Happy Garlic Day!

Posted by Maria on April 19, 2017 under Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Bath and Body, Esthetics School, Face, Feet, Hair, Hands and Nails, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

When you think of a spa, you probably don’t think about garlic at the same time, but did you know that garlic is actually a supernatural spa ingredient?

In honour of National Garlic Day on April 19th, here’s a quick snapshot about how garlic is used in cosmetics and how it can be used in the home spa.

GARLIC (Allium sativum):

  • Home spa recipes: extracts, baths, lotions. Garlic among the roses.
  • Role in cosmetic formulation: skin conditioning, masking.
  • Baths: Add whole cloves with their peel to bathwater for antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, and to treat ACNE scars.
  • Body: Add extract to a lotion to rub Rheumatic pain and to disinfect insect bites.
  • Feet: Apply to feet to heal corns and bunyans.
  • Food: Eat for flavour and nutrition and to help with colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, digestive problems, high blood pressure, vericose veins, Rheumatism, and to support healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Balances: Root (1st) and Third Eye (6th) chakras plus reduces Vata (Infinity/Air), Increases Pitta (Fire), Reduces Kapha (Water/Earth).
  • Find in: Healthfood stores, grocery stores, markets, wellness centres, pharmacies, cosmetics, food products, medications/supplements, gardens.
  • Caution: Garlic’s odour may be overpowering to the people around you.

Here’s a quote that talks about the aromatherapy side of garlic:

“I could smell garlic, butter, and wine – the world’s most delicious flavor combination. It made me feel warm, like the first few sips of wine always do,”
~ Sarah Jio, The Violets of March

So as you can see, even though it’s known as the “smelly rose,” garlic is still loved by millions around the world and has been regarded as both a food and a remedy since ancient times.

Here’s a Calendar of Wellness & Health Awareness Days in 2016

Posted by Maria on February 1, 2016 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Bath and Body, Books, Magazines, Music, Creating Wellness ebook, Dating, Dear Homespunspa, Energy Healing, Esthetics School, Face, Facials, Fashion, Feet, Fitness, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Hair, Hands and Nails, Home spa, Homespunspa, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Humour, Ingredients, Life Coaching, Manicures, Massages, Meditation, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Pedicures, Pets, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Recipes, Seasonal, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sleep, Spa Party, Spa Review, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, Supernatural Spa on VoiceAmerica, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach

Here’s a calendar of Wellness and Health Awareness Days, Weeks, and Months for Canadians in 2016. Hopefully, these health promotion days will inspire you to practice self-care throughout the seasons. (For a deeper look at why self-care is so important, please read my blog post “Is Self-Care Selfish?”

On occasion, I’ve also included links to blog posts I’ve written about practicing on-going self-care that tie into these events and to my Homespunspa Mobile Spa and wellness coaching services. I’ve just realized how much writing I’ve been doing over the last few years! :)

As I’m compiling this list, I’m counting my blessings and I’m really grateful for my good health. With these special days and holidays as door openers, there are literally hundreds of ways we can all reach out to the people around us and celebrate life together.

Please visit Health Canada for active links to the websites of the health-related organizations. Also, if any of these organizations resonate strongly with you, consider volunteering, donating money, or participating in their events. As you can see, there are lots of needs to fill in this world, so help where you can (especially if you’re looking for your life’s purpose) to make the world a better place for all of us.

P.S. #1: As you read this list, you might find yourself saying, “There’s a day for that?” more than once. To answer your question, yes, yes, there is. Thank you to all of the creative and caring people out there who have worked so hard to make these dates official on local, national, and international calendars.

P.S. #2: I’d really love it if you’d share these blog posts via social media with your friends, family, co-workers, and clients. Thank you in advance.

P.S. #3: If you know of a special health- and wellness-related day, week, or month that I haven’t mentioned, please leave a comment and let us know about it and I’ll update the list.

P.S. #4: If you have a wellness blog like mine, here’s a editorial calendar with tons of ideas of what you can write about over the course of the year. You’re welcome!

