Best Items for Baby, Pampering for New Moms

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media. Opinions are my own and the adorable baby is all mine. Dear new and soon-to-be moms, It can be difficult to navigate this crazy new season in life called motherhood and finding the perfect items for your baby all while taking Read more

A Meditation Teacher’s 8 Tips for Better Sleep

Since having Ethan last year, and a few months prior to his birth, sleep has eluded me. Before getting pregnant, I would take melatonin or unisom before bed because my insomnia was so bad. Although Ethan is 1, he still doesn't sleep through the night, which means I can't be Read more

Vole Hair System Review

Don't miss the 20% off promo code below!! My hair has not been at its best this summer.  Sun, salt water, humidity and heat, plus constant styling to battle the heat and humidity all tends to strip my hair leaving it looking and feeling dry and dull. This may sound a bit dramatic, Read more

Spa Pedicure at Utopia Salon & Day Spa in Hawley, PA

The best part of living in a tourist area (the Poconos), is that there are a lot of little gems waiting to be discovered. For me, this gem has been right in front of my face for 13 years. I've driven by Utopia Salon & Day Spa countless times, but Read more

Reflekt Facial Exfoliator Review

This luxury facial cleanser makes skin feel amazing! I've been using Reflekt Skincare for the last 6 weeks about 2-3 times per week. In the summer, a regular cleanser alone won't do the trick to thoroughly rid my skin of all the "gunk" that warmer weather brings when wearing makeup, Read more

spa treatment

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

Spas in the Poconos: The Lodge at Woodloch





A few years ago when I went to The Lodge at Woodlochfor 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… Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, salon, Self-Care, skin care, Spa, Travel Beauty, Wellness 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

Girlfriend Spa Getaways at Cara Mor Spa Retreat in Spruce Creek, PA

While spa vacations have always been popular, spa retreats designated specifically for a girlfriend getaway has picked up speed in the last year. Just about 3 hours from me, in Spruce Creek PA, Cara Mor Spa Retreat is the latest luxury health spa to open…but not only just for women–but private parties of women. That means you and your friends get the entire place to yourself. Talk about personalized service!

Cara Mor is tucked away in a serene setting with 3 different lodges to accommodate the needs and size of your private party. Chef Rock is your personal Chef, who’ll whip up some comfort food–whether it is organic or a midnight snack, for you and your friends. During your stay, 7 hours at the spa is split between you and your guests each day…can you imagine getting a massage or facial on your time line and not based on the spa’s availability to squeeze you in? Read more

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

Minkyti Facial at Woodhouse Day Spa, Kingston PA

Monthly facials are a necessity, not a luxury. As I’m inching my way to 40 (I hate thinking about it), I know this now more than ever. Not only do you get a really in-depth cleaning of your pores, but it sure is a great way to relax and let go of the stressors that have been plaguing you.

The last time I was at Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA for my Four-Handed Massage, I came across Amala skincare in their gift shop. I’ve heard amazing things about Amala and even began working with them. So I had been dying to find the time to get an Amala facial. Woodhouse Day Spa uses Amala skincare exclusively for their facials, and when I asked Woodhouse’s manager Rebecca which facial would be best for me, she recommended their signature spa treatment, the Minkyti Facial ($95). It’s 80 minutes of pure bliss.   Read more

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

SpaFinder Names Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2011

Calling all spa girls! Want to know what’s on trend for 2011 when it comes to spas and their treatments? Susie Ellis, SpaFinder President, author of the SpaFinder blog and column and a contributing editor to NewBeauty magazine, has developed a global trend report that I’m going to republish below. Which of these trends do you think will take off the most? I personally like trend #5.

Additionally, check out the SpaFinder blog for “Hot and Getting Hotter Spa Trends 2011.”

2011 SPA TREND REPORTâ„¢ Read more

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

Four-Handed Massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston, PA

vichy showerWhether you are a local in Northeast PA or just visiting on a seasonal basis, there are some great spas in the area worth checking out. While tweeting with fellow NEPA’ers on Twitter a few months ago, I asked which spa was the best in the area. The Woodhouse Day Spa in Kingston was mentioned a few times. Seeing that A Girl’s Gotta Spa! (sm), I knew I had to make the hour-long trip from where I am in the Poconos over to Kingston to experience what they call the “four-handed massage.”

The Woodhouse Day Spa can be found on the very bustling Wyoming Avenue just off Rt. 309. But don’t be fooled by the busy road as the spa, set in a Tudor-style house, has no sights or sounds of the road once inside. Once you walk through the over-sized doors, you are welcomed with the aroma of lavender in a dimly lit retreat full of soothing sounds. I could honestly feel the difference from the stress of the outside world to a more relaxed state once inside the spa.  Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, Pocono Spas & Salons, skin care, Spa 2 Comments

DIY Hawaiian Rain Shower Polish From Spa Moana at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

DIY Spa Treatment #spa

I have always wanted to go to Hawaii. My dad used to live there and would often email me pictures of this amazing place. So when Spa Moana at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa reached out to me about their Hawaiian Rain Shower Polish that guests receive there, I asked about how those of use who can’t afford the flight to this oasis, can bring the experience in-home. Because naturally, a girl’s gotta spa!

At Spa Moana, guests booking the Hawaiian Rain Shower Polish receive a 45 min body scrub and wrap. The service uses Raw Maui Sugar and fresh Hawaiian botanicals which are applied to the skin producing a naturally exfoliating and softening effect. Coconut oil is massaged into the scalp and hair, and a warm towel is then wrapped around the head. This allows for a deeper penetration for the oil to hydrate the hair follicles and repair damaged ends. To finish, a six shower head Vichy shower glides above the body to rinse and revitalized. To complete this journey the therapist applies a warm coconut milk and macadamia nut oil to the body, leaving skin moist and nurtured from the ain’a (land) of Hawaii.

Here’s how to recreate the Hawaiian Rain Shower Polish at home: Read more

Posted on by Shannon Smyth in bath and body, beauty, DIY Beauty, skin care, Spa 3 Comments

Spa Crawl Video: Spa Week April 12th-18th

The 12th edition of the Spa Week Event is slated for April 12th – 18th, 2010. In total, the nationwide Spa Week Spring Event will include 30 markets and a list of participating spas has been poted www.spaweek.com as of March 15th. The Spring Spa Week Event will bring $50 spa treatments to consumers at over 800 spas across North America. As always, the goal is to introduce a new generation of consumers to the benefits of a healthy lifestyle by opening up the spa industry to the masses.

I LOVE this video that Michelle Joni from Spa Week did for her spa crawl to promote the promotion. (And I really want in on that aloe mask too!) A Girl’s Gotta Spa after all…

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