Saturday, October 31, 2009

Spa Girl says this is definitely a Halloween Treat

I love Halloween, all those adorable kids all decked out anticipating some great candy. I still love to trick or treat, and just like my childhood, those houses with the best treats quickly became our favourite neighbours! Halloween began as a Celtic festival of Samhain—meaning summer's end.

The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. They believed that on the night before their New Year, October 31, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

I’m ready for all those ghosts and goblins, my pumpkin looks fabulous, the witch is out of the basement and blowing in the wind, even scaring me, and the kids are about to start knocking. But not all Halloween tricks or treats have to be frightening; I definitely have not so scary plans for that pumpkin after this evening!

Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family and are high in vitamin C. They have lots of Vitamin A and enzymes to help nourish and brighten the complexion. Here is the perfect DIY treat for Halloween, a fabulous sweet pumpkin facial which will leave your skin soft and naturally hydrated. And if you want it’s a great 15 minute costume!

Mix together 5 tablespoons pureed pumpkin or canned organic pumpkin, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon softened organic butter. Combine all the ingredients into a smooth paste and apply to your face and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water, apply your normal moisturizer and enjoy.

Happy Halloween everyone…

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spa Girl says MASSAGE is about investing in you!

I love a good massage and while I have been blogging for two months about Spa’s and various treatments I have not yet written about massage therapy which has an incredible long history in many cultures around the globe.

I like massage work to the extent I move mountains to book a weekly massage in order to completely relax for an hour and leave all my tensions behind. Massage is about investing in you! I relax in other ways as well, like meditation, stretching and exercise, but nothing seems as enjoyable, for me, as a good massage. (See my blog on how to get rid of stress

My mussels and joints get stiff much more easily than they did ten years ago, especially if I have been sitting on a plane for a long trip, or on my feet all day and a good massage relaxes and stimulates my body and I feel like a new person.

Lately I have also tried to concentrate on my breathing during the hour long session. I attended a lecture recently and the doctor giving the lecture suggested that throughout breathing exercises keep the tip of your tongue in contact with the top of your mouth, just behind your top teeth, a suggestion I have seen in several other breathing exercises.

Breathing is such an important part of any relaxing exercises, here is a site that provides some great information and suggestions for breathing techniques:

I think touch is also a very important part of massage therapy as human contact is essential in feeling connected and loved. Massage uses touch through kneading the muscles helping them to relax, enhance circulation and assisting the body to heal itself.

A good soft tissue massage is an exhilarating experience and there are many benefits:
Relieves stress
Encourages relaxation
Improves circulation
Improves posture
Lowers blood pressure
Helps manage pain
Relaxes muscles
Improves flexibility
Improves breathing
Relieves tension headaches
Strengthens immune system
Decreases depression

There are a number of types of massage work available such as Swedish massage, Rolfing, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Myofascial Release, Trager Approach, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Reiki, Cranio Sacral Therapy, Holotropic Breathwork, Polarity Therapy, and Therapeutic Touch—to name a few!

It can be difficult to weed through all the types of massage available and what is best for you. A great glossary of terms that can help better understand one from the other can be found at either of these this websites:

I also came across a great article on massage written by the Mayo Clinic Staff which I highly recommend reading. Here is some of what they had to say…
Massage can relieve tension in your muscles, and most people use it for relaxation, relief of stress and anxiety, or to reduce muscle soreness. Massage can also cause your body to release natural painkillers, and it may boost your immune system.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found it helpful for:
Anxiety Massage reduced anxiety in depressed children and anorexic women. It also reduced anxiety and withdrawal symptoms in adults trying to quit smoking.
Pain Pain was decreased in people with fibromyalgia, migraines and recent surgery. Back pain also might be relieved by massage. However, back pain study results have been contradictory, and more research is required.
Labor pain Massage during labor appears to lessen stress and anxiety, relax muscles and reduce pain.
Infant growth Massage encouraged weight gain in premature babies and reduced the number of days they stayed in the hospital.
Children with diabetes Children who were massaged every day by their parents were more likely to stick to their medication and diet regimens, which helped reduce their blood glucose levels.
Sports-related soreness Some athletes receive massages after exercise, especially to the muscles they use most in their sport or activity. A massage might help increase blood flow to your muscles and may reduce muscle soreness after you exercise.
Alcohol withdrawal Massage during withdrawal from alcohol has shown benefits when combined with traditional medical treatment by increasing feelings of support, safety and engagement in the therapy.
Immune system People with HIV who participated in massage studies showed an increased number of natural killer cells, which are thought to defend the body from viral and cancer cells.
Cancer treatment People with cancer who received regularly scheduled massage therapy during treatment reported less anxiety, pain and fatigue.
Self-esteem Because massage involves direct contact with another person through touch, it can make you feel cared for. That special attention can improve self-image in people with physical disabilities and terminal illnesses. And using touch to convey caring can help children with severe physical disabilities

Read the full article at:

When deciding on massage work ultimately it is important to understand what you want to achieve and who best can help you, a registered massage therapist, a spa technician or even your partner if they are willing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spa Girl says MATCHA is a Must

As you know I love my green tea (see blog but have often found it confusing to make a good selection when faced with rows upon rows of green teas.

On several Spa visits I have been served a wonderful Matcha green tea and I have had Matcha on several occasions when I attended special Japanese tea ceremonies. Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, Matcha is unique to Japan. It is the heart of the Japanese way of tea and has been celebrated in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years.

Matcha is a finely powdered green tea and looks like an emerald coloured flour and has 10-15 times more nutrients than other premium green teas as you drink both the leaves and the tea. Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid known to relax the mind. Buddhist monks drink Matcha to assist in meditation, as the amino acids contained in the tea, combined with caffeine, offer a sustained sense of calm. The caffeine in Matcha provides 4 to 6 hours of mild steady energy—great first thing in the morning. Amino acids are also what gives this tea its unique taste. Matcha also contains the highest antioxidant count compared to all known fruits and vegetables, it is high in fiber and chlorophyll and Spa Girls, it only has 4 calories per serving!

