Is Self-Care Selfish?

Posted by Maria on February 8, 2016 under Life Coaching, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Seasonal, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 3 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, wellness coach @ Homespunspa

Is self-care selfish? No, it isn’t. But for some reason, many of us feel uncomfortable about putting ourselves first on our own list and taking the time to take care of ourselves. We’ve got to turn this thinking around because at the end of the day, if we don’t continue to nurture our own body, mind, and spirit, we won’t have anything more to give to anyone else.

There’s a big difference in attitude between selfishness and self-care. Being selfish is about focussing solely on one’s own interests, agenda, gains, and superiority without concern for anyone else’s needs or preferences.

Self-care is about giving yourself attention, kindness, and nourishment so you can be at peace with yourself and be there and be present for the people you love.

Selfish people don’t think about giving to others. It just doesn’t occur to them.

There are also people who want to give and are very generous — they’ll give the shirt off their back, so to speak, — but they don’t have enough for themselves. That approach is misguided also. If you have an extra shirt and you’re not using it, than that’s one thing, but if you only have one shirt and you give yours to someone who already has a shirt, leaving yourself to face the elements without any cover, than there’s a problem. Leaving yourself with some measley crumbs or with nothing at all is not what it’s all about. Sadly, people do this all of the time because they don’t feel like they’re enough.

Use fountains as reminders

Mystical poet Rumi said, "Never give from the depths of your well but from your overflow."To me, being enough is about having enough to share and giving from my abundance.

Mystical poet Rumi said, “Never give from the depths of your well but from your overflow.” I strongly agree.

Giving generously is at it’s best when it comes from your abundance, like from the interest in your bank account. If you have extra of anything, by all means, give it to someone who will appreciate it. For example, everyone has an excess of hugs and smiles to give and I’m sure everyone has at least one talent that they can share with others. Give those freely and with joy. Give from the place of having enough and that you are enough already.

However, if you don’t have it to begin with, things like time, money, interest, or energy, don’t try to scrape the bottom of the barrel and think you’re being helpful. In other words, fountains can’t fount if there’s nothing for them to draw from.

My point is, we’ve got to fill up our own well and keep it overflowing and fill our own needs first before we can give and help others. That’s why I’m a wellness coach and that’s where self-care comes in. Taking care of ourselves keeps our wells topped up. (Notice how the words “wells” and “wellness” are related). :)

Another Bonus From Self-Care

When people see you taking care of yourself and treating yourself with kindness, they will treat you well in return. If you carry yourself in a healthy way and believe you’re worth it, others will mirror that back to you and will be more friendly towards you. Also, others may even start to model your example (people like your kids, friends, co-workers) which will improve your relationships and then the idea of self-care will travel throughout the world, making the world a better place for us all.

How I Practice Self-Care

In November of 2015, I had the idea to make an appointment with my doctor to get a check up. I hadn’t seem him for over a year because of the nature of my mobile spa appointment schedule and I just didn’t want to.

My doctor’s appointment went fairly smoothly and then he sent me to the lab to get some bloodwork and other tests done. As I was going out of my way to do all of those extra tests, I realized I was doing all of this for me. I was showing myself that I care about myself and I matter to me. That was a huge breakthrough.

I haven’t heard from my doctor since then so I’m assuming all is well, thank goodness, and I’m planning to continue to make my health a priority.

As Count Tyron Rugen said in The Princes Bride, “Get your rest. If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

After that doctor’s appointment, I made a wholehearted decision to be healthier. I’ve taken an indefinite break from drinking wine and I’ve revamped my diet so that I’m not eating desserts or snacks and since then I’ve lost almost 25 pounds at a rate of 2 pounds or so a week. I feel great and I feel like I’m a better wellness coach as a result. Taking care of myself is having a ripple effect to the people around me and is creating better conditions in my life in general.

I’m so glad I was inspired to take my own wellness to the next level.

Ideas for Self-Care

If you’re looking for ideas of what you can do to practice self-care, have a look at this Calendar of Wellness and Health Awareness Days I’ve compiled.

Also, consider:

  • going to the doctor like I did
  • going to the dentist
  • getting your vision checked
  • getting your hearing checked
  • cooking your own wholesome meals and bringing your lunch to work
  • going on a wellness walk through your neighbourhood
  • writing in a journal
  • going to the spa for the day
  • talking to a wellness coach like me

You can pick a different theme every month. Just do something daily to tell yourself you care because you really do matter. Start by thanking yourself for coming this far already. I promise your days will be brighter if you take the time to practice self-care as often as possible.

