Gifts

Ever wanted your very own gift shopper?

I’m not the greatest shopper. Ever since I was young, I have hated the hunting and gathering odysseys in which the other ladies in my family seemed to revel. So much so that I went on a 15-year streak of buying everyone gift cards so they could go and pick out things that meant a lot to them.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts, but I don’t have the time, attention span, or even desire to find gifts I think would be perfect for my loved ones. I know I’m not the only member of this club. Many of us have jobs, kids, lives, and with just 24 hours in a day, it’s challenging to juggle everything. 

This is why we created a customized gift basket service here at Apothespa. If you don’t have the time to get that perfect gift, let us handle it. Give us a budget, tell us the direction you’d like us to go in, and we will create a beautifully curated selection of items to fit any occasion. Or you can shop from our ready-made baskets and crates, perfect for new homes, new babies, thank yous, get wells, and even gardening (it WILL get warm again, we promise). 

Whether you have a one-off gift you need to send or are managing a large corporate gifting account, we can put together extraordinary gifts that fit every budget.

Psst. We also offer a volume discount to qualified buyers.

XOXO

Molly

We can create all kinds of different baskets for your gift-giving needs.

We can create all kinds of different baskets for your gift-giving needs.

Superfoods are Skin Foods!

Skin Foods

We’ve all heard the stories about “Oh I can’t eat chocolate because it’ll make me break out.” What a horrible affliction! Let’s dispel the myth about chocolate causing breakouts: it’s the sugar, not the chocolate. Eating dark chocolate with a 70% or above cacao concentration is actually amazing for the skin due to it’s overwhelming amounts of antioxidants. Is this us telling you to go and binge on Kit Kats? No. It’s the quality of the chocolate that matters here, folks. This is us telling you to go stock up on fair/direct-trade chocolate that’s as dark as you can handle it.

According to the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, dark chocolate can:

  • Increase insulin sensitivity, helping to reduce the risk of diabetes

  • Lower blood pressure due to the high levels of flavanols as well as reduced risk of heart disease

  • Rich in minerals such as Iron, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc

Bottom line: dark chocolate is a superfood. Which is also a skin food. What is a skin food? Skin foods are the things we eat that produce positive change in the skin. Dry skin? Start adding avocados to your diet. The high, healthy, fat content will help your skin keep moisturized from the inside out. Battling break outs? Add Matcha Tea (a finely ground, specially grown green tea, higher in antioxidant content than normal green tea) to your daily routine to reduce inflammation. What we eat (or don’t eat) affects the appearance and health of our skin. By incorporating super skin foods into your daily diet, you’re making deposits into your Skin Bank. Those deposits help to fight free radicals, boost internal moisture, fight sallowness (grey tones), increase firmness and plumpness and help keep your skin healthier for longer.

One of the biggest problems for skin aging is inflammation. Inflammation breaks down our skin’s ability to stay firm, supple, and glowing. It produces breakouts, discoloration, dryness (oil!) and dehydration (water!). One of the biggest culprits of inflammation in the skin is sugar. The impact sugar byproducts have on our skin cells is huge and often overlooked when we are trying to fix our skin at home without the help of an esthetician. When we ingest sugar, our bodies go through a process called glycation, where sugar attaches to our collagen. This process produces what’s called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) and these villains damage our collagen and elastin stores, leading to accelerated aging, wrinkles, and sagging. High levels of sugar in our diet also leads to insulin sensitivity that can cause hyperpigmentation and facial hair

Skin foods can help mitigate some of the damage done by our diets. Reaching for raw, unfiltered honey instead of sugar can help with some of the damage being done by sugars in our diets. Raw honey helps provide excellent levels of antioxidants, minerals, and even pollen for those of us with seasonal allergies. It has lower fructose than sugar and because it’s so sweet, you end up using less, resulting in fewer calories and damage to the body.

We stock a full selection of skin foods at Apothespa. Chocolate, honeys, matcha, and teas. We can help you find products that will naturally help you get your glow back in a delicious way.

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Skincare

I LOVE OIL!!!

Hi, my name is Molly and I am an oil addict.

I haven’t always been addicted to oil, but my beauty life changed when I finally listened to the old-school wisdom of how oil will change your skin. It only took 30 years of fighting my skin, and its natural oil supply, to realize how I was harming and not helping it.

This ode to oil is going to come in a couple of parts because I could ramble on about the subject for hours and none of us have that kind of time. 

Let’s go back to age 12. Ahh, the formative years of our skincare journey. Bleh. I have battled with hormones my entire life thanks to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). This in turn, has given me hyper-angsty skin with a penchant for breaking out at the slightest grievance.

