20 Things You Can Do To Avoid The Flu

Posted by Maria on November 2, 2012 under Aromatherapy, Fitness, Green Living, Home spa, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Recipes, Self-Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Last December/January, I caught the worst cough I can remember and I don’t want to go through that ever again. I lost my voice to laryngitis for a few days, the painful, phlegmy coughing kept me and everyone in my household up at night, and it took about three weeks for the nastiness to clear out of my system.

Flu, short for influenza, is a viral illness that tends to flare up in the winter months and to involve many people in the community at the same time. Flu symptoms include: fever (38.3 to 40 degrees Celsius or 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, body aches, headache, pain when you move your eyes, fatigue, weakness, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. It usually lasts for about 10 days and then everything will be back to normal, but the flu can also lead to more serious and dangerous complications for some.

Having a cold or flu or cough is not fun to say the least so I’ve come up with a list of home-spa-inspired suggestions that will help us all stay healthy this season.

20 things you can do to prevent, avoid, or at least minimize the flu this year:

  1. Immune System: Fortify your immune system and keep up your resistance to infections by eating a healthy and nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of good quality sleep year-round.
  2. Avoid exposure: If you can at all help it, (easier said than done, I know), avoid contact with people who are showing flu symptoms.
  3. Vitamin C: Take Vitamin C supplements daily, (I like the chewable kind), and eat foods that have a high vitamin C content.
  4. Vitamin D: Boost your Vitamin D intake during the dark, winter months.
  5. Echinacea: Take Echinacea capsules or drink Echinacea tea. Echinacea is a popular healing herb that boosts the immune system, has antiviral properties and helps prevent the onset of colds.
  6. Zinc: Take Zinc Lozenges at the onset of a cold. This mineral is often used to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Foods that contain zinc include: eggs, meat, seafood and whole grains.
  7. Panax Ginseng: Take Panax Ginseng supplements during the winter and especially at the onset of a cold. You will find Ginseng in products like ColdFX.
  8. Garlic: Eat fresh garlic (like on toast or in a salad dressing) at the onset of flu symptoms.
  9. Oil of Oregano: Take drops of oil of oregano to boost your immune system.
  10. Hydrate: Drink lots of liquids throughout the day. Choose hot tea with lemon and honey, water, orange juice, and apple juice.
  11. Soup: Eating a bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup may be just the recipe to alleviate your cold symptoms.
  12. Clean Hands: Wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Also, use a tissue or your upper arm when you cough or sneeze.
  13. Exercise: Sometimes exercising just as you are starting to feel a cold or flu coming on, may be a good idea; however, do not exercise if you have phlegmy congestion below the neck.
  14. Relax: Managing your stress will go a long way to keep illness at bay.
  15. Sauna: Sitting in a sauna for a few minutes may help flush out your cold symptoms.
  16. Room Sprays: Use room sprays made with essential oils like: basil, bay, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cajeput, citronella, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, juniper, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, tea tree, and thyme (wow that’s a long list) to freshen the space, disinfect surfaces, help breathing and foster sleep.
  17. Stop smoking: You may think now isn’t the time to quit smoking altogether, but many years ago, my father went off on a fishing trip and came home with the most miserable cold and after that, he never smoked his pipe again. Quitting smoking will only increase your health in the long run.
  18. Flu Shot: Consider getting a flu shot early in the season.
  19. Stay Home: If you’re feeling sick, stay home and rest. Your co-workers and the people that you would otherwise meet when you walk down the street, would appreciate it.
  20. Sleep: Get lots of rest and do your best to sleep well at night.

I hope these suggestions and recommendations help keep you and your family healthy this winter. If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.

Ask An Herbalist About Your Insomnia

Posted by Maria on August 30, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Guest Bloggers, Ingredients, Massages, Nutrition, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness, Yoga | Be the First to Comment

by Marguerite Wright, Guest Blogger

People are asking their herbalist for that special remedy to help them get a good night’s sleep, but getting rid of insomnia may not be as simple as taking an herbal supplement. With natural healing, the goal is to get to the root cause of the issue and deal with that, rather than covering up the symptoms with medications.