Wellness Oasis12 Months of Wellness and Health Awareness Days

In January, we have…

  • Alzheimer Awareness Month
  • Birthflowers of the Month include: Carnation, Snowdrop
  • Birthstones of the Month include: Emerald, Garnet, Rose Quartz
  • Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
  • Hot Tea Month (Tea Association of Canada) — Please see my blog post, “Less Caffeine is a Sleeper’s Dream.”
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Month
  • National Bath Safety Month (U.S.)
  • National Blood Donor Month
  • National Hobby Month (U.S.)
  • National Oatmeal Month (U.S.) — Please read my blog post, “Orange, Coconut & Cinnamon Cookie Recipe”
  • National Soup Month (U.S.)
  • National Train Your Dog Month (U.S.)
  • Walk Your Pet Month — Please read my blog post, “Highlights from my dog-sitting retreat to White Rock.”
  • New Year’s Day on January 1st — Please read my blog post, “Happy New Rear!”
  • Polar Bear Swim on January 1st
  • World Hypnotism Day on January 4th — Please read my blog post, “What is a Holistic Practioner?”
  • Clean Off Your Desk Day on January 11th
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11th
  • National Rubber Ducky Day (U.S.) on January 13th
  • National Dress Up Your Pet Day (U.S.) on January 14th
  • SHE Day (600 Women talk business and leadership in Winnipeg, MB) on January 15th
  • Colour Days!!! Rainbow Day (let these colours inspire you throughout the day) (public Facebook Group) on January 17th
  • Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day on January 17th — Please read my blog post, “Remember Your New Year’s Resolutions?”
  • National Non-Smoking Week from January 17th to January 23rd — Please see my blog post, “Is 2016 Your Year to Quit Smoking?”
  • National Popcorn Day (U.S.) on January 19th
  • Weedless Wednesday on January 20th
  • National Hugging Day on January 21st
  • National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day (U.S.) on January 22nd
  • Change a Pet’s Life Day on January 24th
  • Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day on January 25th
  • Family Literacy Day on January 27th — Please buy my Creating Wellness ebook on Amazon and read my blog post, “Sharing a Tip from my Creating Wellness Ebook on how to Sleep Better.”
  • International Lego Day on January 28th
  • Women’s Right to Vote in Canada 100th Anniversary on January 28th.

In February, we have…

  • Birthflowers of the Month include: Primrose, Violet
  • Birthstones of the Month include: Amethyst, Bloodstone, Moonstone, Onyx — Please read my blog post, “Cheers to the Chi Machine.”
  • Heart Health Month
  • National Cherry Month (U.S.) — Please read my blog post, “Top off your day with a cherry.”
  • Psychology Month — Please read my blog post, “How to feel a sense of wholeness within.”
  • Eating Disorders Awareness Week from February 1st to February 7th
  • Groundhog Day on February 2nd
  • Winter Walk Day on February 3rd — Please read my blog post, “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”
  • World Cancer Day on February 4th
  • International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on February 6th
  • White Cane Week (for the blind and vision-impaired community) from February 7th to February 13th
  • Chinese New Year Day of the Red Monkey Year on February 8th
  • Family Day in BC on February 8th
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day on February 12th
  • Valentine’s Day on February 14th — Please read my blog post, “Tips for Lips.”
  • International Flirting Week from February 14th to February 20th
  • Family Day in AB, SK, ON on February 15th
  • Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show on February 15th and February 16th — Please read my blog post, “Highlights from my dog-sitting retreat to White Rock.”
  • Colour Days!!! Pink Day (let this colour inspire you throughout the day) (public Facebook Group) on February 17th
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17th
  • Love your Pet Day on February 20th
  • Walking the Dog Day on February 22nd
  • Tennis Day on February 23rd
  • Pink Shirt Day (anti-bullying movement) on February 24th
  • Oscar Sunday on February 28th — Please see my blog post, “SPARTY! So Glamourous!”
  • Floral Design Day on February 28th
  • National Science Day on February 28th
  • Leap Day on February 29th