The vicious cycle of avoiding oil cleansing
Thanks to the non-stop media and marketing-driven narrative that I MUST AVOID ALL OILS OR I WILL DIIIIIIE, I did. And what did my skin do in response? It produced twice the amount of oil, leading to even more breakouts, more insecurity, and more acne products to treat the breakouts I was creating by listening to them and avoiding oil so I wouldn’t die a horrible death. It was a vicious cycle.

So, I stopped it and started oil cleansing. I use a pre-cleansing oil on my skin (dry hands, dry face) to break up dirt, oil, sunscreen, minerals, primers, makeup, pollution, etc. Oil encapsulates bad stuff and when we add water, it emulsifies and loosens the bonds all those things have with the skin so they can be removed.

Waterproof ingredients
What folks don’t realize is that a lot of ingredients in skincare and makeup products are actually hydrophilic (a fancy word for not budging when water is applied). You read that correctly. Water cannot loosen the bonds they create when applied to the skin. Minerals in SPF and makeup? Water resistant. Silicone-based primers? Waterproof. Oils and butters and creams? Water resistant. Have you ever applied oil to the skin and rinsed it with water? Oil is still there. So why would you use a traditional water-based cleanser to remove these products? Hello, breakouts! 

When you oil cleanse, you are prepping the skin to be fully cleansed. If you have dry skin, you can simply wipe your skin clean with a Rawceuticals® Raw Cloth™, followed by a quick tone and the rest of your skincare routine. Or if you’re like me, you follow it with your regular cleanser.

Oil + cleanser
The surfactants in traditional cleansers encapsulate the oil, enabling you to rinse your skin completely clean. The key is you aren’t stripping your skin of its protective layer of oil, so no more over production of your own sebum, which causes chaos on your skin.

Will this make your skin break out? For some people, it may lead to what we call a purge. A purge is when you’re able to pull out whatever might be lurking under the surface of your skin. A lot of folks equate a purge to OMG THIS IS MAKING ME BREAK OUT, I MUST STOP USING IT. No. That’s not it at all. That stuff was going to come out no matter what you used; this just helps it happen faster. My breakouts have died down dramatically since incorporating oil cleansing into my routine. Before, I just wasn’t getting my skin cleaned well enough.

Baby steps
We have many beautiful oil-cleansing products at the shop that I can help you select based on your skin type, skin needs, and budget. Take baby steps with your oil journey. Incorporate it into your routine and see what a tremendous difference it will make in your skin’s life. You’ll be a believer in no time.

XoXo Molly

Stop by Apothespa in McCall, ID, to get Molly’s advice about the right facial oil cleanser for your skin.

Stop by Apothespa in McCall, ID, to get Molly’s advice about the right facial oil cleanser for your skin.

On our shelves: handmade.la conner

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For Robyn Bradley, owner of handmade.la conner, it all began years ago with a friend who needed a laundry detergent that wouldn’t make her break out in a rash. “I started working on something that would still get the job done, but in a gentler, more environmentally friendly way,” said Robyn. “Turns out it was pretty amazing stuff. It was one of the first things I made and sold and it’s still one of our most popular products.”

Robyn has applied her love for science and an unquenchable curiosity to creating a successful business headquartered on First Street in La Conner, Washington. The bright and airy showroom features a broad range of her own handmade products, as well as items from 75 other small, independent artists and makers. “It was a way to bring it all together and give us a home,” she said. “People travel from far away just to come and see the shop.”

It’s worth the visit. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to offer a treat to Henrietta, one of handmade.la conner’s four-legged mascots and the inspiration behind her own line of natural dog grooming products.

“Always something exciting”
Inspiration lies at the heart of handmade.la conner. “There is always something exciting on the horizon,” Robyn said. “My passion is trying to work toward something new, something that will grab people’s attention.”

And when Robyn is inspired, she works in what she describes as a “production kitchen” located in the rear of her store. Notice she doesn’t say laboratory or manufacturing area. Nor is the producing done behind closed doors. Anyone visiting the store can watch what’s happening in the kitchen, if they happen to be there when a product is being made or formulated.

Showcasing local ingredients
Located in Washington’s Skagit Valley, a vibrant agricultural region, handmade.la conner showcases local ingredients in products such as its Bow Hill Blueberry Scrub. This gorgeous creation is made using organic heirloom Bow Hill Blueberry powder mixed (by hand) with shea butter and coconut oil. Just wait until you open a jar; the scent is as Robyn says, “divine.” The antioxidant blueberry powder works to pull impurities from and detox your skin, while the shea butter softens and smooths. And you don’t have to travel to La Conner to pick some up – we have several jars on our shelves here at Apothespa in McCall.

