The ritual of showing how much you care ~ that is the magic of Christmas!
DEC 01, 2010
With great anticipation I embrace the holiday traditions and all that they symbolize. My family, friends and faith are very dear to me. As the wanderer, I’m not close for the day to day family events. So it’s no surprise that come Christmas I fantasize and yearn to be home amidst my beloved and colorful family.
Our Christmas holiday traditions are far reaching, and as I list them I become even more excited:
The magic of homecoming; over the hills and through the woods, or planes, trains and automobiles; or staying put, as the case may be… all the while dreaming of family, festivities and being together.
- Finding, cutting and trimming the tree, adoring the old and new ornaments, each providing a wealth of memories.
- Decorating the house with wreaths, garlands, angels, nativity scenes, and beautiful sparkling treasures that are happily rediscovered every year.
- Listening to Christmas music. As children, with 30 cousins strong, we used to carol at the neighbors houses on Christmas Eve. Craig, my brother, would hide in bushes and boom “ho ho ho” at just the right moment of “who wouldn’t know…up on the roof top…” eliciting a gasp of delight from our audience.
- The careful wrapping of perfect gifts for our loved ones, all elves on deck!
- My dad’s infamous egg nog has made him the ultimate grog master! A family secret, so I won’t tell!
- A great feast! With our large and dynamic family, Christmas dinner can easily be 40+ people. Mom has 5 beautiful sisters and 2 brothers, (one has passed away, and he is missed.) My Dad and my husband come from much smaller and infinitely quieter families.
- Santa Clause for kids of every age!
- Parties, oh how I love them! Dressing up, kissing under the mistletoe ball, sparkling jewelry, and the joy of celebrating yet another year together.
- Love the naughty or nice reckoning; have you earned a lump of coal or a thoughtful gift?
- It gives me great joy knowing that Jesus loves me. Tis the reason for the season.
- Even “Merry” has special meaning for me: wonderful Mom, in a fit of creative energy years ago, changed her name from simple Mary Jane to Merrie Jane – it fits!
Another reason I can’t wait to be home among our loved ones, is that recently our family has been battling illnesses, to include cancer and heart concerns. We have long been a robust, “land of the giant” type of family. To see some of our dear matriarchs and patriarchs battle for their lives has been sobering, and also inspiring as I witness strength and love manifest in different ways.
This will be the first year that my beloved step-children will experience the festivities of Christmas with my family; I can’t wait to see it through their eyes. Mom and Dad are hosting Christmas Day - the house will be decked out, the food will be delicious and plentiful, and the rooms will be filled with laughter and tears. Regardless, we will be together to celebrate each other and the very special day of Christmas, that has become a day of showing your love for others.
I hope that you’re surrounded by family, friends, good health and cheer this holiday season. Who doesn’t want a little magic in their world?
Select that distinctive gift from my seasonal collection: Spa at Home Products, Gifts,
Gift From Dad
June 01, 2010
Papa, Polar Bear, Sage Counsel, King Poo Bah and, of course, Dad. These are only a few of the terms of endearment for my wonderful Father, a man for whom I am eternally grateful. As my birthday coincides with Father’s Day, Dad and I have long shared celebratory weekends. Unfortunately, this year we can’t be together in person. However, we are never far apart in spirit.
Truth be told, my Dad used to scare me a bit; he’s very tall and formidable with extremely high standards. Now I realize what a big softie he is, but he has never wavered in his code of conduct which requires honor of self and others. As I’ve matured and we’ve grown into our relationship, I’ve come to see the keys to successful living that he’s given me, and that I continue to use in my daily life:
- Work Ethic - Each of my siblings is a hard worker and we are all very committed to our respective careers. Sometimes I wish I knew the easier route but I am always reminded that I come from hearty stock that will survive, even when some good old-fashioned elbow grease is required (a skill perhaps underappreciated in today’s world.)
Integrity - I remember once I asked to use his office copier to make a copy of a school report. He wouldn’t let me because it wasn’t related to his work and was therefore inappropriate. I was quite put off at the time but I have found that having a meticulous and honest standard pays off in the long run.
Ain’t no free lunch - when I started dating and exploring the world, he made sure that I knew there were consequences to every decision. If something looks too good to be true, it likely is…
- Gift of gab - my Dad can talk to anyone, from any walk of life, be they janitors or CEO’s. He taught us early that everyone plays an important role. Perhaps this inherited gift is why I pursued Hospitality as a career. (One of my nicknames as a youth, “Motor Mouth Matheson”, comes to mind.)
