9 Ways to Manage Stress During the Holidays

Posted by Maria on December 9, 2016 under Aromatherapy, Facials, Fashion, Gemstones & Crystals, Gift Ideas, Home spa, Homespunspa, Life Coaching, Manicures, Massages, Meditation, Mobile Spa, Nutrition, Pedicures, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Seasonal, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
The holidays are just around the corner and for many of us, the winter season means extra food and drinks and finding the time for decorating, shopping, gift wrapping, office parties, travelling, and getting together with friends and family.

Although the song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” getting caught up in the spirit of the holiday season can also be very stressful, especially if you add snow storms and winter driving to the list.

Many of my clients ask me, ‘is there a way to enjoy the holiday season without feeling stressed, tired, and overwhelmed?’

The answer is ‘yes.’ Yes, it is possible to maintain your health and well-being and not get stressed out during the festive holiday season.

So, if you have concerns like:

• How can I better manage my stress during this busy time of year?

• How can I stick to my eating plan when everywhere I look, I see cookies and chocolates and all kinds of delicious treats? and

• How do I get along better with my extended family and enjoy our visits?…

Read on.

Here are 9 Ways to Manage Stress During the Holidays

1. Get some wellness coaching

With a few sessions with a wellness coach, you will reduce stress, stay on top of your to-do list, make a plan to eat well, and have better relationships with your friends, co-workers, and family members. It’s about navigating the waters rather than getting caught up in the current. Working with a wellness coach will help you glide through the holidays with finesse and start the new year off on the right foot.

2. Drink lots of water, hot lemon water, coconut water, and clear herbal tea

Staying hydrated will help you:

  • maintain your energy and not become fatigued,
  • stay warmer on those chilly days,
  • boost your immune system and reduce the chance of catching a cold or flu,
  • control your appetite,
  • avoid gaining some extra pounds,
  • and better digest those rich foods you’ll find at holiday parties.

So, instead of drinking too much caffeine or alcohol during this festive season, drink a glass of coconut water or a mug of hot lemon water or herbal tea, whenever you can.

3. Sniff away your stress with aromatherapy

My favourite scent during this time of year is Cinnamon & Clove essential oil. It’s like holiday baking without the calories and lends a homey, comforting, and warming note to any room.

4. Give yourself a Reflexology foot massage

Often, stress shows up in our neck and shoulders. One day, I realized that the words “should” and “shoulders” are related and many of us carry our shoulds on our shoulders, like painful burdens. With Reflexology, you can work your own shoulders by massaging the acupressure points on the area just under the baby toes on the soles of your feet.

5. Wear gemstone jewellery

December is a great time of year to wear your best gemstone jewellery! I love gemstones because they’re so pretty! I love having them in my energy field and for the festive season, I recommend silvery-black hematite for stress and dark red garnet for love and joy.

6. Take a moment to breathe and be grateful

Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need a little break from the hustle and bustle of your day, take a few deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth to ground yourself. As you’re breathing slowly, think of things you’re grateful for. This will help you switch your focus to more positive thoughts.

7. Spend some time outside

Go outside and get some fresh air. It’s invigorating and will help clear your mind.

8. Lend a helping hand

Earlier this morning, I shoveled my driveway after a big snowfall (see #7) and after I was finished, I helped my next door neighbours with theirs. It felt really good to pitch in and help someone out.

9. Call Homespunspa Mobile Spa

I know it seems counter-intuitive to book yet another appointment during this busy time of year, especially for something like a massage where you can’t multi-task. However, it’s important to continue practicing your self-care and take the time to top up your own tank so that you can keep up with the demands on your time and energy. There’s also nothing more healing than therapeutic touch. Luckily, as a mobile spa, we come to you and will give you relaxing spa services in your very own home. We offer massages, manicures, pedicures, and facials to help people relax, look better, and feel better.

To schedule an appointment for mobile spa services and wellness coaching, please call Maria @ 250-812-3487 or email: homespunspa@shaw.ca.

I hope these 9 tips will help you reduce and even avoid stress over the holidays. If you have any tips to share, feel free to add your comments about minimizing stress below. Thanks!

Happy holidays!

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…

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.

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, youwell.ca, 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.

Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 1

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

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

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

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

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

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

Hubbard Glacier on June 13, 2012

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

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

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

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

Wrap your loved ones in bathrobes this year

Posted by Maria on November 21, 2011 under Fashion, Gift Ideas, Humour, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Growing up in a Ukrainian-speaking household, we used the word “Shlaf-frock” for bathrobe or housecoat. Up until about 5 minutes ago when I used Google Translate, I always thought the Ukrainians borrowed this lovely word from the Germans because I knew “Schlaf” meant “sleep” in German and I believed “frock” meant dress. I thought it was a clever word and I always got a warm and fuzzy feeling every time I said it.

