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

Favorite Black Eyeliners

There's something that a black eyeliner conveys that brown or even brightly colored or metallic eyeliners can't duplicate. Black says bold, daring, classic, sexy. While there are times that I opt for brown or grey, a good black eyeliner is always my first choice. Some of my favorites include CoverGirl liquiline Read more

#AllDayLook Twitter Party August 19th at 1pm RSVP

Do you love a good Twitter Party? You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about beauty tips, celebrity looks and Neutrogena products available at Target. On August 19 from 1-2 pm ET, please join us for the #AllDayLook Twitter Party where we’ll be chatting about achieving an all day beauty look with help from Read more

a girl’s gotta spa

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 Parents.com 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
Shannon

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.

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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 www.spaweek.com. 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

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! in VOGUE Australia and Real Beauty

Sometimes I get so busy writing reviews, that I often forget to post here when A Girl’s Gotta Spa! has gotten some love from the press. So just a quick post to tell you about two exciting press hits this month!

Print:

It appears VOGUE Australia mentioned me in their August issue (along with fellow friend and beauty blogger, Julia Coney from All About the Pretty.) When Julia emailed me to let me know, my jaw hit the floor. Not sure just yet what the article is about (besides beauty bloggers) but here’s a picture where you can see me mentioned!

Online:

RealBeauty.com asked 33 blogger’s for their money saving tips when it came to beauty products and you can find my tip mentioned on slide 32!

I’m very grateful to have gotten noticed!

*Photo sourced from fashionablymarketing.me.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 2 Comments

Speaking at Cosmoprof North America 2011

In about 24 hours I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas for Cosmoprof North America. If you are a fellow beauty blogger, editor, PR/CMO or beauty brand, I hope you’ll stop by the panel I am speaking on regarding social marketing (my topic is social shopping) on August 2nd at 11:00am. Cosmoprof is exciting to me because as a beauty blogger, I will be standing in awe of 750 beauty brands. I’m pretty sure I will be like a kid in a candy store stopping by each booth to hear what’s new and upcoming from these brands, but also have the opportunity to meet the people behind them. As a social media consultant with a focus on the beauty industry, it’s exciting to get to meet people face to face who are looking for help with their online efforts.

There are three people I am really looking forward to meeting while at Cosmoprof– Deborah Lippmann, Zoya Reyzis and Ada Polla. It is so exciting for me to be able to meet three female entreprenuers. If you haven’t already posted on A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Facebook fan page your questions for Deborah, Zoya or Ada, please be sure to do so and I will try my best to get them answered for you.

If you’ll be at Cosmoprof, please let me know. Otherwise be ready for a recap of the beauty products I discover while I am there!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty 4 Comments

Relax at the Spa Like a Star: Popular Spa Treatments of Celebrities

Guest beauty post from Jessica Krznaric

Are you maximizing your inner celebrity spa treatment? We all try to replicate celebs and their trends from where they’re shopping to how their beautifying, but what about what they are ordering at the spa? I know when I visit the spa, my number one priority is to relax, but I also like to feel as if I’m getting top-notch treatment. When considering how to spend your next spa day, here is a helpful list of spa treatments some of our beloved stars are getting to add a little R&R into their lives:

Lash Extensions
Often a best kept spa secret, lash extensions transform your lashes into a fuller, thicker look. Usually made of a synthetic material, extensions are applied one by one on upper and lower lids. Non-damaging to your natural lashes, the extensions stay on for roughly four to six weeks and fall out on their own. I have to admit, getting lash extensions sounded somewhat painful to me. I envisioned hair extensions but on the eyes. Eek! After my sister-in-law got the lash extension treatment done recently, the entire process had me intrigued. Her lashes were definitely longer, fuller and thicker. She 100% rest assured, it did not hurt at all to apply, and reiterated that they fall off naturally on their own. The “naturally on their own” part was what really changed my mind about them.

