Episode II Spa: Island Tan at The Lake achieving color so close to Canada

Island Tan at The Lake is a name that might lead outsiders to think, ‘what a shame that a business has to fake an image with the word ‘island’ to draw customers in’. Island Tan at The Lake is located on Catawba Island. Catawba Island is part of the mainland of Ohio but this is only after workers filled in where shallow lake surrounded the area with cement. Plus, Catawba Island is the gateway to an island paradise chain in Lake Erie accessible only via helicopter, boat, plane, or ferry.

The rooms at Island Tan at The Lake are marked accordingly with signs depicting Kelleys, South Bass Island, Mouse, and others.

Lori Levorchick the owner offers, “that way when people come in and they’re on vacation they can get a little bit of the history here as well.”

Summer months are smoking through the region with travelers and second and third homeowners; most of whom are headed towards the freshwater for a shot of summer sunshine.

“A lot of people are out there on the boats and in the sun and when you’re out in the sun its not regulated. In here its regulated you can come in here and get a tan without getting burnt,” Levorchick lets us in on the north coast service.

She simply wanted a place where people could come in and relax no matter what the forecast decided to give vacationers and residents for the day. Her interview shown in Episode II of Josie in Paradise is below.

Josie in Paradise can be seen every Sunday at 9:30 p on AT&T U-Verse from Key West to Boca Raton, across the nation through ROKU on the Ohio X5 Channel, and here.


EPISODE I: Spa Freshwater Retreat family remedies and island friendliness featured

“I’ve been on the journey of natural and organic living for quite some time, and I said one day too my aunt, ‘what about that recipe? Can you get it for me?’ I made and I realized: if I can make this, I can make other things,” Christie Ontko owner and operator of Freshwater Retreat and Remedies retraces some of the steps regarding her island entrepreneurial journey.

The “this” that she made is affectionately called, Grandma’s Salve.

She explains what the container contains, “camphor, pine sap, lard, bees wax, flax seed oil and it was my great-grandmother’s recipe on the island here and we grew up not having Neosporin or anything but we used this Grandma’s Salves for all of our cuts and bruises and mishaps.”

Freshwater Retreat and Remedies is nothing of a mishap, but a step into the direction of the “trend” in that the PIB crowd won’t always want to party, party, party.

She stresses she isn’t anti-alcohol by any means, “I drink alcohol. I think moderation is the key. When we’re out of balance we’re out of balance.”

She opened the couples retreat and adjoining wellness center about five years ago on South Bass Island. This true island girl, author and businesswoman is adamant about pointing out that she does not operate a spa offering services one might find on the mainland, such as, waxing, haircuts and color, manis, pedis, and eyelash extensions.

She is however, besides a true Island Girl, the creator of OntkOrganix, a line containing organic balms, skin care, even deodorant she makes herself.

“I’m very picky about what goes in my body, on my body,” Ontko voices, “I dived in for my own selfish reasons.”

Massage, Thai massage and Reiki are part of the wellness menu. Masseuse Mary Ann Billings makes the trek from Bay Village to work on guests and visitors.

“Tai Yoga Massage is a massage where I work on the energy lines of the body with palm presses, relaxation massage, acupressure and some gentle stretching. I bring my clients into some yoga poses on the table and massage them while their in the yoga poses. Especially the locals here really enjoy the service because they’re working so very hard, on their feet, all day, every day, taking care of the guests that come to Put-in-Bay. So they really enjoy getting their legs stretched out and worked on,” Billings expressed.

The “spa” segment with Freshwater Retreat and Remedies aired on Episode I of Josie in Paradise. Watch here.

Josie in Paradise airs every Sunday night at 9:30 on At&t UVerse from Key West to Boca Raton, on Ohio’s X5 Roku Channel and here.




33030: Hair with a Zip Code of its Own going four-eyed to fight frizz

My hair has its own zip code. Located in the 33030 somewhere in between Key West and Marquesas Keys. Full of body, bounce, curl, texture and unfortunately frizz.



Here’s a look at the untamed tresses in South Florida.

Melissa Blanco, owner of Salon Blanco, or Teresa Nusser, stylist at Country Hair Creations in the Village of Woodville are responsible for smoothing the cuticle. They both use the Brazilian Blowout. A polymer system is placed around every hair strand to keep the curl and lose the frizz. My hair is stripped, the coating applied, hair dried and straightened, then washed and dried again. The process takes roughly two hours. To get the glam we both go geek in glasses.

Right now Country Hair Creations in the Village of Woodville has the lowest Brazilian Blowout cost of any community in Ohio or Florida. $175 and this includes full-size bottles of Acai Anti-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner that cost an additional $36 per bottle. That leaves enough money to check a suitcase when flying south for spring break to someplace sunny and surrounded by water.

Soaking in this Import Spa Line Champneys Distant Shores

There’s a standout line in the spa products I’m using this season. My aunt gave me Champneys Spa Indulgence Distant Shores Bubble Heaven and Body Butter. Heaven is precisely the correct word used to describe these products. I’m also crushing on the packaging. Bottled up in a cushy fuchsia rimmed with gold, the bottles set the tone for luscious smells of passion fruit, mango extracts and citrus oils. Use has me swooning for a loooooong romance season where everything and anything flushed in tones of rose scores. Made in Thailand this bubble bath and body butter both contain grapefruit and lemon peel oil, plus fruit extract and bark oil. The scent and luxe of ingredients equals love I can give to myself all year around.


