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Put The Ahhhh In Spa Day...

An At-Home Spa Day for The EHD Team

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I experienced my first official ‘spa day’ a couple of years ago. I, of course, have booked the occasional massage and now-and-again facial where I get berated by the facialist for not having more facials, but a day dedicated to ‘spa’ isn’t something that I could have afforded years ago and rarely have time for now (I mean, WHO DOES?). Lucky for me, I partnered with Culligan Water this year to talk about the health and beauty benefits of softened and filtered water. So, with pleasure, I will talk about water while pampering my team. It is a partnership that I am excited about as we use the water every day and it is something that makes me so happy.

So gather your friends, dip your toes in some spa water and place those cucumbers on your eyes. Actually, research has shown that cucumbers on eyes inhibit your vision by 100%, which means it’s generally bad for viewing anything…except the insides of cucumbers. You have some pretty photos and a video to watch here. SIT UP, REMOVE THOSE CUCUMBERS AND PAY ATTENTION TO US RELAXING – and if, by all means, you find taking notes soothing, do that too, because we’ve got a huge helping of great ideas for you to try out yourself. 🙂

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There are a few key elements to executing an at-home spa and I wanted to bring all of those together to create the ultimate oasis. I think one of the reasons I never had a “spa day” until last year was that part of the experience is being in a pretty setting, and spas with really pretty settings are generally the most expensive ones. So making the patio an area that feels special and relaxing was key to my team actually relaxing. Yes, this was during work hours, but I wanted them to feel like they were off the clock (no emails allowed).

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Set Up A Relaxation Area:

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Ah. America’s patio. Now, it goes without saying that having a patio is not a prerequisite for creating an at-home spa relaxation area. You could use your living room or yard – really, wherever you have the space (bonus points if it serves up super chill vibes). Set up chairs (beach chairs could work) with bowls of Listerine water and some flowers. If you just did a double take at that last sentence, then you must not have been on Pinterest enough this last year. More on that in the next post, but yes, Listerine + softened water (by Culligan Water, DUH) is our version of the ‘foot facial’. Sure, you can use scrubs and scraping tools to smooth over your weary toes, or you can do this (#keepingitsimple).

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I made us all wear matching robes, like a spa. Or a cult. But seriously these robes are jersey knit and flattering and all of us use them daily (I’m not just saying that, I PROMISE – they drape well and are so soft).

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Each of the chairs got their own foot basin which we filled with a ‘Pinterest-famous’ Listerine foot soak. It promises to leave your feet feeling as fresh and supple as a baby’s. I want to have baby feet so badly, guys. We used a clear color of Listerine thus the clear water (but lots more on that next week, as we have a full post planned that walks you through each of the DIYs and how it all came together – steps and ingredients to recreate everything). But for now, let’s continue the relaxation…shhh. Inside voices only please – the EHD team is busy relaxing.

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I think Jess and Julie fell asleep. WAKE UP AND RELAX, PLEASE!

Also, that is the most of my foot you will ever see on the internet for the rest of my life so if ‘Emily Henderson’s Foot’ is something you Google often, then take a long hard look because THIS IS IT FOREVER.

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HA. Those are not mine. #stuntfeet.

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Spa Waters:

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A trip to the spa nearly always means a big ol’ dispenser of fruit or herb-infused water that is perfectly chilled to keep you quenched and relaxed while enjoying the amenities. I wanted to do the same at home but with a few different flavors, because no one takes relaxing at the spa more seriously than I do. To keep us all hydrated (with delicious water) throughout the day, I pulled together three different spa waters that were not only delicious, but healthy and very easy to make.

Creating your own spa water with fresh cut fruit and herbs is a super quick and easy way to kick your water up a notch (not to mention keep guests – or team in my case – feeling very quenched as they drift into pure relaxation mode). Let’s talk about this delicious water for a moment and why I was excited to work with Culligan this year.

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When we first moved into our home, I was concerned about not only keeping our unlacquered brass fixtures looking nice (more on that here) but also having clean water for my family and me to drink. If you know me, then you know I am the type of person that loves a VERY cold glass of water at any time. My team can attest to this. So when we started doing research for filtering and softening systems, thanks to your suggestions, I found Culligan Water.

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On to the message at hand:

We had Culligan’s High-Efficiency Water Softening System and Reverse Osmosis system installed in our home and I can say that I have been so happy with it AND THIS WAS PRE-PARTNERSHIP, meaning I loved the system before they even reached out to potentially work together. I bought it because we wanted it, and the partnership came six months later.

