Last Minute Summer Spa Reading List

Posted by Maria on August 18, 2018 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Books, Magazines, Music, Gift Ideas, Humour, Seasonal, Uncategorized, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Even though the lazy days of summer are starting to wind down, there’s still time to squeeze in one more good book!

But out of all of the juicy books out there, which one would be the best choice?

May I suggest a good novel that you can get lost in? How about a book that includes a spa?

Well, I’ve taken the time to search out spa-themed books on Amazon for you.

Curiously enough, most of the spa novels are murder mysteries. I don’t know why people think a spa would be a good place for a murder, but nevertheless, it seems to be a thing these days.

Anyway, here are 8 suggestions for fiction books with a spa theme:

1. The Spa by Fay Weldon

Ten high-achieving ladies are gathered at the expensive Castle Spa, seeking to rejuvenate themselves with Botox, aromatherapy, and all-around pampering. They lounge around in the Jacuzzi, sipping champagne, and telling each other the stories of their lives.

2. Massage & Murder (A Cozy Spa Mystery Book 1) by Jenn Cowan

When a client ends up dead on her massage table, the Massage Therapist becomes the number one suspect.

3. Reflexology & Revenge (A Cozy Spa Mystery Book 3) by Jenn Cowan

A Massage Therapist turns Detective when her friend Eddie asks for her help in solving his mother’s murder.

4. Nancy Drew – Secret of the Spa by Carolyn Keene

“Something stinks in this spa, and if I can’t sniff it out, my name’s not Nancy….”

5. The Spa Day: The perfect winter read by Nicola Yeager

A hard-working nurse has given herself an early Christmas gift – three days at Willows, a posh health farm in Surrey. She’s looking forward to skin treatments, dips in the hot tub, and relaxing sessions with the handsome masseurs. But not everything is perfect.

6. The Spa at Winter Beach: A Seaside Novella by Julie Carobini

Can a week by the sea challenge everything Juliana Moss believes about love, romance … and herself?

7. Spa by Olivia De Grove

Seeking rejuvenation and rest, six very different people converge at a lush Caribbean spa on the island of St. Christoph and find more than they had bargained for: mystery, intrigue, and romance.

8. The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle

In this wickedly comic look at turn-of-the-century fanatics in search of the magic pill to prolong their lives, Will and Eleanor Lightbody journey to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s infamous Battle Creek Spa in 1907.

Well that’s the spa reading list for now. I hope there’s something here that catches your eye. Let me know your first choice in the comments.

And if you do end up buying a book from one of these links, thanks!

Happy reading, Maria

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…

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.


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 gabapentinoral 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!

New: Facial Steam With Ozone on the Mobile Spa Menu

Posted by Maria on March 21, 2014 under Esthetics School, Facials, Guest Bloggers, Humour, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner

I recently acquired a new portable mini facial steamer for Homespunspa Mobile Spa and I just wanted to let you know how excited I am about it.

See the steam against the purple towel. Photo by Maria Koropecky

It’s an F-100 Mini Facial Steamer made by Silver Fox and it works like a charm.

As many of you know, I’m an English major and writer and I’m always curious to see how words play out in translation. Obviously, the people behind my mini steamer aren’t native English speakers and with no disrespect intended, I want to share with you some of their words about their product.

On the box it says:

“Portable Mini Facial Steamer”

“…Deeply clean the skin, effectively exterminate the skin germ and make the skin moister…”

“Supernatural Function”

  • “Deeply clean the skin
  • Replenish the moisture of the cell
  • Promote the blood-cycle
  • Effectively exterminate the skin germ”

“Six warm colours for choices”

  • “Orange
  • Green
  • Purple
  • White
  • Yellow
  • White-Blue

(I have the white one in case you were wondering).

And in the brochure, it says:


  1. “Open up the skin pores for deep cleaning the dirt inside.
  2. When the vapor penetrates through the skin pores, it may soften and clean the grease, black head, make-up remnants and dirt.
  3. The ozonizer which sending out ozone will effectively kill the skin bacteria, keep the skin healthy, soften the necrotic cell of skin surface necrotic.
  4. Help the skin pores release toxin.
  5. Activiate the blood circulation, stimulate the metabolism of cells, better improve the wrinkle.”


