Category Archives: Small Business

Vaccines and Evidence or Fear Based Practice

I get a little irritated at health care professionals and health care educators who tout Evidence Based Practice in the same breath as proclaiming that everybody needs to get vaccinated against everything, and if you don’t get vaccinated against everything you’re just not educated.  Poor uneducated stupid people.

Vaccinating is just one issue of this point on Evidenced Based Practice that I want to make.

Evidence based practice means questioning with a critical mind and evaluating ALL the evidence.  Just because there is research on something doesn’t mean the method is sound.  Evidence based practice means evaluating all the research, evaluating the client’s history, the need for the intervention, as well as the culture of conformity in which it exists.

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t get vaccinations.  I am saying that if you really wanted to make an educated decision about whether to get them you would evaluate the disease, the likelihood of contracting it here in the States, whether you will be traveling to a region where that disease is prevalent, the percentage of adverse reactions associated with that vaccination, who did the research, as well as the size, duration, and efficacy of the trial period of that particular vaccine.

We have a polarized cultural climate around vaccinations.  This does not help us reach an educated decision about whether and when to vaccinate.  It’s understandable that the government would prefer that everybody get vaccinated in the interest of herd immunity.  It’s also understandable that they would want people to be afraid of getting sick or losing a child to an illness to encourage compliance with immunizations.  But the truth of it is, it’s your body and nobody can force you to alter it.  Well, unless you get Ebola or Tuberculosis.  Then all bets are off.

In opposition to the government stance on vaccinations are the families who have suffered losses from adverse reactions to vaccinations.  Some have lost children.  Some have children permanently damaged for the rest of their lives.  Their experience is real as well.  It is understandable that they would want to shout from the rooftops how evil and horrible and scary immunizations can be.`

In the middle of it all are the pharmaceutical companies.  They stand to gain billions every time a new vaccine is mandated.  Why not come up with a vaccine for everything and anything.  People don’t want to suffer from common colds.  Get a vaccination for it.  After all, the payoff is HUGE.

On the other hand, it’s good for healthy people to get sick.  Not small pox or polio, but colds and the flu and the chicken pox–there are a lot of illnesses that are part of life, and developing natural immunity, allowing your immune system to do its job is a good thing.  It makes us stronger and it might mean better immunity than a vaccination.

The person who gives you your vaccinations is required to give you an information sheet about the vaccination, but I’ve never seen anybody read the sheet or try to understand it.  Not even the person giving the vaccine.  If they did read it, seriously, they would see that there are some very real adverse reactions that could jack up your life when you get that vaccination.  And the reality of it is that we don’t really have good data about how often adverse reactions occur or how severe they are because in this culture of conformity and Fear Based Practice we are bullied into believing that we would be stupid to even question if a vaccination is safe, much less to believe that we should report an adverse reaction to the VAERS (what is that anyway?).

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a very personal decision.  Most people just trust the health department, and for the most part that works out just fine.  I’ve been shot up with everything, probably multiple times.  And while I did not see the point of vaccinating my infants at the ripe old age of 2 months, now that they are older (my youngest is nine) they are all up to date on their vaccines.  Well, except for Ben.  He had an adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine and we applied for a medical exemption to keep him from having to get the second shot.

I know people who have suffered from Guillain Barre syndrome after a flu vaccine-losing the ability to walk for several years, and people whose children were sick for months after receiving vaccinations.  I don’t know anybody who ever reported an adverse reaction, and I’m pretty sure there is no benefit to the doctor, financial or otherwise, to report a reaction.  It’s just more unnecessary paperwork.

I did not live through the polio epidemic, but I do know people whose children survived pertussis at a young age.  It’s got to be difficult watching your children coughing so much that they can’t breathe and they are losing weight because of the coughing and gagging and inability to get air.

