Eumora Facial Bar Review

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

Aqua Spa Body Cleanser Review

I strongly believe that one should make time spent in the shower as relaxing and enjoyable as possible...even if it's one of those two minutes showers that seem to be occurring with more frequency as we are all continuously pressed for time. One of the best ways to turn shower time Read more

Pretty Woman Kingfisher Feather Polish Review

I love the look of textured nail polish. However, many textured polishes tend to scrape off easily making the effort of applying them practically useless. The Feather polishes from Pretty Woman are another story entirely. You can achieve a textured look that is still smooth to the touch minimizing Read more

Swisspers Twitter Party September 18th 8:30pm EST

Disclosure: Swisspers provided me with compensation for participating in this Twitter Party.  This Thursday, September 18th from 8:30-10:30pm I'll be participating in a #SleepNaked Twitter chat with Swisspers. If you are not familiar with the cotton products from Swisspers and all the benefits of sleeping naked (for your skin!), go Read more

Best Charities for Breast Cancer Research

As a beauty blogger, I'm inundated in the months leading up to and during Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pitches for all sorts of beauty products. Each brand aligns itself with the goal of raising funds by donating a certain percentage to the cause. I'm often discouraged when I Read more

spa treatment

The Spa at The Hotel Hershey Review

If you are a chocolate addict, then there is nowhere greater to be than The Sweetest Place on Earth: Hershey, PA.

Now imagine being both a chocolate AND spa addict. That would be me and I got to mix both pleasures at The Spa at The Hotel Hershey recently. A chocolate lovers dream come true.

The Spa at The Hotel Hershey

The Hotel Hershey:

The Hotel Hershey is a 4-star and 4-diamond hotel set atop a hill overlooking the town of Hershey. From the balcony that is off The Circular Dining Room, you can see the Hershey factory, amusement park and all that the town of Hershey has to offer.

When we pulled up the driveway to The Hotel Hershey, I was in awe of how massive the mansion-like hotel was. Upon check-in you’re asked which type of chocolate you like and the receptionist presents you with a complimentary Hershey chocolate bar (I chose dark chocolate of course!) The hotel layout is an intricate maze, so it’s very helpful that they provide you with a map…not to mention that the staff is very patient answering my countless questions of, “How do I get there again?” when referring to the Spa, the ice skating rink, dining options, etc.

The Hotel Hershey luxe appointed King Suite

The hotel rooms are well-appointed and simply beautiful. And they really thought of everything; from a sewing kit to cotton balls and Q-tips to a separate bag for recyclables.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, Spa 4 Comments

Red Carpet Spa Treatment: Iron Mask Facial

I’m always on the look out for new types of facials, especially ones that not only remove impurities and deeply cleanse, but that also lift and tone (like the NuFace Lifting and Toning Facial that I had at Woodhouse Day Spa.)

As I’m getting older, I’m definitely beginning to see a loss of elasticity in my skin. I recently came across Susan MacPherson, founder of Beaute Therapies Medical Spa in West Palm Beach, Florida who brought back a unique facial that she learned about in Italy: Maschera Al Ferro aka the Iron Mask Facial.

Used by celebrities to get that “red carpet look”, the exclusive facial is offered at Beaute Therapies Medical Spa – the Iron Mask Facial uses advanced magnet technology and magnetic fibers to deep cleanse, lift and firm skin. I asked Ms. MacPherson some questions to get a better understanding about this facial.   Read more

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

Spa Review: Canyon Ranch Spa Miami Beach

Receiving an invitation to visit the largest spa in South Florida (70,000 sq ft to be exact), was definitely one of the highlights of my year in Miami and it just happened to materialize when a visit to the spa was very much needed…at the tail end of the moving process when I was sore, running low on energy,  and anxious about fitting a studio apartment’s worth of stuff into a minivan to go across the U.S.  So the invitation to visit The Spa at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach was a very welcome diversion from the moving process.  As soon as I checked, in the staff was very welcoming and friendly…something that was rare during my year in Miami.  The Canyon Ranch Miami Beach property is impressive and absolutely breathtaking to say the least.  The service I received from the spa is called Yatra.  Yatra, as explained to me by my service provider, is a Sanskrit word that means journey.  The treatment  is a journey through the senses and is intended to unwind every sense, relax every nerve and melt every muscle.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, skin care, Spa Leave a comment

Spa Review: Blue Harmony Spa, Orlando FL

What’s the best way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon for that matter) in Orlando, FL? At the spa of course! And that is exactly where I found myself on such an afternoon, at the amazingly beautiful and tranquil Blue Harmony Spa at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort.
Upon checking into the spa, I was immediately offered a beverage and opted for a glass of water mixed with PURE Inventions Blueberry Antioxidant Fruit Extract (which is also available for purchase at the spa).  I was then taken on a brief tour of the facility which includes indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, Relaxation Lounge, outdoor spa garden, outdoor hot tub, full-amenity locker rooms, men’s and women’s steam rooms and chromotherapy experience showers, Couple’s suite with side by side soak tubs, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

