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

Favorite Facial Masks - Makeup Wars

When it comes to skin care, I am very picky with what I put on my face. Since there's no hiding imperfections should a reaction to a product happen, I always do my research on ingredients and check out my fellow beauty blogger reviews. One of my favorites types Read more

Perfective Ceuticals Divine Brightening Mask

As much as I have enjoyed summer and am sad to see it come to an end, I was not enjoying how dehydrated my skin looked and felt thanks to a lot of time spent outdoors celebrating summer in all of her sunny glory.  I want to welcome fall and all the Read more

Vegan Cuts Leaping Bunny Fresh Start Kit

Vegan Cuts, an online marketplace and beauty box curating site of the best vegan products, has teamed up with Leaping Bunny (the grand master of cruelty free certification) to create a specialty starter kit to help you discover some great cruelty free brands. Up front I'll tell you that I Read more

Eumora Facial Bar Review

If you are part of the sisterhood that is combination/oily skin, then you'll want to learn more about Eumora, a facial bar made of moor and HmA. For as far back as I can remember, my skin has never been gifted as "normal" and transitions from combination in the Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Mother’s Day Wish List on RetailMeNot

Trae Bodge, senior writer at RetailMeNot.com’s The Insider, recently asked me for my 3 Mother’s Day wish list items. Two had to be things within my grasp and one could be a dream item.

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Spa Leave a comment

Spa Review: Sphatika

As a beauty lover, I’ve been to a good amount of spas. There are the boujis, “better than you” spas, the super-busy “get your facial and get out” spas, and your standard but efficient salon/spa combination. Once in awhile, however, a girl is lucky enough to come across a spa or treatment that is a true standout, one that makes her feel special, relaxed, at peace. For me, that spa was Sphatika in NYC.

A tranquil oasis conveniently tucked behind a Starbucks in Columbus Circle, Sphatika is a truly a hidden gem.

Sphatika takes a holistic, sensory approach to the entire spa experience. All spas are meant to make you feel beautiful, but Sphatika places a very special emphasis on treating the whole you “mind, body, and soul.” Their welcoming staff encourages you to create an intention for your visit, one that you have a chance to reflect upon during your personal sauna that kicks off your treatment session.   Read more

Posted on by Amanda Huggins in anti-aging, beauty, skin care, Spa Leave a comment

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

Hair Color & Cut at Lotus Salon at The Lodge at Woodloch

It’s no secret that the Poconos has an amazing destination spa tucked away in the hills of Hawley, PA: The Lodge at Woodloch. I’ve been to The Lodge at Woodloch several times and have had the pleasure of experiencing a facial, massage, pedicure, enjoying a weekend getaway with my boyfriend golfing and kayaking, makeup consultation with Christopher Drummond in their boutique and last week for the launch of their renovated Lotus Salon, along with the newest addition of Master Stylist Christine Lafferty, I headed up for a much needed hair color and cut.

First of all, while the spa may tend to be on the pricey side (it is a luxury spa after all) the Lotus Salon’s prices fall in line with what most hair salons in the area charge. So if you’ve been hesitant to try them out, put your wallet woes to rest. Lotus Salon uses Wella hair care products for color, which I have had a very good experience with in the past when I previously went to Salon L’Etoile in Jenkintown, PA. Christine used a demi-permanent color on me with a color lock. They also use Alterna (the LOVE of my life) and Moroccanoil (love their anti-frizz and hairspray) hair products.

Christine is amazing. She listens to what you want, skillfully cuts your hair all while engaging with you like you’ve been lifelong friends. And there’s nothing fake about it–Christine is super personable and it makes you want to hang out with her. But I’ve found that of most of the staff at The Lodge; just real, down to earth people (which essentially is what the Poconos is about–a truly hometown feel.) Christine previously had an upscale salon in Boston, but came back to Northeast PA when a family member was dying from ovarian cancer. Since then, she decided to remain in the area and landed at The Lodge at Woodloch (they are lucky to have her!)

Loved the outcome of my hair! Have you experienced the Lotus Salon, or any of the spa treatments, at The Lodge at Woodloch? To view all of their offerings see their website at www.thelodgeatwoodloch.com.

*Disclosure

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

PA Live: What I Wore & Apps for Holiday Shopping

Today I was on PA Live again on WBRE. It was my second television appearance, and can I tell you that I LOVE being on TV? What to talk about was no problem, as I love shopping and since it is the holidays I knew shopping apps would make a great topic–but what to wear? All I knew was the necklace I’d be wearing (provided by Delicate Raymond) and not much else.  So here’s what I decided on:

Fashion:

Dress: The Limited
Black Jacket: The Limited
Boots: Franco Sarto Upton Boots from Macy’s
Necklace: Vintage Monogram Necklace from Delicate Raymond (use code SPA30 to get 30% off their jewelry!)
Bracelet: BeadForLife Sanyu Bangle
Ring: Leela Bijou Sahara Ring in Olivine Green
Earrings: From my aunt when I was 13 (awww!)