In March, we have…

In April, we have…

In May, we have…

  • Birthflowers of the Month include: Hawthorne, Lily of the Valley
  • Birthstones of the Month include: Agate, Beryl, Chrysoprase, Emerald, Saffier
  • Celiac Awareness Month — Please read my blog post, “How to get rid of rash under breasts.”
  • Cystic Fibrosis Month
  • Food Allergy Awareness Month — Please see my blog post, “Can’t Have your Dairy and Yogurt Too?”
  • Foot Health Awareness Month — Please read my blog post, “It’s Footbath Friday.”
  • Hepatitis Awareness Month
  • Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month
  • MedicAlert Month
  • Multiple Sclerosis Month
  • National Hemochromatosis Awareness Month (Iron Overload)
  • National Pet Month (U.S.)
  • National Physiotherapy Month
  • National Skin Cancer Awareness Month (U.S.) — Please read my blog post, “Mountains or Molehills?”
  • Speech and Hearing Awareness Month
  • Vision Health Month
  • Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups from March 1st to July 31st — Please read my blog post, “Clean Up Crew Heads to Gonzales Bay Beach.”
  • Executive Coaching Day on May 1st
  • Lyme Disease Awareness Day on May 1st
  • National Hospice Palliative Care Week from May 1st to May 7th
  • National Pet Week (U.S.) from May 1st to May 7th
  • Olympic Torch Relay for the Rio 2016 Games begins in Brasilia on May 3rd — Please see my blog post, “Olympics Day 1 and Homespunspa Was There!”
  • Walk So Kids Can Talk (event for Kids Help Phone) on May 3rd
  • World Asthma Day on May 3rd
  • World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd — Please read my blog post, “Homespunspa is Featured in Spa Life Magazine.”
  • May the Fourth Be With You Day (National Star Wars Day) on May 4th
  • Melanoma Monday on May 4th — Please read my blog post, “Mountains or Molehills?”
  • National Orange Juice Day on May 4th — Please read my blog post, “Put your feet up — home spa masque recipe for your good ol’ feet.”
  • Cinco de Mayo on May 5th
  • National Day of Prayer (U.S.) on May 5th
  • Save Lives: Clean Your Hands (WHO’s global annual call to action for health workers) on May 5th — Please read my blog post, “Washing Dishes — Good Clean Fun.”
  • World Pulmonary Hypertension Day on May 5th — Please read my blog post, “Do you have Insomnia?”
  • International No Diet Day on May 6th
  • National Tourist Appreciation Day (U.S.) on May 6th
  • Space Day on May 6th
  • HerbDay on May 7th — Please read my blog post, “Sage: A Scent for the Season.”
  • Join Hands Day (dedicated to bringing a union between the older & younger generations) on May 7th — Please read my blog post, “We Love Referrals! :)
  • National Babysitters’ Day (U.S.) on May 7th
  • World Labyrinth Day on May 7th — Please read my blog post, “Find Peace of Mind As You Walk a Labyrinth.”
  • Mental Health Week from May 2nd to May 8th — Please read my blog post, “There’s no crying in baseball.”
  • Mother’s Day on May 8th — Please read my blog post, “Give the Gift of Homespunspa Mobile Spa this Mother’s Day.”
  • White Lotus Day (encouraging meditation) on May 8th
  • World Red Cross Day on May 8th
  • Naturopathic Medicine Week from May 9th to May 15th — Please read my blog post, “I’m going on a Wellness Tour.”
  • National Nursing Week from May 9th to May 16th
  • Sun Awareness Week (U.K.) from May 9th to May 16th — Please read my blog post, “Ask Maria about Aveda.”
  • International Awareness Day for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity on May 12th
  • International Nursing Day on May 12th
  • International Hummus Day on May 13th
  • Friday the 13th on May 13th, 2016 — Please see my blog post, “Are you a Superstitious Sleeper?”
  • International Migratory Bird Day on May 14th
  • International Coaching Week (ICW) (International Coaching Federation) from May 16th to May 22nd — Please read my blog post, “How to use the Acceptance Factor to Shift Subconscious Beliefs.”
  • Colour Days!!! Turquoise/Teal Day (let this colour inspire you throughout the day) (public Facebook Group) on May 17th
  • International Day Against Homophobia on May 17th
  • World Hypertension Day on May 17th
  • International Museum Day on May 18th
  • World Autoimmune Arthritis Day on May 20th
  • National Learn to Swim Day on May 21st
  • World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21st
  • Paramedic Services Week from May 22nd to May 28th
  • Victoria Day on May 23rd — Please read my blog post, “Victoria is the Fashion Capital of Canada.”
  • Sunscreen Day on May 27th
  • Amnesty International Day on May 28th
  • International Jazz Day on May 28th
  • National Multiple Births Awareness Day on May 28th
  • World No-Tobacco Day on May 31st
  • Bike to Work Week BC from May 30th to June 5th

