Category Archives: Spa Retreat


As part of my 2019 goal of self-care and relaxation, I purchased a 3 month flex membership to my local Spavia back in September.  Being that I had such a rough 2019, it was time to do something special for myself for a change.  Spavia currently has many locations throughout the United States and are planning to add even more.  So far I’ve tried several of their services including facials, massages, and body treatments and a fair number of their products (Pure Fiji, Sanitas, Sonoma Lavender Company, Chella, etc.) and have been overall very impressed.  An added plus that their pricing is fair for the quality of service received.   A guest advisor at the front desk will bring you to the changing area, show you around, and see to your needs.  I’ve found the dressing room to be quiet, neat, and clean.  There you can find just about anything you will require to be comfortable.  A locker is provided for each client to safely stow away his or her belongings.  Even their cozy lounge feels like a home away from home.  The lounge is where your esthetician or massage therapist will escort you to and from your treatment.  Whoever created Spavia put a lot of thought into every little detail and it hasn’t gone unnoticed ;).  If you are searching for an ideal spot to have a head to toe spa retreat/relax package than this place is for you.  I will chat more about Pure Fiji’s and Sonoma Lavender Company’s products in future posts.

*Photo Credits: Spavia


A Review of Ninjas Candles & Melts

You Tube’s Pookie Tanner did multiple in-depth reviews of this new company, Ninjas Candles & Melts, a few months ago and based on what I saw was encouraged to try a few of their products.  I’m so impressed with the quality of their 100% soy products (clean & fairly even burn, unique offerings, vibrant scent throw & scent endurance, attentive customer service, and thoughtful packaging).  So much pretty details that I can tell great pride has been put into every order =).  I highly recommend their products without hesitation and will probably put in another order once I get through with all the goodies from my initial one.  I received a gorgeous sterling silver 1.5″ 4 leaf clover mother-of-pearl pendant from one of their Fresh Bamboo Jewelry Candles (pictured below)!  Currently I’m enjoying a travel-sized candle in tin in the scent, Sweet Orange & Chili Pepper… yummy loveliness!  Go explore Ninjas ;)!

*Photocredit: NYCupcake

A New Relaxation Ritual

Inspired by Priscilla Ahn’s (musician) positive review of Rain Living, I’m planning to make a purchase to include a few of their bath bombs and bath salts.  It’s been a small decision put off for too long; maybe about a year even :(.  Oh my, has time flewn!  I recently saw their products at the Westport Connecticut’s Terrain on one of my terrarium shopping expeditions; the first time I’ve seen their stuff sold in a store, though their free-standing shop isn’t too far away by train.  A welcome reminder of how detox and rejuvenation is essential before taking on future cares… and now I must formulate a special bathtime playlist ;)

*Photocredit: Rain Living

First LUSH Spa in the USA

Oh how sweet this is!  Finally the LUSH Spas are almost here!  I’ve been waiting for this wonderful news for quite some time.  Early 2014 in Manhattan/New York City, followed closely by a second location in Philadelphia they said =)!  Here are some highlights from their spa menu…

  • Synaesthesia- Signature spa treatment
  • The Comforter- Exfoliation treatment
  • The Spell- Foot soak, scrub, massage
  • The Sound Bath- Meditative treatment
  • The Good Hour- Deep tissue massage
  • Tailor Made- Customized version of The Good Hour

I want to try each one at least once!  Time to save those pennies ;)!


New York

783 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10065



1525 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19102


*Photocredit: LUSH Cosmetics



Lush Cosmetics’ Facial Masks

I’ve tried a few of Lush’s face masks and really love them!  These are the ones I’ve tried for my combination, mildly sensitive skin (recommended via a Lush consult)…

Cupcake: Great for oily or spotty skin.

Catastrophe Cosmetic: A blueberry infused maintenance mask.

Love Lettuce: Balancing mask for all skin types.

BB Seaweed: A gentle seaweed mask for sensitive skin.

