My Interview with Spray Tan Artist, Anna

Posted by Maria on March 27, 2015 under Esthetics School, Guest Bloggers, Home spa, Ingredients, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Seasonal, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa Party, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Uncategorized | 6 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

We have a new member on our team at Homespunspa Mobile Spa! Let me introduce you to Anna Pretto, a professional Airbrush Spray Tan Artist who is certified in Spray Tanning, Lash Extensions, and Hair Threading.

Anna will be offering spray tanning as part of our new Saturna Island Spa Party Package. Because you may have some questions about spray tanning, I thought it would be a nice idea to interview Anna to find out more about this fun spa service.

Hi Anna, I’m so excited that you have joined the Homespunspa Mobile Spa team and you will be giving spray tans as part of our new Saturna Island spa party package. Welcome!

I’d like to ask you some questions on behalf of our customers to introduce you to everyone and to show how spray tanning works.

1. What’s your favourite part of being a airbrush spray tan artist?

Seeing the immediate, great results that clients receive from a spray tan.

Spray Tan Artist, Anna

2. What lead you to become a professional airbrush spray tan artist?

Because of my love of all things esthetics, I wanted to add another service to my menu. I chose spray tanning because it is a healthy and safe alternative to traditional tanning methods and I feel proud that I can offer that to my clients.

3. Do you have any memories of tanning when you were growing up?

Yes! Being of Greek descent, every year that summer would come around I remember from even when I was a child that my olive skin would radiate when I started to tan.

4. What is a spray tan?

Sunless spray tanning is the spray/mist application of sunless tanning solution to desired areas of your body. When applied, DHA (the active ingredient in sunless tanning solution) reacts with the proteins in the skin’s superficial layer to form a golden brown colour. Your skin begins to darken 2 to 3 hours after application and reaches its peak colour within 24 hours. The colour will gradually fade through natural exfoliation, just like a tan from the sun.

5. What are the benefits of getting a spray tan?

There are lots of benefits with getting a spray tan:
An even, streak-free tan — the fine mist allows an even application all over, with no patchiness, and without going orange;
• Improved appearance — a spray tan helps you to look good year round, look thinner and healthier instantly, and it boosts self confidence;
• Even skin tone — A spray tan evens out skin tone and hides blemishes and imperfections, including stretch marks and varicose veins;
• Fast application — It’s fast: in just 15 minutes you can go from being pale and white to having a deep bronzed tan.

6. Is spray tanning safe?

Yes! DHA is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. It’s made from sugar and is also used in the food industry. Spray tanning with DHA as the active tanning agent is approved and recommended by all the major medical associations and skin cancer associations around the world.

7. What spray tan product do you use and why did you choose this brand?

I use Aviva Natural Spray Tanning Solutions which is organic and is even used by celebrities. Here are the following reasons why we use only the safest of solutions:
1. Doctor formulated.
2. Natural-looking and long lasting.
3. Even-fading.
4. Oil-free.
5. Fragrance-free.
6. Alcohol-free.
7. Erythrulose-free.
8. Only made with FDA approved Ingredients.
9. All natural.
10. Composed of the highest quality, premium grade DHA.
11. Water-based.
12. Fast-drying.
13. Vegan.
14. Not tested on Animals.
15. Free of harsh dyes and chemicals.
16. Nut-free and allergen-free.
17. Non-comedogenic
18. Hypoallergenic.

8. That’s quite a list! Does the spray tanning solution give off an odour?

Aviva spray tan solution doesn’t give off any odour at all.

9. Can you customize the tints? Can I (the guest) choose how tanned I want to be?

Yes, I’ll evaluate your skin type to help you achieve your best sunless colour possible and I’ll consult with you to find what kind of colour you are looking to achieve.

10. Do the spa party guests have to remove all of their clothes to get their spray tan and how do you maintain privacy?

You can wear a swimsuit, undergarments or no clothes at all, whatever you’re comfortable with!

Also, here’s a photo of the spray tent –>. To maintain privacy and for those guests who are feeling modest, the tent can be placed in a more private area of the spa party venue.

11. Can the spray tan stain furniture and if so, is there anything you do to prevent that?

The spray tent keeps the spray inside the tent. For whatever reason, should there be any overspray on furniture, for example, it’s easily washed off with a wet cloth as it’s all organic. For the spa parties, we have some cloths on hand and would just clean things up right away.

