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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner and esthetician
What makes a woman whole? I’ve never asked myself this question before but when Women of Acumen, an organization that helps women reach their goals, put a call out for women bloggers who blog about women’s issues to answer this question, I signed up to play. Specifically, they asked: “What’s your definition of a whole woman and how could a firm understanding of your expertise help women nationwide feel a sense of wholeness within?”
The more I think about it, the more I think this topic is right up my alley. As a beauty blogger, esthetician and a lover of all things spa, I feel I have a few things to add to this conversation.
Running on a Full Tank
In my opinion, whole women always run on a full tank of fuel and never on empty. Don’t you love it when you’re driving in your car and you know your gas tank is completely full? On a full tank, you know you’re going to get wherever you need to go and there’s nothing to worry about and you feel a sense of freedom. You feel happy and the other drivers on the road are being courteous and patient, too.
At 3/4 of a tank, you’re still humming along. Then things start to change once you see the needle on the gauge dip under the halfway mark. You start looking at gas prices and you’re wondering if the price will go up or down by 2 cents or 10 cents by the end of the day. And then you start feeling a little stressed because you’re playing the gas game. Maybe tomorrow the gas prices will be cheaper? Maybe you can hold out for another day?
Then your gas tank hits the 1/4 mark. How many more trips can you make before you’re empty? How much longer can you run on fumes? Do you like living on the edge? Some people do. I don’t.
Anyway, this car and gas story is really about how full your own fuel tank is in your own life. Instead of gas though, a whole woman fills her tank up with a combination of four key ingredients: Exercise, Nutrition, Skin Care and Sleep.
Homespunspa Recipe for Feeling a Sense of Wholeness Within
- 1/4 cup Exercise
- 1/4 cup Nutrition
- 1/4 cup Skin Care
- 1/4 cup Sleep
Method: Fill your tank up with equal parts of exercise, nutrition, skin care and sleep on a daily basis.
In order to make wellness and wholeness a priority, it’s important to pay attention to how much exercise you do, what you feed your body, what your skin is showing and how much sleep you’re getting. And all of these concepts work together to create optimum health. Moreover, if one is neglected, then the others will also be depleted and therefore, you won’t feel your best. Like, for example, if you’re eating a lot of sugary and processed foods, then acne will show up on your face and body. Likewise, if you’re not burning the calories you consume, then your sleep may suffer because you’ll have too much left over energy at the end of the day.
The philosophy of Homespunspa has always been based on these four principles. Below is a graphic that shows what Homespunspa is all about. H is for Holistic, O is for Omega-3, M is for Massage, E is for Esthetics, S is for Sleep, P is for Positivity, U is for Unwind, N is for Nutrition, S is for Sports, P is for Pedicures, and A is for Aroma. Together, the first letters of each word spell “Homespunspa.”
Flower with Holistic, Omega-3, Massage, Esthetics, Sleep, Positivity, Unwind, Nutrition, Sports, Pedicure, Aroma on the petals. The 1st letters of each word spell Homespunspa.
Once you fill your tank up with optimum fuel and keep it topped up, then you’re firing on all cylinders, then you’re really cooking with gas (as my father used to say) and that’s when the magic really starts to happen. Your life will improve significantly.
You’ll be working from a place of empowerment rather than from a place of desperation and your dreams will definitely start coming true.
And the best part is, you’re in a really good position to help others. As people start noticing your attitude and the glow on your face, they’ll ask you, what’s your secret, what have you been doing? Be sure to share your wisdom and be as supportive and encouraging as you can to the people around you. Because your tank is full and you’ve taken care of your own needs first, you’ll be able to give back generously from the overflow of your resources. Scraping the bottom of the barrel will not be an option. It’s win-win for everybody.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Once the socks get stuffed in the drawers and the closed-toed shoes and boots get tossed to the back of the closet, and the bare feet, sandals and strappy stilettos come out for some fun in the sun, most people opt for pedicures at the spa instead of going for a facial. I’d like to suggest that getting a customized facial in the summer is definitely worth the investment also.
