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

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!


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: 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

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.

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 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, 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!

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty Leave a comment

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 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,

MD SolarSciences: @MDSolarSciences,

Amala Skincare: @AmalaBeauty,

Woodhouse Day Spa Kingston: @WoodhouseSpas,

Renee Rouleau Skin Care: @ReneeRouleau,

Dream Essentials: @DreamEssentials,

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

Hydrate Thirsty Summer Skin with Adara Coconut Oil

As a fairly active, busy gal, I spend a lot of time outdoors and admittedly don’t take care of my skin as well as I know I should! It can be tough to take the time out to moisturize dry summer skin, but it truly doesn’t have to be such a chore. In fact, this the kind of pampering is truly necessary — especially in these hot summer months — so why not take the time to quench your skin and relax in the process with Adara Virgin Coconut Oil?

Eco-friendly, fair trade, and the highest grade Organic Virgin Coconut Oil available in the market, Adara products are all about providing the best nourishment for your skin while keeping up with ethical business practices, so you can have peace of mind while you hydrate! Available in six different scents, from green tea to lavender, this product will be your new favorite summer moisturizing agent — simply slather on rough patches to lock in moisture and be on your way to smoother, more supple skin!

– Alex Gambardella

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

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, skin care, Summer Beauty Leave a comment

5 Summer Skin Care Tips from Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

As temperatures rise and millions of people prepare to spend hours in the sun, exposing their skin to harmful UV rays, it’s crucial to be mindful of how to minimize the effects of prolonged sun exposure. Not only can the sun cause painful sunburns, rashes or even skin cancer, it is also the top cause for signs of aging. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun and about 65 percent of melanoma cases are attributed to UV radiation.

Todd Leff, CEO of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, a 50-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage, facial and waxing services to the masses, has developed the top five tips for people when thinking about their skin this summer:

1. Exfoliate your skin: By exfoliating, you can remove the dead, dull skin debris that cause congestion and hinder skin hydration. Mornings are the best time to exfoliate, prior to applying toner, moisturizer, SPF or makeup. Exfoliation makes for clearer, smoother skin for both women and men.

2. Stay hydrated: Just as your body needs water for hydration, your face also needs proper moisture to withstand the harmful effects of the sun. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day to maintain the needed moisture balance for your skin. Products such as masques can also be used once or twice a week, and boosters and toners can serve as an additional level of hydration before applying moisturizer.

3. Apply, apply again: A dab of sunscreen won’t do if you’re going to be on the beach or out in the sun for any extended period of time. Typically a teaspoon of sunscreen is sufficient for the face and as much as a shot glass worth is needed for the body. You should reapply every two hours and avoid the mid-day sun from mid-morning to late afternoon when possible.

4. Battling the burn: We’ve all been in the situation where you forgot the sunscreen, didn’t apply enough or missed a spot. The damage has been done, but applying cooling gels and soothing botanicals can reduce redness and inflammation. This should be done at the first sight of a pink glow, as one blistering sunburn can double your risk of melanoma. It is also recommended to get a yearly skin exam by a doctor to detect early warning signs.

5. Repairing and treating damage: Although a tan is commonly thought of as a popular summer look, it actually indicates skin damage. Receiving monthly facials, such as a hydrating facial, can help begin to repair the damage done by the sun by promoting healthy cell growth and stimulating collagen destructing enzymes.

Find a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa near you at

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

Review: Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont in Aventura, FL

For those of you thinking about taking a vacation during the month of July or August, might I highly suggest giving serious consideration to visiting Miami? If not for the sun, sand, beaches, nightlife and beautiful people then definitely for Miami Spa Month. Yes, the city of Miami devotes two entire months to our favorite past time here at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!…spaing (no, that’s not a grammatical error, it is a verb in our world!)

Miami Spa Month runs from July 1st to August 31st and during these months you can enjoy a vast array of specialty spa treatments for just $99 at some of Miami’s premier spas. I had the privilege of previewing one of the $99 spa treatments being offered at the Four Star Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle in Aventura, FL.

In celebration of Miami Spa Month , Willow Stream Spa is offering spa goers the choice of an indulgent 90-minute Customized Deep Cleansing Facial or 90-minute Relaxation Massage for only $99. Since I feel like my pores have the tendency to get pretty clogged during the summer (excess sweat, sunscreen etc,) I of course went for the 90-minute Customized Deep Cleansing Facial.

The Customized Deep Cleansing Facial is personalized for you based on your skin’s needs and includes a skin analysis, exfoliation, massage, a nourishing masque and antioxidants for the skin. As I sipped my orange infused water and munched on pineapple slices and cantaloupe before my facial treatment in the very relaxing spa waiting room at Willow Stream, I couldn’t help noticing that there were also a number of men waiting to partake of the spa’s services.  My boyfriend, who accompanied me to the spa, was himself at that very moment enjoying the steam room in the men’s lounge. Although I love spa getaways with the girls, I can also appreciate the idea of enjoying a couple’s spa day.

I enjoyed my water, fruits and magazines in the waiting room for a few minutes before I was introduced to Alexandra, my aesthetician. On our way to the facial room Alexandra asked me about my skincare regimen, my water intake and my usage of sunscreen (I was happy that I had been drinking a ton of water lately and going through a bottle of sunscreen per week because I did not want to disappoint Alexandra with my answers as I could tell immediately that although she was smiling and extremely pleasant, she takes caring for the skin very seriously!)

