Let your Sense of Smell Guide you Home for Christmas

Posted by Maria on December 22, 2011 under Aromatherapy, Books, Magazines, Music, Gift Ideas, Homespunspa, Humour, Ingredients, Meditation, Pets, Photo gallery, Recipes, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

My friend, neighbour and high school classmate used to joke with me about the smell in my house. She said that if she was blindfolded and taken all over the world on a wild goose chase and then dropped back into my house on Trombone Court in Vienna, Virginia, she’d know exactly where she was just by the smell alone. Of course, I could say the same thing about her house, too.

This observation leads me to think about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know how Santa says, “Rudolph, with your nose so bright…won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Maybe, Rudolph’s Marachino cherry nose is more than just a light bulb. Maybe, Rudolph’s nose is more like a highly-tuned, GIS, infrared, gizmo that homes in on unique household smells and that’s how he helps Santa get his job done so well each year while everyone else is sleeping.

Rudolph's point of view

Either way, at the end of the day, the nose is the star of the show and I’d like to invite you to pay attention to all of the aromas that are surrounding you at this time of year. This is an aromatherapy lover’s dreamtime! When you walk into someone’s house to celebrate the season, take a moment to stop amidst the flurry of activity and close your eyes and breathe deeply. What are you smelling? Turkey and stuffing roasting in the oven? What else? Try to catch a whiff of a single ingredient on the holiday menu. In my house, you’re likely to smell onions caramelizing on the stove top, which is home sweet home for me.

Do you have any favourite Christmas scents? What are they? If you were to smell them right now, would they transport you straight back into your childhood? Which smells tell you that you’re home at last?

Top 7 Christmas-themed Aromas, Tastes & Essential Oils

Here’s a list of the aromas and tastes I associate with the Christmas holidays. Some are cool and refreshing like a snowy, winter’s day and others are warm and cozy like a country cottage.

  1. Citrus Family: Mandarin, Orange, Pomegranate, Cranberry
  2. Mint Family: Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen
  3. Spice Family: Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Ginger, Star Anise
  4. Sweet Family: Vanilla, Chocolate, Cream, Sugar
  5. Nut Family: Hazelnut, Walnut, Almond, Macadamia
  6. Woodsy Family: Pine, Spruce, Cypress, Fir, Juniper Berry, Cedar, Sandalwood
  7. Biblical Family: Frankincense, Myrrh

Everybody knows that smells awaken deep memories and I hope everyone will create lots of happy moments with their loved ones this Christmas to replay with fondness in future Christmases, year after year.

Wishing you a very aromatic and fragrant Christmas with lots of sugar and spice and everything nice, Maria of Homespunspa.

If these runnin’ shoes could tawk!

Posted by Maria on December 9, 2011 under Feet, Fitness, Green Living, Homespunspa, Manicures, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Pedicures, Photo gallery, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

One of the “s’s” in Homespunspa stands for “sports” because I think being fit is a necessary part of living a healthy lifestyle.

I personally enjoy exercising and it’s definitely a big part of my routine. I like to encourage people to add some sort of physical activity into their weekly schedule — whether it’s joining a running club, or stretching in a hot yoga class, or playing an intense game of squash or lifting weights with a personal trainer — because working out often and consistently increases quality of life exponentially.

My exercise of choice happens to be Jazzercise. A couple of weeks ago, my Jazzercise instructor, Donna, reminded me that it’s definitely time for me to buy a new pair of running shoes and to say good-bye to the old ones. Apparently, you’re supposed to get new running shoes after every 100 hours of activity. Well, if that’s the case, than I’m, like, at least three times over due.

I remember when I bought this pair. It was in August, 2009, about 8 weeks before I will have run my first ever 5K Run for the Cure for Breast Cancer. I went to the New Balance store on my lunch hour because I had a coupon. I was annoyed that my foot size was measured at 9 and 1/2 and that one foot was slightly bigger than the other. I needed a cross-trainer type of shoe so I could run forwards and do the quick side to side stepping for Jazzercise. I also needed something for my wide instep and high arches, traits I get from my father. Of course, I liked the purple accent colour on this particular model, too. I think I paid around $110 for them which seemed like a huge investment.

I tested my new shoes indoors during Jazzercise class and decided I liked them enough to commit to my purchase. Donna happened to have the exact same style shoe at the time (although hers had taken on a weathered look) and that’s how she knows how old my shoes are :>.

If these runnin’ shoes could tawk

Right now I’m holding my left shoe in my hand (which makes it harder to type :) and am reflecting on the times we’ve spent together — no blood — but a lot of sweat and tears. Oh and how can I forget all of the smiles and hugs and laughs as well.

Some memorable moments wearing these running shoes in the past year include: answering trivia questions about who is singing what song during Jazzercise class to get extra points for a summer beach bag promotion — I was jumping up and down like a 1st grader every time I thought I knew the answer; smiling to get my picture taken while running on the UVic campus and having a dog tugging on my tutu from behind; going on a field trip to Donna’s house and doing a class outdoors during a pivotal Vancouver Canucks v. Boston Bruins game in the Stanley Cup playoffs in June; and hearing everyone’s jingle bells, jingling all the way in December.

