Your Lips' New Best Friend

My addiction of a good scrub goes beyond just body and facial scrubs. I adore lip scrubs and Treat Beauty's newest organic sugar scrub is one you'll want immediately. First and foremost, I love that this scrub comes in a handy tube. This makes it easy to bring with you Read more

Easy Abstract Floral Nail Art Tutorial

I love nail art that looks really intricate, yet is effortlessly simply in application. I asked fellow beauty blogger and fellow Pennsylvanian, A Little Polish to create a tutorial just for A Girl's Gotta Spa! readers. If you're looking for some simple abstract floral nail art, here’s a tutorial to Read more

Wrinkle Reducing Products

When we're young, we take our flawless skin for granted, never considering that what we do early on will affect us when we're older. We try to rush things, like wearing makeup (and always forgetting to take it off), skip things like sunscreen and make poor choices like smoking. Read more

Onsen $1000 Gift Card Giveaway

It's my birthday week and I am turning the big 4-0. What better way to welcome in my 40's than with a giveaway for an amazing anti-aging skin care line? Inspired by the countryside baths of Japan, Onsen skin care products are made with the same restorative minerals found at Read more

Best Body Lotions

  The best body lotions are the kind that leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated, not just for hours, but for days at a time. I am incredibly picky when it comes to my beauty products, and when it comes to body lotion, I need something that delivers. Here's a Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

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!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 5 Comments

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 &

Click Here

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

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!

Click Here

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

Click Here

*Photo Credit: & 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

Click Here

*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 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

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 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