At-Home SPA: How to Have a Pampering Day While Staying In


If, like many of us, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with all that’s going on right now, you could probably use a day at the spa. After forgoing many of our normal luxuries for months, let’s face it – we’re all ready for a little pampering.

But, if a trip to the spa isn’t in the cards right now, don’t let that stop you from getting the self-care you deserve. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can have a lovely and luxurious spa day at home. Get ready for a little quality “me time” with these six tips for a perfect day of relaxation while staying in.

Comfort is Key

The number one goal at the spa is to make guests feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. So don’t neglect this critical step when planning your at-home spa day. Start by wrapping yourself in a super soft or silky robe and don some plush slippers. Then get your fluffiest towels ready for after your treatments. And don’t forget to turn up the thermostat a little, so you’re warm and cozy all day long. You should never have a chill at the spa!

Remove Distractions

Almost any spa you visit has a strict no cellphone rule. Make your day as relaxing as possible by turning off your phone or, at the very least silencing notifications. This day is all about you, so you won’t need to know what’s going on in the outside world.

Set the Mood

What does the spa have that you probably don’t get very often at home? The perfect relaxing ambiance. To recreate the mood, indulge your senses with a collection of spa staples.

Scent has the power to calm us and trigger positive memories. Try lighting a candle or using a diffuser with your favorite calming scent to help you unwind. You can also use a few drops of your favorite massage oil on pressure points to carry the soothing scent with you.

Lighting and music also play an essential role in creating a relaxing environment. Dim the lights or light candles to get a soft, warm light that will help you relax. Then drown out exterior sounds such as traffic or lawn equipment with white noise or peaceful music. Choose calming nature sounds such as soft rain or ocean waves for a soothing, distraction-free atmosphere.

Get in the Zone

To get the full spa day experience, you need to think a little bigger than just a facial and warm bath. Make the most of your “me day” by setting up zones in different areas of your house for different treatments.

For example, you could create a mud zone in the bathroom and a massage area in the bedroom. If you have a bit of outdoor space, create a spot outside for breaks. Set out a blanket and pillows and a few of your favorite snacks for sustenance over the course of the day.

Customize Your Day

Take the time to customize your perfect day – after all, you’re the one making the schedule. If you’re an early bird, start with a sunrise meditation session. But if you’re a night owl, go ahead and sleep in and plan for a candlelit soak at the end of the day. Or maybe you’re not a bath fan. Then skip the long soak in favor of a facial while you read in your favorite spot.

Start at the Bottom

To give yourself the full-body treatment, start at the bottom and work your way up. Your feet carry a lot of weight every day and they deserve a little pampering too. Try soaking them in warm water and Epsom salts to relieve those aches and pains. Then use your favorite oil or skin care treatment to help replenish dry skin.

Next, be sure to pamper your entire outer layer with scented scrubs and moisturizers. Once that’s done, treat your face with a mask, depending on your skin type and seasonal needs. Lastly, top it all off with some love for your locks. Choose a hair mask, oil or cream and slather your strands for some quick hair repair.

After all that’s happened this year, we could all benefit from a calm, soothing environment and a little self-care that makes us feel good from head to toe. Use these tips to treat yourself to the perfect spa day at home.

What First-Time Homebuyers Should Know about Home Insurance

Image: Shutter_M /

Real estate transactions are tricky and it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things you need to take care of. However, there are some things you absolutely shouldn’t forget. Home insurance is one of them, and the more you know, the better able you are to save money and protect your assets. 

Who Needs Home Insurance?

Anyone who is buying a home would be wise to consider home insurance, but most people won’t have a choice in the matter. If you’re taking out a mortgage to cover the cost of your new home, your lender will require you to take out a home insurance policy. Essentially, they want to know that their investment, i.e. your new home, is protected in case of disaster.

While homeowners who manage to buy their home without taking out a mortgage aren’t required to take out an insurance policy, they are advised to. You never know when accidents might happen or if disaster will strike, so it’s worth being prepared for any eventuality. Which leads us on to our next point.