More and more people are seeking remedies for sleep disorders because they are suffering from insomnia or they are struggling to remain asleep throughout the night. Unfortunately sleep disorders lead to more health issues such as a suppressed immune system, stressed nerves, over active or under active glands and drained energy reserves.

It’s so important to get the proper amount of sleep in REM (rapid eye movement) — also known as dream sleep — every night. This is how the body rejuvenates itself and does the repair and maintenance it needs. The needed hours of sleep varies from person to person, some needing only 5 or 6 hours while others needing 8 to 10 hours.

Tips for better sleep

  • Establish a bedtime routine: In these stressful times we live in, we have to work harder to de-stress ourselves and do things to improve our rest. It’s important that we form a routine where we have a regular sleep pattern, retiring to bed at the same time each night.
  • Sleep in a dark room because Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the pineal gland when it is dark. It directly influences the brain to induce sleep and is further broken down into the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which helps both sleep and mood. This shows why sleeping with the television on can disturb your sleep because it is a light source.
  • Depression, anxiety, and worrying are linked to insomnia. Try to clear your mind before bed. Write down your thoughts to ease your mind. Meditation and deep breathing will help you to release all your anxiety and stress.
  • Use diet and exercise in your favor. Don’t eat a heavy meal right before retiring, the undigested food can interrupt your rest and is hard on your health. Drink a soothing tea that will help you relax before bedtime. Smoking cigarettes only tadalafilhome stimulates the body and can cause sleep problems. Avoid caffeine intake, especially before bedtime and don’t take stimulating herbal supplements. Some medications can disturb your sleep also. Beware of over-the-counter medications that contain caffeine or caffeine-related substances.
  • Find ways to relax and unwind. A good way to unwind is to take a walk and/or do some stretching. Yoga is a great way to unwind also. Including exercise in your daily schedule will help you rest better — just keep the heavier exercising for earlier in the day.

Suggestions from your herbalist for a good night’s rest

  • Make an appointment with your herbalist: Health issues that cause insomnia can vary from person to person, this is why it’s important to meet with your herbalist to review your personal issues, list of medications and daily routine. Take the free health analysis offered at www.motherknowsbest.net.
  • Eat nutritious food because it’s important to nourish the nervous system. Anxiety, tension, depression even high blood pressure can be linked to lack of vitamins needed for the nervous system. Nutrients such as Vitamin C, B-Complex, Calcium and Magnesium will help. Many of my clients love Nutri-calm, which is an antistress vitamin. Other supplements like Kava Kava, adaptogens like Siberian ginseng, and Licorice are good.
  • Detoxify your liver and colon. The liver is the organ of emotion and depression can lead to insomnia. Detox the liver with supplements such as Liver Cleanse, Dandelion, and Enviro-Detox. Ask your herbalist about a full detox program like the 90 Day colon cleanse.
  • Get a massage. A good massage from a professional massage therapist can help a person de-stress and get better rest.

Article written by Marguerite Wright, Certified Herbalist and Massage Therapist located in the Chicago area. Marguerite Wright is the owner of Mother Knows Best Herbal Solutions, a company she put together to assist people who want to learn more about natural solutions to health. She uses herbal supplements, homeopathic, aromatherapy, cleansing, massage and more. If you want more information on insomnia, depression, anxiety attacks or other health issues, contact your herbalist, Marguerite Wright. For every disease or disorder there is a natural alternative. All the supplements mentioned in this article are available at www.motherknowsbest.net.

Do you have Insomnia?

Posted by Maria on August 16, 2012 under 31 Blog Posts in 31 Days, Mobile Spa, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | Be the First to Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Raise your hand if you consistently get 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day?

Hello, my name is Maria and I’m an esthetician and the owner of Homespunspa Mobile Spa where we bring the spa experience home to you. We specialize in the art of relaxation and getting a better night’s sleep.

In today’s blog post, I’d like to explore one of my all-time favourite topics, insomnia. The word “insomnia” comes from “Somnus, the Roman god of Sleep” with the prefix “in” added to negate the noun. Insomnia is defined as the “chronic inability to fall asleep or stay asleep without interruptions for an adequate amount of time” and an “insomniac is a person who suffers from insomnia.”

