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.
    Ginny is……Read more


Wellness Seekers,

Spanista Suggests Togo’s Alaffia Equality, Empowerment, Beauty if you are seeking a more from your beauty and hair care essentials. How about you? Are you ready to grow beyond ease of drug store beauty?

Finding Alaffia is a coincidental and happy discovery. I have a favorite organic market Green Acres, close to my home at the Village of Briar Cliff. It features an independent boutique collection of unique services and stores. This summer before I  took my humanitarian trip to Ghana Africa, I stopped in to explore the extensive beauty selection seeking more nurturing hair care. My current mass produced product is pricy but does not seem to be working like it first did.

I came upon Alaffia Collection as I scanned the shelves. The packaging spoke to me – rich looking colors. And message. Not having enough time so I Spanista-Suggests-TogoPINIMAGEdecided to take an iphone pic so when I returned and had a moment, I would research it online.  If you follow Spanista  you know I have an affinity for Shea Butter – its special powers work for me. Shea Butter is the oil from the nuts of the wild sea scattered throughout the wooded Savanna West and Central Africa. It is deeply rooted in history with a reference as early as Cleopatra’s Egypt. It is a staple in African pharmacology. For the best results, look for unrefined Shea Butter in products as it delivers the maximum amount of healing and moisturizing benefits.

Since I returned from Ghana, life has been so busy. Finally this weekend I
had a moment to explore Alaffia. To my surprise the story sparked my heart. I discovered the back story originates in Africa – coincidentally from a small country bordering Ghana! I was so very close the place where it is crafted. Perhaps when I return to Ghana there maybe a chance to visit this this tribe.

On the Alaffia website is a wonderful video of the story of Togo, its culture, Spanista-Suggests-TogoPINIMAGEits beautiful people especially the women who hold up ‘Half the Sky’. It is worth a few minutes to see the creation of the Shea Butter in Alaffia. It is  made by the loving hands of tribal women in the true original way. It is stunning to watch. Creating it is the means of economic support for  the women and children.

Spanista Suggests Togo’s Alaffia Equality, Empowerment, Beauty for its unique story but also because I love the way the product performs. Alaffia is a premium skin care collection that uses Alaffia Shea Butter while abiding by fair trade guidelines as the core ingredient of its collection. The shampoo has moisturized my hair like non other – helping its natural luster to return.

Salute to Green Acres for offering it. And big shout to Whole Foods and Dark Rye project for creating a video to tell the Alaffia story about the location, the source of the shea and celebrating the beauty of the women and children.

To Your Self Care Journey to Joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Good News Monday: Spa Lovers Trend Delivers Air Travel Options is inspired by an article in the weekend edition of Wall Street Journal Off Duty section titled ‘Air Slickness’ in the Adventure & Travel Section.

Lauren Lipton waxes eloquently about the emerging options for travelers to indulge at airports like dipping into a nail salon. She states in Air Slickness, “From manicures and pedicures to waxes and haircuts, opportunities for preening before a flight are really taking off at airports.”

Amen to that I say! Have you tried one of these services? If so, do tell!

Frankly, as a Spa Enthusiast, Adventure Seeker and Frequent Flyer sometimes finding myself flying to the other side of the planet, I spend a fair amount of time in airports – especially international terminals. In the past few years the international concourses in far off countries have come of age offering so many first rates shops, restaurants and services and unique experiences. Far beyond what we see here in the US airports.

These days if I need to spend time in one of these happy and stimulating environments I take advantage of it versus sitting in the airline lounge Good-News-Monday:-Spa-Lovers-Trend-1.jpegPINIMAGEbecause it is an opportunity to explore and relax in convenient luxury – one never knows what one will find that is irresistible. Mostly I look for the Spa Services – if I have enough time I will do something to unwind before I board a very long flight or while in connecting airports like Dubai. And sometimes I will purposely arrive early for a timely opportunity to escape! But when I really feel the need is arriving after a 15 flight. I feel crumpled – like I was just packed in a suitcase for days, yet knowing a business meeting awaits me. In true Spanista form, I would love to feel my best when I walk in the room of executives. Having access to any of these services upon arrival is a life saver.

To me, the best of services are found in the International Terminals right now. Sydney Australia is one of my favorites. These services are expanding to domestic terminals too but with the luxury toned down. They are for quick delivery so flyers can be on their way to or from destinations.

