How to feel a sense of wholeness within

Posted by Maria on November 2, 2011 under Aromatherapy, Fitness, Homespunspa, Ingredients, Massages, Nutrition, Pedicures, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Recipes, Self-Care, Skin Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness | 3 Comments to Read

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 petals.

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.

Quinoa … Keen Whaaaat?

Posted by Maria on May 18, 2009 under Books, Magazines, Music, Feet, Fitness, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way book, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Recipes, Self-Care, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Weight Management, Wellness, Yoga | 2 Comments to Read

For the last couple of years I have been on a mission to lose weight and get fit. In April of 2007, I hit my all time high in weight and did not want to see the next higher number. You can guess what the magic number was. I’ll never say.  I have been going to Jazzercise classes for several years but that wasn’t really helping my situation at that point. I needed to increase my exercise and I also needed to change my eating habits. And my stress level, by the way, was also pretty high at that time, but that’s a topic for another post.

After a few more months of denial, in July of ‘07 I finally decided to hire my Jazzercise instructor as my personal trainer. She has a studio in her house. I have been working out every Thursday afternoon since (more or less) in a group with three other women, all with our own challenges, goals and stories. For the longest time, nothing much was happening with my weight. I was exercising more but not enough to compensate for my love of chocolate chip cookies. Eventually though, slowly but surely, I started making some progress.

In May of 2008, I was weighed and measured and that’s the number I use as my current bench mark though it is only 5 pounds less than that awful other number. And since then, I’m happy to say I have lost 24 pounds and 23 inches. I guess it just took a while to get the snowball rolling.

In any case, I am eating much healthier these days. No more cookies, chips, cakes, etc. My trainer also suggested I try eating Quinoa. I was like… Keen whaaa?

Lots of people are really enthusiastic about Quinoa and it is considered a “superfood.” Although it is new to me, Quinoa was first cultivated more than 5000 years ago by the Incas in the Andean region of South America. The Incas revered Quinoa as sacred and called it “The Mother of All Grains.” Because it contains all eight essential amino acids, it is considered a complete protein. If you’re a vegetarian or have issues with gluten or have diabetes, this one’s a keeper because it is plant-based, has no gluten and helps regulate blood sugar levels. As far as nutrition goes, Quinoa is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D.

Here is the “mother of all grains” recipe I served as part of my Mother’s Day menu. I found the inspiration in Rose Reisman’s, The Complete Light Kitchen, 2007 Whitecap Books, page 108 but made my own adjustments.

Quinoa Greek Salad

2 cups organic chicken stock
1 cup quinoa — you can find it in the cheap and cheerful bulk food section of your grocery store
1/2 half cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup peeled and diced field cucumber
1/4 cup chopped chives — my mother just happened to have some growing in her garden
1/4 cup diced red onion
2/3 cup light feta cheese, crumbled
1 TB lemon zest
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 TB good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
2 small vine tomatoes, quartered for garnish

1. Optional: Rinse the quinoa in cold water before cooking to remove the possible bitter, mineral taste, though it really doesn’t permeate through the recipe once the quinoa is mixed with other ingredients. You might also want to toast the quinoa in a pan for 2 minutes to release a nutty flavour, but I didn’t this time.

2. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the quinoa grains are tender and there is no liquid left in the pan. Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool.

3. Add the chopped cucumber, red pepper, onions and feta cheese to the cooked and cooled quinoa.

4. In a separate bowl or jar, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dried basil and pepper and pour over the salad. Garnish with tomato wedges.

Enjoy this recipe and let me know how it turned out.

And if you want a spa treatment recipe using Quinoa, try this foot scrub:

Quinoa Dry Rub for Dry Feet


2 cups uncooked Quinoa – Rich in vitamins and minerals, this grain exfoliates without dehydrating skin. Also has anti-fungal properties.
1/3 cup whole coffee beans – Sniffing coffee helps clear the nasal palette. Can be used to soothe inflamed skin, remove cellulite and to exfoliate skin.
peel from 1 orange – Uplifiting orange eases depression, calms anxiety, lulls nervous tension and enhances a room’s atmosphere.
Also, the Alpha-Hydroxi Acids clean and exfoliate skin.
1 TB olive oil – Pressed from juicy olives, this lovely, fragrant, heavy oil calms, soothes, nourishes, cleans, softens and moisturizes skin.

Method: In a bowl that is large enough to fit both of your feet at once, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Tear the orange peel into various shapes and pieces.

Manner: Eat the orange if you haven’t already now that you’ve peeled it. Step into the bowl and roll the soles of your feet over the grains to massage out the kinks for as long as you want.  Wipe off your feet with a towel. Follow with olive oil or lotion to moisturize feet.

Storage/Shelf Life: Store in a glass jar or bottle. May be re-used by the same person.

Note: I designed this recipe so it wouldn’t be messy and clog drains.

Objects in this photo appear larger than they are.

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