You have some degree of insomnia is you can say yes to either of these questions:

  1. Do you have trouble sleeping?
  2. Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for several hours?

According to my research:

  • We spend around 1/3 of our lives sleeping or an average of 24 years out of 75! (you’d think we’d be really good at it :) )
  • If you suffer from diabetes, hypertension, depression, or are obese, you may also be experiencing poor quality sleep.
  • 20-40% of all adults suffer from insomnia at some time during the year.

Insomnia is obviously a huge topic and I’m going to explore it as best I can over the next 30 days as part of a series. I’m going to uncover some of the mysteries and myths that surround sleep and offer tips on how to sleep better. And if you have any tips of sleeping that you’d like to share, by all means, leave a comment. I hope you join me on this journey and maybe we will all improve the quality of our sleep soon.

Wrap your loved ones in bathrobes this year

Posted by Maria on November 21, 2011 under Fashion, Gift Ideas, Humour, Mobile Spa, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Self-Care, Sleep, Spa and Sleep Dictionary, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Growing up in a Ukrainian-speaking household, we used the word “Shlaf-frock” for bathrobe or housecoat. Up until about 5 minutes ago when I used Google Translate, I always thought the Ukrainians borrowed this lovely word from the Germans because I knew “Schlaf” meant “sleep” in German and I believed “frock” meant dress. I thought it was a clever word and I always got a warm and fuzzy feeling every time I said it.

Well, as it turns out, I have been wrong on a few counts all of these years. First, the Ukrainians took the word “szlafrok” from the Polish language and on top of that, Ukrainians in Ukraine (according to my friend) don’t even know that word at all anymore — they use “hhalat,” as do the Russians — and “szla” doesn’t mean sleep in Polish — it means “precious.” Confused yet? I am.

Regardless of my befuddled etymology, I’m still sticking with good old Shlaf-frock because it’s fun to say.

And did you know that putting on a bathrobe is one of the most relaxing things you can do at the end of a long and stressful day? Don’t believe me? I invite you to go and put your bathrobe on right now and see for yourself. Just take it off the hook on your bathroom door, drape it over your shoulders, stick your arms in and tie the belt in a loose bow. Go on. I’ll wait.

Still waiting…

There you are!

Well? How do you feel now? Better? I thought so.

There’s something about a bathrobe that lets your body know that it’s time to relax and unwind and get ready for a good night’s sleep.

It’s no wonder that bathrobes are a big feature in all of the spas. Where else are you encouraged to walk around in your bathrobe and slippers in the middle of the day?

The History of Bathrobes

Funnily enough, bathrobes can be traced all the way back to the togas of ancient Rome. In the days of yore before indoor plumbing caught on, it was customary for people to head to the local bathhouses to get wet and clean. I guess bathing suits hadn’t been invented yet and they needed something that could maintain some semblance of modesty in a public space and be slipped on and off easily at poolside.

Time travel to Asia in the 1800’s and you’ll see a resemblance between the silk kimono and our stylish bathrobes of today.

Bathrobes make excellent gifts any time of year

If you’re looking for gift ideas for friends and family, why not wrap your loved ones in bathrobes this season. Summer or winter, rain or shine, young or old, man or woman — everyone likes a nice bathrobe to wear morning or night.

Bathrobes are unique in the world of fashion because they are equally regal and luxurious on the one hand (maybe that’s why the Polish call them “precious”) and cozy and informal on the other.

When you picture a bathrobe, do you see a white, thick one made of terry cloth or do you remember the loud orange velour one with the busy jungle pattern from your high school days or maybe you had a pink fuzzy one with flower appliqués? I personally have a soft spot for tacky and ugly bathrobes because those bathrobes are the ones that are most loved by the people who wear them.

I had a red, wool plaid one in high school which wasn’t very practical but it looked nice and made me feel like I was living in LL Beanland. I also had a thin peach one that became thinner and thinner every time I washed it. Later, I had a white terry towel one with a pink collar. Now I have a purple polar fleece polyester knit that my mom made for me. Of course I also have a lots of waffle ones for my spa guests to wear during our Homespunspa Mobile Spa appointments.