In fact, we feature a wide range of handmade.la conner products, including home care, skincare, body care, dog grooming, and products for people who love the outdoors. This varied selection arises, “mostly from people asking for things and me trying to figure out how can I make them in a way that doesn’t harm the environment and isn’t terrible for you,” explained Robyn, adding, “while being effective and smelling great.” Take it from us, her products perform exactly as she describes.

And Robyn isn’t resting on her laurels (or blueberries). She and her team of 11 employees are working on a new product line for mothers and babies – plus a line for kids. And you can be assured that everything will feature only the best natural ingredients and will indeed, be handmade.

Robyn and Henrietta look forward to meeting you in La Conner!

Robyn and Henrietta look forward to meeting you in La Conner!

Small Business

Why green & indie beauty?

I’m passionate about beauty products. Just scan through my blog posts or talk with me about products. But why is it so important to me? I’m glad you asked!

It all started for me with a man named Horst Rechelbacher, who founded Aveda in the ‘70s. His mission – in addition to creating lovely products – was to raise awareness about harmful ingredients in the skin and haircare products we use. I was 18 when I enrolled in the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The man who also founded the Institute inspired my 20+ year career of caring about what I put on my body every single day.

Horst’s influence guided us as we began selecting products we wanted to showcase for our Apothespa guests in McCall. We asked ourselves these questions:

  1. Are women involved with creating and formulating these products? Yes? CHECK. We want to support women entrepreneurs in our work. We sought as many women-led/owned brands as we could … and discovered that quite a few are mother-daughter teams just like us!

  2. Are they considered an indie line? We aren’t here to sell you stuff you can get everywhere else. Small, indie makers deserve platforms to be able to amplify their vision and message. We want to be a platform for them.

  3. Do they have a green vision and the business practices to back it up? Green-washing is a no-no for us. Just because you call your products safe and clean and better for the environment, doesn’t mean that’s true. We seek makers who use environmentally friendly business systems, such as wind power. Who use eco-friendly packaging. Who source their ingredients responsibly, from responsible suppliers and farms. We also look at their environmental stewardship. Some of our brands plant a tree for each product we purchase from them. Some donate proceeds to social causes we believe in: the environment, women’s health and advancement, animal rescues and clean water.

  4. Do their products create the best results? Listen, this stuff has to work. It has to make you feel good. It has to make you look good. And it has to keep you safe. I’ve tested all of it. Every. Single. Product. And I stand by them.

We believe in the little guys. The small brands that mean everything to their owners. These products and formulas are the life’s passion of these makers. When you purchase their products, you are investing in their passions. In many cases, you are investing in women entrepreneurs and having an impact on the lives of mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, and grandmothers. And you are helping amplify their gifts with some pretty great environmental and social side benefits to boot.

Horst once said, “Ask ourselves: how can we serve, nurture, and sustain the planet and its people in our business ventures?”

That’s why we chose this path.

Give yourself the care you deserve

Some of you may be familiar with the term Hygge. It’s a fun little Danish concept that has caught on over here and on social media over the past couple of years. It’s all about self-care, positive connections with others, and staying focused on enjoying the moment (and all the moments!). Sounds pretty easy, right? If you’re anything like me — mom, student, job-haver, social life wanna-haver, etc. — it can be difficult to live the good life that the Danish have laid out for us.

How do we even begin? Let’s start with Self-Care. The old saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” rings true for a lot of us. We need to fill our cups. Self-Care has been given an ugly nuance over the years and it’s time we abandon that thinking. Women are givers and nurturers, sometimes to our own demise. It’s time we start focusing that nurturing inward. A simple bath with a beautiful bath soak is a great way to give yourself that care. Sounds a bit wonky to be gifting yourself with experiences but HELLO! how are we going to be good to anyone else if we are depleted?

Here’s a little self-care guide that Apothespa can help you achieve:

  1.  Kindred Skincare La Femme 2018: this luxurious oil is the be all and end all of femininity. Wrap your skin in this beautiful oil to feed your feminine spirit and wow any who see the rose shimmers upon your skin. The perfect accessory to any holiday party dress!

  2. Moon Bath Rituals Bath Teas: steep these aromatic teas and include them in your bath to uplift your mood and center your spirit. They also make a beautiful smudging ritual to help clear out bad energy.

  3. Deco Miami: vegan, low-tox nail polishes to keep you far from chemicals and close to fabulous manicures. The little touches matter, take the time to add them to your routine.

