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…

How I found out about the Rayner Institute

Posted by Maria on September 19, 2015 under Esthetics School, Life Coaching, Manicures, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Travel, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Wellness Coach

Secretly, I’ve wanted to be a life coach for at least a decade but it didn’t seem like it was possible for me. I would not have known where to go to get coaching training even if I had given the thought any serious consideration.

I hired a business coach back in 2005 and I loved our conversations about the spiritual laws of the universe but this particular coach made things more about her than they were about me and after a few months, she pushed me away and that was that. We’ve not spoken since and that experience left a bad taste in my mouth about coaches in general.

Meanwhile, a lot has changed in the coaching profession especially in the past few years and coaches are being recognized for doing some wonderful work for the people of this planet.

I wish I had had the sense to become a coach sooner but the timing wasn’t right for me. I still had a lot of living to do first before I could embark on this career. Like for example, I had to go to esthetics school five years ago so I could awaken my healing and nurturing side and learn how to work with people hands on.

Had I just jumped ahead and gone to coaching school at that time instead, (which would have worked for other people), I personally would have been missing some key ingredients for my recipe and my coaching practice would not have flourished. I also would not have opened my mobile spa.

Anyway, fast forward to the summer of 2014. It was a challenging summer for me personally. My finances were not in good shape and on top of that, my Uncle who was also my Godfather died and then my friend from high school had committed suicide. In the bigger picture, you may also recall that in August of that year, Robin Williams committed suicide and Joan Rivers died as well. The world had taken on a serious tone.

Meanwhile, I got a call from a woman who was looking to hire someone to come and give her 90-year-old mother a manicure. So, I went to the seniors’ care home and that was the day I met Carol and her husband, Peter, and June, Carol’s mother. I had no idea how pivotal that day, where I was just going about my business, was for me.

The manicure appointment went well enough that they called me again for another appointment and I started visiting June every five weeks or so.

In November, Carol mentioned something to her mother about going away for a week to upgrade her coaching training and my ear’s perked up.

“Did you say coaching?”

As it turned out, Carol is a coach and a facilitator at the Rayner Institute and she said there was a course starting in February, if I was interested. So I took her card and thought about it long and hard.

Eventually, in April of 2015, I took the plunge and enrolled in the Self-Actualized Coaching and Mentoring Program at the Rayner Institute and I have since passed my exams and graduated.

Currently, I’m going through the program again but this time as a Ride-Along where I get to hold a healing space for the new students and support them on their journey as they enter the coaching profession and become certified coaches themselves.

And last night during class, I had my own personal insight that made a big difference in how I see my life. Mark Rayner, the founder of the Rayner Institute, was coaching Carol to show the students the beauty of a transformational and transcendent coaching conversation.

(Normally, I wouldn’t share what goes on in a confidential coaching class but I will have asked for permission from Carol and Mark before publishing this post).

Carol spoke about her mother. She wanted to enjoy the time she spends with her even if it’s just flipping through a catalogue together. She said that 18 months ago, her mother became very ill and she was in hospital in Calgary for a month, and they didn’t give her much time to live. Somehow during that difficult time, they sold her mother’s house and moved her to Victoria.

As I listened to Carol describe the process of moving her mother to the Island where she would be closer to the whole family including her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, I marvelled at how those events and decisions also affected me, someone they didn’t even know existed yet. It struck me that an act as personal as caring for an elderly parent could also have so much influence over other people’s lives, known and unknown, as well.

To me, if June hadn’t moved to Victoria and if Carol hadn’t gone looking for a manicurist for her mother and if Carol hadn’t mentioned coaching, then I would not have found the Rayner Institute and I would have probably postponed my dream of becoming a life coach indefinitely.

Suddenly, the timing was right. A lot of things had to happen behind the scenes in order for me to get to this place in my life and my point is, you can’t write this stuff, you can’t script it, and you can’t force it. You just have to follow your heart wherever it wants to go.

Also, and this was my insight last night, you have no idea whose lives you touch even if you never, ever meet them directly.

That’s the beauty of coaching. You get to touch the lives of people and help them get to where they want to go just by being you and doing what you do. And in turn, the people who are getting coached are also spreading love and kindness and healing energy to the people in their lives and day by day, the world becomes a better place for all of us.

