Teami Skinny Tea

// // National day(s) of complete diet obliteration ...also known as "the holidays," is almost upon us. As much as I am looking forward to unlimited pumpkin pie and stuffing, I know that beginning the day after Thanksgiving, all I am going to want to do is detox. This year I am one Read more

The Results of Softer Skin #AveenoDailyChallenge

I partnered with AVEENO® on this post. All opinions are 100% my own. I participated in the #AveenoDailyChallenge for three weeks. For the last three weeks I participated in the #AveenoDailyChallenge using both AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Body Wash + AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion. The goal was to follow a daily Read more

Can Ultrasound Improve the Look of Skin?

I'll be honest, I was not very familiar with the world of cosmetic ultrasound treatments when I decided to try the Mira-Skin Ultrasound device. Upon doing my research, I learned that ultrasound is a non-surgical/non-invasive treatment that counteracts the effects of time and gravity on your skin. Ultrasound uses the body's Read more

Say Goodbye to Dry Skin This Winter with #Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Deep Moisture Jelly Cream

Although I absolutely love this time of the year with the brightly colored leaves and crisp fall air, I dread it at the same time. It seems all of my time is spent trying to prep all the livestock for the winter, insulating the house, cooking and freezing all Read more

3 Myths About Using Toner

Toner is one of the biggest misunderstood skin care products out there. And to be honest, at one point when I was younger, I also believed some of these myths. What about you? 1. Toner is a cleanser. This one bugs me the most. I've read blogger reviews where the person clearly Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

Beauty Q & A with Amanda from 98.5KRZ

98.5KRZ is one of the local radio stations I listen to here in Northeast PA (especially when I need some Adam Levine in my life.) She is the second (and prettier) half of The Jeff Walker Show (sorry Jeff, she is pretty!) and I thought Amanda would be a great candidate for a beauty Q & A, which she happily obliged. (Thanks Amanda!)

Shannon:  At what age did you first start wearing makeup?

Amanda: Oh wow. I’m not proud of this, but when I was 12, I started wearing WHITE EYELINER! (Top lid only!) Soon after, I started swiping pink eyeshadow over it to create pink eyeliner. At the time, I thought I was quite the trendsetter!

Shannon:  Do you remember what the very first beauty product that you coveted was?

Amanda: MASCARA! I’m still obsessed. Every time a new kind comes out, I try it immediately and give a review on my blog at Why should we ALL waste $10 on new mascara if it’s not going to work better than that trusty hot pink and green tube of $5 Maybelline mascara?!

Shannon: If you were to walk into the perfume section of a department store at the Viewmont Mall and immediately thought of high school, which fragrance would bring that to mind?

Amanda: Tommy Girl! The scent makes me sick now, but in high school it was my signature scent. I also loved Gap’s So Pink. (I graduated HS in 2003.)

Shannon:  If you looked in your handbag right now, how many beauty products would there be?

Amanda: I only apply makeup in the morning, so my bag is full of only lip products and moisturizers. Lip stain and gloss. 2 stains and probably 6 glosses.

Shannon: What are your 3 must-have beauty products that you absolutely can’t live without?

Amanda: Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm (Pink Blossom is my fave!)  Clinique twist-up eyeliner and of course mascara. I’m not brand loyal mascara-wise because I love trying all of the new ones.

You can also see Amanda on PA Live every Wednesday with Jeff. They usually answer dating questions on the show from their listening audience and wear clothes sponsored by Old Navy!

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

Gold: Is it Worthy of a New Standard in Skincare

Gold is the new black given just about every other investment is enfeebled by the economy. It might be a better bet than government bonds, but other than a gold tooth – an acquired taste – should gold be considered an essential part of your beauty arsenal. Every now and then cosmetic formulators venture into alchemy and go for gold (E’shee, Nutra-Lift and just the other day it was mentioned in our interview with Cherie Dobbs, founder of Dermastart). But I can’t help but wonder: what is its true value in skincare?

Dermastart has a serum called AU 24K Gold and I am just starting to test it. Cherie Dobbs says that “gold works with our own body makeup and helps with blood flow and oxygen.”  I haven’t been able to find any specific evidence for that but claims for the medicinal benefits of gold date back many of thousands of years and ancient Indian, Egyptian and Chinese medicine used gold-based medicinal preparations for such ailments as smallpox, skin ulcers and measles.

The use of gold compounds in medicine is called chrysotherapy. One of its modern applications is the soothing arthritic symptoms. Gold salts (the ionic chemical compounds of gold) are injected to reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Gold nano-bullets are being used, according to Science magazine, as a cure for cancer. And isotope gold-198 is used in some cancer treatments and other diseases.

As far as skincare is concerned, gold is said to minimize collagen depletion and boost elasticity. There’s even a gold thread face lift in which a 24K gold mesh framework is inserted permanently under the surface of the skin where it is supposed to stimulate collagen production which then plumps and firms up the skin and reduces wrinkles.

