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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!

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Part of my business  model at Star Brows is about helping people have healthy bodies and learn to relax.

Most of you know that in addition to pursuing beauty by shaping eyebrows, doing makeup, waxing and giving facials, I love working with the body by doing massage and teaching dance class.

I have been creating businesses around health and fitness for 35 years! What I bring to you today are 3 health and wellness tips that can change your life.

1.) Study your food cravings: What stops the rampage started the rampage in the first place.

You have a craving and are rummaging through the pantry looking for something to satisfy it. Take note. What satisfies that craving is what is causing the urge to satisfy it in the first place.

Think about the possibility that the particular food or substance you crave is, or contains something that your body is sensitive to.

This is obvious in the case of toxic substances like alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, sweets and empty carbs right? But healthy foods can be the culprit too. As an example: I crave fruit – all the time. I’m beginning to believe I have a sugar imbalance issue that I need to explore.

When you eat the substance you crave your body sends out histamines and endorphins to counteract the sensitive reaction. This gives you a natural “high.” But after that high comes a crash and your body will crave what caused the high. Pay attention to what that could be. What are the ingredients? You may even want to write them down.

Next time you have a familiar craving, notice what the ingredients have in common? Avoid them and see if the craving ends. If you control the use of that “substance” in your diet, you will feel better.

2.) Sleep. You know you need it, how much? That’s up to each individual.  I like 9 hours at night and 20 minutes during the day (on the floor, not the bed).

Did you know that light inhibits the production of melatonin ( a sleep hormone)? Computer and television screens count as light. 😉 Have a period of time before you try to fall asleep of quiet darkness. Prayer and meditation is a sure-fire way for me to fall asleep!

3.) De-stressing is the most important thing you can do for your health.

When you are under stress, your body doesn’t know the difference between: you can’t make the deadline or you are being chased by a lion. Hormones flood your system, your blood pressure increases, lots of things are going on.

A little of this is good, especially if you are being chased by something dangerous, but constant stress will tear your body down fast. If you are tired or irritable, your body is stressed and is telling you to relax.

What relaxes you is different than what relaxes me. I have many activities and states of being that I cultivate for relaxation, here’s a few on my list (I’ve left out all the toxic forms of pseudo-relaxation):

  • Massage or spa service
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Beach walk
  • Phone calls to friends/family
  • Laughing
  • Get together with a loved one
  • Take a nap
  • Eat something healthy and yummy
  • Rest
  • Play on the computer
  • Enjoy nature
  • Dance
  • Read
  • Prayer, praise and intercession

Staying healthy isn’t just about avoiding harmful things. It means being proactive about your well-being. Your own body is the best source of health and wellness insight. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, what is it telling you right now? What do you need to add or take away in your life?

See you at the spa!

Photo credit

So, you’ve heard me say before that you have the skin you’ve inherited until about 30, and then  you have the skin you deserve after that. Which means, beautiful skin doesn’t happen naturally (just like the body!). So, what are the top 5 things to guarantee a great complexion?

1.) Find an esthetician that you can visit at least seasonally. Facials are a real boost to the health of the skin and a good way to get professional feedback on how your skin is doing and what it needs more or less of. Your esthetician will also get you hooked up with the best products to use for your skin.  Remember: Your skin is always changing, so what you use should change as well. There are seasonal changes that all skin types experience, and personal changes and stressors that are unique to you. Even if your skin is so problematic that you need a doctors help, that’s no excuse to neglect caring for it at home.

2.) Use great products even if this is a low priority or you have limited resources, there are some key product that really are a must. Let me tell you about a few of my secret weapons:

Facial sunscreen – USE THIS DAILY! In other words, don’t let UV Radiation hit your face without protection (UVA penetrates glass), and keep some in your purse (pocket) for prolonged exposure. In case you’re wondering, the numbers on the bottle don’t mean much; the use of them is unregulated. What does mean something is “full spectrum coverage.” Zinc Oxide is the key ingredient for achieving that.  Not to give you a science lesson, but Zinc Oxide is what lifeguards used to wear before they developed a clear formula.  (Remember that thick white stuff that covered their t-zones?) It’s an important ingredient because it is natural. You don’t have to get it full strength (bit much) but try to get a sunscreen with Zinc Oxide as an active ingredient.