What Does Home Insurance Cover?

A standard home insurance policy typically doesn’t cover as many things as homeowners expect it will. As such, always do your research and know exactly what you’re covered for. In general, a standard homeowners insurance policy will cover you for the following:

  • Damage to the interior and exterior of your home caused by disasters such as fire and adverse weather (hail, lightning, etc.).
  • Damage to personal belongings, and detached structures such as garages, fences, and sheds caused by disasters such as fire and adverse weather (hurricane, hail, lightning, etc.).
  • Theft of personal belongings.
  • Damage caused by criminal acts.
  • Accidental damage, such as water damage from burst pipes.
  • Liability protection.
  • Additional living expenses (ALE), in case you need to abandon your home for any period of time.

What Isn’t Normally Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

There are several things a standard policy won’t cover, however. Flood insurance, for example, normally needs to be purchased separately and is seldom included in a standard policy. Interestingly, while internal water damage is typically covered, any form of external water damage normally isn’t, not just natural floods. As an example, a broken sprinkler may damage the inside of your home, but it normally won’t be covered.

Sewage problems are also not normally covered, and a ‘Sewage Backup Coverage’ typically needs to be purchased separately. Wear and tear and anything that can be prevented through reasonable home maintenance, such as leaking roofs, pest infestations, and mold, are also not typically covered.

Depending on your location, things like snow and ice damage coverage may or may not be included. Earthquakes or hurricane prone areas also might require a separate policy to cover these natural disasters. ‘Acts of God’ are also not typically covered, and definitions are generally rather vague.

How Does Homeowners Insurance Work?

Each home insurance policy is different and homeowners are able to customize it to best suit their needs. Most insurance companies offer three levels of coverage, with the cheapest offering the least coverage.

Actual Cash Value

This policy covers the cost of your home plus the cost of your possessions. Depreciation is deducted, so that you’re covered for what they’re worth now, not the price you originally paid for them. It’s the cheapest option, but also returns the least in case of a claim.

Replacement Cost

This policy covers the cost of your home plus the cost of your possessions without deducting depreciation, up to a pre-set limit. As such, you’d be able to repair or replace your home and belongings up to the value you originally paid.

Guaranteed Replacement Cost

Also known as extended replacement cost, this is the most comprehensive coverage and the most recommended. With this policy, you’re covered for whatever it costs to repair or rebuild your home and replace your possessions, even if it exceeds your policy limit. As inflation and the value of goods increase over time, it’s best to cover yourself for more than your home and possessions were worth when you bought them. With this policy, you can do just that.

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

It’s difficult to put a price on homeowners insurance, as each policy will differ depending on a huge number of variables. However, the average policy across the U.S. costs just under $1,000 per year. First-time buyers may pay more, as they typically don’t immediately qualify for discounts and benefits, and some policies can exceed $2,000 per year.

Province unveils mask requirements for students and staff upon their return to school

The Government of British Columbia unveiled today that masks will be required for staff, middle and secondary students in high traffic areas.

That includes on buses, in common areas like hallways and anytime outside of the kids’ learning group when physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Exceptions will be made for students who can’t wear masks for medical reasons.

<who>Photo Credit: 123rf</who>Stock photo

Photo Credit: 123rf
Stock photo

“Even when wearing a mask, staff and students will still be required to maintain physical distance from people outside of their learning group,” said a government release.

“Efforts will be put in place to ensure there is not crowding, gathering or congregating of people from different learning groups in a school setting, even if non-medical masks are being worn.”

The Ministry of Education is providing additional funding to school districts that will support the purchase of up to 1.5-million masks.

That’s enough for every public school staff member and student to have at least two masks.

Canadian Shield also announced that it would be donating an additional 54,500 face shields for K-12 schools in BC.

The province will also be providing an additional $45.6 million to school districts for enhanced cleaning, handwashing stations, reusable masks and other safety measures.

You can learn more about the government’s return to school plans by clicking this link.

Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls making in store masks mandatory

Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls are following the lead set by Walmart’s mandatory masks policy.

According to ownership group TJX Companies Inc., all customers and store associates will be required to wear a mask as of Monday, Aug. 17.

Exceptions will be made for children and those who have health conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering.

Disposable masks will be available upon store entry for those who don’t own a face covering.

<who> File Photo.

File Photo.

On Aug. 12, Walmart implemented a similar mandatory masks policy at all stores.

When announcing the decision, the company stated that “over 60% of our more than 400 stores are in regions of the country where there is some form of local government mandate on face coverings.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry has maintained that masks are strongly recommended in public places, however, BC has stopped short of making masking mandatory.

Canadian brewery makes beer from reused wastewater to show it can be safe – and taste great

Village Brewery, which describes its blonde ale as crisp, dry and slightly fruity, is hoping its latest product will help show that dirty water – including from toilets – can be made safe to drink.

The Calgary beer-maker has teamed up with University of Calgary researchers and US water technology company Xylem Inc. to brew up a limited 1,600-can batch.

<who> Photo credit: Village Brewery

Photo credit: Village Brewery

They hope to draw attention to the world’s dwindling supply of drinkable water – and the need to get creative as we head into the future.

A four-pack is selling for $12.92 on the brewery’s website.

Jeremy McLaughlin, head brewer at Village Brewery, conceded it seems like a tough prospect to sell the beer.

“There’s a mental hurdle to get over of how inherently gross this could be,” he said.

“But we know that this water is safe, we know that this beer is safe, and we stand by our process.”

Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA) is a research partnership between the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary that involves the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility by the Bow River in the city’s southeast.

The team said the water they used for the beer meets the standards laid out in the Canadian Water Drinking Guidelines.

It was disinfected, too, so pathogens – including SARS-CoV2 (which causes COVID-19) – were killed.

“Municipal wastewater was treated in a full-scale Biological Nutrient Removal treatment plant, and then additional advanced treatment was done using ultrafiltration, followed by advanced oxidation (ozone and ultraviolet treatment), then reverse osmosis,” the team explained.

<who> Photo credit: Riley Brandt/UCalgary

Photo credit: Riley Brandt/UCalgary

Christine O’Grady, project co-ordinator at ACWA, said that despite the rigorous treatment process, hesitation from punters is to be expected.“Certainly we do expect some eyebrows raised and the yuck factor is real,” she said.

“Part of this project … is to start the conversation about how this can be done, why it should be done and that water is a resource that we need to protect.”

Many parents nervous about return of school, but plan to send kids anyway: survey

With only weeks until classes resume, a new survey suggests the majority of Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school but most would want classes cancelled if there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in their community.

The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies is the latest to take parents’ temperature as provinces prepare to reopen schools after sending children home this spring when the pandemic arrived.

The results suggest many parents are torn, with 66% of respondents with children admitting they were worried about children returning to school but 63% saying they planned to send their kids anyway.

Yet 69% also felt all classes should be suspended and learning shifted back to home if there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in their community, with 19% saying classes should continue and 12% unsure either way.

<who> Photo credit: Canadian Press

Photo credit: Canadian Press

The online survey of 1,510 Canadians over age 18, including 385 parents with school-aged children in their households, took place Aug. 14-16. An internet poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.

The results underscore the nervousness and sensitivities around the planned reopening of school, says Leger president Jean-Marc Leger, with many parents supporting the return of classes but ready to shut it down again at the drop of a hat.

“People are nervous,” he said. “It’s a very sensitive question.”

The survey also found strong support among respondents with children for requiring certain protections to be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at schools, including 76% who said students should have to wear masks.

The result was not broken down by whether masks should be required for only high school students or students in both high school and elementary. Some provinces such as Ontario are requiring masks for students in certain grades but not others.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents with kids said teachers and school staff should be required to wear masks while 75% supported temperature checks for children and 71% wanted screening questionnaires.

