Tag Archive: Facials


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Birthday Discounts

This is my second annual March Birthday post! Here is last year’s.  Why do I do a blog post about birthdays, you ask? First of all, it’s fun. (And fun is one thing I need more of.) Second, did you know that during your birthday month you get 20% off the service of your choice. Just remind me. (That’s part of turning 56 this month: I need reminding.)

Seriously, I love birthday celebrations. The one I remember most vividly is my 18th, when I got a brand new VW bug from Mom and Pop. Wild times in ’73…too wild!

And of course there are the birth days of our four children, who will remain anonymous for the purposes of this post. I will simply talk about my pregnancy and birth experiences, hoping that, in sharing, I can speak to and help even one woman out there.

Birth Day Lessons

Birth #1

My firstborn’s special day was a medical “circus sideshow” – a scheduled Cesarean birth filled with IVs, monitors, lots of onlookers, needles, gloves, gowns, machines, and an abundant supply of powerlessness and inexperience on my part. (WHAT? I’m the customer – and isn’t the customer always right? It’s my body, my baby, my birth. You’re just helping, right?)  I had no power, not much of a voice (they called me “Mom” the whole time. Hello, I have a name), and very little choice at the hospital. (After all, this was the early ’80s.)

I beg your pardon, truly, if you are in the medical profession – but puh-lease!

But, I digress. My first birth in 1981 cost over $20,000. Big business, huh? After that harrowing experience, I joined VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), vowing that would never happen again. Wrong.

Birth #2

I thought I had grown so much smarter with the advent of my second child’s birth in 1986. I went into labor – a first! – and 48 hours later was still in labor (kind of). They had started to “pit” me (a stupid abbreviation for a Pitocin drip). Yeah, “failure to progress” they called it. I call it “I went to the hospital too soon.” The drug ravaged my body all night, and after two days of no sleep, the uterus (being artificially stimulated for so long), had lost its ability to expel the baby. (It’s a muscle, you know – the uterus, that is.) Uncle! I let them cut me wide open again.  (BTW, try getting a VBAC in Santa Maria today. What a crock.)

Now if you are reading this and have had a Cesarean, I mean no disrespect. Every woman’s journey is different and I AM NOT JUDGING YOU! I’m just telling my little story – that’s all.  OK, that’s that. Women don’t need anyone else weighing in on their personal birth story. After all, we all do our best.

Birth #3

For my third birth in 1988, I promptly told the hus that I would NOT be operated on again. (I’d rather die, I said.) D-r-a-m-a. I had a lay midwife at the house and tried to “sneak” in a home-birth (“Oops, honey, the baby is coming”), but Paul stopped making homemade chicken soup just long enough to pop in on Jeanne (my midwife) and me and find I was moving into “transition.” He got in his car and started honking. (I’m not kidding!) We had, after all, previously agreed that if I did a successful vaginal birth in a hospital, he would support a home birth next time. But I was so afraid to set foot again into those hallowed hospital halls.

When I got to the hospital, I told the nurse that she could do a physical check to see how much I had dilated – or not, once (pick your time) and that I would sign off on anything I needed to, but I wasn’t having any interventions.  The doctor showed up very late. (He was at the same Arabian horse show after-party that my dad was attending. Nice.) When he did show up, he promptly told my husband to speak privately with me about going with the program and not “rocking the boat.” But even though I had to assert myself pretty strongly (we’re not taught that as birthing women in this culture), voila, success at last!

Birth #4

Our last child was born in 1991. I was planning a home birth with doctor backup just in case. The lovely doc made it clear that it was a “secret” that he privately supported home births and that if his staff caught wind, he could not be involved.  One week before I was to go into labor, his staff “caught wind”.

That seemed a deal breaker for my husband, but dear old dad told him, “This is like climbing Mt. Everest to Linda. She needs to do it.” My husband idolized my dad, and pow! he agreed. Mom let me clean and cook for her to earn the measly $500 out-of-pocket expense for the home birth – a $15,000 savings from birth #1!

The Birthing Journey

The process of birthing is a journey. Mine was spread out over a 10 year period. (My oldest is 30 this year. My youngest is 20.) I went from the most costly and doctor/hospital-controlled birth to the cheapest, totally couple-centric birth ever. I’m not necessarily a home-birth advocate, but for me it was the right and only option in the end.

