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Susan's Spa

Your number one stop for beauty and blogging tips, all in one fabulous blog!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year - Happy New You??

I want to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year. May the new year bring you joy, love, hope, prosperity, good health and peace. Will you be making any changes for yourself next year? If one of them is to lose some weight, then check out this week's People magazine. There are some inspiring stories in there about people who have lost 50 to 100 pounds, without surgery. Although gastric bypass surgery is a viable option and I have two friends who have had such surgery, good nutrition and exercise are still the best way to achieve your goals. What I've learned about dieting is that the best method is to just cut back on portion control and eat a balanced meal. Deprivation only leads to binging and that's a difficult cycle to break. Feeding your body adds fuel for your metobolism so you can burn more calories. Food is to your body like gasoline is to your car (with this kind of analogy you think I would have scored higher on my SATs). This is definitely a subject I will discussing in January, along with exercising. Whatever you decide to do, check with your doctor first and make sure everything is in good working order. Until then though, enjoy the champagne and all the goodies that go along with it and may you share this holiday with someone who loves you no matter how much weight you have to lose!

Friday, December 30, 2005

New Year's Resolutions?

A few years back I decided to forego New Year's resolutions. I could never stick to them and, in turn, I ended up feeling bad about myself for not being able to keep the few I made. The problem was I had unrealistic expectations of myself in terms of exercising, eating healthy, being an all-around good person 24 hours a day, all while raising my kids, doing the laundry and trying to figure out what to make for dinner. If I couldn't stick to my resolutions, then they weren't worth making in the first place. On the other hand, I do try to set realistic goals for myself through out the year and I find I do much better with these. They are simple things like getting my teeth cleaned by my dentist regularly, going for my annual check-ups, getting my eyes checked and remembering to take my vitamins every day. It's unrealistic for me to think that I can exercise every day. I not only won't, but I can't. Who has the time?? Also, it is unrealistic of me to think that I will ever be a size six again. I'm happy being a size eight and if that's the worst thing that ever happens to me, then I'm way ahead of the game. I won't ever have the perfect body and at this stage of my life, I'm happy that everything is still in relatively good-working order. My goal now is to exercise to keep limber, stay healthy and keep osteoporosis at arm's length. Having said that, I know that we will all be dealing with the realization that we've been eating and drinking without caution for the last week or so. We'll deal with that on Monday. If you do decide to make a resolution or two, keep them simple and easy to apply to your own life. Afterall, skydiving isn't for everybody.
Happy New Year people!

Lucky's Newest Picks

Finally, the house is clean (almost) and I got the job!!! What a great way to start the New Year....clean house, new job! Now, for the important stuff. What's new in Lucky Magazine ( Neutrogena has a great product for the eyes that's only $12. Their Healthy Defense Eye Cream has got a little tint, an SPF30 and optical diffusers that make your skin look brighter and smoother. Good eye treatment and good base for your regular concealer. Burt's Bees Complexion Mist in Pink Grapefruit and Lavender. For around $10 you get nice skin toning in lucsious aromatherapy scents. E.L.F. Nail Polish Pads only cost around $1. No mess, just clean nails. Here are a couple of sunscreens with anti-inflammatories built right in that you can get at any drugstore: Roc Age Diminishing Daily Moisturizer with an SPF15 and Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Moisturizer with an SPF of 15. Both sell for around $15. Have a safe and happy New Year if you don't visit tomorrow. Drink responsibly (whatever that means), have a designated driver and forget the calories....we'll worry about that on Monday!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What Makes You Feel Sexy???