In June, we have…

In July, we have…

  • Birthflowers of the Month include: Delphinium, Larkspur, Water Lily
  • Birthstones of the Month include: Carnelian, Ruby
  • National Blueberry Month (U.S.)
  • Personal Health Month — Please see my blog post, “Stay Cool as a Cucumber this Summer.”
  • Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups from March 1st to July 31st — Please read my blog post, “Clean Up Crew Heads to Gonzales Bay Beach.”
  • Canada Day on July 1st — Please read my blog post, “My Pick for the #1 Spa Ingredient Native to Canada (2014)”
  • Independence Day (U.S.) on July 4th
  • International Kissing Day on July 6th
  • World Chocolate Day on July 7th
  • World Population Day on July 11th
  • National Nude Day on July 14th
  • Colour Days!!! Blue Day (let this colour inspire you throughout the day) (public Facebook Group) on July 17th
  • Cousins Day on July 24th
  • International Self-Care Day (ISF) on July 24th — Please read my blog post, “Is Self-Care Selfish?”
  • Parents Day on July 24th
  • Aunt and Uncle Day on July 26th
  • World Hepatitis Day on July 28th
  • Color Me Rad 5K Run (Vancouver) on July 30th
  • International Day of Friendship on July 30th — Please see my blog post, “Checklist for a Successful Spa Party.”

In August, we have…

In September, we have…

In October, we have…

In November, we have…

In December, we have…

July is a perfect month for a Facial

Posted by Maria on July 17, 2011 under Aromatherapy, Face, Facials, Fitness, Mobile Spa, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Skin Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Once the socks get stuffed in the drawers and the closed-toed shoes and boots get tossed to the back of the closet, and the bare feet, sandals and strappy stilettos come out for some fun in the sun, most people opt for pedicures at the spa instead of going for a facial. I’d like to suggest that getting a customized facial in the summer is definitely worth the investment also.

Our complexion changes with the seasons and it’s important to adjust your skincare routine to reflect the current environmental conditions. Your skin may have been dry and dehydrated this past winter because of low temperatures and cold winds mixed with heat from furnaces. But now, with the extra sun exposure and heat and increased activity, your skin may be turning more oily, or sensitive or may have more breakouts than usual.

How is a person supposed to keep up with all of these fluctuations and variations? The answer — having a facial. A facial with a professional esthetician will help clear up any outstanding issues you may be having with your skin this summer.

What is a Facial?

A facial treatment is a professional service designed to improve and rejuvenate the skin on the face, neck, shoulders and decolleté. Getting regular facials will definitely and noticeably improve your skin’s appearance and texture.

The Benefits of Getting a Facial

There are many benefits associated with getting a facial and they all come back to managing stress. Stress itself isn’t the bad guy — it’s the amount of stress and the way you deal with it that makes a difference in your life. For example, stress is one of the aggravating factors of acne but if you learn how to reduce the stress in your life with healthy habits such as getting regular facials and eating nutritious food and exercising daily, you will significantly improve the tone of your skin. And you’ll feel so much better.

Getting a facial also gives you a chance to try out a particular skin care product line to see how it behaves on your skin, before you purchase it. I think that’s a wise approach. Ask me which skincare line I use in my Homespunspa facials and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The benefits of a Facial include:

  1. Maintaining healthy skin and having radiant-looking skin;
  2. Correcting certain skin conditions such as overexposure to Ultraviolet Rays from the sun;
  3. Treating conditions such as dryness, oiliness or redness;
  4. Deep cleansing and releasing environmental pollution like smog that may be trapped in your pores;
  5. Exfoliation and Refinement which makes your skin feel smoother and softer;
  6. Increasing circulation;
  7. Detoxification;
  8. Relaxation of the body and mind through massage and aromatherapy;
  9. Stimulation of metabolism;
  10. Looking younger and more beautiful;
  11. Slowing down premature aging and softening lines and wrinkles;
  12. Helping clear up blemishes and minor acne;
  13. Reducing stress;
  14. Sleeping better at night.

