by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you planning to celebrate a special occasion soon, like a birthday party, bridal shower, wedding, anniversary or seasonal holiday and would like to do something fun and unique for your bff’s?
How about hosting a spa party?
If a spa party sounds like a great idea to you, here’s a checklist that will help make the job easier:
- Pick a date & time: Choose a date that works for most, if not all of your guests. Spa parties usually last no more than 3 hours, so if you have plans before or after your spa party, (like dinner at a restaurant or a golf game or a night on the town) pick a time that gives you some wiggle room. There’s no point in adding stress to your special spa day by rushing to the next event.
- Pick a venue: Spa parties can be held virtually anywhere like a hotel room or office but oftentimes your home is best. Just make sure you have enough open space to accommodate your party guests and anyone else you may have hired (like caterers, massage therapists, yoga instructors) to help you with your party.
- Decide on a party budget: I know, “budget” and “party” don’t sound good together but it’s a good idea to know what you want to spend ahead of time and stay in that ballpark. Overspending on impulse purchases will dampen your fun in the long run and having a budget will keep you on track.
- Send invitations: Nowadays, you can either send your invitations electronically like through email or you can create an event on Facebook or you can hand deliver your invitations door to door. It’s up to you. On your invitations, make sure you ask your guests which types of spa services they’d prefer and let your guests know to bring things like: flip flops, if they’re getting a pedicure; pj’s; bathrobes; a bathing suit for the hot tub; a potluck item to share or cash, if you want them to pay for their own spa services and tip.
- Get a head count: Now that you have your guest list and everyone has said “Yes, I’ll be there with bells on,” know how many guests will be attending your spa party.
- Hire a local mobile spa company like Homespunspa: Mobile spa companies are popping up all over the place and I’m sure there’s a good one in your city. And if you happen to live in Victoria, BC, then please call or email Homespunspa Mobile Spa. We’d be thrilled to help make your spa party extra special and stress-free.
- Choose spa services to offer at your party: Mobile spas can deliver all kinds of spa services like manicures, pedicures, facials and massages to your guests. At Homespunspa, we have designed a mini menu of 30-minute spa treatments for spa parties which lets guests get pampered and still participate in the party.
- Prepare spa snacks and beverages: Of course, what’s a spa party without food and drinks? I recommend serving crispy kale chips and refreshing cucumber water.
- Create your spa music playlist: I’ve been collecting spa music for over 20 years, long before I became a lover of all things spa and an esthetician, and I love, love, love the Homespunspa playlist. Regardless of whether you want something quiet and relaxing or something more pop and upbeat in the background, having music will add whole nother dimension to your spa party.
- Design your spa space: It’s time to create a spa environment. First move your furniture and make room for the different spa stations. You want to create a space that allows for people to move around freely. You might also like to create some private areas for the quieter spa treatments. And don’t forget to vapourize some essential oils into the air to enhance the spa mood.
- Decorate your space: If you can swing it, try adding some spa-chic elements, like a water feature, a low-burning fire in the fire place, smooth stones with inspiring words painted on them, lit candles of all sizes, throw pillows, plushy white towels folded just so, waffle bathrobes with slippers, and leafy tropical plants with big flowers to your décor.
- What about pets and other family members? I love family pets, especially cats, but sometimes they may not be the ideal guests at your spa party. Figure out what to do with your pets ahead of time so they don’t cause a distraction. And if there are family members or roommates that will not be participating in the spa party, (like husbands during a bridal shower) give them lots of notice so they can make alternate plans.
- Decide if there will be games and/or craft activities during the party: Some people like to play spa games while others like to encourage everyone to do a short craft project during their parties. If you want to do some spa-themed crafts and use essential oils, find some home spa recipes and try making your own perfumes, massage oil blends or bath salts. These activities are completely optional but if people are up for it, they might add some fun to the spa party.
- Collect and package party favours: Once the spa party starts winding down and everyone has received their pampering spa treatments, you might want to send your guests home with some party favours (or a loot bag, as I like to say). You can keep it simple, like a bottle of nail polish, or go all out with travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, lotions, lip balms, eye shadows, soaps, candles, assorted tea bags, packets of chocolate covered almonds, costume jewellery…whatever you want. You can always ask your mobile spa ahead of time if they’d also like to contribute some free product samples or coupons to the party favour bags.