I thought I'd add one more post before the night is over. I have to clean my house tomorrow (company's coming for New Year's) and since the only time I really, really, really clean is when company is coming I might be too busy to post right away. I got to thinking though about what makes me feel sexy. It's becoming increasingly more difficult as I age and we all know how our society looks down it's nose at aging. Nevertheless, when my hair is clean, silky and shiny (and freshly touched up), it makes me feel so good. I don't know what it is about hair that can lift our spirits and self esteem to the highest of highs or plunge us into the depths of depression if we awake with really bad hair. It really can set the tone of the day. I used to dread the summers with all that hot, sticky air that would curl my hair and expand it to three times it's actual size. Thank goodness for hair straighteners. Between my daughter and myself we must have five or six. Clean, straight, shiny hair is sexy and....young looking. Whoever said our hair is our crowning glory knew what they were talking about....or they were a hairdresser. Either way, they were right on the money. It's all about the hair. If you don't believe me, ask Donald Trump!

Best Beauty Buys

Here are some great buys as reported in Lucky magazine ( Look for Sonia Kashuk cosmetic products at Target. Cheek Sheer is easy to apply and not at all messy. It's only $5 at Targe. Need a conceal and treat product for blemishes? Try Clean & Clear Advantage Concealing Treatment Stick. It's non-cakey and comes in an easy-twist pen. Available at most drugstores for only $7. Mosaic color for the cheeks continues to be very popular. Try Victoria Secret's Sexy Cheeks Mosaic in Rose for only $18 at Victoria Secret stores or online. Suave makes a skin conditioner body lotion that can be used while you're still in the shower. The glycerin content makes it absorb quickly and it sells for around $3 at most drugstores. Samy Salon products could only be had on Home Shopping, but now are available in most drugstroes. Try Samy Emergency Hair Treatment for around $6 for deep conditioning. Two great facial scrubs are Clearasil Ultra Acne Cleaning Scrub and Oil of Olay Facials Clarity Daily Scrub. Both sell at most drugstores for around $7 or $8.

Don't Forget to Smile

A beautiful smile is your very best asset. A few years back, I served as a beauty and anti-aging advisor on an internet board. When people would ask me what is the quickest and most cost-effective way to take years off their face, I would tell them to get their teeth whitened. Stained and yellowing teeth can add years to your face. The best way to do this is to get to your dentist and ask him or her if they offer in-office whitening services or if they can refer you to someone who does. There are various methods of whitening that can range in prices from starting at a couple of hundred dollars and escalating in price depending on the service. The latest and most effective may cost well over a thousand dollars. However, if this is not an option then head over to your local drugstore and see what's available. The cheapest method is just to purchase a whitening toothpaste. Almost all brands make a form of whitening toothpaste and, with continued use, you will see your teeth lighten up to three shades. If you need more whitening than that, you can try one of the kits (Crest and Colgate make their own). They can range in price from around $15 to over $35 depending on which type of kit you purchase. Frankly, I do not like the kits that use strips. I found them to be uncomfortable and clumsy. I do like Listerine Whitening Mouthwash. It costs around $4.00 a bottle and does a nice job with continued use. I also like a whitener that you can brush on your teeth. These are also relatively inexpensive and are easy to use. Whatever form of at-home whitening you use (with the exception of the toothpastes), follow the directions carefully. Whitening can become addicting, but it can also be harmful to your gums and make your teeth super sensitive. If you find that you experience any irritation and/or sensitivity, discontinue use. Again, the best place to start is with your dentist. Even if you can't afford an in-office whitening technique, they are the most reliable source for anything you purchase over the counter for your teeth.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Oops, I Almost Forgot to Tell You.

If you are looking to try some new skincare products, or just want to add to your favorites, Oil of Olay and Neutrogena are both packaging some of their products with a sample or full size of another product free. This is always a great way to try something you haven't yet and not have to pay for it, while at the same time getting another product in the line that might already be a favorite. You will see these special offers in Ulta, Walmart, CVS and other stores selling skincare and cosmetics.