  4. Papa’s Apothecary Sandman’s Gift: not sure if you know this, but not sleeping creates Zombies and nobody likes Zombies. This beautiful blue-chamomile-based herbal oil takes life down about 10 notches, perfect for yourself or your little ones.

  5. Innersense Organic Beauty Hair Masque: listen, it’s dry here in McCall. We are all frizzed out both mentally and folically. Fight the frizz with a low-key mask treatment that smells amazing and is eco-friendly to boot.

  6.  Oils, Oils, Oils, and more Oils: ladies, I will shout this from the rooftops: YOU DESERVE OILS ON YOUR FACE. Weird, I get it. Don’t be afraid of oils. Oils preserve and protect our skin. They will make you glow. They are our friends. We have a million oils and we will help you find the one that’s perfect for you personally.

  7.  Sad Shop Co Cards: irreverence is pretty awesome. Quirky cards that make you giggle will probably make other people giggle and giggling is a major part of connecting with other humans. Make other humans giggle by giving them a Sad Shop card. The world is a mess right now and the more we laugh and make others laugh, the better we all will be.

  8. Caramel Caravan Goodies: handmade caramels. I don’t believe I need to expound on this awesomeness.

  9. Scientific Organics Peptide Booster Serum: people are usually pretty surprised when they hear I’m more than 10 years older than they think I am (which is awesome) and it’s mostly due to using peptides. These little wonder-ingredients help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, brighten up hyperpigmentation and reduce inflammation. Inflammation = inflammaging.

  10. Facials! Spend an hour with me and let me do the heavy lifting on releasing stress and tension. Most people have no idea just how much tension they’re storing up in their facial region until it’s been released by a hearty massage. You deserve it!

Our Menu: One 60-minute Facial

Our menu consists of one item. Yep, just one. A 60-minute facial. That’s it. If that seems somewhat confusing, there is a method to my madness.

I am a skincare expert. I know what you need, what your skin needs. I’m the one who should be choosing that, right? Yep. I often see spas and facialists with menus that are way too long and way too complicated. How does a client know what they need when they aren’t the expert?

This is what we want to solve with our simpler menu. No more ala carte charging for things your skin needs. You shouldn’t be penalized by add-on costs if your skin needs a peel or an extra mask. And I should be able to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to treating your skin.

Easy fix!

We will be offering one, fully customized service to treat what we see the day you come in for your treatment. You might see us 12 times a year and each treatment could be completely different. Because your skin is not the same as someone else’s and your skin is not the same from day to day. We provide a completely bespoke treatment to give you the relaxation you need and the results you deserve.

“Hey Molly,” you might ask, “what will I get in this treatment?”

Great question! My facial is based on a traditional European approach with the addition of high-tech and no-tech modalities to garner fast, noticeable results. I use eco-friendly products with a hyper focus on skin nutrition and wellness.

I do not use microderm and will not incorporate it in the future as I’m opposed to it. I can guide you through that position if you’d like, just ask!

I do extractions if you need it but will not force the issue if your skin does not appear to handle them well. I use natural aromatherapies throughout the treatment to deepen relaxation. There is also a lot of massage in my treatments, which clients tend to really enjoy.

Clients leave my care relaxed, refreshed, and glowing. Depending on the challenges you may be having, I will suggest a regular treatment schedule between every 4-8 weeks.

I will also suggest at-home products for you to use for homework. I say “homework” because it takes effort to have beautiful, healthy skin. I see you once every 4-8 weeks; this means the rest of the time, it’s up to you to follow the routine I lay out for you. You must do a lot of the heavy lifting to make this team work. If you come to me with serious issues that need resolving, I’m going to count on you to commit to your homework. You can count on me to make reasonable, budget-appropriate suggestions that will help us achieve the skin you desire. Remember, if you use unhealthy products on your skin while getting regular facials, you’re taking two steps forward and twenty steps back. Let’s work together to make a fabulous glow!

I have an opinion or two about everything, so I encourage you to let my two decades of experience show you what I can accomplish in a treatment. You are my walking billboard. Helping you put your best face forward is paramount for me, so let’s team up to help you achieve that.

XoXo Molly

Shopping Locally

The Ripple Effect of Shopping Small

1. Spend money in McCall and more of it stays in McCall

For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community. This is huge! When you shop locally, you are investing in McCall: investing in new jobs being created, your neighbors making more money to spend in town, and our city remaining healthy and vibrant.

2. You embrace what makes McCall unique

McCall is really something special…don’t we want to keep it that way? When you shop indie businesses, you help your community remain unique. McCall is anything but boring and our independent business community helps maintain that.

3. You create local jobs

Local businesses are better at creating higher paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions. You are also creating access for people to rise to the middle class and beyond.  Isn’t that the ultimate American dream?

