Best Items for Baby, Pampering for New Moms

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. Opinions are my own and the adorable baby is all mine. Dear new and soon-to-be moms, It can be difficult to navigate this crazy new season in life called motherhood and finding the perfect items for your baby all while taking Read more

A Meditation Teacher’s 8 Tips for Better Sleep

Since having Ethan last year, and a few months prior to his birth, sleep has eluded me. Before getting pregnant, I would take melatonin or unisom before bed because my insomnia was so bad. Although Ethan is 1, he still doesn't sleep through the night, which means I can't be Read more

Vole Hair System Review

Don't miss the 20% off promo code below!! My hair has not been at its best this summer.  Sun, salt water, humidity and heat, plus constant styling to battle the heat and humidity all tends to strip my hair leaving it looking and feeling dry and dull. This may sound a bit dramatic, Read more

Spa Pedicure at Utopia Salon & Day Spa in Hawley, PA

The best part of living in a tourist area (the Poconos), is that there are a lot of little gems waiting to be discovered. For me, this gem has been right in front of my face for 13 years. I've driven by Utopia Salon & Day Spa countless times, but Read more

Reflekt Facial Exfoliator Review

This luxury facial cleanser makes skin feel amazing! I've been using Reflekt Skincare for the last 6 weeks about 2-3 times per week. In the summer, a regular cleanser alone won't do the trick to thoroughly rid my skin of all the "gunk" that warmer weather brings when wearing makeup, Read more

bath and body

Spa Pedicure at Utopia Salon & Day Spa in Hawley, PA

Review of Utopia Spa & Salon in Hawley, PA's spa pedicure via @agirlsgottaspa

The best part of living in a tourist area (the Poconos), is that there are a lot of little gems waiting to be discovered. For me, this gem has been right in front of my face for 13 years.

I’ve driven by Utopia Salon & Day Spa countless times, but let me be honest, I never really gave it a second thought based on the outside. I guess you could say, I judged a book by its cover.

Utopia Salon & Day Spa is located on the busy highway of Route 6 in Hawley, it’s also right by an intersection for Wallenpaupack school district and Turkey Hill (where all of those tourists going on Lake Wallenpaupack are gassing up their boats.)

When one of my favorite spas was totally booked, I decided to do a quick search of others in the area. Utopia was the first to pop up. I looked at their menu and saw that they were completely affordable and when they said they could get me in next day, I was stoked.

It was when I pulled into the parking lot that I realized there was a lot more to the building than you could see from the road. When I entered the back of the building, I was taken back by how beautiful it was inside with its local flare of wood floors, stone fireplace and wood beam ceilings. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, Nail Polish, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Spa Leave a comment

Pre-Natal Massage at The Lodge at Woodloch

Pre-natal massage review of @lodgeatwoodloch via @agirlsgottaspa

Your aching back, your swollen cankles, your sore shoulders… if you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, I’m sure you can relate.

There’s so many things to look forward to with your impending arrival, but feeling like your body is falling apart is not one of them. As someone who absolutely loves her spa massages, pre-natal massage was something I was curious about since massage during pregnancy can have some unwanted side effects (especially if you are considered high risk, like myself.)

Before heading to your local spa to indulge in a pre-natal massage, make sure that the therapist is trained in pre-natal. There’s pressure points, etc. that are to be avoided during pregnancy because they can trigger contractions (some even say pre-term labor.) And there are certain essential oils you should stay away from. You should also get the all clear with your doctor/mid-wife first, as well. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, Self-Care, Spa, Wellness Leave a comment

Book Salon and Spa Appointments with MyTime App

Lavish Body & Home - my experience when using the MyTime spa and salon app via @agirlsgottaspa #beauty

Time is a priceless commodity these days. When you’re trying to squeeze in some me time, it can seem almost impossible.

I recently had the opportunity to try a new scheduling app called MyTime that you can book salon and spa (and many other services) directly from your phone or via the web. I’ll be honest, I usually do all the legwork myself from searching area spas and salons, to looking up their menu’s and pricing to researching reviews. Sometimes I’ll begin the process only to get distracted among all those steps and then put it off another day. Then that haircut that I needed at week 6 suddenly becomes week 10. (I get distracted really easily.) I was willing to give MyTime a shot to see how it all worked. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care, Nail Polish, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Spa, Travel Beauty Leave a comment

The French Manor Inn and Spa Massage Review

The French Manor Inn and Spa, Le Spa Foret, massage review via @agirlsgottaspa

Up on Huckleberry Mountain lies an enchanting stone chateau with 20 miles of magnificent views of the northern Pocono mountains. Whether your view is of the prominent snowcapped peaks in the winter, the lush greenery in the Spring and Summer, or the spectacular colors of the Fall foilage, you are guaranteed something breathtaking even before stepping foot inside The French Manor Inn and Spa.

