Target the 5 Signs of Aging #ad

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® MULTI CORREXION® 5 in 1 Chest, Neck and Face Cream, I’m targeting the 5 signs of aging as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC While the Summer wreaks havoc on my skin by aging it with damaging UV rays, the Winter is equally as Read more

Probiotic Skin Care: Miracle Ingredient or Marketing Hype?

As a consumer, my hope is that when a product comes to market, it delivers information that is true. I mean, we're all so busy, who has the time to fact check everything? For a while, we all believed the mascara commercials and ads where the spokesperson/model had the most Read more

Tips for Gray Hair #GrayAway

I hate to break it to you, but eventually gray hair will rule your mane. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you already know this to be true. When we go gray, and how much, is a mix of genetics and lifestyle. So while you may not be Read more

Charcoal Skin Care Products for Acne Prone Skin

Do you have oily or combination skin? You may want to consider incorporating charcoal into your skin care regimen. Sure, charcoal is totally on trend right now and may seem like a fad, but it's for good reason. Charcoal absorbs oil and draws out toxins and bacteria from the skin. Those Read more

Voluminous Beach Wave Hair

Little did I know when growing up on the beaches of Rhode Island, that the wavy hair that came naturally among the sand and surf, would be a hairstyle I would try so hard to achieve as an adult. While my hair does have a slight natural wave to it, Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story

For Breast Cancer Awareness month I wanted to showcase a story of a breast cancer survivor. I think it’s important to keep these courageous women in the spotlight to be a beacon of hope to others who may have just been diagnosed or are actively being treated for the disease. It should be a word of warning to women everywhere that no matter who you are or how old you are, cancer does not discriminate. You can learn some facts about the disease with the Total Beauty Total Cure breast cancer awareness campaign this month.

My survivor to spotlight today is Kristen Nelson Thibeault, although no relation to me, I have to say, us “Nelson’s” sure have something in common. We want women to be informed.

Shannon Nelson: Can you share with my readers a little bit about yourself?

Kristen Nelson Thibeault: I’m 42. Married to my best friend and soulmate, Keven with 2 amazing step daughters (Cassandra 9 and Katrina 12), I have 2 dogs (Stanley and Ernie). When I’m not evangelizing for Total Beauty in NY or LA, I live on the water on a small island called Plum Island. It’s 45 minutes north of Boston on a 2 acre hobby farm adjacent to a wildlife preserve.

I am the spokesperson and VP of Brands and Social Media for, the #1 online beauty resource for women. I’ve been in the beauty industry for years. I love my life!

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 26 Comments

Review: Product Body Cream and Crush on You Sugar Scrub

I’m a sucker for indie beauty brands. Especially those products that are handmade. Many of my beauty blog friends had been raving about Product Body’s Crush on You sugar scrub, so not wanting to be the one left out, I had to get my hands on it to try it out for myself. Not to mention their Shea Butter infused Cream…winter is just around the corner, which means dry skin. I am always in search of the moisturizer that can hydrate the most effectively during the cold, harsh winter months of the northeast!

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care 5 Comments

Review: Rembrandt Whitening Strips

There’s no doubt about it, everyone would love to have whiter teeth. I know that personally, between my previous addiction love of diet coke, my infatuation with ice tea and my love affair with ice coffee, that it has played a role in my teeth turning gray. I have been diet coke-free for well over a year, but I can’t shake the ice tea and ice coffee cravings. So what’s a girl to do to polish up her perfectly straight teeth?

I have found a new love in Rembrandt’s Whitening Strips. I’ve tried other whitening strips before; both Crest and Aqua Fresh and disliked both. Crest’s moved around in my mouth and I couldn’t talk with them in (and I surely like to talk… a lot), not to mention the formula being all messy in my mouth. Aqua Fresh’s trays basically made me gag and I couldn’t even get past 3 minutes with them in. So I was skeptical to use Rembrandt’s Whitening Strips, but pushed ahead because I hate looking at my dull, drab teeth when I smile.

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Spa 5 Comments

Review: Eufora Urgent Repair Shampoo & Replenishing Treatment

Eufora is the first hair product I have come across that uses Aloe Vera gel as its base (vs. water.) From the beginning that told me that the shampoo and Replenishing Treatment were going to work wonders on my hair. As you all know, I color my hair regularly, so from time to time it gets a bit dried out and frizzed.

As mentioned on Eufora’s website–Aloe contains elements that are essential to cellular healing, renewal and growth. Aloe also delivers amazing antibacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic properties. It is a naturally effective solution to help alleviate the symptoms caused by skin and scalp conditions such as acne and dandruff.