Today's Haul

I was surprisingly restrained on my trip to Ulta. I guess I'm a little tense as I haven't heard back about the job interview, but I remain hopeful nevertheless. There's lots of fifty percent off items at Ulta, but it's mostly hair product gift packs and Christmas scented things like candles, body lotions and scrubs. My biggest find was Laura Geller's Get Tp Know kit for $24.99. The kit contains a mini lipstick in sunset, a mini lip and eye spackle, a mini Mighty lash fortifier, Spackle Make-up Primer, Vanilla Stick Foundation and Bubble Blush in Pearly Plum. A great price for this kit and there were only two left when I purchased it. I also got SallyHansen's Fast & Flawless Skin Brightener w/ Retinol. This is great under your foundation as it adds a touch of glow and makes a nice primer. I really needed another tube of Sally Hansen's 18 Hour Protective Hand Creme (great with shea butter) and Vaseline Lip Therapy (two tubes) which is hard to find anywhere else. Of course, my daughter had to have another gloss and eye pencil as well. All and all, a very satisfying day of shopping!

My Name Is S, And I'm A Cosmetic Junkie

Last night my daughter asked me if we could go shopping today. I've been avoiding the malls since before Christmas. Begrudgingly, I asked her what she had in mind and she said Ulta. She had gotten some gift cards for Chanukah and she was itching to cash them in for some goodies. I didn't even wait for her to finish the sentence because I'm hooked on this store and others like it....apparently, she is too (am I responsible for this???). I love Ulta...I love Sephora. I love the way the products are neatly lined up on glass shelving, displaying all the latest and greatest promising beautiful, younger-looking skin, pouty lips and the longest, lushest eye lashes humanly possible. I love the idea that I can get sleek, silky hair from a bottle or that I can get glossy, pouty lips from a tube. I love all the beautiful people that work in these stores with their carefully highlighted hair and cute, matching t-shirts and aprons bearing the store's logo. I can feel my endorphins sore just at the thought of getting ready to go to my chosen destination. Shopping for clothes doesn't do this for me anymore and....(shudder), neither does shopping for jewelry. It's all about those promises in all those little bottles, boxes and tubes that make me want to jump for joy. Everyone has their little addictions and this one is mine! I'll let you know what my haul was later in the day......after I come down from my high!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Can't Conceal Those Dark Circles?

Dark under-eye circles are a problem with so many women. Sometimes, even the best concealer isn't enough to hide severe dark circles. The first thing you would want to do is check with your physician to make sure there isn't any underlying problem (lack of sleep, sinus infection, etc.). If it is heredity, and many times that's what it is, there is hope. A new product came out on the market not long ago called Hylexin. This product claims to lighten up dark circles considerably over continued use, but the pricetag is steep at $95 for a small tube. You can head over to CVS and purchase a tube of Glyoxane for $24.99, which is Hylexin's discount rival or you can go over to your local health food store and pick up some Vitamin K cream, which for considerably less money, will do basically the same thing with continued use. If you want a home remedy, you can peel a small potato and put it through the food processor. Take the pulp, place it in a cheesecloth and apply to your dark circles, careful not to get the juice from the pulp in your eyes. This home remedy, again with continued use, will help to lighten up your dark circles.

What Did You Shea?

If you are suffering from very dry skin this winter, then head straight for the shea butter. Shea butter is a wonderful product that will drench your skin with much needed moisture this winter. Although there are many products that have shea butter and charge dearly for it, there's no need to go into hock for products containing this wonderful substance. Two of my favorite shea butter products are from Palmer's and Tree Hut. You can find them in your local drug or discount stores like CVS or Walmart. You can apply shea butter products just about everywhere, but your face, although you can and should get a lip product with a shea butter content. Palmer's makes a very good lip balm with shea butter in a generous stick that will last you all winter for just a few dollars. Tree Hut, which can be found in Walmart, makes several products that come in nice size tubs. Apply these creams to your hands and massage into nails and cuticles. If you do this on a regular basis, you will see the difference in the texture of your skin.