In any case, regardless of everyone’s tastes and personality, I’m sure there’s a nice bathrobe or shlaf-frock out there for everyone on your list. Just make sure they don’t feel scratchy to the touch and can absorb excess moisture from the skin after a bath, shower or day at the beach. That’s all I ask. Otherwise, go to town.

Oh and please send me pictures of your favourite bathrobes. I would love to add them to this blog post.

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.

It’s Vitamin D Day

Posted by Maria on November 18, 2010 under Fitness, Green Living, Homespunspa, Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Nutrition, Self-Care, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, Uncategorized, Wellness | 4 Comments to Read

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

It’s a dark, gloomy and rainy November day here in Victoria and winter’s a’comin’. From now on, let’s call November 18th, “Vitamin D Day.”

Vitamin D

Vitamin D bursts on to the autumn scene.

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight and that’s why it has been nicknamed, “the Sunshine Vitamin.” Unfortunately, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere in the winter months, you’re probably not getting the rays you need to keep your vitamin D levels high enough.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that controls the absorption of calcium which, in turn, affects bone development. It’s essential for healthy bones and teeth. Our skeleton gives our body structure and we need strong bones to get around.

Having unhappy and unhealthy bones is not fun and can lead to Osteoporosis in elderly people or Rickets in children.

Research is also showing vitamin D’s ability to fight colds and flu by boosting immunity and we all know autumn is the beginning of the flu season. Vitamin D also prevents depression and Type 1 diabetes. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia and slows the onset of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. That’s a lot of star power!

Wait, there’s more. Vitamin D plus daylight, or “Vitamin Daylight,” as I like to call it, can also help you sleep better. Getting at least 30 minutes a day of sunshine is one of the best ways to balance your circadian rhythm, re-sync your internal clock and help you sleep.

Sources of Vitamin D in Food

  • catfish
  • cod liver oil
  • herrings
  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • salmon
  • margarine
  • tuna
  • eel (who eats eel on a regular basis?)
  • beef liver
  • cheddar cheese
  • Swiss cheese
  • eggs
  • fortified milk
  • mushrooms (only vegan source)

Supplements:  How much Vitamin D is enough?

If you’re not getting enough vitamin D from your diet or the sun, it is wise to consider taking vitamin D supplements. People at risk of being deficient in vitamin D are: vegetarians, vegans, night shift workers, those who wear high factor sunscreens, those who are homebound, and those who cover their skin from the sun as part of religious practice.

So how much vitamin D do you need on a daily basis? I wish I could answer that question with a definitive answer but my research isn’t consistent. I’ve seen recommendations from as low as 100 IU’s (International Units) a day to over 1000 IU’s a day and even as high as 2000 IU’s a day. That’s quite a spread. If anyone out there has any recommendations to share in this discussion, please post a comment.

And talk to your doctor. Many people around the world aren’t getting enough vitamin D on a regular basis. And millions of people suffer from insomnia which can be caused by all sorts of things including stress and anxiety — but lack of vitamin D can also play a roll. Just get a blood test done and you’ll know your vitamin D levels for sure and then you’ll know how many IU’s you’ll need specifically.

Vitamin D on the Web

It’s good to do your research when you’re thinking about changing something in your diet and I’ve found some information on vitamin D that might be helpful.

According to Osteoporosis Canada: “If you are under 50, do not have osteoporosis, and do not have a condition that interferes with vitamin D absorption, Osteoporosis Canada recommends daily supplements of 400 – 1000 IU daily. If you are over 50, supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU are recommended.” Also, “Canadians can safely take daily vitamin D supplements up to the tolerable upper intake level of 2000 IU; doses above that require medical supervision.”

On the other hand, Wikipedia says: “Adequate intake levels of vitamin D have been established by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies. These intake levels are based only on age (i.e., they are the same regardless of weight, gender, pregnancy, or lactation): Birth to 50 years — 200 IU; 51–70 years — 400 IU; 71+ years — 600 IU. These intake levels are based on the assumption that the vitamin is not synthesized by exposure to sunlight.”

I also took a look at my own bottle of Vitamin D (400 IU/10 mcg) from Jamieson Laboratories. They say to take 1 or 2 tablets a day which is between 400 and 800 IU’s. To me, these tablets sound like the best option because they give you a minimal base to work with and still allow you to get vitamin D from foods in your diet and get doses of sunshine on the fly without the worry about overdosing.

