Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

  • Spa Style & Self Care Reflections, Rituals and Resources for Joyful Living

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  • About Spanista

    Ginny Shiverdecker, Creator of Spanista is Spa Wellness Enthusiast, Adventurer Seeker and Brand Builder.
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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude set so much in motion here on the beautiful eastern coast line of the US that may bring about many unanticipated effects for a long time to come. It seems that any form of pending disaster wether Mother Nature’s doing or one triggered by man can set us back emotionally and physically. We are forced to take not one but several steps back to refocus, rethink, reframe our situation.

For 7 days last week that was indeed the case for me. Many fans of Spanista already know that a few months ago my husband and I relocated from Tampa where we lived part-time happily to the Stuart area, north of Palm Beach, Florida to be closer to our dear family members.

We finally settled into our house with the decorating details in place Spanista style of course where relaxation and comfort are key in this home. We especially love our enclosed patio with a comfortable seating and dining areas. This is my first home with a private pool so I wanted to optimize its potential for self-care, especially private reflecting time as well a make it an inviting place to entertain friends and family. To that end, we just completed a special splash of landscaping to add contrasting magenta color hues to our soothing Caribbean blue pool. It created just the tropical atmosphere we were hoping for so we would enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors together in our own little world.

It seemed a cruel twist of fate as we watched the machinations of Hurricane Matthew forcefully make its way off the African Coast gaining power as it pushed toward Haiti creating devastation the island’s people could not bear with hundreds of deaths. Then turning north toward Cuba with grave predictions that it would turn due north heading for the Florida’s East Coast with a trajectory and intensify to move all the way up to the Carolina Coast impacting millions of people. It had been 10 years since any storm of this magnitude found its way here. I felt chills running up my spin.

May I say, this storm experience is nothing less than surreal. The range of emotions is indescribable. Even to this moment I am still processing it all. When you begin to realize the situation is REAL you begin to take stock. Then you mobilize? Making plans helps you feel in control to a degree – getting busy helps you deal with the inevitable. It is our first intense storm in this new home so preparations to protect it is all new to us. What did we need to do and when? We had under three days to prepare given the weather forecast which was full of ferocious predictions it would hit land here – likely right at where we live!  Things you never think about surface like – What if my life or those of my loved ones is threatened – What if  the severe winds and rain inflict intense damage or even worse we lose our home completely?


I witnessed people mobilizing in our neighborhood with great speed. We were among them. The stores were over run with people. Together my hubby and I faced the crowds to stock up on provisions to last us for a while. Why? The loss of electricity is the biggest issue – one does not know how long we would go without.  Once we accomplished this task we moved to step two. What did we need to do to protect the house? I never thought I would see the day the inside of our new home would be full of our newly acquired patio furniture but we piled it in the living room, hall and dining room. The patio was once again bare. I brushed away the sadness. We did not need to put up protective shutters because our home was built with storm protection in mind. But older homes did not, so off we went to help family members and their neighbors get shutters up with two days to do it in between intermittent rain that would eventually not stop for hours. So we pressed on and got the job done until we dropped from exhaustion.

Storm day arrived.  We sat tight at home waiting for it to arrive. The anticipation is so stressful. Will it hit land with 130 mph winds? Or hug the coast and creep northward? One seeks any distraction possible to stay sane knowing the worse of it was due to arrive in the deep, dark of the night – 3 a.m! We went to bed not saying very much but knowing our hearts and minds were full of anxiety. We heard the storms intensity grow through the night with sparks flying outside our bedroom windows for hours on end. The electricity went out and the never-ending night of fear reached its climax.  Eventually dawn with us wide-eyed as kids on Christmas morning wondering what we might discover when light returned. The rain  commenced and with time the winds started to subside. Looking out, much to our surprise we found our neighborhood was spared bad damage to homes. The neighbors were all coming out of their homes to check on each other, to talk and connect. We survived but what of the rest of the area? Time would tell as we began to venture out of our community. The Stuart News can give you the full details as seen int he picture above.