Whether or not to vaccinate is a heavy decision if you take it seriously.  But people on either side would do well to reconcile to the middle.  We need vaccines.  We also need to look at each of them critically.  And we especially need to advocate for education and not bully people into making decisions because our culture allows it.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment 479-251-7422

 

Cask and Grove

Christmas Local Shopping Guide

Cask and Grove
Cask and Grove, a new oil and vinegar shop on Center Street.
As a small business owner, I value small businesses. We have the best small business community here in Fayetteville, with very unique, high quality, one of a kind talents, services, and goods.
When I’m thinking about getting a gift for a family member, friend, or colleague I actively look for things to buy that they can’t find anywhere else, that are unique to their personality, and that are high quality and local.  I want my money to stay in my community. I don’t want it to go to some corporate headquarters that got tax subsidies for bringing their ginormous, monochromatic styles to our city.
I want to shop in a place where people make eye contact, say “hey, how are you doing, I’m so glad to see you.”
I want to connect with people from my community when I’m in their businesses. Revel in what they are geeky about. Be excited about their skills and talents.
I like to walk into a small local business and know that there is only one store on the planet with this particular layout. It is unique. It has its on flavor. And it is beautiful.
We are lucky to live in a place with such active support of small local businesses. This community really shows that we put our money back into our community, supports our local businesses, uniqueness, and diversity.
The best vote we have in this country is where we spend our dollars. We choose what we believe in every time we spend. I believe in Fayetteville local businesses.
Thank you for shopping local this season.
There are some fabulous new shops downtown.  Andrea K. who used to do massage here with us at I.M. Spa opened up her own local business called Cask and Grove. I never knew that there was a whole world of infused oils and balsamic vinegars.  When you go in there you can taste all the flavors, like fig balsamic with blood orange olive oil, or peach balsamic with chipotle olive oil.  They’re on Center Street just across from Taste of Thai.
Center Street Mercantile
Center Street Mercantile
Another fabulous new shop that just opened up is The Center Street Mercantile. It’s underneath David Adams jewelry shop.  They have intricately beaded bracelets, hand made laundry soaps, and cleaning supplies, hand carved crafts, locally sourced jams, even crocheted flamingos.
Foxtrot
Foxtrot

And our newest neighbor on Block Street is Foxtrot.  They have one of a kind styles and if you are in the neighborhood to check out their boutique, you get the bonus of being able to pet their resident chocolate lab.

I.M. Spa (of course!) bubble bath, body scrubs, skin care, candles, and gift certificates
The Mustache-All kinds of great gifts.  Brian and his wife have brought a unique shop together sourcing local independent goods all from their travels all over the country.
Surf Arkansas at the Moustache
Surf Arkansas at the Moustache
Little Bread Co. (great handmade cookies-with your kids names on them, custom cakes, and pastries)
Wit & Whimsy-Boutique. This young woman is an inspiring entrepreneur from Missouri who came to Fayetteville with her fashion and business. Love her.
Ultra Studios-Fashion boutique & salon. Brooke Benham owns this beautiful shop and now she does hair too.  Love it here.
Himalayan Mountain Shop-cool imports from Nepal & Bhutan.  Have I told you lately how much I LOVE Lama Thinley and Sandy from the Himalayan Mtn. Shop?  Their store is awesome!

Lama Thinley at the Himalayan Mtn Shop
Lama Thinley at the Himalayan Mtn Shop
Block Street Records-records, cds, music
Handmade Market-lovely gift shop
Dark Star Visuals-Bead,Specialty gifts, and Boutique. Stacy at Dark Star is old school Fayetteville and a treasure to have downtown.  Her most recent passion is healing stones.  They are dazzling. Ask her about them when you go in. Everybody needs a little healing.

Dark Star Visuals
Dark Star Visuals
Savoir Faire-Boutique
Riffraff-Boutique
World Treasures-Guatemalan Imports. I aspire to go back and forth to Guatemala as often as these guys do. In the meantime I can pick up gifts for my family there that give us a taste of what it is like there. So grateful to have them in our neighborhood of shops.

