Category Archives: Working Mom

Hilarity ensues.

6 Commitments or New Year’s Resolutions

Today was the first day back in nursing school after a 3 week break.  And during the break I took some time to try to define what was important to me to keep up with if it was at all possible during the craziness that is full time nursing school, full time business owner, and full time mama of four boys.

Planner
My 2015 Planner (covered with post its).

Things I put in my planner were:

  1. I want to continue to run to school and to work, but I’m also training for the Hogeye Half Marathon with my son Sean (he’s 16) and Ellie, a young colleague from nursing school.  We’re training 5 days a week.  Yeah.  I don’t know how that’s gonna get done either–but there it is.
  2. I want to meditate daily-15minutes.
  3. I want to blog 3 days a week and not get onto myself if it’s not perfect.  I at least need to show up.
  4. I want to do yoga with Ben one day a week (Mondays because it’s a rest day from running).  When your nine year old kid wants to do something with you, you’d better make time for it, because God knows, soon enough he’s going to have a life that is too busy for yoga dates with mom (hopefully not, but it’s a distinct possibility).
  5. I want to continue developing my book.  Yeah, I said it.
  6. I want to invite friends over to play once a month.  Because I love them and they’re just going to have to forgive my messy home.  It is what it is.

I really don’t know if there are actually enough hours in the day for this crazy list.  But surely if I just do a little bit regularly I will be okay.  I’ll try to keep you posted on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  But if you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know that I’m buried with school work.

And if I lose my mind in the process, you’ll be hearing bout it.

Schedule your appointment at I.M. Spa :  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.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422

Grateful Year in Review: 18 Things Remembered

This has been an amazing and busy year.  I wonder if I’m normal because I take on so much work.  Does everybody do that?

There are so many amazing things I want to get into and so little time.

My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go
My Stroller makes it possible for me to run everywhere I go

My year in review:

  1. Completed 3 semesters of nursing school with a 4.0 gpa (not sure that matters to anybody but me, but there it is).

    My Clinical Group 2014
    My Clinical Group 2014
  2. Fed my family mostly vegan, mostly raw, most of the year!
  3. Ate lots of veggies out of my own garden (which was a miracle because I had zero time for gardening).
  4. Kept my business going for a whole year while I simultaneously attended nursing school.
    I.M. Spa Store Front
    I.M. Spa Store Front

    Also didn’t think that was possible.  There are amazing people who work at I.M. Spa, that’s all there is to it.

  5. Took my work crew to Dallas spas and raw food restaurants.

    I.M. Spa Crew
    I.M. Spa Crew
  6. Traveled to Disney World with my family over Spring Break.

    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
    Ben Wins the School Spelling Bee
  7. Watched my kids:  win the school spelling bee (Ben), play soccer and baseball (Zach and Ben), march in band (Sean) and go to Disney with the Band, sing a solo in the St. Paul’s Christmas Pagaent (Ben), take crazy courses in college like Calculus 3 and chemical engineering (Levi), attend their first homecoming dance (Sean), and fall in love with drumming (Zach).
  8. Floated the Buffalo River with dear friends.

    Float the Buffalo
    Float the Buffalo
  9. Saw Boston in concert.
  10. Revived my meditation practice.
  11. Ran to school and work regularly.
  12. me and my momMade dreamcatchers with my mom and just always love being with her.

    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
    Made Dream Catchers with My Mom
  13. Watched Craig pour a concrete slab for a Hot Tub that we have not yet found.  Watched Craig do amazing things in personal growth, change his food, and get his blood pressure under control with meditation.  He amazes me.  And he bikes 60 miles round trip to nursing school in Bentonville.
  14. Took my neice (Bella) to the Nutcracker.
  15. Picked blueberries with my family from Texas.
  16. Maintained my gratitude practice with my Gratitude Partner via email.  For that I am eternally grateful 🙂
  17. Snuggled with my boys a LOT!  It’s a favorite.
  18. Blogged a little.My Family

I am so grateful to be here and can’t even begin to imagine what kinds of things we’ll be getting into this year.  I’m glad to have survived a year of nursing school while being a working mom, and I am constantly amazed at all the opportunities and experiences that we have.

What are you grateful for this year?

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 for a massage  479-251-7422

Early C Section in Arkansas

What’s a Doula? You have Options.

When it came to birthing babies, I knew I didn’t want to do it in the hospital.  I had all 4 of my sons at home with my dear midwife who is still one of my best friends almost 20 years after the birth of my first son.

Pregnant with Ben 2005
Pregnant with Ben 2005

Now I can’t remember how I knew that I could have a midwife assisted birth.  It seems to have been something I knew about all my life.  I realize that many people don’t even realize that birth doesn’t have to be done in a hospital setting, and probably even less realize that you can hire a Doula to help you with your birth whether you choose a hospital or a home birth.  I didn’t know what a doula was until I was in my late 20s, early 30s.

Before we go any further I want to say that I am grateful that we have hospitals in the event of complications in the birth process.  It is tremendous to know that if something goes wrong there is a place where people are trained to handle those emergencies.

