Aveda Institute — Here I come!

Posted by Maria on January 27, 2010 under Aromatherapy, Esthetics School, Home spa, Homespunspa, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Uncategorized | 4 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner


I have a big announcement to make. I believe we intuitively lead ourselves where we need to go and after careful soul-searching, I’ve decided to go back to school. Starting in April 2010, I’ll be a full-time student at the Aveda Institute here in Victoria in the Esthiology program. Now all I need to do is learn how to pronounce, “Esthiology” and I’ll be good to go.

I’m really excited about this and it has been a long time coming.

The History of Homespunspa

The concept of my business, Homespunspa, was sprung from a sleep-over in January 1999 — eleven years ago! I was house-sitting for friends of the family in Sidney, BC and the water-front property on the edge of Vancouver Island was the perfect setting for a slumber party and a spa weekend retreat.

There were only four of us at the first, unofficial homespun spa night pajama party in Sidney. I invited my friends Mandy, Nicole and Lehna and we had been planning the event for a couple of weeks — we even had our dinner menu type up. Everyone was in charge of bringing a few things — “I’ve got the mayonnaise,”…”I’ll bring the cucumber,”…”I have some funky nail polish colours.” Lehna printed off some recipes from the Internet (the original recipe book has some interesting stains on it) and that’s what we used to devise our treatments.

The girls showed up on Saturday around tea time with sleeping bags, beloved pajamas, bags of food and manicure sets. And it was a great success. We started off the evening by making and eating an elaborate dinner and then afterwards, we fanned into the kitchen and picked home spa recipes to try. How can you not enjoy having egg goop combed through your hair? We talked and laughed and painted our nails.

And once we were tucked into our sleeping bags on the living room floor, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep, thinking to myself, “there has to be a way of turning this into a business.” And the word, “Homespunspa,” just came to me.

In November 2000, I registered www.homespunspa.com and in 2001 I signed up for some self-employment and business training.

In 2004, 2005 and 2006 I taught home spa classes at Commonwealth Place, a local community centre.

In 2005 and 2006, I researched, wrote and self-published my book, “How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way.” I plan on using my new knowledge from school to update the book and eventually turn that information into an e-book. I’m open to hear from publishers who would like to formally publish my work, so if you know of anyone, please introduce us.

In January 2009, I launched my Homespunspa Ewesletter blog and I have been posting more-or-less weekly ever since.

In January 2010, I enrolled in school. Now you’re up to date.

The Aveda Institute

Since I have been contributing to the spa industry in my own way for almost 10 years, I think it’s time I get proper certification. This way I can actually offer spa services like manicures, pedicures, facials, and massage to customers rather than just providing information.

Attending classes (1000 hours’ worth) will expand my knowledge tremendously. And this is not fluff. We’re going to be learning about Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry and Aromatherapy. And of course we’ll learn all kinds of techniques — hands on — like waxing (yikes ;>) tinting, exfoliation and make up application.

I plan on using these lessons as fodder for my blog and if you’re interested in hearing more about my studies, check back often. I’m sure I’ll have lots of fun stories to tell.

Are you Hard-Boiled or Sunny-Side-Up?

Posted by Maria on January 18, 2010 under Home spa, Humour, Ingredients, Pets, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 6 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

How do you like your eggs? Your answer may say a little something about your lifestyle, attitude and your sleep.

Today I thought I’d lighten things up with a cheaky eggspose and write about eggs and bring some yokey yellow to the January blues.

Without further adieu, let’s get cracking. Here is a list of a dozen egg dishes for you to eggsplore.

If you prefer your eggs:

