Send the Perfect Spa Gift

Archive for the ‘Spa Gift Baskets’ Category

Key lime pie: a holiday gift tradition with a twist

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

key lime pie soap

This key lime pie looks and smells just like the real deal, but it’s not.. it’s decorative soap!

We recently discussed our fruitcake slice soap as an alternative to sending real, edible fruitcake during the holidays, but if fruitcake isn’t your thing, real or soap, then perhaps you’d prefer a good, old-fashioned holiday pie instead.

Pies, like fruitcake, are a tradition deeply rooted in American culture, and some other cultures too, particularly so during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Fall and Winter holidays. Key lime pie, in particular, is a popular favorite during the holiday months, especially in the state of Florida, from which the recipe for key lime pie originated.

 A brief history of key lime pie

The first key lime pie recipe is thought to have originated towards the end of the 19th century in the Key West region of Florida. The local legend is that a man by the name of William Curry, a Bahamian immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire, employed a cook known only as “Aunt Sally.” The story goes that “Aunt Sally” altered a recipe for lemon ice box pie to use the locally available key limes instead of lemons.decorative soap - key lime pie

Key lime pie for the holidays

While it’s certainly traditional to have freshly baked pies on display during the holidays, particularly ones as iconic and recognizable as key lime pie, with its yellow-green filling and white meringue topping, you always run the risk of your guests not caring for the type of pie you choose, necessitating that you get rid of most or all of it come the end of the holiday season.

That is, assuming you choose an edible pie. If homage to tradition and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere in your kitchen is your primary incentive for putting a holiday pie on display, you may be better off with a decorative pie, such as this key lime pie soap.

holiday gift basketThis key lime pie soap looks, feels, and smells almost identical to the real deal, but, as a fully functional decorative soap, gives it an additional practical purpose. It will also last much longer than a slice of real key lime pie were you to leave it on your kitchen counter all season.

Want more key lime pie for your money? Check out this holiday gift basket that includes our key lime pie soap!

 

 

 

 

Is fruitcake still a popular holiday gift?

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

fruitcake slice soap

Many people still send fruitcake during the holidays, but does anyone ever actually eat it?

Now that Halloween has passed, it’s once again time to be thinking about gift ideas for the holidays, and what better or more traditional holiday gift could there be than the  gift of fruitcake? Well, if you asked comedian Johnny Carson, he’d probably reply, “almost anything,” as he once remarked on the Today Show that, “The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”

Whether you love the tradition of sending fruitcake by mail during the holidays, or you hate it, there’s no denying this popular or not-so-popular confection’s association with Christmas and other Fall and Winter holidays. But have you ever wondered how this association came to be? If everybody loathes it, how did it get to be such a popular gift?

A brief history of fruitcake as a holiday gift

We did some digging online one day and discovered that one of the primary events leading to fruitcake’s association with Christmas in American culture was the publication of Truman Capote’s short story A Christmas Memory, in which a sixty-something woman looks out her window and says, “Oh my! It’s fruitcake weather,” and then proceeds to gather up the ingredients to make one.

The confection itself, however, has a history somewhat longer than a mere 50+ years. It actually originates from Roman times, where pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and barley were mixed together into a ring-shaped cake with an exceptionally long shelf life. It was because of fruitcake’s long shelf life that it became a popular foodstuff for Roman soldiers to carry with them to the battlefield.

An alternative to holiday fruitcake

It seems that Johnny Carson was somewhat correct in his assessment of fruitcake, at least in terms of its unpopularity in recent years. Though many people still practice the tradition of sending fruitcake by mail during the holiday season, far fewer are likely to admit to actually enjoying eating it.

Indeed, in Manitou Springs, Colorado a popular January “sporting event” has arisen out of this dated holiday tradition: the Great Fruitcake Toss – during which uneaten holiday fruitcakes are disposed of via catapult.

decorative soap - fruit cakeBut if you’re one of the many people across the world who still appreciates the time-honored tradition of sending holiday fruitcake, you’re probably looking for a way to ensure that your thoughtful gift doesn’t end up sailing through mid-air come January.