What to expect from a Facial

When you come to a spa for a facial, you’ll be asked to fill out a confidential questionnaire and change into a gown and remove your jewellery and socks and shoes. You may also get a foot soak. Then you’ll lie down on a facial bed. You and your esthetician will talk about your needs and concerns and then both of you will determine the best course of action for your skin.

Steps in a Facial

  1. Consultation;
  2. Make up removal and Cleansing;
  3. Skin Analysis;
  4. Refinement Masque (Exfoliation);
  5. Skin Balancing;
  6. Hand, Foot, Neck, Shoulder and Facial Massages;
  7. Treatment Masque & Serums; and
  8. Moisturization and Sun Protection.

You may also receive extra services like: detoxification massage, pressure point massage, attention around your eyes, extractions, or make up application, etc. On top of all of that, you’ll also learn a lot about your own skin and how to take care of it and which products and services will benefit you the most.

Homespunspa July, August and September Special on Facials

I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but our summer in the Pacific Northwest has been slow in coming this year. Regardless, if you’re at all curious about how a facial works, Homespunspa is offering a 25% discount on all facials if you book your appointment before the autumnal equinox (September 23, 2011) and if you mention the code “summer” at the time of booking. Feel free to visit www.homespunspa.com and the mobile services menu page for a full list of services and prices. To make an appointment, follow the links on the reservations page.

I love giving facials because I like to help people relax and feel good about themselves. I also love seeing the “after” smiles my customers make when they first look at themselves in the mirror after they experience a 60 or 90 minute facial with me. I really think you’ll be pleased with your results, too.

Have a fun summer!

P.S. Remember to apply your sun protection often.

Tips for Lips

Posted by Maria on February 14, 2011 under Dating, Face, Facials, Home spa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Photo gallery, Recipes, Self-Care, Skin Care, Uncategorized | 3 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Here’s a natural home spa recipe for those of you who’d like to have honey sweet, super smooth and petal soft lips tonight and every night. Nobody likes chapped lips and they’re easy enough to get, especially in winter. They’re also easy enough to fix. I hope you enjoy this recipe and the pun in my graphic.

Homemade Berry Exfoliator for Smoother and Softer Lips

1 fresh Strawberry, mashed — can be used regularly as a teeth whitener and can be added to facials for its cleansing properties.

2 fresh Raspberries, mashed — berries have high concentrations of antioxidants which help fight free radicals.

1 TB Brown Sugar — makes a sweet alternative to salt in exfoliating scrubs.

1 TB Honey — this natural moisturizer is ideal for treating chapped lips.

1 Vitamin E capsule — moisturizes and conditions skin.

Method: Mash the strawberry and raspberries into a fine pulp. You can also substitute strawberry and raspberry jams for the fresh fruit, if you’d like. Break the Vitamin E capsule and pour the contents into the berries. Stir in the rest of the ingredients to make a soupy paste.

Manner: Apply the Berry Exfoliator with your fingers or a toothbrush to your lips. Gently rub the scrub in a circular motion on your lips for at least a minute. Rinse off with a moistened face cloth. Voila! Now top your lips off with a little lip gloss and you’re ready for a night of romance.

Storage: Mix as needed. This recipe will make more than enough for one application but will not store well.

Post a comment and let me know what you think of this home spa recipe. And for more natural, homemade, home spa recipe ideas, buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way, available exclusively on this website for $24 CAD plus shipping.

Celebrate Earth Hour & Day with Flowers & Clay

Posted by Maria on March 27, 2010 under Aromatherapy, Face, Facials, Green Living, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Homespunspa is proudly committed to Earth Hour.

Homespunspa is proudly committed to Earth Hour.

It’s Earth Hour tonight, on Saturday March 27th, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is asking everyone on the planet to turn their lights off for one whole hour to take a stand against climate change.

Are you looking for a green activity to do by candle light? How about having a home spa pajama party and giving yourself a clay and cocoa facial? I think this Homespunspa idea is the perfect way to mark Earth Hour because it’s green and relaxing all at the same time. And it’s no accident that I’m highlighting clay and cocoa in this recipe. To me, these ingredients are the home spa epitome of “earthiness” because clay is loaded with treasures like magnesium, calcium, iron, aluminum, sodium, potassium and silica and cocoa is the colour of dirt.