- Clean up: Your spa party was a success and you can rest assured your friends had a good time. Once the mobile spa leaves and takes all of their equipment and supplies with them, clean up will be a snap. You may even like the furniture the way it is and not feel the need to move it back.
I hope this checklist for a successful spa party helps you plan the best spa party ever. And I hope you include Homespunspa in your next spa party. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add and please share this with your friends if you have a spa party in the works right now.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
In 2012, Mother’s Day will be celebrated in Canada on Sunday, May 13. I know what I’m going to give my mother this year but shh, it’s a surprise.
There’s still time for you to plan something special for your mom and all of the mother figures in your life. On top of giving your mom a nice card, some flowers and maybe breakfast in bed, I recommend giving your mom the gift of spa to thank her for all the kind things she does for you, for your family and for the community.
Getting a spa service like a facial, massage, manicure or pedicure feels really good and people are often surprised at how much more relaxed they feel during their appointment and for hours afterward.
If the idea of a spa appointment appeals to you and your mother, have you thought about inviting a mobile spa to come to your mother’s door instead of taking her out to a busy day spa in town? A mobile spa will save you and your mother time, energy and maybe even some stress — just ask Grampa Earl in the cartoon below.
If only Grampa Earl knew about Homespunspa Mobile Spa. He would still be able to take his afternoon nap and wouldn’t have to worry about Gramma’s comings and goings. Meanwhile, Gramma would feel pampered and beautiful and wouldn’t feel the need to swear at her husband for being late in picking her up and therefore undoing all of the relaxing goodness of the spa. It’s win-win. What’s that old expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure?” — Sounds like something a wise mother would say.
Here’s some good news. Homespunspa Mobile Spa is offering a Mother’s Day Special. If you book your appointment for your mother before May 12, 2012 for anyday of the week between Sunday, May 13 and Sunday, May 20, 2012, we will take 15% off your service. Choose from any of our fine services on our menu. (Note: the offer does not include the mini menu for the spa parties, however). Be “Early” and call or email soon to reserve your appointment.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers of the world!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you planning a spa party? Would you like to add some sparkle to your spa night? Why not add a few spa games to the menu alongside your facials, massages, mani’s and pedi’s?
Homespunspa Mobile Spa is quickly becoming a popular provider of spa services at spa parties all over Victoria, BC and I have lots of ideas on how to make your next spa party extra special and memorable. For more information on our pajama parties, please click here.
Here are some ideas for fun and relaxing spa games to keep your guests entertained and engaged throughout your party.
1) Top of Mind
I found this picture below from my archives. This photo was taken at one of the very first Homespunspa parties many years ago and I can’t for the life of me remember what I had the girls write on their heads. They’re obviously concentrating really hard — maybe they were drawing a map or the house they grew up in or both. The game was designed to help with memory (ironically) and motor skills but all I remember is, they should not have chosen such heavy textbooks to place on their heads.
2) Two Truths and a Lie
Have each guest write 3 facts about themselves on an index card but one of the 3 “facts” will be a lie. Place all of the cards in a basket and as each card is drawn, everybody else has to figure out a) who wrote the card and b) which statement is a lie.
When I first played this game on my second day of esthetics school, I wrote that I lived in Hawaii, I’ve sung live with Michael Buble and am distantly related to Pamela Anderson. Which do you think is false? I fooled most people and it was a great way to get to know my new classmates.
3) What I hate most about housecleaning
Obviously, this game is not appropriate for the tweens and teens, but it’s perfect for a bachelorette party. Have everyone write down their most hated housecleaning chore on an index card and explain the reason why. Everyone should write: “What I hate most about housecleaning is ______________ because _____________________________. Then substitute the question, “What I hate most about sex is…” and then take turns saying your answers out loud.
I played this game at a bridal shower once and my answer was, “cleaning the tub because of all the stretching and reaching.” There were a lot of laughs during that game.
4) Budding Journalist
Choose a bunch of funny photos such as this one below with the 2 cats and then have everyone at the party write witty captions to go along with them.
Write a caption for this goofy pic at your next spa party.
5) The Ha Ha Game
I haven’t played this game since the 80’s at summer camp although I don’t know why because it’s surprisingly ticklish from the inside out. Have all of your guests lie down on the floor. Each person will rest their head on another person’s belly. The first person will say, “Ha.” The second person will say, “Ha, Ha.” The third person will say, “Ha, Ha, Ha” and so on. You won’t get very far down the line because pretty soon everybody will be laughing hysterically for no reason. It’s a gas — laughing gas, that is!
