Cleansers for Natural, Textured, Curly Hair

Right now my hair looks and feels dry, lackluster and just downright sad. I know that I could've taken better care of my hair, but sometimes it's much too easy to neglect my hair care routine and just disguise less than stellar hair with a cute braid or bun. Agreed? I Read more

Winter Skin Care DIY

From your head to your toes, winter conditions are no fun for your skin. Not only does dry skin look unhealthy, it can be really uncomfortable, too. Did you know that everything you need to save your skin from winter is as close as your pantry or refrigerator? Below are Read more

Solid Lotion Bars from Faith, Soaps and Love

Know for their incredible handmade artisan soaps, Faith, Soaps & Love has another trick up their sleeves... or in this case, in their tubes. Good things come in 2 oz. packages. Don't let the small number fool you, as the Solid Lotion Bar tube is the size of my hand. Read more

How to Hide Unwanted Facial Hair #GoConfidently

No matter your age, unwanted facial hair can become a true confidence problem. From genetics to mature skin, it can be difficult to feel beautiful when dark excess hair lingers around. Bleaching the hair is an option and if you haven't tried it before and are curious, read on. First, Read more

nyakio ABC African Beauty Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Sunscreen

I'm always on the lookout for a BB or CC cream that not only matches my skin tone but also has SPF 20 and over, covers without feeling heavy or oily, helps to reduce the size of my pores and gives me a little glow. My skin could be described as medium to Read more

self-care

DIY Thai Herbal Poultice

DIY Thai Herbal Poultice #spatreatment

Whomever said that spa treatments are just to relax, never experienced the ones that go beyond relaxation and additionally treat an ailment. An old-time Thai remedy that is still used today, the Six Senses Thai Herbal Poultice, offered in Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives, increases blood flow and circulation, relaxes tense muscles, and alleviates pain and inflammations when applied directly onto the skin.

Making your own herbal poultice is easy and the treatment is a great way to fight off the common cold, the flu, and viruses. The skin, our body’s largest organ and one of the first lines of defense against disease, quickly absorbs the herbs’ medicinal benefits for instant relief of stress, aches and pains.

All ingredients are found on the islands of the Maldives, as well as in many of our supermarkets and pantries!

Six Senses Thai Herbal Poultice Recipe
What You’ll Need: Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, DIY Beauty, Self-Care Leave a comment

Tips to Stay Stress-Free and Glowing during the Holiday Season

Tips to stay stress-free and glowing during the holidays! #beauty #health #wellness

When I was in college I often went skiing in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I always tell myself that one day I’ll get back there (but this time to check out the spas in addition to the skiing!) One of those places is Stoweflake Spa and Wellness Center in Stowe, Vermont. Surinda Oberai Cavanagh, Spa Director and Ayurvedic Consultant at Stoweflake Spa and Wellness Center, offers A Girl’s Gotta Spa! readers these tips to stay stress free and glowing this holiday season.

Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, DIY Beauty, Health, holiday, Self-Care, skin care, Wellness, Winter Beauty Leave a comment

Bath Time to Ultimately Relax You

Bath time! Ways to relax...

Water or hydro therapy can be traced to about 4500 BC to the areas that are now Egypt, Iraq and Iran. Immersing the body in water has been medically proven to be a very relaxing, therapeutic and a complement to a healthy lifestyle or those in need of improved well-being.

According to Lapis Spa, Fontainebleau Miami Beach Director of Spa Operation, Josie Feria, the deep muscle relaxation associated with a good hot bath helps to reduce cramps, tension headaches and improves muscle elasticity. The process is similar to a massage and beneficial for everyone from athletes to those who sit at a desk all day. It has even been said that taking a bath takes you back to a time when you were in the womb thus creating a comforting and relaxing environment. So, next time you have a stressful day, draw a bath and use the tips below provided by Josie Feria to create the ultimate soaking experience. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, Self-Care, Wellness Leave a comment

Beautifying Morning Smoothie Recipe

Beautifying Smoothie Recipe

I’ve always believed in caring for my skin from the inside out.  There is nothing that makes me happier than when I have clear, glowing skin that does not require a stitch of makeup.

To make sure my skin looks as good as possible I try to maintain a clean, healthy, balanced diet…much easier said than done- get regular exercise, good sleep and make sure I make it to hot yoga at least twice a week.  Lately I’ve been incorporating more smoothies into my diet.  They are a quick and easy way for me to get a meal in when I don’t have a lot of time or if I’m much too lazy to cook.  My favorite smoothie is the one that I frequently have in the morning.  It gives me the energy I need to start the day off right, I feel good that I’ve consumed something for breakfast and the ingredients in the smoothie contribute to radiant skin and hair. Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Health, Self-Care, skin care, Wellness Leave a comment

How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

How to combat seasonal affective disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that happens during the same time each year. While it can happen at any time of year, it is most often associated with Fall and Winter (you’ve heard the term winter blues, right?) This is due to lack of sunlight which of course results in a Vitamin D deficiency, it’s getting darker sooner which throws off your internal clock, remaining indoors due to cooler or bad weather (hello cabin fever!) and what I call a “lack of an interesting landscape”; in other words everything lacks the color, vibrancy and fragrances of the warmer months.

I’m bringing this up because in the last few days I kept remarking to my husband, “I feel so tired all the time,” and “I feel like I have no energy,” and wanting to eat every carb in sight. Personally, nothing has changed for me to bring this on. I’m very happily married, am passionate about my career, enjoy my sons and so on. He then brought it to my attention that since the weather has gotten colder, I’ve been outdoors less; it’s getting darker earlier, etc. And then it clicked. During the days of getting my degree in Psychology, I had learned about SAD and recognized the symptoms.