Celebrity Endorsements

If you see an ad that Oprah is endorsing a product, does this make you want to run out and buy it? If you see something that says "as seen on Oprah", do you think, "well, if she says it's good, then it must be.". How much weight do these celebrity endorsements carry in your decision to purchase a product? Does seeing Sarah Jessica Parker on television promoting the latest hair color give you pause to think, "I want to look just like her" or how about Halle Berry in all the latest Revlon colors?
Although, I think it's very clever of advertisers to use these beautiful and power women to sell us on make-up, skin care and hair color, it is still up to us to decide which product will work best for our skin, our features and our hair. No one should ever make that decision for you, except you. However, if you want a good referral, ask a friend, who you know will tell you the truth....and, you can always come here! On a side note, I had a job interview today...fingers crossed.

Monday, December 26, 2005

What's In, What's Out

According to trend setters the following trends are out, for now anyway...super matte finish make-up, glossy lips and finely tweezed eyebrows. Instead, fashion experts say opt for a slightly luminescent finish, soft natural or plum colored lips and natural-looking eyebrows. If you want to get a nice glow, but don't want shimmer or sparkle, try Sephora's primer. It has a slightly rosey glow to it and can be worn alone or under your foundation. You can order it at for just $12.00. Also, Milani is a cosmetic line that you can purchase in your drugstore. Although it's inexpensive, the product line is very nice. The tinted moisturizer has a slight shimmer to it and looks very nice when applied to the face, giving you a nice, natural glow. If you don't want to give up glossy lips, then opt for a natural lipstick and just add a drop of lip gloss to the middle of o your lower lip. If you feel you need to tweeze your own eyebrows, get a precision tweezer. My favorite is from Tweezerman, which again, you can purchase in the drugstore. Follow the natural shape of your brow, but just removing stray hairs above, below and between brows for a natural look.

There's Nothing Like Botox...Or Is There? I've included this link to an article I found about topical creams that say they can erase wrinkes from your face, much like Botox. Read this article with a grain of salt, especially when you read about the product reviews. Most of these products are astronomically expensive with some costing well over a hundred dollars. Nothing in a jar will erase wrinkles, but there are things you can do to protect your skin from aging and using the right cream is one of them. I can't stress using a sunscreen (15 SPF or over). This is the best defense against aging. Also, smokers' skin ages faster so this is just one more reason to quit if you haven't done so already. If you want a product that will help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, try Oil of Olay's Regenerist line. These products sell for under $25 and do wonders for the skin if used consistently. If you've been hooked on Strivectin, which sells in most stores for around $135.00, then try Previntin, which sells in CVS for under $30. Basically the same idea, but without the smell which turns a lot of people off from Strivectin. I'll talk more about these types of creams at a later date, but when it comes to spending money, knowledge is power.

The Latest News on Fitness

Although I'm going to be touching on this subject often in the next month or so, I thought I would start before the new year as I know many of you will be making that resolution to lose a few pounds and get to the gym. The latest trend in exercise is fusion classes. These exercise classes blend traditional aerobic workouts with mind/body exercise such as yoga or pilates. This has proven to be a very effective way to burning calories and toning the body all in the same workout. Everyone is looking to save time and these classes eliminate the need to do two separate classes, which is time consuming and not always convenient. Also, home gyms are rivaling traditional gyms in the race to get people in shape for the new year. I work out at home now and I find this to be the most effective way to get in my daily exercise, while being able to get all those other things I have to do out of the way as well. I don't have a home gym, just a few dumbbells and at a later date I will give you some great websites you can go to in order to help you get in shape for very little money. In my opinion, there's no need to spend hundreds or thousands on memberships that don't get used. Spend the least amount to get the best results is always my motto. In the meantime, enjoy the cookies and cake and champagne....the new year is not here yet!