Well, here’s my list of 5 spa party games to get you going. Please write a comment and let me know if you have any other ideas for spa games. I’ll make sure to add them to the list. The possibilities are endless. Cheers, Maria
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My friend at Jazzercise, let’s call her Angelina, has been carrying some serious tension in neck and shoulders lately. She’s trying everything she can think of to relieve the tension, which she thinks is happening as a result of sitting at her desk all day, staring at her computer screen, crunching numbers on her detailed spreadsheets (she’s an accountant) and moving the mouse back and forth, but isn’t having any luck. Raise your hand if you can relate.
She has visited a reputable chiropractor, who is known for getting results, and this chiropractor said to her, “You’re what we call a walking coat hanger.” Unfortunately, after her painful appointments, (it sounds like she has a very high pain tolerance), Angelina is left with terrible bruises on her arms with no significant relief to her muscle tension and everyone, including her family doctor, is telling her that this chiropractor is not doing her a good service. (Disclaimer: I’ve personally never visited a chiropractor and don’t know what’s involved but I know a lot of people swear by them and please don’t think I’m insulting chiropractors at all with these observations. I’m sure chiropractors do a lot of good work for a lot of people).
When my friend talks about her neck and shoulder tension, my ears perk up. I’m all about relaxation and I’ve put my thinking cap on to figure out ways to help my friend feel better and to also help others with similar problems get some relief, too.
First, I asked Angelina if her workstation — she works from home in a lovely, organized and spacious office — is what they call, “ergonomic,” a term coined in 1950 from the Greek word “ergon” which means “work.” Ergonomics is an applied science which is concerned with how well things are designed and arranged for human use to reduce fatigue and discomfort and to maximize productivity, efficiency and safety. She said, “Yes, yes, I had an assessment a couple of years ago and my chair is at the right height and my computer screen is right at eye level, where it’s supposed to be, and everything else.”
Well then, that answers that. With the ergonomic question out of the way, Angelina’s tension must be caused by too much stress and not enough relaxation. Since we’re all in the same boat, here’s a list of ways all of us can do to reduce and manage our stress levels.
5 Ways to Relax Your Neck and Shoulders
1) Get a facial: Facials are really, really relaxing. Not only do you get to listen to some healing and calming spa music for an hour or so — my Homespunspa playlist rocks (you to sleep) if I do say so myself — you also get the relaxing benefits from aromatherapy and of course some age-reversing skin care (stress will certainly take its toll on your complexion in more ways than one). And for the people with neck and shoulder issues, there’s usually a 10 to 20 minute, thoroughly relaxing massage that focuses on your decollete, shoulders, neck and face included with every facial. You’ll love it!
2) Take breaks: Do you come to work and sit down at your desk and not get out of your seat all day until it’s time to go home? And please don’t tell me you skip your lunch, too. If you ask me, I think that’s a counter-productive habit. Our bodies were designed to move and not sit around all day. If you take regular breaks and move your body throughout the day, you’ll actually be more productive and you’ll get more work done in the long run. I recommend setting a gentle alarm to go off once an hour or so to remind you to physically get up out of your chair and take a break. (I have a chi gong chime on my phone which is very unobtrusive but helpful). Go and grab yourself a cup of tea or a glass of water, go to the washroom, take a walk outside, climb up and down the stairs, introduce yourself to the new hire, etc., etc. The breaks will help clear your head and will help you focus better. Speaking of breaks, I have to take one right now.
3) Shoulder rub conga line: Stuck in a meeting all day? Even better. If there’s more than one of you on a break at the same time, do the old shoulder rub conga line thing where you stand in a line or in a circle, one person in front of the other, everybody facing the same direction. Ideally, you’ll rub the shoulders of the person in front of you and at the same time, the person behind you is rubbing your shoulders and then after a couple of minutes, everybody turns around and returns the favour the other way. Expect some giggles.
4) Stretch: Stand up and drop your arms to your side. Slowly roll your shoulders 3 times backwards and 3 times forwards. Then extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your elbows and bring your hands up to shoulder level. Then bring your shoulder blades together as close as you can to each other. This move is called “Angel wings.” Release. Roll your shoulders again. Then shake out your arms. How does that feel?