In this culture women give birth alone – not as a village. Our moms, aunties, and friends aren’t usually in attendance, and we aren’t at other women’s births either. We give birth in strange places in the midst of strange people (well meaning hospital staff). Try getting an animal to give birth under bright lights with all kinds of people around poking and prodding. You’d have to drug the animal to make that happen. They naturally choose a secluded spot.

What I learned about birth is this:

  • It’s your body and your baby. You know best.
  • You need to be surrounded with the familiar so you feel safe, relaxed, and secure.
  • Since our culture doesn’t teach us about birth, we need to educate ourselves.
  • You need to take responsibility. The outcome for yourself and your child is based on the choices you make, and it’s you who will have to endure the consequences of those choices. Others can’t and shouldn’t make the choices for you.
  • You are strong enough, brave enough, and smart enough to do what you need to do to facilitate the best scenario for yourself.
  • Have a Douala or Midwife around who trusts the natural birthing process and your wisdom, even if you choose a hospital birth.
  • Listen to other women’s birth stories and learn from them.

Pregnancy and Spa Service: The Perfect Pair-Up

Here are a few ways spa services helped me during my own pregnancies:

  • Spa services like massage empowered me and helped me learn about my body.
  • Facials kept me feeling beautiful and radiant through the arduous process of pregnancy and birth. The skin changes and really takes a beating during this whole process.
  • Working with and learning about essential oils for relaxation and good health helped tremendously – even after the baby was born.

How do the services at Star Brows support pregnancy and birth?

  • Special Body Contour Cushions are used to cradle the curves of an expectant mom. They allow you to lie face down through the ninth month – what a joy!
  • Pregnancy Massage addresses the special needs of each mother and her baby-in-utero.
  • The ligaments and muscles change as the baby grows within. Regular massage gives greater understanding to the woman of how to deal with and support these changes.
  • Facials and massage are nurturing, comforting, relaxing, and calming – needed to support a healthy, vibrant pregnancy.
  • Brazilian waxing is great during this time. Even those who shave may find it increasingly difficult to do so. One of my most popular posts of all time is Ladies; 10 Reasons why Brazilian Waxing Is Worth it.
  • Getting onto a good system for skincare – both face and body – is important to supporting the “skin” organ during a very stressful time.

See you at the spa!

Getting great skin is like raising a child; you need equal doses of discipline and TLC.

For skin, discipline means exfoliation. This is important because your skin is constantly shedding dead layers and building new cells deep in the dermal layer. The older you get, the slower this regenerative process becomes. There are three types of exfoliation that you can do at home, and professionally as well:

1.) Massage – Unless your skin is acne prone or very sensitive, massaging with the products you use to “nurture” your skin (think moisturizers, serums and Cleansing Oils!), is a form of exfoliation.

The proper technique for facial massage is as follows:

Forehead… Begin in the middle of the forehead making small circular movements out towards the temples. Repeat 5 times.

Eyes… From your temples, glide your index fingers over your brow and circle your eye sockets. The pressure should be very light. Repeat twice.

Nose… Slide your fingers down each side of your nose to the tip and up again. Repeat 5 times. End at the top of the mouth.

Mouth… Use your index and middle fingers and start at the chin, gently massage in a circular and upward motion around the mouth and lips. Bring the massage motion to the top of the mouth, under the nostrils. Repeat 5 times.

Cheeks… In a circular motion, massage outward from your chin to your earlobes, from the corners of your mouth to the middle of your ears and from your nostrils to your temples. Repeat twice, covering the whole area of the cheek.

Chin… Begin on your right where the jaw meets your ear. Using your thumb and index finger, gently slide across the jaw to your chin. Massage back to the starting point with circular motions. Repeat on the left side. Repeat 3 times each side.

Neck… Beginning at the back of the neck, massage upwards to the head with small circular motions. Repeat 5 times. Come around to the front of the neck and gently stroke upwards from the collarbone to the base of the chin. Repeat 3 times.

2.) Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) –

AHAs have been used for thousands of years, Cleopatra was said to have bathed in sour milk (lactic acid) to improve her skin tone.