I also learned that each Blue Harmony experience reminds guests of the nourishment provided by the great blues of the world, water and skies.  After the tour I could’ve honestly just hung out in the serene relaxation lounge for the rest of the day indulging in healthy snacks, sampling the other flavors of the PURE Inventions Antioxidant Fruit Extracts while curled up with a magazine.  I was then taken to the women’s locker room where I slipped into my super soft spa robe in preparation for my massage.  Read more

Posted on by Gail Lewis in beauty, Spa 2 Comments

Winter Weather Skin Care Tips from The Spa at Ravella

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

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

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

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

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

Scrumptious Spice Wrap

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

Pure Results Facial

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

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

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

NuFace Lifting and Toning Facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, Kingston PA

I am a big believer in monthly facials. I wasn’t gifted with perfect skin and in order to keep a younger looking appearance sans plastic surgery, taking care of my skin is a priority. I love going to The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA (and there are others around the country too) and have had their Four-Handed Massage and Minkyti Facial before, so I was all for experiencing something new. As I just turned 37, I became most interested in a new facial they are performing there involving the NuFace toning device. I’ve heard a lot about NuFace and I’m familiar with microcurrent technology, so I was ready to see if it would work for me.

This facial starts off like any other facial at The Woodhouse Day Spa, using products from Amala skincare to cleanse and exfoliate (from the Rejuvenate collection), then NuFace’s Conductivity Gel is applied. As the esthetician smoothed the NuFace device ($325) on the right hand side of my face and under my chin, I felt absolutely nothing. I even began to wonder if it was on, assuming I was supposed to feel my skin tingling. However, once she got near my hair line, especially my eyebrows, that’s when I began to feel a tinge here and there. Whenever you are getting a facial (or any spa treatment) it’s good to speak up if you feel any discomfort so that the treatment can be adjusted. Once I told my esthetician that I was feeling small pin pricks, she applied more gel and that remedied the situation.

The esthetician moves the device with the contour of your face and the microcurrent is delivered to lift and firm the skin. As we age, we lose about 1% of our skin’s elasticity each year. So if you want to avoid going under the knife, this is a great way to reprogram your muscles. (I asked if it would work on my chest too, but she just laughed. I was serious though!)

After about 10-15 minutes of using the device, she then spritzed my face with the Optimizing Mist and applied Amala’s Rejuvenating Face Cream. I was told that it takes about 8 treatments to see a complete difference, then maintenance with the device about 1-2 times per week. However, I did notice that my skin felt a bit tighter, especially above my eyebrows and in between them. I had the esthetician take a before and after picture and you can see that the wrinkle I have between my eyebrows is much less and that the skin above my eyebrows does appear to pull them up slightly.


While I didn’t purchase NuFace (the kit is about $325) I was still happy with the results. The facial itself is $70. What do you think? Have you tried NuFace for yourself?

If you are local here in Northeast PA, please visit The Woodhouse Day Spa via their website or Facebook fan page. If you happen to book a spa treatment, let them know you heard about them from A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Not local? You can still find The Woodhouse Day Spa nearest you by visiting their corporate website.

Ps. They sell Farmhouse Fresh products in their boutique! I’ve tried their Honey Heel Glaze….AMAZING.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in anti-aging, beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, skin care, Spa 5 Comments

Considering Prenatal Massage? Hand & Stone Explains How the Service Alleviates Aches & Pains

There is no better time to be pampered than during pregnancy (I should know–I had 4 boys!) For nine months, your body is changing and growing, which can add some unexpected aches and pains. But many women don’t realize that prenatal massage can be an effective way to reduce anxiety, stress, and the aches and pains caused by poor circulation during pregnancy.

Colleen Bryan, of Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, has offered A Girl’s Gotta Spa! readers several pointers on what pregnant women should know concerning prenatal massage:

Wait until your second trimester. As a rule of thumb, you should wait until the first trimester is over before coming in for a massage. The second trimester is typically when the belly begins to grow and the body is changing, anyway, so that’s usually the time that women are experiencing stress or discomfort.

It’s more than just relaxation. Although relaxation is a large part of a prenatal massage, there are also many health benefits associated with the service. As a woman begins to carry excess weight, her posture changes and she can have back aches, headaches, shoulder aches and neck aches. A massage can decrease those pains, as well as pain in the pelvic and hip area. It also increases circulation, improves digestion and can reduce fatigue.

Massage therapists will adapt to your needs. Therapists trained in prenatal massage know how to accommodate the body of a pregnant woman. The entire massage is conducted in the face-up position, and the woman can be turned on to her side while propped up by pillows. A massage therapist trained in prenatal massage will work the entire body, just differently than how they would with another client.

More massage = better results. As with any form of massage, the effects are cumulative. With a pregnant woman, I would recommend receiving a massage once a month throughout the second and third trimesters. In addition to the health benefits, receiving regular massages helps a woman learn how to stay calm and focus on their breathing, which can in turn help them in the delivery room to stay relaxed.

Find a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa near you at www.handandstone.com.

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in Spa Leave a 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

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

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