Detox
Known as a way to lose weight and become energized, detoxing targets the toxins in your body and breaks up fatty deposits. A common way the stars get their detox on? Seaweed body treatments! Your skin absorsb the minerals in the wrap. The minerals work to make your skin smooth. Detox treatments are great for targeting cellulite or after giving birth. I’ll save this one for after I’ve had a child!

Holistic Facial
The mind, body and spirit focused facial takes your entire body into a deep state of relaxation. Sounding the most appealing to me out of all the celebrity spa treatments, this spa treatment not only beautifies my face but targets my inner self. Based on Chinese traditions, the holistic facial uses “chi” energy to target nerves in the body for incredible revitalization.

Other treatments spotted being purchased by celebs include Oil Massages, the Caviar Pedicure, which uses fish eggs to replenish the skin, and the Geisha Facial. More commonly known as the Bird Poop Facial, this Japanese traditional spa treatment uses natural ingredients including nightingale droppings to improve the skin’s complexion. I think I’ll pass on that last one.

Make sure when you are visiting a spa to look and check if your beauty pro has graduated from cosmetology school or beauty school and has received their cosmetology license. Many salons showcase this in the windows or on their desk, It is better to be safe than sorry, so if I don’t see it, I ask! Now, who’s ready for a spa day!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Beauty Trends, Celebrity Beauty, Spa 1 Comment

Everyday Sale UK Ranks A Girl’s Gotta Spa! as a Top 50 Best Beauty Blog

EverydaySale.co.ukIf there is one thing that always blows my mind, it’s that people outside my little world in the Poconos reads A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

A few weeks ago, discount voucher and deal site Everydaysale.co.uk, contacted me to let me know that their editors had selected A Girl’s Gotta Spa! as a Top 50 Best Beauty Blog of 2011, not only that, but I am included in the category of Best International Blogs.

I’m really honored! If you are from the UK, please say hello in the comments!

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Secluded Getaway in the Amish Countryside at The Inn at Honey Run, Millersburg Ohio

Living in Pennsylvania, I am quite intrigued by the Amish, really from a sociological and psychological perspective (my degree is Psych so I tend to analyze people), but also because I just cannot fathom such a simple way of life. When we were invited to stay at The Inn at Honey Run and try out their spa, I quickly took to googling Millersburg, Ohio to find out what the area had to offer (I’ve only ever been to Columbus.) The location of The Inn at Honey Run is smack dab in the middle of Amish country (not strictly Amish, but actually Mennonite), which told me a few things: 1. It would be like stepping back in time, 2. It was guaranteed to be peaceful and relaxing and 3. I knew I’d be in an area I could explore and not get bored. So Bryan and I packed our bags for a weekend of de-stressing and headed west to Ohio.

It was a 7 hour drive through central and western PA into central Ohio, but the views of the mountains were spectacular, and I can only imagine how gorgeous it looks with the fall foliage. It was very clear once you were near Millersburg, because there are more horse and buggies than there are cars. There are long, winding and hilly roads with no stop lights or sidewalks, but plenty of scenic views of farmland where you could see the Amish working on their farms or seated at their roadside stands selling produce and handwoven baskets. My favorite part of course was seeing the little boys in their straw hats and suspendered pants and little girls in their bonnets, run and play. (I’m pretty sure I squealed each time I saw an Amish child, which Bryan found pretty funny.)

We arrived at The Inn at Honey Run and quickly remarked at how beautiful the setting was. No huge parking lots or towering buildings…simply tons of trees, plants and flowers and in the distance you could hear a babbling brook. It was peaceful and exactly how I envisioned it.

As you walk down the covered walkway into the building, there are carved stones that line it, which are for sale. Some stones are carved like a conch shell, others to resemble a birdbath and so on. Adjacent to the walkway is a water feature that is so pretty. My photography skills are null, so the picture I took doesn’t even do it justice. At the door is a bird feeder with a video camera pointed towards it, as The Inn at Honey Run has a “birdcam” that snaps pictures of the birds that come into feed (which are posted on their Facebook fan page.) Birds are truly a focus here, as you will see so many different kinds seated among the branches of the trees. The dining room’s wall is a large window looking out the the trees, the multitude of outdoor decks for guests to relax on, both on the top floor and bottom, give you such a great view…and our suite was on the end of the building and had so many windows (and a deck) to which we could look out and enjoy nature.