Well, as it turns out, I have been wrong on a few counts all of these years. First, the Ukrainians took the word “szlafrok” from the Polish language and on top of that, Ukrainians in Ukraine (according to my friend) don’t even know that word at all anymore — they use “hhalat,” as do the Russians — and “szla” doesn’t mean sleep in Polish — it means “precious.” Confused yet? I am.

Regardless of my befuddled etymology, I’m still sticking with good old Shlaf-frock because it’s fun to say.

And did you know that putting on a bathrobe is one of the most relaxing things you can do at the end of a long and stressful day? Don’t believe me? I invite you to go and put your bathrobe on right now and see for yourself. Just take it off the hook on your bathroom door, drape it over your shoulders, stick your arms in and tie the belt in a loose bow. Go on. I’ll wait.

Still waiting…

There you are!

Well? How do you feel now? Better? I thought so.

There’s something about a bathrobe that lets your body know that it’s time to relax and unwind and get ready for a good night’s sleep.

It’s no wonder that bathrobes are a big feature in all of the spas. Where else are you encouraged to walk around in your bathrobe and slippers in the middle of the day?

The History of Bathrobes

Funnily enough, bathrobes can be traced all the way back to the togas of ancient Rome. In the days of yore before indoor plumbing caught on, it was customary for people to head to the local bathhouses to get wet and clean. I guess bathing suits hadn’t been invented yet and they needed something that could maintain some semblance of modesty in a public space and be slipped on and off easily at poolside.

Time travel to Asia in the 1800’s and you’ll see a resemblance between the silk kimono and our stylish bathrobes of today.

Bathrobes make excellent gifts any time of year

If you’re looking for gift ideas for friends and family, why not wrap your loved ones in bathrobes this season. Summer or winter, rain or shine, young or old, man or woman — everyone likes a nice bathrobe to wear morning or night.

Bathrobes are unique in the world of fashion because they are equally regal and luxurious on the one hand (maybe that’s why the Polish call them “precious”) and cozy and informal on the other.

When you picture a bathrobe, do you see a white, thick one made of terry cloth or do you remember the loud orange velour one with the busy jungle pattern from your high school days or maybe you had a pink fuzzy one with flower appliqués? I personally have a soft spot for tacky and ugly bathrobes because those bathrobes are the ones that are most loved by the people who wear them.

I had a red, wool plaid one in high school which wasn’t very practical but it looked nice and made me feel like I was living in LL Beanland. I also had a thin peach one that became thinner and thinner every time I washed it. Later, I had a white terry towel one with a pink collar. Now I have a purple polar fleece polyester knit that my mom made for me. Of course I also have a lots of waffle ones for my spa guests to wear during our Homespunspa Mobile Spa appointments.

In any case, regardless of everyone’s tastes and personality, I’m sure there’s a nice bathrobe or shlaf-frock out there for everyone on your list. Just make sure they don’t feel scratchy to the touch and can absorb excess moisture from the skin after a bath, shower or day at the beach. That’s all I ask. Otherwise, go to town.

Oh and please send me pictures of your favourite bathrobes. I would love to add them to this blog post.

Retro Roller Skates for Sale

Posted by Maria on July 24, 2011 under Books, Magazines, Music, Fashion, Fitness, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 7 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Picture it…Honolulu…1981. “Private Benjamin” (read original bootcamp) was the 5th most popular tv show; Olivia Newton John, while sporting a headband, was singing her hit song, “Let’s Get Physical,” on the radio; American fitness personality, Richard Simmons (wearing his trademark candy-striped Dolfin shorts and Swarovski-crystal studded tank tops), was “Sweating to the Oldies” and promoting weight loss. And last but not least, a young school girl receives a pair of roller skates for her birthday. Fitness was alive and well in the early ’80’s!

The young pre-teen took the roller skates for a spin right away and she loved them. When she wasn’t roller skating, she was drawing posters about roller skating which hung in her bedroom. One of the posters said, “Roller skating is the best.” Did I mention that her birthday cake was also in the shape of a roller skate that year?

Meanwhile her brother was an avid skateboarder in those days and her father built him a 6-foot ramp made of plywood. The ramp sat on the end of the driveway under the plumaria tree and blue sky (because that’s where the smooth cement of the carport ended) and all of the kids in the neighbourhood would start from the kitchen door and take turns booting it through the open gate and down a step and then they’d go full speed up the ramp. She can still hear the clap of the skateboards as they crested the edge and landed on the flip side. She wasn’t quite so adventuresome as the skateboarders were and only went to the bend, but it was still fun.

That little 6th grader was me and now after 30 years, it’s time for those beloved roller skates to change hands and get on to some new feet.

Would you like to buy a pair of vintage roller skates?

Vintage Rollerskates for Sale.