The Eyes Have It - The Latest Fasion Accessory

The very latest fashion accessory is in your eyes. Actually, it's above your eyes...your lashes. That's right. Lashes are all the rage right now and are making big fashion news all over the place...well, at least in today's Newsday. Apparently, the best kept secret is false, as in eyelashes. However, it's really not a secret at all. Not one star, including Oprah, has such long, lush, curly lashes, without the help of some falsies. Expertly applied, they can be the most eye catching thing about you, but falsely place, it can be an eyesore! American International has a great starter kit for those who dare to try false lashes, starting at $5.49. I did try the starter kit and frankly I suck at putting these things on. I hated the way they looked and felt and I wouldn't wear them out of the house, but that's just me. For those who want lash extensions, you can pay between $50 and $250 to spend hours having someone painstakingly glue artificial lashes, one by one, that will last four to six weeks. A lot of money for a little bang, but if you have sparse lashes and don't want the hassle of putting them on every single time you need to, this is a good alternative. Mascara is the next best thing for lengthening and thickening, but there are so many brands, what do you do to choose. My favorites are Mirenesse and Kisse Me. Although pricey, (anywhere from $18 to $24 depending where you purchase them), the technology is different than other mascaras. They formula is such that a tube is formed around each lash. It applies easily and is removed with just a wet tissue. There is no smearing or running, because the tube just comes off in one, very tiny piece. However, it is understandable that you may not want to spend so much for mascara. My other diehard favorite can be purchased in the drugstore and that's Maybelline. Tried and true, Maybelline is an expert at manufacturing various formulas of mascara. Each one is inexpensive and does what it claims it will do. My only advice would be to purchase an eye make-up remover that will quickly and efficiently remove all your mascara, without pulling your eye too much. Also, another trick to making the best of your lashes is using a curler before you apply your mascara. Be careful though. You could easily pinch yourself with it so practive with it a bit if you've never used one before. The combination of curling and mascara application will do the most with whatever lashes you have. Finally, as far as eye lash curlers go, one manufacturer (Longo) now makes a demi-lash curler. This one only curls the very outer lashes of your eye to give you a less startled look, but leaves you with upturned lashes at the ends for a fresh, young look.

Get Your Glow On - Product Review

Summer is great! Not only is it warm and sunny, but there's no need for layers of clothing or covering up our carefully pedicured toes. Hopefully, all of you are using a sunscreen to protect yourselves against the harmful rays of the sun, but at the same time a little color is a very nice thing. We look healthy, younger and it makes us feel sexier. Now that the winter is here, we are covered head to toe in turtlenecks, thermals, boots, gloves and hats....not a very sexy look. A little color right about now would be a very nice thing....just a little sun-kissed look. Since self tanners would look way too much during the cold months, there are products that can provide you with that little bit of color...not a bronzing look, but just more of a glow. The first and most popular of these products is Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (7.5 fl. oz). You've surely seen this product on shelves in your favorite drugstore or Walmart. It usually sells for around $5.00 which is a great buy. This product contains just enough of a self-tanning ingredient to give your skin a hint of color, without looking garrish or streaky. This is a rich cream, white in color with a fresh-smelling scent. If you have a keen sense of smell though, you can detect a hint of that self-tanning odor, but it's so subtle it won't be too annoying. The idea is that the more you use this cream, the deeper the color will be so if you don't won't it too be too noticeable, then don't use it every day. The cream does contain some botanical ingredients (fruit and flower extracts), and overall this is a nice moisturizing cream that absorbs quickly. This is a good buy and if you find it on sale, all the better. The second cream is it's contender and new to the market. L'Oreal, that beauty of a monster, decided that Jergens shouldn't be the only one to corner the market on getting a glow, so now they have their own version (8 fl. oz). The idea is exactly the same, a body moisturizer with a small amount of self-tanning ingredient. This one claims to have mango butter, vitamin e and sweet almond oil. It does, but in small amounts according to the ingredients listed on the back. I also think this may have less of the self-tanning ingredient in it just by the fragrance of the cream which is a little more citrusy smelling than anything else. The cream is slightly runny and peachy colored. I have to mention that this cream sells for almost double the Jergens product at over $9 for the tube. Both these creams also come in color specific types (fair to medium to darker), but like I stated earlier, the more you use it anyway the more color you will see. They are both very good products, but truthfully I like the Jergens product better. It's cheaper and the cream itself feels richer to me. It moisturizes great and leaves me with a nice, little bit of color. You can get either product in the drugstore or big discount stores like Walmart or Target so go get some color and hopefully, before you know it, summer will be back!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

