Does the Sun Really Age You? #Ad

Disclosure: Thanks to RoC® skin care with SPF I'm getting my skin ready for the Summer as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars #WomenWhoRoC Does the sun really age you? A question those without a single wrinkle or dark spot ask with skepticism. I'm pretty confident I never asked this Read more

Silk Therapeutics Nurture ++ Moisturizer Review

Did you know that your skin needs different skin care products not only based on your skin type, but also based on the region you live in? It's true. For example, your needs will be different in the dry-heat of Nevada than say someone who lives a place with high Read more

Smoothie Recipes from the Best Spas

If you are looking for delicious smoothie recipes from some of the best spas, we've compiled a list for you! So get ready to indulge your tastebuds without expanding your waistline with these vitamin and mineral rich smoothies! Potassium Punch: Set on a 1,100-acre rainforest, Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Read more

Pedicure How-To: Get Your Feet Sandal-Ready! #Sponsored

This post was sponsored by Amopé™ as part of an influencer activation for the #AmopeCrowd and Socialstars™. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review, but all opinions (and sandal-ready feet) are my own. Florals and citrus, a shorter hairstyle, light breezy dresses, sandals...warmer weather opens the doors to both Read more

Spa-Like Hair with Pai-Shau

This is likely the only time where you hear me rave about tea. I'm your coffee-obsessed kind of girl, but this hair care line by Pai-Shau based on a proprietary blend of concentrated steeped teas, is making my life right now. Pai-Shau is a vegan and cruelty free hair care line Read more

spa treatment

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

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 www.handandstone.com.

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

Bucket List: The Beach House at Iruveli Maldives

Finally! The warmer weather seems like it’s here to stay, summer seems to be inching closer and that means it’s about that time that I start daydreaming of places I can vacation. Being the spa girl that I am, I 99.99999% of the time look for a resort that includes a spa. It just so happened that in the midst of staring out the window to the blue skies the other day that I received an email about De’ Spa at The Beach House Iruveli Maldives. I clicked the link for the resort’s website and I was magically taken in and forgot all about life for a few brief moments.

The Beach House Iruveli Maldives has 83 villas, all of which are on the beach or on the water. The imagery on the website will take your breath away. Due to growing up in Rhode Island, and as I’ve mentioned countless times before, I have a long-term love affair with water. I cannot even begin to image my happiness quotient if I were to find myself in any one of their many luxurious, water-view villas like the one pictured here.

The De’ Spa is an open-air spa with ten massage pavilions dotted among lush tropical greenery linked by winding pathways flanked by a bubbling stream. The spa uses Aromatherapy Associates products in its Ayurveda and traditional Maldivian philosophies and offers a range of exclusive treatments harnessing the qualities of 100% natural essential oils. Two that caught my eye?

Fresh Coconut Scrub (45 min): Freshly shredded and locally grown coconut gently exfoliates the skin, smoothing away the effects of the salt water and sun. Your body will then be soaked in an intensely hydrating fresh coconut blend, leaving your sun-kissed skin soft and supple (and probably smelling good enough to eat.)

After The Sun (60 min): Relax as a unique infusion of lavender oil delivers intense healing properties, peppermint oil cools the skin and regenerative rose oil rescues a distressed skin. A hydrating mask is applied to the face while the body is lathered in nourishing shea butter and hydrating rose gel. To finish, an Ayurvedic scalp massage releases tension for an all-over relaxing, restorative treatment. (And hopefully your “before the sun” treatment was applying a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen SPF 30+!)

Since this resort and spa meets my “beyond my wildest dreams” criteria, I’m adding this to my bucket list of resorts I’d like to vacation at sometime in the future. What about you? Have you ever been here?

You can learn more about them at www.beachhousecollection.com.

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

Las Ventanas’ al Paraíso New Spa Pods

If there is anything that continually nudges me to get my passport, it’s hearing about resorts abroad that offer magical spa treatments. Like Las Ventanas al Paraíso, in Los Cabos Mexico, newest Spa Pods. (Anytime I hear the word “pod” it makes me think about the New York City hotel called The Pod that I’ve stayed in.)

These Spa Pods combine steam, water therapy delivered by 22 jets and radiant infrared heat in an encapsulated environment that is uniquely nurturing and rejuvenating, offering benefits like significantly increasing Basal Metabolic Rate, natural cleansing of the body of unwanted toxins and impurities, relief of muscle and joint aches, pains and fatigue, and weight loss by eliminating excess fluid and alleviating bloating and/or water retention.

With only the head outside the pod, while enjoying more freedom of movement and comfort than a traditional body wrap, spa podder’s may take advantage of a full range of techniques from vibratory massage to foot-spray massage and vitamin therapy – while a full-spectrum fiber optic LED light Colorbathâ„¢ delivers a rainbow shower of color, enhancing balance and relaxation.

Other benefits of the spa pods? Increased lymphatic metabolic circulation; stress reduction; re-mineralizing, moisturizing and hydrating; detoxification; and anti-aging treatments. The system can increase Basal Metabolic Rate equal to the energy expenditure of a 6-to-9-mile run that burns 900-to-2,400 calories. Um, yes please. I would love to simply relax yet have my body think I just ran 9 miles….without the actual running.

The treatments that now incorporate the Spa Pods are: Desert Sports for Men, Desert Healer, Sea Enzyme Body Wrap with Green Tea & Ginger, Nopal Detox Desert Wrap, Phyto-Marine Mask & Slimming Wrap, and Desert Flower for Women. And some of the new Spa Pod Packages include: Walking on the Clouds, combining Spa Pod, Raindrop Therapy and a Pedicure; Dreaming in Nirvana, with Spa Pod, Grounding Equilibrium Shirodara Therapy and Ultimate Hot Stone Mini Facial; Cleopatra Ceremony, blending Spa Pod, Dry Brushing, Honey and Yogurt Wrap, Milk Bath and a Nourishing Body Massage; Full Day of Wellness, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Citrus Exfoliant, Body Massage, Mini Facial, Pedicure & Manicure; Half-Day Retreat, combining Spa Pod, Masaje de la Casa and a Manicure; and Just for You, with Spa Pod, Ultra-Rich Pineapple & Grape Exfoliant and Hot Stone Massage.

Have you booked your trip yet???

You can learn more at www.lasventanas.com. (Now on my bucket list of resorts to visit.)

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