You will easily get 3+ uses from each regular-sized container ~2.1 oz.  Please remember to refrigerate as soon as you get home since they can spoil easily (all made from fresh ingredients be it fruits or veggies, essential oils, clays, and herbs and can only be purchased at a Lush store for this reason).  I also wouldn’t recommend purchasing more than two at a time since they are meant to be used once to twice a week as a facial treatment.  From my experience, they can be safely kept in one’s fridge for 2 to 2.5 weeks without worry of spoilage.  Also, when you “Take Back 5” (5 containers of any size #5 recyclable plastic), you will receive 1 free 2.1 oz. face mask which is quite an awesome deal =)!  Another wonderful detail about Lush is the ability to sample the mask on your skin at the store.  I hope you will give them a try; they have quickly become a repurchase must for me =).


*Photocredit: Lush Cosmetics

lush fresh face masks


Basin White

Last summer’s trip to Las Vegas had us venturing into the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes after enjoying a Blue Man Group performance just moments before.  I was looking for a Thank You present to gift to mom and chose the three pictured below.  My mom thought they were too pretty to use =).  Due to the ingredients and their nature, I would not recommend anyone use Basin White vegetable glycerin soaps to scent their drawers or closets since they are prone to mild melting.

For myself, I purchased the Pink Sugar bath salts, Birthday Cake/Cupcake vegetable glycerin soap, and the Jack-O-Lantern vegetable glycerin soap.  I have yet to use the bath salts but highly recommend the bar soaps because they are moisturizing, smell nice, and will add visual interest to a dull sink area =)!

Basin White, please come to New York!!!

*Photocredit:  Basin White


Lush Review: Black Cat Bath Cocktail

Luscious purple bath, mildly sweet, mostly soft-scented herbals =)  A great treat for yourself after your Hallow’s Eve candy-giving duties has been fulfilled.  A few years previously we literally had over a hundred trick-or-treaters knocking on our door (13 bags of candy worth).

Cobweb Bath Ballistic: Sweet, mild herbal scent.

  • Black sugar
  • Lavender absolute
  • Chamomile oil
  • Olibanum oil
  • Myrrh resinoid
  • Silver lustre
  • Silver glitter

Witches Ball Bubble Bar: Lovely herbal scent.

  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried currants
  • Dried star anise
  • Peppermint oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Sage oil
  • Clove
  • Dried parsley

1 Ceridwen’s Cauldron Bath Melt: Very mild floral oat scent (can definitely smell the oats after a short while of soaking).  I was a little surprised at how much I liked this; I wasn’t sure at first if I would.  Now I have to get more.  I think this is especially nourishing for the skin and may be soothing for sun-kissed/post-beach skin.  I imagine it’s possible to clean, dry, and re-fill the muslin with more oats and your choice of favorite essential oils.  I used CC as a gentle exfoliator so I didn’t choose a bar soap for this bath cocktail.

  • Whole oats
  • Walnut oil
  • Tangerine oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Sandalwood oil
  • Frankincense Resinoid
  • Rose absolute
  • Elderflowers
  • Daisy flowers
  • Cowslips

I’d recommend Lady Catrina soap to keep in the spirit of this bath cocktail but you can virtually use whatever you’d prefer.


Alterna’s Ten Duo

I ordered the shampoo and conditioner duo via sample sale recently since I’ve been trying to get my hands on them for the longest time.  Nice packaging but sad to say, this is not going to be much of a positive review:

Alterna’s 10 Science of Ten Shampoo: Good consistency.  So-so scent compared to other shampoos I’ve tried, whether they be luxury or not.  Made my hair soft during the lather but made my hair feel slightly stripped and plasticy during the rinse.  I accidentally got some shampoo in my right eye and I felt a terrible burning.  I’m pretty sure I hollered aloud.  Totally not for me!  I’m actually in shock there aren’t more negative reviews out there.  I have seen a few similar complaints to my own.

Alterna’s 10 Science of Ten Conditioner: Okay conditioner.  Didn’t like the smell; very alcohol =(!  Not sure if it’s the shampoo or the conditioner (though I suspect the conditioner) but my roots feel tingly like I just used a minty scalp treatment.  Overall, hair loss after combing so far has been similar to that of using Alterna’s White Truffle duo (a few strands which one should not fret over; it seems like part of a natural hair cycle).  I did use Kenra’s hair gloss post-rinse so I’m not sure if my soft hair after drying is due to this?  I should have held off on using the hair gloss to know for certain; sorry about this.