The midwife assisted c-section rate in Arkansas is 3%.  Nationwide the midwife assisted c-section rate is between 3 to 4.4%.

That means 4 women out of 100 have major cesarean section surgery with a midwife.  Nationwide.  Pretty good odds.

Here in Arkansas in hospitals, the rate of c-sections (in 2012) was 35.7%.  That’s 11,486 general anesthesia, cesarean sections in one state in one year.

That means 36 women out of 100 (or more than 1 in 3) have major cesarean section surgery if they give birth in a hospital.  Wow. 

Zach holding Baby Ben just before he was born.
Zach holding Baby Ben just before he was born.

There are lots of reasons for that that I won’t go into right now.  Suffice it to say that just with those numbers if you are in your child bearing years, you might want to weigh your options.  Or maybe you didn’t know you had options.

In Europe, midwives attend over 70% of births.  In the U.S. 7.9% of births are attended by midwives.

The United States is 36th in the world for infant mortality rate among developed countries.

What are we doing wrong?

Well, it’s complicated.  I won’t go into depth about the complexities right now, but I will say that our babies are coming too early.  Whether it is a planned cesarean, or a poverty stricken mother unable to carry her baby to term.  We need to care for our mothers better and stop treating birth like an emergency (unless it is one), and more like a process.

Newborn Ben, born at home
Newborn Ben, born at home

I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax in the cold white, cement block walls of an institution with people I didn’t know running in and out of my birth room on their own agenda, peeking up under my carriage and feeling around whether I was ready or not, telling me I had to lay down so they could monitor my progress from the nurses station.  Giving birth was the most primal thing I have ever done in my life.  I wanted to do it at home, moving around at will, standing, squatting, pacing, surrounded by people I love (my mom, husband, kids, friends, midwife), while my mom baked cinnamon rolls.

That’s how we do birth at the Finn house.

And I’m loud when that baby is coming out.  There is a sound that comes out of a woman when she is giving birth that is like the portal between two worlds.  If I hear that sound now it makes me cry.  I’ve heard a similar sound in the wailing after the passing of loved ones.  It’s uncanny, and I could never imitate or recreate that sound again.  It’s like something opens up inside of you that is not of this world.

I can’t imagine doing that in a hospital.

I can imagine that if I were in a setting where I didn’t feel free to open up my body and turn completely inward, supported by the people I love, that I would be more susceptible to needing a c-section.  If I couldn’t move about the way my body wanted me to, if I had to submit to timed cervical examinations, if I were self conscious about what was happening, I know I would have been more susceptible to having a c-section.

Some people just feel more comfortable with the idea of giving birth in a hospital where all the emergency equipment is (midwives also carry emergency equipment, but not for major surgery).  And we’re lucky now to have more options with the Birth Center that just opened up in Northwest Arkansas.  That way you get the best of both worlds, a medical facility with mama and baby centered care in a comfortable setting.

Early C Section in Arkansas
Early C Section in Arkansas

On April 28, 2014, Arkansas Medicaid Director William Golden said “nearly half of the babies born in the hospital statewide in 2009 were born prior to 39 weeks because of elective delivery. Frankly, the data was pretty bad,” Golden said.

All of these things just to say that you have options.  Just because the majority of births happen in the hospital in the United States doesn’t mean that it’s been good for our mortality rates.  More information is better.  And we are fortunate to live in an area with a thriving community of midwives, doulas, and educators about birth.  (But we also live in an area where the medical school UAMS has a 39% c-section rate, and one of the main birthing hospitals has a 35% c-section rate).

Which brings me back to what I really wanted to talk to you about in the first place.  I love Jessica Crass.  She has worked with us at I.M. Spa for 3 and a half years and we are so lucky to have her.  She is a talented massage therapist, ex-social worker, traveler, and farmer.  Last year after helping a good friend through her birth process, the attending midwife, Jennifer Creel (from Terra Tots) mentioned that Jessica should consider training as a Doula.

Jessica is a member of DONA International and Northwest Arkansas Doula Connection.  She has one more birth to attend to be a certified Doula, trained to offer physical, educational, and emotional support during the months leading up to birth, as well as during the birth process.

If I were ever going to have a hospital birth I would definitely want a Doula, somebody who knows my birth plan, who knows what I want and don’t want, somebody whose sole job is to help me make it through the marathon that is birth.  I would want somebody who knew the ropes sticking up for me when I’m not in the best position to stick up for myself.

And if I were to have another home birth(which ain’t ever gonna happen again praise the lord.  I love the birth process, but enough is enough), having a Doula would be icing on the cake in the supportive atmosphere of my home.

If you are examining your birthing options, don’t rule out a midwife assisted birth, because it is by the numbers the most reliable, best track record kind of birth you can have.  But also, consider hiring a Doula.  There is so much to learn about birth, and there are so many decisions to make.

Giving birth is like running a marathon.  You need a support crew on the way.  You can do it!  Go team!  Go team go!

Our whole family after the birth at home
Our whole family after the birth at home

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.

 

The Dread Urinary Tract Infection

I paused before writing this post as I considered whether it was TMI and erred on the side of ‘we’re all in this boat together.’  If you are a woman chances are that you have had to deal with Urinary Tract Infection.  50% of women get them.