They are typically derived from food products. Don’t let the word acid throw you off.  They are classified scientifically as acids, because of their ability to penetrate the skin. They dissolve the “glue” that holds the superficial layers of the skin together.

You’ll find AHAs in the Isles of Beauty, in skincare clinics or prescribed by doctors in the form of moisturizers, cleansers, serums and masks. You can use them at home or have professional treatments.

I like Tu’els Glyco-A Gel and Crystal C Serum; they have multiple AHA’s to exfoliate, brighten, strengthen, as well as calm the complexion.

3. Scrubs – This family of exfoliants clean up dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. I like Tu’el Peeling Cream a manual microdermabrasion product. Be careful with this family of products though; use sparingly and massage lightly – more is not better.

Exfoliation can be done up to 5 times per week, or until the skin manifests the desired effects. Use different forms of exfoliation, give your skin “time off” and don’t use the same products for prolonged periods – results diminish.

All exfoliants stimulate new cell growth deep in the skin, but they also create free radicals and break the skin down.

A word of caution – don’t use resurfacers or get peels unless you are willing to use an appropriate sunscreen religiously,as well as a nurturing regime to combat the challenges resurfacing presents to the skin.

Most of this post is applicable for “normal skin”. People with clinical grade acne, history of melanoma, extreme sensitivity, any skin disease like rosacea, or those who are under the care of a physician should consult a professional and proceed with caution.

Moisturizers, antioxidant serums, soothing masks, and peptides are a few of the nurturing products that are necessary when you are serious about caring for your skin.

Get a plan for loving the skin your in.

See you at the spa!

 

Last week I received an email from an editor of a local publication who wanted to do a story on  Star Brows.  Naturally, I was ecstatic and spent a good portion of my week preparing the perfect answers to all of her interview questions and even took the time to snap some new “action shots” of me at work to coincide with the interview.  Unfortunately, a few days after I sent her the materials she requested, she emailed me back to say that her senior editor was “no longer interested in the story.”  Sadly, they only wanted to focus on a service I no longer offer.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.  Who wouldn’t be? Or should I say, who hasn’t been?

Seriously. Who hasn’t gotten all excited about an upcoming event, only to find that what you’ve been anxiously anticipating wasn’t going to happen after all?  When things like that happen, we all have two choices: 1.) wallow in sorrow, self pity and schemes of revenge  (which, I’ll admit, is very tempting) or 2.) make the most of the situation by doing something constructive with the frustration (energy).  I chose option two–and hopefully you will too, when your next disappointment strikes.  And, just in case you’re needing inspiration, here’s a few suggestions for fighting off disappointment–the Star Brows way:

Exercise – Come on people – the magnificant Pacific Ocean is in our backyard and heading to the beach is one of my personal favorite forms of exercise.   In fact, while I was in Minnesota last week I got a new pair of running shoes (to walk in). While I walk, I put an ear peice in so I can pray for people, sing, and yell about things I’m angry about (Don’t worry! People won’t look at you weird. It just looks like you’re talking  on the phone!). But even if you’re not near an ocean, you can still find a place to walk and get a work out in, while your getting other things out!

Take a dance class – I teach a couple of children’s classes at Coastal Dance and Music Academy on Grande Avenue in Arroyo Grande. They offer adult ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop.  If you’re not in Arroyo Grande, there’s probably still a dance studio near you.  Look it up and get a friend to join you!

Dress up and go out clubing with friends – Native in San Luis Obispo is my favorite place to go if I want to dance the night away (and be the oldestc woman in the club!).

Get a spa service – This is one of my personal favorite ways to destress and relax. I go every month. And in case you didn’t know, I offer luxurious facials and relaxing or deep massages at Star Brows too!

Get a chiropractic adjustment or an accupuncture treatment. These are also staples for me – I can give you the names of some excellant people…call me.

Friends, Food & Family– The great thing about each of these is that they’re good together or enjoyed seperately. I married an Italian, who is also a chef, so we are real foodies; but I also adore the “soosh” (sushi – I think Umi is best in my area!). And if you have children close by, (we have 4) they bring joy unspeakable. As for friends, make all kinds so you have choices for who to hang out with!

What about you? I’ll bet you thought of a few ways to destress while I was talking care to share?

See you at the spa!

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