What To Expect From Me This Week

This week I am going to be writing about some steals and deals in beauty products. I already did the comparison shopping for you, so you don't have to. Also, whatever I write about in this blog, I've tried myself. I will be honest (sometimes brutally) and tell you what I think is great and what to stay away from. Also, I plan on shopping at the MAC store this week. I have more friends that rave about these products and I have to tell you I have not been impressed so far, but I feel compelled to see what all the raves are about. Finally, I do have a job interview this week and I'm sitting on the fence as to whether or not this is what I really want. Frankly, I'm sick of working for other people and letting them have all the control. I would love to find a business of my own which would not only give me a paycheck, but some great satisfaction at the end of the day. Any ideas???

Happy Hanukkah!

I just wanted to wish everyone who celebrates this lovely holiday, best wishes. Enjoy the fresh, crisp latkes and burning candles and don't eat too much gelt (although frankly there's no such thing as too much chocolate!

Why Bother Blogging? When I started blogging originally, I wanted to have an outlet to channel my creativity. I also needed to overcome the shock of being dismissed from my previous position two weeks before Christmas (yes, Virginia, there really is a Scrooge). I have done lots of research over the last couple weeks about blogging and here are some interesting facts I did not know. Two bloggers have recently gotten very lucrative book deals. Of course, they're both hookers (one lives in London, the other Brazil), but still this puts blogging on the map big time! Also, internet journalists can now be considered for a Pulitzer Prize. Okay, bloggers don't really count, but it's a step in the right direction. Blogging is not only a great outlet for anyone to express their feelings or their passions (mine is obviously shopping for cosmetics and skin care....and chocolate), but is can generate some money for you too! I added Google Adsense so that anytime anyone clicks on those annoying little adds you see, I make a few cents. I also added a google toolbar, an Amazon button and an adsense button so that other people can benefit from my blog as well. Having me have this blog helps me to focus on something positive and keeps me from dwelling on my recent job loss. If you've dropped by here and I've done anything at all to enhance your day, even just a little, then that's good enough for me!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmakkah!

I don't know who started this whole thing about what is most politically correct....was it Bill O'Reilly from Fox or Jon Stewart from Comedy Central? Whoever it was, I just want to wish you all happy holidays, in case I don't post tomorrow. Ironically enough, the number one blog listed by Technati (major blog tracker) is actually a blog where you can set up another blog! We'll talk shopping later!

Acne Problems

At one time or another, we all have suffered from break outs. These could be minimal or large scale. Either way, it can be traumatic, if we have a special event to attend, a job interview or a date. There are many acne products on the market and you can go to your local drugstore to find something, but how many times have you tried something and it didn't work for you? One of the best product lines to treat acne is Proactive. Formulated by two dermatologists, this line targets the problems that cause acne in the first place to clear up skin and leave it healthy looking, without drying it out too much, which is a big problem with other acne products.

Mary Kay Freebie!

Mary Kay has a great freebie right now. They will send you a sample of their new dermabrasion product to try in your home. If you have been wanting to try something to help exfoliate (something we have to do, especially as we age), then here's your chance to do it for free, compliments of Mary Kay. Just click on the Mary Kay button from this blog and fill out the information. It's quick, easy and, best of all, free of charge!

Ojon Hair Products

I tried these products a while back and I have to say that I was not impressed with them. The hair mask smells awful (like stale cigarettes and coffee). The price of these products are astronomical. Don't waste your money. The best way to get deep conditioning for your dry, damaged hair, as I stated in a previous post, is just by using either olive oil (for dark hair) or safflower oil (for strawberry or blonde hair). All you have to do is use a few teaspoons (depending on the length and thickness of your hair), massage into scalp and comb through. Wrap your hair in a towel for twenty minutes and then shampoo and condition as usual. Try to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner also, at least a few times a week (L'Oreal and Herbal Essence are two nice and inexpensive lines).
Don't use baby shampoo on your hair. While these products work well on babies, they will dry out your adult hair too much. Excuse the typos!