12. How much space is required for you to set up your spray tanning tent?

Luckily, spray tanning doesn’t require much space at all! My mobile spray tanning tent can be set up virtually anywhere while protecting anything outside of it from spray.

13. What’s the difference between Air Brush Tanning and Spray Booths?

Booth – whatever your body size or height, a spray booth will spray you with the exact same motion and amount of spray.

Airbrush – The amount of spray can be adjusted and tailored to your body type and for your needs.
• Airbrush tanning is much more accurate than booth sprays;
• Airbrushing can be done in the comfort of your home;
• What a booth does in 30-60 seconds, airbrushing takes between 10-15 minutes;
• Airbrush tanning allows for a precise application of the solution evenly across your body, ensuring the best results;
• Airbrush tanning is also cleaner than booth sprays;
• Airbrushing tends to last longer;
• Barrier creams are not necessary;
• No head caps or booties are needed.

14. Is there anything the spa party guests have to do before getting their spray tan?

• Wax or shave 24 hours before your spray tan as this will allow the pores to close before your tan;
• Do not apply deodorants, moisturizers or perfumes the day of your appointment or spa party as these can prevent proper absorption of the tanning solution.
• Exfoliate 24 hours before to remove any dead skin cells.

15. What if the spa party guests don’t have a chance to exfoliate their skin before the spa party?

If by chance the skin hasn’t been exfoliated 24 hours prior to the tan, we have the option to exfoliate at the time of the tan at the spa party; however, I cannot guarantee that the results would be as good, as the skin hasn’t had a chance to recover.

Yes, we have an exfoliation treatment option and make-up removal option built into the spa party theme (instead of getting the chair massage) in case someone needs to take those steps before getting their spray tan at the spa party.

16. Are there any contraindications (like eczema or some sort of skin rash, burn, scar or health condition) that will prevent you from applying the spray tan to someone?

No. In an organic spray tan such as this one, wrinkles, dry skin, irritation, rashes and other skin problems are diminished. The spray binds the moisture in the skin and repairs skin cells that have been damaged by harsh sun rays. It eliminates the formation of dried-out skin which normally occurs after traditional spray tanning.

17. How long will the spray tan last?

Your body is always shedding dead skin cells. This is why even a natural sun tans fade over a few days. Spray tanning affects only the outer skin layer, so just like a natural sun tan the spray tan fades as your skin cells are shed. Your spray tan will usually last between 5 to 10 days.

18. Do you have any tips on making the spray tan last longer?

1. Bring loose, baggy clothing to wear after your appointment. Tight clothing will rub against your skin and may cause patches.
2. To avoid strap marks, I recommend you do not wear your bra after you appointment, until your tan has fully developed and you have washed it off.
3. Bring flip-flops to wear after your appointment, as shoes/socks will cause the tan to rub off/leave patches.
4. Wait at least 8 hours before showering after your spray tan.
5. Moisturize with an oil free moisturizer.

19. Wow! We’ve covered a lot of territory in this interview, Anna. Of course, people may still have more questions and if so, how can they reach you?

For more information about Anna and spray tans, please visit Lash and Glow or call 250-857-7837 and be sure to say, “I’m looking forward to hosting a Saturna Island spa party!”

And if you’re ready to book your Saturna Island Spa Party theme package right away, please call Maria at Homespunspa Mobile Spa at 250-812-3487 or email at homespunspa@shaw.ca.

Thank you, Anna, I’m sure spa lovers from Sooke to Sidney will enjoy our Saturna Island Spa Party Theme Package. I think adding spray tanning to the Homespunspa mobile spa menu is a great idea and the spa parties are going to be a blast!

Energy Alignment: Balancing Outer Action With Inner Receptivity

Posted by Maria on March 19, 2015 under Books, Magazines, Music, Energy Healing, Guest Bloggers, Life Coaching, Meditation, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 3 Comments to Read

by Christy Whitman, Guest Blogger

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my spa days! – but not many people know exactly why, or how much I receive from the time I invest in recharging myself in this way.

For me, a spa day is not just about releasing stress, looking better and feeling good (although these are all much-appreciated benefits!).  The energy I give to myself when I take a “me” day is literally what gives me the ability to give my energy to all the relationships and activities I’m involved in, including running an international coaching academy, being a wife to my husband Frederic, a mother to two young boys, writing books, leading retreats and coaching courses, taking great vacations and generally enjoying my life.