Living with Hurricane Matthew Where Fear Meets Gratitude uncovers something unexpected. What good comes from an experience like this? Spanista has learned that in every challenge we face there is a gift to benefits us – we just have to wait for Spirit to reveal it to us. If we are open, it will reveal itself in the form of a blessing that helps us just when we need it.  Right now there is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the outcome. We all feel that we were spared the traumatic evil that could have befallen us. Where Fear Meets Gratitude is where deep waves of gratitude are freely expressed by family, friends and strangers. For now it is the overwhelming emotion we all feel here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. I will share  the blessing once it reveals itself. Let me know if you want to know when it does.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Tanzania Africa AbodShelters Mission Trip With Ty Pennington is a dream come true for me and the AbodShelters Foundation Team.

This trip sets the agenda for another life changing African Adventure for the Spanista Humanitarian Travel Diary. I recently made a trip to Los Angeles to meet with Ty Pennington who is graciously donating his time over the past 18 months as our Goodwill Ambassador. A trip to LA is always a welcome treat as the city has transformed in so many positive ways over the past few years. When I worked for Billabong International I spent loads of time between Newport Beach and LA and Gold Coast of Australia. I came to appreciate the area for its unique personality and beautiful typography in a way I never had before. One discovers so much more about an area when one sees it not as a tourist, but as a place to call home for a while.

We met at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey on a brilliantly clear day. The patio on the harbor was warm and inviting as we enjoyed a cup of French press coffee and watch the light sparkle atop the gentle wake form a cruiser who just left the harbor with seagulls swinging about on the air currents. Pleasant indeed. It is such a different vibe from the east coast of Florida.


Our meeting was very exciting and full of promise for the future. Ty will be joining us on a build of his first Abod Tiny Home Village in Tanzania. We will be build the first phase of full-scale Abod Village starting with 12 abods that we will assemble in 7 days! This has never been done before anywhere. Ty also helped us raise funds to build 5 of the 12. The beneficiary will be STEMM a medical ministry NGO from Sioux City, Iowa. They are doing amazing work for 20 years around a children orphanage while providing education, health care and now shelter for the neediest in select ural areas.  We will be making the trip in January and there are a few surprises in development to enhance the experience. Stay tuned.  Once we completed our planning discussion Ty was off to an important media with a high-profile media company.


With this portion of the trip past there is a chance to regroup and take in a bit of the Ritz property. A highlight was the gallery of modern art featuring lithographs by one of my favorite artists Pablo Picasso  – definitely an unexpected reward and take in a great dinner in Beverly Hills at The Ivy patronized by the Hollywood types. And another fun discovery was this motorcycle – The Killer Bobber! As always in LA,the contrasts in culture are extreme. Joyful humanitarina expereinces feed my soul of hungar to give back in gratitude for all I have been blessed with in my life.


A whirl wind trip to meet Ty was very successful and provided another taste of modern LA. And offered and opportunity to plan for the future growth of AbodShelters Foundation.  Come back to read about update as the get closer to the the January build date in Tanzania. Have you ever been there?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Special Tribute Anniversary Experience Breakers Spa Palm Beach is a delightful way to devote a day to reflection, sharing and caring for your soul. It has been long overdue for me to enjoy a wonderful spa and massage experience. My sister-in-law Tammy and I have been speaking about spending a spa day together, but were always too many miles apart with busy careers to do so. Alas, now that we live a few shorts miles apart we set aside a date to relax and be pampered. Our choice was the Breaker Spa, Palm Beach. It also was the

This historical landmark resort on 140 acres has many stories to tell. You can feel the spirits of the past whispering to you as you walk the grand corridors. This zip code is the home of many very wealthy families from the upper east coast, especially New York City. The residents include famous names like The Astors, The Morgan’s, The Kennedy’s, The Vanderbilt’s and of course nowa days The Donald Trump Family, who all spent considerable time at The Breakers.


I love resorts with a past so this is a visit long over due for me. I heard of the grand gardens and the even more grandeous Italian Renaissance Style Architecture harkens back to 1896. It is built on a stunning stretch beachfront by Henry Flagler an oil, real estate and railroad tycoon to accommodate travelers on his Florida East Coast Railway. This place has certainly passed the test of time.