Good News Monday: Spa Lovers Trend Delivers Air Travel Options is well over do for all us road warriors. Just wish it would have come a few years ago – if would have saved some travel stress for certain on many a global trip.My go to service is the blow dry bar. Nothing makes me feels fresher than a shampoo and pro blow out. New York and LA by far are the best I have experienced in the US. It is a high art in my eyes. Next time I find myself in La Guardia Airport’s Terminal C, I plan on stopping into WT GO, Manhattan’s Warren Tricomi’s micro service before I head into the City. Lauren says you can find them in airports like O’Hare and Boston, Toronto and Dulles too.

You can find a current useful guide of Spa Lounges and Airport Spas on

And, if anyone is reading this in the airline industry – Spansita suggests the next place to create a spa experience is on international flights – it would be heavenly.


To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Friday Wellness Tip: Patriot’s Day Prayers, Pride & American Pie honors the value of remembering while we take a moment to be THANKFUL for our treasured FREEDOM and celebrate it over a great slice of American Pie.

Yes, to me Patriots Day is really on September 11.

Fortunately I was not in New York that day. I know people who were and some lost people they loved dearly. I moved to Manhattan shortly after when everyone’s nerves were still raw. Living in New York after 9/11, I watched the Freedom Tower rise from the deep gouge in the earth where the Twin Towers stood in the heart of the Financial District, but not until after a long period of political foray. The height of the Tower is 1,776 ft. tall which coincides with the exact day of the signing of  our Declaration of Independence in 1776. As it took shape layer after layer like a beautiful towering glass cake in the sky it rose above the tallest buildings to kiss the stars with it the towering beams. With every layer seem to come a deeper level of emotional healing. Freedom Tower is a tribute to American tenacity and especially that of the people of New York City’s financial district.  We watched this symbol of modern brilliance rise to exceed everyone’s expectations. Downtown is revitalized with so much happening – way beyond anyones wildest dreams. If you had ever visited Ground Zero and the surrounding neighborhood but have yet to return to witness the changes you will be amazed. The site against the skyline is stunning. I love it.  Then 20,000 lived there and now there are 70,000!

Friday Wellness Tip: Patriot’s Day Prayers, Pride & American Pie is shared with true love for New York City and the tenacity of its people. Spanista shares this prayer for the victims, families and heros in Washington DC, Pennsylvania and New York City tragedies.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                       Romans 15:13

Friday-Wellness-Tip:-PatriotPINIMAGEWe will always remember those lost in the attack and pray for their families. Now let’s take a moment to celebrate our FREEDOM over some Peggy Jean’s Patriot Pie compliments of her bakery in Columbia, Missouri.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


P.S. Freedom Tower Photo from David Libeskind post via New York Magazine.

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Witnessing-Global-Economic-Boost-Can-Come-From-Women-2.jpegPINIMAGEWitnessing-Global-Economic-Boost-Can-Come-From-Women-1.jpegPINIMAGEDear Wellness Seekers,

Witnessing Global Economic Boost Can Come From Women in the developing  world first hand, helps me see this is indeed a real weapon to fight poverty. Offering equal opportunities to women could give the economy a powerful boost, said International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde at a recent W-20 conference. In addition to the moral case for equality, gender equity can also “boost growth, raise overall per capita income, tackle poverty, and reduce income inequality for people all over the world,” she said.

The IMF Chief said a forthcoming fund paper “suggests that a boost to education and employment chances for women could lead to improvements in income equality of a magnitude that historically took decades to achieve.”

In a WSJournal article, ‘Gender Equality An “Economic No-Brainer’ says IMF Chief’, she also said ‘narrowing the gender labor-force gap could help lift millions out of poverty. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, giving women the same access to farming resources as men could increase agricultural output in developing countries by up to 4% and lift over 100 million people out of hunger.’

One can read about it but nothing stirs the soul like experiencing it first hand.

Spanista is moved by this declaration by Ms. Lagarde. Here is why. After spending just a few days in various areas of Ghana, Africa I witnessed the strong desire of localWitnessing-Global-Economic-Boost-Can-Come-From-Women-3.jpegPINIMAGE women to make a better living for their children and themselves. They are victims in so many ways to their culture in deep-rooted tribal traditions. Life in poverty is so harsh. They try to send their children to school but if they cannot afford to, they keep them home to putting them to work to help earn a way. The cycle needs to be broken with commitment from those who care to help – education, training, shelter, resources, simple business models, trade – the tools of creative commerce. Yet I saw the special light in these women’s eyes – the desire to reach higher. Even the local Tribal Chief told me, “The best results in developing business opportunities and work is with the women. They are the most responsible.” There you have it.

