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Holiday Gift Guide from A Girl’s Gotta Spa!


If you survived Black Friday and are still in need of some holiday gift ideas for the family or friend who loves beauty products, then I know you’ll find our Holiday Gift Guide useful. Amanda, Gail and I put together some of our best and most favorite gift ideas (i.e. gifts we’d like to see under the tree) into a 13 page catalog. We opted not to create a multitude of holiday gift posts and thought a handy catalog that you can browse through and link directly to the product would make for a great all-in-one-place guide.

Here’s what we covered: Hair care, skin care, bath & body, holiday kits, cosmetics, gifts that give back and spas and spa treatments that we love. There’s some nail polish mentioned in there too!

Many thanks to Kelli & Co. for creating the cover for our Holiday Gift Guide. When reading it, make sure you view it at 100%; it is a downloadable PDF.

Enjoy the catalog and please feel free to pass onto your friends! Download it by clicking this link: Holiday Gift Guide

Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links and 2 brands mentioned are clients.

- From our friends at A Girls Gotta Spa!

7 of the Best Beauty Bloggers: Where Are They Now?

As you know, this month marks 6 years that I have been writing A Girl’s Gotta Spa! To have not only survived the blogosphere, but weather many personal and professional ups and downs all these years seems like a major feat in and of itself. One thing I feel very blessed about, is that I am still in contact with many of the beauty bloggers from back in the day. I consider them good friends and often turn to them for advice or for an objective opinion. I am so proud of all that they have accomplished over the years and wanted to be able to spotlight just how far we’ve all come.

From earliest year launched, here they are:

Kathryn Finney: The Budget Fashionista
Began: 2003
Life changes: People recognizing me at Disney World (which is awesome, except when you just came off Splash Mountain) and being listed as a famous Minnesotan (along with Prince).
Career Advancement: One of AOL’s Top Women in Money. Listed by everyone from WWD to Wall Street Journal to Instyle to People as top blog for women. First fashion blogger (and one of the first women bloggers) to receive a major book deal, over 1000 press mentions and profiles from New York Times to Essence to USA Today, lots of TV segments (Today Show, GMA, etc), keynote speaker (Blogher, SXSW, etc), head of my own TV production company, TV development deal (as star and Executive Producer), adviser to cool start ups, and only independently owned top ten fashion blog.
One thing Learned Along the Way: To Thine Self Be True.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: To find the perfect pair of red pumps.

Carla Maganinho: Product Girl
Began: 2005
Life Changes: The biggest change in my life is the traveling. In the last few years I’ve made an effort to visit New York and LA a couple times a year to attend things like NYFW and shows like The Makeup Show. It’s really important to me because it gives me a chance to see my other beauty blogging friends as well as keep in touch with important people that allow me to keep doing what I do. Otherwise, beauty products now take over my life more than ever. Almost every surface of my apartment has some sort of product on it that I need to devote some attention to. Things definitely did not start out that way but it’s fun to play with everything.
Career Advancement: I’ve always had a day job in a completely separate industry for years now. For most of the last 6 years, I’ve worked at a small door company in their A/R department handling their billing and collections. This week I’m making the leap to a completely new industry and my day job will finally align with my passion. On Thursday, I will be starting as a beauty social media specialist for Nordstrom tweeting as @nordstrombeauty and engaging with customers on Facebook as well. I would never be able to much such a career change if it wasn’t because of my blog and I’m so grateful that fate led me in this direction.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way: This isn’t really something I learned, but more of something I gained along the way. I am a bit of a shy person when I’m in unfamiliar territory and through the blog, I’ve had to speak up and be more vocal than I normally would be. This gets me out of my comfort zone a bit and has given me more self-confidence than I’ve had before. It’s a good feeling to look back and think of how I’ve put myself out there in ways that I wouldn’t ordinarily have done before I started Product Girl.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: One day I’d love to see a product I helped create on store shelves. That goal was almost within reach earlier this year with the MAC Blogger’s collection but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Although, the ladies who did work with MAC on the Bloggers Obsession collection had some amazing shades. I’ve dreamt of having my own perfume since I was a little girl but now I’d also love to collaborate on makeup; either with eyeshadow or lipstick. I’m hoping one day I’ll get a chance to make that dream come true!
Shannon Nelson: A Girl’s Gotta Spa!
Began: 2005
Life Changes: Being ingrained deep in the social media world helped me create a job for myself when I needed it the most and now I have an incredible social media career. As a single mom of 4 boys, I’m proud to be an example to my kids that you can do anything you want to in this life if you put your mind to it. Being a positive role model to my boys is really the most important thing and highest honor I can ever achieve.
Career Advancement: Guest speaker at the HBA Expo 2009 and 2010; guest speaker at Cosmoprof North America 2009 and 2011. Freelance articles written for American Spa and Times-Tribune. Hired by a NYC PR firm and feel incredibly blessed that they have taught me so much and continue to allow me to work towards my dreams and support me along the way (Thank you Pierce!) Became an independent social media consultant working with both well established beauty and fashion brands, as well as start ups. Named both a Top 50 and Top 20 Beauty Blog, nationally and globally (Hello Australian VOGUE)…most recently by SHAPE Magazine. Social Media expert for PA Live (being on TV is awesome.) Being recognized at events and seeing people get excited to talk to me really makes my lifetime. One Thing I’ve Learned Along the Way: Fail forward. The most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who made mistakes on their journey to the top. One Goal I Still Want to Meet: To create my own bath & body line or partner with a brand to do so. I’d also really like to meet Kathy Ireland. She inspires me.