I can’t find independent research on gold and improving the skin, but there might be a clue to gold’s plausibility as an anti-ager in its used against arthritis. This is an inflammatory disease and chronic inflammation is believed to one of the causes of aging. So, theoretically, gold could help the skin by being an anti-inflammatory.

Except that the mechanism by which gold drugs operate to treat arthritis is a matter of scientific debate. Harvard Medical School thinks it’s not an anti-inflammatory and that gold works by making the proteins associated with autoimmune diseases inactive. Other theories are that gold helps in the transportation of drugs to their sites of action.

Also there’s much debate around the kill or cure theme. Once absorbed into the cell, gold is proposed to be linked to anti-mitochrondrial activity and induced cell apoptosis, so it might be affecting healthy cells as well as unhealthy ones. On the other hand, research indicates there’s an anti-inflammatory action from ionic gold nanoparticales with little or no toxicity. Although research on rats had less positive results. ). After a lot of burrowing around on academic websites, I did turn up some evidence that gold salts boost collagen lll.

All this contradictory research is a bit frustrating. As is finding out that the most common reaction to oral gold medication for rheumatoid arthritis is, ironically, a skin rash (source).

For more honest reviews and information about beauty and personal care products, visit

Posted on by Marta Wohrle in anti-aging, beauty, Beauty Trends, skin care, Spa Leave a comment

Suffering From a Bad Hair Day SOS? Zotos Hair Rescue Kits Have You Covered

Whether your hair is fine, frizzy, finicky or typically low-maintenance, everyone has their share of bad hair days. And if your particular hair emergency is a bit more deep-rooted than your average cowlick or other beauty woe that can easily be disguised with a hat, headband, or haphazard updo, haircare brand Zotos has a remedy that will help treat hair for the longer haul – not just a last-minute desperate fix!

With a three-step single-use Hair Rescue Kit, Zotos delivers fast help for hair disasters, targeting everything from hair breakage, crazy frizz, dry scalp, split ends, and more! Sure, hair hang-ups like these may benefit from further treatment to ensure long-term lushness for your locks, but if you’ve got a special occasion on the horizon and no time to spare to get hair back into gorgeous shape, these kits will save your coif from a temporary crisis and set the tone for better hair health to come! And the best part? Each kit retails for only $10, so as long as you don’t make these quick fixes a regular habit, they definitely beat an emergency trip to the salon!

– Alex Gambardella

*Guest beauty post for A Girl’s Gotta Spa! from my friends at

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Hair Care 1 Comment

PA Live and NEPA Blogs to Feature A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Tuesday October 11

It’s an exciting week around here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa! This Tuesday between 4pm-5pm EST, NEPA BlogsHarold Jenkins will be featuring A Girl’s Gotta Spa! on PA Live (check your local provider for channel.)

NEPA Blogs is a clearinghouse of blogs that are either about Northeast PA or are written by people who live in Northeast PA (that’s me!) PA Live is Northeast PA’s newest live lifestyle show and can be seen on WBRE (an NBC affiliate.) I’m so excited for my local area to get to know me and my passion for beauty (and people!) And it couldn’t come at a better time with the SHAPE Magazine Best Beauty Blogger Awards going on right now! (I really need your vote!)

Even if you are not local here in NEPA (i.e. Scranton-yes home of The Office, Wilkes Barre-recently on the news for the flooding from Irene/Lee and the Poconos-I live by a beautiful spot known as Lake Wallenpaupack), you can still watch the live stream of the show on PA Live’s website.

Thank you to NEPA Blogs and PA Live for the press! I’m so grateful! xx

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons 1 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 (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!


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

Review: Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey Bath and Body Products

What is a girl to do on a Friday night when it’s raining cats and dogs, she has absolutely no plans and there is nothing good on TV? Why enjoy an at home spa night of course!  I had just received an array of  Camille Beckman bath and body products and could not wait to try them and a rainy Friday night just seemed like the perfect time to give them my undivided attention…with some minor interruptions from a glass or two of red wine, of course.

I decided to try the products from their Tuscan Honey line.  First up was the French Milled Soap.  I loved the really light fragrance of the soap and went insane for the super rich lather.  After cleansing with the soap I decided my feet needed some lovin so I exfoliated them with the Pumice Oval Exfoliating Stone.  The stone definitely left my heels feeling smoother and softer and I really appreciated that it has a string attached to the stone to prevent me from dropping it constantly.  I had a few sips of my wine and decided it was time to moisturize so I whipped out the Tuscan Honey Body Butter.  The body butter is very thick and rich and left my skin uber moisturized (it also contains 7% Shea butter.)

