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…

Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2

Posted by Maria on July 7, 2012 under Fitness, Gift Ideas, Humour, Ingredients, Meditation, Mobile Spa, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa Review, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

As you may recall from my blog post, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 1,” I went on a cruise to Alaska with my mom in June of 2012. It was a wonderful experience and a dream come true for me.

Here is the much anticipated, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2″ and today I’m going to blog about my visit to the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship’s, AquaSpa.

Homespunspa is a mobile spa, but a spa on a cruise ship takes “mobile” to a whole new level. Not only were we travelling at sea while I was getting my detox treatment, we had hit a major storm, with no end in sight, and things got pretty rocky for a while.

Images of the Aquaspa on the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship.

Images of the Aquaspa on the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship.

I don’t remember hearing any mention of a spa on the Love Boat in 1979 but I’m sure they must have had at least a hair salon on board. Nowadays, spas are a big part of the cruise experience and as an esthetician and lover all of all things spa, I needed to go “undercover” and do some “research.”

We were treated to a complimentary hot stone shoulder massage and tour of the spa and fitness facilities on the first day of our cruise. I didn’t realize how much tension I carried in my shoulders until I sat down for my mini hot stone massage. I wouldn’t give my free massage a 10 out of 10 because I felt like the spa therapist was spending way more time on my left shoulder than on my right and I noticed that although she started my massage after her co-worker started my mother’s massage, she finished my massage sooner. I’m just saying…

I briefly considered getting a full Aroma Stone Therapy Massage but I’m familiar with hot stones and wanted to learn something new. I was also tempted to get the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage because I think seaweed is one of our planet’s most valuable treasures. Ultimately, I decided to go for the Ionithermie Treatment to firm, tone and detoxify my body.

Here is the write up on the spa menu: “An extraordinary treatment, developed by a French medical physician, proven to detoxify and visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks and guaranteed 1 to 8 inch reduction on the body after one single treatment…” One to 8 inches off my waist — I’ll take it! “Using active Red Algae and rich marine clay combined with gentle stimulation targeting the stomach, thighs, arms and abdomen.” Red Algae and marine clay? There’s my seaweed, sign me up!”

My Consultation:

When I met with the spa therapist, I told her I was an esthetician and I wanted to learn about the Ionithermie treatment for myself and for my spa clientele. I told her I work out regularly and had lost 40 pounds a couple of years ago but have gained a lot of it back and would like to focus on my tummy. I also thought it might be a nice treatment to add to my mobile spa menu for my own customers. She said she would tell me as much as she could without revealing trade secrets.

She drew a diagram of a cell with arrows and told me how we are exposed to 40,000 toxins a day and these diazepamhome toxins interfere with maintaining a healthy body weight on a cellular level if they’re not dealt with efficiently. She recommended Ionithermie as a detox program but emphasized that people only need to detox once every 5 years to stay healthy.

My Ionithermie Appointment:

So there I was standing in the middle of the spa treatment room wearing a pair of disposable undies and a towel while a storm was brewing outside on the open sea. I was feeling uncomfortable because I’m a modest person, to put it mildly. My esthetician started by measuring my midriff, upper waist, natural waist, lower waist and upper hip. Then the spa therapist applied a cleanser to my tummy. Then she whipped up a big bowl of blue clay that was made with Algae, Ivy, Kelp and Guarana extract and that’s when things started to get interesting. She placed a tray on the bed and then poured the clay into the pan and spread it around as if she was icing a birthday cake. Then she strategically placed some electrodes in the clay and covered everything with something like a cheesecloth.

She told me to lie down with my back on the clay tray and then she placed the other ends of the electrodes near my belly button. She turned on the machine to see how strong a signal I could take. It felt like two centipedes were running across my stomach and then it felt like two thumbs were pressing on my tummy. So that’s what they meant by “gentle stimulation.” After a few minutes, it also felt like hands were pulling the skin on my abdomen to my left as if kneading dough. These odd sensations would repeat every 30 seconds for 30 minutes with an increase in intensity as the minutes clicked by and as more waves crashed against the side of the ship.

Once I was fully committed and couldn’t go anywhere in a quick hurry, I thought to myself, THIS IS SO WEIRD. Here I am on a cruise on my birthday, in my birthday suit, covered in clay and agreeing to have an electrical current zip through my body in the middle of a raging storm in the north Pacific Ocean. How did I get here?