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…

Sharing a Tip From My Creating Wellness Ebook on How to Sleep Better

Posted by Maria on January 7, 2016 under Aromatherapy, Books, Magazines, Music, Creating Wellness ebook, Dear Homespunspa, Energy Healing, Esthetics School, Fitness, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Home spa, Homespunspa, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Life Coaching, Massages, Meditation, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Author of Creating Wellness

I’m so excited to announce that my Creating Wellness ebook is now available on Amazon.com and I’d like to share a tip on how to sleep better to give you a taste of what’s inside.

Creating Wellness ebook now on Amazon.com

First a few words on the importance of being healthy.

As Count Tyrone Rugen said in The Princess Bride, “Get your rest. If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”

Being healthy means having the freedom to do whatever you want with your life.

I believe many illnesses are largely preventable and it all comes down to a person’s ability to relax. I wrote Creating Wellness because I’ve observed that high levels of stress are lurking behind the scenes of many illnesses and managing stress is a big piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle.

Having a chronic disease is not only challenging, but it keeps people from pursuing their dreams and achieving their goals. Poor health is often a huge, all-consuming distraction and results in people spending their time seeking medical attention, standing in line to fill prescriptions, dealing with side effects of medications, worrying about finances and/or the future, and trying to cope with pain, etc., instead of doing their own things that bring them joy.
The good news is, there’s still time to make small lifestyle changes NOW — like quitting smoking, exercising more, fueling your body with more nutritious food, getting regular massages, establishing healthy sleep habits, and speaking your truth — that will save you tremendous expense and suffering later. Maria Koropecky ~ Creating Wellness

Creating Wellness includes practical tips to help people relax and folding them into your life may prevent illnesses from showing up in the first place.

Here’s a tip on how to sleep better:

Also, make sure your bedroom is as dark as can be while you’re sleeping and you don’t have any bluish lights turned on (like the lights from your TV, computer, cell phone and even your alarm clock/radio) in the hours before you hit the pillow.
Blue lights can really interfere with the sleep cycle because historically, blue lights mean daylight in our brain, which means it’s time for us to be busy and productive, not resting. Maria Koropecky ~ Creating Wellness

Turn off blue lights to sleep better at night.

Turn off blue lights to sleep better at night.

Creating Wellness is also available on Amazon Canada.

This short ebook is a quick read, has lots of cheery photos, and contains some practical tips on how to relax and manage stress. If you want to be healthier and are committed to making some lifestyle changes, than reading Creating Wellness is a good start.

# # #

To schedule an interview with Creating Wellness author, Maria Koropecky, please email.

Also, if you get a chance to read Creating Wellness, please leave a review on my Amazon page. I’d really appreciate it! Thanks!

Feeling Stuck in the Mud? Try the Kneeling, Standing, & Sitting Method

Posted by Maria on October 13, 2014 under Energy Healing, Green Living, Ingredients, Life Coaching, Meditation, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Wellness, Yoga | 4 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

My mother likes me to go to church with her on Sundays. Sometimes I’d rather watch Super Soul Sundays on tv instead but I’ve been going to church more often these days.

When I’m at church, I mostly sit in contemplation. Last Sunday, I was reminded of a conversation I had when I was 6 with my 9 year-old neighbour, Patty. We were comparing notes about our churches — I’m Ukrainian and she’s Irish — and I was saying something like, “We do a lot of kneeling, standing, and sitting — stand, sit, kneel, stand, kneel, sit, stand, sit, stand, sit, kneel, stand, sit… oh brother,” rolling my eyes — “and if it was up to me, I like to sit.”

These days, I still prefer to sit. After a long sermon, hauling myself out of my pew to stand for what feels like hours without relief, seems like a lot of effort. And getting back up from kneeling is a different ballgame altogether when you’re in your 40’s. :) .

So while I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that there’s actually a rhyme and reason behind these postures.

And since it’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, I’m going to use a metaphor of a farmer couple, Fred and Frida, to illustrate my theory.

Kneeling

It all starts with a prayer. Prayer lets you get centered. It’s the “asking” side of the equation. Basically, you’re just having a conversation with yourself and with God (if you’re so inclined) to get clear about what you want. Praying helps strengthen your faith that whatever it is you’re asking for, you will eventually have, even if you haven’t noticed any physical evidence yet.

Farmers Fred & Frida

Our farmers, Fred and Frida, have just acquired a plot of land in a community garden. They want to start growing vegetables for their growing family and maybe sell the surplus at markets. First, they have to figure out what sorts of vegetables they’d like to plant and they have lots of options to choose from. They figure it wouldn’t hurt to pray about it so in their own way, they each take a few moments to gather their thoughts and ask for ideas, good weather (like enough sunshine and enough rain) for the crops, good health for themselves so they can do the labour, and the knowledge to solve any challenges that will come up, etc. etc. They’re also able to visualize what their garden looks like in full bloom and how they’re feeling as they share their bounty with friends, family, and neighbours.