That I am able to extract across-the-board value from an act as simple as spending a day at a spa goes back to a principle I was lucky enough to learn years ago from Jack Canfield, one of my earliest mentors.  This principle that has since been cited by numerous other metaphysical teachers and tested by quantum physicists – and I’m sharing it with you here because if you apply it, it will serve you in virtually all aspects of your life.

One hour of “inner” work (and by “inner” work, Jack was referring to the internal practice of intending, visualizing, and aligning our energy) is worth seven hours of “outer” work.

Now, doing “inner” work does not necessarily mean sitting in meditation for an hour each day. What it does mean is that before we take any outer action, we first take a moment to clarify the intention behind that action.  Said another way, we deliberately decide how we want to feel, and get into that state of being before we do anything.  If there is a “secret” to my being able to accomplish so much in so many different aspects of my life, it’s that I practice bringing my internal energy into alignment with the essence of what I want to get out of that activity or situation before I take any external action.

So, when I’m doing something that nurtures my body – like getting a massage, a facial, or visiting the acupuncturist – I begin by connecting with my intention to fill myself with whatever energy I perceive will most serve me at that moment – whether it’s vitality, stamina, sexuality, relaxation, increased immunity, or all of the above.  The end result of this practice is that I receive much more value out of the time I spend engaged in that activity, because I’ve aligned my energy with the outcome I desire and have opened myself up to receiving it.

So many women I’ve worked with and coached have fallen into what I call the “dark side” of multi-tasking.  Sometimes we can be so focused on other things that we take ourselves out of the present moment – even when that moment offers the deep relaxation and nurturing we’re craving!

So to you fellow spa-goers, I pass along the same advice that Jack gave to me: Take a few minutes to align your energy with whatever outcome you want to create before you engage in the activity.   If it’s a spa day you’re creating – whether a full day at home or just a quick one-hour massage, prepare yourself ahead of time to ensure you’re in a state to receive the full benefits that the experience makes available.

Aligning your energy with the activity at hand makes all the difference in the world – kind of like using an electronic device that is running on battery power versus one that is plugged in and being fully charged by a live electrical current.  Action that is infused with energy and intention produces results that are astonishing compared to what can be accomplished with action alone.  Try it for yourself and see!

Christy Whitman is a New York Times bestselling author, transformational leader, and author of the forthcoming book The Art of Having It All. She has appeared on The Today Show and The Morning Show, and her work has been featured in People Magazine, Seventeen, Woman’s Day, Hollywood Life, and Teen Vogue, among others. As the CEO and founder of the Quantum Success Coaching Academy, a 12-month Law of Attraction coaching certification program. Christy has helped thousands of people worldwide to achieve their goals through her empowerment seminars, speeches, and coaching sessions and products. Christy’s life-changing message reaches over 125,000 people a month, and her work has been promoted by and featured with esteemed authors and luminaries such as Marianne Williamson, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marci Shimoff, Brian Tracy, Neale Donald Walsch, Abraham-Hicks, and Louise Hay. She currently lives in Montreal with her husband, Frederic, and their two boys, Alexander and Maxim.

Meet her at www.ChristyWhitman.com and www.TheArtofHavingItAll.com

Happy World Coconut Day!

Posted by Maria on September 2, 2014 under Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Gift Ideas, Green Living, Guest Bloggers, Home spa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Seasonal, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sponsors, Uncategorized, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

By Maria Alexandra Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
& Laura Benvenuto, guest blogger

Did you know that September 2nd is World Coconut day?

Coconuts (Cocos nucifera) are one of the world’s most nourishing, versatile and popular foods and to celebrate World Coconut Day, I’ve teamed up with Laura Benvenuto of Truth be Told New York and Nutiva in this blog post to showcase the many wonderful health benefits of coconuts.

From my research, I’ve found many fun facts and interesting applications for coconuts.

First of all, the word “coconut” comes from “cocos,” a 16th century Portuguese & Spanish word that means “grinning face.”

COCONUTS AND COCONUT WATER, JUICE, MILK

  • Home spa recipes: cleansers, refiners, creams, lotions, moisturizers, soaps, spa snacks.
  • Role in cosmetic formulation: abrasive, skin conditioning, emollient, hair conditioning, humectant, masking.
  • Face: Add to facials to soften, exfoliate, protect skin, strengthen elasticity, promote healing, fade age spots, and minimize acne scars.
  • Skin Types: Use especially on AGING skin.
  • Food: Eat for nutrition and to quench thirst.
  • Balances: Sacral (2nd) Chakra. Calms Vata (Infinity/Air), calms Pitta (Fire), and increases Kapha (Water/Earth) Doshas.
  • Native Region: Tropical and sub-tropical countries worldwide.
  • Find: grocery stores, health food stores.