My results:

After my treatment, I was re-measured and all in all I lost 2 and 3/4 inches off my waist in one session and this made me happy. Also, when I got home and was weighed by my personal trainer, I only managed to gain 1 pound during my cruise which also made me happy.

My Recommendations on a Scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high):

  1. Would I recommend the AquaSpa on the Celebrity Century? — Yes (8)
  2. Would I recommend the Ionithermie Treatment? — Yes (7)
  3. Would I recommend the esthetician who administered the Ionithermie Treatment on the Celebrity Century? — Yes (8)

A little note on price:

It says on the spa menu that one session of Ionithermie is $159 US. However, when I received the printed statement in my cabin later that day, they added another $30 as some sort of a spa service charge to the total. There was no mention of any extra charges on spa treatments anywhere (not in the fine print, not when I booked my appointment).  I was not impressed when I got the final bill and for that, the spa got dinged a point on my recommendations scale.

Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 1

Posted by Maria on July 6, 2012 under Fashion, Fitness, Humour, Ingredients, Massages, Meditation, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa Review, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

“Have you ever been to sea, Billy?”
“No, Captain, Highliner.”
“Well, sometimes the waves get so high, you can’t eat your dinner…”

Does anyone remember that commercial for Highliner Fish and Chips from the late 1970’s? (Go ahead and YouTube it, it still holds up). Somehow and for some odd reason, I committed that little conversation to my memory. Maybe I liked it because my father was an officer in the navy and he spent a lot of time on the high seas during those years and the sailor reminded me of him. The ad campaign was also launched around the same time as “the Love Boat,” (my favourite tv show at that time), was on the air.

Anyway, because of these three little memories, let’s just say, going on a cruise has been a dream of mine for over 30 years. Well, that dream finally came true last month in June when I went on a cruise to Alaska with my mom.

We went on the Celebrity Century as part of a modern-day pilgrimage with our church (yeah, I know, you’re asking yourself, what kind of church do you belong to, Maria, and can I sign up? :) and throughout the cruise, I experienced a lot of inspiring moments that made me feel more happy and alive. I went zip-lining on the longest ziprider in the world at Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, Alaska), I saw the AWESOME Hubbard Glacier, and I danced with an officer, wearing my favourite silver disco shoes, in the “Dancing with the Stripes” contest.

Hubbard Glacier on June 13, 2012

I also ate a lot of delicious food.  Yes, when you go on a cruise, expect to eat a lot because every dish looks so good and you feel like you have to try everything. One night during his show, the comedian even joked, “I won’t keep you folks much longer because I know you have to go to the dining room again and eat soon…” We all laughed because it was true.

All of this delicious food meant I had to have a game plan. I didn’t want to go home heavier. I decided to take the stairs whenever possible and going up 7 decks at a time made a difference. Also, my personal trainer said, “Take advantage of all of their state-of-the-art fitness equipment” and I’m proud to say that I did, but I must say, running on a treadmill on a choppy ocean is way more challenging than you might expect and you get a double workout with all of that extra balancing and compensating you have to do. Don’t believe me? Try running on sea legs for yourself and let me know what you think.

And, of course, as an esthetician, I had to sign up for at least one spa treatment while I was cruising. As we boarded the ship, we were handed a flute of champagne and were told the spa was offering free hot stone massages all afternoon and a tour of the spa facilities and after eating our first lunch, :) we headed straight to the Aqua Spa.

If you’d like to hear my review of the Century’s Aqua Spa and the spa treatment I signed up for, please read the blog post, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2″.

Cheers to the Chi Machine

Posted by Maria on December 3, 2010 under Aromatherapy, Esthetics School, Ingredients, Meditation, Photo gallery, Sleep, Spa Party, Spa Review, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 7 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

On Thursday night, I went to my first Spa Warming Party. What a treat. My classmate, Mariko, just started working at Nurture Thyself Day Spa here in Victoria. She calls this her “dream job” and I can see why she loves this spa so much.

Nurture Thyself Day Spa

As part of the festivities, each of the invited guests were allowed to sign up for two complimentary spa services. I quickly wrote my name down for a make up application because I was curious to learn more about the Jane Iredale line. I also signed up, without thinking twice, for the chi machine, even though I had never heard of anything like that before.