Showmanship - Dad is a natural public speaker and leader. He’s eloquent and commanding, and keeps his audience rapt with appropriate humor and anecdotes. This is not as easy as it looks, but I’m trying to make him proud and the ability to speak in public settings has helped me and others in any number of situations.
Humble Pride - be comfortable with who you are, walk tall, and listen to both your heart and your head.
Competition and love of sport - Dad was a college athlete, as were each of his children. This commitment required additional effort because our scholastic achievements were of paramount importance. He’s a fierce opponent, he plays to win, and is proud to be on (and sometimes off) court #1 with his gentlemen tennis buddies. Go, Dad!
Sage Counsel - Dad is my sounding board for new ideas and concerns. Although Dad has retired he’s on several boards and almost always becomes President/Leader eventually. Reflecting on “What would Dad do,” has often served me well.
Tough Love and Challenger of status quo - as the Superintendent of Schools, Dad challenged my whimsical ways. Not afraid of “going there,” Dad helped me learn to put the very difficult issues on the table; candor can be a powerful tool. Dad believed in equal opportunity for any that fell into his sphere of caring and provided “advice” to some of my friends when good discretion wasn’t exercised. Dad always supported me but challenged me when he knew I could do better.
Discipline - perhaps due to his military experience or his tough upbringing, we learned through his example that success is not found in just one big push, but rather in showing up every day and giving it everything and then some.
“Circle the wagons” - I have witnessed no stronger support system then when any member of our family is in trouble. Regardless of personal highs and lows, the family pulls together in our time of need. I can’t say enough about the value of this.
Importance of education - we never discussed if we were going to college, but where and why. Also, a love of literature: I recall countless times when our family would be flopped about the house all with books in hand. I continue to rely on reading as a way to escape and learn. My guilty pleasure on the plane!
As I have become an adult it has become even clearer, that I’m exceptionally fortunate to have such a strong male role model in my life. To have been blessed with two exceptional parents is a gift for which I’m forever grateful and a bit in awe. Because Dad taught us to take the right, not the easy, route, part of his legacy will always live in me as I carry his example into my sphere of influence, and I will always strive to make him proud. Thank you for all of this and so much more, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!
All my love,
Kimberley Jo Matheson Shedrick #1 daughter
Gifts From Mom
April 28th, 2010
Every year I wrestle over the perfect gift for my chic Mom. This year, in addition to something lovely from mySpaShop, I decided to give Mom a dedication of sorts, a reminder of the cherished gifts from her, which live in me.
My favorite gifts from Mom:
Unconditional love and support ~ which has enabled me to love others in kind.
A never-ending belief that I would succeed ~ allowing me to develop a confident sense of self.
Fun and lighthearted living ~ resulting in the ability to play with abandon (one of my favorite gifts)
Lovable family ~ large, colorful, charismatic, loud, wonderful aunties, uncles, 30+ cousins with a commitment to getting together and celebrating each other.
A Model of Commitment ~ Mom and Dad just celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary!
Tasteful Entertaining ~ move over Martha Stewart! Mom does it right. Elegant decorating, world class cooking, Ikebana floral arrangements and most importantly: making people feel welcome.
Intuition ~ Mom can reach my heart from the West Coast.
Competitive juices ~ tennis is her 2nd job and many have witnessed my spirited quest for victory in that sport!
Style ~ did I mention she’s chic? She’s eclectic, she embraces art and culture, and she knows how to shop!
Professional ~ She always impressed that we must have a career to support ourselves, and to never be without skills to see us through. Her current career is supervising student teachers – I know how lucky they are to have her as a mentor.
Friendship ~ she’s the very best – an infinite source of loyalty, compassion and understanding.
I’m forever grateful to have this spirited, avant-garde, powerful, loving, and fun Mom. I hope everyone feels as lucky as I do this Mother’s Day.
I love you, Mom!
Kimberley Jo Matheson Shedrick
LIVING SPA TRENDS
June 27, 2009
The extraordinary growth and resiliency of the global Spa and Well-Being Industry has been fueled both by cutting edge technology and ancient ideas in health, wellness, fitness, beauty, design, and cuisine. Spas have long been a wonderful resource to seek respite, as well as a place to educate oneself in a safe environment with caring professionals. These gifts have never been more essential as the stresses of everyday life continue to pile up. Living Spa is a necessity for transformative well being, not a self-indulgent, pampering extravagance.