If you long for a peaceful hideaway that is elegant, a place to simply retreat to whether you are local to the Poconos or are venturing in from out of state, you won’t be disappointed with what The French Manor has to offer.

I’m blessed to live local to The French Manor, and having been previously to their Le Spa Foret for a Spa Pedicure, I know that the team here is top notch. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Health, Pocono Spas & Salons, Spa Leave a comment

#SapphireGoesPink for Breast Cancer Awareness

breast cancerThe Sapphire Salon and Destination Spa in Pittston, PA is holding #SapphireGoesPink on Sunday, September 29th from 5-7pm. Sapphire is working with Look Good, Feel Better and The American Cancer Society to host this breast cancer awareness event.

It may surprise you to see a breast cancer awareness post here on A Girl’s Gotta Spa!, especially since we stopped promoting BCA products back in 2009. However, this local event is 100% charity based, so not only do I support it, I’ll be there as well! (And with Amanda, who is MC’ing it!) Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Health, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon Leave a comment

Mount Airy Casino and Spa Review

mount-airy-casino

One of the many reasons I love living in the Poconos, is that there are a variety of things to do. Since the area is a popular tourist attraction, especially now that the Jersey Shore is still being rebuilt, there’s not too much you CAN’T do in Northeast PA.

Back in 1998, Mount Airy Lodge was the location chosen for my honeymoon with my first marriage. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectations when it came to cleanliness, activities and overall impressiveness (and I’m sure my ex-husband would agree.) Soon the Lodge became an eyesore and an undesirable place until the DeNaples family were given a gaming license and completely demolished the old Mount Airy Lodge and crafted an amazing luxury experience that is now Mount Airy Casino Resort. The transformation is amazing. The resort is continuing to transform as it adds outdoor cabanas and a pool to their luxury spa.

I recently had the opportunity to stay for a weekend with my fiance. This is my review:  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Spa, Travel Beauty Leave a comment

SHAPE Magazine’s Best Beauty Blogger Nominee: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

“O.M.G…omg omg omg omg!”  I shrilled in my most 12 year old voice ever when I accidently came upon an incoming link from SHAPE Magazine naming A Girl’s Gotta Spa! a Top 20 Best Beauty Blog. I practically hyperventilated, then I called my boyfriend and then I told my friends also mentioned on the list. An email into SHAPE confirmed that I indeed was put on their list after being named by some of their readers as their favorite beauty blog.

WOW and holy freakin cow.

And I am SUPER excited!

Because you know what? A Girl’s Gotta Spa! turns 6 on October 24th! What better way to celebrate than to be given this accolade! But it doesn’t stop there, SHAPE is asking that of the 20 of us mentioned, YOU vote for ONE as the BEST. I’d like to hope and pray that my readers would choose me. (And tell their friends to vote for me, who tell their friends to vote for me…and so on!)

I have some pretty stiff competition. I am among a really incredible bunch and let me even say that my friend Kathryn of The Budget Fashionista is in there. Can I even begin to tell you how BEYOND that is for me? To even be named in the same category of fabulousness as her? Stick a fork in me, I’m done! Holy smokes!

So here is what I need you to do: Click on the link to vote A Girl’s Gotta Spa! as Best Beauty Blog. Then click the link that says “Vote for this blog!” It will bring up a voting form and then just click A Girl’s Gotta Spa! And that’s it! No registration is needed and you can only vote once. Voting ends on Oct. 28th.

If I make it as one of the 6 finalists (there are 6 categories, not only beauty) then I would win a $100 American Express Gift Card (which honestly I don’t plan to keep if I win it, but will instead gift it to a needy family here in Northeast PA), but if I am selected as the grand prize winner of the 6, then I have the opportunity to shoot a paid video series to be launched on Shape.com. (DUDE I totally want that!)

Thanks in advance for voting for me and thank you to whoever the SHAPE readers were who nominated me to begin with!

xoxo
~Shannon

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 3 Comments

NuFace Lifting and Toning Facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, Kingston PA

I am a big believer in monthly facials. I wasn’t gifted with perfect skin and in order to keep a younger looking appearance sans plastic surgery, taking care of my skin is a priority. I love going to The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA (and there are others around the country too) and have had their Four-Handed Massage and Minkyti Facial before, so I was all for experiencing something new. As I just turned 37, I became most interested in a new facial they are performing there involving the NuFace toning device. I’ve heard a lot about NuFace and I’m familiar with microcurrent technology, so I was ready to see if it would work for me.