According to Wikipedia...
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make gyokuro, unlike other forms of powdered tea, such as powdered sencha.The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids that make the resulting tea sweeter.
Only the finest tea buds are hand picked. After harvesting, if the leaves are rolled out before drying as usual, the result will be gyokuro (jewel dew) tea. However, if the leaves are laid out flat to dry, they will crumble somewhat and become known as tencha (碾茶). Tencha can then be de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha. It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.Note that only ground tencha qualifies as matcha, and other powdered teas are known as konacha (粉茶, lit. "powder tea").
The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year.The most famous matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka, and northern Kyūshū.

Some of the many benefits of Matcha green tea.

• Significantly increases energy without the caffeine "jitters".
• Improves mental alertness (L-theanine component)
• Increases calmness and reduces stress (L-theanine component)
• Boosts metabolic rate by 35-40%
• Powerful "Anti-Aging" activity due to the super-charged antioxidants
• Lowers blood pressure
• Decreases level of LDL or "bad"cholesterol
• Minimizes symptoms of PMS
• "Super" cancer-fighting and cancer-preventative activity (due to extremely high levels of polyphenols and catechins)
• Eases constipation due to high level of easily absorbable dietary fiber
• Stabilizes blood sugar levels
• Powerful anti-biotic and anti-viral activity
• Strong blood detoxifier and alkalyzer, due to the high Chlorophyll content

If you cannot find Matcha locally you can buy it on line. Just make sure it comes from Japan. Enjoy Spa Girls…(and boys!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Condé Nast Traveler: Hot List Spas 2009

A little R and R is just what the doctor ordered. And as luck would have it, this past year delivered a bumper crop of superlative spas from Macau to Mexico. Our reviewers left no hot stone unturned in their effort to identify transcendent spots for head-to-toe pampering.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spa Girl uses AROMATHERAPY for delightful get-a-ways!

Three days of rain and gloomy weather, time to transport myself to a tropical climate using a fabulous mixture of essential oils in a nice hot bath.

The sunny scents of lemon, lime and bergamot are sure to lift your spirits. Add a touch of my all time favourite, lavender essential oil that will sooth and comfort, and to quote from my Spa Deck, soaking in a bath with essential oils is nature’s answer to Prozac.

"Soothe your soul, center your mind, and beautify your body with these sumptuously illustrated cards, each bearing a recipe for a relaxing spa treatment. In this easy-to-use deck, Barbara Close, owner of Naturopathica Spa in New York, has assembled 50 recipes using simple ingredients for deliciously lavish and very essential indulgences."

Fill a bottle halfway with your favourite carrier oil ( you will need 4 ounces). I love olive oil in my bath then add your essential oils, 15 drops of lime, 7 bergamot, 10 tangerine, 14 lemon, 6 lavender and shake well and top off with remaining carrier oil and shake a second time. Add 3 capfuls to your bath water, close your eyes and dream of your favourite get-a-ways.

One the best sites I have found for essential oil information is located at:

Lime oil can be purchased either distilled or cold-pressed. While pressed lime oil is produced in smaller quantities and is more expensive than distilled, it is preferred in aromatherapy. Lime oil applied to the skin, may, in the presence of sunlight, cause a skin reaction. Benefits include: refreshing, cheering.

Bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the peel of the nearly ripe fruit. The aroma of bergamot oil is fresh, lively, fruity and sweet. It is an excellent deodorizer. It contains a constituent called bergaptene that increases the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. Benefits include: uplifting, inspiring, confidence-building.

Tangerine oil is pressed from the peel of ripe fruit. It is orange-colored oil with the vibrant fragrance of fresh tangerines. Benefits include: cheering, uplifting.

Lavender oil is used in baths, room sprays, toilet waters, perfumes, colognes, massage oils, sachets, salves, skin lotions and oils. It has a sweet, balsamic, floral aroma which combines well with many oils including citrus, clove, patchouli, rosemary, clary sage and pine. Benefits include: balancing, soothing, normalizing, calming, relaxing, and healing.

Lemon oil is cold-pressed, a much better oil than distilled. The scent is evocative of the fresh ripe peel. Lemon oil in the bath or in massage oils should be well diluted as it can cause skin irritation. Benefits include: uplifting, refreshing, and cheering.

I hope when I open my eyes the rain has gone!

Spa Girl and the WATER/GREEN dilemma!

I am not fond of drinking tap water for all kinds of reasons, and over the last year I have recycled way too many plastic bottles. I also started investigating the safety issues of plastic bottles and decided it was about time to invest in a home system and stainless steel water bottles.

My first home water system came as home delivery with a rented cooler, but I found it expensive and the cooler was massive in my small kitchen. I long for a much bigger kitchen, but that’s another story (LOL)! The second attempt was carrying my own refills to the locate water store which closed after the city I live in upgraded its primary water system. I have also lugged water from the grocery store, but frankly this is a pain, especially for those with temperamental backs. So I started looking at alternatives and there are a lot of them to consider and at varying prices. After much research, and some help from a really good friend, who knows her way around a water cooler, I think I have found a system that will work for me.

I settled on the Santevia enhanced water system with PH control. Santevia is cost effective as I just use water from my tap, and eco and back friendly, no more plastic bottles or lugging big water jugs around. It uses an eight stage filtration and re-mineralization system which cleans, mineralizes and invigorates your water while adjusting the pH level to mildly alkaline, a very healthy blend. And you don’t have to plug it in, it works via gravity.

The Science behind Santevia™
Reference Text: Water for Health, for Healing, for Life - F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.