Lianne Farbes: The Makeup Girl
Began: 2006
Life changes: Being recognized in places (I was mobbed at The Makeup Show! LOL) and traveling more (being away from home is hard but she works hard for the money honey!)
Career Advancement: I always feel like I have 14 jobs and in a way…I kinda do. My career as a blogger has taken on many different forms and I love them all. Being listed in InStyle was a huge moment for me….it was like YES validation!! I have also created a thriving Social Media/Online Marketing practice for myself in the process. By doing so, I kind of created a job for myself when there were none available – that feels really great to have accomplished that. This past year I was honored to have been chosen to create an eyeshadow shade for MAC cosmetics in a capsule collection entitled “Bloggers Obsessions” I honestly didn’t realize what a huge moment it was for me and that the experience was something that I actually wanted for myself and my brand. It was a priceless experience that I will always remember. Then there is Cocktails and Couture, my social media networking event. I love that people look forward to the event each season for fashion week and I LOVE bringing new and interesting brands to the table as sponsors. All in all…I have to say I love my job! (or jobs….LOL)
One thing I Learned Along the Way: Be Yourself, love yourself and everything else will fall into place.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: I already made the perfect smokey eyeshadow so now I want to make the perfect nude lipgloss.

Patrice Yursik: Afrobella
Began: August 2006
Life changes: Being a blogger changed my life in every way! Putting in solid work blogging enabled me to quit my job to work for myself full time, it’s allowed me to move to a more advanced city where more opportunities are available. Because of blogging, I’ve been able to write for just about every magazine or website I’ve ever wanted to write for — my blog makes a great virtual resume! And now I need to make sure I look super cute before I leave my apartment because I get recognized pretty often. And it’s always done with love and admiration, which just makes me realize I was meant to do what I’m doing!
Career Advancement: I have a career, first of all! I’ve won more than ten online awards for my blog, including Best of Beauty from Glam Media and I’m now officially in the Black Weblog Awards hall of fame because I won so many times. Because of my blog I am hired for speaking engagements and appearances, I’ve freelanced for a wide variety of publications, and dreams I never even had before, have come true. I was part of MAC’s Blogger’s Obsession collection and my lipglass All Of My Purple Life sold out twice, I did an online ad for Lancome, and I’ve appeared in a variety of magazines in both featured articles and advertisements. My blog has put me on a path to greatness, but it isn’t a predestined path. It’s amazing how much my life has changed and how much my career has advanced. Almost every day I am told that I’m a role model or an inspiration to someone, and that means the world to me.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way: It is always a good look to be gracious and sweet and welcoming and kind. The person who you dismiss today could wind up being your best possible contact tomorrow! Also, beauty shines from within, so if you live your life in a beautiful and loving way, only beauty and love will come back to you.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: I dream of collaborating with a brand I love on a full makeup collection, and of finally finishing and publishing my book!

Julia Coney: All About the Pretty
Began: 2006
Life changes: Having my name called in the DC subway. Crazy.
Career Advancement: Being blessed to have press from the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, Glamour Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Essence Magazine, a Top Ten Beauty Blog from WWD, and Australian Vogue. Travel writing for my blog, BlackAtlas.com, and a others.
One thing Learned Along the Way: Know who you are and write from the heart.
One Goal Still Want to Meet: Just one! Attend Paris Fashion Week and visit Antarctica and Australia. Only 2 continents I haven’t visited.

