Solid Lotion Bars from Faith, Soaps and Love

Know for their incredible handmade artisan soaps, Faith, Soaps & Love has another trick up their sleeves... or in this case, in their tubes. Good things come in 2 oz. packages. Don't let the small number fool you, as the Solid Lotion Bar tube is the size of my hand. Read more

How to Hide Unwanted Facial Hair #GoConfidently

No matter your age, unwanted facial hair can become a true confidence problem. From genetics to mature skin, it can be difficult to feel beautiful when dark excess hair lingers around. Bleaching the hair is an option and if you haven't tried it before and are curious, read on. First, Read more

nyakio ABC African Beauty Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen

I'm always on the lookout for a BB or CC cream that not only matches my skin tone but also has SPF 20 and over, covers without feeling heavy or oily, helps to reduce the size of my pores and gives me a little glow. My skin could be described as medium to Read more

Lancome Visionnaire [1 Minute] Blur #PhotoPerfectSkin #ad

I upgraded my beauty routine with Lancôme Visionnaire [1 Minute] Blur as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #PhotoPerfectSkin. All images and opinions are my own. Large pores, skin imperfections, fine lines, wrinkles - these are just some of the things that come with age (thanks 40.) Throw in Read more

Video: A Girl's Gotta Spa! Featured on Beyond the Vanity

Residents of Los Angeles may be familiar with LA Talk Live radio host, Indian Tyler, for her show Beyond the Vanity on Wednesday at 2pm PST. It's always fun and informative with a lot of beauty, wellness and fitness tips. I couldn't be happier to discover that Ms. Tyler Read more

beauty

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 9 Comments

Zolani Organics: Fair Trade Fabulous

It has always been a part of A Girl’s Gotta Spa! MO to highlight beauty brands that give back. We love philanthropy.

This week, we are loving Zolani Organics, a skincare brand dedicated to creating products that are not only high in quality, but help sustain economic income for needy families in Ghana, West Africa.

As someone whose full-time employment lies in nonprofit communications – a nonprofit dedicated to providing aid to Ghana, specifically – I felt an immediate connection to Zolani Organics.   Zolani is a company I like to call Fair Trade Fabulous as all products contain lush, locally-harvested ingredients and a portion of each sale goes towards sending books and school supplies to children in West Africa.

Zolani Organic products are heavily reliant shea butter, a nut extract from the locally-grown African tree. Shea butter is a luxurious moisturizer, is rich in vitamins A, E, and F, and the collagen-boosting properties have even been connected to fading unsightly stretch marks. If you haven’t treated yourself to a rich shea butter product yet, this is the product to try,  you’ll feel fabulous inside and out, knowing you are helping a child continue his or her education.

Visit Zolani’s “About Us” page for more information on the brand’s mission, and be sure to check out their blog to learn more about current fundraising goals.

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in beauty, Philanthropy, skin care 1 Comment

MAC Venomous Villains Auction to Benefit Doctors Without Borders

Thanks to the brilliant idea of my friend Karla Sugar, I’m once again contributing to the auction going on at BeautyBloggers.org to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Last year we raised $5K and this year we have already topped that amount and the auction has only been live for a few days! There are so many great beauty bloggers involved and if you want to pick up an awesome beauty treat at a steal AND help a really great charity, definitely head over and check it out!

My auction items are from MAC Venomous Villains. These are new and unused, although the cases may have a few fingerprints on them since I had to take them out of the box to snap a picture.

The items included are:

• Briar Rose Beauty Powder (from Maleficent/Sleeping Beauty)
• Violetta lipstick (Amplified Creme, from Maleficent/Sleeping Beauty)
• Toxic Tale lipstick (Satin, from the Evil Queen/Snow White)
• Hot House lipglass (from the Evil Queen/Snow White)

At the time of this post, the highest bid is only $68 for these limited edition items…know someone this would make a good gift for? Check it out at BeautyBloggers.org; the auction lasts until December 12th!

Ps. For more great holiday gift ideas, make sure to check out A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Holiday Gift Guide!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, blush, giveaway, lip gloss, lipstick, Makeup, Philanthropy Leave a comment

4th Annual Mom Get Glamorous Winner

Congratulations to Aracelis, who was nominated by Juan. His nomination made it into the top 3 finalists as decided upon by myself and Mom Generations and received the most votes by our readers. Aracelis won the following items from our very awesome sponsors worth $870:

Three Custom Color: A Century in Red Lip Palette, Cool Mom on the Go Lip & Cheek Stain, Aurora Creme Eye Definer, Eye Liner Brush (retail value: $108)

Zoya Nail Polish and Treatments
Zoya Nail Polish Color Wardrobe- Zoya Color Lock System, Zoya Sunshine Collection, Zoya Summertime Collection, Zoya Tasha (retail value: $152)

Lierac Skincare
: Sensorielle Oil, Initiatic Fluide (retail value: $82)

Redken
: Extreme haircare collection- Extreme Shampoo, Extreme Conditioner, Extreme Anti-Snap, Extreme CAT treatment, Extreme Strength Builder, Extreme Strength Builder Plus (retail value: $91)

Meaningful Beauty
: Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules, Glowing Serum, Lifting Eye Cream (retail value: $176)

Spa Week
: $75 Spa Gift Card “ indulge in the gift of health with massages, facials, mani-pedis and more at over 3000 spas and wellness centers nationwide. (Get incredible spa deals all year long, too!)