Consider the pillars of Well-Being as set forth by hospitality giant Starwood Hotels and Resorts: Beauty - address the esthetic; Life Balance - Spiritual; Harmony - body; Aqua - qualities of water; Vitality-aerobic activity; Nature - sense of place; Nutrition - address balanced health.
For a point of contrast I also reviewed Don Colbert, MD’s seven pillars of health which include Water, Sleep and Rest, Living Food, Exercise, Detoxification, Nutritional Supplements and Freedom of stress. As you can see the Spa and medical world continue to merge.
In this article I’d like to address the prevalent trends that are molding spas, well-being centers, integrative wellness centers and hospitals. The macro-trend indicates a “well-being” merging of these once independent sources.
I have been happily involved in the spa industry for more than 20 years. As a Spa Consultant that has developed projects around the world, I’ve been fascinated by the discovery of a global spa culture and unspoken language. During a recent visit to Doha, I had the privilege of visiting with some of the local women and their children. Initially we were quite shy of one another as we felt there was little we had in common. However, as soon as I brought up Spas, the conversation became quite animated and flew through topics such as make-up, fitness and beauty tips.
I’ve found great joy in visiting exotic lands such as Qatar, Moscow, the Caribbean, Ireland , and Canada where I call on local healers, bath houses, spas, etc. This has, of course, offered amazing exposure. I also attend conferences and symposiums to stay abreast of the business and emerging trends within the Spa world.
1. The New Frontier- Brain Health and Mind Spas
“Think About Your Future, Maintain Your Brain Today!” When people think about staying fit, they generally think from the neck down. But the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, seeing, hearing, working, and playing – even sleeping.
The good news is that we now know there’s much you can do to help keep your brain healthier as you age. These steps might also reduce your risk of many neurological disorders and general cognitive decline.
The Mind Health Project has put together some of the most comprehensive non-invasive and drug free programs to promote mental health for optimal brain function; these techniques will also assist in defending your brain against a wide range of mental health disorders. “We use the most rigorously researched technologies in our pursuit of the very best results for our clients.”
Other resources include “MindSpa” developed by Ruth Olmstead, PhD, which uses brainwave entrainment to effortlessly improve relaxation, attention span, and cognitive performance. There are other brain-enhancing rhythms with clinically proven results.
Be on the lookout for ways to maximize your mental state of health!
2. Spa and Medical Worlds Unite!
Explore the unlimited potential and transformative well-being being offered by Spas, Hospitals, Medical Tourism and the study of Genomics. Celebrate the arrival of the future: the Trifecta of Spas, Hospitals and Resorts is creating an unprecedented hybrid model of the best resources and experiences of each.
Picture a hospital with serene gardens, feng-shui’d surroundings, organic food, Spa and integrative services… Patients are becoming guests, healthcare and hospitality are united and spa services are inspiring both the patients and their families.
Genomics is here to stay. Discover a highly personalized and multi-disciplinary approach that assesses genetic testing, personalized medicine, lifestyle advice, pre-symptomatic state, mental fitness, and electromagnetic aura. Fueled by virtual medical records, increased access to information, telemedicine and continuity of care; diagnosis and treatment will be increasingly streamlined and effective. Recently at the Global Spa Summit, Physicians and Spa Professionals explored ways to collaborate on our parallel commitment to maximizing personal well-being.
Medical Tourism and Health Care Clusters are growing in popularity. The phenomenon of people traveling the globe for the ultimate in price, experience and precision in aesthetic or traditional procedures has increased dramatically.
Spas will be broadly considered a preventative health measure as opposed to an indulgent pamper session. Scientific and medical data support that spa and wellness practices such as balanced nutrition, exercise, meditation, massage, hydrology, laughter and prayer have discernible physiological, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
3. Glow Gracefully ~ Life Beyond Botox
Recent stresses and global concerns have stimulated a renaissance of values. These include natural efforts towards exuding inner beauty and aging naturally. What if you want to get rid of wrinkles or “expression lines” but don’t want Botox?
Sophisticated serums, which combine a variety of innovative technologies, will target your areas of concern, while still allowing for mobile expressions. A synergistic physiological complex creates an instant tightening and “lifting” sensation and helps firm and plump the skin, softening wrinkles. Other effective techniques include facial acupressure, and daily self massage, and let’s not forget the benefits of hiding forehead wrinkles behind bangs!
Traditional Chinese Medicine and innovative science both recommend responsible consumption of critical ingredients for best results. Supplements are becoming a mainstay of the skincare industry.
