by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner
Yesterday, Homespunspa Mobile Spa was invited to give mini mani’s to new mothers at the MotherFest at Mothering Touch. It was a pre-Mother’s Day mini mani marathon for me and Ranjit and the nail polish was flying!
The most popular colour choice? Good ol’ Lucky Lucky Lavender. See if you can spot the bottle in the photo below.
Homespunspa's collection of nail polish colours.
The new mothers brought their babies to the event and had a choice of treating themselves to all kinds of pampering services from Thai Massage to Belly Painting to a Photoshoot. At one point in the afternoon, there must have been at least 60 babies in the store at once. It was truly an honour and a really joyful experience for me to be so close to so many infants at the same time. One was only three weeks old! So cute!
Anyway, back to the question at hand: Does Being Pregnant Make Your Nails Grow Faster?
As each of the women sat in front of me to get their nails filed and polished, I asked many of them, just out of curiosity, if they’re finding a difference in their nails now that they’re pregnant. The surprising answer was “Yes” and most, if not all of them, had noticed how much stronger their nails were and how much faster they grew while they were pregnant. One woman said, “It must be the prenatal vitamins we’re taking.”
Prenatal vitamins are designed to help ensure better health for fetus and mother. These vitamins and supplements contain high concentrations of folic acid, calcium and iron and low amounts of vitamin A. Some brands also include Omega-3’s and DHA.
As it turns outs, it’s not the prenatal vitamins that make the nails grow stronger and faster — it’s the pregnancy hormones that are key. During pregnancy, the woman’s body starts to produce a bigger batch of hormones than usual and these hormones have a number of tasks and responsibilities. For one, they boost circulation and send a constant deluge of vital nutrients to the skin, which in turn makes nails grow faster.
So that answers that.
If you’re a new mom and can’t keep up with trimming your nails during this special time and want a little treat for yourself, please call me, Maria, at Homespunspa. I’d be happy to come to your home and give you your choice of a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage at your convenience. And the beauty of a mobile spa is…you don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter because you’ll be within earshot of your little ones the whole time. And why not invite some friends over and make it a spa party?
Anyway, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of the moms and mother figures out there and especially my own dear mother, a very happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to you!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I love yogurt. I used to eat a bowl full of plain, no-fat yogurt with blueberries, cinnamon and ground flax seeds along with half a toasted English muffin, slathered with margarine, plus cup of coffee with milk every morning for breakfast.
That was my stand-by for years because it was quick, easy, tasty and filling and I didn’t have to think about it. Life was good. But things change. I have decided — after watching JJ Virgin on Public TV — to see what would happen if I followed her advice and took soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy and gluten out of my diet for three whole weeks. I was hoping to lose some weight and clear some skin issues. As an esthetician, I know about the relationship between good nutrition, good digestion, and healthy body weight and healthy skin and I knew the food I was eating wasn’t doing me any favours.
I knew it would be challenging to avoid bread for a few weeks. That was a given. Soy has proven to be very challenging because it seems to find its way into everything — especially gluten-free stuff — and it was in my margarine which I wasn’t aware of until I read the label. Eggs, corn and peanuts are probably the easiest, though I do like my popcorn, sunny side up eggs on Sundays, and celery with peanutbutter. I had given up dairy before and I knew what that was all about so I wasn’t too concerned about things like cheese, butter and ice cream. The yogurt, though, was closest to my heart and I was most sorry to see it go.
I didn’t think I could have my dairy and yogurt too but I’m happy to say I was wrong about that.
JJ Virgin suggested replacing dairy yogurt with coconut yogurt. I thought that was too good to be true. And what were the chances of being able to find this stuff in Canada?
Much to my surprise, I found “Cultured Coconut Milk” at a nearby Planet Organic and it was on sale! I was so excited!
Bowl of cultured coconut milk or coconut yogurt with blueberries for breakfast..
When I saw the containers of cultured coconut milk in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store, I picked one up and quickly read the label: Dairy free and Certified Gluten Free. Check, check. The ingredients include: coconut milk, water, organic coconut cream, chicory root extract, organic dried cane syrup, rice starch, pectin, tapioca, kelp, magnesium, locust bean gum, live cultures, guar gum, carrageenan and monk fruit extract. A serving of 175 grams has 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 135 mg’s of sodium, 23 grams of carbs (9 grams of fibre and 7 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein, 0 vitamins A or C, 35% Calcium and 6% Iron.