The Reverse Osmosis system lives under your sink and directly filters the water that you drink from your tap, meaning that the quality and taste are going to be so much better. In case you need a water refresh (no pun intended), head to my first post where I talked all about how delicious this water is. But, both my staff and I enjoyed that spa water all day long knowing that what we were drinking was the highest quality water that we could get right from the tap.

Now, for the whole home system, that’s a unit (about half the size of an old hot water tank) that typically is installed in a garage, basement or utility space. It basically softens all the water directly at the source and then distributes it out through your pipes once it has gone through the system. You can have a service person come and refill the tank with salt (based on the level of the hardness of your water) which is needed to soften the water, or you can also do it yourself. Once the system is installed, the majority of contaminants are removed from the water coming out of all of your faucets.

It’s a system and a product that you may not think about every day as it is tucked away doing its job, but it is something that helps contribute to a happier, healthier home every time you use your water.

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DIY Treatments:

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On to the treatments. Our face deserves love so we smothered them in a few DIY treatments.

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The day before our spa day, I made a simple and nourishing yogurt mask to soften skin (which only has two ingredients – Greek yogurt and probiotics). Lauren Conrad recommended it, and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for my crew. If you can get over the fact that you are slapping yogurt on your face and relax a bit once it is on, your skin feels so soft and hydrated afterward – it also makes for a great mid-spa snack should you get hungry while relaxing outside (kidding…kind of).

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While we let our face masks work their magic, bringing us one step closer to perfect “baby-butt-soft skin”, we took a load off and relaxed together outside in the sun (a little vitamin D was an added bonus to patio-turned-at-home-spa).

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This was Velinda’s second week. She loves it here!

We then followed the yogurt mask with an activated charcoal scrub which helps to brighten and exfoliate.

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It’s a little bit gritty but the texture and the ingredients help to scrub out blackheads and any dead skin so that after you rinse it all off, you are left looking 10 years younger and 35 pounds thinner (that part is not true, unfortunately). But let’s talk about charcoal for a second. The other night I realized that my mask was charcoal, my bar soap was charcoal, I had charcoal in my smoothie and I was taking charcoal pills for digestion. Is charcoal the new sun-dried tomato? It’s hitting hard right now, but I seriously LOVE what it does for my skin. While I do like our DIY mask, if you want to splurge I recommend buying the Dermalogica charcoal mask – I noticed an immediate change in my skin when I started using it. The pills and soap I’m unsure about but I’m telling you, put some dead fire on your dead skin and POOF it’s somehow alive again. Stay tuned for our mask recipe next week – all the ingredients are from the grocery store.

Lastly, I also made an at-home rose water spray to spritz ourselves with during the day – because nothing makes you feel fancier than being able to spray filtered and softened rose water on your (now) baby-soft face. Soft water = baby-soft skin, it’s as easy as that.

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ROSE WATER IS KEY TO STAYING YOUNG FOREVER. I heard that once and I’m not wavering (I will it to happen). And I was surprised at how easy and fun it was to make.

We felt good. We loved the time together. Here’s proof:

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We were caught relaxing, laughing, hanging out, and enjoying the day off from our normal office duties. THESE ARE REAL EMOTIONS.

Take Home Spa Basket:

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Before my crew left, I created a little take-home version of everything that we used during the day for each team member. Fine. They helped me assemble it and maybe Brady did all the prep, but I (we) filled it with little jars of the homemade face scrubs, DIY fountain of youth rose water, some inexpensive soaps, a decanter of filtered water, and a few other spa and wellness items to help them keep the R&R going, even after they’ve left. They’ve been instructed to use it one to three times a week, as needed. Doctor’s Boss’s orders.

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It was such a fun day. I have such a fun crew. And yes, I LOVE MY CULLIGAN WATER. I know it doesn’t feel like a traditional partnership, and I get it. But I love having treated water for my face, body, hair and, yes, to drink. If you are in the market for softened water, filtered water, or both, I can’t recommend Culligan enough. Seriously.

Cheers to a wonderful afternoon with wonderful people and many thanks to Culligan for giving us an excuse to take the day off and relax at home. I will also now be taking reservations at Spa Henderson for anyone that would like to join us next time.

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But please, remove the cucumbers from your eyelids so you can watch this video – you may or may not see my feet :).