Moisturizer with Sodium Hyaluronate – Sodium Hyaluronate is a polysaccharide  found in the extracellular matrix of our connective tissue.  It is a tissue lubricant that holds over 100 times it’s weight in water.  (Ok. That was REALLY a science lesson.) As we age, this ingrediant needs to be supplemented. Bottom line? Don’t use a moisturizer without Sodium Hyaluronate as one of the top ingredients. The product I recommend is Advance by Serum from DermaQuest. It contains  40% Hyaluronic Acid. Don’t worry!  It doesn’t act like an acid (burn), it is called an acid because of its molecular size and thus, its ability to penetrate the surface of the skin.

Use a foundation everyday – Before mineral makeup came on the scene I could not get my staff (at the Spa in MN), to put makeup on women after a facial, because they didn’t want to “clog the pores”. Mineral makeup doesn’t clog pores, but not all mineral makeup is created equal. I  carry Youngblood Mineral Makeup,which also has an SPF value.  Some of the minerals reflect UV, some absorb it. When wearing mineral makeup, getting a good match is key. Using it daily is also important because the enviroment stresses the skin and mineral makeup soothes and protects it. It calms redness, conceals “spots”, and evens skin tone. It is also not a comedigenic (acne feeding) makeup.

Note: Get a small concealer brush to apply minerals under and on top of the eye area before using shadow. It adds extra  UV protection and conceals redness and dark circles.

So now that you know about some great products to care for your skin, what are the remaining three ways to guarantee a great complexion?

3.) Eat right

4.) Exercise

5.) Drink plenty of water

See you at the spa!

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

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!

Star Brows by Linda Ruberto Press Release

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Entrepreneurialism runs in the family

Paso vintner’s daughter moves to area and launches local beauty business.

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.  – November 12, 2007.   Linda Ruberto, daughter of Robert Hall, owner of the well-known Paso Robles winery of the same name, has decided to follow in her father’s footsteps by opening a business of her own in Arroyo Grande.  And though her business and her dad’s are very different, both cater to the same class of clientele:  people who enjoy the finer things in life.

Star Brows by Linda Ruberto will offer eyebrow design, body waxing, massage, and skincare and will officially open its doors Nov 12th.  The new business will be located at 1148 E. Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande.

Ruberto, a licensed esthetician and certified massage therapist, is a recent transplant from St. Paul, Minnesota.  Back home, she ran a day spa and salon, which she owned for 13 years before selling and moving to the Central Coast.

Ruberto is pleased to report that she’s been welcomed to the area with open arms—an area she is fast growing to love.  Says Ruberto, “I feel like a local already. Everywhere I go someone knows me or my family.” She describes Arroyo Grande, where she’s decided to both live and set up shop as “the perfect blend of small town friendly with a big city feel.”

According to Ruberto, she and her husband Paul have been planning this move for 6 years.  “We’ve visited the area many times over the years, for our daughter Valery’s graduation from Cal Poly and her wedding to Jonathan Hoekman, for our second daughter Angela’s move to the area to attend Cuesta College, and for visits to my dad in Paso Robles.”

Ruberto finds it “fun to be reunited with family, have a new business, and wear flip flops every day.”  She adds, “I thank this community for all the love and support I have received.”

Regarding her chosen profession, Ruberto candidly admits, “I’m obsessed with eyebrow design and am known for stopping people on the street (men too) to offer a consultation.”  About her new enterprise, she adds, “I also do body waxing, massage and shiatsu as well as skincare and chemical peels.”

Ruberto looks forward to helping her clients fulfill the Star Brows motto:  “Look for the beauty in others and recognize it in yourself.”

For additional information about Star Brows or to schedule an interview with Linda Ruberto, please call 805-722-8222 or send an e-mail to lindaruberto@gmail.com.

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