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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Tampa-Hits-Top-10-List.jpegPINIMAGETampa-Hits-Top-10-List-Of-Snobbiest-Cities-Beautiful.jpegPINIMAGEDear Wellness Seekers,

Tampa Hits Top 10 List Of Snobbiest Cities In America?

Really. As reported by The New York Post. Well imagine my surprise. This is indeed a first. Who knew?

Spanista could not help but smile when reading this article “Do You Live In One Of The Snobbiest Cities?” that appeared in my mailbox. To see it yourself please click on the link:

I was so taken by it that I had to set aside my planned post about the San Francisco Bay Area where I spent some quality time working for Spanista, to shift back to the topic of my home – Tampa.

Those of you following Spanista since its launch in August know that Tampa has been my home for years. And you also know from my posts that I am very fond of South Tampa – SoHo, Hyde Park, Davis Island and the entire Bayshore Boulevard area. (Please see the Spanista Home Page – go to Category Listings and click on Reflection Walks and Spa Enthusiast Stories  where you care to check out Spansita’s pics and views about life in Tampa’s Soho District. Loads of pics.)

You will see my review of the new Epicurean Hotel and the Spa Evangeline which are referenced in the NY Post article – they each are marvelous experiences in this quaint, relaxed and intimate Soho neighborhood by the Bay. They are wonderful additions to the community so developed to please by long standing good citizens of the neigborhood who have class. An in addition there are many other great spots along Soho that add to its “snob appeal” too.

Calling this Port home as my career took new directions and traveled extensively, always gave me roots and stability when ever I felt my soul needed to catch up to me. Many of my best memories were created in Tampa – my hubby and I built a happy life together with Tampa as our anchor no matter where else we lived.

Over the years people have asked me why I love Tampa and I have used many descriptors to capture the unique lifestyle but NEVER would I have thought of the word SNOBBIE. It is notable that NEVER having been on this New York Post list before Tampa landed at #4!  It beat out major techno cool centers with vast wealth and attitude like San Francisco, and Dallas. Unfortunately not mentioned was our marquee event of true exclusivity – GASPARILLA! The longest and largest Pirate Festival on the planet. Check it out at And great people like Derek Jeter now retired form the NY Yankees now calls it home.

Living in New York, Kansas City and Tampa by choice and having the pleasure of taking in a range of experiences and meeting amazing people in each of them – some of which my hubby and I are fortunate to call friends – we feel lucky to call Tampa home for many reasons. Mostly because of the lovely, warm attitude of its people, the traditions of the neigborhoods, the beautiful environment and healthy focus on wellbeing- a Spanista Lifestyle. It is where Spanista took flight.

And now I have a whole new reason to appreciate Tampa and so do you! Maybe you can come to visit us?

So what do you think f the New York Posts top 10 list of snobbiest cities?

Love to hear your views!

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,



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Dear Wellness Seekers,

Wilson Winery Is Authentic With Expansive Views That Impress. Leaving the wonderland of Coppola Winery we were now excited to discover a contrast which Wilson Winery promised. It is a welcome respite away from the increasing influences of commercial progress and tourist crowds the largest wineries embrace. A short way south on US 101 we ventured off onto Dry Creek Road and quickly came upon the ‘Wilson Tin Barn’ we were told was a marking point to stop and park. At first glance the place looked rather humble with no cars about – so we wondered where we had landed. But walking round about the barn we soon came to a surprise entrance featuring a wild flower garden and this enormous creature – this picture does not due ‘The Watchful Wolf’  justice as its scale is about three stories high and its head rotates around as if he is carefully guarding the expansive Wilson vineyard property against any unfriendlies.

