Marketplace: Rowenta Humidifier Review

Unfortunately, winter is still here. Some mornings, I wake up hopeful that spring has arrived. But I should know better. Winter will likely last for the remainder of this month. Ugh.

And with winter weather comes dry air. Dry skin. Stuffy noses. For me, at least. How do I combat the dry air in my home?

With a humidifier, of course!

I have used a humidifier during winter months for just about 10 years now, and I have always noticed an improvement in how my skin feels. My old humidifier stopped working a couple of months, and the replacement that I bought was useless. Returned it a day after I used it – or tried to use it – it didn’t work. I had spent just under $100 for the humidifier, so it certainly wasn’t top of the line, but it wasn’t one of those $20 versions either.

And here’s where the story takes a happy turn – in comes Rowenta to save the day! I reached out to Rowenta to inquire about their humidifiers. I have always heard great things about their irons (that’s on my wish list, too, by the way…do you know how many white shirts I wear each week!?), so I thought they might know a thing or two about steam!

Rowenta sent over the HU5120HO Aqua Control humidifier. My first impression was that it was a super sleek machine. Clean lines, compact design, and less bulky than my last humidifier.

But looks are only part of the story, right? (p.s. I would have preferred the water tank to be clear instead of blue.) How has it been working for me? Let me do a bit of a play-by-play for you.

Night 1

I had gotten home so late on the day that the humidifier arrived, so I didn’t give it much more than a quick look. I poured Brita water into it (because I was aiming for the best possible water quality – that only lasted for night 1, by the way), waited 10 minutes for the water to settle/regulate (I didn’t know I was supposed to do this, but there was a quick set-up guide that I scanned), plugged it in, pressed the power button, an auto button, and went to bed.

The blue display light was on, and since I was zombie-like, I didn’t even notice that there was a light-off button. Instead, I stuck a black bag in front of the light so I wouldn’t notice it while I slept. Ha ha. Such a zombie! I need more sleep!

I don’t even know what setting I had it on the first night, but when I woke up in the morning, I definitely noticed that the air in my bedroom was “fresh.” I wasn’t as stuffed up.  My skin was okay. Not perfect, but definitely an improvement.

Night 2

Once again, I had little time to read about the features of the humidifier, so I pressed a couple of buttons and hoped for the best. I’m making it sound like this humidifier is complicated to use, but it’s not. I have just been working like crazy that by the time I’m ready for bed, I just really go to sleep. And deeply, too!

On night 2, I did learn that the light button controls the display light as well as the blue light from the water tank. Awesome! No more blue light reflecting on my white walls!

I used the medium steam setting, and it worked well. I slept soundly, and my skin felt less dry when I woke up in the morning. Again, the air felt fresh.

Night 3

Okay. On night 3, I had about 5 minutes to look at the buttons more closely before I fell asleep (are you noticing a pattern?). I was thrilled to discover the different automated settings – auto, baby, and night. I opted for night which meant that no lights were on. And the system would shut-off once ideal humidity was reached. Genius! I set the humidifier to night mode and fell asleep. Good to go.

Night 4 and Beyond

So that’s just a quick recap of my first three nights with the Rowenta humidifier. I’ve been using it nightly, and I absolutely notice the difference in air quality, my sleeping, and how I feel in the morning. I’ve tried a few of the settings, but I most often use the night mode. It’s easy.

I honestly didn’t expect to see such a difference in the quality between my previous humidifiers and the Rowenta, but there is a difference. I thought the higher price point (about $230CAD) was for the name brand, but it isn’t. This humidifier is sleek, well-designed, and has multiple features and settings. It is a major improvement over my previous humidifiers and I’m very happy with it.

Beyond what I’ve shared, here are some additional features of the humidifier:

  • cool-mist
  • 3 steam settings
  • automatic humidity regulation
  • 3 modes – auto, baby, and night
  • timer
  • up to 18 hours of run time
  • covers 500sq feet
  • humidity control setting

Finally, a couple of people asked me some questions on this Instagram post, so I thought I’d include my answers here:

  1. Is it suitable for work? Yes, if you have your own office. The different modes, timer, and steam settings allow for good control of the steam. The cool mist is office-friendly, I’d say. If you work in an open space, then the humidifier’s mist will spread, so be sure to ask your office mates if they’re okay with it.
  2. How does your skin feel? Definitely, definitely, definitely better. I was pretty annoyed with waking up with dry skin. After a few nights, I noticed an improvement. It’s been working well for a couple of weeks now.
  3. Do you notice a difference in the moisture level when I enter the room? I keep the humidifier in my bedroom, and I only run it during the night. When I wake up in the morning, I certainly notice a difference in the moisture level. The best way I seem to be able to describe it as is “fresh.” I really should have it on during the day, too. Maybe this weekend!
  4. What are the settings and is it a cool mist? There are several settings. My old humidifier had two – high and low. This one has three modes, a timer, programmable humidity levels, three steam power options. The highest steam setting emits the most noise, but I don’t find this bothersome. It’s soothing, actually.