Meanwhile, the land and the seeds of the plants represent pure potential. Prayer is what’s inside the acorn (the code inside the seed) before it cracks open and becomes the grande oak tree.

But it doesn’t stop there. Praying by itself isn’t enough. If you want results, you also need to take action — thoughtful, consistent, and repeated action.

Standing

There’s an African proverb that says, “When you pray, move your feet.” Everybody knows that you can’t get anywhere without taking some sort of action steps along the way. Getting up on your feet is about taking a stand for what you believe in, showing others that you mean business, declaring out loud what you want, and taking action. Also, a lot of times, action is about reaching out, giving, and being of service.

Farmers Fred & Frida

By now, Fred and Frida have procured their seeds and have designed the layout of their garden. They’ve come to the community garden prepared and are wearing the proper clothes for the job and have brought all of the equipment they’ll need for planting. The kale will go here, the zucchini will go there, the tomatoes over there near the basil. They’ve rolled up their sleeves and are working hard all day.

They come back to their garden rain or shine, day after day, week after week, and make sure the plants are getting enough nourishment and care. At first, the soil looks pretty much the same as it did in the beginning, but all of a sudden, there’s colour and little green leaves are starting to break through. Fred and Frida are excited about their progress and they’re motivated to keep going.

Eventually, after all of their hard work, the vegetables are awesome and the garden is ready to be harvested. The growing part may be over but there’s still a lot of work to do so that these vegetables and all of that effort don’t go to waste.

Sitting

After kneeling (praying) and standing (taking action), the next step is sitting (receiving). Sitting is deceptively simple, but some people skip this step. Sitting is about relaxing, resting, and receiving. You can’t just give, give, give all of the time. You also have to be able to receive the gifts that others are trying to give you.

Farmers Fred & Frida

Fred and Frida are grateful that they have had a good growing season. They have plenty of healthy vegetables for their family meals and like to share the best veggies and recipes with their friends. They’ve also opened a stand at the local farmers’ market and are receiving compliments and cash for their quality produce and they plan to expand their plots next year.

I think, all in all, Fred and Frida are successful because they prayed, worked hard, and accepted the blessings that came to them.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in the mud of life and are ready for a positive change, try the kneeling, standing, and sitting method.

Thanksgiving

But you may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t know how to pray,” or “I can’t remember the last time I prayed and I don’t know what to say.”

Well here’s a good place to start: “There’s nothing greater that you can say to God than thank you, thank you,” ~ Maya Angelou.

And then you’ll be able to know which steps you’ll need to take that will yield the best results.

So, I’d like to take this moment and say “thank you” for all of the blessings of my life, and for all of the Homespunspa customers I’ve met over the years, and all of the readers of my blog. That’s what I’m most grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving. Now have a seat at the table and pass the turkey and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes, and the gravy, and the the brussels sprouts, and the cranberry sauce, and the pumpkin pie, and ENJOY the fruits of your labours with your loved ones.

Splash Some Spa Time into Your Staycation this Summer

Posted by Maria on July 7, 2014 under Gift Ideas, Green Living, Home spa, Homespunspa, Humour, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Now that summer is officially in full swing — yay! — you might be looking for fun things to do. Have you considered planning a staycation?

Victoria, British Columbia is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places on earth and as locals, we should enjoy and appreciate our city more. We live on an island in the Pacific Ocean for goodness’ sakes! Our city has so much to offer and sometimes it can be fun to stay home and explore the local scene with the fresh eyes of a tourist.

Staycation

Sprinkler in Beacon Hill Park.

Sprinkler in Beacon Hill Park.

“Staycation” is a newly-coined term (as of 2005) by Canadian comedian, Brent Butt, from the tv show “Corner Gas.” The term refers to taking time off from work by choosing to stay home rather than going away, somewhere else, on vacation. Common activities of a staycation include pitching a tent and camping outside within a stone’s throw from your backdoor and swimming in the backyard pool.

Tips for a Successful Staycation

1. Make it official: Treat your staycation as a regular vacation. Pick your dates, whether it’s a day, a weekend, a long-weekend, a whole week, or longer :) and stick to them — no excuses — as if you’ve paid your deposit on a hotel room and have already booked your flights. Also, tell your friends so they know what you’re up to.

2. Take care of housekeeping: On the day before your staycation begins, clean your house from top to bottom. Make it as “hotel chic” as you can. As a treat, hire a professional service to do it for you! You might also consider turning off your newspaper subscription and holding your mail to not remind yourself of your regular daily routine. Don’t forget to display mini toiletries in your bathroom!

