Time for a stay-cation

“Make sure that pillows are nice and plush,” says Garcia. “These are all things that make you feel very comfortable.”

Blanche Garcia, interior designer and star of the Travel Channel’s ‘Hotel Impossible,’ has a
simple alternative to booking a flight: Turn your apartment into a summer stay-cation. Here’s how.

The best R and R starts with the bed

“The bed is really important when you want to feel like you’re in a hotel,” says Garcia. The first step: upgrade to hotel-quality sheets. “All the sheets should have at least 500-800 thread count,” she says.  Also, stay in a neutral color palette.

“Whites on whites, creams on creams. You’ll never go to a really nice resort and they have all different pattern sheets. White and crisp is always best.” Another key trick, she says, is to layer your bed. “Make sure you have a duvet insert or a coverlet on top of the sheets.”

Your spa appointment awaits

“In the bathroom, candles are really important for ambiance,” stresses Garcia.  She also suggests stocking up on accoutrements for a bubble bath.  “Normally people take a shower because everyone is in a rush, but when you’re going to lounge, you want to make sure that you’re taking bubble baths. They make you feel way more relaxed.”

Edit your stressful junk

If you want to feel like you’re somewhere far from your reality, eliminate your usual clutter, says Garcia. “When you’re at home, you don’t notice all the papers piling up because you’re used to seeing them every day, but if you just ran in and put those things away, got really colorful pillows, pop in your iPod, you would feel like you’re not in your space.”

Bring your dream vacation to your home

“If you’re going to stay home for the week but you really want to be in, say, Italy or Jamaica, plan it so for that week, everything that you’re cooking is from that country,” says Garcia. “If you want to be in Italy, make sure to play all Italian music.”

Add drawer sheets within the drawers of the dresser with relaxing scents like lavender, says Garcia. “Or if you want to feel beach-y, use an ocean scent.”

Feng shui away

Your outdoor space can use a little vacay makeover, too. “I like using mini fountains; they are really pretty and bring in the water element,” says Garcia. For the fire element, she suggests adding a mobile fire pit.


Garcia’s tips for setting up a guest room:
1. Keep a basket in the room with notepaper, sewing kit, magazines, incidentals, eye masks, slippers and earplugs for their comfort.
2. Keep layers of sheets, a duvet and a throw so they have options.
3. Place an inexpensive dimmer on the bedside lamp so your guests can adjust as they see fit.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.