Christine Mielke: Temptalia
Began: 2006
Life Changes: I didn’t know what I wanted to do before, but now I’ve found my dream!
Career Advancement: Graduated JD/MBA from Santa Clara University. Speaker at beauty conferences like Cosmoprof and The Beauty Social. One of the top ten beauty blogs. Named Most Influential Beauty Blog by Konector. Part of MAC Cosmetics Blogger’s Obsession collection.
One Thing I Learned Along the Way: Readers are #1, which means honesty, credibility, and integrity are core to success.
One Goal I Still Want to Meet: To be better tomorrow than I was yesterday.

– From our friends at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Vote for A Girl’s Gotta Spa! in SHAPE Magazine’s Best Beauty Blogger Contest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“O.M.G…omg omg omg omg!” I shrilled in my most 12 year old voice ever when I accidently came upon an incoming link from SHAPE Magazine naming A Girl’s Gotta Spa! a Top 20 Best Beauty Blog. I practically hyperventilated, then I called my boyfriend and then I told my friends also mentioned on the list. An email into SHAPE confirmed that I indeed was put on their list after being named by some of their readers as their favorite beauty blog.

WOW and holy freakin cow.

And I am SUPER excited!

Because you know what? A Girl’s Gotta Spa! turns 6 on October 24th! What better way to celebrate than to be given this accolade! But it doesn’t stop there, SHAPE is asking that of the 20 of us mentioned, YOU vote for ONE as the BEST. I’d like to hope and pray that my readers would choose me. (And tell their friends to vote for me, who tell their friends to vote for me…and so on!)

I have some pretty stiff competition. I am among a really incredible bunch and let me even say that my friend Kathryn of The Budget Fashionista is in there. Can I even begin to tell you how BEYOND that is for me? To even be named in the same category of fabulousness as her? Stick a fork in me, I’m done! Holy smokes!

So here is what I need you to do: Click on the link to vote A Girl’s Gotta Spa! as Best Beauty Blog. Then click the link that says “Vote for this blog!” It will bring up a voting form and then just click A Girl’s Gotta Spa! And that’s it! No registration is needed and you can only vote once. Voting ends on Oct. 28th.

If I make it as one of the 6 finalists (there are 6 categories, not only beauty) then I would win a $100 American Express Gift Card (which honestly I don’t plan to keep if I win it, but will instead gift it to a needy family here in Northeast PA), but if I am selected as the grand prize winner of the 6, then I have the opportunity to shoot a paid video series to be launched on Shape.com. (DUDE I totally want that!)

Thanks in advance for voting for me and thank you to whoever the SHAPE readers were who nominated me to begin with!

xoxo
~Shannon

– From our friends at A Girl’s Gotta Spa!

Getting to Know Zoya Reyzis of Art of Beauty

  • posted September 23rd, 2011
  • Beauty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I had the great privilege of being asked to speak at Cosmoprof North America. Not regarding my work as a beauty blogger, but on the social media side of things that I do for my day job. While I was there I decided to seek out brands I knew and loved, as well as up and coming brands that I know YOU would want to know about. If you’ve been reading A Girl’s Gotta Spa! forever or are a fan of us on Facebook, then you know I LOVE Zoya Nail Polish (part of the Art of Beauty family.) I’ve met Leo and Michael Reyzis before, but this time I had the opportunity to sit down 1:1 with Zoya herself. WOW. What an honor, not to mention what an amazingly talented and savvy woman she is.

Our conversation began with Zoya asking me what I liked about Zoya Nail Polish. I explained that a brand gets my loyalty when they can deliver a product that actually works. I told her that of all of the nail lacquers I have tried, Zoya Nail Polish has not only lasted the longest, but has an amazing product that I shout from the rooftops about: the Color Lock System. She seemed surprised that my focus was just on functionality and not on the color assortment or the collections themselves. To me, while I feel Zoya really has some great colors and I love the collections, as someone who is constantly sent the next “miracle” product that turns out to be not so much, at the end of the day, how a product performs is what sells me on buying it again, writing about it and telling all of my friends and family about such an awesome product (would you agree?)

