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Pampering products for Mother’s Day

From spa goodies to European-style room diffusers

Take a soak in a hot tub. Sip some herbal tea. Cuddle up with a good book on the couch. Simple pleasures that most moms certainly deserve but rarely partake in. If there is one day to make the time for some R&R (rest and relaxation), it is Mother’s Day. And one way to set the mood is with pampering products.

Anything from The Enterprising Kitchen (TEK) is a natural for Mother’s Day. For one, all the products are natural. Secondly, the sale of any of the products from the Chicago-based non-profit organization helps women help themselves through a hands-on work program, where women manufacture soap and spa products. Each product is even signed by the woman who packaged it.

“The concept of making a product from start to finish — and one that is all natural and exceptional in quality — is an extremely powerful training tool for women who are transitioning from unemployment and underemployment to self-sufficiency,” says Lauri Alpern, TEK’s executive director.

Gift packs are available for as little as $18, such as the “Lavender Luxe,” which includes lavender-scented shower gel, glycerin soap and bath tea.

The ultimate indulgence, however, is the spa basket for two. Priced at $250, each banana leaf basket is filled with spa goodies including a spa robe, a bath wrap, a variety of soaps, salts, gels, oils, bath tea and more. Of course, no spa basket is complete without soy candles and a few edible delights, such as chocolate and gourmet coffee. Choices, the brand name under which TEK products are sold, are available at the organization’s Web site.

Therapy for the tubI’m not an aromatherapy practitioner or enthusiast but I am a fan of the “sensory fusion” collection at Aromofloria. Each “synergistic blend” is inspired by ancient herbal rituals to “yield the maximum benefit nature can provide,” according to the company literature.

So pick a product based on what ails mom most, or simply because the scent appeals to you. The newest blend — mango and ginger — happens to be a mix of two of my favorite culinary flavors. The fact that this combo is supposed to relieve stress, moisten dry skin and battle fatigue — all of which I suffer from — adds to my affection for the products. I also appreciate that the ingredients for each product are listed on the Web site, which few retailers do and should!

Other “sensory fusion” combinations include green tea, which promotes “well-being and tranquility,” honey papaya, a natural skin moisturizer, lemongrass — “a spicy aroma” that “rebalances and supports the immune system,” pomegranate, best known for its “anti-aging” properties and kiwi coconut, a “lush, tropical aroma known to soothe and relax.”

Bath soaks — salts, fizz or milk — retail for $24. Scrubs in a 12-ounce container sell for $25. Foaming washes cost $20 and 4.5 ounce tubs of body butter run $30. Order from the Web site or find a retailer near you using the online locator.

Fresh scentsWhat’s hot in the world of pampering products are room “diffusers” or reeds placed in glass bottles filled with scented oil. The porous reeds naturally soak up the oil and diffuse the scent into a room. Reed diffusers were used for centuries by Europeans to freshen their living spaces, says Valerie Cash, CEO/CFO of Murrayville, Ga.-based click-and-brick OM Candle Company.

Just within the past few years, the room diffusers have became popular as a safe alternative to scented candles and the “plug in,” which may have a short life span and be costly, she adds.

OM Candle Company stocks three scents called Faith (fede) — with the “essence of ripe melon and fresh cut Lilly,” Hope (speransa) with the “scent of spring tulips” and Love (amor) with “notes of amber.” The complete kit, including the Rattan reeds, the glass jar and the oil sells for $18.

Called fragrance sticks at Greenland, N.H.-based Sweet Grass Farm, room diffusers come in six scents including lavender, citrus basil, New England woods, vanilla milk, coastal bayberry and white lilac. Priced at $29.95, fragrance sticks can last up to a year, says a company spokesperson. Every so often, just refresh the fragrance by turning the reeds upside down in the oil, she says. Order directly from the company’s Web site or see the list of retailers posted online.

Salt and suds in one soak

The main attraction of Ooohlala of Beverly Hills’ Cocktail Hour Bubble Bath is the name and packaging. The pink foaming bath salts come in a 14-ounce container shaped liked a martini shaker. The salts, which foam and almost bubble, do not contain any alcohol but some powdered goat milk and extracts of lemongrass aloe vera, known to condition and soften the skin.

Priced at $19, the cocktail is sold online at the company’s Web site,, and brick-and-mortar shops across the country (see list online.)