I’m truly grateful for June and Carol for leading me here and for my extraordinary coaching training at the Rayner Institute and now I can pay it forward as a coach and as myself to my friends and clients.

If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, I’d be happy to talk to you about the Rayner Institute. Also, if you’re thinking about hiring a coach, then, feel free to call me to make an appointment.

We’re all connected and don’t think that what you’re doing isn’t affecting someone else’s life. The ripples in a pond are endless.

My Pick for the #1 Spa Ingredient Native to Canada (2014)

Posted by Maria on July 1, 2014 under Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Facials, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Manicures, Massages, Nutrition, Pedicures, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Travel, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Happy Canada Day!

You may be surprised by my pick for the #1 Spa Ingredient Native to Canada in 2014.

I’m going to go out on a limb and not pick something obvious. I’ve decided to go with Holly Oil (Ilex aquifolium) this year.

Yes, I realize Holly is an invasive species and the berries are poisonous for humans to eat and it’s more associated with December 25th than with July 1st, but Holly berries are the same lively red as our Canadian flag and Holly oil is a great Canadian spa product.

Since 1993, Holly oil has been manufactured in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada by All Deep Neuromuscular Massage as a massage oil.

Pressed from Holly leaves and branches, Holly Oil makes an excellent massage oil because it’s a clear, lightweight, non-scented, and non-staining massage oil that travels well over skin. And it will not cause allergic reactions because it’s not a nut-based oil. And it will not clog pores or leave an oily residue on skin. Holly oil is also easily absorbed by the skin and has an unlimited shelf life.

Chances are, when you get a massage at a spa, the massage therapist is using Holly oil.

Holly Oil Profile:

Here are some applications for Holly oil.

Home spa recipes: massage oils, aromatherapy blends, creams, lotions, soaps.

Role in cosmetic formulation: skin conditioning.

Face: Add to facials to moisturize skin, relax facial expression, de-stress.

Skin Types: Use especially on NORMAL or OILY skin.

Massage Oil: Add to massage oil and body care products to nourish, condition, heal and soothe the skin, rub sore muscles, preserve blend, carry ingredients.

Hands & Feet: Add to manicure or pedicure to cleanse, moisturize, condition skin, for massage, to treat nails.

Soap: Add to soap recipes.

Balances: Kapha Dosha and Water/Earth Elemental Natures and Root Chakra.

Region: Canada

Find: online and in spas.

So that’s Holly oil in a nutshell.  Let me know if you agree or disagree with my 2014 pick for the #1 spa ingredient native to Canada.

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.

Does Being Pregnant Make Your Nails Grow Faster?

Posted by Maria on May 11, 2013 under Dear Homespunspa, Homespunspa, Ingredients, Manicures, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa Party, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner

Yesterday, Homespunspa Mobile Spa was invited to give mini mani’s to new mothers at the MotherFest at Mothering Touch. It was a pre-Mother’s Day mini mani marathon for me and Ranjit and the nail polish was flying!

The most popular colour choice? Good ol’ Lucky Lucky Lavender. See if you can spot the bottle in the photo below.

Homespunspa's collection of nail polish colours.

Homespunspa's collection of nail polish colours.

The new mothers brought their babies to the event and had a choice of treating themselves to all kinds of pampering services from Thai Massage to Belly Painting to a Photoshoot. At one point in the afternoon, there must have been at least 60 babies in the store at once. It was truly an honour and a really joyful experience for me to be so close to so many infants at the same time. One was only three weeks old! So cute!

Anyway, back to the question at hand: Does Being Pregnant Make Your Nails Grow Faster?

As each of the women sat in front of me to get their nails filed and polished, I asked many of them, just out of curiosity, if they’re finding a difference in their nails now that they’re pregnant. The surprising answer was “Yes” and most, if not all of them, had noticed how much stronger their nails were and how much faster they grew while they were pregnant. One woman said, “It must be the prenatal vitamins we’re taking.” :)

Prenatal vitamins are designed to help ensure better health for fetus and mother. These vitamins and supplements contain high concentrations of folic acid, calcium and iron and low amounts of vitamin A. Some brands also include Omega-3’s and DHA.