This facial starts off like any other facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, using products from Amala skincare to cleanse and exfoliate (from the Rejuvenate collection), then NuFace’s Conductivity Gel is applied. As the esthetician smoothed the NuFace device ($325) on the right hand side of my face and under my chin, I felt absolutely nothing. I even began to wonder if it was on, assuming I was supposed to feel my skin tingling. However, once she got near my hair line, especially my eyebrows, that’s when I began to feel a tinge here and there. Whenever you are getting a facial (or any spa treatment) it’s good to speak up if you feel any discomfort so that the treatment can be adjusted. Once I told my esthetician that I was feeling small pin pricks, she applied more gel and that remedied the situation.

The esthetician moves the device with the contour of your face and the microcurrent is delivered to lift and firm the skin. As we age, we lose about 1% of our skin’s elasticity each year. So if you want to avoid going under the knife, this is a great way to reprogram your muscles. (I asked if it would work on my chest too, but she just laughed. I was serious though!)

After about 10-15 minutes of using the device, she then spritzed my face with the Optimizing Mist and applied Amala’s Rejuvenating Face Cream. I was told that it takes about 8 treatments to see a complete difference, then maintenance with the device about 1-2 times per week. However, I did notice that my skin felt a bit tighter, especially above my eyebrows and in between them. I had the esthetician take a before and after picture and you can see that the wrinkle I have between my eyebrows is much less and that the skin above my eyebrows does appear to pull them up slightly.


While I didn’t purchase NuFace (the kit is about $325) I was still happy with the results. The facial itself is $70. What do you think? Have you tried NuFace for yourself?

If you are local here in Northeast PA, please visit The Woodhouse Day Spa via their website or Facebook fan page. If you happen to book a spa treatment, let them know you heard about them from A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Not local? You can still find The Woodhouse Day Spa nearest you by visiting their corporate website.

Ps. They sell Farmhouse Fresh products in their boutique! I’ve tried their Honey Heel Glaze….AMAZING.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, skin care, Spa 5 Comments

Spa Week’s Top 10 Spa Trends for Fall 2011


Spa Week Fall 2011, presented by Carefree, is happening October 10th-16th with the founding mission of making the spa lifestyle accessible to ALL. This Fall, 800 spas and wellness facilities across North America are participating, offering 2-3 of their top spa services for just $50 a piece (normally $75-$500). Massages, facials, acupuncture, fitness class packages, eyelash extensions, Botox… the options are endless! Booking has now begun. Browse all treatments in your city on www.spaweek.com. It is recommended to book as soon as possible for preferred treatments and time slots.

And now for Spa Week’s top 10 spa trends for fall:

1. Shirodhara
We know what you’re thinking: Shiro-whata? Don’t try this at dinner, but drizzling warm sesame oil onto one’s forehead is extremely therapeutic. Shirodhara, which dates back to India circa 5000 years ago, is now being incorporated into more and more spa menus, and seen as an add-on to Western treatments like body wraps and Swedish Massages.

It’s the good kind of oil spill: The ritual’s steady spilling brings physical and emotional balance while giving hair an extreme conditioning. Shirodhara is known to calm nerves, release stored emotions, purify the mind, and fight fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and headaches.

2. Bamboo Massage

De-knot your body by getting rolled out like a sugar cookie with a Bamboo rolling pin-esque Massage. The massage therapist will knead, glide and roll a Bamboo reed along shoulders, back and legs to pamper and penetrate tense muscles.

The benefits of Bamboo-ing: Bamboo Massage promotes blood circulation, improves sensory nerve perception, and does lymphatic drainage. Bamboo also symbolizes longevity, luck and strength, making it a somewhat spiritual spa experience.

3. Cupping and Gua Sha
Did you ever wish you could literally suck or scrape the pain and soreness right out of your body? With the ancient Chinese healing therapies of cupping and Gua Sha, you can!

How it works: Cupping uses suction on the skin’s surface to “suck” stagnant blood from deep beneath the surface, and Gua Sha “scrapes” the skin to mobilize blood flow in a similar fashion. Both alternative therapies provide extreme pain and tension relief, especially on the back. These therapies are becoming more and more mainstream, despite the temporary bruising it causes, as new consumers experience their drastic benefits.

4. Acupressure
No pressure to get pricked here. Acupressure employs the concept of acupuncture, (the granddaddy of healing) only rather than needles, it uses physical pressure of hands, elbows and other devices. Practitioners target specific points along the body’s energy pathways, or “meridians,” to encourage healing and balance in the individual.