3. Plan your itinerary: Staycations give people a chance to act like a tourist in their own town and visit local restaurants, parks, beaches, museums, festivals and events. Have an idea of what you’d like to see and do around town ahead of time. If there’s a restaurant you’d like to try, make a reservation. If there’s an outdoor festival in your community, buy your tickets in advance. Or maybe you’d like to go on a winery tour or catch a ferry to a nearby island. Think of all of the things you wish you had time to do but never get around to and then do them!

4. Pack your suitcase: It’s time to get your suitcase out. This may confuse your pets but that’s OK. :) Make sure to pack clothes that you’d wear on your vacation if you were leaving town. Then on your first day of your staycation, grab your suitcase, leave your house, go around the block, and then re-enter your house as if you’re checking into a hotel. If you skip this step, you may be tempted to not go ahead with your staycation plans and on top of that, it really ups the fun quotient.

5. Hire a mobile spa: Splashing some spa time into your staycation will really kick things up a notch. And you don’t have to go out to a chi chi day spa if you don’t want to. You can invite a mobile spa, like Homespunspa, to come to you. All of a sudden, your home will be transformed into a spa resort and you will reap the benefits of the relaxing spa treatments exponentially. There’s no added stress with mobile spa appointments because getting spa services in your home means you don’t have to worry about driving in traffic, finding a parking spot, running into other spa guests, and messing up your nail polish.  Homespunspa Mobile Spa offers a wide range of spa services including massages, manicures, pedicures and facials. If you’d like to make the most of your staycation, we can easily bring the spa to you! Please call or email to make your appointment.

6. Schedule a VIP spa day: VIP spa days take the spa experience to a whole new level because now you’re on a retreat. At Homespunspa, we’ve just introduced a Stress Relief VIP Spa Day to our mobile spa menu and it’s so wonderful and awesome! Our Face-to-Face Stress Relief VIP Spa Day is a full day, intensive, one-to-one spa appointment. I’ll bring the spa experience to you in 5 different sessions over the course of one day. The Face-to-Face Stress Relief VIP Spa Day includes a guided meditation, a 30-minute energy healing massage, a 60-minute skin balancing facial with eye zone treatment, paraffin hand and foot treatments, a hike in a nearby park and a healthy lunch at an upscale restaurant. It’s perfect for a staycation! If you’re interested, please contact me by email or phone.

Staycations are a great idea and you can get really creative with your time off. Staycations do not have the stress associated with travelling, such as making your connecting flights or buying travellor’s cheques from the bank, and are a good way to save money.

If you’d like help planning your staycation this summer, please contact me, Maria. I have tons of ideas and I’d love to hear from you. Cheers to summer!

Win a Guest Spot on My New Show on VoiceAmerica

Posted by Maria on June 22, 2014 under Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Books, Magazines, Music, Energy Healing, Esthetics School, Fitness, Gift Ideas, Home spa, Homespunspa, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Meditation, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Spirituality, Sponsors, Stress Management and Relaxation, Supernatural Spa on VoiceAmerica, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I’m about to live a dream I’ve had for most of my life.

Let me take you back to the mid-80’s when I was 15 or 16 years old. One summer, I went to a tennis camp in upstate New York and one of the girls I met there, Raisa, was from Chicago and she told me that she once saw this woman called, “Oprah Winfrey,” in the airport and that was the most famous person she had ever seen. I hadn’t heard of Oprah at that point but for some reason I made a mental note. Raisa said, “keep an eye out for her because some day she’ll be a household name.”

Wow, did she ever call that one!

A few months later, Oprah’s talk show went national and my mom and I watched her show at 4pm in the afternoons. The Oprah Show, among other talk shows of the era, inspired me and my friends to pretend we had our own talk show and we would interview each other and sing songs and laugh at our own goofiness. I think we also recorded our shenanigans on the technological marvel of the time, VHS!

I didn’t mention Oprah because I’m about to meet her – that’s not the dream I’m talking about – though fingers crossed, maybe I’ll meet her some day :) .

I mentioned Oprah because to me, she’s a great communicator and she has been one of the touchstones of my life. Someday, I’d like to thank her in person for paving the way for people like me and for showing the world how important good communication is in the grand scheme of things.

Back to my story. Also while I was in high school, I went on a weekend retreat. At some point, everybody had to go to the front of the room and speak to the group and share their story. That was a turning point moment for me because when I stood at the podium and spoke to everyone and made them laugh, I discovered that I actually like public speaking!