Mr. Flagler was very progressive as he included a golf course and a baseball stadium – both considered progressive and world-class in the day.


Th Spa has just completed a multi million dollar renovation. You can see the fresh, modern and relaxing environment. There are many high-end, sophisticated design elements in a creamy white decor scheme. My favorite place was the outdoor patio with reflecting pool.  A peaceful place to extend the benefits of a massage to the fullest.  The service was very good. We were offered a glass of champagne and a selection of light snacks – fruit kabob, nut medleys, along with miniature pastries. Of course coffee, flavored waters and teas were plentiful.  It was at his time I toasted my lovely Mother who passed exactly 20 years ago on the day. I know she was smiling on me and Tammy from above. I took a few moments to speak with her in my mind and thank her for all he did for me.  Including the values she instilled in me – my deep faith, courage and tenacity to cultivate my unique talents and face the future head high no matter the circumstances.

After, we headed into the hotel for lunch in the Flagler Lounge – expansive and luscious – both the food and surrounded were world-class indeed. Note the initials on the wine glass and the stunning orchid arrangements – so many to enjoy that are larger than life – ever so breathtaking. It reminds me one cannot have enough beauty in one’s life – flowers were Mother’s passion so fitting indeed.


Special Tribute Anniversary Experience Breakers Spa Palm Beach is for anyone who wishes to salute a loved one. While I share the wonderful experience at The Breakers it is also a heartfelt story of celebrating the memory of a woman in my life I loved dearly and miss daily – my Mother Lottie Victoria. On September 23 it was 20 years since her passing. She would be so happy I was celebrating her life in this way – making my self-care a priority for a day in such a wonderful way – even if it was long over due.  Great joy can come from taking time celebrating our past.

To Your Self Care Journey To joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Feeling Joyful Proven Result of Giving Back Life Plan is shared with two purposes in mind: 1.) As we move into the last quarter of the year, it is timely to reflect on our state of affairs; 2.) Exploring what is in our control to identify ways to enhance our feeling of real joy.

Since I was young, I always felt the need to have a financial plan for a secure future. Now is the time of year I take pause to evaluate my life goals. My family financial advisor founded a firm called Valiant Wealth. Doug Vander Weide is a man of purpose and character who has a range of successful clients including professional athletes. In a world of bad characters he is one of the ‘white hats’ with a full life because he  cultivates the dimensions of what he calls a Wealthy Lifestyle. To him it is not about being rich, it’s about feeling wealthy because you focus values as the filter for making the right lifestyle choices along the journey to financial independence. This in turn provides a true sense of joy that is priceless.

Doug suggested a book – The Thin Green Line by Paul Sullivan“Wealth Matters” Columnist for the New York Times as a way for me to go deeper into the psychology of joyful living as he knows it is my passion. I picked up a copy to read on my trip from West Palm Beach to Los Angeles for a pivitol development meeting on AbodShelters Foundation with Ty Pennington, our Goodwill Ambassador. Investing a portion of my time to helping guide this organizations efforts to improve shelter conditions for the worlds neediest populations is very important to me. But I wondered how do these efforts really affect my level of joy or my wellbeing? Am I making the right choices with my time? My Advisor shares my passion for giving back as his is very active in NGO’s and works with clients to develop their philanthropy activities, so he understood my questions.

The book’s author Paul Sullivan, sheds light on many valuable ways to think about our relationship with money and time as few others have. Including the positive impact giving back offers us and how it not only makes us feel good it actually impacts our financial wellbeing for the better.

Here is just one example. Many wealthy people he interviewed have various reasons for giving but one that captured my imagination is the act itself makes them feel good. Paul calls them members of the pure-joy club.  Their mix of planning and spontaneity can serve as a model to others because it can be adapted by people of any income level. Feeling-Joyful-Proven-Result-of-Giving-Back-Life-Plan-1.jpegPINIMAGEOne wealthy couple says they have never kept track of giving or spent a lot of time planning to have great impact on a cause. They just love the feeling of taking one opportunity at a time, evaluating its authenticity and giving in the moment. For them the feeling is the motivator as it is not the amount you give, but that you give.