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care, salon 4 Comments

Spa Getaway: Stone Spa at the Casanova by Rafael Hotels in Barcelona, Spain

After exploring the city of Barcelona, guests can indulge in spa treatments and rest their tired little feet at Stone Spa, an enclave of pampering and relaxation located inside the hip Casanova by Rafael Hotels and the only indoor/outdoor spa in the city. The spa is offering a three-night Stone Marvels Spa package for two which includes two Stone Marvels massages with hot river stones and olive oil (the Mediterranean’s lifeblood); accommodations; buffet breakfast daily; and round-trip airport/hotel transfers.

The Stone Spa is available to anyone seeking a rarified spa experience that combines pampering with innovative therapies. The spa boasts a treatment menu inspired by the Earth’s healing properties. Gemstones, smooth river stones and indigenous botanicals, culled from wellness traditions around the globe, are integrated into all of the treatments. Each guest departs with a small stone or crystal, a tactile reminder of their experience at Barcelona’s most transformative refuge, the Stone Spa.

To learn more about Stone Spa or to make reservations at Casanova, visit

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, skin care, Spa 4 Comments

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Named 101 Women Bloggers to Watch This Fall

When I saw WE Magazine linking into A Girl’s Gotta Spa! I was intrigued. Then came the moment when my mouth dropped open and I sat amazed to see that the trail ended upon a post on WE Magazine’s website called “101 Women Bloggers to Watch This Fall.” I found my name and A Girl’s Gotta Spa! listed and wanted to cry.  For those who know me, you know that this beauty blog is my baby. It’s what has taken my life in a whole other direction full of wonderful and exciting opportunities. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly humbling it is to be noticed, but also to be listed among some other pretty amazing women.

Check out the list and discovering some other really fantastic women in blogging.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 8 Comments

Review: ME! Bath Shower Sherbet

I utterly love fragrant bath and body products. Especially when I am in a foodie mood and want to take in the smell of something delicious without actually having to count calories. ME! Bath’s Shower Sherbet totally meets my need for something that offers deletable fragrance while delivering gentle exfoliation via jojoba beads and granulated sugar cane. This sugar scrub is one for your must-have list for sure.

I have ME! Bath’s Shower Sherbet in Strawberry Kiwi, which smells of fresh picked strawberries that you cut up to sit upon a soft sponge cake with a dollop of whipped cream. It is sugary sweet with a slight edge of tart. The sherbet is pretty thick that you can scoop it with your hand and evenly distribute it across your skin. It’s pretty mess-free, allowing you to get more on your skin and less on the bathtub floor.

While the beads exfoliate the glycerin and jojoba oil moisturize your skin. The fragrance doesn’t just dissipate after you rinse it off either. I love that the scent remains on your skin for hours after getting out of the shower.

$28 for 16 oz. (which lasted me about 2 months with twice a week use)

*Photo Credit: ME! Bath

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, skin care 3 Comments

Meeting Couture Fashion Designer Gilles Montezin

In a few weeks I will be boarding a plane to Milwaukee–not to see the bronze Fonze (although I have thought about grabbing a picture with it), but to instead attend Milwaukee’s first Fashion Week and speak on a panel with other fabulous beauty bloggers (The Makeup Girl & Temptalia) on the final day of the action-packed week.  Some other incredible industry greats who will be there are Billy B, Syd Curry, Lawrence Zarian, Jean Voute Pratt, Shannon Lang and Gilles Montezin. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to be a part of something so major. And compared to everyone involved, I almost don’t feel worthy to be there. (But shhh! It feels good to have my name in the headlines among these fantastic pro’s!)

While attending New York Fashion Week, I had the chance to get some quality time with Gilles Montezin at his home (which let me tell you is uber fabulous!) Gilles showed me a beautiful dress he is working on for his runway show at Milwaukee Fashion Week, as well as, many fabulous clothes he has designed for retailers, celebrities and trunk shows. He let me try on several of his gorgeous coats and if it wasn’t so darn hot in the city, I would so have been wearing a particular long black coat that actually made me look thinner and taller (score!)

My friend Jean Voute Pratt interviews Gilles in this video–notice the awesome long black coat she looks at!

Gilles, his partner Andrew and I all chatted in his living room with an entire wall being a window and gorgeous stair cases that went up 7 floors. Talking with him was like talking with an old friend, in fact we were having such a great time talking that I ended up being late to my next appointment (sorry Leo!) Gilles was such a down to earth guy and extremely personable.

I cannot wait to see his runway show, which is the finale to Milwaukee Fashion Week. Tickets are on sale now, so be sure to grab yourself one before they are sold out! Milwaukee Fashion Week is October 3-6th! See you there!

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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 &

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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;

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 4 Comments