So invite some friends over for an Earth Hour home spa get together. Have them bring their favourite pajamas and sleeping bags. Get the candles and flashlights ready and mix the dry ingredients of this recipe together ahead of time. Goopy green faces are always good for a laugh or two and this might be the beginning of a great annual event for you and your sistas.

Cocoa & Clay Earth Hour Facial

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup green French Clay — is a key spa ingredient because it helps remove surface dirt and dead cells from skin and the experience of resting while topped in mud diffuses tension in a most pleasant way.
  • 2 TB cocoa powder — chocolate lovers will be pleased to learn that a facial made with cocoa will not only reduce tension, it will also soften dry skin.
  • 1 TB orrisroot powder — used to fix scents in herbal preparations and for mild fragrance.
  • 1 TB dried calendula flower petals, powdered or chopped fine — use in facials for all skin types to clean pores, balance pH, heal capillaries, relax facial expression and destress.
  • 12 drops carrot seed essential oil — is valued for its relaxing, restoring and nourishing properties. It refreshes and firms mature skin by detoxifying pores as well as by stimulating cell renewal and skin elasticity.
  • 1 TB sweet almond oil — is a very popular ingredient in natural skincare because it has moisturizing, softening, soothing and skin conditioning properties.
  • 1/4 cup water — extends recipe volume and provides a base to blend ingredients.
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 2 round slices per person — known as a remedy for puffy eyes, but also has cleansing, moisturizing, softening, toning and pH-balancing properties.

Method:

  1. Combine green French clay, cocoa, orrisroot and calendula in a bowl and set aside until you’re ready to start your facial.
  2. A few minutes before Earth Hour starts (around 8:20 pm), dilute 12 drops of carrot seed essential oil in 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil in a small glass jar with a secure lid. (You can substitute ingredients and use your choice of essential oils and carrier oil). Shake to blend. Pour over clay and mix in.
  3. Start with a 1/4 cup of water and slowly add enough liquid to make a spreadable paste.

Manner:

  1. Lay a towel over a pillow where you plan to lie down. Light the candles.
  2. Remove make-up and rinse your face with water.
  3. Turn the lights off.
  4. Spread about a tablespoon of the wet paste onto your face and neck, avoiding the area around the eyes. Smooth with your fingers.
  5. Lie back and place the cucumber on your eyes. Leave the clay on for 10 to 20 minutes. It will start to dry and harden but it doesn’t need to harden completely to be effective. Enjoy the nocturnal silence.
  6. Rinse off the crusty mask with plenty of cool-warm water and pat dry.

Storage: Store any leftover dry ingredients in a jar or bag. Will last indefinitely.

Enjoy your Earth Hour!

9 Ways to Spring Forward with Chamomile this weekend

Posted by Maria on March 13, 2010 under Aromatherapy, Bath and Body, Face, Feet, Hair, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

It’s time to spring forward again. At 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks ahead one whole hour to go to Daylight Saving Time and therefore magically lose an hour of the day over the course of the night.

I never really understood the concept behind Daylight Saving Time but have accepted this practice as one of the rhythms of the season. If nothing else, it reminds me to flip my mattress.

All of this extra sunshine is great, but there is a bit of a downside to this shift. Apparently, driving to work on the second Monday in March is slightly more dangerous than usual because the time change on the weekend disrupts people’s sleep patterns and causes them to be extra groggy on the road, which contributes to more traffic accidents.

So, I thought I would help people maximize their limited sleep time and reduce crashes by talking about Chamomile today.

Chamomile

With its apple-like scent and taste, Chamomile (which looks more like a Daisy) helps calm the nervous system and is used as a natural sleep remedy. Spanish chamomile is called manzanilla which means “little apple” but the generic name “Chamomile” is derived from the Greeks who referred to this herb as kamai which means “on the ground” and melon which means “apple.” The term “road apples” comes to mind every time I try to remember this, but that’s something totally different. :)

It’s Saturday Night, Why Am I Drinking Tea?