Artisan Naturals: Ultra-C Antioxidant Treatment Serum, Tangerine Exfoliating Creme Cleanser, Environmental Defense Antioxidant Face Creme (retail value: $98)

NouriShea: Mango Shampoo, Mango Conditioner, Mango Body Wash, Mango Shea Body Creme (retail value: $88)

Juan’s entry: Her Dedication is Tremendous

She is the best partner a person can ask for. These are the words I repeatedly tell people whenever they ask me about her. Aracelis is a 24 year old mother to our 15 month old daughter Lilah. Lilah was born February 14th, 2010, Valentine’s Day. Aracelis was always good with children, always dedicated time and attention to every child she has ever encountered, whether it was children in her own family or friend’s  children. When Lilah was born, she became so selfless; everything revolves around the care for our daughter. Aracelis understands Lilah so much and is there for her every single moment, no matter what. Her dedication is tremendous. She’s always reading new articles and finding out activities to take Lilah to, doing things to make sure that Lilah is not only having fun but learning at the same time. Everyone in our families and our friends always give her compliments on how much of a good mother she is and how perfectly she plays the role of mom. People always give compliments on how well behaved Lilah is in public places and how loving and caring she is turning out to be.

Children always look up to their parents for guidance and how they should or shouldn’t carry themselves, I believe Lilah has the best role model in Aracelis. She’s a full time student, majoring in Speech-Language Pathology, a line of work where you help kids with Speech Disability. Aracelis’ whole influence in achieving this type of degree was both the birth of Lilah and also the children in her family whom have had trouble speaking since they were born. You would believe that being raised without a father would taint her abilities of being a parent but her mother raised her well. Their relationship is one for the books, both always supporting each other and teaching each other new things. Aracelis has only taken off two nights since Lilah was born and that was this past April, she was very gloomy at night because she was used to falling asleep with Lilah in her arms. Most moms are counting down the days when they will get a break from parenting; Aracelis is always planning vacations that can include our daughter. She hates leaving Lilah behind for anything, even if it means going to the movies without her.

Overall, Aracelis has been a great mother thus far, giving every ounce of energy to make sure that Lilah is being raised the right way. She makes sure Lilah goes to her doctor’s appointments. She makes sure Lilah is happy and overall well. If I could, I would give Aracelis the world, she deserves it. Aracelis needs more “me” time; she would greatly appreciate anything that will make her feel at her best.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, giveaway, Philanthropy 1 Comment

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! 4th Annual Mom Get Glamorous Contest

Announcing the kick off to the 4th annual Mom: Get Glamorous contest! This year I am partnering with the lovely ladies from my home state of Rhode Island, Mom Generations, to find the most deserving mom to award the grand prize.

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! and Mom Generations are seeking nominations for moms across the U.S. who have overcome adversity, boldly negotiated impossible odds, triumphed over tragedy, went above and beyond or is a pillar of her community. Simply put: a woman of fortitude and strength, someone deserving of the recognition and undeniably in need of some pampering. Is this you? Do you know someone who fits the description? Then you have until May 25th to submit a nomination and put her on our radar for an amazing prize package!

One very lucky mom will win $870-worth of beauty products:

Three Custom Color: A Century in Red Lip Palette, Cool Mom on the Go Lip & Cheek Stain, Aurora Creme Eye Definer, Eye Liner Brush (retail value: $108)

Zoya Nail Polish and Treatments
: Zoya Nail Polish Color Wardrobe- Zoya Color Lock System, Zoya Sunshine Collection, Zoya Summertime Collection, Zoya Tasha (retail value: $152)

Lierac Skincare
: Sensorielle Oil, Initiatic Fluide (retail value: $82)

Redken
: Extreme haircare collection- Extreme Shampoo, Extreme Conditioner, Extreme Anti-Snap, Extreme CAT treatment, Extreme Strength Builder, Extreme Strength Builder Plus (retail value: $91)

Meaningful Beauty
: Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules, Glowing Serum, Lifting Eye Cream (retail value: $176)

Spa Week
: $75 Spa Gift Card – indulge in the gift of health with massages, facials, mani-pedis and more at over 3000 spas and wellness centers nationwide. (Get incredible spa deals all year long, too!)