It’s one of those things that is sooo uncomfortable that it’s easy to go running to the doctor for an antibiotic to get rid of the pain, oh, and get rid of that blood in my urine too please, pronto.  The problem is, if you take the antibiotics to clear up the Urinary Tract Infection the antibiotics will wipe out all the good bacteria in your body too, and then you’re stuck dealing with another one of those aggravating things most women have had to deal with–yeast infections.  So you escape one painful horrible problem by taking the antibiotic and you have effectively replaced one horrible problem for another horrible problem, all while smiling at friends and coworkers and the unsuspecting general public.

But if you’ve had more than a couple of them, then you can certainly tell when they are coming and start treating them right away.  I have never had to go to the doctor for a UTI, not to say that you shouldn’t go to the doctor if you need to–I prefer to handle things myself if I can.    “Conventional” methods tend to leave me with more problems to fix and I have always been able to take care of UTIs myself.  The girls at the spa helped me compile a ‘go to’ list for everything you can do when you start noticing that you have the tell tale signs of the dread infection:

  • urgency to pee even though not much of anything coming out
  • irritation in the urethra, especially when pee-ing
  • general discomfort in your lower abdomen
  • burning sensation
  • start to get worried if you are having fever and chills or if you have flank pain (time to go to the doctor for sure)

What can cause UTI?  UTI is a bacterial infection in the urethra that can spread to the bladder and then up to the kidneys where it can inflict serious damage.  As women, with short, little, somewhat exposed urethras there are some things that we do that give the wrong bacteria access to our insides:

  • Sex-all kinds of bacteria meshing together
  • Too much time in the hot tub-soften and swells tissue
  • wiping from back to front-brings E. Coli bacteria to the front
  • using a wash cloth to clean the area-roughs up the tissue making it easier for bacteria to ascend
  • women have a shorter urethra than men, 4cm in women compare to 20cm in men. This is why we are more susceptible.
  • some women simply have anatomically susceptible urethras.

It’s possible that you might have a resident population of bacteria that normally gets along just fine, but given ideal opportunities, takes advantage and overgrows repeatedly–kind of a dormant gang that has to be put in its place by your good bacteria on a regular basis.  Cops and robbers of planet Urethra!

What to do:

  • Drink water.  Lots.
  • Homeopathics
  • Uva Ursi (tea, tincture, or capsules)
  • “Just Cranberry “Juice (doesn’t have sugar which feeds bacteria)
  • Yarrow tincture
  • Cranberry (capsules)
  • Always pee after sex
  • don’t use a washcloth to cleanse

First thing you should do is stay hydrated.  Drink huge glasses of water.  Getting through the discomfort of a UTI is much easier with a full bladder and a steady stream of fresh urine.  If you have to have an urgent need to pee a lot it’s tons easier to do with a stream instead of a trickle.

My go to, first thing I used to tell people who asked was the Homeopathic Boiron Cantharis pills.  They can make life bearable while you are working on cleaning out your insides.  But one of the girls at the spa turned me on to Uva Ursi, something I bathed in after home birthing my babies (Web MD says not to use it with children or pregnant woment).  She has pills of Uva Ursi that she swallows and marvels at my ability to drink it as a tea.  I guess I’m pretty hard core.  I’d just as soon get rid of it than worry about what it tastes like.  “Just Cranberry” is super bitter too, but I just chug it straight down.  I’m interested in feeling better.  Tastes are temporary.

My nursing pathophysiology book even talks about cranberry juice as a remedy for UTI.  It works because the substances in the cranberry make the surfaces of the urinary tract slippery so that the bacteria cannot adhere and are washed out with the urine.

10% of women are asymptomatic and don’t feel a thing when they have a UTI.  UTIs can spread all the way to the kidneys if left untreated and become a serious problem.  Always check with the doctor when in doubt.

It helps to know that you’re not alone and there are plenty of options that can work that don’t involve medication, especially if it is a recurrent thing for you.

Do you have other tips for eliminating urinary tract infections?

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.

 

Stress Relief. How to Cut Loose When Your Kids are Away at Camp for a Week.

Stress Relief.  How to cut loose when your kids are away at camp for a week.

I’m an attached parent.  An attachment parent?  I don’t know what to call it, but I’m a very involved parent.  I love my kids.  Love to be with them.  Spend all my time with them.  They’re pretty awesome guys.

My Beautiful Boys
My Beautiful Boys

I never really get a lot of time in my own head without interruptions.  So what do I do to cut loose while all the kids are away at camp for a whole week for the first time ever, ever, ever?

Well I’ll tell you what I do.

Instead of running to school and work and back this week; I walked.  And then I got all crazy and I drove across town and ran at Gulley Park to run because I haven’t been able to run there in forever.

 

 

Gulley Park Gazebo
Gulley Park Gazebo
The Path At Gulley Park
The Path At Gulley Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can laugh if you want but I felt so free.

Me running at Gulley Park instead of running to work was similar to the first bath you take after camping in the woods for a week.

Tomorrow I might get really crazy and run at the Lake.  How awesome would that be?

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.