Spa Pedicure at The French Manor Review

Shannon Smyth
Spa pedicure at The French Manor in the Poconos via @agirlsgottaspa Tucked away in the Pocono Mountains is a small slice of heaven at The French Manor Inn & Spa. Following a twisting and turning road up the mountainside reveals gorgeous stone buildings and a glorious view of the valley. My mouth fell open upon seeing it as I mouthed, “Wow.” There are 3 buildings on the property with Le Spa Foret found below the Spa Suites. Upon entering the spa, you are greeted with relaxing scents.   I was invited to try Le Spa Foret’s Huckleberry Mountain Signature Spa Pedicure, which is about 50 minutes in duration. The difference between the spa pedicure and their regular pedicure is the addition of using a foot polisher, a tightening masque among other vitamin and antioxidant treatments to enhance the skin care in your pedicure. Towards the end they also massage your lower legs and feet. The chair I sat in had a massage system, which was so relaxing. I ate yogurt with granola and fruits while my spa pedicure was being done. The scents from the aromatherapy products being used in the water and on my skin were so soothing. I chose Ivy & Aloe, which is a water and citrus fragrance. My favorite part had to be the tightening masque that was applied to my feet and ankles. It was warm and felt fantastic on my skin. At the end I asked to look around the property and fell in love with the Spa Suites. You could hear the soothing music from the spa up in the rooms, which have a sunken tub, King sized beds, flat screen television and sitting area, as well as a veranda that looks out at the valley. Each room is decorated completely different and are very spacious. The French Manor dining area was breathtaking. 2 large fireplaces in a colonial-looking room that opened up to a stone terrace with a mountain view. While I was there, they were setting up for a wedding that would be taking place. The white tents on the terrace, complete with chandeliers made it look like a fairytale. The menu is a bit out of my price range, but the dishes sounded divine. What’s so lovely about Le Spa Foret at The French Manor Inn & Spa is that it is quietly tucked away off the beaten path here in Northeast PA. It is quiet and tranquil and makes you feel like you took a step back in time. The perfect place to retreat to, even if you are a local. You can learn more about them at Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Disclosure: This spa treatment was comped.

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Hair Color Tips from Wella Professionals

Shannon Smyth3 comments
This past Saturday I was given the opportunity to go to the Wella Color Discovery Tour in Philadelphia. Despite the crazy humidity and 92 degree weather, there was a great turn out. But better yet I was able to get hair color tips direct from the Wella Professional stylists who were there to bring them straight to you.


But first, pictured here is Rose from Philadelphia. She came out to the Wella Color Discovery Tour because she's never been to a salon for professional hair color before. She's only used home coloring kits that were vegetable-based. Cait from Salon L'Etoile gave her some great recommendations. 
salon-l'etoileCait Kinslow, Salon L'Etoile Question: How long will my color last? Answer: I always tell my clients to come in for a touch up when it starts to bother them. For some, they come in within two weeks while others will wait up until 2 months. Koleston Perfect, which is Wella Professionals' permanent hair color, can last anywhere from 4-6 weeks and Color Touch, which is demi-permanent hair color, will last up to 24 washes. Question: How do I know which hair color is right for my skin tone? Answer: There is a simple trick you can do to figure this out; look at the veins in your wrists. If your veins are green then you would look good with warm tones (like chestnut and reds.) If your veins are blue, then you would look best with cool tones (like ash or pearl blonde.) Michael Antinore, East End Salon101_0303 Question: How can I make my hair color last longer? Answer: Don't shampoo everyday! You need the oils and dirt in your hair for it to stay healthy. Always stick with color-safe shampoo, otherwise you will be stripping the color from your hair. In the summer, a UV protectant spray is also beneficial as it will seal the cuticle to help you retain your color. Question: Why choose a salon versus doing it yourself? Isn't home hair color more affordable? Answer: The directions on DIY box hair color are very easy to mess up. For example, if it is your first time coloring your hair, then your 1st application should always be root to tip. However, for future applications, you only need to color your roots--not your whole head! Many people will just disregard this because it's easier to just apply it to your entire head. However, what happens is that only the roots give you the color you see on the box, but the rest of your hair will be a different color. For Grey hair, which is more pourous, this will be the most noticeable. When you choose home hair coloring kits, essentially you are spending less to spend more (to have a professional fix it.) richard-nicholas-hair-studioRebecca Haig, Richard Nicholas Hair Studio Question: Can you make my hair color like (insert name of celebrity here)? Answer: People bring in pictures of celebrities all of the time asking me to duplicate their hair color. However, they are basing their choice on the celebrity, not the actual hair color. I always tell them to cover the face on the picture, then look at it again to see if they truly want the color. Most times the answer is no. Question: Is blonde the easiest color to change your hair to? Answer: It may be the most popular, but it is not a color you want to try to do on your own. Home hair coloring kits tends to produce more brassy colored and over processed blondes. Also, depending on the color your hair is currently, it may be something you want to fade into gradually. A salon professional can color your hair blonde in a way that leaves it looking more natural, in better condition and with results that will last longer. Liz Wright, Panyc Salonpanyc-salon Liz offered some fantastic tips to help you alter your daily routine in order to achieve a longer and healthier shelf life to your hair color.
  • Like Michael said, don't shampoo everyday. The more you shampoo you make your sebaceous glands go into overdrive producing more oil. Simply, wet your hair, but rub your fingers along your scalp as if you are shampooing. This will help disperse the oils in your hair more evenly.
  • On the days you don't shampoo, it's OK to use conditioner only. However, apply from your tips at the bottom up midshaft, don't apply conditioner to the top of your head.
  • Detangle hair in the shower with your fingers. Hair is most fragile when it's wet. You know that squeaky clean sound when you brush your hair when it's wet? That's the sound of your hair breaking.
  • Water temperature makes a big difference in the health of your hair. My advice, even in the winter, is to turn down the water temperature when shampooing or conditioning. Wash your hair in a temperature you would wash a baby in.
I honestly learned so much from attending this event by Wella. "Like" their fan page to get updates on when their Color Discovery Tour is coming to a city near you! *Disclosure