• Human body is 75% water
• Human brain is 85% water and is extremely sensitive to dehydration
• In dehydration 66% of water loss is from the interior of the cells
• Mild dehydration slows metabolism by as much as 3%
• Thirst signals are often interpreted as hunger pains
• Lack of water is the number one cause of daytime fatigue
• Most people exist in a chronic state of low-level dehydration most of their lives
• Water is the main source of energy
• Water increases the efficiency of the immune system
• Water is the main solvent for all foods, vitamins and minerals
• Water increases the body's rate of absorption
• Water is the main lubricant in joint spaces
• Water helps prevent arthritis and back pain
• Water helps reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes

Find out more about Santeiva at

Check out my blog on why water is important.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spa Girl loves the Japanese art of Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a part of Traditional Oriental Medicine, and has been a part of Japanese health care for over 3000 years. That’s a long time to master perfection!

In 1957 the Ministry of Health in Japan published “The Theory and Practice of Shiatsu" and defined Shiatsu as follows.

"Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and palms of one's hands to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses."

My first experience with Shiatsu is still etched in my mind. I was a student in Toronto, Canada and went to see a traditional Shiatsu practitioner. A wonderful Japanese man dressed in traditional robes that knelt down beside me on a floor mat and worked his magic in a continuous rhythmic sequence. It was supposed to be an hour long session and he worked his fingers carefully to re-balance my energy for over an hour and a half. When he was done, he simply smiled and said you must lean to relax. After exams I explained. Once again he smiled.

When I moved to the west coast I took the opportunity on several occasions to visit a contemporary Shiatsu practitioner whose office was more like a typical massage therapist room with a table at just below waist height; a woman who had studied in Japan and whose skill was remarkable. As she worked her touch, and this has only happened once to me, there was an amazing rush of energy literally run through my body from head to toe. Such a deeply relaxing experience, I was like a wet noodle when she finished. The stress was definitely gone!

Shiatsu is a means to integrate the body, mind and spirit by releasing disruptions in the body's energy flow called Chi or Ki which move along meridians that are linked to the body’s major organs. By applying pressure and stretching techniques the Shiatsu practitioner is able to open the flow of Ki revitalizing the body and re-balancing energy, and promoting self-healing.

Touch is the essence of Shiatsu.

If you have never experienced Shiatsu I highly recommend trying it, especially on those days that are extra-ordinarily stressful.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spa Girl says Hammams Are Hot

My first spa experience in a traditional Moorish-Mediterranean steam room known as hammam was at 10 Spa in the Fort Gallery Hotel in Winnipeg, Canada just after it opened it doors to a stunning new renovation.

Traditionally the hammam was a sensual bathing retreat which has evolved over thousand of years and dates back to Roman times. The principals of hammam bathing can still be experienced in many natural hot springs of Turkey, Tunisia, Spain, and Morocco.

Modern day Hammam Spas, including the stunning hammam at 10 Spa infuses old world traditional treatments with modern day services, offering quality products and spa treatments within a breathtaking and innovative environment.

The Hammam is maintained at temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees C with mild ambient steam. Hamam means "spreader of warmth". The walls, floor and seating areas are heated, and moisture is generated from the extensive use of water during treatments. Ten Spa offers a selection of hammam treatments that will leave your skin clean and rejuvenated. As in ancient times, regular visits to the hammam will cleanse your skin, detoxify your body and strengthen your immune system.

Upon entering the hammam you sit on one of the heated benches and apply a warm aromatic salt to your skin. After 10 to 15 minutes the hammam attendant will rinse you off and guide you to the large communal area where you can relax for up to an hour on a heated marble platform. I took the opportunity to take a break and enjoy a nice cup of Turkish tea. It is always important to drink lots of water during any spa treatment. There are also a number of wash basins located in the hammam. I poured cool water over my skin as I enjoyed the heat of the hammam and depending on what you requested when booking in, the hammam attendant will give you both a foot and scalp massage in a private room and soap you down from head to toe with lovely olive oil soap. I think finishing off a hammam with a rose oil massage is truly a slice of heaven.

Hammams are located in a number of spas worldwide. Check out the web for one nearest to you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spa Girl explores the magic of LI’TYA (le-dee-a)

Recently I had the opportunity to meet a Canadian woman who has been living for more than 35 years in Australia. We met through reputation and communicated via email for eight years prior to this meeting. She presented a fabulous lecture on the Indigenous Aboriginal art of Australia and like many in the audience I was humbled by the remarkable history, nature and beauty of the work and the people.

In the lecture she talked about Dreamtime which I found magical in nature. It is said that for more than 40,000 years, the Indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia have held the world’s oldest continuous living tradition of sacred knowledge, known as the Dreamtime. And from this all aspects of Aboriginal life is derived including the innate wisdom of the relationship between man and the physical world including natural resources and its spiritual dimensions.

Wanting to know more I started researching this amazing philosophy of non-linear existence where everybody, everything, time and space is connected.
“Every thought, footprint, gust of wind, plant or animal that lives, has lived or is yet to live, is seen to impart its own vibration upon the earth, which in turn resounds across all eternity as part of the ongoing creation of the world”.
Given this amazing cultural connection, Aboriginal Australians view themselves as custodians, living in harmony with the physical and spiritual world and tread lightly and with great respect.

Along the path I discovered LI’TYA (means "of the earth") Spa Experience founded by Gayle Heron after fourteen years of research and work with the Indigenous peoples of Southern Australia. LI’TYA is a unique range of quality spa products that integrate the valuable natural and spiritual characteristics of the Australian earth, native essential oils, and active botanical extracts -- powerful ingredients revered, respected and enjoyed for their truly holistic aspects.

Given permission to use the name by tribal elders LI'TYA harnesses the power of indigenous Australian plants, fruits, earth ochre’s, desert salts and sea plants.

This is what they have to say.