But here is what is stunning to me. Further more, this study by the American Enterprise Institute indicates people who give to charity regularly were generally more affluent, all other things being equal. People who volunteer also do better financially, the data showed.  People who give to charity are forty-three percent more likely than people who don’t give to say they’re very happy people. If you give blood you are happier. If you volunteer you are happier. You cannot find any other service that won’t make you happier.  The data indicating the many positive ways giving impacts life is extraordinary!

Feeling Joyful Proven Result of Giving Back Life Plan attempts to put the spotlight on what is really important to developing a life of joy. Giving of yourself by way of  resources – talent, time and treasures is the a doorway to joy. It is the kind of self-care that starts with focusing on the wellbeing of society first but puts self interests second. The opposite of a world where self interests seem to prevail over all else personally and politically. To me this is a secret to a joyful lifestyle.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Remembering A Hero, 15 years After 9/11 Matters as we face such an important presidential election. The sacredness of 9/11 will always cause me to stop the routine madness of life to take pause and reflect upon what a treasure it is to be an American. And how within minutes all we have can be threatened. There are so many reasons to take stock in our way of life  – the virtues of our values, freedom of speech and religious practice with an open opportunity to achieve great things.

Just north of where I live now in Tresaure Coast, Florida, I discovered an unlikely place for a 9/11 Memorial a few months ago, when I was attending a function at a civic center in Ft Pierce.  As we approached the building, I was drawn to what I thought was a large metal sculpture. Once I came upon it I was dumb struck by what I realized by the reading the descriptive plaque was a large piece of charred metal  –  a beam from the actual World Trade Center searing attack, explosion and implosion. This picture attempts to capture the essence of this memorial becuase you would feel its spirit if you were in its presence. I did. Chills ran up my spine. We have many people from the New York area that relocated here after 9/11. The humble spot will always remind us of the unnecessary pain so many experienced that days and for years. For the survivors and families impacted the pain continues on.

While I had visited the 9/11 location many times while living in New York as a pilgrimage as many people came to see what happened in person. Visiting he little Catholic church that survived is most moving. Most so touched by the horror of it all – the feeling of the tragic experience lingers in the air still today.

Today I feel the vastness of the tragedy as I view all the honorable media coverage so that we always remember those who were sacrificed as a result of this act of terrorism.

I look forward to going to the new Freedom Tower Memorial when I return to New York again.

It is the human stories that move me most. The building is only a symbol of the manyRemembering-A-Hero,-15-Years-After-9/11-Matters.jpegPINIMAGE stories of people’s lives and they day that changed us forever. There is one story in the in Sunday edition of the Wall Street  Journal Weekend Edition – “Declarations” by Peggy Noonan that brought me to a tearful meltdown in my favorite chair. It is titled, “Remembering A Hero, 15 Years After 9/11”. It tells the story of a young man with an inherent purpose and destiny, and talisman since childhood – it was also a symbol of a powerful relationship with his Father.

“With this bandanna”, Welles Crowther said, “I’m gonna change the word.”

This is a story of grand calling and courage that was to my mind predestined before birth. This lad had an inherent joy of purpose – bigger than his life.

Peggy captures the essence of his personal story – so eloquently and so movingly. Here is how she encapsulates this young man’s sacrifice:

“The way I see it, courage comes from love. There’s a big unseen current of love that hums through the world, and some plug into it more than others, more deeply and surely, and they get more power from it. And it fills them with courage. It makes everything possible.

People see the fallen beat up world around them and ask what can I do?  Maybe be like Welles Crowther. Take your red bandanna, change the world. “

Remembering A Hero, 15 years After 9/11 Matters is worthy of taking a moment to read. I promise you will see the world differently from that point on. If you wish to read it please click this link: “Declarations” by Peggy Noonan.  The recollection tributes should never have an expiration date as some people suggest. May you and your be safely out of harms way in the days and years to come.

To Your Self Care Journey to Joy,


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