  1. “Base seat stands on the desk.
  2. Check if the machine body is tightly twisted with water container.
  3. Slightly twist the combination of nozzle pipe and insert them into the round circle on top of the body.
  4. Move the nozzle to the using direction.”


  1. “Supply some clean water until the water comes up to the upper limit from filler on the top of the machine body.
  2. Plug the power switch.
  3. Press the “steamer” or “power” key. The light turns on and the machine starts to heat. In about 6 minutes, the vapor will spray out from the nozzle, and then the ozonizer can be operated as needed.
  4. Press the “ozone” key. The light turns on and the ozonizer operates when the power turns on. There is obvious atomization and flavor together with the vapor distinctly.
  5. During the operation, the water level will decline when the vapor sprays out constantly. In case the water level approaches the lower limit, firstly turn off the atomizing key and cut off the power supply. About 3-4 minutes later, supply some clean water (between upper limit and lower limit) from filler on the top of the machine body, and then plug the power switch to resume the operation.”


  1. “Clean the scale out of the water container and heater in time. Cleaning method: using a soft metal brush or marinate in the vinegar for 5-7 minutes, then clean the heater or water container with clear water.
  2. Keep alert on the water level during operation.”


  1. “Water level: when working, water level should be keep between the upper limit.
  2. Current leakage: when supplying water, don’t spill water in the power switch, so as to avoid current leakage.
  3. Control time: though the ozone may kill the bacteria but it’s not well using for long time. The period of time used should be according to the skin types:”

“Skin types (remedy suits case)”

  • “reasy skin, poor blood circulation, 30-35 cm, 15 min
  • Neutral & mixture skin, 30-35 cm, 10 min
  • Dry skin, 30-35 cm, 5 min
  • Sensitive skin, 35 cm, 5 min
  • Stained skin, 30-35 cm, 10 min”

Sign me up and send one over!

I recently had a chance to try out my new facial steamer on my best customer, Linda. She asked me if I could extract a white head from her cheak. For this appointment, I used products that have stronger exfoliating properties and I was hoping to soften the skin with the facial steamer during the first masque treatment.

Unfortunately, I forgot to pack the wand but decided to go ahead and use the steamer anyway. The white head proved too stubborn and I wasn’t able to extract it on the spot but the next day, here is the message that Linda left on my voicemail:

“Hi Maria, I just wanted to let you know that whatever you did yesterday with working on that little spot on my face, I just ran my thumbnail over that little white, oil knob there and it came right off this morning so it looks like whatever you did there worked fine and you didn’t have to squeeze too hard. I just wanted to let you know that it worked fine.” ~ Linda

In the end, with or without the nozzle wand, I think the facial steamer helped.

Again, I wasn’t trying to be mean by writing out the “user-maintenance instructions.” I just love languages and hearing how other people use words. And I really love my new F-100 Mini Facial Steamer. Having a Facial Steamer With Ozone on the Mobile Spa Menu will really help me give even better facials and back treatments from now on.

If you’d like to make an appointment for a facial or a back treatment and see the F-100 live and in person, please contact me, Maria, and I’d be happy to bring it to your appointment. And if you mention this blog post, I’ll waive the $10 fee for this extra service.

Homespunspa Mobile Spa is going full steam ahead! :)

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.

Tip To Stay Fit On Your Trip

Posted by Maria on November 10, 2012 under Fitness, Green Living, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Humour, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Travel, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

My Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012 is starting in just a few days and I’m getting really excited about my trip. But while I’m away, I don’t want to forget about exercising and lose all of the ground I’ve covered in the last several months. And with American Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you will be tempted to let your exercise routine lapse while you’re travelling to different cities to visit family and friends. My advice: Now is not the time to slack off; try to find a way to include regular exercise in your daily routine throughout the festive season and beyond.

And if you need a little extra motivation to get off your butt and move your body, I recently heard the average person consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of delicious food! If you workout regularly, you’ll definitely avoid gaining unnecessary weight and you won’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions come January 1.

“So, how do I stay fit while travelling,” you ask? Well, as much as I’d like to bring my yoga mat, 12-pound weights and treadmill on the road with me, :) that’s not practical. My personal trainer, Jeanette, however, came up with a brilliant solution: Bring an elastic/ resistance tube and use it. That’s the tip to stay fit on your trip.