Beauty:

Hair: Exure Shampoo & Conditioner, Pureology ColourStylist RootLift, Zarran Diamond Mist, LiQWD Design Professional Working  Spray
Makeup: Laura Mercier Luxe Eye Portfolio, GlamNatural Hydrating Foundation, GlamNatural Cream Blush, 29 Cosmetics lipstick in Wine Lover (sold at Cake Plate Boutique), LashControl Mascara, Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips (didn’t even last 6 hours before they peeled off.)

What I talked about:

Shopping apps! My favorites (and if you’ve shopped with me you know I make you wait while I check in and scan!)

ShopKick.com
CheckPoints.com
RedLaser.com

Where to watch the segment: PA Live

So how did I do? Let me know what you think!

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

Brighten Your Skin for the Upcoming Holiday Season

Every woman needs to give themselves a good exfoliating treatment. Women you can use microdermabrasion products at home to gently exfoliate and brighten your skin. You will be amazed by how much better your makeup stays on and how refreshed you feel after this treatment. Giving yourself a microdermabrasion treatment in your home is quick and easy.

You can get your winter glow over this holiday season by using affordable microdermabrasion at home products. As a matter of fact, the perfect holiday gift for a sister, or friend would be a microdermabrasion kit. After using Isomers Duo Derm two step treatment you will have visibly reduced the size of your pores, firm, and tighten your skin.

So, what are you waiting for? Revive your skin with Isomers Duo Derm treatment from ShopNBC.

*Disclosure: Advertorial

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Fall Beauty, skin care Leave a comment

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Holiday Gift Guide

If you survived Black Friday and are still in need of some holiday gift ideas for the family or friend who loves beauty products, then I know you’ll find our Holiday Gift Guide useful. Amanda, Gail and I put together some of our best and most favorite gift ideas (i.e. gifts we’d like to see under the tree) into a 13 page catalog. We opted not to create a multitude of holiday gift posts and thought a handy catalog that you can browse through and link directly to the product would make for a great all-in-one-place guide.

Here’s what we covered: Hair care, skin care, bath & body, holiday kits, cosmetics, gifts that give back and spas and spa treatments that we love. There’s some nail polish mentioned in there too!

Many thanks to Kelli & Co. for creating the cover for our Holiday Gift Guide. When reading it, make sure you view it at 100%; it is a downloadable PDF.

Enjoy the catalog and please feel free to pass onto your friends! Download it by clicking this link: Holiday Gift Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links and 2 brands mentioned are clients.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, holiday, Makeup, salon, Spa Leave a comment

Hair Color Review: John Frieda Precision Foam Colour



We’re heading into the colder months, which typically means making the switch from highlighted hair to warmer tones. My natural hair color is dark brown, but typically I lighten or highlight it in the summer months. Being that it is only 6 weeks until Christmas, getting my hair colored at the salon was not in my wallet’s vocabulary, so I opted to color my hair at home. I made my way to CVS and decided upon John Frieda’s Precision Foam Colour. I went with 4BG  (Dark Chocolate Brown.)

My highlighted hair before, colored immediately after and results 1 week later.

I have to say, I don’t typically read the warnings on home hair coloring kits because I have been coloring my hair since I was 13 and they typically all say the same thing. However, I noticed John Frieda’s included some things I have never seen before like you need to remove all accessories you are wearing and cannot use metal tools. Since there seems to be an issue with metal, I assumed that the accessories they meant were jewelry.  So I removed my earrings. It also says you shouldn’t use this product if you have a temporary black Henna tattoo, as it is likely to increase an allergy risk. If you wear contacts, you need to remove them also…however I’m not sure how you could put on your glasses since you can’t have metal around. If you’ve colored your hair previously with compound hennas, metallic dyes or color restorers you have to wait until your hair has grown out and then cut.

And don’t try to put the foam on your eyelashes or eyebrows because it may cause blindness.

So, basically, by the time I was done reading that I was freaked out. Then I went on to read how to mix the product. It says you cannot shake the mix (you need to gently tilt it 5 times,) you cannot use the pump but instead have to squeeze the bottle to make the foam come out of the pump…which is psychologically confusing because you are holding a bottle with a pump…that you cannot pump. The bottle needs to remain upright at all times and you can only apply the foam to your hands first (in gloves of course) and not directly onto your hair.

So basically I felt I was going to mess this up big time.