Gold Fish

What’s a chi machine? Is it like a time machine? I didn’t know what to expect. When my turn came for the chi machine, I was taken to a small, dimly lit room that had a bed and an infrared sauna. I remember the scent of lemongrass as I entered the spa. I took my boots off and was told to lay down on my back on the bed and rest my ankles in the cradles. My feet were slightly elevated and once the chi machine was turned on, my feet and legs started rocking from side to side, left to right. I closed my eyes and began to relax.

The jiggling reminded me of a body balancing routine we learned in esthetics school where we rolled the legs from the ankles which caused a slight rippling effect through the hips. Until now, I didn’t know the purpose of this step but this gentle leg rocking motion has some significance. It’s known as the “Goldfish Exercise” or “kingyo undo” in Japanese and is often included in Shiatsu massage. As it turns out, doing the goldfish stimulates your chi, or life force energy.


On top of all of that, (or more accurately, beneath all of that), I was lying on a warm and comfortable Amethyst Healing Crystal mat. Amethyst crystals, which come in shades of purple and mauve, are known for their healing and calming properties. Amethyst can help with insomnia and you can put it under your pillow to encourage pleasant dreams. You can also use amethyst during meditation and to increase your spiritual awareness.

As I was lying in my own little spa world, I was thinking to myself that this is a really soothing and relaxing experience. I could feel the heat from the amethyst on my back. The heat was like sitting with your back to a fire place in a cozy log cabin. It occurred to me that I was heading toward a meditative state and I thought I’d take advantage by saying a few affirmations. That was a good idea.

After 15 minutes or so, the machine stopped by itself. In the next few quiet moments, I felt the sensation of effervescence. I felt as if I was a glass of champagne and bubbles were floating through my body.

After my chi machine treatment, I noticed I felt more relaxed. Somehow, I felt better. There was a slight yet perceptible shift in my mood. I felt a more positive outlook and a more confident vibe and all of a sudden I found myself volunteering to do foot massages to help out at the spa warming. Another good idea.

If you ever get a chance to try a chi machine session, I highly recommend it. Regular naps on the chi machine can help with an arm’s length of health concerns including sleep disorders, skin irritations and stress. And when you combine amethyst crystals with the chi machine, you’ve got a winning prescription for wellness. Give Mariko a call at Nurture Thyself Day Spa when you’re in Victoria and ask for the Purification Ritual which includes Infrared Sauna, Chi Machine on the Amethyst Crystal Mat and Ionic Foot Bath (1.5 hours for $85). Tell her I sent ya.

Looking at Life Through Rose-Coloured Tresses

Posted by Maria on June 14, 2009 under Dating, Fashion, Hair, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Spa Review, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

****What Not to Wear spoil alert****

In an effort to cling to the vestiges of my youth as they slip through my fingers like sand, I went to my hair appointment with a colourful idea. I wanted to add some pink.

I personally think that getting your hair done is one of the best ways to manage stress. I particularly love getting my hair washed.

I had been toying with the pink idea for a while. I thought about it during my last appointment with Richard as I was flipping through some hairstyle books. There’s lots of stuff being done these days with deep blues and vibrant reds. I couldn’t decide between pink and purple. Purple has always been my favourite colour but pink seems more flattering with blonde.

At first Richard wasn’t so keen on the idea. He has been a hairstylist for over 20 years and knows a thing or two about people, their attachment to their hair and the concept of change. He knows when to green light an idea and when not to. He tested me with some questions like, Why do you want to do this? — Because I’m turning 40 in a couple of days and I want to do something youthful?

He showed me all of his colour samples and the tube of “Pretty Flamingo” and said I had an hour to think about it. Should I or shouldn’t I? What will my cat think? What will my mother say? How will my forestry co-workers react? I was thinking, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea afterall and was talking myself out of it.

As Richard was cutting my hair, I was telling him about Friday night’s episode of What Not To Wear where they literally roped Jessie, a 52-year-old woman from Texas, into a make-over. They caught up to her at the South Fork Ranch, home of Dallas, the 80’s tv show and she was wearing an animal print dress, a leather coat, rhinestones and pumps. She was nominated by her 34 year-old daughter with long blonde, big Texas hair, who was going to be moving out of her mother’s house soon. Apparently, the mother was divorced and single and the mother and daughter would hang out together to meet men, though the men would always pick the daughter.

Jessie admitted that her feelings were really hurt after being nominated for the show. But I guess a $5000 shopping spree in New York City didn’t sound so bad.