World Treasures
World Treasures
Uncle Sam’s-Outdoor Gear and apparel.
Flying Possum Leather-Birkenstock and leather shop
Swifts-Jewelry store
Terra Tots-Earth Friendly Kid Shop
Blue Moon Music-awesome stringed music shop and instrument repair
Good Things Boutique– organic clothing boutique
Nightbird Books-Keep this treasured book store hopping!  Shop there often. My kids always ask for gift cards from Nightbird (especially Ben-he’s a readaholic).
Pack Rat-These guys have had this shop for a looong time. They are committed to clean, green products, community, and anything outdoors.  Love them.  And when you go shop there, say hey to my son Levi!

Levi Helping Ben With the Climbing Wall
Levi Helping Ben With the Climbing Wall
Packrat Owners, too beautiful!
Packrat Owners, too beautiful!
Don’t forget the Little Craft Show is coming up this weekend!
And if you want good eats while you are out and about:
Zuppa Zuppa soup kitchen is at the Yacht Club. Ann is definitely a master chef.  Good healthy eats to be had over there and that is hard to come by.
Zuppa Zuppa
Zuppa Zuppa

Taste of Thai is always amazing and we are addicted to their Evil Jungle Prince with Vegetables!

Green House Grille has organic, locally sourced foods that are yummy.

Farmer’s Table just opened this year and it is run by this amazing couple who are so active in our community working with Feed Fayetteville to improve foods in our community.  Good stuff!

There are tons more great food places at the Yacht Club on College, Center Street, and Dickson.  So many flavors, so little time.

And I almost forgot!  We have this sweet new tea shop downtown called Savoy Tea Company that sells great drinks, smoothies, and teas.  It’s a great place to take your neice or nephew for a date (that’s what I like to do!) and have special one on one time.

And you should definitely check out Underwood Jewelers on Dickson Street.

And if you have a kid who likes longboarding (or a grown up kid) you HAVE to go to The Path.  They even kept me from shopping at the mall this season cuz they carry Vans shoes.

And we just discovered this beautiful shop on College Avenue, Dick Palmer Archery.  He is 81 years old and has been there making custom made arrows since forever.  He stocks leather finger guards and quivers for arrows, hunting gear, and even slingshots.  I have been in Fayetteville since 1993 and I am just now discovering this hidden gem.  And I have 4 boys.  Jeez!  Please go check it out.  He’s a treasure.
I heard there is a new gourmet kitchen shop on Dickson Street but I’m not sure where it is yet.  And Lauren Jamesstarted out as an online store but just set up brick and mortar on Dickson Street as well.

 

Our website (I.M. Spa) has been updated to make it easy to buy gift certificates.  You can find us here

 

I.M. Spa Gift Card
I.M. Spa Gift Card

Can’t wait to see you downtown! There are sooo many good things happening here! Come discover them!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

Claudia at Mt. Sequoyah

Tools for Getting Out of Pain

Claudia teaches at Mt. Sequoyah
Claudia teaches at Mt. Sequoyah

Sometimes massage gets people out of pain.  Sometimes chiropractic or acupuncture gets people out of pain.  And sometimes Claudia gets people out of pain.

A little help
A little help

When I think about Claudia doing her thing next door at BFit, I see her leading a class of world class athletes who are sweating and cursing while she’s doing the exercises alongside of them, breathing easily with a smile on her face.  She’s a badass.

But that’s just one aspect to the work she does.  She excels in one on one rehab work with people who want to get out of pain, or people who just want to get in better shape and develop more endurance.

Recently I had a client who I had been trying to help with some chronic hip issues over many months.  She had been going to chiropractic as well and still could get no relief.  And it goes without saying that we can straighten you out, balance your energy meridians, and soften your tissue till the cows come home, but if you are not moving well, or if you go right out and get back into your same old hurtful movement (as well as thought and emotional) patterns, you are not going to get better.

