#EyeHeartNY Twitter Party 4/24 #ad

This summer I'll be 40. Wrinkles and fine lines know their way around my face like a road map. I wish what I know now about anti-aging, I knew 20 years ago so that I could take better care of my skin. However, since I can't literally turn back Read more

Beauty Benefits of Lime

It may sound silly, but even though I don't drink, those Corona commercials snag my attention every time. Sounds of the ocean, the sense of relaxation and the refreshing lime placed perfectly in the bottle neck. It's that lime that calls out to me saying, "Let me quench your Read more

Gail Lewis - SUPER Model

If you've read the bios of the A Girl's Gotta Spa! editors, you may stumble across the fact that Gail Lewis is a model. I don't mean model being kind, like Gail is attractive, I mean model like fierce, confident and in-demand. And of course, as in actually having Read more

#BeautyInspiration Twitter Party April 16th #shop

 Image credit: Hairspray & High Heels We have major love here at A Girl's Gotta Spa! for makeup. From makeup trends to makeup tips, when to spend and when to splurge, as well as the latest products for each season, you can count on us to bring that info to you. Read more

Spa Week 2014 A Girl's Gotta Spa! and Giveaway

It's that time of year again when spas lower their prices on some of their spa treatments, otherwise known as Spa Week! From April 21–27th, spas, fitness facilities and wellness centers across the country will be offering $50 spa treatments, including a few spas that we've reviewed like The French Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

Hair Trends Spring 2009 Diesel Black Gold

When I was backstage at Diesel Black Gold checking out their makeup trends, I wandered over to their very photogenic lead hairstylist from Bumble and Bumble, Laurent Philippon, to learn more about the hair style for the show.

Laurent told me that the look was very contemporary with a strong sense of style. It’s rock and roll (which also makes sense with the Alice Cooper nod on the makeup end) with texture and occasionally braids that are then flat ironed.

Products used:

Styling Wax and Hair Powder (to create a worn out look)
Surf Spray (to thicken)

To me this is beach wave hair. Looks easy enough and a low maintanence style. What do you think of it?

*Photo Credit: (c) Shannon Nelson & Style.com

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 3 Comments

Vert: An Eco-Chic Beauty Boutique

Prompted by her doctor to change her life and eliminate chemicals from her surroundings, makeup artist Renata Helfman sought to maintain her lifestyle using exclusively green products. After collecting sophisticated, eco-chic formulas for skin, hair, body and home from around the world, Renata decided to provide a one-stop eco-shopping destination to share her finds with fellow residents. The result was Vert, Los Angeles’ first beauty boutique to specialize in high-end eco-friendly products.

Set on a hip stretch of Abbott Kinney in Venice, California, the shop focuses on beauty and provides products for the home, baby and lifestyle—all from the latest rising talents in the natural industry. Josie Maran Cosmetics, Arcona, L’Artisan Parfumeur, CARE by Stella McCartney, Naturopathica, Nuxe, Red Flower and Me & Ro and are just some of the luxe, eco-chic brands found at Vert. For the first time, these coveted, beneficial brands are all under one roof at one of Los Angeles’ favorite new shopping destinations.

The completely eco-friendly interior of the modern, sun-drenched store is outfitted with floor-to-ceiling geometric shapes housing an array of eco-chic products. Renata personally selects Vert’s product offerings, all of which are chemical-free and many of which are organic. Environmentally-conscious suppliers mean that every purchase is green and guiltless.

Vert is committed to promoting a full, eco-friendly lifestyle. A key part of its mission is to educate customers through makeup seminars and workshops taught by Renata Helfman herself as well as other experts. Customers flock to her store not only for the products she carries, but also for her knowledge of skincare, eco-friendly makeup and green living. The store is a celebrity favorite, attracting green devotees like Molly Sims and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Now the home of the one-stop eco-chic shopping that Renata envisioned, Vert is a destination as well as an education.

WHERE TO FIND IT: 1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291; www.vertlosangeles.com

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 4 Comments

The Budget Fashionista Party and Carson Kressley

Monday night I attended Kathryn Finney’s 5th anniversary bash for her blog, The Budget Fashionista at Housing Works Thrift Shop in Chelsea. I got the chance to hang out with Mike Pratt, Jean Voute Pratt, Jess Zaino (who is not only amazingly gorgeous, but has spunk to match) and for a brief time, I got to spend some time with my co-workers as well.

About 90 minutes into the party as Jean and I were sitting in the chairs directly under the fans (because good grief it was hot in there) I spotted Carson Kressley. Like a total groupie I grabbed my camera and asked Jean if she would take my picture with him.

Carson was so nice and just mingled among the crowd like us regular-folk–super nice. But what was that blue drink he had I wondered. The party had run out of water and since I don’t drink, I was dying of thirst! I should’ve asked him for a sip!

And many thanks to Mike & Jean for trekking all over NYC to find me California Spring Rolls (to no avail at 10pm at night). They are seriously the nicest people! Can’t wait to see them again when I go to Milwaukee Fashion Week in a few weeks!