I think my dream of being a professional speaker was born in my teens but as my life continued, the dream somehow never got off the ground in spite of my many attempts.

Fast forward a few years to the early ‘90’s – this was before the Internet! I was in University studying English. One weekend, I dragged my friends to a Psychic Fair and I sat down with a man called, “Ravenhawk.” He told me that he saw me having my own radio show one day. Before he could finish his thought, I interrupted him, which ticks me off to this day, but those words have always stuck with me.

The following year, I took a speech course at University and it was by far my favourite class of my entire degree.

A few years later, I almost went to Broadcasting school, which I should have done in hindsight, but that didn’t work out.

I’ve also been a member of Toastmasters and may return soon.

So that’s basically my history with public speaking. I like to joke that I’m taking the extended milk run toward my dream.

I think Ravenhawk said the radio show won’t happen till my early 40’s and I wish he had said something like “have patience” and “don’t try to force it” because the timing won’t be right sooner.

Well, I’ve just turned 45 and things are coming together for me. The pieces of the puzzle are taking shape.

Suddenly my dream of speaking to an audience is within reach because a few months ago, out of the blue, I got an email with the subject line, “Speak up, the World is Listening!”

Those words struck me like a lightening bolt.

And now I’m ready to make my announcement.

This is brand new information and you are among the first to know.

I have a new radio show called, “Supernatural Spa” on VoiceAmerica starting in the autumn! I’m so excited, I can hardly contain myself!

I’m going to be talking about how spas are designed to stimulate the senses and elicit the relaxation response. I’m going to interview all kinds of holistic practitioners for tips on how to manage stress and lead a healthier life.

But wait, there’s more…

To get the ball rolling for my show and to introduce myself to more people, my executive producer and I have come up with a really fun and unique idea! I’ve combined my education and all of my life experience, work experience, talents, skills and interests and my entire heart and soul to create a Stress Relief VIP Spa Day!

You're invited to a stress relief VIP spa day.

The Stress Relief VIP Spa Day is a full day, intensive, one-to-one spa appointment and as the owner of Homespunspa Mobile Spa, I’ll bring the spa experience to you in five different sessions over the course of one day.

You can choose either the Face-to-Face VIP Spa Day or the Virtual VIP Spa Day.

But wait, there’s more!

And when you sign up for the Stress Relief VIP Spa Day in the next three days – this is where things get really special – as a bonus, you will be entered in a draw to win one of four guest spots and be interviewed by yours truly, Maria Koropecky, about your success story, on my show, on VoiceAmerica’s Health and Wellness Channel. I know! Isn’t that amazing!

Win a Guest Spot on my new show on VoiceAmerica

To find out more about me, Maria, and the Stress Relief VIP Spa Day, I’d love for you to watch my short video series on my YouTube channel, “Homespunspa.” The links are also at the top of the “VIP Spa Day” page on homespunspa.com.

To register right now for the Stress Relief VIP Spa Day and get the amazing chance to win a guest spot on my Radio Show, call me, text me, or email me and leave a message saying, “Yes, Maria, I’m interested in hearing more about your Stress Relief VIP Spa Day.

I will promptly return your call to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for your interest in my story. I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life and I hope you join the conversation.

Can I Offer You A Hot Beverage?

Posted by Maria on September 28, 2013 under Aromatherapy, Home spa, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Humour, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sleep, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 3 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Sheldon: Did you offer him a hot beverage?

Leonard: No.

Sheldon: Leonard, social protocol states when a friend is upset, you offer them a hot beverage, such as tea.

Howard: Tea does sound nice.

Sheldon: You heard the man, Leonard. And while you’re at it, I’m upset that we have an unannounced houseguest, so make me cocoa.

Sheldon has been known to say, “Did you offer him a hot beverage?” on the award-winning tv show, Big Bang Theory and yesterday, I was offered a complimentary warm apple cider drink while I was standing in line at the bank on a rainy, Friday afternoon. Autumn arrived right on time this year — to the day — which is rare — and the hot beverage hit the spot. I was reminded of a beverage I was drinking this past winter during my wellness tour in Ontario — a splash of apple cider vinegar with hot water — and I thought this would be a great time to share the recipe with you — especially since apples are in season right now.

All you need to do is put the kettle on, find a mug, pour a splash (up to a tablespoon) of apple cider vinegar into the mug and top it up with near-boiling water. That’s it. Take a sip and enjoy.

It tastes like you’re drinking warm salad dressing (sounds appetizing, I know :)   ) and the people around you will wonder what you’ve concocted just by the potent aroma in the air, but I really like it.

And if you want to kick your apple cider vinegar drink up a notch, stir in some extra antioxidants and flavour with a cinnamon stick as featured in this photo.