Australia’s Indigenous community have shared with LI’TYA their amazing knowledge of native plants and healing modalities. In drawing upon the ancient powers of the earth’s oldest continent it is with the purest intentions that the spiritual qualities of these essential materials are invited to come alive. For using organic native Australian ingredients not only brings a unique and enriching dimension to an industry already focused on holistic healing principles. It also creates an opportunity to generate greater awareness of the value of our earth and the beauty of the people that have learnt from me and lived with it for thousands of years.

Like us, you are sure to be convinced, there is much we can learn, receive, be thankful for and give back, to these beautiful people so deeply connected to the essence and energy locked within our great southern land.

Aboriginal culture recognizes the significance of the elements in terms of their physical, emotional, spiritual and environmental aspects to ourselves. The LI’TYA spa experience aims to bring balance between these elements by combining a range of sensory therapies selected for their efficiency in purifying, nourishing and harmonizing the body as a whole.

Largely understood as the centre of grounding, according to Aboriginal wisdom, the earth is our mother and we are in turn her custodians. To reconnect and remind us of the healing, grounding and balancing energy this vital element can bring, LI’TYA treatments use ancient peat, earth clays and desert salts directly onto the skin to restore nutrients, draw out toxins and nurture the body in the warmth of the earth’s properties.

Integrating the powers of water, a sacred elemental force renown for its healing, cleansing, purifying and emotionally restorative properties, LI’TYA’s treatments use this tranquil force to control the prescribed potency of our products and in a variety of physical applications to unblock the body’s energy fields (hydrotherapy) or wash away tension and awaken vitality (our signature warm water massage Yanko Jindalee).

Infusing the air with 100 percent pure essential oils is without exception one of the most pleasurable ways to drift into a realm of relaxation and serenity. However, whether administered by inhalation or applied through the skin, they also play a vital role in our body’s circulatory function by bringing oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while assisting in the disposal of waste products produced by cell metabolism. The extensive range of both native and traditional pure aromatherapy oils used in all our product formulations and treatments are therefore carefully chosen for their therapeutic benefits on the skin and mind.

The art of Fire therapy has been long lost on western cultures, however to Indigenous Australians, this traditional ritual is still used today in a variety ways. With permission from Aboriginal elders, LI’TYA introduces every client to the cleansing and purifying energy of this ancient ritual with the burning of a traditional aboriginal smudge blends at the start of every treatment. Designed to disconnect the client from the outside world, and bring her/him into the present to focus on their treatment time, this sacred ceremony calls upon the healing energy of the earth to enter the treatment space.

Traditional Coolamon wood containers bring the last of the earth’s elements to the LI’TYA spa care experience. Often decorated with designs imprinted by burning lengths of wire with Dreamtime stories, these containers are used to hold select native dry ingredients and in our Kodo rhythmic body massage treatment provide a unique feel and stimulus to the skin realigning body balance and tone.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spa Girl recommends heading to the STEAM ROOM

With cold and flu season upon us, Spa Girl recommends heading to the steam room for three good reasons, strengthening your immune system, improve circulation and help detoxify the lymphatic system.

The benefits of steam have been known for thousands of years. Throughout history steam has been used to enhance a sense of well being and improve overall health. While steam rooms have primarily been located in health clubs or gyms, cutting edge technology has provided an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of steam at home for very reasonable prices.

A good steam opens up the pores, increases the metabolism, elevates heart rate, and makes the body sweat. The average person has approximately 2.6 million sweat glands and during a good steam you can sweat out up to 30% of built up toxins. Some spas have also introduced the use of aromatherapy to provide additional health benefits.

The warm, moist air of the steam room increases circulation and helps loosen and relax muscles and joints and maintain overall flexibility and your skin will be cleaner, softer, and healthier, especially if an exfoliating scrub is used to gently remove dry surface skin. And added benefit for those with respiratory conditions, steam opens up the lungs and bronchial tubes—something every mother knows when dealing with a sick child.

It is generally recommended to take a warm shower before entering the steam room and remain for up to 15 minutes—if it’s really hot you might only stay for a few minutes. Listen to your body and leave if you are feeling uncomfortable. Once out of the steam room take a cool shower or plunge and allow the body to return to a normal temperature before re-entering. Do not steam more than 3 times in one session. And of course you need to drink lots of water during your steaming. As with any exercise program you should always consult your doctor before indulging in steam rooms as some medical conditions might preclude the healthy benefits.

Happy steaming!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Spa Girl loves the RECIPES from Canyon Ranch

Spa Girls says take a little time to indulge in some SPA CUSINE!

I studied for one year in France and our French Chief made the most heavenly soups. My mom was also a great cook and for as long as I can remember I have loved soups, hot ones, cold ones, you name it, if soup is on the menu that is generally what’s on my plate.

More and more spas are serving home-made soups as part of their healthy living, healthy eating programs. This is especially important if you are spending the day and can’t run out for lunch while your pedicure is drying!

Spa Index is a great guide for day and stay spas and has a wonderful section on Spa Cuisine which is definitely worth checking out. http://www.SpaIndex.Com

After a bit of surfing around their site I found some delectable soups that seem fitting as we come into the colder months. So the next time you’re at the Spa Girls, check out the menu.

Spa Cucina, Del Mar, California

3 cups pumpkin, steamed and cubed
32 ounces vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, marjoram, basil
Peel pumpkin's outer skin just like any hard squash, i.e., butternut; cut into chunks and steam until tender. In a soup pot, sauté onions and garlic with oil until onions are clear. In a blender, puree all ingredients together EXCEPT 1 cup reserved squash and the yogurt. Return the puree to soup pot and gently whisk in yogurt and remaining pumpkin. Serve hot with crusty bread. Services 4-6.
*Note: We love to add a dash of grated Ginger to our version of this recipe -- for an added bite.

Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat and Health Spa

1 med. turnip or rutabaga, peeled & diced (1/4-1/2 in. sq.)
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 med. onion, peeled & diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 C. vegetable stock or water
1 10oz. can red or white kidney beans (or soak ½ C. dried and cook yourself)
1 14oz. can whole plum tomatoes, diced
½ small green cabbage, finely julienned
salt & freshly cracked black pepper
6 Tbsp. pesto (recipe follows)

Small amount Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino, Romano or soy parmesan (grated)
Combine turnip, carrot, onion, celery, beans, tomatoes and stock or water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until turnips or rutabaga are tender. Add cabbage and simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and divide between 6 soup bowls. Garnish each bowl with 1 Tbsp. pesto and a sprinkling of your favorite hard cheese.

2 C. packed, cleaned basil leaves
¼ C. toasted pine nuts, almonds or sunflower seeds
¼ C. extra virgin olive oil
¼ C. grated hard cheese (as above)
salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree, adding more oil or some water to thin if needed. Store in fridge until served…may be frozen.

Harvest Pumpkin Mushroom Soup
Munro House B&B and Spa (Jonesville, Missouri)
Serves: 7

1 lb Fresh Sliced Mushrooms 1/2 cup Chopped Onion
2 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoon Flour
1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
3 cup Vegetable Broth
1 can Solid Pack Pumpkin 15oz can
1 can Evaporated Milk 12 oz can
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Fresh Chives (Optional)

In a large saucepan, sauté mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended. Gradually add the broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, honey, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat through. Garnish with chives. (Optional)

The Greenbrier's Executive chef Peter Timmins, one of only 59 chefs in the world considered a Certified Master Chef by the Culinary Institute of America, says anyone can seem like a master with this simple but elegant summer soup recipe. "Our famous peaches find their way into many dishes at The Greenbrier," notes Timmins. "This easy-to-make chilled soup is one of the most popular."

Chilled Peach Soup
1 quart frozen, sweetened peaches, thawed
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup peach juice (from thawed peaches)
Blend peaches and sour cream together in blender. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Strain and serve chilled.
Serves 8

Note: If not enough peach juice is leftover from the thawed peaches, additional peaches may be pureed or canned peach juice may be added. The Greenbrier uses its own peaches, which can be purchased by calling The Greenbrier Gourmet shop at 800-321-1168, Ext. 7291. They are frozen and shipped overnight -- and will have the juice needed for the recipe.

Canyon Ranch Sweet Potato Soup

This colorful soup makes an excellent sauce for fish and poultry. You can also whisk a little extra-virgin olive oil into leftover soup for an unusual salad dressing.

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups fresh orange juice

1. Combine the sweet potatoes and onion in a large saucepan and cook, covered, over low heat until the onion is soft and translucent, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the chicken stock and orange juice and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft.
2. Spoon the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Serve hot or cold.
Makes 6 servings
Each 1-cup serving contains approximately:
Fat: negligible
Sodium:271 mg
Carbohydrates:29 g
Protein:3 g

Did You Know? The sweet potato is a wonderful vegetable from a nutritional standpoint. A medium-sized sweet potato has about 140 calories and contains four times the daily allowance of beta carotene, twice the daily allowance of vitamin A, and one-third of the daily recommended vitamin C. Sweet potatoes also contribute vitamin B6, iron, and potassium, as well as other valuable vitamins and minerals, are low in sodium, and contain no fat or cholesterol.


2 cups dry navy beans
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 potato, skinned and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1% milk, small amount
1 tbs. low-fat cream or Neufchatel cheese
herbs 2 tsp. each (dill, thyme, no-salt veggie broth)
quality Dijon mustard to taste
curry paste to taste
freshly ground black pepper + tamari (or salt) to taste
spinach, 1 package frozen chopped or 1 bag fresh
1 tomato, diced (optional)
oil from spritzer or refillable pump

If desired soak dry beans in water for several hours and discard soak water. Simmer beans for 2 hours in 8 cups of water, (6 cups if pre-soaked). After 1 hour add potato to beans. In a separate pan use a small amount of oil to sauté onion, garlic and spices until onion is translucent; add celery and continue for 15 minutes. Add to beans. When beans and celery are tender, pull out approx. 1/2 of the soup and puree with milk until silky smooth and throw back into main soup pot. Adjust thickness by either adding milk to thin out, or simmering for a while to reduce and thicken. Add herbs, mustard and curry paste. Just before serving add chopped spinach and tomato. Serves 6.

French Canadian Pea Soup
The Hills Health Ranch

Nothing tastes more like a Spring Garden than a bowl of this soup with a vegetable sandwich and a light smoothie. It's the perfect entree for a "Ladies' Spa Lunch."

1/2 T olive oil
1 head leaf lettuce, chopped
2-1/2 cups frozen peas
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock 1 potato, peeled and diced
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Sauté peas, potato and lettuce in oil for 5 min. Add stock and bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer till tender, 20 min. Puree till very smooth and season with sea salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 6: Per Serving: 100 Calories, 2 Grams fat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spa Girl answers the GREEN question!

Being ecologically responsible and environmentally aware are important factors in how we go about our daily lives today. This is also true for Spas who are turning to organic, all-natural products in their treatments, complying with “green” building standards, using sustainable practices in their overall design, buying soaps without phosphates, using recycled paper products and finding creative methods to recycle greywater (dish, shower, sink and laundry water).

By working to eliminate toxins both within their skin care products and spa environments, green spas around the globe are providing a healthier experience. They are offering a more balanced and relaxed atmosphere by eliminating noise, pollution, toxins and waste. For those who have experienced the luxury of a green spa the general consciences is that they are attuned to the rhythms of nature as well as the rhythms of the human body making clients feel healthier, stronger and more attractive.