“People are saying: ‘Okay, we agree. We support the government’s initiative. But at the same time, you should ensure that the rules are respected at school,’” said Leger.

Parents were more divided over what to do if a student or teacher in their kid’s class tested positive for COVID-19.

While 24% reported they would keep their kids home from school indefinitely, 35% said they would keep them home for at least 14 days while 33% indicated they would follow the advice of their school on next steps.

‘Cynical Spreaders’: Nearly 20% of Canadians disregarding most COVID-19 safety measures, survey suggests

Large numbers of Canadians are either inconsistently abiding by anti-coronavirus measures or are actively ignoring them, a new survey has found.

According to the Angus Reid Institute, “Cynical Spreaders” represent about 18% of the population – and are failing to wear masks, wash their hands or physically distance.

<who> Photo credit: Angus Reid Institute

Photo credit: Angus Reid Institute

A larger chunk of people – representing 36% of the population – fall into the “Inconsistent” category.

They take a “half-in, half-out approach” to social distancing and hygiene measures, according to the survey.

<who> Photo credit: Angus Reid Institute

Photo credit: Angus Reid Institute

The largest group, known as “Infection Fighters,” closely follow the virus-suppression behaviours advocated by public health officials.

According to the survey, the Cynical Spreaders are likeliest to:

  • Be from the Prairies (three in 10 of all Saskatchewan and Alberta participants in the survey were Cynical Spreaders)

  • Be aged between 18 and 34

  • Believe current COVID-19 restrictions “go too far”

  • Be Conservative voters

  • Disapprove of Justin Trudeau and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam

To read the full survey, click here.

Thumbnail photo credit: Angus Reid Institute

Flights between Penticton and Vancouver to resume

Air Canada will resume service between Penticton and Vancouver next week.

The company says it will restart the route Monday, Aug. 24.

<who> Photo Contributed

Photo Contributed

There will be three flights next week — taking place on Monday, Thursday and Sunday.

The week of Aug. 31 will see two flights — on Tuesday and Friday.

As of Monday, Sept. 8, Air Canada will offer once-daily service on the route.

<who> File Photo

File Photo

Air Canada stopped flying to Penticton in March in response to COVID-19 cost-cutting measures.

WestJet continues to operate daily flights between Penticton and Calgary.

Heatwave tops 103-year-old temperature records in the Okanagan

As much of BC rides a summer heatwave through mid-August, temperature records are dropping like flies across the province.

On Monday, Aug. 17, Penticton broke a 103-year-old record when the mercury soared to 37.4°C, topping the previous mark of 35.6°C, set in 1917.

Not to be outdone, Summerland set a new record high of 38.3°C, which happened to eclipse the old mark of 35.6°C, also set in 1917.

In Kelowna, the mercury topped out at 38.4°C, beating the old high of 35.6°C, set in 1967.

Nelson hit a high of 36.8°C, breaking the town’s previous record for Aug. 17 of 36.1°C set in 1967.

Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and Trail also surpassed previous heat records on Monday.

While the Okanagan has enjoyed sunshine and blue skies for several days, some clouds with risks of thundershowers are forecast to swoop into the Valley beginning on Tuesday.


A Penticton-based photographer is sharing a magical, locally-captured photo from the recent Perseid meteor shower.

“It was beautiful, the experience seeing the [shower],” John Poon said.

It took Poon a long time planning to begin to set up the shot. From his years of being a photographer and staking out locations, he was able to find the best location to shoot in Oliver.

The photo Poon got was taken over the length of two hours, photographing the stars outside until around midnight.

“That’s how far the stars move within two hours,” Poon said. “That’s about four hundred pictures stacked together.”

Poon was taking photos every ten seconds to capture the movement that night. The big surprise was having two fireballs fly across the sky.

“I actually missed the fireball, except you see the tail end of it on the right.”

The meteor shower can still be seen, Poon mentioned, if you can get somewhere dark enough to see the stars shoot by.

More photographs of the meteor shower and the rest of his work is available on Poon’s website.