There are lots of things you can do tonight with Chamomile before you go to bed, to help you get a good night’s sleep in spite of being cheated out of an hour. Here are some tips from my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa Way:

  1. Drink a cup of chamomile tea for sleeplessness, nightmare prevention, depression, anxiety, anger, headaches, indigestion, female issues and shock;
  2. Place warm tea bags on your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles;
  3. Use chamomile water as a toner in your facial to clean pores, relax facial expression, and de-stress (good for all skin-types);
  4. Use as a hair rinse to add highlights and gloss, repair damage, encourage hair growth, and for a relaxing fragrance;
  5. Use chamomile essential oil in foot creams to fight fungus;
  6. Add to bathwater and soap recipes and take a bath right before bed;
  7. For extra aromatherapy, spray your bedroom and sheets with comforting chamomile linen water;
  8. Use the herb in sleep pillows;
  9. Add chamomile essential oil to massage oil to relax, foster sleep, lift depression, soothe pain, and strengthen breathing.

Enjoy your weekend and may your commutes to and from work be smooth and clear this week. Feel free to add your comments and tips to this post.

In Flanders Fields the poppies grow…

Posted by Maria on November 11, 2009 under Books, Magazines, Music, Face, Home spa, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Recipes, Self-Care, Sleep, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Remembrance Day – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Also known as Poppy day, Armistice Day or Veterans’ Day, it’s a day to remember the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.

I like the tradition we have in Canada of wearing a poppy on our lapel as an emblem signifying we will not forget the people who have put service before self to give us a better life.

The red flowered Corn poppy is the poppy of wartime remembrance. It is actually a common weed found throughout Europe, and specifically in regions of Belgium and France, also known as Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae
Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps doctor.
First published in Punch magazine on December 8, 1915.

Because poppies are the flower of the day, I thought I’d offer a home spa recipe using this plant. Poppy flowers and seeds have a long and strong tradition of being associated with sleep. As a home spa ingredient, seeds can be ground into a milky, exfoliating paste which is useful for softening dry, cracking skin and the flowers can be blended in tea for sleeplessness, stress and tension.

When I lived in Belgium many years ago, a gardener asked me what my favourite flower was. “I love poppies,” I said. I had seen the wild, red flowers peppered across the European countryside in fields far and wide and they are quite a vision to behold. That was the day I learned the French word, “Coquelicot.”

I rummaged through my books and found a simple recipe, Lotion au coquelicot, in a book my mother gave me after her last trip to France a few years ago. The book is called, Les secrets de la beaute au naturel, written by Nicole Houques and Henri del Olmo and published in 2000 by Editions du Chene – Hachette Livre.

I’ll translate the “Poppy Lotion” recipe from French as best I can.

Lotion au coquelicot

Les secrets de la beaute au naturel, p 68

Ingredients:

  • 60 g of dried poppy petals
  • 1 litre of boiling water

Method:

Bring 1 litre of water to a boil and then extinguish the heat source. Throw the petals in the pot and let them infuse into the water for 15 minutes. Filter out the petals and leave the infused water to cool. Pour into a bottle.

Manner:

Apply the poppy petal infusion to your clean face. This lotion lessens fine lines and softens the skin.

Lotion au coquelicot

Lotion au coquelicot

Pumpkin goes to the Spa – A Home Spa Pumpkin Facial Recipe

Posted by Maria on November 3, 2009 under Aromatherapy, Face, Facials, Green Living, Home spa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | 5 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Wanna look this relaxed? Photo by Maria Koropecky

Wanna look this relaxed? Photo by Maria Koropecky

Are you wondering what to do with your leftover jack-o-lantern now that Halloween has past?

Last Friday, the 30th, I was invited to a “Carve it Up” pumpkin carving potluck Halloween party and this photo shows my handiwork. (Thank goodness he didn’t end up like some of his buddies cracked open on the pavement). I can’t remember the last time before this that I dabbled with pumpkins — it may have been 20 years ago for all I know — but it all came back to me quickly — just like riding a bike.

It’s a cheap thrill

There’s something to be said about the cool sensation of plunging into a fresh pumpkin and hauling out all of the stringy fibers, seeds and goop with your bare hands. And of course the smell will unlock distant childhood memories too. My inner artist was very content and it was quite a therapeutic experience for me.