That’s where Claudia comes in.  She teaches people how to move well.

After our client went to see Claudia for a while, her pain was gone.  Why?  Because Claudia worked with her to train her body to move better.

Claudia has a background in dance and has been doing some volunteer yoga work with the women’s prison, inspired by the Prison Yoga Project.

Claudia in the women's prison
Claudia in the women’s prison

I’ll be doing another, more in depth piece about what Claudia has been up to.  She inspires me so.  But for now, if you want to learn more about how you can incorporate better movement into your life to help you get out of pain, watch the BFit Fayetteville Facebook Page for her next FREE Foundation Training event.  Or better yet, hit her up for some one on one training.  She’s the best.

479.283.8704 
claudia@bfitfayetteville.com

You can also learn more about Foundation Training here.  Or find some Foundation Training exercises to do on Youtube.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

Thai Massage for Health

Thai massage is a beautiful modality of massage therapy and I always tell people that receiving a Thai massage is like somebody doing yoga to you and massage all at the same time.  And yes, it’s that good.

Thai Hip Stretch
Thai Hip Stretch

I was lucky enough to study Thai massage in Thailand in 2009 and have not yet made it back as much as I would like to.  I’d love to take my whole family to Thailand.  It’s an amazing country and it has spoiled me for traveling other places.  Nothing compares.

Thai Spinal Twist
Thai Spinal Twist

Thai massage doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a nap the way a Swedish massage does.  You get up from a Thai massage relaxed, but ready to get on with your day.  The deep pressure stimulates the Sen Sib lines, the stretches are divine, and the overall effect is therapeutic, relaxing, and energizing.

Thai Backbend
Thai Backbend
Backbend with a Lift
Backbend with a Lift

If you have always wanted to try something different at the spa and didn’t know what to do, you might consider getting a Thai Massage. It’s pretty good mojo. I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but her back is arched onto my knee and I’m lifting her arms to give a little traction to her spine.

Thai Stretch
Thai Stretch
Hip Stretch
Hip Stretch
Spinal Twist
Spinal Twist

I wish I could wake up every morning with a Thai Massage!  Next time I go to Thailand I’ll let you know.  We could take a group.  Did I mention that Thai massages in Thailand cost about $3 for an hour?  Yeah.  You’ll want to go.

Call I.M. Spa to schedule a Massage: 479-251-7422

 

 

 

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

Julie gets a deep massage

Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco, Texas

One of our most excellent, awesome clients, Alpha, recommended that we travel through Frisco on our trip to celebrate I.M. Spa surviving me being in nursing school full time.   Why Frisco?  There is a quirky little, hole in the wall foot massage place, where they’re not very good at advertising, marketing, signage, or branding.  But they’re amazing at Chinese Foot Massage.  It’s called Shuang Feng Foot Massage.  And for $30 each, all 6 of us from our little day spa here in Arkansas, piled out of my minivan in Frisco Texas, and received a full hour of Chinese foot massage together.

Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco Texas.
Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco Texas.

Chinese foot massage isn’t really just a foot massage.  It starts with a hot foot soak and foot massage, but it is a full body experience.

And it’s not anything like what we do at I.M. Spa where we’re all about connection and, ‘How are you feeling?  Do you like deep pressure, medium pressure?  What would you like me to focus on during your massage?”  That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just a different focus.  It’s actually quite amazing and great.

The focus is definitely on stimulating energy lines.  The massage was methodical, deep, and sometimes uncomfortably so, but the goal was not to send us into a relaxing coma.  The goal was to balance the acupressure meridians.  If you get relaxed in the process that’s great, but not required.

Wendy Gets 'Foot' Massage
Wendy Gets ‘Foot’ Massage

When we got done with our massage and were all talking about it on the sidewalk, everybody admitted that there was a point in the massage when the pressure was uncomfortably deep around the throat and there wasn’t really a way or time to adjust our bodies or communicate with the therapist to ask for lighter pressure.  We all just suffered through, hoping that part would end soon.  And it did.