Castle Baths has created the perfect solution for you: instead of sending a real, edible fruitcake, send someone this fruitcake slice soap or one of our spa gift baskets that includes it.

This decorative soap is made with natural glycerin and other organic and wild-crafted skin care ingredients to almost perfectly emulate the look and scent of a real, fresh holiday fruitcake, and give your friends and loved ones a practical gift they can use in their bathrooms or kitchens, rather than a more-sentimental-than-edible fruitcake they are loathe to eat.

CB’s gift services program makes spa gift basket selection easier than ever!

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Last week, we talked about a few of the reasons why you might not want to wait until Black Friday to do your holiday shopping, and gave you a few incentives for sending someone a spa gift basket if you find yourself idea-less on what to get them this year for the holidays. This week, we’ll be continuing our theme of pre-Black Friday holiday gift giving, and will be introducing you to our gift services program, which makes finding the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list easier than ever!

What is Castle Baths’ Gift Services Prorgram?

gift services

Our gift services program is a new service we’re offering for anyone looking to send our spa products and spa gift baskets to a large and diverse group of people. Examples of this include businesses who want to send each of their employees or clients something special, or if you’re planning a wedding or other special event and want to send everybody a thank you for attending.

How our gift services program is different from buying in bulk

If you know exactly what you want to get for everybody on your gift giving list, and you’re ok with sending everybody the exact same thing, then, yes, you could just order one of our products or baskets in bulk. But what if you don’t know what to get, or you want to send something unique to each person on your list that’s tailored to his or her personal likes and dislikes?

That could take some time, and chances are you don’t have it. That’s where our gift services program comes in. We’ve conducted extensive research on which of our products and scents appeal most to various demographics, and, when you order through our gift services program, we’ll share that expertise with you to help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list quickly, and even create custom spa gift baskets for you!

When you order spa gift baskets through our gift services program, the sky is the limit. You can mix and match scents, products, and accessories, or just leave everything to us and relax knowing that everyone on your list will love what we send them.

How to sign up for our gift services program

Click here to learn more about how to create and send custom spa gift baskets using our gift services program.

 

4 Reasons to buy all your holiday gifts BEFORE Black Friday

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

It’s mid-October. Do you have all your holiday gifts purchased yet? If not, you really should get started as soon as possible. Here’s 4 reasons why you should consider getting your Christmas and other holiday shopping done before Black Friday, especially  if you plan on doing most of your shopping online.

1. Two words… down time. Remember what happened when open enrollment in the Healthcare Exchange website debuted? Nobody could complete their applications because everyone was trying to log in at the same time. When hackers try to intentionally overload a site via fake mass logins it’s called a denial of service attack. When it happens accidentally with legitimate login attempts, it’s called down time or lag time. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals attract customers. Lots and lots of customers, all trying to claim their discounts before the sales end and get their merchandise shipped before the holidays.  That means lots of down time while various online stores try to accommodate the overload in site traffic.

2. Black Friday deals are no longer the biggest sales of the year. The Wall Street Journal reports that online shopping has created far greater transparency in how companies control their pricing, and there are many ways customers can monitor items they wish to purchase for discount throughout the year, such as adding items to their wishlist.

3.  Mass demand causes items to sell out. If there’s a huge influx of customers looking to buy a particular product all on the same day, inventory levels may not hold out. If you want to guarantee that you find exactly what you’re looking for, instead of having to settle for your second or third choice, or miss out on a good sale because the item on sale is sold out, it’s best to do your shopping while demand is low and inventory levels are stable.

4. Shipping takes time… even more so if shipping companies are overburdened. If you want to guarantee that the items you want will arrive on time, it’s best to make your purchases well in advance of the date by which you need them to arrive. International shipping takes even more time to arrive and clear customs.