Toes in the Salt city spa amenity in Sandusky

To usher in 2017 I changed into a Spa Kalahari robe and dipped my perfectly pedicured peds, colored in Rouge Rouge, four inches deep into Himalayan salt. The Halotherapy Salt Room at Spa Kalahari in Sandusky is one of three salt rooms in Ohio. Salt is used to detox the body from the inside out and also to enliven the energy field around one. I quickly flipped through three magazines to decompress and then sat back and inhaled the salt vapors.

Rebekah Shalne Wellness Coordinator offered, “I personally think it’s a great addition to our spa. We have a lot of guests who come multiple times during their stay because they find it works; so, they come and access the room a couple of times more.”

During the time inside I cleared my conscious mind and did some introspection about some elements which were possibly holding me back and looked intently at the year ahead. This session is a perfect add-on to any spa service. I plan to re-enter the room after a favorite workout session, followed by a massage so my mind is completely clear of clutter. I also would attempt this with a calendar afterwards cleared of errands and business to maximize benefits of the energy field. Sessions are only twenty dollars when added onto another spa service.


Josie is on the Coastal Ohio Trail for Holiday 2016 – 2017 proving The Great Lakes Region is great indeed

Don’t forget to swing over to Josie Style for the Home. In JK Design the Let it Snow holiday 2016 spectacular Christmas on the River continues. Remember the three wise men don’t deliver gifts until January 6 marking the Epiphany.

December’s Sine qua non Made in the USA boots socks, moisturizers and fur fashion

Besides my 1st Generation iPad from Holiday 2010, loaded with Kindle and The Chester Josie Style for the Home faux fireplace, (that story here) there are several fundamentals which have made my holiday on glacial ground splendrous.

For the perfect cup of cocoa I am spooning up heaping servings of Godiva Dark. I took off on nearly all of my evening hike’s with a cup. Dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants. Underneath one of four pairs of boots I’m rotating I went with Made in the USA boot socks from Amelia’s Organic Legwear from The Kroger Co. They’re super soft and offer the right amount of added warmth, plus stay up! I picked a pair up in every color. 

On my face I have been applying a coat of Sarah McNamara’s Skin Transformer Miracle balm on at night and again in the morning. The soothing scent is described as a warm botanical aroma. When the winds are whipping up I apply another layer of Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream on top; namely as a protective shield on my cheeks.

Note: This ointment is safe to rub on the bottom of your pup’s paws to shield from ice scrapes.

These items keep me healthy and happy when the elements have the potential to wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy system. Plus, I could never wait to get home to curl up under The Chester faux fireplace in layers of down. I added the Pedastal Space Heater by Lasko that provides 1500 watts of comforting warmth

All this and don’t forget the fur.

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Josie is on the Coastal Ohio Trail for Holiday 2016 proving The Great Lakes Region is great indeed!

Seasonal Shower Elements peppermint twist and lemongrass bring the spa home

I feel as though I am at a luxurious spa every time I return home from Hot Yoga, step over the porcelain bathtub and turn the water on. The items taking up space next to the tiles are indulgent and work wonders for the senses. Here’s what I’m using now that the weather has turned and the calendar reads December.

The Keys Salt Scrub in Mango Coconut

I picked up a jar of salt scrub the last trip I made to the Keys to work. I jumped behind the counter and in front of the camera at the Midway Cafe. When I left there, I left with this jar so I would never be without the exfoliating benefits of Florida sea salt. This coffee shop located at Mile Marker 80 is also a gift shop. The item can be purchased almost anywhere down on those islands, or visit their site.

Gabriel Correctives Tea Tree Facial Shampoo

I picked up 4 ounces of a custom blend of Gabriel Correctives face shampoo my last visit to Westshore Skin & Health Center in Westlake, Ohio. The owner laced the formula with lemongrass and lavender essential oils. The items this establishment sells, located across from Crocker Park, are priced well within reason. Call 440-250-1535 to learn more, order, or make an appointment.

Cashmere Peppermint Soap
Peppermint Tingle Soap

My favorite Made in Ohio soap brand, Cashmere, came out with a peppermint version for the holidays. This Lebanon, Ohio based company is run by two sisters from Cincinnati who have a passion for suds. The soap comes wrapped in paper containing wildflower seeds to plant. I picked up a bar at a rural drug store. Order here for $5.99.

S Factor Serious Conditioner
S Factor Serious Conditioner

Julia Jabour turned me on to this line back in 2010 when she opened Infinity Hair at 126 Simonton Street in Key West. One of the first sulfate free hair product lines to hit the market, this conditioner does serious stress relief to tired tresses without heat and is infused with sunflower seed oil and hydrolyzed silk. The added parfum and color make this product a gift I give myself all year.

Josie started her career as a news anchor in Ohio. Her first client for JK PR was to run a Key West newspaper.