COCONUT OIL

Emollient Coconut oil is moisturizing to the skin and the scent can whisk your imagination off to a tropical beach. It’s also considered one of the “super foods.”

  • Home spa recipes: cleansers, make up removers, creams, suntanning lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, massage oils, soaps.
  • Role in cosmetic formulation: emollient, skin conditioning, hair conditioning, masking, solvent.
  • Face: Add to facials to cleanse pores, remove make-up, moisturize, soften, protect, and heal skin, to reduce the signs of aging skin, relax facial expression, de-stress, for fragrance.
  • Skin Type: Use especially on DRY & SENSITIVE skin types.
  • Massage Oil: Add to massage oil to relax, to condition, soften and cool skin, for sun protection, for anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties, to carry ingredients and for scent.
  • Body: Use in body care products to moisturize and cleanse skin and as suntanning lotion.
  • Hair: Apply to hair as lathering agent to revitalize hair, curb dandruff, cleanse hair, condition normal, dry or damaged hair, and inhibit static.
  • Soap: Add to soap recipes for lather.
  • Food: Use as a delicious and nutritious cooking oil as it contains Lauric Acid, one of the good fats.
  • Balances: Sacral (2nd) Chakra. Calms Vata (Infinity/Air), calms Pitta (Fire), and increases Kapha (Water/Earth) Doshas.
  • Native Region: Tropical and sub-tropical countries worldwide.
  • Find: grocery stores, health food stores, online.
  • Caution: 1) Solidifies and melts according to room temperature. 2) Can irritate skin for some. 3) May be drying to skin. 4) Do not confuse with hydrogenated coconut oil.

Nutiva’s products (including Coconut Oil, Coconut Manna, O’Coconut, and Coconut Sugar) can be used to enhance a favourite recipe or make a DIY beauty product. All of Nutiva’s products are non-GMO and organic and certain products are vegan-friendly or have low-cholesterol.

Below are two of Nutiva’s most popular DIY summer beauty recipes.

Home Spa Recipe #1: Ocean Hair Spray

Use this ocean-in-a-bottle spray for gorgeous beach hair. Salt water provides texture and coconut oil provides moisture and nourishment for dry hair.

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil
  • 4oz Purified Water, warm
  • 3 tsp Sea Salt
  • 4 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Directions

  1. Put coconut oil in an 8 oz canning jar and place in a pan filled with several inches of water. Melt the coconut oil over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, fill an 8 oz spray bottle about ¾ full with warm, purified water and add the sea salt. Stir until the sea salt is dissolved in the water.
  3. Use a funnel to add the coconut oil and essential oil to the spray bottle.
  4. Shake the bottle to blend, then fill to the top with purified water.

Yields 8 oz. Sometimes the oil solidifies. If this happens, run the bottle under hot water to melt. Shake the product and it’s ready to use.

To use: Shake the bottle and spray 2 to 5 pumps on damp hair. Try different amounts to see what works best for your hair.

Home Spa Recipe #2: After-Sun Calming Balm

A soothing blend of coconut oil, shea butter, calendula, aloe and lavender to calm the skin after spending time in the sun. Shea Butter is available at most natural foods stores.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Shea Butter
  • 1/4 cup Aloe
  • 2 Tbsp Calendula Oil
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 25-60 drops *Lavender Essential Oil

*Note: Lavender is well known for its skin healing properties and is especially soothing for burns. Be sure to use lavender and not lavendin, which can actually cause more inflammation.

Directions

  1. In a double boiler over low heat, gently warm the coconut oil and shea butter. Be careful not to melt the oil and butter — heat just enough to blend easily. Once incorporated, transfer the oil and butter mixture to a bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, blend the coconut oil and shea butter mixture on low to medium speed until well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and avoid having clumps in the final product.
  3. Add calendula, aloe vera and vitamin E oil. Blend for 3 to 5 minutes until thick and creamy.
  4. Add essential oil and blend to incorporate.

Yields 8oz. Transfer to a container like a wide-mouth canning jar for easy scooping. Keep out of direct sun as the oils and butter will separate if melted.

Thank you, Laura, for sharing these lovely home spa recipes that include coconut oil.