If you O.D. on Vitamin D

Before you go out and buy your supplements and pop them into your body, I’m just going to remind you of one more thing. There’s also a down side to vitamin D. I don’t know if you know this, but vitamin D is the most toxic vitamin which means you have to be really careful about how much you’re taking in on a daily basis.

Side effects of taking too much vitamin D include:  vomiting, headaches, diarrhea and depression.

The Homespunspa Way

This winter, I’m going to do my best to go outside at lunch time on a daily basis and take a light walk around the block. Not only will I breathe in some fresh air, I’ll get some daylight on my face. I think the exercise will brighten my mood and will chase the winter blues away. And I’ll probably sleep more soundly. Who wants to join me?

Eat Salmon to Sleep Better

Posted by Maria on February 2, 2010 under Fitness, Ingredients, Nutrition, Photo gallery, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, Stress Management and Relaxation, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized, Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Weight Management | 6 Comments to Read

Dear Olympic Athletes:

If you’re angling to win a medal in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games — which are starting with or without snow in Vancouver/Whistler British Columbia in just 10 short days (gasp) — listen up for some homespun advice: Eat salmon the night before your competition to get a better night’s sleep.

The meal you choose the night before your event(s) could make the difference between hearing your national anthem or someone else’s. After all of your months and years of intense training, getting a good night’s sleep and fueling your body with optimum food, will give you a winning advantage. I suggest eating wild salmon while you’re here in BC.

Why Salmon?

  • Wild salmon is a golden source of omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce pain and inflammation, improve memory and focus and contribute to cardiovascular health — all vital priorities for high-caliber athletes;
  • DHA, a healthy fat in salmon, may fast-track levels of melatonin, a key sleep-regulating hormone;
  • Salmon contains magnesium which helps us sleep. Low magnesium, on the other hand, is associated with things like muscle-cramping, anxiety and fatigue;
  • Wild salmon is also fresh and local in these parts — or as they say, well-within our 100-Mile diet; and
  • Salmon’s tenacious spirit has “Olympics” written all over it.
A piece of salmon on the grill.

A fresh salmon fillet on the grill.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to your success. Shoot for at least seven hours of solid sleep every night. Remember to give yourself enough days to get over your jet lag and to adjust to Vancouver time. Also, keep your body temperature on the cool side while you’re sleeping and keep your room dark — thank goodness these are the winter games!

If you don’t sleep well, the resulting fatigue can affect your judgment and increase your risk for accidents. Does anyone out there remember the vintage “agony of defeat” ad for ABC’s, the Wide World of Sports? I think I’ve made my point.

Sushi anyone?


Maria Koropecky
Homespunspa, Recipes for Sleep and Beauty

Are you a superstitious sleeper?

Posted by Maria on November 13, 2009 under Dating, Pets, Pop-Psychology, Sleep, TV Shows & Movies, Uncategorized | 2 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

On this third Friday the 13th of 2009, I’m thinking about my own superstitions, particularly, though not exclusively, the ones that revolve around sleep.

I don’t normally consider myself a superstitious person, but now that I think about it, I do have some superstitious habits.

