February 11, 2013 (CHICAGO)

This year, it's easier than ever to give the gift of a DIY spa day or create a couples retreat right in your own home for a personalized Valentine's Day treat! To help us create a romantic, at-home spa experience, beauty expert Leah Chavie, owner of Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique in Chicago, is here to share her professional tips and tricks for creating a spa-worthy Valentine's Day couples retreat in your own home.

Leah's Top Tips:

First, set a romantic mood using aromatherapy candles. The first step of planning your at home spa experience is to set a calm and relaxing mood. Candlelight provides spa-like ambience in your bedroom or bathroom (and it's also a confidence booster! Who doesn't love the way they look in a candlelit glow?), and candles with aromatherapy benefits are perfect for the occasion – Nothing says Valentine's Day like an alluring, aromatic candle with natural scents that calm the body and mind. Look for soy-based candles that burn cleanly, and you also always want to make sure you choose a candle with a long-lasting wick that will burn all night long. This Kanshi Mimosa Candle is soy-based and burns for over 36 hours straight. You can also mix it up a little by scattering tiny tealight candles throughout the bedroom or by placing your soy-based candles in mercury glass votives for a sophisticated feel.
Product Pick: Kanshi Mimosa Candle retails for at $18 at

Decorate with fresh flowers. For an extra touch, throw some rose petals – or petals of any of your favorite seasonal flowers - on the floor, or create a floral arrangement for your vanity table. Besides traditional red roses, which signify pure love and romance, lavender is a great one to use for setting up a couples retreat, as it gives off a soothing and relaxing aroma. You can also scatter the flowers around the candle-scapes you create (just be careful they don't touch the flames). This adds to the Valentine's Day ambiance and will make you and your significant other feel pampered and celebrated.

Listen to spa music: Play some relaxing music in the background to enhance the mood. The type of music that top spas play is always very mellow and tranquil; usually new age type music that calms the body, de-stresses the mind and helps us slow down and relax. Spa music is actually really accessible at home – With any iPod or smart phone, you can use apps like Sirius XM, iHeart Radio and Pandora to find Spa music channels, or create a playlist of your own.

Once the mood is set, draw a therapeutic bath: Essential oils are known for their therapeutic properties, and top spas and salons use liquids and salts infused with essential oils to help detoxify, ease tension, relax muscles and melt away stress. You can choose your own bath oils and bath salts for a Valentine's Day night in, and in addition to creating a perfect tub for you and that special someone to enjoy, you'll also have smooth, soft and hydrated skin, right out of the tub! I love Repêchage Sea Spa Massage, Bath & Body Oil. It's a rich blend of herbal and citrus extracts and pure essential oils, and doubles as a massage and a bath oil, you can massage into freshly cleansed skin, or add to warm running bath water for the ultimate spa bath. You could also use bath salts infused with essential oils, like these, which Repêchage has as well.
Product Pick: Repêchage Sea Spa Massage, Bath & Body Oil retails for $27 at Repê
Product Pick: : Repêchage Sea Spa Mineral Bath Salts retails for $33 at Repê

Enjoy a couples massage, at home! In today's fast paced society, a massage truly feels like a luxury. And while professional massages can be great, instead of shelling out $75-$100 or more to give your significant other a pro massage for Valentine's Day, you can use massage as a fun and relaxing way to connect with one another at home. With something as simple and easy as a body lotion, you can treat your man or woman to a hand massage, foot massage or back massage – And they might even return the favor! Take a dime-sized amount of lotion or massage oil and use kneading motions, always moving toward the heart to stimulate blood flow to the area. This dermatologist developed lotion from Sebamed is a great example you can just pick up at the drugstore. It's great for sensitive skin and both men and women, so you know it won't cause any irritation to the one you love.
Product Pick: Sebamed Moisturizing Body Lotion retails for $19.95 at CVS.

For a decadent dessert, whip up a few sweet treats. Boxed chocolates are so cliché and in just as much time as it takes to run to the store, you could whip up your own batch of easy, fresh chocolate covered strawberries. For an easy recipe, just melt a bowl of chocolate chips in your microwave (make sure you don't over heat, which can cause the chocolate to turn into a thick, paste-like texture that won't stick to your strawberries), then wash your strawberries and dip them into the chocolate, lay them on a tray lined with wax paper and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can dip any other fruits you may have lying around for more delicious treats. Another simple idea is to pour a glass of champagne or your favorite white wine, and throw in a few frozen raspberries or strawberries for a glamorous, Valentine's themed touch.

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