Beginning to feel the same as I am? Here is a SAD check list (as listed by the MAYO Clinic): Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Health, Self-Care, Spa, Wellness 4 Comments

Love Your Skin Love Yourself Q and A with Rachael Pontillo

Love your skin, love yourself author Rachael Pontillo

My friend, fellow blogger, and holistic skincare expert, Rachael Pontillo has a book coming out on September 3rd: Love Your Skin, Love Yourself: Achieve Beauty, Health, and Vitality from the Inside Out and Outside In. It’ll be available on both Amazon and Kindle. Considering that her skin is absolutely flawless and nothing short of amazing, I needed to find out all I could about what she is dishing in her new book.

Women with skin issues often feel like they have to hide or that there is something wrong with them. Whether the condition starts as early as adolescence, or develops later on during a pregnancy or for other reasons, it affects much more than just the skin.

Sometimes issues that accompany a skin condition are physical such as weight gain, digestive issues, systemic infection, chronic inflammation, etc. Other times, however, the issues are emotional and even spiritual. This was the case for author and coach, Rachael Pontillo. After living the majority of her life with acne, she cleared up her skin for good (and simultaneously lost 80 lbs) once she cleaned up her diet and upgraded her lifestyle. Though she looked and felt better on the outside and was healthier on the inside, she still had issues having to do with self-image and self-love. These are issues common to many women, especially those who have experienced a visible skin condition, and many feel misunderstood, alone and insecure because of it. Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in acne, anti-aging, beauty, Health, Self-Care, skin care, Wellness Leave a comment

Everyday Heroes Beauty Transformation

Two Everyday Heroes Translate their Inner Strength into their Outer Pow!

Makeover

Sherona McFadden of Harleysville, PA and Keara Ramos-Coles of Greenlane, PA are two women who define what it means to be everyday heroes.

Sherona is a wife, a mother of five children (two are affected by a disability and a serious medical condition), a friend, a working-woman, a singer/songwriter, and a community/church volunteer. Sherona emulates creative flare to the point where she seems to breathe it with every idea she speaks and song she writes. She is a natural visionary, but with much of her time spent caring for her family and/or living between frequent doctor appointments and hospital visits, Sherona struggles with a sense of zapped energy. She longs to reconnect with her keen sense of artistic allure when it comes to makeup, and shared with me that she is looking for some products/looks to reignite this flame.

Keara is a wife, a mother of three children (all of which have a learning disability), a friend, a professional caregiver for the elderly and those affected by disability, and also volunteers in her church and community whenever she is able. Keara so poignantly shared her struggle, which so many caregivers face, with balancing taking care of her self vs. others. Her compassionate heart for others wins in weight, but with that she said, “I am now at a time in my life that as much as I love taking care of everyone else I am also learning that I have to find ways to take care of myself.” Read more

Posted on by Courtney Smith RN BSN in beauty, Makeup, makeup tips, Self-Care, Wellness 2 Comments

5 Products That Will Help You Transform and Revive



As a caregiver, both on the floor as a nurse who works 12-hour night shifts and a parent of children with special needs, I often don’t get the recommended hours of sleep. Yes, I’ve seen all the studies of just how bad lack of sleep is for you…and no I would not recommend skipping out on the Z’s if there is a choice on the matter, but the truth remains that it is part of my (and many other caregivers) unavoidable realty.

Since this is the case, instead of stressing about it, I implement little things throughout my day to help revive my energy and keep my look lively. First, it’s part of my self-care routine. Secondly, I truly believe that it helps those I care for to know that they are in good hands. I mean do any of you really want a tired-looking stressed out nurse to walk into you or your loved one’s hospital room and say she is the one who’s going to take care of you for the next 12 hours? Not if we had the choice, right? I am not sure of many who would contend the ideal notion of wanting a nurse with a positive attitude, know-how, and a put together look that sends an unspoken message of trust.

The saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” So, since I have recently been struggling with anemia and recovering from a painful injury, I thought it would be a neat opportunity to allow a personal picture story post for you as I got ready for work. Here is a peak at my paler then usual face (from lack of sun, sleep, and anemia), undone hair, and the five product lines I used to transform and revive. The last pic is a must see for the transformation!

Tired #mom? Try these #makeuptips to transform and revive!

Marc Anthony Hair Care

Step 1: Take a refreshing shower with Marc Anthony (pause, lol) sulfate-free Oil of Morocco Shampoo and Conditioner for some super workable soft hair. When you get out of your makeshift oasis, toss in a bit of his Argan oil treatment and then some volumizing mousse. I am very picky when it comes to my hair products, as I have plunged the pocket in the past and came up with less than satisfying results. However, I am happy to report that Marc’s line is healthy for your hair, fantastic feeling, and super-easy on the wallet. It’s hard to find this type of a triple threat! Read more

Posted on by Courtney Smith RN BSN in anti-aging, beauty, blush, concealer, eye shadow, eyeliner, foundation, Hair Care, Health, lip balm, Makeup, makeup tips, mascara, mineral makeup, Primer, Self-Care, skin care 8 Comments

Quick Ways to Subside Caregiver Role Strain



Tips for Caring for the CaregiverSome of you reading this post may be wondering what in the world caregiver role strain is, while others know all to well what it is and may be wondering what, if anything, they can do about it.

First and foremost a caregiver is simply someone who provides care for another person, such as a mom for her child with special needs, a nurse, a grown child caring for their chronically ill parent, etc.… The University of Wisconsin describes caregiver role strain as follows, “when caregivers find it hard to perform their roles or feel stressed by situations such as: financial burden, increased responsibility, change in family life, role change” (www.uwhealth.org, 2013).

Now one might be saying, “Courtney, don’t almost all of us fit into that category?!” Read more

Posted on by Courtney Smith RN BSN in beauty, Health, Self-Care, Wellness 3 Comments