Jessica Crass was particularly happy with the deep pressure of this massage.  Loved it.

The therapists really work hard in this kind of

 Julie gets a deep massage
Julie gets a deep massage

massage.  The amount of pressure is intense and constant.  I felt guilty that they only charged $30 for the session and left a good tip.

When my therapist was done with me she said, “You done, Lady,” and tapped me on the shoulder.  I felt amazing.  I was sore for two days afterwards, but in a good way.

And I guarantee you, the next time I go to Texas to visit my family, I’m making a one hour stop in Frisco at the Shuang Feng foot massage place.  Let me know if you want to join me.

Oh, and don’t get discouraged when you are looking for the place and you don’t feel like you can find it.  This is what their store front looks like:

Shuang Feng Front Door
Shuang Feng Front Door
Shuang Feng Price list
Shuang Feng Price list

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

I.M. Spa girls at King Spa

Spa Girls Road Trip to King Spa, Dallas.

To celebrate making it through a semester of Nursing School we took the team from I.M. Spa to Dallas to explore Raw Food Restaurants and spend some time at King Spa, a Korean Jimjilbang.  Seriously though, the only way to get Jessica Crass to relax is to extract her from her environment and stick her in a spa where there is no other choice.  Some of us are just driven.

We Made It!
We Made It!

It costs $30 to get into King Spa and you can stay for 24 hours.  Any services cost extra.  At the reception they gave us some towels, uniforms, and a locker key.  We took off our shoes and entered the locker room.

We locked up all of our belongings (and yes I mean all of them), showered, and those who wanted to steam room, hot tub, and cool plunge stayed in the shower areas.  Everybody else put on their T-shirt and shorts uniform and headed out to the 9 dry sauna rooms in the co-ed area.

I.M. Spa girls at King Spa
I.M. Spa girls at King Spa

In the shower area is where they do the full body scrubs, and we do mean full body.  I thought I was going to brave up and do one, but after everything I learned about my microbiome and resident bacteria in my skin and how much they protect me from other pathogenic bacteria I decided to keep my microbiome intact.  The women who work in the full body scrub area come to work in a bra and panties.  And while this might seem off putting to us Westerners, the comfort that they have in their bodies makes the locker room nudity a nonissue.  It helps, if you are not comfortable with locker room nudity, that there are all body types in the shower areas.  Every body is different and every body is perfect, just the way it is.  It’s just a body.

Spa Crew
Spa Crew

I don’t think the girls thought we could possibly spend 9 hours lounging at the spa, but that is exactly what we did and it was lovely.  Of course I ended up taking a Pathophysiology class this summer so I spent half of my time at the spa studying and taking an online quiz.  And I’m so grateful to Jessica for driving down there so I could study in the car.

Yes.  I know. I’m a downer on road trip.  I’m a very focused person.

Since we had all gotten ‘foot massages’ earlier in the day at Shuang Feng in Frisco, none of the girls got services at King Spa, but they do offer amazing foot massages (not the full body ‘foot massages’ you get at some Chinese massage places), full body scrubs that people rave about, acupressure massage, and vaginal steams (for the health of your lady parts).

I love that it’s a family oriented health spa and whole families come in together and will lounge together.  Women brush their teeth and scrub their own bodies from head to toe in the showers.  It’s a very comfortable and relaxed environment for families.  There is even a Korean restaurant inside the spa.

Oh, and I almost forgot.  King Spa just opened up a Water Park that is attached to the spa.  It has a swim up bar (where Katie and Julie felt right at home), slides, and waterfalls with access to the outdoors as well.

Jessica and I made a point of doing the alternating hot tub and cool pool for the health of it.  Alternating hot and cold is great for the circulatory system, the immune system, and has been used over the ages for the health benefits.  Besides, it’s a shocking good time!

Lots of our clients said that they would like to caravan out with us next time we survive a semester.  You are welcome to join us!