Artisan Naturals: Ultra-C Antioxidant Treatment Serum, Tangerine Exfoliating Creme Cleanser, Environmental Defense Antioxidant Face Creme (retail value: $98)

NouriShea: Mango Shampoo, Mango Conditioner, Mango Body Wash, Mango Shea Body Creme (retail value: $88)

Contest Rules and How To Enter:

First, the person being nominated must absolutely 100% be a mom, age 18+ and a legal US resident. You can nominate yourself or nominate someone else. Your nomination must be a picture of the mom with her kids, as well as a 600 word or less written nomination telling us why this mom is so amazing. All entries are to be submitted via the Contest tab on the A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Facebook fan page. You must Like the page in order to have an eligible entry (as well as Mom Generations fan page.)

By entering the contest, should you (or the mom you nominate) be chosen as the winner, you are giving me the right to post this information and letter of nomination in the winning announcement on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! and Mom generations.  Contest begins May 12, 2011 taking submissions until May 25, 2011 at 12pm EST. Mom Generations and A Girl’s Gotta Spa! will select the top 3 entries to put up for a public vote until May 30th. Winner (1) will be announced on May 31st. Retail value of the prize pack is $870. All products are brand new and unused and come “as is” without warranty. There are no cash or product substitutes. I retain the right to revoke or cancel the contest and prizes without warning. Myself and the product sponsors are not liable if you do not like the products, if they cause an allergic reaction and the like. All information submitted via the app (phone #, email, etc.) will not be rented or sold by A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Previous winners are Jo Coiner Burzyki, Trina Davidson and Gerry Morrison.

Good luck!

*Image created by Weston Carls.

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

Autism Speaks Digital Puzzlebuilder Twitter Party

Shannon Nelson familyI’m sure you’re wondering what Autism has to do with a beauty blog. It doesn’t, but it has everything to do with a wonderful 11 year old boy that I gave birth to named Gavin and my incredibly artistic 8 year old son Connor (seen with me here with their 3rd youngest brother–I have 4 kids.) Then there are my nephews Andrew and Kevin…and my cousins Seth and Jared. All of these boys are on the Autism Spectrum. So it was a pretty easy decision for me to spearhead a Twitter party with Autism Speaks to draw attention to a fund-raising campaign that they have going on now until the end of this month regarding their digital Puzzlebuilder.

The Autism Speaks community has built over 12,000 puzzles so far and raised nearly $30,000 for autism research and awareness. It’s an amazing start. But their goal has not been reached. They’re looking to do even more to help their scientists find the answers to Autism – which, as you know, affects 1 in 110 children in the United States and 1 in 70 boys. (Did you notice everyone I mentioned above was a boy?)

This Wednesday, December 8th, please join Autism Speaks (@AutismSpeaks) and myself (@ShannonNelson) at 7pm EST on Twitter as we tweet to raise awareness about Autism, the Puzzlebuilder campaign and to try to get as many $10 donations for puzzle pieces as possible. Pop onto Tweetgrid and use the hashtag: #puzzlebuilder This will help you keep up with the tweets! We’ll also be giving away some great prizes too!  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Philanthropy 5 Comments

Beauty Blogger’s Charity Auction to Benefit Doctors Without Borders

BeautyBloggers.orgLast week I donated a bunch of unused beauty products to my local domestic violence shelter, VIP. This month I also teamed up with 40+ bloggers and beauty brands for a charity auction to benefit Doctors Without Borders. My auction includes some items from Estee Lauder’s Extravagant Holiday collection. And I am pretty excited that it is already getting bids!

When Karla Sugar asked me to get involved, I decided that this was a great cause marketing campaign because 100% of the profit from each winning auction goes to charity. That means all products were donated and all of the beauty bloggers involved have agreed to pay for shipping the items.

Here’s what you need to know:  Read more
Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, holiday, Makeup, Philanthropy Leave a comment

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

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! 100 Bloggers Unite for Ralph Lauren Pink Pony for Breast Cancer Awareness

A Girl's Gotta Spa! (sm) Ralph Lauren Pink PonyAs you know, last October I did a post on why I won’t be spotlighting BCA products. So when I decided to join the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony 100 Bloggers Unite Against Cancer campaign (for breast cancer awareness,) I did so with a lot of thought. Before I get into all of that, I am not much of a model, but my oldest son Gavin (11) had a great time directing his mom on how to pose and which background should be in the picture. Naturally I am wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo with a Pink Pony. (I’m going to show Gavin this post, so please be sure to let him know he did a great job!)

Why I felt the Pink Pony Fund of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation deserved my backing by simply wearing their polo and uniting with other bloggers to spread the word:

  • Pink Pony is not just an “October” effort. Pink Pony is global and it is year round.
  • While the Pink Pony campaign was initially established with a focus on Breast Cancer, it has now expanded to include other cancers.
  • The mission of Pink Pony is distinct and unique in that they are addressing the needs of the medically underserved bringing quality cancer care, access to cancer care, and early detection for those who need it most.
  • 100% of the net proceeds received from the Pink Pony auction on Charity Buzz will benefit the Pink Pony Fund.

And lastly, because I stand by what I originally said last year, I am committing to make a direct donation to the Pink Pony Fund myself.  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