Our complexion changes with the seasons and it’s important to adjust your skincare routine to reflect the current environmental conditions. Your skin may have been dry and dehydrated this past winter because of low temperatures and cold winds mixed with heat from furnaces. But now, with the extra sun exposure and heat and increased activity, your skin may be turning more oily, or sensitive or may have more breakouts than usual.
How is a person supposed to keep up with all of these fluctuations and variations? The answer — having a facial. A facial with a professional esthetician will help clear up any outstanding issues you may be having with your skin this summer.
What is a Facial?
A facial treatment is a professional service designed to improve and rejuvenate the skin on the face, neck, shoulders and decolleté. Getting regular facials will definitely and noticeably improve your skin’s appearance and texture.
The Benefits of Getting a Facial
There are many benefits associated with getting a facial and they all come back to managing stress. Stress itself isn’t the bad guy — it’s the amount of stress and the way you deal with it that makes a difference in your life. For example, stress is one of the aggravating factors of acne but if you learn how to reduce the stress in your life with healthy habits such as getting regular facials and eating nutritious food and exercising daily, you will significantly improve the tone of your skin. And you’ll feel so much better.
Getting a facial also gives you a chance to try out a particular skin care product line to see how it behaves on your skin, before you purchase it. I think that’s a wise approach. Ask me which skincare line I use in my Homespunspa facials and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The benefits of a Facial include:
- Maintaining healthy skin and having radiant-looking skin;
- Correcting certain skin conditions such as overexposure to Ultraviolet Rays from the sun;
- Treating conditions such as dryness, oiliness or redness;
- Deep cleansing and releasing environmental pollution like smog that may be trapped in your pores;
- Exfoliation and Refinement which makes your skin feel smoother and softer;
- Increasing circulation;
- Relaxation of the body and mind through massage and aromatherapy;
- Stimulation of metabolism;
- Looking younger and more beautiful;
- Slowing down premature aging and softening lines and wrinkles;
- Helping clear up blemishes and minor acne;
- Reducing stress;
- Sleeping better at night.
What to expect from a Facial
When you come to a spa for a facial, you’ll be asked to fill out a confidential questionnaire and change into a gown and remove your jewellery and socks and shoes. You may also get a foot soak. Then you’ll lie down on a facial bed. You and your esthetician will talk about your needs and concerns and then both of you will determine the best course of action for your skin.
Steps in a Facial
- Make up removal and Cleansing;
- Skin Analysis;
- Refinement Masque (Exfoliation);
- Skin Balancing;
- Hand, Foot, Neck, Shoulder and Facial Massages;
- Treatment Masque & Serums; and
- Moisturization and Sun Protection.
You may also receive extra services like: detoxification massage, pressure point massage, attention around your eyes, extractions, or make up application, etc. On top of all of that, you’ll also learn a lot about your own skin and how to take care of it and which products and services will benefit you the most.
Homespunspa July, August and September Special on Facials
I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but our summer in the Pacific Northwest has been slow in coming this year. Regardless, if you’re at all curious about how a facial works, Homespunspa is offering a 25% discount on all facials if you book your appointment before the autumnal equinox (September 23, 2011) and if you mention the code “summer” at the time of booking. Feel free to visit www.homespunspa.com and the mobile services menu page for a full list of services and prices. To make an appointment, follow the links on the reservations page.
I love giving facials because I like to help people relax and feel good about themselves. I also love seeing the “after” smiles my customers make when they first look at themselves in the mirror after they experience a 60 or 90 minute facial with me. I really think you’ll be pleased with your results, too.
Have a fun summer!
P.S. Remember to apply your sun protection often.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
It’s time to spring forward again. At 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks ahead one whole hour to go to Daylight Saving Time and therefore magically lose an hour of the day over the course of the night.
I never really understood the concept behind Daylight Saving Time but have accepted this practice as one of the rhythms of the season. If nothing else, it reminds me to flip my mattress.
All of this extra sunshine is great, but there is a bit of a downside to this shift. Apparently, driving to work on the second Monday in March is slightly more dangerous than usual because the time change on the weekend disrupts people’s sleep patterns and causes them to be extra groggy on the road, which contributes to more traffic accidents.