Sounded good to me.
I couldn’t wait to taste it so I bought the coconut yogurt and tried some as soon as I got home.
Another pleasant surprise! Coconut yogurt tastes really good. Although I’m not a Top Chef Canada judge, I really think So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk is a winner. It’s really thick, rich, creamy and smooth. It’s even thicker than no-fat Greek yogurt. The taste of the coconut is strong but it isn’t overly sweet. And this brand comes in different flavours but I’m happy with the plain. Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the expensive side. When compared to regular yogurt, the coconut yogurt container is smaller and costs as much, if not more. I may not have it everyday but I’ll have it often enough.
So far I’m on week two of the Virgin diet. I can’t say I’ve seen any difference at this point in terms of my weight and my skin but I’m pretty sure I’ll see a slight improvement at the 3-week mark. I’ll keep you posted. Finding the coconut yogurt was definitely the highlight of this entire exercise.
Have you tried to tried coconut yogurt? Did you like it? Please leave a comment.
Have you tried to avoid certain foods to see if you have issues with them? Have you read the Virgin Diet book and are thinking about taking a vacation from soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy, and gluten? If so, let me know.
Till next time, Maria
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Well, I’m officially back from my Wellness Tour in Ontario. It’s good to be back home on the west coast. I enjoyed my time and learned a lot about wellness and healing and am eager to share my new knowledge with my friends and customers.
Experiencing a true Canadian winter was a refreshing change for me. I got a taste of -25 degrees Celsius temperatures, a couple of blizzards, snow, ice, wind and all of the rest and didn’t mind the season so much. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day in the middle of winter compared to grey skies and rain for months on end as I was used to. I was grateful to have a warm coat, dry boots, a hat, scarf and gloves which kept me warm and dry enough and thank goodness, I didn’t catch a cold like every one else around me.
I found, however, that the different climate did a number on my skin. My skin and hair became much oilier while I was away. I guess having the constant salty, ocean air blowing around me has been benefiting my skin all of these years and without it, my skin went out of balance. I wouldn’t have thought salt water breezes would be helpful until I saw that nasal spray commercial when they ask that fisherman if he has breathing problems and he says, “of course not, the salty air keeps my sinuses clear” or something like that.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to adult acne. We learned in school that 1 in 5 or 20% of adults over the age of 20 are currently experiencing cases of acne. You could be in your 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s and all of a sudden get bombarded with several open and closed comedones, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, pimples, cysts, redness and severe inflammation. It comes as quite a surprise because you think those days are long behind you.
Adult acne sufferers are a growing demographic and you’ll find more and more skin care companies responding to this trend by offering solutions that are taylor-made to adults and not teenagers.
Definition of Acne
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, usually related to hormonal changes and overactive sebaceous glands. Symptoms include: redness, blemishes, pimples and blackheads which can be found of the face, shoulders and back.
4 Causes of Acne
- Excessive sebum/oil production.
- Abnormal Desquamation. Desquamation refers to the process of cells travelling from the bottom layer of the Epidermis (Stratum Germinativum) to the top layer (Stratum Corneum) and if this process happens either too quickly or too slowly, it’s considered abnormal and causes blocked pores.
- Proliferation of Propione Bacteria. Propione is the bacteria responsible for acne and it’s generated by Abnormal Desquamation.
- and Inflammation. The body produces inflammation as a defensive mechanism anytime it feels attacked.
There’s Hope for Adults with Acne
There are lots of things you can do to minimize acne outbreaks as an adult and in this post I’m going to cover nutrition.
If you’re suffering from adult acne, now’s the time to really kick up your nutrition and eat the healthiest foods you can find and afford. What you put into your body really shows up on your skin so be mindful. Here are some nutritional guidelines that can really help with acne breakouts for people of all ages.
- Minimize hot, spicy, acidic and salty foods.
- Minimize oily, deep fried, processed/refined and junk foods.
- Minimize refined sugar.
- Avoid eating at irregular times and late at night.
- Do not eat Iodized salt.
- Minimize common allergen foods such as milk, eggs, wheat and yeast.
- Eat lots of low-fat yogurt.
- Eat more garlic.
- Drink more water and green tea.
- Minimize pop and soft drinks.
- Replace unhealthy snacks with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Select organic, free range, hormone-free meats.
- Increase fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
- Eat a natural, seasonally-based cuisine.