Jessie reluctantly went to New York. She didn’t see anything wrong with what she was wearing in the first place but tried to take in the rules as best she could. No more rhinestones for her, she thought. Admittedly, I think giving up 20-year-old clothes would be hard for me also. I have clothes like t-shirts and socks from my high school days in my drawers too. Why?  I don’t know. Do I still wear them? No.

It was obvious Jessie was clinging to the good ol’ days of yesteryear — when things were the way she wanted them — she was young, beautiful, married and living the high life. Unfortunately, things changed and she was resisting big time. There were no smiles. There was no enthusiasm. At first Stacy and Clinton, the show hosts, were their usual joking selves, but they quickly learned she had no sense of humour about this and they reined it in to a more demure level.

When it came to her hair, Nick, the resident hairstylist on What Not to Wear, sat her down in his chair and callously held her hair in a fan above her ears and said something to the effect of, this is going, say good-bye. I think that was the last straw for Jessie. It was the turning point where she lost the rest of her patience and wasn’t going to tolerate this invasion into her life a second longer. That’s when things went southfork and had Nick approached this with a little more finesse, things may have turned out differently.

All in all Nick did a nice job on her hair. He made it more golden, than platinum, and cut her hair into a chin-length bob. I often don’t care for his hairstyles though because he tends to border on mullets — and by that I mean, he straightens the hair near the ears leaving it to lie flat — but in this case the style was quite flattering. She looked younger and better.

I think she used the word “pretty” but her face was saying something else. You could see her disappointed and angry thoughts fermenting under the surface of her skin. She knew if she said anything out loud, she would either say something really awful or she would burst into tears. I’ve been there before in many situations but I’ve never actually watched someone else do it. Cut to commercial.

We’ve all had bad haircuts in our day. I can remember the time I went to a new stylist and as I left the salon, all of the other stylists stopped what they were doing, watched me as I walked past and all had this look on their face that said, “Oh you poor thing.” I can laugh about it now.

When they returned from the ads, Jessie was in the greenroom crying and Carmindy, the make-up artist, came to talk to her. Jessie said, none of the men would like her hair, so Carmindy said she would send someone in to fix things. The fix was blow-drying the hair in a more flippy way.

I happen to know, (by eavesdropping on a conversation between my bus driver and another passenger a few years ago — it was a story about how the bus driver gave up a scholarship with Vidal Sassoon in England to take care of her grandfather), that Nick charges something like $250 or $400 U.S. for an appointment. He’s no slouch. He knows what he’s doing.

Carmindy was treating her with kid gloves and applied her make-up, although I didn’t pay attention to a word. I was watching Jessie’s face as she seethed in anger. She said, “I’ll live with it for a week and see how it goes.”

When she checked in with Stacy and Clinton in her new outfits, new hair and make-up, there were no yahoos. No cheers.

And low and behold, within the month, she had extensions put in and the colour re-platinumized. Talk about kicking a gift horse in the mouth.

She was less than impressed with her tress. I, on the other hand, felt blessed. As you have probably guessed by now, I went ahead with the pink and I’m really happy. What’s the difference between my experience and Jessie’s? First of all, my hair wasn’t drastic on the grand scheme of things and second, I asked for it. Jessie did not. It was my idea in the first place. I have been going through gradual changes over the past several months and am getting used to seeing a different person in the mirror, while her transformation happened all of a sudden and it was too shocking.

My hairstylist Richard said people don’t like change — they think they do, but they don’t. That’s why we find the nearest Starbucks or the Gap and shop there because these places are familiar and predictable. Don’t mess with Texas.

My advice to Jessie is:

1) Smile more and frown less — no quality man would be interested in spending time with a bitter woman with a poor attitude.

2) Hire a personal trainer — if nothing else, it will do wonders for your self-confidence.

3) Appreciate the wisdom you have gained over the years — it will serve you better than your youth and beauty ever did.

Watch What Not To Wear on Friday nights on TLC and check out the fansite at for more comments on this episode.

Can you find the pink? What do you think?

Can you find the pink? What do you think?

Mud Messy? … Who Knew?

Posted by Maria on June 6, 2009 under Bath and Body, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Photo gallery, Spa Review, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Weight Management, Yoga | 8 Comments to Read

I took Homespunspa (read yours truly) on a road trip to Whistler, British Columbia last weekend.

Whistler will be the home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and is a wonderful outdoor playground and a perfect location for a summer spa weekend retreat.