Application was tricky because the instructions state that you cannot get the foam on your face or ears at all. My hair is shoulder length, so good luck with that Shannon! Trying to prevent the foam from touching my skin, while trying to keep the bottle upright and not pump it was like playing a game of Twister.  Additionally your hair needs to be “frothy” with foam in order to be “done.” Ok, guess what? Foam evaporates or absorbs into your hair. Especially if you have long-ish hair and are trying to make sure you get each section equally. Wait time from this point is 30 minutes.

I rinsed my hair, applied the conditioner, rinsed that out after 3 minutes and then blew it dry. I was pleasantly surprised with the color. I loved it. Tweeted about it. My 7 year old snapped my pic for me and I was happy I was still alive with great looking hair.

Fast forward 1 week and while my hair is still brown, as you can see from the picture…the color has significantly faded. Ugh. I do not wash my hair everyday, in fact I usually only wash it every other day. I also used sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, so I know it wouldn’t have been the culprit to strip my hair color. I also hadn’t washed my hair 24 hours before applying the foam as the instructions stated and I did not have any product build-up to prevent the color from adhering.

So was it worth it to save myself the $60-$75 of coloring my hair at the salon? Not really.

Have you used John Frieda’s Precision Foam? I’d like to hear about your experience (good or bad.)


Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 12 Comments

Winter Weather Skin Care Tips from The Spa at Ravella

Guest post from The Spa at Ravella located at Ravella at Lake Las Vegas:

Cooler weather can lead to dry, flaky skin. Here are two tips from The Spa at Ravella, one for a spa visit and one for at home, to help keep skin soft and supple until warmer weather returns!

Next time you splurge on a spa treatment, The Spa at Ravella recommends choosing a facial treatment that uses serums or enzymes. You can talk to a spa professional when booking a treatment and discuss further with your skin therapist once you arrive. Serums provide a powerful dose of nutrients and bioactive ingredients that penetrate deep into the layers of your skin much farther than moisturizers can, and work intensely to bring oil and hydration into balance, strengthen your skin, increase visible firmness and give a youthful glow. Enzymes help slough away dead skin cells and encourage cellular growth, leaving the skin feeling great and looking dewy and bright.

For similar results at home, The Spa at Ravella suggests creating a pumpkin enzyme mask – just mix left over pumpkin pulp with an egg, apply to face and let sit for 6 – 8  minutes. Tingling is normal but if feels strong, less time may be needed. Pumpkin is a strong exfoliant that brings the blood to the surface of the skin creating a detoxifying effect. The lecithin from the egg yolk will tighten the skin while the enzymes in the blend will stimulate cellular growth, allowing skin to look its best.

In addition to these tips, The Spa at Ravella is offering two seasonally-inspired treatments designed to keep skin in tip-top shape throughout the next few months:

Scrumptious Spice Wrap

Enjoy this aromatic concoction of fragrant fall spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg are mixed with organic brown sugar and vanilla to gently polish your skin. Relax with a soothing scalp massage while your body is enveloped with deeply hydrating body butter for ultimate smoothness and hydration. 50 minutes…$89

Pure Results Facial

This active organic facial uses high performance herbal enzyme peels such as pear fig, pumpkin or sweet cherry to target signs of aging with proven ingredients to deeply repair and hydrate the skin, Ideal for all sin types, including sensitive. 50 minutes…$99

Have you tried their at home treatment? Let us know in the comments!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, skin care, Spa, Winter Beauty Leave a comment

Makeup Review: Boots 17 Falsifeye Mascara

I am a mascara addict. If there is one thing I will not leave the house without, it is a quick coat of mascara on my lashes. I’m fine with nothing else on my face. So I am always happy to be given the chance to try out any new mascara that comes onto the market and was therefore excited when I received a tube of Boots 17′s Falsifeye mascara, having heard good things about the product itself and already loving the brand anyway.

Falsifeye claims to “create wow effect eyelashes.”

I gave the mascara its first real outing for brunch with my girlfriends. Wearing nothing else on my face, just a lick of blackest black mascara. The brush is pretty big and looks like a mass of unruly bristles when covered in mascara but I wasn’t deterred and I was pleasantly surprised by the look it created: My lashes were left defined and curled* right to my little lashes at either side.


For a mascara that comes in at under a tenner I’d say I’ll be buying it again! Which is your go-to budget mascara? Or are you only a top dollar girl when it comes to your lashes?

Thank you to Shannon for letting me loose on her blog again!

You can find my beauty blog at http://the-eyeofthebeholder.tumblr.com and my fashion and lifestyle blog here http://sugar-and-spice.com.

*I should add, I do use a curler too as my lashes are flat, flat, flat!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Makeup, mascara 2 Comments