Solutions for beating the Black Friday rush this holiday season

holiday gift basketSpa Gift Baskets are a great holiday gift idea for almost anyone, especially someone for whom you don’t have any ideas on what to buy. You don’t need to wrap them or package them for shipping – we’ll take care of all of that for you! Plus, we offer several sure-fire ways to guarantee that the gift basket you select will be appropriate for and appreciated by the recipient:

How to make holiday shopping easy with Castle Baths’ gift guide

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

gift guide - spa gift baskets

It’s already time to start thinking about holiday gifts. Have you checked our our gift guide?

It always feels like time seems to speed up starting in October, and we’re not speaking just from the perspective of small businesses. Before you know it, it’s Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas. If you’re like some of our staff and have family and friends with birthdays and anniversaries during the last three months of the year it can get to the point where you feel bombarded with gift giving obligations, one after the other, with no time to even catch your breath let alone go shopping.

Shopping for gifts online can alleviate some of the end-of-the-year gifting stress you may be feeling, but with so many gifts from which to choose, it can also complicate matters. That’s why we started offering our gift guide last year.

How to use Castle Baths’ gift guide most effectively

Our gift guide provides you with links and descriptions for each type of spa gift basket we offer, as well as our top staff picks for each category. For example, if you know someone with a birthday coming up who you think might appreciate a spa gift basket, you can instantly jump to our birthday category, and see the gift baskets we recommend for birthday gifts (many of which include chocolate scented products.)

How we select staff picks for gift baskets

Our staff picks aren’t just our personal preferences; each staff pick is selected based upon our research on which products and aromatherapy scents various demographics are most likely to enjoy. For example, our Sweet Escape Gift Basket is a staff pick for our Mother’s Day category because it includes an assortment of relaxing Sweet Dreams (vanilla & lavender) scented products, which we have found to be extremely popular among young mothers who need a break from their kids so they can rest and relax.

Talk to one of our experts

expert gift advice - contact

You can also use our gift guide to talk one-on-one with one of our experts. We’re more than happy to share our demographic research with you and help you select the perfect gift basket for whatever upcoming occasion you have in mind. You’ll always get a real person too – someone who actually knows what she’s talking about and can answer your questions quickly and accurately. (Because we, like you, know just how annoying it can be when you go to a store and ask an associate a question, only to find out that he or she is just part-time holiday help and doesn’t know where anything is or how anything works.)

When you see for yourself how easy our gift guide makes it to shop for spa gift baskets online, you’ll see why it’s become one of our most popular pages!

 

3 luxurious Mother’s day gifts with a purpose

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Many retail stores will try to sell you Mother’s day gifts that are simply that – Mother’s day gifts; small tokens of appreciation that don’t really accomplish anything other than wishing someone a happy Mother’s day. Sure, you can get her a box of assorted chocolates, and she may even appreciate it and thank you for your thoughtfulness. But as the weeks go by and the contents of that box of chocolates dwindles in size, all you will have really accomplished is to thwart her efforts at dieting.

Going purely practical isn’t always the best solution to gift giving either. After all, giving the perfect gift is just as much about presentation as it is about the gift itself. Surprise, suspense, and showmanship are just as important as what you give, and sometimes even more so. Let’s face facts; there really isn’t a whole lot of showmanship and surprise in getting your mom, who happens to be an avid gardener, a collection of new gardening tools for Mother’s day.mother's day gifts - sweet escapespa gift basket - enchanted eveningdozen roses chocolate soap

Recap: A great gift should deliver:

  • Surprise
  • Suspense
  • Showmanship
  • Purpose

Is it too much to ask that a gift serve a purpose beyond simply saying, “Happy Mother’s day!” and still be presented in a sophisticated and elegant manner? The folks at Castle Baths Spa Products didn’t think this was too demanding of a request, which is why they like to refer to all their customizable spa gift baskets as “products with a purpose.”