Nutrition is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other things we can all do to keep our skin clear and healthy. I’ll post more in a couple of days.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’ve had this brown mole on my face all of my life. It has been sitting just below my eye on my right cheek ever since I can remember. I was pretty used to it and the only time it bothered me was when someone else pointed it out or mentioned it or if I looked at it directly, which was very rare. It was just a blurry part of who I saw when I looked in the mirror.
My first official memory of my mole dates back to somewhere around 1978 when I was in elementary school. I went on a sleep over to my friend Janet’s house and she grabbed a chocolate chip out of our munchie bowl, stuck it to her face and said, “there, now I have one, too.”
Fast forward 20 years. I was lying on the couch, watching tv and all of a sudden, all I could see in my peripheral vision was my mole and not the show I was watching. The mole might as well have been the size of Mt. Everest. That’s all I could focus on — this big, fat mole, towering in front of me, casting long and wide shadows, obstructing my view. It just about drove me crazy. I thought to myself, that’s it, I’m getting rid of this mole once and for all.
Somehow, I managed to make an appointment with some doctor and took a noisy, cross-town bus to Scarborough one winter day. The doctor took a look and said, “Well, the mole doesn’t look dangerous at this point, but we could surgically remove it, if you want. Also, it will likely leave a big scar and you probably wouldn’t want that on your face.” On top of that, it would have been considered cosmetic surgery and would not have been covered by my health plan which meant big dollars that I didn’t have.
Removing moles was harder than I thought. I didn’t realize that removing a mole would leave such a big scar until many years later when another doctor took a mole off the back of my neck and he did such a hack job that I’m so glad I didn’t risk that on my face. He even said after he saw the scar, “Did I do that?” Yes, yes, yes you did.
So I kept the mole on my face and went on with my life. I always took notice of other people who have moles on their cheeks as if we’re in some sort of special club. Maybe you’ve noticed a cheek mole on Jim Morrison from the Doors and Marilyn Monroe and the former mole on Jann Arden’s face? Tortured artists? Maybe we have something in common.
Fast forward another 15 years. As you may or may not know, I’m currently doing an internship at the Integrative Wellness Centre with Dr. Oksana Sawiak. Not only am I learning about wellness from an expert, I’m also learning new things about myself and this is turning out to be quite an interesting trip. I feel like I’m reinventing myself and am changing my ways for the better. I was hoping to make some drastic changes and heal some wounds but I wasn’t expecting to do anything that involved my appearance.
Then last Wednesday, Dr. Oksana asked me how I felt about my mole. She strongly suggested I get rid of it because she could see granulomas and she could do it, starting right now, with this special, natural medicine from Ukraine. I had had a couple of glasses of wine in me, so I didn’t protest too much and gave her the green light. So she went to her medicine cabinet and came back with a vile of something affectionately known in Ukrainian pharmacies as “Chyste Tilo” or “Ukrain” in English.
Ukrain is an alternative medicine created by Ukrainian chemist Vasyl Novytskyi in 1978 — coincidentally, the same year as my “chocolate chip” memory. The formulation is based on the herb, chelidonium, and is promoted to treat all cancers, radiation-induced diseases and AIDS. The tincture is named in honor of Ukraine and its common name in Ukrainian is “Chyste Tilo” which means “clean body.”
Dr. Oksana said the first treatment would hurt a lot, the second treatment would hurt even more and the third treatment would be even more painful but after that the mole should be gone and that would be that.
I took another sip of wine and Dr. Oksana opened the vile and dabbed on some Ukrain on my mole. It burned like a disco inferno but only briefly. There was no turning back. I went to bed and the next morning the mole looked a little different. We applied some more tincture the next evening but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did the night before. By this time the mole had turned black. I couldn’t look at it for more than a split second so I can’t be more descriptive.
The next morning it was the most repulsive thing I had ever seen on my face. Do you remember the line that Kramer says on Seinfeld, “Look away, I’m hideous.” (It’s worth Youtubing). That’s how I felt. And I had to go out in public that day, so I covered it up with a bandaid. I felt like I would scare children otherwise.
After the fourth night, I stopped putting the treatments on and am now playing the waiting game. It’s now Tuesday and the mole is still black. If I touch it, it wobbles like a loose tooth. Gross, I know! It’s just hanging by a thread and is supposed to just fall off at some point. I can still feel the mole and my eye feels a bit funny and I have a feeling the Ukrain is still hard at work. I don’t know how long this stage will last. I hope it’s not weeks and weeks. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is.