We were thinking Colorado, but Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and New Mexico are options too.  Any suggestions?

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

You Can’t Lie to Heart Disease

You can’t lie to Heart Disease.

My husband Craig wasn’t feeling very good and was donating plasma to help with his tuition when the phlebotomist turned him away on 3 separate occasions because of high lipid levels in the plasma.

They didn’t say to him, “Hmm, maybe you should go get that checked.  That’s a lot of fat in the plasma.”  Craig took it upon himself to get it checked at the doctor.

His LDLs, the low density lipoproteins that are supposed to be under 100, were up to 148.  This is not a good thing for him.

How Atherosclerosis Happens
How Atherosclerosis Happens

LDLs are the ‘bad fats’ that clog up arteries and lead to atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Craig’s doctor told him that day that he needed to start taking Lipitor to manage those fats.

The doctor didn’t say, “Hmm, your LDLs are really high.  That can lead to atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.  Obviously we need to get the fat content in your blood down and the best way to do that is with food.  Here are some resources for how to do that.  You also need regular exercise, here are some resources for that.  If your LDLs are still high after this many weeks, we can consider Lipitor.  But you should know that any time you take a medication there are side effects and it’s in your best interest to fix this with diet and exercise now while you can still fix it because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and you don’t want to be one of that number.”

If Craig was anybody other than who he is, he would have come away from that doctor’s visit feeling like a victim, like something horrible was happening (and it is), but that it was out of his control.  He would have gone down the path of medication and becoming his disease.  He would have continued to put trashy food in his body and feel like there was nothing he could do about his condition which would inevitably decline.  He would have told his friends that his doctor told him he had to be on lipitor and wasn’t that terrible?  Part of getting older (shrug).

But Craig has been married to me for 25 years.  And I’m weird.  In a good way, but weird in that what I’m doing with my food trip is totally not mainstream.  Basically I’m an omnivore with strong raw food tendencies, such that 80 to 90% of my intake is raw vegan goodness.  My kids don’t know what a Happy Meal is.  Craig has watched me get my wakeup call to change my relationship with food because of my anaphylactic allergies.

He sees me living it, hears me talking it, watches me eat, sleep, and breathe real live raw food.  Sometimes he eats it.  But obviously not always.  So when he got the wakeup call at the doctor’s office about his LDL count he refused the lipitor and started doing more grocery shopping for himself.  He’s walking 5 miles to the bus stop every day for exercise, and I’ve been seeing him making green smoothies and veggies more than his comfortable nut and seed mix.

He says he was grabbing convenience foods when he was at class and away from home.  Pizzas, sugary muffins, fast food.  You can lie to yourself and the people around you, but your body is not nearly as forgiving.

It will be interesting to see how fast he can get that number down and how his weight will change in the process because right now he has a good heft around his midsection, another risk factor for heart disease.

In the meantime, my entrepreneurial head is wondering how to incentivize doctors to educate and empower their patients (as if getting healthy wasn’t a good enough motivator).  Surely there is a business model that can provide an alternative to enabling patients and our addictive bad eating habits.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

A Spa Day in the Life

A spa day in the Life.

Woke up this morning, homemade raw granola with almond milk for breakfast.  Drove to the food co-op to refill the spa water jug and bought a Kale, Lime, and Apple juice drink.  Pulled into work at the spa.  It’s Farmer’s Market today so big crowd downtown and all the local shops have outdoor sales today because it is the Dog Days of Summer sale.  Dark Star Visuals, Flying Possum Leather, Swift’s Jewelers, Town and Country, Terra Tots, The Mustache.  These are the people that make up the fabric of our community.  I love them.

Went by Little Bread Company to pick up chocolate covered strawberries for a spa girl party at I.M. Spa.