5) Yoga: Sign up for a yoga class. When I was taking a yoga class once a week, I found an improvement in my attitude and a reduction in my stress levels. I also noticed that yoga really complimented and enhanced the work I was doing with my personal trainer and made my workouts that much more effective. It’s definitely something to add to the mix.
That’s it for now. I’ll add an “Are you a walking coat hanger (part 2)” with more tips on neck and shoulder tension in a couple of days. And, as always, if you have any tips to share, by all means, leave a comment and I’ll make sure your words get added to the conversation. Till then, breathe, smile and relax.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Do you have more peaches right now than you know what to do with? I do. I must have at least 30 on hand and I have to get to them quick before they go bad. Sure, I can make jams, cobblers and salsas but I think I’m going to use at least one of them in a home spa recipe this weekend, especially since it’s a long weekend and the last one of the summer.
See, I told you I had a lot of peaches. Photo by Maria Koropecky
Peaches originated in China several thousands of years ago and were glorified as fruits of immortality. Because peaches are packed with moisture, vitamins and minerals, they help keep your skin looking young and healthy. If you keep using peaches in your home spa recipes, you’ll notice more elasticity in your skin and you’ll find an improvement in the tone and texture as well. As an added bonus, peaches soothe and cleanse inflamed and blotchy skin, which is good to know if you get a sunburn anytime soon.
And of course eating peaches on a regular basis will help with your digestion and will flush out the system of toxins. Here’s a recipe for a refreshing peach smoothie — perfect for breakfast or as a snack.
- 1 peach, peeled, pitted and chopped — Succulent peaches are brimming with Vitamins A & C which revitalize the skin from the inside and on the surface.
- 1/2 cup plain, 0% yogurt — Cleanses, tones and moisturizes skin and leaves all skin types feeling smooth.
- 1 cup ice cubes — Extends recipe volume and adds a cooling element.
- 1 cup Perrier water — Drinking water hydrates skin and lubricates joints and muscles.
Method: Place the ingredients in a blender and blend into a healthy, smooth, but not too thick, beverage.
Peaches and Cream Shower Sachet
If you’ve ever poured boiling water over peaches to make it easier to release their skin, then you know how fragrant and perfumy peaches can be. No need for fancy equipment here, this is low-tech aromatherapy at it’s finest.
- 1 peach, pitted and roughly chopped — Succulent peaches are brimming with Vitamins A & C which revitalize the skin. Meanwhile the natural AHA’s have a cleansing and exfoliating effect.
- 1 TB cream — moisturizes, nourishes and softens skin.
- 1 TB coconut oil, fractionated — liquid at room temperature, this oil has a light, non-greasy feel and has emulsifying properties.
- 1 tsp ginger, grated — is an ideal addition to bathwater because it’s warming qualities stimulate circulation, which increases blood flow, which helps the body detoxify.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar — sugar granules are mildly abrasive and make sweet alternatives to salt in exfoliating scrubs.
You will also need:
- a blender or a mortar and pestle
- a piece of cheesecloth (or very thin and loosely woven piece of cotton or linen), at least 8″ by 8″
- a piece of ribbon, about 48″ or 2 feet long
Method: Set the brown sugar aside in a bowl. Place the peach, cream, fractionated coconut oil and ginger in a blender (or mortar and pestle) and mix into a pulp. Pour over the brown sugar and stir to combine. You should have a thick scrub. Place the scrub in the center of your cheesecloth and then tie into a bundle with a ribbon or piece of string, leaving enough slack of ribbon to suspend the sachet from the shower head.
Manner: Hang the sachet from your shower head in the path of flowing water and then reap the benefits. Then, remove the sachet from the shower head and use it to further exfoliate your skin by gently massaging it over your shoulders, arms, torso, legs and feet. Rinse your skin and pat it dry. Drink a glass of water after any spa treatments that involve detoxification.
Shelf-Life/Storage: Discard the sachet after use. If you have some leftover, the coconut oil will help preserve this mixture, if it’s unused and kept in the fridge, for a week or so.
Enjoy the peach harvest!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Once the socks get stuffed in the drawers and the closed-toed shoes and boots get tossed to the back of the closet, and the bare feet, sandals and strappy stilettos come out for some fun in the sun, most people opt for pedicures at the spa instead of going for a facial. I’d like to suggest that getting a customized facial in the summer is definitely worth the investment also.