  1. Poached – The word “coddled” comes to mind. So does “soft-in-the-middle” like in Paul Simon’s song, “You can call me Al.” Life is easy for you. You have a gentle nature and rarely lose your temper. You’re a regular at the local day spa because you love the mani’s and pedi’s. And breaking a nail means you’ve over-eggzerted yourself. But before you get spoiled from all of this pampering, I suggest turning the tables and returning the favour to someone else. Maybe open your own spa?
  2. Egg-Salad Sandwich – What could be better than boiled eggs mixed with mayo, celery, and green onion nestled between two pieces of white bread? The mayo, which adds extra eggy goodness, binds all of the ingredients together making sure everyone is together and tucked in under the covers. There’s lots of eggstra stuff on the bed like pillows and pets, but you don’t mind, the more the merrier. Your happy family is snug as a bug in a rug.
  3. Sunny-Side-Up – Obviously, you’re the glass is half-full type. Your positive attitude makes sleeping at night a breeze. You enjoy fun-filled flying dreams and haven’t had a nightmare in ages. You wake up refreshed and optimistic. However, since fast-frying is the quickest way to cook an egg and you have no time for fussing with any extra techniques, the down-side is, you may be a little impatient.
  4. Hard Boiled – I hate to break it to you but you’re a bit of a curmudgeon. You’re a stubborn yet immensely practical know-it-all. You sleep like a rock on the firmest mattress between crisp, clean, ironed, white, 5-star-hotel sheets. Maybe you should consider learning some new relaxation techniques and get a massage every now and then.
  5. Omelette – I recently watched the late Julia Child make omelettes on tv and it was hilarious. She jokingly said she’d give the one with the liver to her mother-in-law. With all of the egg flips, the omelette station that she set up was a circus act and that’s why I think the omelette lovers are the comedy geniuses of this group. Underneath that sophisticated and harmless poker face, you have a keen sense of humour and are full of surprises. And you like to watch the late night talk shows to put yourself in a funny state of mind before hitting the hay.
  6. Soufflee – When you show up, people are very happy to see you and when you go to the spa, for eggsample, you get the deluxe, Hollywood celebrity treatment. But you’re also what they call “high-maintenance” and are an eggstremely light sleeper. People have to tippy-toe around you day and night. Any uneggspected noise will wake you up and your sleep will be wrecked till morning. Just remember, if you lighten up, the rest is easy.
  7. Scrambled – By morning, the sheets and blankets on your bed are disheveled and twisted from all of your kicking and flailing and tossing and turning throughout the night. Your chaotic sleep leads me to think there’s too much stress and drama in your life and you need to go on a vacation to a spa on some tropical island soon. Like now.
  8. Over-Easy — You start on your back and flip over right before you wake up. You have an easy-going attitude and have more patience than the average bear. You like to sleep in on the weekends and learned the word “snooze button” at an early age. “Just 10 more minutes” is your mantra.
  9. Free-Range Organic – No pajamas for you. You’re footloose and fancy free. On any given night, you don’t stay on your side of your king-sized bed. You like to travel across the landscape of the bed and maybe even down the hall. A naked sleepwalker? Oh dear :>
  10. Benedict — I always think of Benedict Arnold, the infamous American traitor, when I see Eggs Benny on the menu. Now I get the connection. You’re a clever pillow and blanket hog and you hide under the cloak of the Hollandaise sauce.
  11. Quiche – You speak with an accent (maybe a fake one?). You’re pretentious and flaky at the same time, like an actor. You enjoy the finer things in life but are on a limited budget. If that’s the case, home spas are a good way to go.
  12. Devilled – A party favourite, you get snatched up pretty quick. Whoever heard of left-over devilled eggs? Even if they’re bad they’re good. You have a twinkle in your eye and a prankster nature. You were the one who short-sheeted the beds at summer camp. Your A.D.D. makes it difficult for you to fall asleep for long so you may be prone to taking sleeping pills as a quick fix solution. Try breathing exercises instead. Yeah right.

I hatched this list out of my own imagination so there’s no statistical validity at all. I’m curious if I’ve ruffled any feathers or if I’m on to something here. Have I cracked the case wide open or am I just full of B.S? Let me know what you think.

300…297…294… A New Spin on Counting Sheep

Posted by Maria on January 11, 2010 under Homespunspa, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Yoga | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Last week, I caught a few minutes of the Dr. Oz show and he was talking about insomnia, one of my favourite topics. As you may already know, Homespunspa is all about sharing information on how to relax, take care of yourself and get a good night’s sleep and I thought I’d tuck in a tip I learned from the Doc into my blog today.

The segment on the show covered many aspects of insomnia including the definition, possible causes and consequences of sleep deprivation. If you are interested, go to Dr. Oz’s website and get the rundown on the discussion here: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/secrets-behind-your-insomnia.

One tip I learned and have tried in the last couple of nights myself with some success (which isn’t specifically mentioned in the above article) involves counting backwards from 300. The guest Doctor, whose name I didn’t record unfortunately, who said he uses this technique himself, put a new spin on the old counting sheep advice. He said to count backwards from 300 in three’s. Picture three sheep walking away from the herd at a time.

He said a lot of people who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep often say they just can’t turn their mind off. They feverishly and anxiously replay the problems and events of the day, and can’t seem to turn off the switch. Counting backwards in three’s acts as a distraction and takes your focus off of your unsettling thoughts but keeps your mind busy.

These are the numbers you should hit along your countdown but if you make a mistake, who cares. I ended up at negative one the first time I tried.

Countdown from 300 to Zero in three's.

Countdown from 300 to zero in three's.

Counting down is relaxing. (Counting up, on the other hand, is energizing). Have your ever wondered why anesthesiologists ask you to count backwards from 100 when you are about to go under for surgery? It’s common practice because it lets them know if the anesthetics are starting to work and because it helps you relax and get into deeper, more restful brain waves.