Laura Geller at Ulta

If you are a fan of Laura Geller cosmetics, up until now the only place you could buy her cosmetic line was at her exclusive store or on QVC. Now Ulta is offering her line at their store and they have a nice try-me kit at a very nice price (under $30). For those who don't know, Laura is a much sought-after make-up artists who has worked with such stars as Madonna. She also is very involved in the fashion industry, especially during all the huge fashion shows here in New York. She is a lovely lady and has great make-up at reasonable prices. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mary Kay and Arbonne

Since someone just brought this up to me tonight, I just want to mention that Mary Kay has wonderful cosmetics. I can't say enough about their make-up line. Their nail polishes are the best and I really love their color palettes. I'm not a big fan of their skin care line. It really didn't impress me when I bought it and I wasn't happy with the fact that I had to buy everything in the line. I don't think any skin care line should force a customer to buy everything because the products work better that way. Products shouldn't have to depend on each other to work on your skin. If they don't work independently of each other than they are not worth having. I'm really not sure if they (Mary Kay) still does this, but I would love to hear from anyone who has had either a similar experience or a different one. In the meantime, Mary Kay has a button on this blog, and when it appears you can click it on and see what they are offering. I did ask them for a sample of their new dermabrasion product and you can too, just by clicking the button when it appears. Another line I will be trying and reporting to you on in the very near future is Arbonne. There's a lot of buzz about this line which comes from Sweden. Until then, don't drink too much eggnog!

My Philosophy

I just found a great deal on Philosophy right here on my blog site. If you press the botton on top, you can order from them, two of your favorite Philosophy products and get a free Cinnamon Buns Lip Balm free (a $10 value). Furthermore, if you spend over $49, you get free shipping and handling. Philosophy is one of my favorite product lines. Their ingredients are the purest and they don't make promises they can't keep. If you haven't tried them yet, here's a great opportunity. Find out why Oprah picked 'Hope in a Jar' for her 'Favorite Things' show this year! Treat yourself to something special this holiday deserve it!

The Day After Christmas

Like most other people, I am anxiously awaiting the day after Christmas. That's the day when I know almost every store in the universe will be running huge sales. I've already gotten flyers from two favorite stores about their post-Christmas sales (Ulta and Victoria's Secret), with promises of such deep discounts that product endorphins in my brain as I am writing this. I also know that another favorite of mine, Bath & Body Works will also be having huge sales after the holidays. Some stores are already cashing in on the frenzy now. However, are we really getting such great bargains in these sales, or did the retailers jack the prices up so high that the sales really aren't sales at all? Nevertheless, the promise of a sale is something that most of us cannot pass up. I have to admit that I've made some very bad decisions in the heat of a shopping frenzy, only the find in the aftermath that I really didn't need that horrible shade of nail polish or that weird color blush. I am going to try very hard this year to restrain myself (afterall, I did just lose my job), but I know I will succumb on some level to a bargain that is just too good to be true. I just read on another board that someone already got a great bargain at a discount store that has bargains everyday of the year, not just after Christmas. That's what I call a really smart shopper! Happy Holidays to all and happy shopping always!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Face Up To It