Products with Purpose: Anti-Aging Spa Gifts

Castle Baths offers a wide selection of spa gift baskets to serve a variety of purposes, but for the sake of time, we’ll just be talking about anti-aging gifts this week.

Now, getting your mom an anti-aging spa gift basket for Mother’s day can be tricky. It needs to include some key products and ingredients to achieve this purpose, but not to the point where it’s obviously an anti-aging gift, as these can spoil the gift giving moment with the unfortunate subliminal message of, “you’re getting older so you’ll probably need these things soon.”

For this reason, it’s probably best to avoid baskets containing products with obvious ant-aging titles like “anti-wrinkle cream” unless the said products are something she’s specifically asked for (but then, where’s the surprise?) Instead, try to find baskets containing products that could be useful to anyone who wants to look their best this spring and summer, such as:

  • Dead Sea Products – Dead Sea Salt and Dead Sea Mud are both great skin care ingredients for any age, and can help with adult acne, pore minimizing, and a variety of other skin care concerns.
  • Chocolate Spa Products – Real cocoa and chocolate both contain naturally high levels of antioxidants, which help fight off the free radicals caused by sun overexposure and can help Mom avoid free-radical-induced signs of aging such as sun spots and overly wrinkled, leathery skin.
  • Coffee Spa Products – Coffee is another natural skin care ingredient to look for in spa products. Spa products made with coffee tend to have a scratchy feel that works great for exfoliation. Plus, coffee has been shown to be helpful in stimulating skin to provide temporary smoothing of cellulite deposits.

Recommended Anti-Aging Spa Gifts for Mother’s Daygift basket - dead sea spa anti-aging

Here are some of Castle Baths’ top anti-aging staff picks for Mother’s Day 2014:

The Dead Sea Spa Gift Basket – Treat Mom to the rejuvenating powers of the Dead Sea with this unique, luxurious spa gift basket. The Dead Sea Spa Gift Basket includes:

pore minimizer giftThe Pore Minimizer Spa Kit – Give Mom what she needs to deep-cleanse her pores so she’ll have clear skin in time for the first family beach outing. The Pore Minimizer Spa Kit includes:

  • One 4 oz container of Pure, Authentic, Wet Dead Sea Mud (great for mud masks)
  • One 2 oz Coffee Cocoa Face and Body Scrub (for face and/or body exfoliation)
  • One Dead Sea Mud Bar Soap (for acne and deep facial cleansing)

The Slice of Life Spa Gift Basket – Give Mom the sweet scent of chocolate and vanilla in this aromatic moisturizer gift basket. The Slice of Life Spa Gift Basket includes:

When Mom sees the delivery man walking up to her front door with one of these gift baskets, the suspense will rise. Once she sees the luxury and artistry that went into the basket, she’ll be in for a huge (and welcome) surprise, and once she discovers that each product included serves more purpose than just a pleasing scent, that’s when she’ll finally realize that this may truly be the best Mother’s Day gift ever!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Castle Baths’ One Dozen Chocolate Soap Roses are back by popular demand for Valentine’s Day 2014 and are now available for purchase all year round too!

one dozen chocolate rose soapsIf you want to give your significant other these unique decorative soaps as a Valentine’s Day gift, be sure to place your order with Castle Baths no later than February 10, 2014 to ensure delivery by February 14.

If you do end up ordering after February 10, don’t worry! Chances are we’ll still be able to get your roses out in time. But just to be on the safe side, please try to have your order in as soon as possible. These were very popular last year and we’re expecting them to be even more popular this year!

Remember, our One Dozen Chocolate Soap Roses are available in two scents: dark chocolate or vanilla musk with a hint of chocolate, so be sure to specify which scent you think she’ll like best when placing your order. You may also request a custom handwritten message be included in the complimentary Valentine’s Day greeting card that comes with these soaps.

dozen chocolate rose soaps vaseTo learn more about these soaps and how truly unique they are, please watch our YouTube video. Be sure to watch it all the way through to catch our bloopers at the end (included for your entertainment.) If the video does not play correctly below, please click here to watch it on YouTube.