Since my feet received some extra lovin I felt like my hands might get a bit jealous, so I decided to give them some extra attention too and after exfoliating them I applied the Glycerine Hand Therapy.  Well my feet got jealous of my hands because the Glycerine Hand Therapy is just amazing.  It is beyond moisturizing…so I guess I would call it restorative…my hands immediately felt soft, pampered, loved and of course moisturized.  I tend to suffer from dry feet (thanks to living in flip flops 24/7…too hot for anything else) so I applied the hand therapy to my feet and they have been feeling and looking a lot more presentable lately.

All of the products I tried from the Camille Beckman Tuscan Honey line were just great.  They all had a very light, pleasant  and soft fragrance…never overpowering.  They were all very pampering and moisturizing and the packaging is absolutely charming.  Spending a Friday night with Camille Beckman was the best time I’ve had on a Friday night in a very long time.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in bath and body, beauty Leave a comment

Parents Magazine Best Blog Awards: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Right now Parents Magazine is holding a Best Blog Awards contest and thanks to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! reader, Madeline, I was nominated in the Best Mom Fashion Blog category…there was no category for beauty (gasp!) So although I don’t consider this blog a mom blog by any stretch, I am indeed a mom (of 4) who blogs. So if you don’t mind the registration process that requires in order to vote, I would really be grateful for a vote from you. Just click the pink Parents 2011 nominee badge in this post and it will take you directly to my voting page (voting ends on October 15th.)

Thanks in advance! xx

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Welcomes Marta Wohrle from Truth in Aging

As I look to expand my contributors here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!, I am very excited to announce that Marta Wohrle from Truth in Aging will now be contributing a post here on a weekly basis. Why would I be so excited about this you ask? Because I have long been a fan of Marta’s blog and how she provides real and truthful reviews of products. She definitely is a great fit here! Some of Marta’s team will also contribute posts from time to time as well.

So please help me in welcoming Marta and the Truth in Aging team to A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Interested in being a contributor here as well? Please submit your request and where I can find your portfolio via my Contact page and I will get back to you with the details.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

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 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 1 Comment

5 Ways To Get a Spa Experience at Home

Everyone loves to be indulged and to feel exceptional. Going to a spa can not only relax painful muscles but it can also relieve tension. While going to the spa can be nice, it is also expensive. Some people may be apprehensive about their budgets and spending money on a day at the spa may not be feasible.

An alternative is to pamper yourself with an at home spa day. With these five simple steps, you can release your stress and calm your tender muscles, all without the high price tag. Here are a few guidelines to turn your home spa into a reality:

1. Taking a long, hot bath can be super relaxing. It can ease the muscles and provide a bit of rejuvenation. By slipping some lavender oil or bath salts into the water, you can wash your troubles away. Try putting an eye mask on, either hot or cold, as you soak. A bath pillow can also provide a great way to lounge in the tub. By lighting candles surrounding the tub, it creates ambiance and makes you want to linger.

Another great tip: have someone throw your robe in the dryer for a few minutes. The warm robe feels wonderful after the bath!

2. Music can provide a peaceful calm after a long hard day. Put on some soft easy listening music and light some candles. Put your feet up with a glass of wine. Most spas concentrate on music and scents to create the mood for relaxation. Have a spouse rub your feet while listening to relaxing tunes. A foot rub is a great way to relieve pressure and can actually stop a headache. This is a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere in your own home, for free.

3. Getting a massage from a partner is another effective way to just diminish cares. Using essential oils and lotions, a massage can work out all those kinks in the neck and back and make you feel like a million bucks. Working essential oils such as lavender, Chamomile or Neroli into your skins can simply relax every bone in your body.

4. Doing home facial treatments, like mud masks or scrubs, are just the way to make your face feel fresh and clean. Spas focus on expensive mud treatments and body scrubs, for the ultimate poor cleansing and relaxation. Most of these products can be purchased at any beauty section in your local department store or even at your local drugstore. Mud masks come in many different types. For example, you can try a deep sea mud or a mud with honey, the choices are unlimited.

5. Manicures and pedicures keep a women looking fresh and coiffed. By trimming and painting nails it enhances a woman’s feeling of beauty. Pick a magnificent color to go with the seasons for a hip look. Manicures can be expensive to have done professionally, but cost little for you to do on your own. All you need is a simple nail file, some clippers, a beautiful nail polish and some time.

The most important thing in creating your spa day is to make sure you are not interrupted. Let the relatives, friends, and especially the kids, know this is personal time. Turn off cell phones, TV’s, and all devices that can disrupt your perfect day. Everyone deserves to have a day of pampering, but who wants to spend hundreds of dollars, when it can be done for nearly nothing? By gathering a few basic items and clearing off a section of time, it can be possible to make your home a spa in a matter of minutes.

About the author: Carleen Coulter publishes the beauty blog Beauty and Fashion Tech, including the popular buyer’s guide on at home laser hair removal, with reviews of the top devices.

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