She suggested I bring my tube with me on my trip because it’s lightweight and fits in nicely in my suitcase and there are countless strength training exercises I can do with it wherever I go.

Jeanette told me I’ve lost almost 24 inches since May and I’m not about to undo all of that hard work by discontinuing my regular workouts. I plan on running, doing abdominal crunches and push ups and using my resistance tube often.

Tube exercises:

Before launching into the exercises, make sure you’re wearing proper fitness clothes, have a bottle of water handy and you warm up for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up. Also, remember to cool down and stretch when you’ve finished your tube workout.

Obviously, you’ll need a tube for these exercises. Mine is purple (of course) and has medium resistance. It also has a casing over it to protect me if the tube ever wears thin and suddenly snaps during a workout. I think it cost me around $30 at a local fitness supply store but I don’t remember exactly. I definitely recommend adding one to your home gym.

Of course there are dozens of strength training exercises you can do with a tube but I’m just going to highlight seven. I’m sharing these instructions and illustrations with Jeanette’s permission.

Elastic Double Over Head Press.1) Elastic Double Overhead Press: Stand on the tube and hold the elastic in both hands with your arms at each side and your elbows bent. Push your arms over your head, keeping your elbows no higher than your ears. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment and exhale while pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down.

Elastic Double Lateral Raise2) Elastic Double Lateral Raise: Stand on the tube and hold the handles in both hands with your arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Lift arms to shoulder level, keeping your elbows straight, then lower and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale while lifting your arms and inhale while lowering them. Maintain good posture, abdominal contraction and wrist alignment.

Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row3) Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row: Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Take the end of the tube that is under your left foot with your right hand and the end that is under your right foot with your left hand making a criss-cross with your wrists. (I have to think about this every time). Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward from the hips. Pull up the elastic and raise your hands toward your waistline then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when pulling the tube back and bending the elbow and inhale while straightening the elbow. Keep wrist aligned, abs contracted, and spine neutral.

Elastic single biceps curl4) Elastic Single Biceps Curl: Stand on the tube with feet outside hip-width apart. Grab the handle with palm facing forward, keeping your arm extended. Pull up while bending at the elbow and then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets with each arm. Exhale as you pull the elastic and inhale on the return. Maintain good posture and keep the abs engaged and watch your wrist alignment.

Elastic Lateral Biceps Curl5) Lateral Biceps Curl with Elastic (External Rotation): Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Grasp handles. Arms are at each side and palms are facing away from the hips. Bend elbows and pull the tube until the hand reaches the shoulder. Lower the hand and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when bending and inhale while extending the elbow. Maintain a space between the elbow and the side of the trunk, keep abs contracted and wrists in neutral position.

Elastic Trunk Sidebend6) Elastic Trunk Sidebend: Stand on the tube with your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Bend to the left, keeping the elbow straight. Return to start. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat, bending to the right. (I just figured out I’ve been doing this one without following the instructions and bending the wrong way… oh well). Do 12 reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale when bending the trunk and inhale when straightening the trunk. Maintain good posture and keep abs contracted.

Elastic Standing Hip Abduction7) Standing Hip Abduction with Tube (Outer Thigh): Stand on tube with both feet together. Place your weight on your left leg. Keep your knee straight and raise your right leg to the side. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg. Do 12 more reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale as you abduct your leg and inhale as you lower it. Maintain good posture and keep your ankle aligned in neutral.

I hope you get a chance to try out these tube exercises. I’m sure they’ll keep me busy and fit in the coming weeks. Let me know how things go and I’ll keep you posted on my progress during my Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. And thanks Jeanette for your great idea!

I’m Going on a Wellness Tour

Posted by Maria on October 26, 2012 under Books, Magazines, Music, Esthetics School, Fashion, Fitness, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Homespunspa Wellness Tour, Humour, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Self-Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, TV Shows & Movies, Travel, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

“The Road to Wellness is up the road and around the corner” was the lead in an article I wrote in 1998 when I was a reporter for the Peninsula News Review. My assignment was to interview a Naturopathic Doctor who had just opened a wellness clinic in Saanichton. At that time, I wasn’t as concerned about health and wellness as I am today (aah… “youth is wasted on the young…” as the saying goes) so I didn’t take advantage of what the clinic had to offer. But now, looking back, (I can still remember the long, white, billowing curtains in the treatment room), I think my conversation with the Naturopath and my visit to his clinic may have had more of an influence on me than I realized because within a couple of years of that meeting, I opened Homespunspa Enterprises, and have been on the road to wellness ever since.