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Spa 5 Comments

3.1 Phillip Lim Spring 2009 Hair Trends

The Look:
The look is Eva Peron meets Juliet Lewis; giving the ’40s a more a modern feel and shape.

Get the Look/Step-by-Step:

• Step 1: Create a deep side part and section hair off behind the ear. Spray with Air Control Hair Spray and brush through to smooth.

• Step 2: Create a high pony tail right above the right ear and secure in place with an elastic.

• Step 3: Divide pony in half and roll each section around a “rat” (small hair sponge), creating a cylinder-like shape. Hold in place with pins and spray with Air Control Hair Spray.

• Step 4: Repeat with other section of pony tail, creating a bow-like shape.

• Step 5: Apply a small amount of Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip throughout remaining section of hair on other side of the head. Spray with Air Control Hair Spray before wrapping hair down and around the back of the head along the hair line, and up around the base of the pony tail. Secure with pins throughout to keep in place.

Aveda Products Used:
Air Control Hair Spray
Light Elements Defining Whip

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*Photo Credit: Style.com & Maria Valentino

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 2 Comments

Rodarte Spring 2009 Hair Trend

The Look:
This look is alien-like; the hair is wrapped around in circular motions to create a tight, pure bun covered with a gold or silver leaf.

Get the Look/Step-by-Step:

• Step 1: Separate hair into top and bottom sections leaving a wide strip from the front to mid-way down the head.

• Step 2: Separate bottom section into three parts. Beginning with the middle section, dampen hair with water, spray with Aveda Air Control Hair Spray, and comb through. Secure into a tight pony tail approximately two inches above the nape of the neck. Wrap hair into a bun using a circular motion and secure in place with pins.

• Step 3: Take bottom left section of hair to work with; dampen with water, spray with Air Control Hair Spray and brush through, then comb using a fine tooth comb to smooth. Wrap hair around the bun tightly in a circular motion and secure with pins. Re-spray with Air Control Hair Spray to seal fly-aways. Repeat with bottom right section of hair.

• Step 4: Separate remaining top section of hair in half. Dampen bottom half with water, spray with Air Control Hair Spray and comb through. Divide again into two more sections—right and left. One at a time, wrap each section around the bun in a circular motion, securing in place with pins. The bun becomes larger and wider with each section of hair added.

• Step 5: Take remaining top strip of hair; dampen, spray with Air Control Hair Spray and comb through to smooth. Comb hair back and directly over bun, securing in place with pins and Air Control Hair Spray. Tuck ends into the bun and seal with pins.

• Step 6: Coat bun with Brilliant Retexturizing Gel. Place a gold (for blondes) or silver (for brunettes) leaf over hair to cover the bun. Smooth in place with fingers and spray with Air Control Hair Spray.

Aveda Products Used:
Air Control Hair Spray
Brilliant Retexturizing Gel

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*Photo Credit: NY Mag & Imaxtree

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 2 Comments

BagTrends Arm Candy Party

Have I mentioned the awesome Inside the Tents website yet where you can get the inside scoop from bloggers at fashion week? Well go check it out–it is an awesome site I am excited to be a part of, but also the very fabulous Pamela Pekerman of BagTrends is a contributor as well.

Pamela’s company, BagTrends, is also having an “Arm Candy” party soon after fashion week ends..on September 22nd, but before you think I am merely talking about fashion here, our arms need to be fabulous looking when holding that awesome Rebecca Minkoff handbag right?

A spa and wellness area will be set up so that you can indulge in fabulous hand creams, moisturizers and other arm candy-ish beauty treats. If you are also one of the first 300 guests to arrive, you will get a gift bag with makeup, spa discounts and more! You can purchase tickets at BagTrends.com and you can bring a friend! Just make sure to include “blogger+1″ in the comments box at check out! Tickets are only $10!

Here’s the details:

Check out details from their previous party at BagTrends.com

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 7 Comments

Carenza color.cutting.experience

Carenza, an award winning salon with a zen pop industrial feel, is one you’ll want to check out if you happen to be in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Think Milwaukee is just about Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley? Think again when you get a sneak peak into this amazing space with hair stylists and nail techs that can run circles around many others. CEO and hair stylist and colorist, Laurence Seybold, gave me the scoop on what makes Carenza so unique.

Shannon: Can you share with my readers more about Carenza and the experience you seek to provide them with at your salon?

Laurence Seybold: Our objective was to create a complementary feeling of both stimulation and relaxation. The design concept was zen-industrial-pop. We chose to mix the relaxed “spa-like” Asian feeling with the crispness of the clean lines of industrial, plus bright/energetic pop-inspired colors and digital media use. We wanted the client takeaway to be one of an Upscale-Spacious-Luxe experience. We feel the whole space has an upscale feel and a wonderful design simplicity that matches and/or exceeds most salons in the U.S., but doesn’t sacrifice any of the function for form.