As it turns outs, it’s not the prenatal vitamins that make the nails grow stronger and faster — it’s the pregnancy hormones that are key. During pregnancy, the woman’s body starts to produce a bigger batch of hormones than usual and these hormones have a number of tasks and responsibilities. For one, they boost circulation and send a constant deluge of vital nutrients to the skin, which in turn makes nails grow faster.

So that answers that.

If you’re a new mom and can’t keep up with trimming your nails during this special time and want a little treat for yourself, please call me, Maria, at Homespunspa. I’d be happy to come to your home and give you your choice of a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage at your convenience. And the beauty of a mobile spa is…you don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter because you’ll be within earshot of your little ones the whole time. And why not invite some friends over and make it a spa party?

Anyway, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of the moms and mother figures out there and especially my own dear mother, a very happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to you!

Checklist for a Successful Spa Party

Posted by Maria on October 11, 2012 under Aromatherapy, Books, Magazines, Music, Facials, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Manicures, Massages, Mobile Spa, Nutrition, Pedicures, Pets, Recipes, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa Party, Stress Management and Relaxation, Travel, Uncategorized, Wellness, Yoga | Read the First Comment

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

Kale Chips, My New Favourite Spa Snack

Posted by Maria on May 5, 2012 under Green Living, Hands and Nails, Home spa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Manicures, Massages, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Skin Care, Spa Party, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

When I tasted kale chips for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised. Kale chips have a light and crispy texture like potato chips (which I love) but are 10 times more flavourful and satisfying. One kale chip goes a long way. Kale chips are now officially added to my spa snack recipe book.

Kale is from the cabbage family and is related to broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Nutritionally, kale is very rich in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein and calcium. People all over the world have been eating kale since at least the middle ages. I highly recommend adding kale to your weekly menu to maintain your health and wellness.

Here’s a recipe for Kale Chips that my mother got from a friend’s daughter, who is a chef. When roasted, kale develops a very hearty, earthy and complex flavour and although it may not appeal to everyone, if you like it, eat it.

Kale Chips, my new favourite spa snack.

Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch Black Kale (Lacinato)
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)

Method:

Step 3: Cut out the stems of each leaf of kale.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Choose fresh Lacinato or Black Kale over other varieties of kale because the flatter leaves will roast better. You can also try this recipe with seaweed or Swiss Chard and then let me know how it goes.

3. Cut out the rib/stem out of each leaf of kale. You can set the stems aside and use them in a vegetable stock, if you wish.

4. Rinse the leaves and dry them in a salad spinner. Place the leaves on 2 baking sheets.

Steps 5 & 6: Massage in the olive oil and salt and arrange on baking tray.

5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Gently massage in the oil and salt and make sure each leaf is coated evenly.

6. Bonus step: While you’re there and have olive oil and sea salt on your hands (and this was my mother’s idea) give your hands a quick massage, too. Then rinse your hands with warm water. Your hands will feel softer after this impromptu spa treatment, I promise.

7. You can also go ahead and sprinkle on some garlic powder at this time, if you wish. I like the garlic, myself, but it really doesn’t make that much difference.

8. Arrange the kale leaves so they are lying flat and are not overlapping each other. Put the baking trays in the oven and roast at a low temperature for 1 hour.

Kale chips straight out of the oven.

9. When the timer goes off, remove the kale from the oven. After an hour, the leaves will have lost their moisture and will reduce in size and will become more brown. Go ahead and taste a healthy kale chip. What do you think? Different, isn’t it? But good, in its own way. Right?

Try serving kale chips to your friends during your next home spa party and see what they say. I’d be curious to know if they like the strong flavour or not. If nothing else, it will make for an interesting conversation. Here’s to your good health!

Give the Gift of Homespunspa Mobile Spa this Mother’s Day

Posted by Maria on April 27, 2012 under Facials, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Homespunspa, Humour, Manicures, Massages, Mobile Spa, Pedicures, Spa Party, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

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!

Let your Spa Party Sparkle with Fun Spa Games

Posted by Maria on April 4, 2012 under Esthetics School, Facials, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Humour, Manicures, Massages, Mobile Spa, Pedicures, Pets, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Spa Party, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | 5 Comments to Read

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

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