And before I leave you for today, I should just note that the recommended humidity level is between 50% and 60%. The screen on my humidifier reads 25% when I first plug it in.

Learn more about the Rowenta HU5120 humidifier if you’d like.

Thanks to Rowenta for sponsoring this post. All photos, thoughts, and opinions are my own.

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Travel: Review of the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Florida

At the end of July, my friend and I headed on down to Florida for our annual girls’ trip. We’ve been at it for 5 years or so already, and each year, we’ve managed to schedule a vacation-in-a-vacation while we’re away. One year, we went to Chicago; another year, we went to Miami. You get the idea.

This year, we didn’t want to go very far from where we stayed in Madeira Beach, but we were interested in exploring another part of the state. We had heard good things about Sarasota from several people (I’m looking at you Nick and Lana), and since it was only an hour or so away, we thought it might be a good option. And were we ever right!

Here’s the timeline of our vacation-in-a-vacation (scroll down for photos and more info):

Day 1:

8 am: Depart Madeira Beach
10 am: Arrive at the Ellenton Outlet Mall (vacations in Florida always involve shopping)
4 pm: Arrive Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
5 pm: Arrive at the Spa, meet Andrea and Tammy, have a wonderful time sipping champagne while getting manicures
6 pm (or so): Enjoy the spa’s healing waters (jacuzzi, sauna, steam room)
8 pm: Walk over to Selva Grill for a delicious fish meal
11 pm: Snooze on luxurious pillows and beds in our Ritz Sarasota suite

Day 2:

8 am: Order room service and eat breakfast on our balcony
10 am: Hop on the Ritz’s shuttle bus to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota Beach Club at Lido Beach (about a 5-10 minute ride)
10 am – 1 pm: Lounge by the pool, walk on the beach, reapply sunscreen a bajillion times
1 pm: Enjoy a poolside lunch
5 pm: Depart the Beach Club
6 pm: Say goodbye to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
6:30 pm: Drive to Siesta Key for a short walk on the beach
8 pm: Depart Sarasota
9 pm: Arrive Madeira Beach

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota welcomed us warmly upon arrival, and we had absolutely nothing to worry about during our stay. From valet parking to check-in to restaurant reservations to info about the area – the staff knew how to look after us and answer all of our questions. It was so nice to not have to think about anything! (See some photos on Instagram at #WhiteCabanaGoesToTheRitz)

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a substantial building in the city of SarasotaWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-10

the lobby areaWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-4

the pool and marina view

Our suite was beautiful. Our room overlooked the pool, outdoor dining area, and the marina. The evening sunset was stunning (as most Florida beach sunsets are!). Our room had two comfortable queen beds, robes and slippers (loved ’em), a dining table, a balcony with another dining table, Asprey toiletries, and a pretty marble-clad bathroom.

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comfortable beds with soft linensWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-3

a small in-room dining areaWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-7

Asprey toiletries in the bathWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-6

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a muted colour palette in the large bathroom

From the concierge, I learned that every detail of the decor was well thought-out. The artwork, rug, and accessories were chosen and designed with Sarasota’s history and surroundings in mind. The beach flavour played a large role, naturally, but so did the Ringling Brothers. The hotel, in fact, was bought and developed by a Ringling – of the Ringling Brother Circus.

In our short time in Sarasota, we only managed to have one meal at the hotel – breakfast ordered from room service. Our meal was delicious and very filling!

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french toast with caramelized bananas + a stack of pancakesWhite-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-9

breakfast with a view – and the hotel robe makes an appearance

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“white cabanas” at the hotel pool

The shuttle service to the beach club was easy and convenient. There’s a shuttle stop in St. Armands Circle for those passengers who would like to explore some unique stores. And a few kilometres down the road is the Beach Club at Lido Beach. I could have spent days and days lounging at the club. The white towels were freshly laid out on our chaises by hotel staff, and throughout the day, they restocked our ice bucket and water supply (we drank so much water!), took our lunch order, and raised our umbrella when we needed more shade. I felt so spoiled!