Expensive (even at sample sale prices) and with undesirable characteristics even worse than the most under-whelming of drug store brands.  I can’t even pass this duo to anyone else because of the eye irritation and the way the conditioner smells so I’m stuck with it =(.  I’m beyond disappointed.  Wanted to give Alterna another great review but can’t do this on a clear conscience.  I’m sticking to either my Alterna White Truffle products (hope they haven’t discontinued this wonderful collection) or my Orofluido hair products when I’ve earned a treat.

Alterna Ten Ingredients as per Alterna:

  1. Enzymetherapy
  2. Caviar Age-Control Complex
  3. French Champagne Quality Grape Seed Oil
  4. VOSS Artesian Water
  5. Photozyme Complex with Color Hold
  6. Bulgarian Evening Primrose
  7. African Cacao Extract
  8. Italian White Truffle
  9. Moroccan Quail Bark
  10. Hyaluronic Acid
  11. Amica Flower

*Photocredit: D Magazine


Lush Review: The Ex-Factor Bath Cocktail

A perfect bath to chase away any blues (post-breakup or otherwise).  This bath cocktail has a citrus-lime fragrance punctuated by a muskiness/woodsiness.  It’s quite masculine; I didn’t mind though (kind of like sleeping in a boyfriend’s t-shirt).  Reminds me slightly of Aquolina’s Blue Sugar (would be great to use post-bath for guys).  Once I bought a small pot of vegan lotion dupe for Blue Sugar from Etsy as part of a sampler set and loved it!  I suggest this wonderful sky blue bath cocktail as an anytime detox soak or stress reliever…

1 Ex-Factor Bath Ballistic: Sweet, candy vanilla.  1 Ex-Factor will be more than enough; you can even use a 1/2 chunk.   Like most of Lush’s bath ballistics, this is a fast fizzer.

1/2 Blue Skies & Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar: This scent is similar to the Big Blue bath bomb only a little more mild and sweet.  At first whiff, there seems to be a nuttyness similar to those in chocolate candy bars e.g. Snickers.  Not sure if I was imaging this?  I think of it as the more masculine counterpart to The Comforter Bubble Bar.

  • Patchouli oil
  • Frankincense resinoid
  • Cinnamon leaf oil

1/3 Happy Blooming Bath Melt: Sweet scent which does remind me of candy cherries.  I loved Happy Blooming with the other elements I chose for this bath!

  • Passionflower
  • Dried cherries
  • Fresh passion fruit
  • Ylang ylang oil



*Photocredit: Lush Cosmetics


Pedicure Recommendations

This post is about some of the great affordable products I use for my at-home pedicures.  As an aside, I’m planning to review several Lush footcare products in the near future. I’m glad there are some quality products out there since I do greatly benefit from more frequent pedicures and don’t always want to go to salons to get them done.

Foot Pumice Bar:  I’ve been trying to Google the exact one I use to no avail =(.  Sorry.  I did manage to find something very much like it called Mr. Pumice Pumi Bar which can be purchased from Sally’s Beauty Supply or (~$1.99-$3.00).  Do your feet a favor and pick one up!  It really works very well!  It’s not too harsh and leaves my feet nice and smooth (heels and problem spots) and is the best I’ve ever used.  It’s washable and reusable; I just give it a quick rinse, tapping excess water off, and let it air dry.  Mine is a bright green.  I believe I may have purchased it from CVS.  Not sure if it’s part of their Essence of Beauty Collection?

Spongeables: With soap infused.  It cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturizes (~$5.00 each).  I’ve done a review previously regarding Spongeables.  It’s a must-have!  I generally purchase mine from CVS.

OPI Pedicure:  I’ve used Soak and Soften and really love both their scent and their affect on my skin.  Highly recommend them!  I also suggest for you to purchase a mini set or variety sampler.  It will run ~$45.00 for 4.2 fl.oz. trial size x 6 (e.g. Soak, Soften, Mask, Smooth, Scrub, & Massage).  You can find trial sets on eBay or just do a Google search.

*Photocredit: Mr. Pumice, Spongeables, & OPI