Please let us know in the comments how these recipes have worked out for you or if you have any other ideas on how to celebrate World Coconut Day.

Happy World Coconut Day!

New: Facial Steam With Ozone on the Mobile Spa Menu

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

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner

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

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

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

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

On the box it says:

“Portable Mini Facial Steamer”

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

“Supernatural Function”

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

“Six warm colours for choices”

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

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

And in the brochure, it says:

“FUNCTIONS:”

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

“INSTALLATION:”

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

“INSTRUCTION:”

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

“MAINTENANCE:”

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

“CAUTION:”

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

“Skin types (remedy suits case)”

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

Sign me up and send one over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homespunspa Mobile Spa is going full steam ahead! :)

Remember Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Posted by Maria on February 20, 2014 under Books, Magazines, Music, Fitness, Guest Bloggers, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Seasonal, Self-Care, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

We’re now seven weeks into the new year and I’m just wondering how your New Year’s resolutions are coming along. Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? Are you still actively working towards your goals? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions at all?

By mid-February, most of us barely remember the New Year’s resolutions we made on January 1st. It’s hard to stay the course and remain committed to making new lifestyle choices, especially when life gets in the way.

I made two New Year’s resolution this year. My first has to do with finally taking action on my dream of becoming a professional speaker and I’m happy to say that I’m making great progress on that front. I’ve even been the moderator of a live Christmas concert in my church.

The second is about fitness. As many of you know, I’m a Jazzerciser. Each year, my instructor Donna counts how many classes her students attend over the course of the year and if we show up for 150 classes from January to December, we get a free t-shirt! Although I have earned the coveted t-shirt once before, I haven’t in the last couple of years. In December, I was really inspired by some of my classmates who danced their way through at least 150 classes and how fabulous they looked and that’s when I decided to go for it again. I’m pleased to say that so far, I’ve attended three Jazzercise classes a week and am still on track for the t-shirt.

I’m happy that I’m sticking to my plans and I just want to let you know that even if your New Year’s resolutions are starting to fade or if you’ve abandoned them all together, it’s never too late to pick them up where you left off and persevere. Remember why you made your New Year’s resolutions in the first place and how you’ll feel when you’ve finally conquered your short-comings.

I’ve learned over the years that finding an accountability partner is one of the best ways to achieve my goals. For example, telling Donna about my goal of participating in 150 classes this year and having her keep track of my Jazzercise attendance is really helping me stay motivated.

If you’d like to have your own accountability partner to help you with your wellness-related goals like say, getting more fit or quitting smoking for example, please contact me. I may be able to help.

In the meantime, have a look at this really cool infographic, “How to Rock Your Resolutions” that was sent to me by the good folks at Jazzercise. I hope it helps you revisit your New Year’s resolutions and take fresh action steps toward your goals. By December, I want to hear about your successes.

As we say in Jazzercise, Happy New Rear!

How to Rock Your Resolutions [Infographic]

Laverbread: A Tasty Seaweed Surprise!

Posted by Maria on July 30, 2013 under Green Living, Guest Bloggers, Home spa, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Travel, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

by Annie Waterman, Guest Blogger

Whenever I think of seaweed, I think of Laver. Laver is a type of edible seaweed and it’s very good for you. It’s famous for its dark purple colour and has a high content of minerals such as Iodine and Iron, so it’s great for your dietary system. Why am I telling you all this? Well, my grandmother grew up in Wales, where Laver is commonly found in abundance. This means that Laverbread made regular appearances on the dinner table when I was growing up. Laverbread is a traditional Welsh delicacy and despite its name, it actually has none of the properties of normal bread! To make Laverbread, you boil the seaweed (or Laver) for several hours until you have a jelly-like paste which you shape into blocks and then leave to cool. This paste is then rolled in oatmeal (creating a kind of cake-like patty) and fried like bacon and sausages, but nowhere near as tasty. It is, however, considerably better for you.

Richard Burton famously once referred to Laverbread as “Welshman’s Caviar.” I have to say, I disagree! When I was growing up, I absolutely hated this slimy monstrosity, which was served up with breakfast at least once a month. Now though, whenever I eat it, (which is much less often than I did when I was a child, I must admit) I think fondly of my grandmother. And I even enjoy the taste of laverbread now — I think it’s because I appreciate the nutritional properties of it, as well as because of nostalgia. And occasionally I insist that my own children try it too — for it’s healthy properties and because it’s a part of their cultural heritage. For something that’s so good for you, it tastes better than you would expect!