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Summer Skin Care Advice from Paula Begoun

Shannon Smyth
Summer #SkinCare Tips from Paula Begoun With warmer weather here, I asked Paula Begoun to share some summer skin care advice to help us get our glow on! Paula is the creator and innovative force behind Paula's Choice skin care and cosmetics. She also launched, which features tens of thousands of candid, research-supported product reviews by Paula, herself. For a summer of fun in the sun, check out what Paula had to say: 
  • You may need to change your skin-care routine during summer weather. Many women find switching to a gel cleanser and lighter moisturizer preferable.
  • If you're spending more time outdoors and showing more skin during hot weather, be sure your sunscreen is rated SPF 15 or greater (and greater is better) and that it provides broad spectrum protection.
  • Don't forget to reapply sunscreen during long days outdoors and there's no such thing as "all day," "sweatproof" or "waterproof" protection!
  • Don't forget to apply sunscreen to often-missed areas such as the back of the neck, tops of ears, tops of feet, and along the hairline.
  • If your hairstyle has a strong part that exposes your scalp, massage a bit of sunscreen on this exposed area of be sure you have a hat to protect the exposed part of your scalp.
  • If you happen to get sunburned, get out of direct sunlight immediately and seek shade. Apply a lightweight, alcohol-free, gel-textured moisturizer or use plain aloe vera gel.
  • Apply cool, wet compresses to sunburned areas to reduce heat. You may also want to sit in a cool, plain bath (no bubble bath or bath oils, but you can add powdered oatmeal for its soothing qualities.)
  • Aspirin or other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines can help reduce the redness and pain of sunburn; follow the directions on the bottle and make sure you consult your physician first if you're taking other prescription drugs.
  • Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, juices, or any alcohol- and caffeine-free beverage you prefer.
Love these tips? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too

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Haircolorist Michael Angelo Offers 10 Tips To Pamper Your Color-Treated Hair