Of course, I really appreciate the support I got from my Jazzercise classmates during my Mani & Pedi fundraiser for Earthquake Relief in Japan and all of the hugs I got from everyone while my cat, Charlie, was sick. I value our little Jazzercise community immensely for reaching out to me during the tough times.

This week I’ve also reached a few milestones in Jazzercise. I’m happy to report that after Monday’s class, I got a cute and sparkly coin purse for attending 20 classes since November 1st and after Tuesday’s class, I was awarded a black, “Jazzercise, Rock you to the Core” t-shirt for participating in 150 classes in 2011! Add those numbers to my the 13 kilometers I ran for charity this year and 10 more K’s for 2010 and 2009 and all of the running on my treadmill and you can see why I need to get new shoes right away.

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

Based on my numbers (150 hours in Jazzercise in 2011, about 110 hours of Jazzercise in 2010, 40 hours of Jazzercise and personal training since August, 2009, 3-5K charity events and 1-8K charity run at an hour each and the odd walk/run on the treadmill), I figure I’ve clocked at least 330 hours on this particular pair of shoes. Wow, that’s a whole lot of steps to the left, steps to the right, jogs forward, jogs backward, hip lifts, attitude lifts, lunges, Jazz squares, toe taps, chassées and shimmies! In all honesty, it amazes me just thinking about it.

So after all of that, I think it’s time to retire my shoes and instead of putting them in the landfill, I’m going to give my beloved shoes to someone in need who may not have any shoes to wear at all. I sincerely hope these shoes will help someone else change their life for the better also.

It has been a good run and now it’s time to make some memories with some new running shoes!

What do you look for when you buy running shoes? Do you like a particular brand? Do you like certain colours? Do you have any advice on how to keep your running shoes in good condition? Please share your thoughts and leave a comment.

Hello Mo Bros!

Posted by Maria on December 1, 2011 under Esthetics School, Fitness, Homespunspa, Mobile Spa, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Hello Mo Bros and Mo Sistas! Cheers to you for making Movember 2011 a huge success! As of today, the last day of “the month of the moustache” (November), 2011, 850,739 people worldwide have signed up to participate in Movember and have raised over $95 million dollars! That’s amazing! And who knew my fellow Canadian countrymen would be such enthusiastic moustache growers and would top the charts at $34,585,372. — roughly about one third of the worldwide total?

What is Movember?

What is Movember you ask? In case you haven’t heard about it through the grapevine yet, Movember is a moustache-growing event that takes place each November. The word “Movember” comes from “mo,” — the slang version of “moustache — plus the month of November. Men, known as “Mo bros,” grow moustaches for the entire month to get people talking about men’s health.

Men’s Health

Although the idea of growing moustaches may appear cheaky, the cause of reminding men to be more proactive with their health is much more serious. Men are known to be reluctant to go to the doctor for a check up because they think their symptoms might lead to a trip to the hospital, or they’re too embarrassed to talk about what’s going on or they just don’t have the time to schedule an appointment. These are all handy excuses but the truth is, it’s better to know than not know. And if it is serious, dealing with it sooner rather than later, can often make a big difference in recovery.

Men can significantly increase the quality and length of their life by having annual physicals, not smoking, being physically active, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, knowing their family health history, having good relationships and getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis.

Based on the information I’ve learned while writing this blog, I have just decided to have a few conversations with some men in my family right now.

December 1st — International Man-Scaping Day

As an esthetician, this whole global movement of Movember has gotten me thinking. If Movember is all about growing wild moustaches for a good cause, than why not make December 1st, “International Man-Scaping Day” and give everyone the green light to go to their barber or esthetician for some well-deserved, modern “man-scaping.”

It’s time to take out the shaving kit or have one of those old-fashioned shaves done by a professional barber. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the service. And if you’re interested in trying out some man-scaping, make an appointment for an eyebrow cleanup and a facial. Spas are not just for women anymore.

Some of my favourite customers, while in school, were men. I always smile when I think of Chris who was training for the Iron Man and liked to have his legs waxed. There was also a bartender at the Empress who came in for a manicure and pedicure on his one day off. And there was another guy, originally from London Ontario, who was about to get married later that day.

And I don’t know if any of those men knew this — but I’m telling you now — your income will increase exponentially for every 20 minutes you spend on grooming every day. Something to think about.

Homespunspa Mobile Offer

While I don’t currently offer waxing services, (I just don’t want to travel around town with a hot wax pot), I would like to extend an offer to anyone — Mo Bros and Mo Sistas — who participated in Movember to 10% off any Homespunspa service until January 6th, 2012. This offer includes massages, facials and pedicures which will all take place in the comfort of your home or office. Please contact Maria and make an appointment during the festive holiday season.

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