My top 13 superstitions

  1. Friday the 13th — When I was in high school, we had one of those years where there were three Friday the 13th’s and one of those days happened to have the bonus of a full moon. I remember on the night of the harvest moon, I signed up to take photos of the basketball game for the yearbook and my friends and I decided to go to the game dressed in our school colours — very unflattering green and gold. I teased my hair up big, put green dots on my face and wore my father’s trenchcoat – yeah, it’s a wonder I’m still single. Anyway, I went down to the court and stood waiting with my Yashika camera behind the net hoping to get a great shot of 2 points for our team. The players were all at the other end of the court for the longest time and all of a sudden they started heading back towards me. One of the players saw me open near the net and hurled the ball in my direction. I didn’t know what to do because I had my camera in my hands and the ball bounced past me. I can still hear the sound of the horn that ended the play. It was very embarrassing, me in my trench coat and green face in front of all of my classmates. But I can laugh about it now. Maybe that’s why I don’t like to cover sports as a journalist.
  2. Wedding dress — Being seen by your fiancé in your wedding dress before you walk down the aisle is not a good idea. Not that I’ve experienced this myself, but I hate it when I see women bring their fiancés to help them pick out their dress on the tv show, “Say Yes to the Dress.” It just takes away from the oomph factor when you finally do make your first appearance at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. You want to see your man’s jaw drop and if he sees you all gussied up in white before the big day, that’s just not going to happen.
  3. Ladders – I don’t as a rule walk under ladders, but not because I think it will bring me bad luck. I just don’t want something like a can of paint falling on top of me.
  4. Aaah Chooo – I like to say God Bless you when somebody sneezes.
  5. Itchy palms = buy a lottery ticket — One of my co-workers told me this little nugget. Apparently, if your palm is itchy, you’re due for some lottery winnings. Ch-ching!
  6. Last drop of wine — Some people think you should not take the last of anything in general and according to my friend from school, don’t pour yourself the last drop of wine from the bottle, unless you want to get pregnant.
  7. Stir with a knife, stir up strife — I made a point of doing this after my friend mentioned this to me one day. It makes sense to use the proper tools for the job even for something as simple as adding a drop of cream to your morning coffee. He also said, “if you’re going to be adding milk or sugar to your coffee or tea, pour the brew in first and then add the other stuff.”
  8. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it — When I was younger, I wondered why my parents insisted that I make my bed every day. What a waste of time, I thought. I have since learned there’s something pleasing about arranging and layering sheets and pillows and throw-blankets the way I like and then coming home and falling into bed after a long, active, fun-in-the-sun day. Now I like to make my bed every morning and I feel that if I don’t for some reason get around to it, I won’t sleep as well.
  9. Don’t sleep with your pj’s inside out — I got this one from my mother when I was six. She strongly suggested that I not go to bed with my nighty on inside out or backwards because it would give me nightmares. I’ve never tested this theory, but if I see my nightshirt is on wrong, I’d probably do a quick change and fix it.
  10. Don’t sleep with your closet doors open — I think that’s a boogie man thing. Somehow I’ve always figured the boogie man can’t open the closet doors from the inside.
  11. Which side of the bed do you sleep on? — I sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door and for the last several years, that has been the right side of the bed (if you’re sitting up in bed, facing the foot). I like being able to face the door when I sleep. I don’t think that’s a superstition, per se, that’s just how I like to do things.
  12. North, East, West, South (News) — The reviews are mixed on the question of geography. In my research, I’ve read that having your head in the northern quadrant of the room, which is where I sleep, is optimal for good health and good luck. I’ve also read that it’s bad luck to have your head pointing north and people who sleep there will have a short life. If you know anything about Feng Shui, please pass on your knowledge on this topic. I’m curious.
  13. If a black cat crosses your path — This is one superstition that I’m f11800242so glad I don’t claim for myself. My Charlie is a black cat through and through and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My dear familiar can cross my path any day. And I like it when he sleeps at the foot of my bed at night and wakes me up first thing in the morning to let him outside. He makes me smile.

Now it’s your turn: Do you follow any superstitions, especially before going to bed or when you first wake up? Please leave a comment. Thanks.

Catching Some Z’s in Days of Yore, NY Times article

Posted by Maria on March 28, 2009 under Ingredients, Newspapers and Newsworthy, Sleep | 2 Comments to Read

It looks like I’m not the only one out there who has a fascination with sleep. I blame Shakespeare. I think that’s where it all started for me. Check out this New York Times article and learn about 17th century theories, including using poppies and lettuce and how to position your body when you’re sleeping.

Catching Some Z’s in Days of Yore

Published: March 27, 2009

“WASHINGTON — In one of the displays at the Folger Shakespeare Library a 17th-century manuscript interrupts its historical chronicle of bloodthirsty battles, hewn carcasses and sundered heads with a recipe for “a dormant drink”: a knockout potion. Perhaps the tale’s morbidity had been affecting the anonymous author, or maybe this potion, guaranteed to instill sleep for “2-daies,” just came to his mind as a perfect weapon against future enemies: you just slip ’em a Mickey.”

continued:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/28/arts/design/28libr.html

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