Can I offer you a hot beverage?

Can I offer you a hot beverage?

The Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of my favourite home spa ingredients because it has so many healing properties and applications.

In my How to Throw a Home Spa Pajama Party the Homespunspa Way book, I write:

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Astringent vinegar restores the natural pH balance of skin and hair.

Home spa recipes: cleansers, toners, refiners, shampoos, conditioners, creams.

Role in cosmetic formulation: skin conditioning, binding, emulsion stabilizing, viscosity controlling.

Face: Add to facials to cleanse pores, clear oiliness, exfoliate.

Skin Types: Use especially on NORMAL, OILY, DRY or MATURE skin.

Baths & Body: Add to bathwater to balance skin.

Hair: Apply as a hair rinse to control dandruff, balance pH, cleanse and condition hair.

Feet: Use on feet to cure athlete’s foot.

Food: Eat for nutrition and to help alkalanize body.

Caution: 1) Conduct skin patch test first.

And according to my research online, drinking apple cider vinegar will help you improve your complexion, cool sunburn, reduce swelling, lose excess body weight, detoxify, calm upset stomach, cure hiccups, clear a stuffy nose, soothe a sore throat, beat fatigue, whiten teeth, remove warts, and minimize night time leg cramps — which will lead to a better night’s sleep. I also learned that many bloggers refer to apple cider vinegar as simply “ACV.”

So the next time a friend comes over to your home upset, out of sorts, and/or in distress, remember to offer them a hot beverage like hot apple cider vinegar and mention this blog post and Sheldon.

Here’s to our health and wellness! Cheers.

My Interview with Helen Hodgson of Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa

Posted by Maria on August 24, 2013 under Aromatherapy, Books, Magazines, Music, Fitness, Homespunspa, Ingredients, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Pets, Photo gallery, Recipes, Self-Care, Spa Party, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I first met Helen Hodgson thanks to a “mobile spa Google alert” I received in my inbox in 2011. She had been interviewed by the “Massage Nerd” and was promoting her 5-week teleclass on “How to Create your own Mobile Spa Business” and I was compelled to click on the link. I’m so glad I did! We arranged to talk on Skype and soon I signed up for her teleclass which was to start in early 2012.

I count meeting Helen as one of the bigger blessings in my life because I dare say, Homespunspa Mobile Spa wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her guidance. She was the first person to show me the beauty of mobile spas and spa parties and has introduced me to many like-minded mobile spa professionals across North America that I keep in touch with on a regular basis through our forum.

Helen is a licensed massage therapist in the state of California and a member of the Association of Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Helen is a certified trainer and the California state coordinator of the Emergency Response Massage International Team which is responsible for sending out massage therapists to provide massage therapy to First Responders at disaster sites. Helen was also elected to the position of Vice President of The Mobile Spa Network which unites mobile spa professionals worldwide.

Helen was voted one of the best massage therapists by Allure magazine and her TV and radio appearances include NBC, E Channel, Discovery Channel, MTV and Sirius Satellite Radio, among others.

Helen and her team of 50 massage therapists, estheticians and nail technicians, provide massage and spa services in homes, offices and at special events for individuals, couples and groups.

I’m happy to introduce my mobile spa mentor and friend, Helen Hodgson.

Helen Hodgson (far right) with her Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa Team.

Maria: Hello Helen. Do you have any memories of spas when you were growing up?

HELEN: Yes, I do! I am originally from England and grew up in a Victorian spa town — Harrogate, North Yorkshire. My friends and I would spend the day down in the Royal Baths and enjoy the Turkish Baths, steam, sauna and a “loafer and hose down” from one of the attendants on hand. I can still remember how clean my skin felt and I’d be so relaxed.

Maria: That sounds amazing, Helen. What’s a “loafer and a hose down?” :)

HELEN: The attendant (in a white coat) would exfoliate with a loofah mitt and hose us down with warm water from a water pipe. It sounds kind of crude, I know, but it was part of the experience.

Maria: That sounds like a great question and answer for a Spa Trivia quiz! As a frontrunner in the mobile spa world, what year did you create your Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa?

HELEN: The year, 2000.

Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa was established in 2000. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: Do you still have any customers from those early days?

HELEN: Funny thing is, yes. My longest standing clients are from 18 years ago and I see them still every two weeks. I’ve been to their sons’ bar mitzvahs and they came to my wedding. They are like family.

Maria: What lead you to open Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa in the first place?

HELEN: I’d hear time and time again from groups of women coming in for a spa day together that they’d be in separate rooms. They wanted to be together as they were usually celebrating a special occasion. This lead me to create my mobile spa so they could all be in the same room receiving spa services.