Once we looked past the impressive sculpture, we saw a large welcoming patio overlooking a panoramic view of the estate valley with sweeping vistas to be seen from a high vantage point that was framed by the emerald green mountains that met a baby blue sky. The immediate reaction was one of awe wherein you are forced to stop and breathe in the the richness of its beauty and aroma – an sense of earthiness kissed with the warmth of the Autumn sun that only comes about this time of the year. The Tasting Room called to us as we knew this is in truth – AUTHENTIC and REAL – a full 100 degree difference from what we just experienced and WE LOVED IT.  The oak shaded Tasting Room is charming with an impressive range of Reds on the menu that are award winning. This is such fun because the Wilson’s offer you personal attention, range and affordability. We were sorry we could not spend more time at this lovely spot – it featured more than we expected.

We did have an hour to enjoy the fresh air and sample the wines. We learned Diane and Ken Wilson are devoted to Dry Creek Valley where they have established a legacy of creating some of the world’s finest tasting Zinfendels. As promised after tasting a few – their Zins do thrill the senses. Part of their tradition is that each vineyard is named after Wilson Family members. After tasting 5 wines  – we all differed on our favorite. But the two we all agreed made the list are: Firstly, Wilson 2011 Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley and secondly, Wilson Molly Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley. Both are exceptional and available. Much to our surprise several wines were sold out already which speaks to the loyal following Wilson Winery has created. You can check out more on their Wine Shop at In addition you may enjoy checking out the Wine Pairing Guide on the site. It includes the 6 Elements of Food and Wines Pairing which can prove helpful when entertaining come the holidays.Wilson-Winery-Reserve-Zinfandel-2011.jpegPINIMAGE

The entire Wilson Winery experience is one to revisit – it is so relaxing and scenic – next time we will devote a couple of leisurely hours to enjoy their lovely cheese, meats and  bread picnic basket to go with these choice wines.

Spanista Takeaway: There is great satisfaction in balancing life’s experiences to realize the breath of natures treasures from season to seasons. It is fun to discover that the benefits from ‘Understated and Real’ can stand up comfortably to ‘Refined and Glamorous’ – In the Spanista Lifestyle the range of experiences will contribute in positive ways To Your Self Care Journey To Joy!

What do you think of Wilson Winery?  Would love to hear your thoughts.



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Coppola-Winery-Poolside.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Tucker-Car.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Glass-Juggler.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Artistic-Labels-Bob.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Reserve-Tasting-Flight.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Marie-Ships.jpegPINIMAGECoppola-Winery-Entrance.jpegPINIMAGEDear Wellness Seekers,

Coppola Winery Shines With Vintage Hollywood Glamour as an unexpected delight at the top of Alexander Valley created by Francis Ford Coppola, the famous movie Director.

Have you have the pleasure of visiting? If you have please share your comments.

Now late morning, Spanista, hubby and friends sped up US 101 to the top of Alexander Valley near Geyserville on yet another warm glorious day. I was told some interesting things about the Francis Ford Coppola Winery being unlike any other so my curiosity was piqued for yet another style of wine tasting experience to enjoy together. Spanista Self Care Philosophy favors the escape that creative storytelling provides – indulging in movies and fantasy are favored ways to be inspired, learn about ourselves and be transported into worlds unknown. To that end, Mr.Coppola talents are most admired by yours truly.

Down a winding road, set up on a hill the Estate lures you in. The immediate feeling when approaching the entrance is one of arriving at new theme park full of energy – everything was immaculate, well-groomed and new in an old Hollywood sort of architectural way. The message at Coppola Winery is – Wine, Food & Adventure!

When one reaches the top of the stairs the feeling delivers on the real thing – an amazing pool and cabines spans along the building length to the right. Bocce ball courts in the traditional Italian style are busy with serious sport competition. The pool side view is one of beautiful starlite people lounging, sitting along pool side and swimming – a Frank Sinatra & Rat Pack scene from the 60’s.

We strolled the scene to absorb the mood and found ourselves transported into another world. True to Mr. Coppola’s profession as movie Director, Producer and Screenwriter who claims Academy Awards for iconic films like The Godfather Series, Apocalypse Now and Cotton Club and many more, his vision is one that captures your imagination and great wine is just a part of the picture. Like Spanista it is clear he believes in the joyful benefits of a full sensory experience. Once we became oriented with the mood we moved into the Wonderland, past smart looking restaurants  for a reserve wine tasting experience. Moving through the multi storied building, the fantasy unfolded in museum fashion as we viewed artifacts from his famed movies like the car in Tucker and the ships in Marie Antoinette.