***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD

  1. I’m all for low-key relaxing at home, and especially for ideas that don’t take a lot of time or money to create, but maybe in the future showcase some ideas that are more obtainable for the average bear? Perhaps something that happens at night on a work night (not during the middle of the day on a weekend when I’m probably at the kids’ soccer game), or a get together that takes two hours or less total (seems like this spa day went on for at least an entire afternoon), or something that’s both relaxing and includes the family (significant others and/or kids). I know I’m probably just being overly sensitive here, but the kind of day described in this post (including buying and prepping the spa stuff, cleaning the house ahead of time, and whisking the kids away) is probably something I’m at least two years away from being able to execute myself, which makes me feel kind of sad. I get that not every post is designed for every reader (nor should it be), but this particular post moved past aspiration-worthy and into completely unobtainable territory for me.

    1. Janet – it sounds much more that you are having a bad morning (or month, which I say with sympathy) than that this post (with its put your feet in Listerine and smooth some yogurt on your face message) was out of line or way too aspirational. I know nothing about your life (and you know nothing about mine, but I’ll summarize to say, two special needs kids with multiple doctors appointments weekly, a fulltime job, a single bathroom shared with all including a 14 year old girl that destroys everything, and a kitchen with no drawers and only a single working burner on the stove). But as this reaction seems a bit over the top toward a photo shoot about water for someone’s job, I just want to send you my sympathy for how you are feeling right now and my hopes that you are able to enlist some help, whether it be family, friends, a paid babysitter or babysitting swap, and get some rest time for yourself. All the best to you.

      1. Chris this is the loveliest way to answer this. You both sound like you have all sorts of s**t going down in your lives (as so so so so many of us do, and generally tend to hide from the world as much as we can!). Thanks for making this lovely and sweet little post, but thank you also for thinking so deeply about how to respond to a comment that so clearly has absolutely nothing to do with this sweet little post at all.

        1. Hi Janet, getting a plastic dishwashing tub, some Epsom salts, hot water, and Netflix could easily substitute for this, and you could do it for 25 min. I also kindly (please don’t think I’m being snarky, I’m trying to share perspective I’ve learned thru the years.) suggest that you consider what part of YOUR life people would dream about from afar. Your life could easily be someone’s name “someday but no way will it happen today” dream. We can always find someone better off AND worse off than us. So, count your blessings as much as possible and train your mind to not begrudge the blessings of others. Be pleased for them. Carry on, chin up! And try to find time to soak your feet and drink some lemon water. If even for 25 min.

    2. Hi Janet! This post is the extreme version of at-home spa. The very best way to do it, but there are some things that could work within your life I bet. Maybe just soak your feet in some hot water while you watch tv at night (a 13x9x2 pan works for this). Or put a warm or cool washcloth over your face before you fall asleep at night. I hear you about feeling overwhelmed with life and activities. Sending happy, calm vibes your way. XO

  2. I love this and feel super relaxed just reading this ^_^!

  3. Emily – you have beautiful feet. 😉 In all seriousness though, this post and the glimpse of you trees makes me SUPER curious about your backyard garden. Would love to see an updated post – gardens 3-6 months after planting look a lot different that a year or more later! Did any plants overtake the others? What were lessons you learned and what, if anything, would you do differently? …And most importantly, did your trees recover and fill themselves in yet?? Thanks!

  4. Poor Sarah T. All work and no relaxation…

  5. Well, now I need to try this. First of all, I need to tile my patio. In London. England. Where we get more rain than LA. How are your tiles holding up? Are they anti-slip? Do you get the green yuck on them after a few downpours? In your photos are always pristine!

    1. I also live in SoCal. We got very little rain this winter, and humidity is low the rest of the time – so we don’t get green grime really. She probably has her team sweep and mop the floor weekly and before shoots. I think these are just regular concrete tiles – so not anti-slip, but once again SoCal so there isn’t a ton to slip on.

  6. I love at-home spa treatments and robes (so much so that my old boyfriend called me “Mrs. Roper”). Be careful with the foot exfoliating though. I got a little overzealous one time and buffed them until they were soft pink baby feet. They looked so perfect…until I had to walk, and then it hurt SO BAD. Ha! Turns out you sort of need some of that old skin.

  7. The best part of this post was seeing your kitchen and bathroom brass fixtures and how they’ve aged. I love they way they look now – they have more soul then when they were shiny and brand new.