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plush towels at the Beach Club

I mentioned in the itinerary portion of this post that we took advantage of some of the spa services during our time at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Specifically, my friend and I enjoyed manicures with two friendly technicians. After being pampered with scrubs, creams, and bright polish, we grabbed our complimentary champagne and headed into the spa’s healing waters. We soaked in the hot tub, and sweated in the sauna and steam room. Oh, it was heavenly!

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pre-spa treatment (and another robe appearance)White-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-16

#iwokeuplikethis those nails! and the endless supply of branded water bottles! (oh, and a third appearance of the Ritz-Carlton robe!)White-Cabana-Ritz-Carlton-Sarasota-17

manicure, palm trees, and sunshine = bliss

There you have it, dear readers, a peek into our vacation-in-a-vacation at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Would you believe me if I said that I’m eager to return? Yeah, I thought so!

Note: Just before I went to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, I heard from my sister who had just returned from a family trip to the Ritz-Carlton Reynolds in Georgia. She let me know that their stay at the Ritz was top-of-the-top, and that the hotel staff treated them and their four kids (under the age of 7) so extremely well. They had a wonderful family vacation! Around the same time, I learned of the Bucket List Family’s YouTube channel, and they have said so many great things about the Ritz-Carlton hotels in which they’ve stayed (I’m looking at you, Ritz-Carlton Kyoto and Ritz-Carlton Tokyo). The Ritz-Carlton seems to treat every guest – including the youngens – with such kindness and respect. Even though I don’t have kids, I do  appreciate that this high end hotel chain offers kid-friendly food, amenities, and activities.

Many thanks to the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota for sponsoring this post. Thanks, Stacey, for making our arrangements. All opinions are my own.

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The Friday Five: What’s On at the Stratford Festival

Last year marked only the second time I had ever been to the Stratford Festival. When I lived outside of the Waterloo region, Stratford was rarely on my mind. Now that I live in Waterloo, I go to Stratford several times a year.* I feel so lucky that such a unique, quaint, pretty city is only about  a 40-minute drive from my home. I don’t even need to get on the 401**.

Stratford has much to offer year-round, but summer is definitely its busiest season because of the Stratford Festival. I offered up some Stratford travel advice last year in this post. Since that post, I’ve returned to Pazzo (for pizza) and Balzac’s (for coffee) several times, and bought my crepe pan from Bradshaw’s after being inspired by this event. It’s really a special little place, and I’d encourage you all to go for a visit if you can!

I’m heading to Stratford this weekend to see A Little Night Music, which looks like a fun musical featuring romance, sparkles, and humour. It stars Cynthia Dale – one of Canada’s favourite actresses.

Cynthia Dale (left) as Countess Charlotte Malcolm and Alexis Gordon as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music. Photography by David Hou.

Look at all the detailing on these costumes. Wow!
Cynthia Dale as Countess Charlotte Malcolm (left) and Alexis Gordon as Anne Egerman (photo)

Rosemary Dunsmore as Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Photography by David Hou.

champagne + a white fancy dress = a perfect show for me!
Rosemary Dunsmore as Madame Armfeldt

In addition to A Little Night Music, here are four other Stratford Festival shows that I think I would enjoy.

The Hypochondriac was one of my favourite Molière novels when I was completing my French undergraduate degree. I actually laughed out loud – yes, as I read in French – when I was reading the book and then again when I saw a film version. It’s sure to be a great show!

Members of the company in The Hypochondriac. Photography by David Hou.

members of the company; photo by David Hou

I love the story of Shakespeare in Love, and I’d be interested in seeing a live version. It looks like it’s a real crowd-pleaser.

Luke Humphrey (centre) as Will Shakespeare with members of the company in Shakespeare in Love. Photography by David Hou.

Luke Humphrey as Will Shakespeare; photo by David Hou

I read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe long after my childhood ended. I loved it when I read it, and I think I would have really enjoyed it as a child, too (but I definitely wasn’t a reader when I was a kid). It’s a beautiful, imaginative story that takes the reader on an adventure. I think the show would entertain both kids and adults, and I’m sure it would spark a lot of conversation post-show, too. What a great show to introduce kids to theatre! The show has been extended until November 13th, so there’s plenty of time to go this fall.

Yanna McIntosh as White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Photography by David Hou.

Yanna McIntosh as the White Witch; photo by David Hou

Finally, A Chorus Line has been garnering quite a bit of media attention, and it looks to be a jazzy musical. Check out this trailer. Doesn’t it make you want to get up and dance?

Members of the company in A Chorus Line. Photography by David Hou.

members of the company (photo)

In addition to these five shows, there are some other productions. View the full show calendar for more info.

*Yes, yes, I love living in Waterloo. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again!
**Ugh – the 401. Who designed that highway anyway?

Thanks to the Stratford Festival for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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