Friends enjoying spa time together is what Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa is all about. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: What is the best part about your work?

HELEN: Knowing my team and I had made a positive difference in the client’s day and being part of the client’s special memories.

Everyone is enjoying spa treatments of their choice at the same time. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: What is your favourite spa treatment on your spa menu to give? And what is your favourite spa treatment on your spa menu to receive?

HELEN: I was hoping you’d ask. It’s the Aphrodite’s Delight — which is a bridal favourite — and it’s a soothing aromatherapy massage using oils of tangerine, clary sage, black pepper, nutmeg, patchouli, ylang ylang, myrrh and vetiver. It’s followed by Pedicure and Foot Rejuvenating Treatment.

These women are enjoying foot and hand treatments outside at a Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa Party. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: I love those essential oils and am curious to know how they smell as a blend. Do you like spa music and do you have any favourite spa songs on your playlist?

HELEN: I do and I’ve discovered I relax best to sounds of water. One of my favourite albums is Healing Waters by Dean Evenson and another is Ocean Dreams.

What colour of nail polish will I pick today? Photo Courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: I’m going to have to check those out in iTunes and then add them to my ever-growing Homespunspa playlist. If you were to host your own spa party (and I hope you do from time to time :) ), what spa snacks would you serve and can we have a recipe?

HELEN: I hosted my very own Bridal shower spa party for my family when I got married three years ago. I served fruit and cheese plates, chopped vegetables and humus and to drink, I served glasses of Strawberry Kiwi Watermelon Fusion Spa Water.

Helen's recipe for Strawberry-Kiwi-Watermelon Fusion Spa Water

Maria: Running your own business can be stressful at times: What are some of the self-care rituals that you do for yourself everyday to keep yourself healthy?

HELEN: I have an exercise trainer two times a week and I take hour-long walks down at the beach three times a week. I love the feel of the ocean breezes on my skin and hearing the waves. In fact, as caregivers, we need to practice what we preach to our clients and make time for regular down time. And I do get a sports style massage once a month and a monthly pedicure. If I am doing a lot of massage, I have to keep my nails short, so I don’t usually get manicures. And I am sure he won’t mind me telling you, but my hubby has filed my fingernails before — lol.

Helen Hodgson (left) at a SpaFinder event. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: That’s sweet. What makes you smile?

HELEN: The simple things in life really… singing, catching a sunset, when my cat climbs into my lap and waking up with my hubby on a cozy Sunday morning.

Maria: My cat makes me smile, too. How do you see mobile spas, massages, and wellness in 5 years (2018)?

Mobile spa parties are a great way to catch up with old friends. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

HELEN: What I’ve realized is more and more people are offering spa services these days. All of the hotels didn’t use to offer spa services and they didn’t have a spa, but once they realized how popular spas are, they started to think, ‘oh my goodness, we have to offer a spa.’ The future is: you have to be offering some sort of spa services to people.

Maria: So, spas — including mobile spas — are not some sort of passing trend?

HELEN: Absolutely not. Mobile spas are a convenient way to offer spa services to people in hospitals; to people who are travelling and are staying in high-end villas; to people attending charity events and product launches [to name a few]. Spa services are always perceived as high value, especially for people who wouldn’t normally treat themselves.

This courtyard is the perfect backdrop for a Serve the Goddess Mobile Spa party. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

Maria: Yes, I often find that people make appointments with me on behalf of someone else.

HELEN: Another group of people who appreciate mobile spas are the elderly because they’re living [independently] in their homes longer. We do house calls which is like going back to a time when that was the norm. Everything is more personal and you get to develop relationships with people and give them more personalized care and attention.

Maria: I love that — we do house calls!

Let's not forget how much the teens and pre-teens enjoy spa services and how their enthusiasm will influence the future of spas and wellness. Photo courtesy of Helen Hodgson.

HELEN: My hope is that alternative medicine is available to more people. Even though I’ve been providing mobile services for over 13 years, I am still amazed that people aren’t aware that the service can be delivered to them for their convenience.

Maria: What are you most excited about in your life right now?

HELEN: Last year, I started teaching other massage and spa professionals how to start their own mobile spa business and I wrote an eBook. And I am expanding Serve The Goddess to provide day-long retreats. Maybe we’ll have to do another interview so I can tell you all about that.

Maria: Yes, I’d love to learn more about your retreats. Keep us posted! If someone wants to contact you for a mobile spa service in L.A. with Serve the Goddess or U Knead Massage or if they’d like more information on how they can create their own mobile spa business, how can they reach you?

Helen Hodgson

Maria Koropecky

HELEN: Here are the websites:

and I welcome your calls.