Alongside the museum presentation were shops offering unique, stylish themed merchandise that captivated – all one of a kind. Alas we found the Reserve Tasting Room tucked away in the back of second floor which projected a classy period saloon – the kind Frank and friends would frequent.

Luckily we found bar stools as the spot is surprisingly small for the large-scale of the property and the number of people that were arriving – families in tow. Grateful to finally be seated we were entertained by the master wine glass juggler – an art form I had never discovered until now. It was clear everything here was designed to entertain and make you smile. We enjoyed a flight of 4 wines pictured here. But while wine presentation was being set for us we were treated to a welcome aperitif – a glass of Sofia Sparkling Wine. Born from a celebration of love, Sofia wines began as a gift from a father to his daughter. This sparkling wine, is bright and effervescent reflecting the charming and stylish Sofia Rosé. A very nice way to start the experience.

While the tasting experience was enjoyable I was captivated by the bottles – every wine in the reserve tasting featured the a beautiful label  – the artistic illustrations were colorful, fresh and exciting. They were of collectible quality and clearly told a richer story than the typical label. I have seen Coppola wine in wine stores with rather basic looking labels – nothing like these. I asked our wine host and learned the artist was a dear friend of Mr. Coppola’s.  The artwork of film production designer Dean Tavoularis graces the labels of only Francis Coppola Reserve wines. Tavoularis met Francis during the making of The Godfather and the two artists have continued to collaborate over the years on a variety of creative projects, including more than a dozen films, the courtyard and fountain of Rubicon Estate in Napa Valley and the interiors and exteriors of Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County.

Personally I loved the reserve wines! Hope you enjoy them in the pics as much as I do.

Visit to learn more, although one really has to visit to really benefit from visionary gift. There are many ways to participate in the adventure – the site is enjoyable to explore.

Once again we agreed: Our favorite wines here were  #1. 2011 Director’s Cut Cinema Sonoma County and #2. 2012 Director’s Cut Pinot Noir Russian River Valley. All affordable.

Spanista Learning: The powerful combination of Wine and Wonderment of Movies is an intoxicating way to spend time with those you love – sparks conversation, exchange of beloved actors and sharing of favored titles and scenes – this is an idea that could be recreated at home as a fun themed get together over the winter months.

Please visit tomorrow – Spanista Travel Diary has more to share on the next stop.

To You Self Care Journey To Joy,


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First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For TeaPINIMAGE

First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For Tea

First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For TeaPINIMAGE

First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For Tea

First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For TeaPINIMAGE

First Cold Snap Means Spanista Takes Time For Tea


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Flowering Tea Benefits Is Spanista Happy Friday Wellness Tip, a Self Care Ritual I adore is found in the Journey to Flowering Tea. It is a joy to share its holistic virtues as the first cold snap calls for change of pace to align with change in weather.

It was in Australia while nestled in the Sofitel Hotel in the heart of vibrant Melbourne that I had my first flowering tea experience in the ancient Asian tradition. I was totally captivated much to the dismay of my client who was trying very hard to capture my attention with clever repartee about a recent trip he just had to made New Zealand. Now that is no reflection on New Zealand, as those who have visited this magical island, know it’s captivating landscape – emerald green rolling hills, snow-covered mountains, clear flowing rivers all surrounded by the miles of coastline are world-class. It had everything to do with the unfolding of Flowering Tea that rendered me speechless. It is such a beautiful experience that I feel irreverent to natures art if I speak while the dormant flower comes to life in the steaming water.

From that moment on it was my quest to make this simple and fascinating flowering tea experience a Ritual in my life. As a true romantic, my Spanista Self Care Ritual also includes Debussy’s clair de lune streaming through my head as I reflect on this blessing of nature.