 

 

One Dozen Chocolate Rose Soaps Back by Popular Demand!

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

decorative soap - valentines roses

What do you want for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate? Roses? A spa day? Dinner at a nice restaurant? All of the above?

Don’t feel rushed if you haven’t given it much thought. After all, Christmas was only one month ago and February 14 probably still feels like the distant future, but it’s important to start thinking about what you might want so you can start dropping hints to your significant other.

one dozen chocolate rose soapsIf you’re into classic romantic gestures like receiving fresh delivered flowers or a box of chocolates we have the perfect gift idea for you to request this year: One Dozen Chocolate Rose Soaps.

This specialty item by Castle Baths combines three of your favorite Valentine’s Day treats (chocolate, roses, and a spa day) into one luxurious experience! These natural soap roses are made entirely from natural, organic and wild-crafted ingredients and hand-dipped in real cocoa to give you a long-lasting sweet scent and soft, smooth skin.

dozen chocolate roses vaseEach rose is a fully functional bar of natural soap you can use in your kitchen or shower, and serves as a decorative soap and conversation piece at the same time! Try arranging your dozen rose soaps in a vase by the sink as demonstrated in the picture to the right.

chocolate roses soap dishWhen you want to use one of your rose soaps as a bar of soap, simply pull one off its stem (they separate easily) and place it in a soap dish.

These soaps are scented in your choice of dark chocolate or vanilla musk with a hint of chocolate, and should retain their scents for months!

chocolate roses soap deliveredSold on a gift idea? Great! But this is supposed to be a gift for you from your significant other, so now comes the hard part: finding ways to drop hints of what you want without outright asking for them. Fortunately, we have a few suggestions here as well.

  1. Clip a picture of the roses to your refrigerator. Maybe even place the picture near or on the February 14 block on the calendar. Too obvious? Well, maybe… but it certainly gets the point across.
  2. Leave your computer’s web browser open to the Castle Baths website – perhaps even leave it on the roses page.
  3. Make some sort of random comment like, “I wonder if anyone has ever tried to make a chocolate rose? That would be a really great Valentine’s Day gift!”

We hope you enjoy your roses and that you have a happy Valentine’s Day!

All Christmas Orders Must be Placed by 12:00 PM EST Friday

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

For those of you who haven’t ordered yet and are wondering if there is still time to place an order with Castle Baths and have it arrive in time for Christmas, the answer is “yes” – most likely. However, all orders must be placed no later than 12:00 PM (noon) on Friday, December 20, 2013 if you want them to arrive in time for the Christmas holiday.

If you place an order between now and noon on Friday and the shipping address you specify is in the continental U.S., chances are you will receive your package in time for Christmas. If you do place an order with us, or have done so already, and you are wondering where your package is, please refer to our blog from last week on the shipping process and potential holdups. If you suspect your package was delayed, please give us a call at (757) 788-8157 and we will help you track it down.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Castle Baths!

How to Select the Perfect Holiday Spa Gift Basket

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

It’s never too early to start thinking about gift ideas for the holidays, especially considering we’re halfway through October already. But if you have distant friends or relatives, (or even if they live close by,) you’re likely to at some point encounter the dilemma many gift givers encounter this time of year: “What would they enjoy?”

If your distant friend, relative, or loved one happens to be female, this can further complicate your dilemma (especially if you’re male). Should you go practical and get her something she really needs that will be useful around the house? If so, what does she need? Should you go for something more pampering like a spa gift basket, or would she consider that too gender stereotypical?  If so, what types of spa products should it include? What scents would she like? There are so many choices.