Last but not least, having an exercise routine will assist with proper posture, graceful gait, detoxification, de-stressing, and confidence, all of which greatly enhance attractiveness!
4. Do it Yourself Spa~ At-Home Remedies, Recipes for Seasonal and Daily Living.
Live Spa rather than just visit spas by integrating Spa practices into your home and lifestyle. A healthy existence throughout the seasons can be achieved by addressing the six senses and utilizing homeopathic remedies. Titillate with candles, sumptuous throws, aromatherapy oils for skin and bathing; turn your bathroom into a mini-spa with bathing products, perfume bottles, high quality linens and robes, spa products; learn how to provide your lover with a massage; teach your teen healthy habits. Identify what you would like to improve and allow experts at spas or virtual spas such as www.myspashop.com to assist you in concocting the perfect personalized remedies for you and your family.
An example: to maximize your beauty sleep (a common and chronic concern), explore options that drastically improve crucial rest that include music, visualization, aromatherapy, yoga poses, exercise, tea, baths, etc. Sweet dreams!
5. Gifts from Mother Earth ~ Flower Power, Gems, Natural Products and Food-based Therapies that you don’t eat!
There is a plethora of choices for body/skin care, clothing and accessories that are made with the earth’s bounty and using sustainable practices. Flowers and fragrant herbs have long inspired chemists and aroma-therapists. Now diamonds, pearls and semi-precious gems are being used to create brilliant products and jewelry with intention. Bamboo, hemp and organic clothing are providing environmentally responsible fashion options. Previously known only as consumable delicacies, many cutting edge products now have healthy food ingredients that are excellent for the skin, including: caviar, pomegranate, papaya, peach, tea and coffee, chocolate, green vegetables, etc.
6. Family Friendly
Thankfully every generation and gender have products and services that have been custom designed for their unique needs ~ babies, toddlers, adolescents, teens, young adults, vibrant adults, and seniors enjoying their golden years.
Men now represent 30% of Spa Revenue (20 years ago they comprised just 10%). Male products range from old-school to hip.
Spas are increasingly becoming learning labs for stress reduction, healthy lifestyles and innovative ways to take care of self and loved ones. Positive emotional experiences within and beyond the spa are a great way for a family of all generations to recreate and grow together.
Spas designed specifically for children are becoming more popular. Don’t be surprised if your young child is invited to a spa or manicure party!
7. Resurgence of Global Healing Techniques and “Taking the Waters”
As our world becomes smaller and cultures look beyond themselves for effective and exotic means of healing, beauty and vibrant living, techniques from across the globe are finding their way into local spas.
Sanus Per Aquam (Health Through Water) has been around since the beginning of time. Spiritual bathing has long been a divine rite. The Ancient Sumerians, Romans, Greeks and Egyptians all embraced water rituals with unique characteristics. Living traditions were crafted by Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The term spa originally came from the healing waters in Spa, Belgium, but has obviously come to mean so much more. Spa has become eponymous with facilities that possess special health giving properties. Hydrology, Balneotherapy, Thalassotherapy, Hydrotherapy and other healing water techniques have been medically proven to improve specific conditions. In some ways, the United States has been late to the game, perhaps because our nation is relatively new, and not based on an ancient civilization. That is changing now, as we see Spas embracing the waters and re-interpreting ways to introduce ancient rituals.
Other global techniques that are being introduced in unlikely places include:
• Russian Banya and Platza (soaked birch leaves body treatment); the use of coffee
• From India, Ayurveda, the science of life, is estimated to be well over 3,000 years old. It is based on the premise that each individual has a unique constitution. Do you know your Dosha? Use of herbs, oils, and balanced diet practices
• The Far East has long enjoyed Onsen bathing, tea ceremonies, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Yoga
• Indigenous healing techniques, sacred to natives the globe over, have long utilized local resources to heal and improve beauty.
• The Turkish Steam or Hamam, which was a vital part of daily life, social gathering and ritual cleansing, is being built into Spas everywhere.
• Also Hawaiian Lomilomi, Thai Massage, and Chinese Tui Na.
All of these exotic treatments are becoming more and more accessible, and “cross-pollinating” with each other, much like fusion cuisine.
Other relevant trends that will continue the Spa Lifestyle:
• De-Stress now!
• How technology will impact this high-touch business
• Impressive strides in sustainable spas and products provided by a keen collective consciousness
• Resolution of the organic vs. natural labeling and certification conundrum
• Spa on the go: trains, planes and mobile spas
• Frequent micro pleasures