Vintage Roller skates for Sale.

Health Benefits of Roller skating:

You can roller skate for recreation or sport. You can even dance with them or join a roller derby team. And roller skating is also a great, green mode of transportation.  If you were to roller skate for one hour, travelling at a rate of 6 miles (or 9.6 kilometres) per hour, you’d burn 350 calories and would get a complete aerobic workout. If you were to increase the speed to 10 miles (or 16.1 kms) per hour, you’d burn 600 calories and you’d look great doing it!

Roller skating is a fun workout and although you think you’re just gliding down hills while the wheels do all of the work, most of your body’s muscle groups, including your core, glutes, legs and even arms, get engaged by this exercise. It’s like riding a bike or jogging in cardio terms and is low-impact to boot.

Roller skating down the street on a sunny day while breathing in the fresh air will lift your spirits for sure. Roller skating will also help build your physical strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination and will sculpt your body into shape.

If you want to spice up your fitness routine and throw something new into the mix, try roller skating, old school style.

Roller Skate Details:

  • Style: Low-Cut Boot, Quad, Outdoor.
  • Size: Girls’ size 7. Note: I have an 8 1/2 to 9 to 9 1/2 shoe size, depending on the type of shoe, and they still fit me.
  • Colours: Grey (synthetic) suede with blue and white striping, blue wheels.
  • Year: circa 1980 (30 years old) (vintage).
  • Condition: Used but Excellent.
  • Price: bidding starts at $35 CAD, plus shipping.
  • Status: SOLD

P.S. If you mention which ’80’s tv show character started her stories off with “Picture it…” — I’ll gladly take 10% off your next mobile spa treatment (but this offer can’t be combined with any other promotional discount).

Happy roller skating and thanks for rolling down memory lane with me.

Victoria is the Fashion Capital of Canada

Posted by Maria on May 19, 2011 under Fashion, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Photo gallery, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

OK. Maybe Victoria isn’t the fashion capital of Canada all year, every year, but it will be for one day this Saturday.

Timeless Treasures Fashion Show

If you like vintage and designer fashions, here is your chance to bid on and buy a few unique pieces to add to your collection.

Join us on Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1319 Mills Road on the corner of West Saanich and Mills Road for the Timeless Treasures Fashion Sale. I’m sure you’ll find something among the various pieces of designer and vintage designer clothing that has your name on it.

The Timeless Treasures sale will feature unique and beautiful pieces of new and gently owned clothing from well-known designers, including Louis Feraud, Escada, Mondi, Max Mara, Diane Freis, Geiger, and Linda Lundstrom, along with elegant accessories such as handbags, hats, shoes and jewellery. Models, wearing their faves, will be mingling in the crowd. The clothing will be available in many sizes, from size 8 to 2X. You’ll also find the most unique pieces of wearable art, (no, not Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress :>) and an exquisite piece of fine silver jewellery, created by Shirley Price, which will be sold by auction. There will also be several tables featuring one-of-a-kind, fabulous items, for every budget.

I was planning on donating the lovely white on white, polka dot, tafeta dress my mother sewed for me for my Debutante Ball in Washington D.C. in 1987, (yes, I was a debutante! That’s me in the dress in the black and white photo with my date and best dance partner I’ve ever had in my life), but first we couldn’t find the dress and then once we dug it out of the closet, I noticed there were some curious royal blue, quarter-sized stains at bottom back of the dress, which makes it unwearable, for now. I vaguely remember something happening in the wee hours of the morning when I stepped on the dress while dancing in some sort of puddle in an after hours club, but that was almost 25 years ago, so who knows. I did, however, end up donating a frilly, forest green and black organza blouse that my mom also made for me, which I wore only once for a Murder Mystery party while in university and it suited my character perfectly. It just added a certain flair and whimsy to the entire evening. That’s the beauty of fashion.

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the “Light of Justice Scholarship” which will be given, for the first time, on July 8, 2011, to a young student who shows promise as a future moral leader in Ukraine.

I hope to see you there. I’ll be the one with the camera taking all of the fashion photos. And if you have any stories about vintage fashion, pass them on, I’d love to hear them.

Pick Purple Polish for your New Year’s Eve Party

Posted by Maria on December 28, 2010 under Esthetics School, Fashion, Feet, Hands and Nails, Home spa, Manicures, Pedicures, Photo gallery, Spa Party, Uncategorized | 3 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I don’t know about you but I always feel naked if I go to a formal party and my nails aren’t done. New Year’s Eve is coming up quickly but there’s still time to polish up your look and paint your nails. May I suggest something in the purple family? It’s one of the hottest colour trends in fashion these days and it also happens to be my favourite colour, too.