Our complexion changes with the seasons and it’s important to adjust your skincare routine to reflect the current environmental conditions. Your skin may have been dry and dehydrated this past winter because of low temperatures and cold winds mixed with heat from furnaces. But now, with the extra sun exposure and heat and increased activity, your skin may be turning more oily, or sensitive or may have more breakouts than usual.
How is a person supposed to keep up with all of these fluctuations and variations? The answer — having a facial. A facial with a professional esthetician will help clear up any outstanding issues you may be having with your skin this summer.
What is a Facial?
A facial treatment is a professional service designed to improve and rejuvenate the skin on the face, neck, shoulders and decolleté. Getting regular facials will definitely and noticeably improve your skin’s appearance and texture.
The Benefits of Getting a Facial
There are many benefits associated with getting a facial and they all come back to managing stress. Stress itself isn’t the bad guy — it’s the amount of stress and the way you deal with it that makes a difference in your life. For example, stress is one of the aggravating factors of acne but if you learn how to reduce the stress in your life with healthy habits such as getting regular facials and eating nutritious food and exercising daily, you will significantly improve the tone of your skin. And you’ll feel so much better.
Getting a facial also gives you a chance to try out a particular skin care product line to see how it behaves on your skin, before you purchase it. I think that’s a wise approach. Ask me which skincare line I use in my Homespunspa facials and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The benefits of a Facial include:
- Maintaining healthy skin and having radiant-looking skin;
- Correcting certain skin conditions such as overexposure to Ultraviolet Rays from the sun;
- Treating conditions such as dryness, oiliness or redness;
- Deep cleansing and releasing environmental pollution like smog that may be trapped in your pores;
- Exfoliation and Refinement which makes your skin feel smoother and softer;
- Increasing circulation;
- Relaxation of the body and mind through massage and aromatherapy;
- Stimulation of metabolism;
- Looking younger and more beautiful;
- Slowing down premature aging and softening lines and wrinkles;
- Helping clear up blemishes and minor acne;
- Reducing stress;
- Sleeping better at night.
What to expect from a Facial
When you come to a spa for a facial, you’ll be asked to fill out a confidential questionnaire and change into a gown and remove your jewellery and socks and shoes. You may also get a foot soak. Then you’ll lie down on a facial bed. You and your esthetician will talk about your needs and concerns and then both of you will determine the best course of action for your skin.
Steps in a Facial
- Make up removal and Cleansing;
- Skin Analysis;
- Refinement Masque (Exfoliation);
- Skin Balancing;
- Hand, Foot, Neck, Shoulder and Facial Massages;
- Treatment Masque & Serums; and
- Moisturization and Sun Protection.
You may also receive extra services like: detoxification massage, pressure point massage, attention around your eyes, extractions, or make up application, etc. On top of all of that, you’ll also learn a lot about your own skin and how to take care of it and which products and services will benefit you the most.
Homespunspa July, August and September Special on Facials
I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but our summer in the Pacific Northwest has been slow in coming this year. Regardless, if you’re at all curious about how a facial works, Homespunspa is offering a 25% discount on all facials if you book your appointment before the autumnal equinox (September 23, 2011) and if you mention the code “summer” at the time of booking. Feel free to visit www.homespunspa.com and the mobile services menu page for a full list of services and prices. To make an appointment, follow the links on the reservations page.
I love giving facials because I like to help people relax and feel good about themselves. I also love seeing the “after” smiles my customers make when they first look at themselves in the mirror after they experience a 60 or 90 minute facial with me. I really think you’ll be pleased with your results, too.
Have a fun summer!
P.S. Remember to apply your sun protection often.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Here’s a natural home spa recipe for those of you who’d like to have honey sweet, super smooth and petal soft lips tonight and every night. Nobody likes chapped lips and they’re easy enough to get, especially in winter. They’re also easy enough to fix. I hope you enjoy this recipe and the pun in my graphic.
Homemade Berry Exfoliator for Smoother and Softer Lips
1 fresh Strawberry, mashed — can be used regularly as a teeth whitener and can be added to facials for its cleansing properties.
2 fresh Raspberries, mashed — berries have high concentrations of antioxidants which help fight free radicals.
1 TB Brown Sugar — makes a sweet alternative to salt in exfoliating scrubs.
1 TB Honey — this natural moisturizer is ideal for treating chapped lips.
1 Vitamin E capsule — moisturizes and conditions skin.
Method: Mash the strawberry and raspberries into a fine pulp. You can also substitute strawberry and raspberry jams for the fresh fruit, if you’d like. Break the Vitamin E capsule and pour the contents into the berries. Stir in the rest of the ingredients to make a soupy paste.
