Clean up crew heads to Gonzales Bay Beach

Posted by Maria on September 19, 2009 under Green Living, Photo gallery, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I don’t know about you, but seeing litter strewn on roadsides, city streets, parks and beaches is one of my pet peeves.

I went to Gonzales Bay Beach, a lovely cove on the edge of Victoria, British Columbia, to collect and tabulate garbage this morning. It was the second time I participated in the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Gonzales Bay Beach Our group met at 10:00 am on a very sunny but windy September Saturday morning. We got our gloves and our garbage bags and our tally sheets and headed on down the trail to the beach.

We combed that beach for an hour and a half looking for every spec of garbage in plain site. We didn’t find anything too gross, which was a relief — just lots of cigarette butts (in the hundreds, I’m sure), pop and beer cans, unidentifiable pieces of plastic and bits of paper. One girl in my group found one side of a plastic crate, bigger than a square foot in size. I thought that was the most significant find of the day. I found a long piece of rope but I couldn’t pull it out of the ground, so I had to leave it. We also found at least five banana peels.

I don’t know how much of the garbage comes from active littering on this particular beach and how much of it just drifts ashore from far away lands. Either way, I think our group of 12 got rid of approximately 45 pounds of garbage this morning.

Some people stopped and asked us what we were up to and were thankful that we had taken the time to pitch in. I’m glad I was able to participate and I hope to carry on next year. It was a relaxing way to spend a morning and for me, giving back, helps me sleep better at night.

Thanks to all those across Canada who will be rolling up there sleeves this week to do the same in their communities. I hope the weather is just as nice for you as it was for us. And I hope somebody finds some real treasures!

Gonzales Bay Clean Up Crew 2009

Gonzales Bay Clean Up Crew 2009

There's still time to participate this year.

There's still time to participate this year.

Who am I running for?

Posted by Maria on September 7, 2009 under Fitness, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management | Read the First Comment

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination.

My first memory of any formal running dates to age 9 when the higher ups of the school made every student run 6 laps around the school yard to gauge our fitness level. It was a painful experience for me because I was fat. There, I said it. Fat. I remember looking at the skinny girls with such envy as they effortlessly raced around the track as I huffed and puffed and cried and cursed.

Right before I entered high school, my parents sent me and my brother to a sports camp in upstate New York. I remember being laughed at for the facial expression I was making as I was trying to sprint. Shot put seemed so much easier but I wasn’t any good at that either. Long distance running was even more awful for me. I have a clear memory of running through the forest far behind every one else in my group and arguing with the camp counsellor (a good-looking blonde boy who was named after my father and who ended up as an Airforce 1 pilot in the 1st Gulf War — not that that makes any difference one way or the other — I’m just painting a picture). Anyway, he was trying to make me run and I was not having any of it in spite of his army fatigues and drill sergeant tactics. Oh, I hated him that day.

Don’t get me wrong. I like sports. I just don’t like running. It makes me so uncomfortable.

Fast forward 25 years. My personal trainer and I have been working together to get my weight down since July 2007. For the longest time nothing was working and I wasn’t making any significant progress. Then I started my workouts on the treadmill instead of just doing resistance training with weights. Suddenly, as I increased my cardio activity in my target heart rate range of 134 to 169 beats per minute, the weight started coming off more readily. My trainer calculated all of those numbers for me based on my resting heart rate. The more time I spend in that zone, the stronger my heart gets and the more efficient my exercising is.

To get my heart rate up, I started running a few minutes at a time on the treadmill instead of just walking briskly. I’m thrilled to say, on a great day, I can now run 20 minutes non-stop. High 5’s all around.

Now I’m training for a 5-kilometre run. It’s my newest goal. I’ve signed up for the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Thank you for your donation of $5 toward a cure for breast cancer.

Thank you for your donation of $5 toward a cure for breast cancer.

When I signed up for the challenge, they asked me, “Who are you running for?” I had to think about it for a minute. I decided to run for my Great Aunt who died in 1995 around mother’s day after having breast cancer. She had surgery and unfortunately, when they sowed her back up, she lost some range of motion in her arm. She was generous and loving and a beautiful soul. I miss going to visit her in upstate New York where she lived in this gorgeous colonial mansion with pillars and 2 staircases and a enormous pink bathroom and a barn in the backyard where elves used to make shoes, so my cousins said. She also owned a motel and restaurant with a swimming pool 9 miles down the road. What an ideallic, childhood fantasy land!

I’m also running for another friend of the family who beat breast cancer several years ago but is currently recuperating from another cancer treatment for another area. She inspires me, too.

How to Donate to the Run for the Cure

If you would like to donate and help me raise $150 toward research, please visit, find the Get involved menu, click on the donate arrow which will bring you to another page. On that page, click on donate to a participant which pulls up the search for a participant search boxes. I would really appreciate it if you put in my first name, Maria, my last name, Koropecky and Victoria for the Run Location. When you hit the search button, you will see my name next to Team Bosom. Click again on Donate to this Participant and on that page you will be able to fill in all of your information. If you decide on giving $5, then that will work out to $1 a kilometre, which is will go a long way to help fight breast cancer.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And thank you on behalf of everyone else who has been touched by the ugliness of cancer.

Where and When

The run will take place on Saturday, October 4, 2009 in cities across Canada. I’ll be running at the University of Victoria with my personal trainer and Team Bosom by my side.

Fresh Tip: buy the tube instead of the jar

Posted by Maria on September 1, 2009 under Books, Magazines, Music, Home spa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Self-Care, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 3 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Occasionally, I like to watch Steven and Chris on CBC ( The last time I caught the show, they were interviewing Paula Begoun, author of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. Check out her website at:

I thought I’d pass on a tip I learned: When buying cosmetics like a wrinkle cream that can cost anywhere from $20 for a few milliliters to sky’s the limit, that are filled with all kinds of interesting and exotic ingredients, make sure you buy the products in a tube rather than the jar, if you have a choice.

Everytime you open a jar, you expose all of those expensive, active ingredients to light and air and your finger tips which decrease the potency over time. What you had in the beginning is stronger and more effective that what you will have when you start scraping the bottom of the barrel.

If you’re going to spend the money, buy the tube instead to extend the power of the product.

And the same goes for any home spa products you might make for yourself. It’s best to make your treatments and recipes as you need them and use them fresh. Why go through the trouble of making great concoctions only to store them on the shelf for years on end. To paraphrase Erma Bombeck, use that rose-shaped candle before it ends up melted on the window sill without ever being lit.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let things go to waste. Use the things you have as you need them and save your money.

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