Farmer’s Market with beautiful bouquets walking by, babies in strollers, dog’s on leashes.  Music on every corner.  Fresh blackberries, cause you know it’s July.  Zucchini, lettuce, TOMATOES!  Lots of tomatoes.  Good tomatoes.  Beefsteak tomatoes.  Basil and rosemary, and everything that smells like summer.  And did I mention bouquets?  Big, beautiful bouquets.

At work we did a spa party for 10 year old girls while their moms walked the market.  We did another spa party for a bride to be and 5 of her friends.  I did a foot massage for some poor sweet neuropathic feet.  I did a stress point massage for an aerial dance teacher who had no idea how tight her teres major, teres minor, and subscapularis were.  Another hour and a half massage for somebody whose 12 year old daughter conspired with relatives to buy her some spa time, how awesome is that?

Body waxes and duets happened in our space today.

A friend came by with her daughter and we dreamed about going to Tahoe for a girl’s week.  I got to see an employee whom I have not seen since she had her baby.  I love her.

Another friend came by to see if she had money on her account.  She didn’t want to use it, she’s just saving it for a rainy day.  Her baby is due soon.  She’s waiting, but she is happy  knowing she has a gift certificate.

Another woman bought $500 worth of gift certificates for 3 of her employess with gift bags of soaps as a beautiful addition.

Had C.H.E.W. (Clunk’s Hungry Express Wagon) deliver some sushi while I balanced the drawer.

11 hour day in the life of a spa girl.

Now to put on my Nursing Student Cap.  I have a test over 6 chapters of pathophysiology on Monday.  Better get cracking.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

Meet the I.M. Spa Girls

Our Lovely I.M. Spa Crew at Cosmic Cafe
Our Lovely I.M. Spa Crew at Cosmic Cafe

On our work retreat Spa Girl Travel escape to Dallas, we set out to 1.  Spend many hours at a spa lounging, 2. Explore Raw, Vegetarian, or Vegan restaurants, and 3.  Spend time with each other, not passing each other in the hallway on the way to our next treatment at work (we work at I.M. Spa).

Jennie, Julie, and Katie at our Hotel
Jennie, Julie, and Katie at our Hotel

We really have a great crew.

Jennie is our quilting queen who flies the front desk and makes sure all of our appointments come together as planned.  She writes the newsletter for the quilter’s organization in Northwest Arkansas in her downtime.  And she’s a joy to everyone she meets.  She loves this picture she took outside of the Cosmic Cafe Vegetarian restaurant in Dallas when we were there.

Cosmic Cafe Smiley Face
Cosmic Cafe Smiley Face

Julie is our sports massage gal from Iowa.  She just got married, lord help her.  Hope is in the air.  It’s a beautiful thing.  She loves to upcycle old decrepit furniture and make it beautiful again, especially if she can do it with her family members.  She’s like the stealth bomber.  We never really know when she arrives at work because she’s so stealthy.  And she has an amazing smile.

Katie is our certified skin nerd.  She loves skincare, body waxing, skincare products, and anything to do with skin.  She spends her downtime traveling to awesome concerts across the country, even as far as Boston.  We have songs on our playlist in the treatment rooms at I.M. Spa that Katie and I have to control ourselves to keep from just outright dancing during a session.  So yes, while your eyes are closed during your facial or massage appointment, we might just be dancing while we work.

Lisa is our professional people poker. (Acupuncturist or Doctor of Oriental Medicine if you prefer).  She is so zen that sometimes I just sit next to her to catch the vibe.  She’s a no drama mama of 2 from New York who had a miraculous recovery with acupuncture, couldn’t believe that people didn’t know about it, and decided that that was what she wanted to do with her life.  Pretty cool.

Jessica Crass is our powerhouse farmgirl from Missouri who traveled the world, got an education in social work, went to massage school in New Mexico, and settled in to Northwest Arkansas to have a family farm, raise a family, and build community.  When people ask me if the therapists at I.M. Spa give a deep enough massage I tell them that Jessica drives a tractor for crying out loud.  Yep.  And she’s a Doula to boot.  Hard and soft all at the same time.