Manner: Apply the Berry Exfoliator with your fingers or a toothbrush to your lips. Gently rub the scrub in a circular motion on your lips for at least a minute. Rinse off with a moistened face cloth. Voila! Now top your lips off with a little lip gloss and you’re ready for a night of romance.
Storage: Mix as needed. This recipe will make more than enough for one application but will not store well.
Post a comment and let me know what you think of this home spa recipe. And for more natural, homemade, home spa recipe ideas, buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way, available exclusively on this website for $24 CAD plus shipping.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Homespunspa is proudly committed to Earth Hour.
It’s Earth Hour tonight, on Saturday March 27th, 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is asking everyone on the planet to turn their lights off for one whole hour to take a stand against climate change.
Are you looking for a green activity to do by candle light? How about having a home spa pajama party and giving yourself a clay and cocoa facial? I think this Homespunspa idea is the perfect way to mark Earth Hour because it’s green and relaxing all at the same time. And it’s no accident that I’m highlighting clay and cocoa in this recipe. To me, these ingredients are the home spa epitome of “earthiness” because clay is loaded with treasures like magnesium, calcium, iron, aluminum, sodium, potassium and silica and cocoa is the colour of dirt.
So invite some friends over for an Earth Hour home spa get together. Have them bring their favourite pajamas and sleeping bags. Get the candles and flashlights ready and mix the dry ingredients of this recipe together ahead of time. Goopy green faces are always good for a laugh or two and this might be the beginning of a great annual event for you and your sistas.
Cocoa & Clay Earth Hour Facial
- 1/4 cup green French Clay — is a key spa ingredient because it helps remove surface dirt and dead cells from skin and the experience of resting while topped in mud diffuses tension in a most pleasant way.
- 2 TB cocoa powder — chocolate lovers will be pleased to learn that a facial made with cocoa will not only reduce tension, it will also soften dry skin.
- 1 TB orrisroot powder — used to fix scents in herbal preparations and for mild fragrance.
- 1 TB dried calendula flower petals, powdered or chopped fine — use in facials for all skin types to clean pores, balance pH, heal capillaries, relax facial expression and destress.
- 12 drops carrot seed essential oil — is valued for its relaxing, restoring and nourishing properties. It refreshes and firms mature skin by detoxifying pores as well as by stimulating cell renewal and skin elasticity.
- 1 TB sweet almond oil — is a very popular ingredient in natural skincare because it has moisturizing, softening, soothing and skin conditioning properties.
- 1/4 cup water — extends recipe volume and provides a base to blend ingredients.
- 1 cucumber, cut into 2 round slices per person — known as a remedy for puffy eyes, but also has cleansing, moisturizing, softening, toning and pH-balancing properties.
- Combine green French clay, cocoa, orrisroot and calendula in a bowl and set aside until you’re ready to start your facial.
- A few minutes before Earth Hour starts (around 8:20 pm), dilute 12 drops of carrot seed essential oil in 1 tablespoon of sweet almond oil in a small glass jar with a secure lid. (You can substitute ingredients and use your choice of essential oils and carrier oil). Shake to blend. Pour over clay and mix in.
- Start with a 1/4 cup of water and slowly add enough liquid to make a spreadable paste.
- Lay a towel over a pillow where you plan to lie down. Light the candles.
- Remove make-up and rinse your face with water.
- Turn the lights off.
- Spread about a tablespoon of the wet paste onto your face and neck, avoiding the area around the eyes. Smooth with your fingers.
- Lie back and place the cucumber on your eyes. Leave the clay on for 10 to 20 minutes. It will start to dry and harden but it doesn’t need to harden completely to be effective. Enjoy the nocturnal silence.
- Rinse off the crusty mask with plenty of cool-warm water and pat dry.
Storage: Store any leftover dry ingredients in a jar or bag. Will last indefinitely.
Enjoy your Earth Hour!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Wanna look this relaxed? Photo by Maria Koropecky
Are you wondering what to do with your leftover jack-o-lantern now that Halloween has past?
Last Friday, the 30th, I was invited to a “Carve it Up” pumpkin carving potluck Halloween party and this photo shows my handiwork. (Thank goodness he didn’t end up like some of his buddies cracked open on the pavement). I can’t remember the last time before this that I dabbled with pumpkins — it may have been 20 years ago for all I know — but it all came back to me quickly — just like riding a bike.