Maria: Thank you very much for your time, Helen, and for sharing some fun photos. I really enjoyed our conversation and I look forward to meeting you in person some day soon.

SPARTY! So Glamorous!

Posted by Maria on June 26, 2013 under Books, Magazines, Music, Facials, Fashion, Manicures, Massages, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Pedicures, Photo gallery, Spa Party, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Have you ever wondered what it’s like behind the scenes at a red-carpet event like the Grammy’s and the Tony’s? Well, these days, in the midst of all of the lights, camera, and action, the award-winning celebrities have been trading in their designer gowns and tuxes for terry robes and slippers and are sipping champagne cocktails and wine spritzers, and are soaking in revitalizing manicures, pedicures, shaves and massages – all thanks to SPARTY!

SPARTY!, (“Spa” plus “Party” – two of my favourite words),  transforms the behind-the-curtain, backstage into a stylish, multi-room spa and takes the ordinary, serene and quiet day spa experience to a whole new planet.

If you’re planning on hosting a spa party this summer and are looking for some ideas on how to make your spa party extra special and more glamorous, I’ve got a real treat for you today. I’ve recently sat down with Alexis Ufland, owner of SPARTY!, the hottest star trend in Hollywood, to talk about the art of throwing a star-studded spa party. Here’s our interview:

Maria: How did you come up with the SPARTY! idea?

ALEXIS: I hosted a bachelorette weekend for my best friend and we did a spa day at one of the top spas in NYC. We changed into robes and slippers and then all separated for our spa treatments. When it was over, we realized the best part of the day was the 10-15 minutes when we were all together in the spa lounge. Hence SPARTY! was born. I wanted to create an event where there was more spa lounge time and less time apart in treatment rooms.

Getting a shoulder massage in the lounge. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: Can you paint a picture of what it’s like to be at a SPARTY!, backstage, behind the scenes, at a star-studded, red-carpet event?

ALEXIS: We usually are backstage at Star Studded events a couple days before the night of the actual event, so the energy is exciting and fun. The celebrities are coming in from all over the world and when they get to the SPARTY! area, they are pretty happy to find a place where they can get a massage and a drink!

A waiter carries "Spartinis" at a SPARTY! in NYC. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: Are there any highlights of any SPARTY!’s that you can share with us? What was the most memorable SPARTY! venue so far?

ALEXIS: We did a SPARTY! for Shaquille O’Neal’s birthday party in Miami. It was a “Scarface” theme and we had to create the spa to look like a scene from the movie. It was so fun, all the guests were really into it and it was a great night.

Men like mani's too. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: What are you doing during the SPARTY’s? Are you taking photos, mingling with the guests, overhearing interesting conversations :) , dealing with unexpected glitches, performing the services etc.?

ALEXIS: You will usually find me filling up empty wine glasses!

Sharing a laugh with friends. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: What is it about wearing a terry robe at a party that makes things more fun?

ALEXIS: Hanging out with your girlfriends in a robe is really what sets the mood for a relaxing fun event. The goal of SPARTY! is to allow guests to drink a glass of wine, chat with your girlfriends and get a spa treatment all at the same time.

Sharing a laugh on the couch at a spa party. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: Can you give some tips on how to make a spa party extra special and more luxurious?

ALEXIS: The goal is to allow girls to eat, drink, lounge, gossip and get spa treatments all at the same time. When putting together your party, keep this goal in mind when planning every detail. Girls love to lounge – make sure there are enough couches, chaises etc. Make sure all food is bite size finger foods so the guests don’t mess up their manicure. Get large enough robes so that everyone feels comfortable. Add some non-spa-related activities like Tarot Card Readers to mix up the energy. Make sure you have a lot of booze!

Take the spa party outside by the pool this summer. Photo courtesy of SPARTY!

Maria: Thank you, Alexis, for your time and stories and for sending such fun photos from your recent SPARTY’s. I’m sure many people will be inspired to have their own spa parties this summer.

I hope this chat gives you a taste of how much fun spa parties are. If you’re travelling to New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Dallas, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco this year, make sure you get yourself invited to a SPARTY! Go to www.spa-party.com for more info. Maybe you’ll rub elbows with stars like Megan Mullaly, Kim Cattrall, Omar Epps and Justin Timberlake – and if you do, let me know!

And if you’re staying in Victoria, BC, this summer, keep Homespunspa Mobile Spa in mind for your upcoming spa party. We’ll make sure to unfurl the red carpet and glam it up for your special day.

The Story of My Mole on My Cheek

Posted by Maria on December 11, 2012 under Books, Magazines, Music, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Ingredients, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Wellness | 5 Comments to Read

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.

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