According to Eco Store USA, the dietary possibilities of seaweed are endless. They state that seaweed is brimming with valuable nutritional goodness and it is a massively versatile super food. You can add it to salads, pasta and dessert — they even recommend a recipe that incorporates seaweed into a Christmas Pudding! I’m sure my grandma would be delighted to know now that modern science has proven she was right — eating all that seaweed in my Laverbread really was good for me!

Other Uses For Seaweed

seaweed on the beach

Seaweed is a highly nutritious ingredient for all of your home spa recipes. Grab a fork and dig in!

Of course when you think of seaweed, your first thought definitely isn’t of eating it. When you ask most people what they associate with seaweed, they are likely to say having a seaweed wrap at their local spa. A seaweed wrap is a spa treatment that uses concentrated sea water and seaweed to create a paste that is covered all over the body. Once the paste is applied, the body is wrapped in warm towels and you are left for up to an hour to relax. A seaweed wrap is such a popular spa treatment because it really works — once you rinse off the seaweed paste, you see the effects of it almost immediately! Your skin is clean and nourished and left feeling smooth and supple. The nutrients in the seaweed help to remove any toxins from your skin. Some beauty specialists believe that having a seaweed wrap can help with weight loss and can also help to reduce the visibility of cellulite, too.

Seaweed Body Wrap Recipe

If you don’t like visiting spas, don’t worry, you can actually make your own seaweed body wrap at home. You can use powdered seaweed (which can be found at your local health food store) to create the wrap. Simply mix the seaweed powder with enough water to create a thick paste. I would recommend starting with a small amount of water and just adding more as needed (because it’s easier to add extra water than it is to take any excess away). Then add three spoonful’s of olive oil, and three spoonful’s of an essential oil. I would recommend lavender essential oil because it makes the paste smell so lovely. Apply the mixture to your body and cover yourself in a sheet. Then after 30 minutes, simply rinse away the paste and marvel at the incredible results! Just remember to keep a glass of water to hand when you apply your wrap, to ensure you replace any fluids lost as you’re flushing the toxins from your body and you’re ready to go. I can’t imagine what my grandma would say if she knew I’d started wearing seaweed in the bath, as well as willingly eating it!

Annie Waterman combines being a freelance writer with being a full-time writer. She enjoys learning about new recipes and also how to make the planet greener. When not writing, she enjoys being taken for walks by her English setters.

11 Things You Can Do To Prevent Stretch Marks

Posted by Maria on June 11, 2013 under Bath and Body, Guest Bloggers, Home spa, Ingredients, Massages, Mobile Spa, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Self-Care, Skin Care, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 5 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

One of my readers, Leah of Healing Natural Oils, kindly shared this groovy info-graphic with me about stretch marks and in turn, I’m sharing it with you. I know I’ve had my share of stretch marks over the years and I’ll definitely keep these 11 tips in mind the next time I come across some off-colour, squiggly lines and scars on my skin.

11 Tips to Prevent Stretch Marks

  1. Stay Hydrated
  2. Eat Healthy
  3. Exercise
  4. Massage
  5. Creams & Oils
  6. Routine
  7. Avoid Caffeine
  8. Collagen
  9. Vitamin A
  10. Vitamin E
  11. Vitamin C

I’m going to add a #12 to this list: Make an appointment with an esthetician like me. We can help improve the health of your skin, including fading stretch marks, by applying natural, skin-friendly products, offering relaxing massages and healing body therapies, and by providing customized skin care treatments.

And by the way, these tips don’t just work on stretch marks, they offer all kinds of health benefits that will increase your quality of life overall. Enjoy!

Stretch Marks Infographic

The Benefits of Restorative Yoga

Posted by Maria on September 3, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Books, Magazines, Music, Guest Bloggers, Meditation, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Travel, Uncategorized, Yoga | Read the First Comment

by Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding, Guest Bloggers

Due to everyday stresses, high-pressure responsibilities and busy schedules, we spend most our time in the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). It’s within this system that our “fight or flight” response resides, causing anxiety and over stimulation. In the past, when our fight or flight system was responsible for helping us survive a potential tiger attack, the fight or flight response would be released by either fighting or ‘flighting’ (leaving fast) the situation. The actual fight or flight was a release. However nowadays, our modern life has taken away the need to fight or flight and therefore, we’re in a constant state of stress without release. As a result, the ability to relax and sleep become difficult.