It’s a cheap thrill
There’s something to be said about the cool sensation of plunging into a fresh pumpkin and hauling out all of the stringy fibers, seeds and goop with your bare hands. And of course the smell will unlock distant childhood memories too. My inner artist was very content and it was quite a therapeutic experience for me.
Pumpkin’s Fringe Benefits
Pumpkins are an excellent spa ingredient for all kinds of reasons. Pumpkins are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as Zinc, Alpha and Beta Carotene, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron.
Pump-skins can be used in all kinds of spa treatments including: shampoos, shower gels, bubblebaths, soaps, massage, salt and sugar scrubs, manicures, pedicures, enzyme peels and facials. Although mild and gentle, pumpkins are excellent exfoliators and leave your skin feeling pillow soft.
The pumpkin flavour goes well with apples, brown sugar, coconut, cream, ginger, honey, mint, vanilla and yogurt.
Here is a quick and easy home spa pumpkin facial recipe that I developed and tested yesterday. And today my skin feels extra soft and smooth:
- 3 TB pumpkin puree (plain and unseasoned) — Loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, pumpkins exfoliate and soften skin.
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil — Pressed from juicy olives, this lovely fragrant, heavy oil calms, soothes, nourishes, cleans, softens and moisturizes skin.
- 1 TB maple syrup — helps Maple trees survive Canadian winters and has made its way into the spa world as a skin conditioning treatment.
- 1 TB plus 1 tsp witch hazel distillate — makes a popular pore-tightening liquid toner for oily and blemished skin because of its astringent, anti-inflammatory, cooling and cleansing properties.
- 2 tsps cornstarch — lends a silky and luxurious feel to recipes, making skin feel smooth and soft.
To make the boiled pumpkin puree:
- Hollow out your pumpkin if you haven’t already. Reserve the seeds for roasting.
- Cut the pumpkin into large (1 and a half to 2 or so inches) cubes. (I only ended up using half of my small/medium sized pumpkin which yielded 6 cups of puree).
- Throw the chunks into your biggest cooking pot and cover with water like you would potatoes. For a spa recipe, you don’t need to add any seasonings like salt — in this case, the plainer the better. And please don’t add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to boost the aromatherapy because those spices can really irritate the skin.
- Boil, covered, for at least an hour but check at the 30 minute mark. You want the pumpkin pieces to be fork-tender.
- Once cooked, remove the pieces from the pot. Cut off the skin and discard. Drop a few pieces at a time in a blender. Add some water from the pot for extra liquid. Blend to an even consistency. Let the orangey puree cool to room temperature before applying it to your skin.
To make the facial:
- Mix the pumpkin puree with the olive oil, witch hazel and cornstarch in a small bowl. It should be the consistency of apple sauce. You can substitute another oil, like corn oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil for the olive oil if you prefer. You can also add a few drops of your choice of skin-friendly essential oils, like carrot seed essential oil, to this recipe to further customize it to your skin type. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
- Drape a towel over a pillow and create a space to put your feet up and relax.
- Apply the pumpkin mash to your freshly cleaned face with your fingers, covering everything to the hairline and down your neck, except your eyes and lips. (You can also apply this recipe to your hands, feet, hair and back at another time if you’d like).
- Lie down, close your eyes and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. (Note: although this is unlikely, if your skin feels irritated and if you feel uncomfortable soon after applying the recipe, discontinue the treatment early and rinse of the pumpkin from your face. I felt a little mild tingling but I wasn’t concerned).
- Rinse the pumpkin from your face with warm water and towel off. It’s a very thin recipe so it shouldn’t clog your plumbing.
- Finish your treatment with more Witch Hazel. Apply Witch Hazel with a cotton ball to tone the skin and to remove any excess residue left behind from the treatment.
Storage / Shelf Life
You will have lots of pumpkin puree leftovers. The good news is you can freeze the bounty for another treatment down the road or you can use the puree in baking recipes, like pumpkin loaf.
You can refrigerate the leftover spa treatment mixture and use it within the next 3 days.
What did you do with your Halloween pumpkin? Write a comment and pass on your ideas.
And let me know if you like this recipe. I would love to hear your feedback. And for more recipes like this one, buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way available through www.Homespunspa.com.