I will let you know what happens.
In the meantime, for another story about moles, please read my blog post, “Mountains or Molehills” from February, 2011. And leave a comment if you’re a member of the mole on the cheek club. I’d love to hear from you.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you planning to celebrate a special occasion soon, like a birthday party, bridal shower, wedding, anniversary or seasonal holiday and would like to do something fun and unique for your bff’s?
How about hosting a spa party?
If a spa party sounds like a great idea to you, here’s a checklist that will help make the job easier:
- Pick a date & time: Choose a date that works for most, if not all of your guests. Spa parties usually last no more than 3 hours, so if you have plans before or after your spa party, (like dinner at a restaurant or a golf game or a night on the town) pick a time that gives you some wiggle room. There’s no point in adding stress to your special spa day by rushing to the next event.
- Pick a venue: Spa parties can be held virtually anywhere like a hotel room or office but oftentimes your home is best. Just make sure you have enough open space to accommodate your party guests and anyone else you may have hired (like caterers, massage therapists, yoga instructors) to help you with your party.
- Decide on a party budget: I know, “budget” and “party” don’t sound good together but it’s a good idea to know what you want to spend ahead of time and stay in that ballpark. Overspending on impulse purchases will dampen your fun in the long run and having a budget will keep you on track.
- Send invitations: Nowadays, you can either send your invitations electronically like through email or you can create an event on Facebook or you can hand deliver your invitations door to door. It’s up to you. On your invitations, make sure you ask your guests which types of spa services they’d prefer and let your guests know to bring things like: flip flops, if they’re getting a pedicure; pj’s; bathrobes; a bathing suit for the hot tub; a potluck item to share or cash, if you want them to pay for their own spa services and tip.
- Get a head count: Now that you have your guest list and everyone has said “Yes, I’ll be there with bells on,” know how many guests will be attending your spa party.
- Hire a local mobile spa company like Homespunspa: Mobile spa companies are popping up all over the place and I’m sure there’s a good one in your city. And if you happen to live in Victoria, BC, then please call or email Homespunspa Mobile Spa. We’d be thrilled to help make your spa party extra special and stress-free.
- Choose spa services to offer at your party: Mobile spas can deliver all kinds of spa services like manicures, pedicures, facials and massages to your guests. At Homespunspa, we have designed a mini menu of 30-minute spa treatments for spa parties which lets guests get pampered and still participate in the party.
- Prepare spa snacks and beverages: Of course, what’s a spa party without food and drinks? I recommend serving crispy kale chips and refreshing cucumber water.
- Create your spa music playlist: I’ve been collecting spa music for over 20 years, long before I became a lover of all things spa and an esthetician, and I love, love, love the Homespunspa playlist. Regardless of whether you want something quiet and relaxing or something more pop and upbeat in the background, having music will add whole nother dimension to your spa party.
- Design your spa space: It’s time to create a spa environment. First move your furniture and make room for the different spa stations. You want to create a space that allows for people to move around freely. You might also like to create some private areas for the quieter spa treatments. And don’t forget to vapourize some essential oils into the air to enhance the spa mood.
- Decorate your space: If you can swing it, try adding some spa-chic elements, like a water feature, a low-burning fire in the fire place, smooth stones with inspiring words painted on them, lit candles of all sizes, throw pillows, plushy white towels folded just so, waffle bathrobes with slippers, and leafy tropical plants with big flowers to your décor.
- What about pets and other family members? I love family pets, especially cats, but sometimes they may not be the ideal guests at your spa party. Figure out what to do with your pets ahead of time so they don’t cause a distraction. And if there are family members or roommates that will not be participating in the spa party, (like husbands during a bridal shower) give them lots of notice so they can make alternate plans.
- Decide if there will be games and/or craft activities during the party: Some people like to play spa games while others like to encourage everyone to do a short craft project during their parties. If you want to do some spa-themed crafts and use essential oils, find some home spa recipes and try making your own perfumes, massage oil blends or bath salts. These activities are completely optional but if people are up for it, they might add some fun to the spa party.
- Collect and package party favours: Once the spa party starts winding down and everyone has received their pampering spa treatments, you might want to send your guests home with some party favours (or a loot bag, as I like to say). You can keep it simple, like a bottle of nail polish, or go all out with travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, lotions, lip balms, eye shadows, soaps, candles, assorted tea bags, packets of chocolate covered almonds, costume jewellery…whatever you want. You can always ask your mobile spa ahead of time if they’d also like to contribute some free product samples or coupons to the party favour bags.
