Improve Your Brow Game with Chella

My brows are sparse and basically non-existent in some spots. They also do this caterpillar ish from years of plucking the wrong way when I was younger. I've considered getting permanent makeup with a brow tattoo, but to be honest, I'm not a fan of needles (which is also the Read more

Diminish the Look of Fine Lines and Wrinkles #sponsored

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® Daily Resurfacing Disks, I'm getting taking care of my skin as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC Are you looking for a simple way to cleanse and exfoliate your skin all in one beauty product? Do you have fine lines, wrinkles and sun damaged Read more

Honey Girl Organics Giveaway with Lilly's Bathcarry

A Girl's Gotta Spa! retailer, Lilly's Bathcarry, knows a thing or two about pampering. We're both on a mission of self care. We've partnered together for a giveaway so that you can treat yourself; there's not just one winner for this giveaway, but TWO. Lilly's Bathcarry will send two winners, chosen Read more

Best Body Washes for Acne-Prone Skin

Bacne. Something that is often dreaded when the warmer weather hits and you want to ditch the layers. While I personally haven't experience body acne, I do have keratosis pilaris on my arms and legs, so I know the feeling of having a skin condition I want to clear up Read more

5 Surefire Ways Pampering Helps Boost Your Mood (and Confidence)

Disclosure: I’m sharing #MyOliaStory #ad as part of a Garnier® sponsored series for Socialstars™ You've probably experienced this scenario yourself - you're in a rut and feeling meh when you decide to take a moment to yourself to rejuvenate. Sometimes it's something simple, like a bath or it's something a Read more

bath and body

Lasting Smiles Lip Balm for a Charitable Cause

Lasting Smiles Lip Balm contributes to life changing cleft palate surgeries. Story via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty #charity

I love great brand stories and the cause behind Lasting Smiles lip balm is one of them.

Not only is it amazing to me that the Founder and visionary behind Lasting Smiles is only 21 years old, but that she began her company – whose main goal is to provide the funds for life changing mouth surgeries – by selling door to door. That’s passion for a compassionate cause. That’s something I can get behind.

Lasting Smiles, which recently launched nationwide in Nordstrom and Whole Foods and online at Walgreens and Drugstore.com, is the only US FLO fairtrade certified cosmetic brand. They work to support organic small scale farming communities around the world. Lasting Smiles is also 100% vegetarian and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, lip balm, Philanthropy, skin care Leave a comment

Best Charities for Breast Cancer Research

Which breast cancer charities are the best? Please read this post via @agirlsgottaspa and help spread the word! #BCA #breastcancer #breastcancerawareness

As a beauty blogger, I’m inundated in the months leading up to and during Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pitches for all sorts of beauty products. Each brand aligns itself with the goal of raising funds by donating a certain percentage to the cause. I’m often discouraged when I see 10% assigned, or a vague statement and you’re not really sure which charity the money is going to, or better still, that the money is going to a charity that spends more money on administrative costs than it does research and supporting the local community. I get further disgusted when brands don themselves in pink ribbons with no identifiable percentage going to charity. It’s all for the fanfare and targets uneducated consumers who will toss money at something in the name of a cause.

I recently watched a broadcast on my local TV station which was promoting the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure. The spokesperson said, quite proudly, “100% of 25% of your donation goes to research.” You got that, right? In other words, 75% of your donation does not support research for breast cancer nor does it go to support local women battling the disease. As someone who knows plenty of women who have had breast cancer, as I’m sure you do too, it is disheartening.

While I understand that administrative costs need to be paid, and 100% of your donation never goes directly to research, how can you find those charities that get very little promotion yet do the most for women with breast cancer? Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Philanthropy 11 Comments

Project: Beauty (Bloggers) for Good; A Domestic Violence Donation

Beauty Bloggers for GoodFor a while now beauty products have been piling up in my office, in my bathroom and in my garage. You see, when beauty companies and PR firms send me products to try out for a review, they often send multiple products. So maybe an entire hair care collection…but I only end up using the shampoo and conditioner, or 6 eye shadows…but I only really need to try out one to know if it’ll crease or how it looks. All of the extras find a way into a box and then my family likes to “shop” my office.

This year after reading Renee Rouleau’s post Beauty is Truly More Than Skin Deep about domestic violence and her ongoing initiative to donate unused or gently used beauty products to local shelters, I decided that I wanted to put those boxes of unused products to good use.  So I rounded up some of my beauty blogger friends who also committed to donating their unused products as well.

So this past week, my three oldest sons ages 11, 8 and 6, and I gathered 2 boxes packed full of beauty products and a bag with several pairs of unworn women’s shoes and brought them to a place here in Northeast PA called VIP (Victim’s Intervention Program.) VIP gives women and children of domestic violence and sexual assault free counseling, support groups, food pantry and emergency shelter. I asked my sons to carry in the boxes and explained to them why we were donating them. And it made an impact… Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Philanthropy 2 Comments

And the Winner of Mom: Get Glamorous is…

mom_get_glamorous_winnerCongratulations Gerry! Your daughter Jessica submitted an entry to Mom: Get Glamorous to nominate you for being the amazing mom you are! You have won $3170 worth of beauty and fashion products!