Manicured hand with 5 kinds of purple.
And why not pair purple with the one of the other hot trends of 2010? How about glam-gliding your way into 2011 with shiny and glittery metallics or rich and luxy gem stones? From pinky to thumb on the above graphic, here are my colour choices from OPI.

  1. Rumple’s Wiggin’ — For some odd reason, neutrals — and particularly grays — are hugely popular this season. Wear big fat rings with this one.
  2. Funky Dunky — This lovely colour was inspired by the Shrek movie.
  3. Show It & Glow It — Glam it up with glitter. Who cares if the speckled polish doesn’t come off easily. Worry about that next year.
  4. Royal Rajah Ruby — This jewel tone will make you feel like a dancing queen as you ring in the new year.
  5. Siberian Nights — At first glance, you might think this polish is black, but it’s actually a very, very, deep, deep purple. Next to candle light, this colour really rocks.

When I was in school, we used OPI for all of our manicures and pedicures and that’s why I’m recommending this brand in my blog today. Everybody always laughs out loud when they hear the names of the colours they choose.

Helping someone decide on a nail colour reminds me of one of my appointments last summer when I was learning how to do pedicures in school. The woman, let’s call her Wanda, was going to a wedding on the weekend and wanted a colour that would work at a formal party and would go with her dress. As we looked through the basket of polishes, I suggested a lovely black one with shiny, silver specks. I had seen the celebrities wear black nail polish and I thought it would be perfect. Wanda agreed. I was so proud and I think she went home happy. My teacher gave me a good mark but asked, “Why on earth did she pick that colour? It’s like the hottest day of the year and this one, how it got back into the basket I’ll never know, was a part of a special holiday collection from last Christmas.”

Oh. Nail polish colours are seasonal. Lesson learned.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Good Morning Breakfast Television Vancouver!

Posted by Maria on October 26, 2010 under Esthetics School, Fashion, Humour, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Photo gallery, Sleep, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 5 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

This is what I’m talking about. All of these years I’ve been preaching about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and this is the reason why: If you’re not well-rested, than you won’t be ready to catch an opportunity when it comes to town.

I’m a big fan of Citytv’s Breakfast Television Vancouver and when I heard Dawn Chubai and Kyle Donaldson were coming to Victoria, I had to go and meet them — even if it meant going downtown in the wee hours of the morning on my day off. Going to bed early and getting up early has never been so much fun.

I didn’t know what to expect when I approached the crew on the corner of Yates and Blanshard. It was certainly out of my comfort zone to enter into this type of situation. I just said, “Hi, Welcome to Victoria” and “We’re Facebook Friends.” Well, that broke the ice and Dawn took a picture of us right away.

Dawn and Kyle from BTV and me

Not bad for 7 something in the morning.

I enjoyed watching all of the behind-the-scenes action. It was like watching the show on tv but not. Both Dawn and Kyle interviewed Victoria’s Mayor, Dean Fortin. Among other things, he talked about our award-winning urinals. I wish I could be so quick on my feet.

And then a limousine pulled up and out walks Fashion Television’s host, Jeanne Beker. Wow, I was impressed. When I think about all of the interesting people she has met over the years, I was a little bit star struck. Hello, 6 degrees of separation!

The crowning moment of my morning happened shortly thereafter. Ms. Beker presented a kitten-soft, black sweater, with a little bit of bling (although Jeanne said “splash”) to Dawn to give away to one of the BT viewers and Dawn was trying to figure out how she would hold up the sweater and her microphone at the same time. Meanwhile, I had just finished telling Kyle (thanks for the chocolates, by the way) that I wanted to be on TV one day. I don’t know if Dawn overheard me saying that or not, but all of a sudden, she said, “Maria, would you like to hold the sweater while I interview Jeanne?” How could I refuse?

So there I was, holding up a sweater and grinning like an idiot on live tv next to Jeanne Beker. “Work the sweater like you mean it,” she said. I was supposed to be out of camera range until the last minute, but Jeanne kept on inching back towards me and I was frozen solid. Loud trucks rolled behind us and I really couldn’t hear a word that was being said. Is this going to end up of BT’s Best of? Do I really want to see how this played out? As awkward as it was, I was thinking to myself, “This is pretty cool.” I was a model for Jeanne Beker. What a strange universe we live in.

There I am next to Jeanne and Dawn.

That’s one more thing off my bucket list but I’m not stopping here. I’m putting it out there that I want to be on TV again.

Tomorrow I’m going to officially graduate as an Esthetician and I think this is the perfect way for me to start off my new career. Fashion is definitely going to be a part of this new chapter in my life and I feel like I’m hitting the ground running. Thanks Kyle and Dawn and the good-humoured camera-man for coming to visit us here in Victoria and for making my day. Hopefully, we will cross paths again.

Hosts of BT Vancouver, Dawn Chubai and Kyle Donaldson, in Victoria. Photo by Maria Koropecky

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