Shannon Smyth2 comments
Michael Angelo_haircoloristI don't know about you, but I color and highlight my hair. And trying to stretch my dollar as much as I can, maintaining the color for as long as possible is super important to me. Michael Angelo, certified haircolorist and owner of The Michael Angelo Hair Studio and The Michael Angelo Masterpiece Haircare product line, is an expert in advanced haircoloring techniques and fashion forward hairstyles. Known by many within the professional beauty industry as "The Haircolor Guru", Michael Angelo has pioneered the art of turning haircolor into visual works of art. Michael Angelo knows the importance of properly handling your color-treated hair in between salon visits. He has provided ten essential tips to pamper your color treated hair, restoring shine and manageability:
  • Tip 1: Trim your hair every four to six weeks to remove split ends and to help make your hair more manageable. A great haircut is the best foundation for keeping your hair healthy and looking its best.
  • Tip 2: Use a shampoo specifically formulated for haircolor treated hair. If you must wash your hair every day, shampoo only once. When you shampoo, avoid tugging your hair and wash gently. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo. Michael Angelo recommends products like Mane-Tain Shampoo by Michael Angelo Masterpiece Haircare. This professional haircolor safe shampoo gently cleanses, restoring your hairs essential nutrients and natural beauty.
  • Tip 3: Use a conditioner formulated specifically for color-treated hair and apply it to your hair every time you shampoo. It is best to apply an additional amount to the ends of your hair and to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces and minimize any film that can hide your natural shine. Michael Angelo recommends Main-Tain Conditioner. The unique formula is infused with structurizing proteins and botanicals to penetrate into your hair shaft, producing benefits above and beyond any singular protein conditioner.
  • Tip 4: Invest in a special micro-fiber towel that removes excess moisture from your hair after you shampoo and condition. These towels absorb more moisture than regular bath towels and can cut down on drying time. Once your hair is towel dried, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair. Wide tooth combs are less likely to cause split ends and breakage.
  • Tip 5: After you towel dry your hair, allow your hair to minimally air dry prior to blow drying. The more heat you apply to your hair, the more damage you can inflict to the cuticle.
  • Tip 6: Avoid curling irons, hot rollers and flat irons as much as possible. It is best to style your hair with a brush and a blow dryer. When you do opt for styling your hair with heat activated appliances, always apply a protective hairstyling aid directly on your hair to keep moisture locked in like Inner Fuel by Michael Angelo Masterpiece Haircare.
  • Tip 7: If you do apply styling products like a mousse, styling gel or hair spray, apply them sparingly. Many of these hairstyling products contain drying chemicals that can dull the haircolor and shine.
  • Tip 8: Avoid chlorine. If you do swim, thoroughly wash the chorine out of your hair immediately with a special haircolor safe clarifying shampoo.
  • Tip 9: Try to avoid excessive sun exposure to your color-treated hair. UV and UVB rays from the sun and indoor tanning beds and booths can leave your hair looking look less vibrant and lacking shine. If you are a sunbather, it is best to help protect your haircolor with products that contain UV ray protection.
  • Tip 10: Always take the time to consult with your professional haircolorist prior to receiving your haircolor treatments. Ask questions on the best way to maintain your haircolor in between salon visits and haircoloring services. Ask about future haircolor options.

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

Shannon Smyth2 comments
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: Ingredients: 1/4 cup Raw Sugar 1/4 cup Coffee grounds (can be used from your coffee pot filter or freshly ground) 1/4 cup Coconut Oil A few drops of your favorite essential oil (Tangerine, Rose, Lemon, or Lime) 1 can coconut milk for bath Supplies: 1 large sheet 1 small plastic trash bag/ grocery bag 2 bowls 1 hand towel Microwave
  • Prepare your bathroom for DIY treatment by laying an old sheet down on the floor, this will help with clean-up. Separate 1oz of coconut oil from the rest, and massage gently into your scalp, and pull through the ends of your hair. Microwave a dampened hand towel for 45 seconds, or until steamy, and wrap securely around your hair. Cover warm towel and hair with small plastic bag, and secure tightly with a knot.
  • Mix everything except coconut milk together in a glass bowl, and warm in the microwave for 18 seconds. Scrub your entire body with this delectable homemade mixture, with special focus on any excessively dry areas, like heels, elbows, and knees. (A helping hand from someone to help exfoliate your back is always nice!)
  • If you have a bath tub, pour coconut milk into warm bath water, and enjoy a relaxing soak. If you do not have a bath tub, rinse skin in a warm shower, and mix one tablespoon of coconut milk with one tablespoon of coconut oil, warm together in microwave for eight seconds, and massage into damp skin as an excellent moisturizer.
Of course, when dealing with heating things in the microwave, please do exercise caution so that you don't accidently burn yourself. Please leave a comment if you've tried this DIY spa treatment for yourself! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

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Which Nail Polish is Good for Vacation?

Shannon Smyth
Reader question - what's the best nail polish color for vacation? via @agirlsgottaspa The warmer weather is here, which means no more hiding our hands in gloves and instead finding some great nail polishes to show off our jazz hands. And just in case you haven’t noticed, nail polish has now trumped lipstick as the recession staple. So when I received a question about nail polish recently, I thought it was a good break from some of the hair care questions the blog has been receiving lately. “What are your suggestions for a good vacation nail polish? (My swimsuits are aqua and navy.) Kathryn, Rhode Island” This is a great question because honestly how many of you have applied your most favorite polish only to have it chip a few days into your time away? I guess if you are going for the Chris Isaac/Helena Christensen “Wicked Game” video look then you are all good, otherwise it is very frustrating. First, before recommending a color, I strongly suggest Zoya Nail Polish’s Color Lock system. I cannot sing the praises of it enough and I use it with other brands because it is THAT good. Do I dare say I could potentially guarantee that your nail polish will last longer if you use it? I think I just did. If you want your nail color to be matchy matchy to the color of your swimsuit, some blues I am loving right now are Charla from Zoya. I also love Zoya's Robyn. Otherwise, I love pink (my super favorite color of all time). Again, I'd go with Zoya and they have many pink hues to choose from. But let’s open it up to you readers, can you suggest a great, long-lasting nail polish and nail color for Kathryn? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Why I Won't Be Spotlighting BCA Beauty Products