4. You help the environment

Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging from shipping. Let’s face it, the environment is what makes McCall so special to so many. If we don’t protect it, how long will it remain so beautiful? Every little step we take to preserve the beauty of McCall matters.

5. You nurture community

Local business owners know you and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains. The investment in community goes both ways. We want to support the people who support McCall. Can the businesses you shop at say they support what’s important to you in your neighborhood?

6. You conserve your tax dollars

Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong— in your community! The loss of sales tax revenue hurts us. No number of discounts from online retailers can make up for the needs of our local infrastructure. That money will have to be raised somehow, either through local taxes or taxes levied on our homes. When we spread the demand out amongst us and those who visit our fair city, it lessens the burden on local homeowners when the tax man comes.

7. You create more choice

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wid­er array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets. Your opinions and needs matter to us! We want to best serve you; you can’t say that about most chains. 

8. You can take advantage of their expertise

You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it? We can save you money by making sure you are buying exactly what you need. That cost savings adds up over time.

9. You invest in entrepreneurship

Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business helps build a strong community. Strong communities can withstand pretty much anything. Help us make McCall stronger by supporting locally owned businesses.

10. You make your community a destination

The more interesting and unique your community, the more it will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone! We all know that tourism is our bread and butter here – how do we keep them coming back? With McCall’s very own brand of warm hospitality and unique stores to keep them coming back year after year.

*Source: Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.

 

Skincare

How to look 20 years younger [wink]

The number one question I get asked as an esthetician is, “Can you make me look 20 years younger?”

I chuckle and explain that, unfortunately, my magic wand is broken. In the back of my mind; however, I know you can get substantial results when you use my two favorite ingredients: acids and oils.

Why? Skin preservation and restoration relies on two main components: acids to regenerate and prevent damage and oils to protect and repair damage.

ACIDS

A myriad of acids are used in beauty products and I love all of them immensely. Each one does something different for and to the skin. I believe in using a multi-acid approach to get a more balanced result in the end.

Here’s a quick overview of some acids and their functions for your future reference:

Glycolic Acid: an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that has a small structure allowing it to penetrate the skin to do more work. Excellent for most skin types, but darker skins should avoid large amounts.

Salicylic Acid: for acneic and oily skin. This beta-hydroxy acid helps thin out sebum (the oil produced by our skin) secretions to help prevent bacteria-induced acne. Great for non-sensitive teens and men.

Lactic Acid: the gentlest acid, this milk-derived AHA is great for all skin types.

Hyaluronic Acid: HA isn’t an acid in the traditional sense. It is a humectant, drawing 1,000 times its weight in water that it holds in place within the skin. It provides a plumping effect, making us appear more youthful.

Lipoic Acid: fat and water-soluble, lipoic acid is a master antioxidant. It protects the skin from damage and trans-epidermal water loss. It is derived from an oil, not from a fruit, milk, or nut.

Kojic Acid: one of my all-time favorites for treating hyperpigmentation. This acid derived from mushrooms helps break down melanin from sun damage and acne spots.

There are a ton more acids out there, so we will make sure to showcase in future posts these amazing ingredients and all the benefits you can reap by using them daily.

OILS

Your skin is a living, breathing organism that has major nutritional needs. Most people don’t realize that fats and oils are vital to healthy skin function. This is a hard lesson to teach my clients because for the last 30 years we have been beating the notion into them that oil-free is best, which is ridiculous.

Our cells need water, fats, minerals, and vitamins to function well. Most people think that water is the most important factor for good skin health and that’s just not the case. Our integument system (the skin) is not like a plant. If we feel dehydrated and drink water, think of all the systems that take that water before it reaches the skin cells.

Drinking more water may not guarantee hydrated skin; however, using oils and essential fatty acids on the skin prevents TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss), which is the major cause of dehydrated skin. I’m not saying water isn’t important, but it’s not the key to healthy skin.

Oils contain super-ingredients called essential fatty acids (EFAs). They repair and prevent damage, are loaded with antioxidants and defend against internal as well as external aggressors. Our bodies cannot produce these EFAs, so we can only get them from the foods we eat or topically in the products we use. They are vital in helping reduce inflammation, protect from sun damage, and maintain healthy cell metabolism. Omega 3s and 6s help provide protection, boost the lipid barrier structure (layer of lipids on our skin that helps protect it from things like the sun, pollution, chemicals, etc.), and healthy fats for your cells to regenerate and repair themselves.

Daily use of acids and oils in your skincare routine will give you fantastic results in the appearance and function of your skin, no matter your age or skin type!