Ms. Lagarde aims to keep the G-20′s from turning the aspiration into an empty promise: “Words are not enough…what matters is what is actually delivered.”

I agree. That is why I humbly devote my time as Executive Director of AbodShelters to expand its footprint as a viable solution to democratize housing in the developing world. For women, having a home to call your own offers not only physical shelter, it offers dignity and security they need to take their lives to the next level.

Women’s empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an absolute economic no-brainer. Christine Lagarde

Spanista respects Ms. Lagarde for taking a public stand, but I pray that results do come through action. I have been involved in many high level NGO conversations where the main aim is to conduct research, write reports, talk about white papers and build awareness but it stops their. They address the issues at arm’s length not on the ground where real results take hold. Doing the hard work takes humanitarian minded people who are willing to deliver results in real ways. Let’s not talk. Let’s do it. It is a true act of self care.

At AbodShelters Foundation we are devoted to direct delivery of homesWitnessing-Global-Economic-Boost-Can-Come-From-Women-4.jpegPINIMAGE onsite in Africa to help women. You can buy an Abod to build an Abod for someone. It is that simple.  A $7000 investment can buy a family a small sustainable home for a lifetime to replace the leaky makeshift shacks or worse yet corner of red dirt.

How can you make a real difference? Check out or simply connect with me at Or vet out NGO’s that are really delivering on the ground. And reach out to them – offer to help them.

It will change your life. To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


P.S. Fact: In 18 developing countries women have to get permission from their husbands to work outside the home.


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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Spanista Recommends Circling the Sun by Paula McLain as a wonderful escape from the latest fictional genres that have captured the publics imagination. Frankly, this girl is all greyed out!

My favorite fantasy stories have a ring of truth to them these days. I love the  the richness of history wrapped around real people who have lived extraordinary lives following their passions. One of my favorite writers on the lit scene is Paula McLain. She is the author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife about the first wife of infamous writer Ernest Hemingway. The story is told from her perspective while she lived in the years of post WWI during Paris’s blossoming creative culture while lost in the vortex of this highly imaginative and flawed man.  Have you read it?

Paula achieves mastery again in her latest book – Circling the Sun focusing on a captivating woman – Beryl Markham as she coverts with the likes of Berkeley Cole and Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen. Love them all and ah yes, the poetry thread is so romantic. Beryl is a true pioneer who walks through life with undaunting drive to fill her heart and soul with happiness.

I ordered it as a prerelease before I left for my recent humanitarian trip to Africa knowing it would be waiting for me upon my return home. My hope is it would allow me relive my experience,offer me deeper insights into this fascinating continent and help me to better understand the people. I ordered my signed copy on  It has exceeded my expectations.

Paula’s writing is the perfect cross between recognizing a story is based on seeds of truth about how people played out their lives and imagining what it must have been like to be in their unique world – attracted to them and affected by them. I find myself lingering on Beryl’s choices in awe.

These characters draw us in – striking the chord of deep curiosity. If you have affection for the iconic personality of someone like Karen Blixen,Spanista-Recommends-Circling-the-Sun-by-Paula-McLain-3.jpegPINIMAGEfamous for her tremendously personal memoir Out of Africa penned under the sudo name of Isak Dinesen, you will love going into their world again. Reliving it through a different vantage point, that of Beryl Markham. Circling the Sun puts us in Kenya  of 1920’s – a raw and rugged lifestyle that attracted the     adventure seekers of its time whose families were caught in their wake. It sheds light on Africa of today.

Without giving away the story Spanista sees so much in Beryl’s life that speaks of the ultimate sacrifices and pain she was expected to endure for pursuing her dreams – A different time with different expectations, yes but one sees remarkable similarities to today for women in many respects.

Spanista Recommends Circling the Sun by Paula McLain concludes with theSpanista-Recommends-Circling-the-Sun-by-Paula-McLain-2.jpegPINIMAGEmoral of the story – Spansita believes cultivating freedom to make choices is at the heart of our happiness. It can satisfy the adventure seekers soul with out ever leaving home. Beryl’s offers this lesson through her life.

I read it once and I cannot imagine being so captivated by another novel so I will start reading it again tonight. It makes wonderful autumnal escape.

Would love to hear what you think when you read it. Let me know?

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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