Shannon Smyth16 comments

For months now I have been receiving pitches from beauty brands and PR firms far and wide about which beauty products will be donating some or all of their proceeds to breast cancer charities. Most beauty magazines and beauty blogs have already started posting about them.

This year I thought to myself...if I want to support a breast cancer charity and research, why do I have to buy lipstick to do so?

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My Interview With Syd Curry

Shannon Smyth
Ha-so Andrea at Glamour thought I was an inspiration? I feel like I pale in comparison to the amazing Syd Curry. Syd Curry is an amazingly talented celebrity hair stylist who amassed some pretty impressive clientel, all while being an addict. There is nothing glamorous about being an addict, no, but how Syd pulled himself together after 30 years of addiction and has now achieved 20 months of sobriety and relaunched his career without missing a beat---now THAT is inspiring. Wanting to share his story so that he can inspire others to get clean--even more so.

In an exclusive interview, he granted me access to look at his career, hitting rock bottom and how determination can never keep a good man down.

Need a pick me up? Look no further than my interview with Syd Curry.

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My Spa baby

Shannon Smyth6 comments

I just got back from my ultrasound and wanted to show you my teenie tiny spa baby. It's still a little peanut at 8 weeks 4 days. Heartbeat was strong at 175 bpm and it was wiggling around. I'm told I need to take it easy (whatever that means when you have 3 active little kids) because there is a small bleed at the placenta.

Hopefully it's nothing to worry about. We'll know in another 10 weeks if this is a little spa girl or spa boy.

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Suncare: UVA and UVB protection

Shannon Smyth3 comments
Protecting your skin from UV rays is a daily task. I know several people who have had a Melanoma and Melanoma Cancer. When caught early, it can be taken care of; however, I did have a favorite family member pass away when I was 6 years old from Melanoma Cancer. My aunt was only in her early 20's when she died. So this is not something that can happen at an older age--but at any time in life. What's the difference between UVA and UVB and how do they affect our skin? #suncare #skincare #skincancer #melanoma So let's talk about what we can do to protect our skin from the sun's damaging rays. First, what are UVA and UVB rays and where and how do they affect us?

How UVA Affects Us:

Can pass through window glass. Is not affected by a change in altitude or weather. Is present all day and every day of the year. Penetrates deep into skin layers. Is 5% of the sun's rays. Is 20 times more abundant than UVB rays. Affects long-term skin damage.

How UVB Affects Us:

Cannot pass through window glass. Causes sunburn. Causes tanning. Helps the body with normal vitamin D production. Varies with the season. It is more intense in the summer than in the winter. Varies with weather conditions. Is more intense at midday than in the morning or late afternoon. Is more intense at high altitudes and near the equator. Is protected against by the SPF in sunscreens. Is related to more than 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer. SPF (sunscreen protection factor) is your key to protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays. The SPF # is what predicts how long your skin can be in the sun with a low risk of burning or damaging your skin. SPF 30 is best, while the higher SPF only provide minimally more protection. While water resistant sunscreens help maintain sunscreen on your skin through perspiring and water activity, it is only for a few hours and it is best to reapply sunscreen every two hours regardless. Should you get a sunburn, you will feel the effects within 2-6 hours of the burn. In more severe cases, sun poisoning can occur. I have had sun poisioning in the past, and it is not fun! While we're discussing using sunscreen in the spring and summer months, it is incredibly important to wear it year round. UVA and UVB rays are ever-present regardless of season. The intensity may vary, but you are still at risk for sun damage to your skin. As you age, dark spots will begin to emerge showing sun damage from years ago. I can certainly see the age spots on my face, but it is even more disturbing when I have my skin looked at under UV light when getting a facial and see just how extensive the damage is. Check out our post on sunscreens that won't detroy the coral reefs which includes our favorite sun protection products. If you're not convinced you need to always wear sunscreen, check out our Q&A with a Melanoma survivor. How do you protect your skin from the sun year round? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! Or check out our natural bath and body line!

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