I had the opportunity to hear the background of Zoya herself and how her nail care collection came to be. Did you know she is a classical musician? It is because of this training that Zoya Nail Polish has that air of artistic expression. When she came to this country there wasn’t a viable job opportunity as a classical musician, so she began to work at a beauty salon. During that time, hair care with a nail salon is what the trend was…you never found a business that was solely a nail salon without the hair care component. At the time (1980’s) polishes were made with formaldehyde, and Zoya was pregnant with Leo (pictured with me) and knew there had to be a healthier, toxin-free alternative. Since her husband Michael was a chemist, she asked him to develop what is now today the Zoya Nail Polish formulation. It was then that Zoya opened a nail salon and was told she would never make it. But here she is, and I hope she is saying, “How do you like me now!”

Another way in which Zoya chose to be different is in the manner in which she named her polishes. Her 1st line was named after famous women such as Carmen, Cleopatra, etc. She felt there was only so many ways you can describe a plum or a red, as the other major players in the industry were doing at the time. She wanted women to be able to relate with another strong, intelligent woman because the color of your polish says a lot about you. She had me select colors that I wear, in which I choose many neutral and “safe” colors. She responded, “You live in a conservative area.” She’s right. Then she observed the colors I was wearing on that particular day–my Skagen Denmark watch with a bright orange band and my glistening peridot ring from Leela Bijoux. She said, “You are a generally happy and very positive person. You can see that in the bright colors you wear…and orange also means you have wisdom.” And she’s also right here. Have you thought about the colors you wear and how that projects portions of your personality to how others perceive you?

I was really impressed with Zoya and I left the Art of Beauty booth with a deeper appreciation of female entrepreneurs. And the feeling that maybe I should wear a bolder nail color my next go around.

– From our friends at A Girl’s Gotta Spa

Sula Paint & Peel Polish Duos For a Blast-From-The-Past Manicure!

I remember back in the day when the closest thing I could get to my mother’s glamorous red manicure was Barbie pink peel-off nail polish. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by the lack of staying power (though arguably that was the point of peel-off nail polish), but it was undoubtedly more fun to peel off than paint on in the first place. Despite my childhood frustrations with “kiddie” lacquer, given how often I switch my polish nowadays (sometimes multiple times a day!), the old-school concept is starting to sound less lame and more just-plain-practical. Take Sula Beauty, for example, who is working to reinvent peel-off polish into something modern, convenient, and polish remover free! Their double-sided Paint & Peel nail duos include both an enamel and a top coat, ensuring that the shade stays put for days until you want it to come off… in which case, you peel away! This isn’t the crappy, chip-prone, peel-off polish of your past — this is some pretty genius revamped polish of the future! Would you revisit the peel-off trend if it meant kicking nail polish remover to the curb for good?

– Alex Gambardella

Violet Cat-Eye Liner Puts a Funky Spin on the Classic!

Colorful liner is definitely having a major moment, but swapping a bright color for your tried-and-true black or brown and actually having the guts to pull it off is easier said than done for some. However, with the right shade, the right trend, and the right balance with the rest of your makeup, you’ll see that a little beauty risk can go a long way this season, whether you’re looking to amp up your dull daytime look or put a fresh spin on your go-to going-out makeup. One look I’m loving is the violet cat-eye. Though a bit dramatic in appearance, cat-eye liner is actually quite minimalist in style — one enthusiastic swipe of your liner and an otherwise bare lid makes for a pretty easy-to-do, yet statement-making look. Modernize this classic Old Hollywood style by giving it a violet spin with bold liner. Since violet is such a bold hue, soften the look by using a smudge-able pencil or gel liner for better control of exactly how bright you want your results, or apply a bright shadow with a wet brush for maximum color pay-off. Or if you have a steady hand and are ready to jump right in with bright violet liquid liner, try Dior Style Liner in Sparkling Purple!

Also pictured: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Gel Eyeliner in Stay Violet, Clarins Single Eyeshadow in Vibrant Violet, Estee Lauder Eye Pencil in Untamed Violet, and Smashbox Limitless Eyeliner in Black Violet.

– Alex Gambardella

Girlfriend 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?

Cara Mor also offers fitness, has movies and books with women in mind (no Sylvester Stallone/Vin Diesel/bone breaking/gut stabbing movies here!) and has a friendly staff that provides 1:1 service.

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use some pampering and catering to, not to mention quality time with the special women in my life. Mix in a hot stone massage and facial, and it sounds like heaven (can Chef Rock make me a chocolate cake too?) Cara Mor Spa Retreat just opened on March 1st, visit them at www.cara-mor.com.

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From our friends at A Girl’s Gotta Spa