This is where yoga comes in. When we practice yoga, we gently move ourself into the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) — the rest and digest mode. In the same way that our body and mind need food as nourishment, they also need rest in order to digest that nourishment. This type of rest is different from sleep, but can be just as rewarding and can come from a good yoga practice. Restorative yoga is particularly suited for this and will allow us to sink into our body, while calming the mind. It’s at this point that we’re graced with a good night’s sleep.

Restorative yoga is a specially gentle style that addresses the difficulty of finding relaxation and sleep. It’s a style that uses many props such as blocks, straps, and pillows to open the body gently, while allowing the mind to rest in a meditative state, promoting us to move into our PNS. By doing so, we slow down the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) and can exist in a calmer state where the ability to sleep is enhanced.

During the first few yoga classes, it’s normal to feel challenged. Moving from a state of high stimulation to stillness can be tough, however, know that things are happening on a deep level. Over time, the more we practice, the more the body and mind learn to calm and appreciate relaxation.

The deep benefits of yoga will not come overnight. Yoga is truly something that needs to be integrated into your life to notice the affects, especially if sleep is challenging. Remember that whatever reason you’ve been called to try yoga, it has been a long time coming. Likewise, it may take awhile for you to make changes. The amount that you put in, will be the amount that you get out.

We’d love to share more with you and teach you how to put yourself expertly to bed. Join us on a retreat in Mexico, November 10-17th, 2012 where each night we’ll offer a restorative class right before bed. Come and feel the difference for yourself. www.yogasherpa.com/SpiritedLife

We’d also like to invite you to download a complimentary copy of our ebook, Spirited-Health-Tips-Sleep-Better-Naturally.

With love for a good night’s sleep, Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding.

Both based in Toronto, Canada. Chrys Muszka and Donna Wilding have 20 years of yoga experience, combined. Sharing many teachers along their individuals paths, they’ve trained in Anusara, Hatha, Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga. They are two individuals who strive to share their experience of yoga and holistic healing to their students, empowering each one to lead a more mindful, and authentic lifestyle. You can find them online at www.chrysyoga.com and www.donnawilding.com.

Ask An Herbalist About Your Insomnia

Posted by Maria on August 30, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Guest Bloggers, Ingredients, Massages, Nutrition, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Marguerite Wright, Guest Blogger

People are asking their herbalist for that special remedy to help them get a good night’s sleep, but getting rid of insomnia may not be as simple as taking an herbal supplement. With natural healing, the goal is to get to the root cause of the issue and deal with that, rather than covering up the symptoms with medications.

More and more people are seeking remedies for sleep disorders because they are suffering from insomnia or they are struggling to remain asleep throughout the night. Unfortunately sleep disorders lead to more health issues such as a suppressed immune system, stressed nerves, over active or under active glands and drained energy reserves.

It’s so important to get the proper amount of sleep in REM (rapid eye movement) — also known as dream sleep — every night. This is how the body rejuvenates itself and does the repair and maintenance it needs. The needed hours of sleep varies from person to person, some needing only 5 or 6 hours while others needing 8 to 10 hours.

Tips for better sleep

  • Establish a bedtime routine: In these stressful times we live in, we have to work harder to de-stress ourselves and do things to improve our rest. It’s important that we form a routine where we have a regular sleep pattern, retiring to bed at the same time each night.
  • Sleep in a dark room because Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the pineal gland when it is dark. It directly influences the brain to induce sleep and is further broken down into the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps both sleep and mood. This shows why sleeping with the television on can disturb your sleep because it is a light source.
  • Depression, anxiety, and worrying are linked to insomnia. Try to clear your mind before bed. Write down your thoughts to ease your mind. Meditation and deep breathing will help you to release all your anxiety and stress.
  • Use diet and exercise in your favor. Don’t eat a heavy meal right before retiring, the undigested food can interrupt your rest and is hard on your health. Drink a soothing tea that will help you relax before bedtime. Smoking cigarettes only stimulates the body and can cause sleep problems. Avoid caffeine intake, especially before bedtime and don’t take stimulating herbal supplements. Some medications can disturb your sleep also. Beware of over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine or caffeine-related substances.
  • Find ways to relax and unwind. A good way to unwind is to take a walk and/or do some stretching. Yoga is a great way to unwind also. Including exercise in your daily schedule will help you rest better — just keep the heavier exercising for earlier in the day.