  8. I live in Canada, and I still find it so interesting that soft water is such a big deal to Californians!! Every home (this is not a statistical fact) in Canada, or at the very least in my province of Saskatchewan has soft water. I cannot imagine how my skin would feel and look without it. And the damage hard water does to the taps is unthinkable!!!! I’m glad you’ve gotten onboard the soft water train!!!! Enjoy! (Your deck tile is STILL gorgeous!!! Man, that is America’s deck!!!)

    1. Hey Cat, as a BC girl living in Ontario I can tell you that there’s a ton of regional variation up here. For example, Southern Ontario water is super hard and totally gross. Enjoy your (free) soft water!

    2. Eh, I don’t know that it’s the big deal these posts make it out to be. As a 4th generation Californian, I can assure you soft water is not something that my extended family or friends have ever even discussed, let alone paid for. My first house in LA had a water softener unit that prior owners took with them, so they must have valued it, but I never felt the need to replace it.

  9. My tween daughters and I like to do the at-home spa. We usually get one of those $2 face masks from CVS and sit in the backyard in robes and flip-flops. Sometimes we paint each other’s nails. My favorite discovery is that I can tell Alexa to “play spa music” to get that new agey sound that sets the right mood! I’m definitely going to try to slice up some oranges in water next time.

    1. My tween daughters and I like to do the at-home spa. We usually get one of those $2 face masks from CVS and sit in the backyard in robes and flip-flops. Sometimes we paint each other’s nails. My favorite discovery is that I can tell Alexa to “play spa music” to get that new agey sound that sets the right mood! I’m definitely going to try to slice up some oranges in water next time.

      Oh and for the first poster Janet, the total attention span of my girls for the “spa” from getting the robes, to wearing the masks, to painting nails and going back inside is about 30 minutes! Short at-home spas are fun too.

      1. Thanks for the tip! xx

    2. Thanks for the Alexa tip. I hadn’t thought of spa music…I do nature sounds to drown out construction noise next door, but spa music sounds fun!

  10. Culligan water was an ESSENTIAL in the city where I went to school, College Station, TX. As anyone who’s visited or lived there can attest, they have ‘soft water’ which makes your skin feel like you can’t get the soap off in the shower and tastes terrible.

    My Grandparents lived there and whenever friends would come with me to visit, they would see the spiget by the sink and say, “Oh good, the have Culligan.” Plus, I had many friends who worked for Culligan during school and heard nothing but great things about the company.

    1. Seems like Culligan is making Emily’s water softer, it can also add minerals to water if it’s too soft – which is what we did in College Station.

  11. Lovely article. Please Emily tell me the name of the pink flower in the vase next to the pitcher with grapefruit and rosemary. Thanks so much.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s a giant (or maybe king?) protea flower. xx

  12. Emily I have to laugh at this! I have a serious Listerine addiction. It’s the last thing I use at night and the first thing I use in the morning. Always. Now,
    the idea of soaking my feet in it makes me so very happy! Also, the greenery around your patio is gorgeous and I’m still crushing on that little seascape in your bathroom!

  13. This is such a great reminder that a spa day doesn’t have to be this whole expensive outing. I usually have a Sunday mask ritual already, but this makes me want to invite some friends over and get a little fancy. No, I don’t happen to have a patio as gorgeous as Emily’s (or a patio at all, really) but I think it’s still very applicable and translatable.

    And YES to the addition of spa music. Gotta set the scene, no matter where you are.

    Keep the inspiration coming, Emily.

    1. Thank you Beth! xx

  14. Your writing kills me! I think I spit out my water when I read #stuntfeet. Thank you for you!

    1. Ditto Elise! I loved this post for it’s tongue and cheek attitude! Thanks Emily,

  15. You’ve inspired me to make some listerine water next time I give myself a pedicure.

  16. Also, where are your patio chairs from? They look lovely!

  17. Stunt feet – ha! I need stunt knees. I use Sunday nights as my spa night. Helps start the week off right. Your patio looks heavenly!

  18. Source for the slippers you all wore ???

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  22. I just want to send you my sympathy for how you are feeling right now and my hopes that you are able to enlist some help Pc Optimization

  23. You inspired me and I at least got a face mask on this morning for 10 minutes! Hooray for small victories. I would love to know the source of those lovely robes, please.

  24. Thanxx for sharing such a great post the spa at home is very rare eeven i’ll try this very cool and very excellent. You can also reach to
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