- Clean up: Your spa party was a success and you can rest assured your friends had a good time. Once the mobile spa leaves and takes all of their equipment and supplies with them, clean up will be a snap. You may even like the furniture the way it is and not feel the need to move it back.
I hope this checklist for a successful spa party helps you plan the best spa party ever. And I hope you include Homespunspa in your next spa party. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add and please share this with your friends if you have a spa party in the works right now.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Here’s another tip on beating insomnia: wash and change the sheets on your bed, particularly if you had a fitful sleep the night before.
How often should people change their bedding and when was the last time you changed your sheets?
Housekeeping experts suggest changing your sheets once a week or once every two weeks. If doing laundry isn’t your strong suit, try sticking to a monthly schedule (whether you need to wash the sheets or not ).
What do sheets have to do with insomnia?
Clean bed sheets make sleeping easier. Sheets need to be changed often and regularly because our bodies naturally shed skin cells and secrete oils and sweat while we are asleep. These fluids get trapped in our pajamas and bed sheets and can cause bacteria to grow. This will contribute to an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
For those who have allergies to dust mites, it’s important to change bed sheets every couple of days because skin cells are food for dust mites and washing sheets keeps them to a minimum.
And if you eat or drink while in bed, you’re adding these ingredients to the mix. (Does anyone remember the quote, “I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers? ) But crumbs may make you feel itchy and can also attract insects and ants.
Of course, always wash your sheets right away after night sweats, illness, incontinence, food spillage, etc.
How to properly wash bed sheets
Wash your sheets in hot water (120-140 degrees F or 49-60 degrees C) and then dry them promptly. You don’t want the wet sheets to sit around damp in the washer for a few hours before you send them to the dryer or pin them up on the clothes line. Also, use laundry soap that is 1) compatible with your type of washing machine and 2) free of colours and fragrance (especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies). Some people like to iron their sheets and I never understood that until I bought some sheets that are way too wrinkly for my liking, so now I get it.
There’s something really inviting about a bed with crisp and clean sheets, particularly in the hot summer months. And if you’re suffering from insomnia, try to break the cycle and start off the night with a clean slate by making your bed with fresh linens. Once your head hits the pillow and the sheets cover your shoulders, I guarantee you’ll feel better and the agony from the night before will vanish into the night sky.
Let me know if you like this sleep tip in the comments. Thanks.
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.
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!”
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 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?
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):
- Would I recommend the AquaSpa on the Celebrity Century? — Yes (8)
- Would I recommend the Ionithermie Treatment? — Yes (7)
- 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.
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″.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
When I tasted kale chips for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised. Kale chips have a light and crispy texture like potato chips (which I love) but are 10 times more flavourful and satisfying. One kale chip goes a long way. Kale chips are now officially added to my spa snack recipe book.
Kale is from the cabbage family and is related to broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Nutritionally, kale is very rich in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and calcium. People all over the world have been eating kale since at least the middle ages. I highly recommend adding kale to your weekly menu to maintain your health and wellness.
Here’s a recipe for Kale Chips that my mother got from a friend’s daughter, who is a chef. When roasted, kale develops a very hearty, earthy and complex flavour and although it may not appeal to everyone, if you like it, eat it.
Kale Chips, my new favourite spa snack.
- 1 bunch Black Kale (Lacinato)
- 1 TB Olive Oil
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)
Step 3: Cut out the stems of each leaf of kale.
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Choose fresh Lacinato or Black Kale over other varieties of kale because the flatter leaves will roast better. You can also try this recipe with seaweed or Swiss Chard and then let me know how it goes.
3. Cut out the rib/stem out of each leaf of kale. You can set the stems aside and use them in a vegetable stock, if you wish.
4. Rinse the leaves and dry them in a salad spinner. Place the leaves on 2 baking sheets.
Steps 5 & 6: Massage in the olive oil and salt and arrange on baking tray.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Gently massage in the oil and salt and make sure each leaf is coated evenly.
6. Bonus step: While you’re there and have olive oil and sea salt on your hands (and this was my mother’s idea) give your hands a quick massage, too. Then rinse your hands with warm water. Your hands will feel softer after this impromptu spa treatment, I promise.
