamour with these styling tips.

Living Room
French antiques and crisp colors give this comfortable home a dose of glamour.

This light-filled space is as fresh as the air that flows in from the ocean below it. For Lucy and Tony Torres, former residents of Birmington, Michigan, their bright and airy home in San Clemente, California, is an enchanting oasis where birds sing in the distance and cool breezes and garden scents fill the air.

Lucy’s signature style combines romantic chandeliers and collections of crystal with antique, chippy French furniture in shades of cream and white for a look that is both collected and sophisticated. The finishing touch is a light color palette inspired by the natural views. “It is always changing,” Lucy says, “[The palette] is peaceful; there are many different shades of green, blue and aqua—soft shades and bright shades too. I love them all.” Here’s how to get a look that seamlessly blends elegance with comfort.


Mix and match. Combine styles and eras for a look that appears carefully collected over time. Scour antique stores and flea markets for pieces that are truly unique. Don’t be afraid to set an antique French sofa across from an oversized couch.

Unify found pieces with white paint. When mixing styles, pick one element that will tie them all together. For Lucy, picking furniture in shades of white helped to achieve a harmonious design.

Make a statement with structural pieces. Lucy’s penchant for architectural pieces adds elegance to her living spaces. Columns, ornate stone furniture and grand garden urns find their place indoors for a stately feel.

Add sparkling surfaces. Give your space some glamour with mirrored surfaces, elaborate chandeliers in all sizes and crystals sprinkled throughout. Try adding candelabra and silver candleholders for elegant mantel and table displays.

Accentuate the architecture. This room highlights the exposed wood ceiling and beams by allowing it to retain its natural color. Bring attention to structural details in your home by painting in a different shade than the rest of the room.

For more information on Lucy Torres, visit


Set a Beautiful Table on Mother’s Day

A well-cooked meal can go a long way, but a well-set table can go an even longer way. This Mother’s Day, enjoy an exquisite brunch in the comfort of your own home. Here are six additions to a beautiful table for any mother to enjoy.


Mothers Day Table Setting

This table is simple and sophisticated—perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch!

Keep it soft. Color scheme is always important since it sets the tone of your meal. On Mother’s Day, use a soft color scheme to achieve a sophisticated look. Soft pinks and various shades of white will complement the season best, but any muted shades will do.
Stay simple. Don’t fuss over your mantle. On Mother’s Day, you’ll want to keep your decor looking as clean as possible. Ditch the embroidered mantle for a simple white one or a bare wooden table—just make sure that your table is in good shape if you decide to go with the latter.
Use your shiniest silver. Silver trays and utensils will make great accent pieces for your Mother’s Day brunch. Make sure all silver is polished and untarnished.
Bring out the china. Treat your mother like royalty this Mother’s Day and serve your best dishes on your finest china. She’ll love the extra effort you’ve put in to ensure she feels like a queen.
Use fresh bouquets. Fragrance the air with a subtle hint of flowers. Use a vase of colorful flowers as a centerpiece for your table. The flowers will add a pop of color while maintaining classiness and will complement the season. And remember, at the end of the day, your mother will have a beautiful bouquet to walk away with.
Light candles. Even unlit, candles will bring a sophistication to your table. Use candlesticks as an additional centerpiece.
Want to treat your mother even more? Here are more ideas on how to spend Mother’s Day.

Recipe: Sugar Cookie and Icing Glaze

Valentine’s Day is a day when we celebrate the love we have in our life whether it’s a significant other, relative or friend. Show your sweethearts how much you care with a yummy treat.

Wrap your cookies up in something just as sweet!

Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours. Roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Leave one inch of space between cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit.

Cool for one hour before frosting.


Have fun when decorating—let your artistic side show!

Icing Glaze Recipe

  • 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 4-6 tablespoons of milk

Combine powdered sugar and milk in a bowl and stir until smooth (the icing should not be too runny). Add more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken the glaze. Tint with food coloring. Use a separate bowl for each color needed.

Frost the cookie with the icing. Smooth the top with a spatula dipped in water. Use the edge of the spatula to scrape off any icing that has run over the edge of the cookie. The icing glaze hardens in a couple of hours.