Suggestions from your herbalist for a good night’s rest

  • Make an appointment with your herbalist: Health issues that cause insomnia can vary from person to person, this is why it’s important to meet with your herbalist to review your personal issues, list of medications and daily routine. Take the free health analysis offered at www.motherknowsbest.net.
  • Eat nutritious food because it’s important to nourish the nervous system. Anxiety, tension, depression even high blood pressure can be linked to lack of vitamins needed for the nervous system. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, B-Complex, Calcium and Magnesium will help. Many of my clients love Nutri-calm, which is an antistress vitamin. Other supplements like Kava Kava, adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, and Licorice are good.
  • Detoxify your liver and colon. The liver is the organ of emotion and depression can lead to insomnia. Detox the liver with supplements such as Liver Cleanse, Dandelion, and Enviro-Detox. Ask your herbalist about a full detox program like the 90 Day colon cleanse.
  • Get a massage. A good massage from a professional massage therapist can help a person de-stress and get better rest.

Article written by Marguerite Wright, Certified Herbalist and Massage Therapist located in the Chicago area. Marguerite Wright is the owner of Mother Knows Best Herbal Solutions, a company she put together to assist people who want to learn more about natural solutions to health. She uses herbal supplements, homeopathic, aromatherapy, cleansing, massage and more. If you want more information on insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks or other health issues, contact your herbalist, Marguerite Wright. For every disease or disorder there is a natural alternative. All the supplements mentioned in this article are available at www.motherknowsbest.net.

Preparing Your Body & Mind For A Better Night’s Sleep

Posted by Maria on August 28, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda & Elemental Nature, Guest Bloggers, Ingredients, Meditation, Nutrition, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Geraldine O’Keefe, Guest Blogger

Like the 71 million Americans who suffer from various sleep issues like insomnia, hot flashes, nervousness, and anxiety, I have found myself wide awake in the middle of the night on many occasions.

Here are some tips that have worked for me and may help you get a better peaceful and sound night’s sleep.

Try incorporating these tips in to your bedtime routine:

  • Pamper yourself and power down at least 30 minutes before bed. When your core temperature rises then falls (as it naturally does at night), it signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. Help the process by taking a relaxing soak before bed and add some pure, organic lavender essential oil and/or some Himalayan salts to your bathwater.
  • Drink Escape to Sleep tonic, preferably on an empty stomach. It can help your body feel what it’s like to sleep naturally and soundly.
  • Try not to eat past 7 p.m. and avoid caffeine.
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable. If you wake up and you are achy and sore, consider a new pillow and/or mattress.
  • Lower the room temperature at night. Optimal range is 60-68 F.
  • Sleep in a pitch-dark room. It will help you get back to your natural rhythm.
  • Incorporate Lucid Dreaming: The object of lucid dreaming is to become conscious of being in the dream state.  Keep a dream journal; write down what you remember.

Learn Yoga Techniques such as Pranayama (breath control), Yoga Nidra, and Meditation:

These calming techniques can help assure that you get the 8 hours of sleep to function at your best.

  • Try Pranayama which is the art of restraining and controlling the breath.
  • Also try Yoga Nidra, aka yogic sleep. Yoga Nidra is a highly powerful ancient meditation that originated in the Tantras. It’s a scientific way to eliminate the root causes of all negativities.
  • And Practice Meditation. Meditation will train your mind to induce consciousness.

Our minds can be like a ship at sea without a sail.  Practicing yoga nidra, and/or pranayama can help you observe and control your mind which will help to bring you into a deep, restorative and healing sleep. If you realize your thoughts are stressing about something in the future or in the past, gently bring them back into the moment. BE HERE NOW and don’t let those racing, “monkey mind” thoughts keep you awake at night. I always remember a monk that said, “when you eat, eat; when you walk, walk; when you talk, talk, and of course, when you sleep, sleep.

Be kind to yourself, yoga takes practice. Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind and a regular practice can help assure your restorative sleep.

There are seven levels of consciousness. Most people are operating in the first three: waking, sleeping and dreaming. As you begin to become more conscious of your thoughts in the three states, you will begin to understand and enjoy life more.  Sweet dreams, may they all come true.

Sleep Well, Live Longer!

Geraldine is an herbalist, lifetime yogi, and vegetarian who has had experience with insomnia. She decided to create an herbal sleep-aid and ultimately, her dream product, Escape to Sleep™, was born.

You can find Geraldine online @:

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