The Green Spa Network is a spa industry resource devoted to bringing greening and sustainability to the health, wellness and beauty community. They state a “green spa” is a center for healing, aesthetics and wellness where reducing the spa's environmental footprint is a top priority. They also offer a Green Spa Tool Kit which offers practical resources to help achieve green goals.

Some characteristics of a green spa, suggested by the Green Spa Network include:
•Strives to conserve energy and water resources
•Is committed to using materials that can be recycled, follows recycling practices
•always looking for ways to minimize waste
•Utilizes natural and organic skin care products
•Believes that it has a responsibility to guests and to the planet to reduce exposure to toxic substances and to minimize hazardous waste generation
•Shares its concern for the Earth's well-being with guests
•environmentally friendly strategies and techniques

There are a number of resources available to help find eco-friendly and green spas including:
Eco-friendly and Green Spas

In the UK I discovered Rachel’s Organic
who state:
“Our passion for the finest, environmentally-sensitive organic dairy and indulgent pleasures inspired us to team up with The Good Spa Guide to produce this Little Black Book - a guide to some of the very best 'green' spas in Britain. So, if you are in need of a little TLC, why not download our Little Black Book of Gloriously Green Spas and treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at one of these eco-friendly spas, all of which share our dedication to great taste and pure pleasure”!

Below is just handful of Spas that are incorporating green best practices into their spa experience by using renewable resources, waste management programs, organic foods, collaborating with other green companies, using recycled paper and eco-friendly cleaning products, selecting energy efficient light bulbs, floors of sustainable bamboo, low-flow shower heads, reclaimed water, emission and noise-free alternative to traditional heating and cooling methods, green roofs, and recycled greywater programs. It is very exciting.

Stowe Mountain Lodge purchases over 50 percent of its power from renewable resources and is a member of Destination Earth Hotels & Resorts. In recognition of the need to preserve the world in which we operate and serve our guests, Destination Hotels & Resorts is dedicated to practices and programs that pay respect to, and lessen our footprint on, our changing environment.

Quebec's Spa Eastman has won Eastern Townships' Final of the Grands Prix du tourisme in the Sustainable Tourism category. Among a number of sustainable initiatives, Spa Eastman’s waste management program diverts over 23 metric tons from landfills, which represents an 81% recycling rate. The implementation of the 3RV (reduction, reinvestment, recycling & validation) is done systematically and the results are two-fold. Spa Eastman has always paid particular attention to where food products come from: most of the products used are organic and the gardens provide the kitchen with fine herbs, edible flowers, sprouts, vegetables and berries.

The Blue Marble Spa at the newly transformed Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina in San Diego, California sources as much as possible from other green companies and, when it comes to spreading the word about its eco-friendly practices and spa services, uses only recycled paper, eco-friendly cleaning products, offers its treatment menu in digital format, and provides eco-friendly literature for reading and further education.

The spa incorporates a range of conservation principles, including the use of energy efficient light bulbs, floors of sustainable bamboo and low-flow shower heads. The spa also uses organic and natural skincare products, offers organic fruits and food options and uses minimal hot water.

From the paint on the walls to the nail polish that adorn its guests everything about the new, full-service Uhma Spa & Shop in South Beach, Florida, makes Earth Day everyday. (Uhma is pronounced ‘ooh-mah’.)Face and body treatments use only 100 percent natural, organic and cruelty-free products. Manicures and pedicures all use nontoxic polishes and unlike most spas are waterless – instead of soaking hands the technician uses a specialty conditioner to get at unwanted cuticles.

Upon constructing Uhma Spa & Shop everything that was already in place was recycled (old sinks and toilets were replaced with new low flow ones), reused or donated. The original ceiling was incorporated into the current design to maximize insulation therefore minimizing energy use.

Uhma’s walls and cabinetry are all made from American walnut, a sustainable resource where each tree that is cut down is replaced by another. All paints used are VOC free (e.g. they don’t use harmful pollutants). The epoxy floors in the Shop are water based. The lighting used throughout the space uses a mixture of efficient compact fluorescents, LED and metal halide. All appliances used are EnergyStar, gas is used instead of electricity for water heating, all shower water is filtered and all cleaning products are phosphate free, biodegradable and VOC free.

New Mexico’s El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa features the “Living Machine,” a water recycling system that is designed to filter wastewater through pools that are rich with fish, plants and other natural filters. The end result is reclaimed water that is used to irrigate botanical gardens and landscaping, including herbs, vegetables and exotic fruits that are served at the property’s restaurant.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts around the world have adopted the Green Partnership Program, which is a company-wide stewardship effort that strives to minimize properties’ operational impact on the environment through resource conservation and best practices. In doing so, the properties respect and value the indigenous culture that enhances the guests’ authentic experience.

When a spa was added to New York’s historic Mohonk Mountain House, top priority was given to the insertion of a geothermal heating and cooling system; as this system provides an emission-free and noise-free alternative to traditional heating and cooling methods. A green roof helps insulate the building as well, and it also provides a habitat for birds and butterflies.

Mexico’s Rancho La Puerta destination spa has had an on-site sustainable garden from the time it opened in 1940. Rancho La Puerta uses soaps without phosphates, recycled toilet paper and recycles greywater (dish, shower, sink and laundry water) through a marshland.