What it’s good for: Relief from allergies, chronic arthritis pain and migraines; pain-sufferers can reap the benefits of this ancient Chinese medicine without fear of being poked.

5. Boozing with Benefits
It’s always happy hour at the spa, but more and more spas are incorporating alcohol into their treatment offerings.

On the cocktail menu: Champagne and wine-infused treatments can smooth skin tissue, stimulate blood flow and are a powerful ingredient in anti-aging. Beer yeast is rich in elements that increase skin elasticity and improve acne by suppressing sebum. Even Scotch Whiskey is showing up on the spa scene; it’s full of sugars, minerals and vitamin B6, giving it excellent hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Shellac Attack
There’s been a lot of hype around UV Manicures, especially the popular Shellac Manicure since it first launched last Spring – the hard lustrous finish! The zero dry-time! The 14-day no chipping/smudging/denting promise! And did you see the Shellac flash mob? A cross between gels and a regular manicure, products like Shellac and Axxium are certainly no fad, as the color selection gets larger and trendier each season.

Why Shellac? Spa-goers love Shellac Manicures because they get a long lasting, no-mess result, and spas love them just as much because it brings in new clients and revenue, without increasing the service time. Shellac Manicures are a win-win!

7. Men’s Treatments

Did you know men make up for 31% of active spa-goers? And did you know the most common spa packages offered are for men, with 45% of U.S. spas offering such a package? By incorporating no-frills, guy-friendly scents like sandalwood, mustard seed, eucalyptus and thyme, spas are able to successfully market to men.

What services are considered guy-friendly? Hot Shaves, Gentlemen’s Facials, Golf Ball Massages and more have enticed male consumers to experiment and experience the health benefits of the spa just as frequently as their female counterparts (who, oftentimes, are the ones who got them hooked!)


8. Mobile Spas  (not to be confused with Spa Week’s Mobile App)With more and more mobile food establishments rolling around the country serving gourmet dishes and desserts, spas aren’t far behind. One of the emerging trends is getting your massage, facial, or other spa service street-side, in a spa on wheels.

Why go mobile? Mobile spas are in high demand as they conveniently bring the day spa experience right to your home, office or venue. With gas prices at an all-time high, the mobile spa experience saves time and money, and is now a popular and sought-after addition to wellness and bridal parties and even corporate events.

9. Deep Sea Spa-ing

The word “spa” is derived from water, so it is a wonder that water-based spa treatments are so often overlooked. The Jacuzzi is perhaps the most well-known version of “hydro-therapy,” but more and more aquatic treatments like Hammam Rituals, Vichy Showers and Watsu are a booming trend, especially in hotel spas.

How to H2O: Each of these water treatments utilized hydro-thermal therapy to relax tight and sore muscles and promote smooth and cleansed skin all while stimulating blood circulation to promote healing. Hammam Rituals combine heat, aromatherapy, steam, bubbles, water and mud to cleanse the skin and detoxify the body. A Vichy Shower is a unique aquatic therapy that invigorates your body while laying flat under powerful water jets, inspired by treatments used in the French city, Vichy. Watsu, short for water Shiatsu, is a massage performed in a warm, shallow pool.  As the water gently cradles the guest so the massage therapist can work the full 360 degrees of your body.

10.  Spa with a Conscience
“Green” spas and treatments are thriving right now in the industry; spa owners are making critical revisions by incorporating renewable energy, holistic and eco-friendly services and indigenous ingredients into their businesses, and it’s paying off in the long run.

But how? More and more consumers are considering a spa’s environmental philosophy, along with price and location in their decision to visit a new spa. Spas are practicing conservation by purchasing organic linens, biodegradable aesthetic gauze and eco-friendly cleaning supplies to keep each guest sanitary and safe during their appointment. How’s that for a feel-good spa day?

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Beauty Trends, Pocono Spas & Salons, Spa Leave a comment

Spas in the Poconos: The Lodge at Woodloch





A few years ago when I went to The Lodge at Woodlochfor a facial and massage, I swore that one day I would spend the weekend at their destination spa. The rooms are luxuriously appointed, the spa cuisine is to die for (I had lunch there during a recent event with Christopher Drummond Beauty) and the grounds are breathtaking. Although I only live about 40 minutes from The Lodge at Woodloch, the resort is tucked away here in the Poconos in such a way, that it felt like I was traveling far far away… Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Self-Care, skin care, Spa, Travel Beauty, Wellness Leave a comment