Lastly, our BlueLounge is still the talk of our client base. It is 650 s.f. dedicated to a relaxing client experience. The room has its’ own zen music. The shiatsu shampoo chairs from Italy, recline and massage the client’s back during all sessions. No lights ever shine into their face and there is a wonderful “rice-paper” treatment on the windows for privacy and yet yielding a top view of the sky.

Carenza is located at 15455 Bluemound Road in Brookfield Wisconsin. Please visit their website www.carenza.com for more information on all of the services they have available. If you’ve been there, please share your experience with us in the comments!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care, salon 2 Comments

Review: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Shimmer

Elizabeth Arden Red Door Shimmer

When I was younger, there were two perfumes I wore religiously once I graduated into the adult world of fragrance beyond my teenie bopper Exclamation! and Loves Baby Soft–Angel by Thierry Mugler and Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. Red Door became my signature scent for years and every Christmas my husband always had a bottle of it for me under the Christmas tree. Now Elizabeth Arden has released Red Door Shimmer, which is inspired by the original Red Door. This new fragrance is one intended for the upcoming holiday season (yes it is THAT time already!) with a spirit of shimmering effervescence to get you in the mood to celebrate in style.

Top Notes: Japanese Pear, Yuzu Leaf, Blackberry, Pink Pepper
Middle Notes: Gardenia, Living Casablanca Lily, Peony Petals
Drydown: Tonka Bean, Red Amber, Musk, Sandalwood, Vetiver Roots

The bottle reminds me of sparkling champagne, don’t you think? Red Door Shimmer definitely holds true to its muse while remaining it’s own fragrance. Different yet similar. If you love the original Red Door, you will love Red Door Shimmer, as well.

Red Door Shimmer will be available in Eau de Toilette Spary 3.3 and 1.7 fl. oz. and Shimmer Body Lotion in 6.8 oz. for a limited time at Elizabeth Arden counters nationwide this holiday season, so be on the lookout!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, holiday, perfume, Spa 5 Comments

L’Oreal Feria Product Launch

I’m sure if you read other beauty blogs, you’ve seen by now that L’Oreal is launching a new formula of Feria that has 3x the highlights to create multi-faceted color. A group of beauty bloggers were selected to hold a party, color some hair and help with the re-launch. I feel honored to be one of those selected so check out some before and after pictures from the party below:

Above are Leigh, Barb and Sonya all patiently waiting while their hair soaked up the color. As we waited and rinsed and styled our hair we talked about what was different about L’Oreal Feria than the brands we typically use.

Here’s what we found:
-The dye is a thicker formula so it didn’t drip.
-There was no amonia smell–at all. The essential oil ampule actually made it smell great!
-One bottle actually had more than enough formula for my wicked long hair.
-Our hair looked brighter and more vibrant.
-We loved the shine and the highlights.
-It didn’t dry our hair out.

The only con we all agreed on is that for the 3 of us who did a brown tone, the formula was clear making it difficult to see if we were getting it on our clothes or skin. Once it processed for the 25 minutes, it also emerged as color on our skin. However, it was easily removed from our skin and the stain didn’t remain at all.

Leigh Before and After:

We all agreed that Leigh did not have a dramatic change to her hair color. However we did notice, and it may be difficult to tell here, that the contrasting blonde and dark brown color to her hair softened making her blonde highlights blend in a bit more. And seriously? How gorgeous is she? She is tall and I told her she has the face of a model.

Sonya Before and After

Sonya’s change was more obvious. She went from a medium ash brown to more of a chestnut color. I think this warm color looks perfect on her for fall.

Barb Before and After

Now this is what I am talking about! Wow! I told Barb she had the most dramatic transformation of all. The after picture doesn’t even justify what a great color this is. It has a lot of red to it and she told me that she has repeatedly gotten compliments on her hair since the party a week ago. She is in love with it and said she will forever color her hair with L’Oreal Feria #36, Chocolate Cherry. Barb also has very thin hair and somehow this hair color has almost plumped up each strand. Her hair feels and looks thicker, which she is incredibly happy about.

Shannon Before and After:

Truth be told, I was so busy getting things in order that I forgot to take a before picture. But as with the nature of my blog, I am always taking pictures of myself for various things so the picture above will show you just how dark my hair was before and kind of flat looking. Dull–blah. That was due to my other hair coloring debacle a few months ago. So my hair is now lighter and brings out my natural red highlights. Also, hello shine. I love that my hair is shiny. And seriously–I only needed ONE bottle for all of that hair!

So tell me what you think? Whose hair color looks best? Have you had a chance to try it out yourself?

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 22 Comments

Beauty Guru of Twitter-Fu!

The very hilarious Mike Doe has chosen to spotlight me on his Twitter-Fu blog! If you are not on Twitter, you need to be and you should be following Mike. He is super funny, please he’s easy on the eyes if I do say so myself!

He named me the Beauty Guru of Twitter-Fu (wow, that makes me feel great!) so go check it out!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 3 Comments