Below is a list of spas around the world that are making an effort to help protect and give back to the environment:

United States
Miraval Resort - Catalina, Arizona, (800) 232-3969
Moss Wellness Spa - Scottsdale, Arizona, (480) 945-6772
Calistoga Ranch - Calistoga, California, (800) 942-4220
The Carneros Inn- Napa, California, (888) 400-9000
GreenBliss EcoSpa- Los Angeles, California, (323) 630-4537
Indigo Eco-Spa at Stevenswood Spa Resort- Littleriver, California, (800) 421-2810
Osmosis - Freestone, California, (707) 823-8231
Post Ranch Inn- Big Sur, California, (800) 527-2200
Ra Organic Spa - Burbank, California, (818) 848-4772
Solage Calistoga - Calistoga, California, (866) 942-7442
Devil's Thumb Ranch - Tabernash, Colorado, (800) 933-4339
Gold Lake Mountain Resort & Spa - Ward, Colorado, (305) 459-3544
Mayfair Hotel & Spa - Jurlique Spa - Coconut Grove, Florida, (800) 433-4555
Sandpearl Resort - Sandpearl Spa - Clearwater Beach, Florida, (727) 441-2425
New Mexico
El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa - Taos, New Mexico, (800) 828-8267
Sunrise Springs - Santa Fe, New Mexico, (800) 955-0028
New York
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa - Milton, New York, (877) 746-6772
Emerson Resort & Spa - Mount Tremper, New York, (877) 688-2828
Mohonk Mountain House - New Paltz, New York, (800) 772-6646
Priti Organic Spa - New York, New York, (212) 254-3628
The Crossings - Austin, Texas, (877) 944-3003
Sundance Resort - Sundance, Utah, (800) 892-1600
Miracle Farm Bed & Breakfast Spa & Resort - Floyd, VA, (707) 462-9515
Equinox Resort & Spa - Manchester Village, Vermont, (866) 346-7625
Washington, D.C.
Nusta Spa - Washington, DC, (202) 530-5700
Sundara Inn & Spa - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, (888) 735-8181
Multiple States
Natural Body Spa and Shoppe

Aruba Beach Club - Oranjestad, Aruba, (297) 582-3000
Bucuti Beach Resort Aruba - Oranjestad, Aruba, (297) 583-1100
Costa Linda Beach Resort - Oranjestad, Aruba, (297) 583-8000
Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa - Oranjestad, Aruba, (800) 223-1108

Cape Cassini Wilderness Retreat - Kangaroo Island, Australia, (61) 8-8559-2215
Daintree Ecolodge & Spa - Daintree, Queensland, Australia, (61) 740-986100

Almond Beach Club & Spa - St. James, Barbados, (888) 237-8772
Bougainvillea Beach Resort - Bridgetown, Barbados, (246) 418-0990

Hotel Sofitel Cairo Maadi Towers & Casino - Cairo, Maadi, Egypt, (800) 763-4835
Iberotel Coraya Beach Resort - Marsa Alam, Red Sea, Egypt, (20) 65-3750000
Sunrise Garden Beach Resort - Hurghada, Red Sea, Egypt, (20) 2-3459271
Conrad Cairo Hotel - Cairo, Egypt, (800) 445-8667
Sheraton Heliopolis Hotel, Towers & Casino - Cairo, Egypt, (888) 625-5144
Sheraton Miramar Resort - El Gouna, Egypt, (888) 625-5144

Fiji Islands
Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort - Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands, (800) 246-3454
Sonaisali Island Resort - Nadi, Fiji Islands, (679) 670 6011

French Polynesia
Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa Bora Bora - Motu Piti Aau, Bora Bora, French Polynesia, (689) 604900
Intercontinental Resort and Spa, Moorea - Moorea, French Polynesia, (689) 865110

Hotel Hellnar - Hellnar, Iceland, (354) 435-6820

The Malabar House Fort Cochin - Fort Cochin, Kerala, India, (91) 4842-216666

Alila Manggis Resort - Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, (62) 363-41011
Alila Ubud Resort - Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia, (62) 361-975963
Amandari - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, (689) 604900
Conrad Bali Resort & Spa - Tanjung Benoa, Bali, Indonesia, (800) 445-8667
Melia Benoa All-Inclusive Resort - Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, (62) 361-771714
Banyan Tree - Laguna Bintan, Lagoi, Indonesia, (866) 822-6926
Melia Bali Villas and Spa Resort - Nusa Dua Denpasar, Indonesia, (62) 361-771510

Monart Destination Spa - Co. Wexford, Ireland, (353) 53-923-8999

Mizpe Hayamim Spa - Rosha Pinna, Israel, 972-4-6994555

Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club - Ocho Rios, Jamaica, (888) 232-2437
Beaches Negril Resort & Spa - Negril, Jamaica, (888) 232-2437

Coco Palm Dhunikolhu - Dunikolu Island, Baa Atoll, Maldives, (960) 230011
Banyan Tree - Vabbinfare Island, Maldives, (866) 822-6926

Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel - Port Louis, Mauritius, (230) 202-4000
Le Coco Beach Hotel - Belle Mare, Mauritius, (230) 415-1010
Le Prince Maurice - Poste de Flacq, Mauritius, (230) 413-9100

Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita - Punta Mita, Nayarit, Mexico (800) 819-5053
Rancho la Puerta - Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, (800) 443-7565

New Zealand
Heritage Auckland Hotel - Auckland, New Zealand, (64) 9-3798553
Matakauri Lodge - Queenstown, New Zealand, (64) 3-4411008

Banyan Tree - Mahe, Seychelles, (866) 822-6926

South Africa
Fordoun Hotel & Spa - KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, (27) 033-266-6217

Sri Lanka
Earls Regeny Hotel - Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka, (81) 242-2122
Hotel Tree of Life - Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka, (94) 81-2499-777
The Tea Factory - Nuwara Eliya, Central Province, Sri Lanka, (94) 052-2229600

Evason Phuket & Six Senses Spa - Muang District, Phuket, Thailand, (66) 076-381010
Banyan Tree - Phuket, Thailand, (866) 822-6926
Sila Evason Hideaway & Spa at Samui - Ko Samui, Thailand, (66) 77-245678

Turks & Caicos Islands
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa - Turks & Caicos Islands, (888) 232-2437

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spa Girl checks out Spas in British Columbia, CANADA

A friend recently asked me if I could recommend good spa's in British Columbia that are not over-the-top expensive. Since I have been known to spend a mortgage payment in a spa, I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask, and British Columbia like the rest of Canada is a really big place with many fabulous day and stay spas. While I wish I could say I have enjoyed them all, I do have some good advice for locating that special spa just right for you.