Pumpkin’s Fringe Benefits

Pumpkins are an excellent spa ingredient for all kinds of reasons. Pumpkins are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as Zinc, Alpha and Beta Carotene, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron.

Pump-skins can be used in all kinds of spa treatments including: shampoos, shower gels, bubblebaths, soaps, massage, salt and sugar scrubs, manicures, pedicures, enzyme peels and facials. Although mild and gentle, pumpkins are excellent exfoliators and leave your skin feeling pillow soft.

The pumpkin flavour goes well with apples, brown sugar, coconut, cream, ginger, honey, mint, vanilla and yogurt.

Here is a quick and easy home spa pumpkin facial recipe that I developed and tested yesterday. And today my skin feels extra soft and smooth:

Pumpkin Facial

Ingredients:
  • 3 TB pumpkin puree (plain and unseasoned) — Loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, pumpkins exfoliate and soften skin.
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil — Pressed from juicy olives, this lovely fragrant, heavy oil calms, soothes, nourishes, cleans, softens and moisturizes skin.
  • 1 TB maple syrup — helps Maple trees survive Canadian winters and has made its way into the spa world as a skin conditioning treatment.
  • 1 TB plus 1 tsp witch hazel distillate — makes a popular pore-tightening liquid toner for oily and blemished skin because of its astringent, anti-inflammatory, cooling and cleansing properties.
  • 2 tsps cornstarch — lends a silky and luxurious feel to recipes, making skin feel smooth and soft.
Method:

To make the boiled pumpkin puree:

  1. Hollow out your pumpkin if you haven’t already. Reserve the seeds for roasting.
  2. Cut the pumpkin into large (1 and a half to 2 or so inches) cubes. (I only ended up using half of my small/medium sized pumpkin which yielded 6 cups of puree).
  3. Throw the chunks into your biggest cooking pot and cover with water like you would potatoes. For a spa recipe, you don’t need to add any seasonings like salt — in this case, the plainer the better. And please don’t add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to boost the aromatherapy because those spices can really irritate the skin.
  4. Boil, covered, for at least an hour but check at the 30 minute mark. You want the pumpkin pieces to be fork-tender.
  5. Once cooked, remove the pieces from the pot. Cut off the skin and discard. Drop a few pieces at a time in a blender. Add some water from the pot for extra liquid. Blend to an even consistency. Let the orangey puree cool to room temperature before applying it to your skin.

To make the facial:

  1. Mix the pumpkin puree with the olive oil, witch hazel and cornstarch in a small bowl. It should be the consistency of apple sauce. You can substitute another oil, like corn oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil for the olive oil if you prefer. You can also add a few drops of your choice of skin-friendly essential oils, like carrot seed essential oil, to this recipe to further customize it to your skin type. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
Manner:
  1. Drape a towel over a pillow and create a space to put your feet up and relax.
  2. Apply the pumpkin mash to your freshly cleaned face with your fingers, covering everything to the hairline and down your neck, except your eyes and lips. (You can also apply this recipe to your hands, feet, hair and back at another time if you’d like).
  3. Lie down, close your eyes and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. (Note: although this is unlikely, if your skin feels irritated and if you feel uncomfortable soon after applying the recipe, discontinue the treatment early and rinse of the pumpkin from your face. I felt a little mild tingling but I wasn’t concerned).
  4. Rinse the pumpkin from your face with warm water and towel off. It’s a very thin recipe so it shouldn’t clog your plumbing.
  5. Finish your treatment with more Witch Hazel. Apply Witch Hazel with a cotton ball to tone the skin and to remove any excess residue left behind from the treatment.
Storage / Shelf Life

You will have lots of pumpkin puree leftovers. The good news is you can freeze the bounty for another treatment down the road or you can use the puree in baking recipes, like pumpkin loaf.

You can refrigerate the leftover spa treatment mixture and use it within the next 3 days.

Your Turn

What did you do with your Halloween pumpkin? Write a comment and pass on your ideas.

And let me know if you like this recipe. I would love to hear your feedback. And for more recipes like this one, buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way available through www.Homespunspa.com.

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