Name: Gerry Morrison
Age: 50
Children: Jessica (25), Jarrod (24), Jayson (23)
State: Louisiana

I’d love to tell you about my amazing mom. She’s the strongest woman I know and it’s for all the reasons on top of raising 3 grown kids, numerous pets and my dad! My mom is a primary care doctor. But she hasn’t always been. When I was small, she was the first diver hired on by the Aquarium in New Orleans when it opened in 1991. How cool is that? I got to go to the aquarium, point at the diver in the tank and say “That’s my MOM!”  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, giveaway, Philanthropy 5 Comments

Mom Get Glamorous Contest Winner!

I’m sure you will agree—this mom deserves the prize hands down.

Name: Jo Coiner Burzycki
Age: 32
Location: New Mexico
Kids: 3

Finding Strength:

When I look back to my life almost three years ago and think about all the things I would let get to me, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Simple things would make me yell, “My life stinks!” and it was never over anything important either. Just the usual daily stuff that we all complain about.

Then my whole life was turned upside down. It all started in September 2004 when our new family doctor noticed a large lump in my throat and asked me about it. He felt it was definitely a big deal immediately ordering blood tests and an ultrasound on my neck.

The ultrasound found four nodules on my thyroid and two weeks later I had a fine needle biopsy done. Shortly after that I had my results- medullary thyroid cancer. It’s a rare form of thyroid cancer that leads to testing for a rare genetic disorder. Three weeks later those results came back and I was diagnosed with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a or MEN2a as it’s known.

You would think the bottom would fall out on my world and I would completely collapse in a puddle of tears at that point. I mean here I am not even thirty years old, I’m told I have cancer, plus a genetic disorder that causes MORE cancer. It honestly set me back on my heels but once I found out I wasn’t going to die within the next 6 months, I knew everything would be okay. Sure I cried some but then I wiped the tears and went on with life. I knew I needed to because I’m the Mommy and I had to be strong for my kids.

Immediately after my diagnosis we determined that my three children needed to be tested for MEN2a as well since it’s genetic. You see, each child of a person with this disorder has a 50% chance of having it as well. So blood was drawn on all three kids, we crossed our fingers as we waited, and almost a month later we had our results.

That is when my world felt like it was coming apart. It’s one thing to be told that you have cancer and will have to deal with it for the rest of your life but your babies? How can these perfect little people who are your whole world have to deal with this too? I prayed nightly that some miracle would happen and all three children would come back negative but I knew in my heart that our chances were very slim. One, two, and likely all three would have this. Then what would we do?

I remember the day the endocrinologist gave me the news like it was yesterday. Her exact words were “Your little one, Aidan, he came back negative” then tears started forming in her eyes and her voice broke “but your other two children tested positive, so they have this and will have to be tested and watched for the cancers”. She cried some then hugged me telling me how sorry she was. Did I cry? Only a few tears then I straightened up and in my mind all I could think was “I’ll be strong because I’m the Mom and I just have to be. They need me”.

In January 2005, I had my first surgery removing my adrenal glands and the adrenal cancer. This put me on steroid replacement for life. Two months before my 30th birthday and I was a cancer survivor from one cancer and starting a battle with another one.

On March 30th, my oldest children both had thyroidectomies. We hoped that we were getting a jump on the medullary cancer before it could start but after surgery we found that the cancer had already started in both of them. My two amazing children were now cancer survivors at almost fourteen and ten. We got the cancer in time and they will never have to worry about it again. They will take thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of their lives but this nasty little cancer that chemo doesn’t touch will not get them a second time.

Two months later I had another surgery to remove my thyroid (and any cancer there), three parathyroids, and any lymph nodes in my neck and shoulders that we could find to clean out as much medullary cancer as we could. This left me with a U-shaped scar that covers most of my neck and thyroid hormone replacement for good. When you think of what I had going in and what I traded it for, I think I’ve made out pretty well and feel proud of these “battle scars”.

We didn’t get all of the medullary cancer in time but I don’t worry about it. I know I have at least 5 to 10 years with my children (if not more) and that is more than a lot of people with cancer get. I’ll take any time I’m given and be more than happy with it because it means I get to watch my babies grow. I wouldn’t miss that for the world.

The way I act and live with this disorder sets an example for how my oldest two children will live their lives with it. Knowing that, how could I ever possibly do anything other than be strong? I will be strong because it shows them how to be strong. I will have hope because it means they will face this with hope as well. I will love life because in turn they will learn to love life too and if they are anything like their mother, they will remember to laugh even when things get hard.

I may be a mom living with cancer but when it comes right down to it, I’m just a mom… living. I choose to fight for life and live it in the best way I can.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in giveaway, Philanthropy 15 Comments