7. You can also go ahead and sprinkle on some garlic powder at this time, if you wish. I like the garlic, myself, but it really doesn’t make that much difference.
8. Arrange the kale leaves so they are lying flat and are not overlapping each other. Put the baking trays in the oven and roast at a low temperature for 1 hour.
Kale chips straight out of the oven.
9. When the timer goes off, remove the kale from the oven. After an hour, the leaves will have lost their moisture and will reduce in size and will become more brown. Go ahead and taste a healthy kale chip. What do you think? Different, isn’t it? But good, in its own way. Right?
Try serving kale chips to your friends during your next home spa party and see what they say. I’d be curious to know if they like the strong flavour or not. If nothing else, it will make for an interesting conversation. Here’s to your good health!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner and esthetician
What makes a woman whole? I’ve never asked myself this question before but when Women of Acumen, an organization that helps women reach their goals, put a call out for women bloggers who blog about women’s issues to answer this question, I signed up to play. Specifically, they asked: “What’s your definition of a whole woman and how could a firm understanding of your expertise help women nationwide feel a sense of wholeness within?”
The more I think about it, the more I think this topic is right up my alley. As a beauty blogger, esthetician and a lover of all things spa, I feel I have a few things to add to this conversation.
Running on a Full Tank
In my opinion, whole women always run on a full tank of fuel and never on empty. Don’t you love it when you’re driving in your car and you know your gas tank is completely full? On a full tank, you know you’re going to get wherever you need to go and there’s nothing to worry about and you feel a sense of freedom. You feel happy and the other drivers on the road are being courteous and patient, too.
At 3/4 of a tank, you’re still humming along. Then things start to change once you see the needle on the gauge dip under the halfway mark. You start looking at gas prices and you’re wondering if the price will go up or down by 2 cents or 10 cents by the end of the day. And then you start feeling a little stressed because you’re playing the gas game. Maybe tomorrow the gas prices will be cheaper? Maybe you can hold out for another day?
Then your gas tank hits the 1/4 mark. How many more trips can you make before you’re empty? How much longer can you run on fumes? Do you like living on the edge? Some people do. I don’t.
Anyway, this car and gas story is really about how full your own fuel tank is in your own life. Instead of gas though, a whole woman fills her tank up with a combination of four key ingredients: Exercise, Nutrition, Skin Care and Sleep.
Homespunspa Recipe for Feeling a Sense of Wholeness Within
- 1/4 cup Exercise
- 1/4 cup Nutrition
- 1/4 cup Skin Care
- 1/4 cup Sleep
Method: Fill your tank up with equal parts of exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep on a daily basis.
In order to make wellness and wholeness a priority, it’s important to pay attention to how much exercise you do, what you feed your body, what your skin is showing and how much sleep you’re getting. And all of these concepts work together to create optimum health. Moreover, if one is neglected, then the others will also be depleted and therefore, you won’t feel your best. Like, for example, if you’re eating a lot of sugary and processed foods, then acne will show up on your face and body. Likewise, if you’re not burning the calories you consume, then your sleep may suffer because you’ll have too much left over energy at the end of the day.
The philosophy of Homespunspa has always been based on these four principles. Below is a graphic that shows what Homespunspa is all about. H is for Holistic, O is for Omega-3, M is for Massage, E is for Esthetics, S is for Sleep, P is for Positivity, U is for Unwind, N is for Nutrition, S is for Sports, P is for Pedicures, and A is for Aroma. Together, the first letters of each word spell “Homespunspa.”
Flower with Holistic, Omega-3, Massage, Esthetics, Sleep, Positivity, Unwind, Nutrition, Sports, Pedicure, Aroma on the petals. The 1st letters of each word spell Homespunspa.
Once you fill your tank up with optimum fuel and keep it topped up, then you’re firing on all cylinders, then you’re really cooking with gas (as my father used to say) and that’s when the magic really starts to happen. Your life will improve significantly.
You’ll be working from a place of empowerment rather than from a place of desperation and your dreams will definitely start coming true.
And the best part is, you’re in a really good position to help others. As people start noticing your attitude and the glow on your face, they’ll ask you, what’s your secret, what have you been doing? Be sure to share your wisdom and be as supportive and encouraging as you can to the people around you. Because your tank is full and you’ve taken care of your own needs first, you’ll be able to give back generously from the overflow of your resources. Scraping the bottom of the barrel will not be an option. It’s win-win for everybody.