So, I thought I would help people maximize their limited sleep time and reduce crashes by talking about Chamomile today.
With its apple-like scent and taste, Chamomile (which looks more like a Daisy) helps calm the nervous system and is used as a natural sleep remedy. Spanish chamomile is called manzanilla which means “little apple” but the generic name “Chamomile” is derived from the Greeks who referred to this herb as kamai which means “on the ground” and melon which means “apple.” The term “road apples” comes to mind every time I try to remember this, but that’s something totally different.
It’s Saturday Night, Why Am I Drinking Tea?
There are lots of things you can do tonight with Chamomile before you go to bed, to help you get a good night’s sleep in spite of being cheated out of an hour. Here are some tips from my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa Way:
- Drink a cup of chamomile tea for sleeplessness, nightmare prevention, depression, anxiety, anger, headaches, indigestion, female issues and shock;
- Place warm tea bags on your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles;
- Use chamomile water as a toner in your facial to clean pores, relax facial expression, and de-stress (good for all skin-types);
- Use as a hair rinse to add highlights and gloss, repair damage, encourage hair growth, and for a relaxing fragrance;
- Use chamomile essential oil in foot creams to fight fungus;
- Add to bathwater and soap recipes and take a bath right before bed;
- For extra aromatherapy, spray your bedroom and sheets with comforting chamomile linen water;
- Use the herb in sleep pillows;
- Add chamomile essential oil to massage oil to relax, foster sleep, lift depression, soothe pain, and strengthen breathing.
Enjoy your weekend and may your commutes to and from work be smooth and clear this week. Feel free to add your comments and tips to this post.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Sleep Concierge
Hi. My name is Maria and I am the owner of Homespunspa, a service that specializes in teaching people how to create their own home spa treatments to relax and improve the quality of their lives. My main focus is on stress management, self-care and sleep.
Homespunspa is a services that teaches recipes for sleep and beauty.
The concepts of sleep and relaxation have always interested me. As a child, I worried a lot and slept little and have spent my life looking for ways to calm my nerves and sleep through the night.
On my quest to relax, I’ve also learned that establishing a regular sleep pattern in your life is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Alternatively, the consequences of sleep deprivation can show up in your appearance, quality of life and relationships and be very ugly.
The worst bout of insomnia I had was back in 1996-1997 while I was living in downtown Toronto. I was house-sitting for some people for several months and somehow acquired a terrible mouse problem. It really grossed me out to the point where I was on red alert for any signs or sounds of mice throughout the night. I won’t go into the gory details because I don’t care to think about them. Let’s just say it was awful and I was running ragged. I would even go to work several hours early just to get out of the house.
So I can relate to anyone out there who is experiencing some problem with their sleep. And even though I’m writing this several years later and am living in a different province and I have a cat to protect me from anything rodent, I can still clearly remember the agony I went through during that time in my life.
But I guess everything happens for a reason and maybe, just maybe I had to experience that episode to plant the seeds for Homespunspa. And now I think I have the listening skills and the compassion to help people get through their own insomnia trials.
So, with that said, I am opening up a new category in my blog called, Dear Homespunspa. You can ask me any questions that you might have in regards to getting a better night’s sleep. Just like 5-star hotels have a sleep concierges on duty to help you find the perfect pillow, I can draw on my own (non-medical) expertise to get you back on track to sleeping through the night.
To ask me a question about sleeping, snoozing, slumbering, dozing, catching your zzz’s, or whatever you like to call it, you can contact me in several ways.
- Checking out the rest of my website is a good place to start at: http://www.homespunspa.com;
- You can also read through the archives of this blog for tips: http://www.homespunspa.com/blog/;
- You can leave a comment anywhere in the blog;
- You can buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa Way ($24 CAD plus shipping) for unique, sweet-smelling home spa treatment recipes; and
- You can email me at homespunspa at shaw dot ca.
There’s no reason for you to toss and turn another night. You owe it to yourself to get some answers. Please contact me and maybe we can sort this out. I’m on Pacific Time.
Sweet dreams and sleep tight.