On occasion in my yoga class, the instructor had us count each full breath backwards from 25 (for example, 25, breathe in and out, 24, breathe in and out etc., etc.,) and if we lost our place, we were supposed to start from 25 again till we got all the way to zero. You’d be astonished to hear how often that happens. He also joked that if we fell asleep during this meditative breathing exercise, that was a good thing because we probably really needed the rest. I’ve heard snoring more than once!

So next time you find yourself tossing and turning in bed with no relief in sight and the clock is ticking toward sunrise, try counting backwards and let me know the next day how it goes. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Happy New Rear!

Posted by Maria on January 4, 2010 under Books, Magazines, Music, Fitness, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Sleep, Spirituality, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

It’s already day four of the new year — how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? In 2009, I managed to reach some substantial personal fitness goals and I would like to share what I’ve learned so far in case getting in shape is one of your new year’s resolutions for 2010.

While I don’t clearly remember making a specific new year’s resolution last year to lose weight, my personal trainer has been keeping track of my progress and told me I have lost 24.5 inches (that’s 2 feet!), 20% of my body fat, 3 dress sizes and 40 pounds since July 2007.

Late December 2009 extended cardio Jazzercise class.

Late December 2009 extended cardio Jazzercise class.

There I am front and center (what a keener!) at my last chance workout before Christmas. Yes, those are reindeer ears!

I still feel I have a ways to go before I hit the maintenance stage and I plan on sticking with my current exercise schedule as best as possible. I also have to figure out how to get my emotional eating under control.

The best advice I’ve heard lately is: “Move your body more and feed your body less.” Aside from that wisdom, here are some tips as they come to mind that have helped me get this far. I know they’re not rocket science, but they’re helpful none the less.

  1. Write down your goal. Writing things down makes things happen.
  2. Find an accountability partner or buddy. This person can be a professional or a friend. Having someone to talk to about your ups and downs really helps. If you’d like, you can contact me.
  3. Have someone weigh and measure you once a month. If you don’t know where you started, how can you brag later?
  4. Join a community. I’ve made lots of friends through Jazzercise and their support has been so vital to my success. I’m so thankful for all of their smiles and pats on the back.
  5. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and will make you feel more full so you eat less.
  6. Get enough sleep at night. Studies show that regular sleep patterns have an effect on weight management.
  7. Memorize a fitting affirmation and repeat it to yourself often. Under the heading of “overweight” Louise L. Hay suggests in her book, You Can Heal Your Life, published by Hay House Publishers in 1999: “I am at peace with my own feelings; I am safe where I am; I create my own security; I love and approve of myself.”
  8. Cut your carbs in half. When I went from a whole English muffin to a half an English muffin for breakfast and from a whole sandwich to half a sandwich for lunch, it made a huge difference in my weight.
  9. Take the bus rather than your car whenever you can — it makes you walk more. Even those extra steps to the bus stop add up!
  10. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  11. Drink a cup of green tea or white tea before working out. According to Dr. Oz, this will help you burn an extra 17% to 19% fat while you move your body.
  12. Eat less sugar.
  13. Eat less salt.
  14. Eat less flour.
  15. Avoid commercially processed foods.
  16. Avoid carbonated beverages — even diet sodas.
  17. When you want to eat something and it’s not a mealtime, ask yourself how you’re feeling. Maybe you’re an emotional eater like I am and maybe you’re not really hungry. If whatever you eat doesn’t satisfy you and you’re still hungry afterwards, it may mean you’re trying to deal with an unpleasant emotion.
  18. In his cd’s, I Can Make You Thin, Paul McKenna advises people to chew their food at least 20 times before swallowing and to put the knife and fork or sandwich down between mouthfuls. I definitely agree that eating conscientiously is the way to go. Deliberately think about your food as you’re eating. Try to describe how it tastes, smells and feels in your mouth.
  19. Buy a treadmill and use it often. I know they’re expensive but I swear my treadmill is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
  20. Put exercise on your daily schedule and do it. Don’t argue with yourself about whether or not to go to your class or the gym. It will only make things harder.
  21. Celebrate your small victories!
  22. Watch tv shows like “The Biggest Loser” and “X-Weighted.” They are so inspiring.
  23. Start today. Most people naturally gain weight in the autumn and winter months and lose weight in the spring and summer. Last year my co-workers started noticing my weight loss in April after very slow progress before then and I’m convinced my persistence really started paying off at that time of year because I was already in the habit of exercising regularly. It’s all in the timing. If you aren’t seeing results, don’t worry. Just keep at it week after week and eventually you’ll notice some improvement.
  24. Find exercise you enjoy. If you’re not the “Private Benjamin” type, try something other than boot camp.
  25. Have fun while you’re exercising. Once your endorphins kick in, you’ll feel great!

I think that’s all I have for now. I’m sure I’ll think of more later but I have to go to Jazzercise class now. It’s true!

By all means, leave a comment with your 2 cents on this topic. And happy new rear!

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