Jessica. Gotta Love a Tractor Driving Gal.
Jessica. Gotta Love a Tractor Driving Gal.

Jessica Patterson, Nora, and Andrea couldn’t make it with us on the trip to Dallas.  Nora, who’s been with me since 2006, just had her second son, so she’s tied down for a while in attachment parenting land.  Nora is solid and steady as a rock.  She’s a ‘can do’ woman who loves gardening and making tinctures, crafting, and projects (like re-upholstering a chair).

Andrea, our gymnast, Ultimate playing, massage therapist trained in Oregon is similarly tied down with her sweet one year old son.  And these days we only see her intermittently.

And Patterson, our multi-talented esthetician/massage therapist is still adapting to her move to Fayettevelle from East Arkansas and needs to put down a few more roots before any travel plans can be made.  Maybe they’ll make it with us on the next trip.

These are the amazing women who make I.M. Spa tick.  They are funny, grounded, community serving, hard, soft, loving, determined, creative, flexible, beautiful, and excellent at their jobs.  They are integral threads in the fabric of our community, and I’m honored to be able to work with them and have them in my life on a daily basis.

Fayetteville is a better place because of these women.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

 

Be Raw! Live Long! A Raw Food Review.

We Spa Girls from I.M. Spa, as a work retreat, just traveled to Dallas to relax at the spa and discover excellent raw food and we were not disappointed!  Even though Dallas sadly only has one Raw Food restaurant (that I could find) the food there was beautiful and delicious, and the service was spectacular.

Be Raw!  Live Long.
Be Raw! Live Long.

When I’m checking out a new raw food restaurant, what I’m looking for is something that I’m not already doing myself.  What does this restaurant do that is different and awesome?  It turns out that while Be Raw covers the the standard spaghetti and meatballs, the Pad Thai, and Taco Salad, this dish, the Coconut Kale Enchiladas, stole the show.

Raw Food Coconut Kale Enchiladas
Raw Food Coconut Kale Enchiladas

Not only is it beautifully presented, but it is so yummy and complex.  Marinated Kale wrapped in coconut meat wraps, and drizzled with 2 types of raw cashew cheeses.  And yes those are green and red picos on the side.

If you have never encountered coconut wraps before let me just tell you that they are not easy to prepare at all.  To make them you have to use a cleaver to open a Thai coconut, scrape out the meat, whiz it up in a blender with your spices, and dehydrate them.  It’s a process.

I felt very decadent eating such hard work.

And for dessert?

Raw Food Brownie
Raw Food Brownie

Be Raw has some amazing desserts and this one was fantastic.  I have not yet ventured into the world of brownies with my raw food time in the kitchen, but this one certainly gives me something to aspire to.

What the other Spa Girls were having?

Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Raw Food Lasagna
Raw Food Lasagna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Food Taco Salad
Raw Food Taco Salad

 

Pad Thai
Pad Thai

Chocolate Cashew Cheesecake!  AAAAaaauuuuuuggghhhhh!  To die for!

Raw Food Cashew Chocolate Cheesecake
Raw Food Cashew Chocolate Cheesecake
Service With Enthusiasm
Service With Enthusiasm

Our server was fabulous.  Animated, enthusiastic, and educating everybody who had never been there before about what it means to eat raw.  You can’t see his shirt completely, but it has a picture of a dinosaur on it with text that says Lacinato Kale (dinosaur kale).  And in the teeth of the dinosaur he had colored in bits of green to show that the dinosaur had in fact been eating kale.

The I.M. Spa Girls, not including me, putting a smile on even though I am keeping them from eating.
The I.M. Spa Girls, not including me, putting a smile on even though I am keeping them from eating.

We all loved our food and  Jessica and I were still stuffed when we arrived home 5 hours later.  We also went to King Spa and Cosmic Cafe during this trip.  Details yet to come!  Fun Fun!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.