Practical vs. Pampering: the gift giver’s dilemma

If you’re male and looking for gifts for women, your first inclination may be to shy away from the typically feminine gifts such as spa gift baskets and go practical simply because you just don’t feel you know enough about the spa and bath industry to select the right spa gift. Going practical with your gift giving this year may seem like the ideal solution, but practical gifts can backfire just as easily. Just ask the guy who bought a bucket and mop for his wife for Christmas 20 years ago how that worked out.

If your practical gift is something she’s specifically requested from you or has hinted at on more than one occasion as to its ability to make her life easier, than all is well. Otherwise, it’s a shot in the dark, and you may be better off with something more pampering and lifestyle-oriented.

Selecting a pampering gift

holiday gift basketIf you decide to go with a pampering, lifestyle-oriented gift, you may find yourself back at your original question: what would she enjoy? If you don’t know much about the spa and bath industry, keep in mind that there are two staples when it comes to pampering gifts: gift cards to a local day spa and home spa gift baskets. While the idea of receiving a professional massage appeals to some women, others are put off by the idea of being touched by a stranger. If you suspect this may be the case with the person for whom you are shopping, a luxury spa gift basket may be the better choice.

“But what type of spa gift basket?” you may wonder. There are so many from which to choose, and so many factors to consider when deciding what types of spa products it should include. Here are a few tips for selecting the perfect spa gift basket  for your female friend, relative, or significant other:

If you are on a budget, you can still find a classy gift within your price range by shopping via our Gifts Under $75, Gifts Under $50, or Gifts Under $25 categories.
  • Don’t cheap out. Going to the nearest department store may seem like the quickest and easiest solution, but if the person for whom you are shopping is knowledgeable about skin care, doing so can come across as tacky. Many mass retailers of skin care products offer only products made with synthetic ingredients, including chemicals and preservatives that can be very bad for the skin. So, unless you know which ingredients to look for and which to avoid, it is better to go with natural spa gift baskets. Besides, natural spa products are all the more luxurious, and can really show that you put time and effort into your gift.
  • Consider her age and ethnicity. We’ve found that women in different age groups  and ethnic groups tend to prefer different scents. Consult our gift guide to see the results of our research on aromatherapy scents and age groups and demographics. In general, we’ve found that women belonging to Generation X and Y tend to prefer our Sweet Dreams (Lavender and Vanilla) aromatherapy essential oil blend, while Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation women tend to prefer our Bathsheba Rosewood Rose aromatherapy blend. Our Jubilee (Bergamot and Pink Grapefruit) aromatherapy blend is very popular among African American women (and men too!)
  • new mom gift basketConsider her lifestyle. Ethnicity and age group don’t always give you the whole picture. These days, many women in their late 30s and early 40s are just starting to have children, whereas 20-30 years ago women of this same age group were more likely to have children in their teens or even adult children. As such, these women may prefer a spa gift basket specifically geared towards new moms such as our Sweet Escape Gift Basket or our New Mom Gift Basket. If she’s into natural anti-aging solutions, our Dead Sea Spa Gift Basket may be of interest.

Chocolate Spa Gifts: the perfect pampering combination

chocolate spa gift - happy birthdayWe also offer several holiday-themed spa gift baskets for both men and women, to include our popular Happy Birthday Spa Gift Basket and Slice of Life Gift Basket (both of which feature a unique assortment of chocolate scented spa products.) We also offer a Holiday Spa Gift Basket that includes our Coffee Cocoa Body Scrub and our Key Lime Pie Slice Soap, as well as several decorative soaps from which to choose. (Check out our Lavender Bon Bons.)

We’ve set aside all of next week to make fresh batches of our Chocolate Cake Slice Soap (included in our Slice of Life and Happy Birthday Gift Baskets,) and our Fruit Cake Slice Soap as each takes approximately six weeks to cure and harden. They were both very popular last holiday season, so we want to make sure we have enough to satisfy everyone this year. If you’re interested, be sure to order yours while supplies last!)

If you have any questions about our spa gift baskets, or need help selecting the perfect gift this holiday season, please contact us and/or view our gift guide. Happy gift giving!