I could not have picked a better weekend weather-wise. We were experiencing the best stretch of weather I have seen in these parts in years — clear blue skies and sunshine all the way!

View of mainland BC near Horseshoe Bay from the ferry. Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye.

View of mainland BC near Horseshoe Bay from the ferry. Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye.

I planned a trip to Whistler because I wanted to reward myself for my weight loss. I also wanted to do something special for myself on the edge of my 40th birthday. I called it my “39 and holding road trip.”

I made an appointment at Solaris Spa the week before and that was the highlight of my trip. First I took a yoga class with Colleen at 10:30 am. The poses were more challenging than I was used to and we did some new-to-me stuff — like tilting, turning and twisting on one leg — which kind of reminded me of those tipping duckies that drink water. The space was really lovely with a spectacular view of the snow-covered mountains. Colleen new her yoga inside and out, so to speak, and was a good instructor. It just goes to show no two yoga instructors are alike and you’ll never take the same yoga class twice, even with the same instructor. Colleen also added a chant to her practice, which I enjoyed, but wasn’t exactly sure what to do with.

After the yoga class, I had my first ever mud wrap treatment. At first I had signed up for the thalassa seaweed wrap because I wanted a detoxifying treatment, but Shelly, my spa specialist, suggested I go with the mud instead, which does the same thing, without the unpleasant smell.

This trip was all about stepping out of my comfort zone and this propelled me out of my nest. I soon wondered, what have I gotten myself into? I didn’t know what to expect and I soon found out how messy and involved a mud treatment was. I was so glad I didn’t have to do the laundry there.

First I had to strip down to my skivies. Cringe. I quickly hopped on to the bed that was covered with a heated blanket, a plastic sheet and regular towels and sheets. I thought Shelly did a great job in making me feel at ease. First she exfoliated my skin with some sort of abrasive glove or brush. It just acted to stimulate the skin, preparing it for the mud. I definitely felt the bristling effect, but at the same time, it was quick and painless.

Then she took the dark, coffee ground-brown mud and painted it on my limbs. It was cool to the skin. After that step, she wrapped me up like a burrito in the plastic sheet and heated blanket. It was very relaxing. I just closed my eyes and was glad my nose didn’t start to itch. Meanwhile, Shelly massaged my face and feet.

Shelly warned me about the contrast I’d feel in the air temperature as she unwrapped my cocoon and yes it was noticeable. The hardest part of the whole process was getting out of the warm bed and into the shower to wash off. I had to make my way covered in clay, wearing a bathrobe and flip flops, across the spa lobby and into the Swiss shower room. (That is my only criticism of the whole experience). People just don’t need to see that before lunch.

Anyway, I tried not to take too long in the shower, but the mud doesn’t exactly rinse off that easily, even though it’s water-soluble. Thank goodness for their pipes that it virtually contains no clay.

Moor Mud (also known as therapeutic peat moss) is an organic substance, produced from the natural decomposition of a galaxy of plants, herbs, flowers and grasses, under special conditions, over thousands of years.

Found in moor mud bogs of Europe, moor mud has been used as a spa treatment ingredient since day one. It contains minerals, trace elements, vitamins, amino acids, plant hormones and fatty acids in a molecular form that is easy for human skin to absorb.

Moor mud has an extraordinary ability to heal, nourish and detoxify the body as it promotes circulation, stimulates the immune system, relaxes muscles, relieves pain, breaks down fat cells, reduces cellulite and improves range of motion — perfect for someone like me who is exercising and doing yoga regularly to get fit.

Getting a back massage was the last part of my mud spa treatment. Unfortunately, I took too long in the shower which didn’t leave much time. I chose the mimosa fragrance, as part of my celebration theme, for this stretch. Shelly told me to drink lots of water because some people get dehydration headaches after detox treatments.

All in all I felt so relaxed. What a beautiful morning. Sipping my water, I walked so slowly through the village and forest path. It took me 40 minutes to walk back to my hotel room — a trip that would normally take 10 to 15.

There’s something to be said about getting away on your own to enjoy your own company and not having to deal with other people’s agendas. As much as I wanted to meet people there, I’m so glad I had the luxury of “Me time.” It was worth the trip.

Here's my Moor Mud Treatment in writing. Drop-in yoga class was $20.

Here's my Moor Mud Treatment in writing. Drop-in yoga class was $20.

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