The room we stayed in was the Serenity Suite, it literally was as large as the first floor of my house (and I have a pretty big house!) It had a kitchen area, living room with fireplace, bathroom that was partitioned off by a hallway of sorts, a bedroom area and a very large deck. Aside from how large and cozy the room was, the part I loved most was how heavy the door was to the hallway and the fact that you could not hear anything! Anyone who has stayed in a hotel or inn know noise is the number one contributor to making or breaking your stay. At The Inn at Honey Run, you literally felt like you were alone in the retreat by yourself. I loved that.

Our suite was on the bottom floor, which also had a large recreation room at the opposite end of the hallway. It had a pool table (which I sadly lost 3 out of 4 games), comfortable couches and posh chairs, a large flat screen television, large rectangular windows along the walls where there were chess and checker boards set up, among other games, and an outdoor deck was partially enclosed with the deck above and glass overhangs so that if it rained, you could sit there and enjoy it. It was clear this area was meant for couples to really enjoy getting away and getting back to simple pleasures.

Breakfast will leave you full enough to skip lunch (have the oatmeal pancakes with fresh strawberries) and dinner is out of this world good..but dessert was definitely the best part! Definitely get the vegetable stuffed ravioli, Hanger steak and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Praline Caramel Torte. That was heaven in my mouth!

The Inn at Honey Run is on 70 acres and has many trails you can walk, one alongside a brook, as well as the spa and 2 other means of lodging accommodations on the property: Cottages, which are located on the hilltop and The Honeycombs, which are not only on the hillside, but IN the hillside as they are sheltered by earth. The main lodge (where our suite was) has 24 guest rooms and only children 12 and older are allowed at The Inn at Honey Run. Yet another reason why this is a perfect retreat–it doesn’t have that constant buzzing about of people.

The spa is very rustic and quaint. It has a beautiful waiting room (tell me this picture I took of it doesn’t look good enough to be in a interior design magazine!), and two spa treatment rooms. There was only myself and Angela, an esthetician, there when I arrived for my facial. I chose the Grateful Body facial ($100/60 minutes), as it included a hand and shoulder massage. Angela used the organic Grateful Body product line for my facial and also used their Midnight Oil for my shoulder and hand massage. She did a great job, as I drifted off to sleep a few times (which is always the sign of a good relaxing facial) and my skin had a glow to it when she was done.

All in all, this was a very rejuvenating trip. The accommodations were beyond my expectations, the food was decadent and delicious, the staff were friendly and courteous, the surroundings were magnificent and the spa was just what I needed to unwind. You can learn more about The Inn at Honey Run at www.innathoneyrun.com. If you’ve visited, please share your experience in the comments!

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

A Girl’s Gotta Spa! in the Summer Issue of HyperMommy Magazine

Local is the new black. I’m pretty excited to say that I contributed an article, Looking Younger, with tips on how to do just that in a local print magazine here in the Poconos called HyperMommy Magazine. Targeted to moms who live in Northeast PA or for those just visiting, I’m so proud to be speaking to moms who are in the same season of life as I am. I’m happy with how it turned out, so if you happen to be in the area, be sure to pick up a copy (it’s free!)

Brands mentioned in the article are:

Skagen Denmark: @SkagenDenmark, Facebook.com/SkagenDenmark

MD SolarSciences: @MDSolarSciences, Facebook.com/MDSolarSciences

Amala Skincare: @AmalaBeauty, Facebook.com/AmalaBeauty

Woodhouse Day Spa Kingston: @WoodhouseSpas, Facebook.com/pages/The-Woodhouse-Day-Spa-Kingston-PA/132136886798918

Renee Rouleau Skin Care: @ReneeRouleau, Facebook.com/ReneeRouleauSkinCare

Dream Essentials: @DreamEssentials, www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Essentials/118491678215861

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