Pictured here is Dragon Lily Tea Buds by Numi Teas.  A feature in my private collection. You can see three actual hand shaped flower buds to the left in the pic above in sage green. The story behind Flowering Tea is fascinating. Each bud is hand created by very skilled tea lovers with hundreds of select tea leaves that are held together by tread while a flower bud is imbedded in the middle. There is a provenance video called Journey to Flowering Tea on that is worth seeing to understand this rare artisan cultural craft. The tea is grown deep in rural Chinese Mountianscape rain Forrest and jungle by multi generational tea growers. Harvest is from April to October – so it is almost over for this year. Numi Teas hand picks the growers and the teas to meet ver rigorous standards – organic and fair trade in part of their mission.

Spanista Self Care Ritual favors Teas warm or cool for their health properties – especially the green family. A Flowering Tea Ritual lends itself to a special afternoon break that allows one to stop and enjoy the beauty in life . Take a time out – Walk away from technology and check in with your emotional state of mind.  Adding a treat like fine chocolate can help you savour the moment and improve your concentration. I especially Sander’s Milk Chocolate Pecan Delights from Fresh Market. Depending upon the time of day I select a serving piece that suites the mood. Being it is late in a busy day I opt for a chic martini glass as it has a more sensuous feeling than a favorite tea-cup from my collection. It is Friday after all. Preparing a stylish presentation enhances the joy of the moment.

This Ritual is easy to prepare and enjoy and it bring such pleasure. Romantic bliss begins.

Do you have a favorite tea time ritual? Do share it with us!

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


P.S. Join me next week, when I will continue sharing stories about Spanista California Wine Country Experience.


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Matanzas-Creek-Lavender-Stalks.jpegPINIMAGEMatanzas-Creek-Lavender-Spa-Spritz.jpegPINIMAGELavender-Spa-Spritz-Matanzas-Creek.jpegPINIMAGEMatanzas-Lavender-Foods.jpegPINIMAGEDear Wellness Seekers,

Spanista In Touch Tableau Features Sonoma Lavender this week. You may recall from my post on Monday ‘Matanzas Creek Winery Delights Spanista’ one of the highlights was the unexpected Lavender Harvest and Market which beautifully compliments the Winery Experience. The Market proudly displays the harvest bouquets which are racked in the ceiling to ripen fully. Looking at them one can just imagine a sea of incandescent lavender rolling over the horizon of Matanzas Creek hillsides just a couple of weeks earlier. An artists interpretation is on display capturing the memorable view.

The essential oils primed from this crop is a key ingredient in several artisan products made on site with living hands. Lavender has long been enjoyed for its healing properties as an antibacterial, anti inflammatory, analgesic and sedative. If inhaled deeply it can help reduce tension and stress related symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, anxiety and fatigue. It calms the central nervous system while in combination with another like peppermint acts as a stimulant as well as an antispasmodic. the combination of sedative and stimulant is a property found in many commercial pain relieving preparations. These are many of the challenges we face when traveling for business or pleasure – Lavender is natures gift to help us cope. It travels easily in small forms and has been a go to solution for me.

I so wanted to collect one of everything in lavender they offered due to my love of its charming country aesthetic – fragrance, skin enhancements, color, mood enhancer and romantic aura. But knowing I was traveling with limited ability to carry something so delicate as a ribboned stalk, so I chose the Mantanzas Creek Lavender Spa Spritz enjoy immediately and everyday while traveling, bath crystals and a petite travel candle that packed a huge scent. The Spa Spritz smells amazing so I find myself reaching for it when need a little lift!

So many delightful choices as you can see from the pictures. You can find a variety of the body products in the Mantanzas Creek Winery website which is now marked as one of my favorites. (Of course then there is the great wine too.)

Spanista Takeaway: Self Care is essential when traveling but unfortunately we often delay it for when we get home – by then cumulative effects have taken their toll. The time to Self Care is while you are traveling – something a simple as taking in Lavender scent in the evening before bedtime every night can take off the edge of the days stresses and help you restore while getting a good night sleep.

Something so small applied with intention and consistently can help you feel happy and confident.

Toy Your Self Care Journey To Joy,





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