After the questions, Alexandra presented a series of cards and asked me to close my eyes and choose one. The cards were spirituality cards and the one I chose was the “Freedom is my divine right” card (which was given to me as a gift after my facial and I now carry it with me everywhere in my purse.) Spirituality card having been chosen, it was then on to my skin analysis. My skin was analyzed as combination (I always thought it was just plain oily), which made perfect sense once Alexandra explained what combination skin entails.  Alexandra then let me know what sort of products she would be using on my combination skin and my wonderfully relaxing facial experience began.

I absolutely loved the hand massage and heated hand mitts that remained on my hands almost for the entire facial. During the scalp massage with lavender oil, I am pretty sure I sighed…or moaned out loud.  I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun and give away every aspect of the facial, but the experience was sheer bliss and my skin afterwards was absolutely amazing.  It was soft, supple and positively radiant.  Although it was just a facial, my entire body was completely relaxed.

All of the products used in the facial were from the Kerstin Florian skincare line and they all smelled heavenly. Before I left, Alexandra reminded me about the importance of sunscreen and drinking enough water.  I promised her that I would be back soon…what I did not tell her is that for the next two months I plan on going back so frequently she may get tired of seeing me.

When you visit Willow Stream, I would strongly suggest arriving early to your appointment so that you can enjoy the the spa’s steam room or amazing exercise facility.  Also, if you have a night out planned after your service or simply just want to look great and don’t feel like giving up the relaxing sensation you just experienced, there is also a full service salon in the spa that offers cutting and styling, up do’s, color, highlighting, straightening & treatments as well as manicures & pedicures, waxing and makeup application. And for those of you who might be visiting with companions who do not appreciate the spa experience as much as you do, within the Fairmont resort there are two 18-hole championship golf courses completely redesigned by World Golf Hall of Fame recipient, Raymond Floyd and nearby tennis courts. So there is plenty to keep them occupied without you having to worry about them being bored and just focus on complete and utter relaxation, exactly what Willow Stream specializes in.

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Spa, Travel Beauty 2 Comments

Pocono Spa Getaway: The Lodge at Woodloch, A Destination Spa in Hawley PA

A few years ago when I went to The Lodge at Woodloch for a facial and massage, I swore that one day I would spend the weekend at their destination spa. The rooms are luxuriously appointed, the spa cuisine is to die for (I had lunch there during a recent event with Christopher Drummond Beauty) and the grounds are breathtaking. Although I only live about 40 minutes from The Lodge at Woodloch, the resort is tucked away here in the Poconos in such a way, that it felt like I was traveling far far away…

One of the first things I noticed about The Lodge at Woodloch, was their superior customer service. We (Bryan & I) pulled up to the gated entry to give our name for our stay and by the time we got to the valet, they opened my door calling me by name and once inside, the concierge, also motioned to me calling me by name…all of which made me feel like a valued customer and not just some random person checking in. We scheduled a spa treatment, 9 holes of golf at Woodloch Springs, Wake-Up kayaking for 7am the next morning and made a reservation for dinner. After a quick tour of the resort, Bryan sat down for lunch at Tree while I was whisked away for a Tension Tamer massage with Gwen.

If you haven’t heard me tweet and Facebook incessantly about how much I LOVE this spa, then you certainly need to stop by and try it for yourself. I chose the Tension Tamer massage, as sitting at my desk all day working has really had its way with my upper back and shoulders. At times, the pain has become unbearable. The Tension Tamer focuses on this key muscle group to help melt that stress away. And boy did it! At the beginning of the massage I told Gwen that I could barely feel any pressure from her hands in the area surrounding my neck because some of the area had gone numb. She worked her magic and within 30 minutes I was telling her that she was a magician. Suddenly there was feeling back in that area and the tension in the surrounding muscles began to ease up. I honestly did not want to leave after my 50 minutes were up. Gwen told me that due to my line of work, that I really needed to have massages focusing on that area more often. I completely agree!

After finishing up a lunch plate that Bryan brought me to the room, we made our way over to Woodloch Springs, which is a private community with an 18-hole PGA 2 golf course. Since I have never played golf before, we decided on just doing 9 holes. The course was gorgeous despite how wet the green was from all of the rain we’ve been having in the Poconos. Bryan taught me how to play and I have to say, golf is hard work! I have a new respect for pro-golfers now!

Dinner at Tree was delicious and we each had salad and chicken that was out of this world. At about 9pm we decided a swim was in order and made our way to their Aqua Garden (which has amazing waterfalls) and their Horizon Whirlpool. On a dark night with a view of the stars, it was breathtaking.

I slept like a baby that night and I honestly didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because the bed was so comfortable! Made me realize that I’m about due for a new mattress for my own bed. The morning was a little chilly, but we made our way to Little Lake Teedyuskung for our 7am kayaking. Since the rest of the people who signed up for the session were no-shows, we had the guide all to ourselves! This 1:1 session was great as we learned more about the area we live in and got to take in all of the wildlife. Although the really ridiculous spider that kept jumping into my kayak, which almost made me flip over when trying to get it out, was not so amusing (at least for me, but Bryan and our guide thought it was pretty funny.)

After breakfast at Tree, my feet begged me for a Restorative Rosemary Pedicure at their Lotus Salonand how could I say no? The view from my seat was beautiful and the bourbon vanilla soak helped soften my dry heels. I loved the seaweed wrap and Antoinette made my toes look pretty with SpaRitual’s Crystal Water nail polish.

All in all, it was a relaxing and fun-filled weekend that we truly enjoyed. So whether you live locally and are looking for a staycation without feeling like you are really still local or are looking for a Pocono getaway, The Lodge at Woodloch should top your list of places to go. If you’ve visited or have had a spa treatment here, please share your experience in the comments!

Find them on Facebook and Twitter, too!

*Some images from The Lodge at Woodloch’s website; disclosure: a portion of this stay was gifted.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Spa, Travel Beauty 4 Comments