For those who have never traveled to British Columbia I highly recommend that you put this on your travel “to do” list. BC will host the world this winter as the 2010Winter Olympics comes to Vancouver and Whistler so you are bound to see some incredible TV footage as the world media descends on this remarkable Canadian province.

BC is the westernmost province in Canada. It is about four times the size of Great Britain with less than one tenth of the population. It is a very mountainous region with a number of major ranges running mostly north-south from the coast to the border between BC and Alberta.

As with most places worth visiting, there is a little something for everyone here. You will definitely want to spend at least some time outside of the main cities of Vancouver and Victoria and if you enjoy an adventurous vacation, the province offers many opportunities. Ecotourism plays an important role in British Columbia.

There are eight different regions within the province which include: Vancouver Island, home of BC’s capital, offering all sorts of marine adventures; the Lower Mainland where over half of BC’s population lives, Vancouver being the central metropolitan area; Okanagan-Similkameen (say that fast!) wineries and beaches and known for it’s sun and fun; the Kootenays where lakes, deep valleys and hot springs entice visitors, also known for it’s world famous cat skiing; Thompson-Shuswap an outdoor paradise with ranches, lakes and mountains, world fly fishing, skiing, mountain biking and the list goes on; Cariboo-Chilcoton with stunning canyons, vast planes, cattle drives and hiking adventures; Peace River with its limitless vistas and the Alaska Highway; and the North Coast, pristine untouched wilderness and native culture, famous for its fishing.

I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest you check out BC’s cultural scene, museums, art galleries, theatres, symphonies, festivals and so much more are abundant in this remarkable province.

A few very good sources for both day and stay spas in British Columbia are located at:

As someone who loves a weekly spa experience—did I just say that out loud—I am always on the lookout for a good deal. Most spas offer weekly or monthly specials, so I highly recommend adding your name to the email list of your favourite spas in your area, or those you really want to visit and receive their regular updates and spa specials. In addition there are a number of training facilities, schools for estheticians and massage therapists who need bodies to practice on and who offer fabulous deals. Check out your local phone book and give them a call or do a little web surfing.

In Vancouver there are a number of opportunities to work with students including Utopia Academy where depending on whether you work with a first or second year student a 60 minute massage will cost $38 to $41. Utopia like most schools also offers a number of hydrotherapy sessions including underwater massage, Vichy showers, and hydro jet baths. To Book an appointment call 604.681.4450 or toll free 1.888.681.4450. In Kamloops, the heart of the Thompson-Shuswap I highly recommend the award winning Interior Academy of Hair, Esthetics and Nails which offers an array of body treatments and polishes from full European facial for $35 to an hour long hot stone massage for $38 and a Sumishi Micro-current package of 12 for only $350.00, now that’s a great deal! More information can be found at their website or by calling 250-374-5565.

Please tell them Spa Girl recommended you!

I hope I have offered some good suggestions for locating a great day or stay Spa in British Columbia and that you visit sometime soon.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spa Girl loves GREEN TEA for so many reasons!

For more than a decade researchers around the globe have been investigating the benefits of green tea. It seems this simple little beverage has the potential to fight cancer, heart disease, lower cholesterol, burn fat, prevent diabetes and stroke and slow down the onset of dementia.

Just reading this makes me plug in the kettle and prepare a nice steaming hot cup of green tea—especially on this rather chilly rainy morning!

The Chinese have been drinking green tea for over 4,000 years to treat a myriad of health related problems as green tea helps to cleanse toxins from the body. Green tea contains vitamins and is particularly rich in EGCG (epigallocatechil gallate) a powerful anti-oxidant that inhibits cancer cell growth and kills present cancer cells without harming the rest of the healthy tissues in the body. EGCG has become so reliable and popular in the medical community that it even produces better results than red wine, which contains a polyphenol that helps prevents heart diseases.
Taken altogether, the evidence certainly suggests that incorporating at least a few cups of green tea every day will positively affect your health," says Diane McKay, PhD, a Tufts University scientist who studies antioxidants.

Black tea, jasmine tea, (the list seems endless) do have their own healing properties, but it is green tea that many experience marvelous and long-lasting effects. Why? Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the epigallocatechil gallate from becoming oxidized unlike the black tea and the oolong tea leaves, which are fermented.

Green tea is natural, so you can drink as much as you like. Other benefits that have been discovered recently include effective burning of calories and the prevention of tooth decay and food poisoning because of its ability to destroy bacteria.

In the research I have conducted it seems most green tea "experts" recommend lose green tea over tea bags, and some prefer Japanese green teas over others—this might be a matter of personal taste.

One of the best resources I have found for information is Vancouver based Inspire Health, Canada’s foremost integrated cancer care centre, leading the way through research and innovative cancer care programs integrated with conventional cancer treatment.

On Inspire Health’s website there is a section where research studies are posted. The doctor’s analyse all the studies being produced around the world and post the most critical ones. Here is the link to all the studies produced on green tea. You only need to read a few to get the message, but it is a great list of important research being done in this area.

Inspire Health, like all organizations have a mission statement. There are several points listed as their top priorities, but the one that I find worth repeating for all my Spa Girl readers is this:

“Inspire one another to live healthy, happy and passionate lives”

Now that you’re excited about all the amazing benefits of green tea, why not prepare two cups, one to drink and one for your face!

This simple green tea tonic helps to cleanse tone and smooth the face and is recommended for aging and tired skin. Simply steep 2 teaspoons of powdered green tea in ½ cup boiling water for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool (store in a dark glass bottle) then apply green tea tonic to your face with a cotton ball. Like many face treatments, for best results, use daily.