Now, 12 years later, after going back to school to become an esthetician and adding a mobile spa to my business, I’ve come to a new stretch of road. Dr. Oksana Sawiak, who is a friend of my mother’s from childhood and also a holistic dentist (retired), has graciously invited me to spend some time with her in her new Integrative Wellness & Detox Centre,, in Norval, Ontario. Dr. Sawiak is a frontrunner in the dentistry field and throughout her 30+ year career, has focused on mercury-free/biological dentistry and is now delivering lectures on holistic dentistry, non-surgical gum treatment, pain control, hypnosis, and detoxification, etc.

I can’t wait to learn everything I can from her and her colleagues so I can transfer my new knowledge about this super-big topic of wellness to my readers and customers. I’ll be calling on my writing skills from my aforementioned journalism days and will be making regular updates on my blog about what I’m learning so everybody benefits.

I’ve already purchased my plane ticket and will be leaving Victoria in mid November. I’ve decided to call my adventure to the Toronto area, the Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. If you’d like to help support me while I’m on my wellness tour, (and I’d really appreciate this :) ) please buy a t-shirt or knick-knack from my special collection in my Café Press store. If you ask me, I think those t-shirts and mugs and blankets are pretty-darn cute.

While I’m in Toronto, I will not be available to accept any mobile spa appointments myself until I return but can facilitate any alternate arrangements with other trusted spa practitioners, if you’d like. Just send me an email and I’ll hook you up.

In the meantime, why not buy or rent a copy of the movie or book by T.C. Boyle, “The Road to Wellville” for a laugh and to catch a glimpse of the early days of how this whole wellness movement started in the first place.

When was the last time you changed your sheets?

Posted by Maria on August 20, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Humour, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sleep, Uncategorized, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

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.

It’s National Relaxation Day

Posted by Maria on August 15, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Humour, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Pop-Psychology, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Unless a spa told you in one of their promotions, I’m pretty sure you didn’t know that August 15 is National Relaxation Day. But it is. The origins of National Relaxation Day are unclear but it’s here on the calendar to encourage people to put their feet up and take a break.

As a lover of all things spa, I’m all over this day and I think this is a day worth celebrating. I strongly suggest you rush off to the Hallmark store to buy National Relaxation Day greeting cards for your friends and family. :)

I’m all about relaxation and I don’t think we relax enough in this hustle and bustle world. But one person’s relaxation is another person’s torture. What would you do if you had nothing to do all day? Some people would just go nuts if they didn’t have anything scheduled into their day and other people would say, “Well, I’ve got my feet soaking in the bath… now what?” They just can’t relax or enjoy the time off.

Like most people, I’m pretty tightly wound myself. I’m almost a different person when I do finally let go and relax. Life is so much easier when you’re relaxed. I like to use the time I went Zip-lining in Alaska as my gauge. After the initial stress of going out of my comfort zone and riding over the tips of trees down a mountain, I was way more fun to be around. I was cracking jokes and enjoying the people around me and I wish that Maria would come out to play more. I have since decided to make relaxation a priority.

So, how did I celebrate National Relaxation Day? First a gave a pedicure to a lady and she really enjoyed the foot massage I gave her. Then I worked out with my personal trainer and you may think that that’s not a relaxing activity but in my mind it is. I felt great after my work out! N0w I’m enjoying a glass of white wine as I’m writing this blog post. All in all, a pretty relaxing day.

This day also marks day one of my 31 blog posts in 31 days challenge. I found out about this challenge through Eric Brown from Bodyworkbiz who was inspired by Kelly Wise. I’m not in it for the “Bad Ass Blogger Trophy” but now that I think about it, that would be kind of cool. See you tomorrow!

Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2

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

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

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

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

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

Images of the Aquaspa on the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship.

Images of the Aquaspa on the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship.

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

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

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

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

My Consultation:

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

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

My Ionithermie Appointment:

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

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

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

My results:

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

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

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

A little note on price:

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

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