What kind of foundation do you wear? Do you wear a foundation or do you just find it too hard to find one that you like? Finding the right foundation is probably the most crucial make-up choice you could make (although the wrong lipstick shade could be disastrous too!). As we age, less is more. We all have imperfections in our face we want to cover up, but sometimes trying to cover it up ends up being a big mistake if it means piling on more make-up. Facial flaws should be dealt with, as much as possible, from a skin care perspective. Acne, large pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles can be minimized, in appearance, with diligent, consistent skin care that works for you. As I said previously, a trip to the dermatologist is not a bad idea if you have no idea where to begin. Since less is more as we age, consider using a tinted moisturizer or light make-up instead of a heavy foundation. It's easier to match skin tone with a tint or light make-up as opposed to trying to match a foundation to your skin. If you're still not sure how to do this, test color, not on your hand, but right on your neck or the side of your face near the jawline. Stay away from anything that is too pink, unless you really do have pink undertones. Many of us have yellow undertones so the pink will stand out like a sore thumb on our faces. One of the best light make-ups right now is Revlon Age Defying Light Makeup with Botafirm and SPF 30. It is light enough to feel and look like less on the face, but enough to cover whatever you need to cover where necessary. If you need more coverage, take Bobbi Brown's advice and use concealer (every woman over 40 needs a concealer in her opinion). Most women will wear a medium concealer, but try and stay away from a lipstick type concealer. These tend to tug too much on under eye area (where we most need it) and that's not good for delicate skin. Concealers should be creamy to the touch and give you the coverage you need where you need it. This could be a trial and error thing. Sephora is a great place to shop where you can try the make-up on right there in the store to see if it's just right for you. Another great tinted moisturizer is Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Sheer Tint with an SPF 15. This is a non-comedogenic product (it won't clog pores) and it comes a great four ounce size which will last a long time. Pick it up in any drugstore. If you want a little glow under your face tint, try Sephora's make-up primer, which has a slight rose tint to it. It will assist in covering up any flaws underneath your make-up and set your make-up for the day. At $12.00, it's a bargin. You can probably get to Sephora's website by clicking on one of the sponsored ads on this page to see more choices or to order. Above all else, no matter what you wear, make sure you have a sunscreen on your face (and anywhere else that is exposed for the day). A good day-time moisturizer is Olay Complete. It has an SPF of 15, is non-oily and non-comedogenic and sells for about six bucks in any drugstore. Of all the anti-aging products to use, sunscreen is definitely at the top of the list!

About This Blog

Someone asked me why I started this blog. Well, after having lost my job two weeks before Christmas, I felt I needed to do something proactive. I also didn't want to feel sorry for myself and I thought this would be a great way to promote my ebay business as well as sharing information about something I am pretty passionate about. I really enjoy sharing information with all of you and since I've started, I've had over two hundred visitors to my blog so thanks for stopping by and checking it out.
Feel free to click on any of the ads you see on my blog for great information about some of the products and sources I've mentioned previously. I've also added a google search bar at the bottom of the page, so if you need to go somewhere else from here, just use the bar to get you there. I'll be posting back later on cosmetics. Bye for now!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Drive Through Facelifts

Can you actually get a facelift on your lunch hour? Plastic surgery has become the fastest growing sector of the medical community because of all the amazing breakthroughs in anti-aging techniques. For those who don't want to go under the knife, there are so many different ways to tighten, tone, lift and laser away wrinkles. Still, these procedures all come with risks and there are still quite costly (in the thousands), so what can you do at home to lift sagging skin? The easiest to find is a temporary lift in the form of a serum that claims to pull up and tighten your face before applying make-up. These serums tend to tighten so much though that they may make you feel so uncomfortable that it's not worth the application. There are so many companies that now make these kind of products that you really don't have to go further than your drugstore to find them. There are also little machines that you can purchase that, when applied to the face, will create a pulse that supposedly exercises the facial muscles. Don't bother with these. They are far too expensive and not always easy to use, not to mention painful. Those facial muscles are exercised through little electrical shocks and they can hurt more than help in most cases. The best product I have found was on QVC. It is called Facial Flex and costs under $30. All it takes is about two minutes a day. You don't need batteries and it isn't at all painful. This product used in conjunction with a good firming cream (Wei East Chestnut Firming Cream or Serious Skin Care Lift) will get you good results over time. It won't be as dramatic as a facelift of course, but it won't set you back thousands of dollars or very much of your valuable time. If you want to get a great drugstore product, try L'Oreal skincare products. They are inexpensive, easy to obtain and you can get pretty good results over time.

A Big Thanks To All Of You!!!

Thanks to everyone who has been visiting the blog. Now, I want to give back to you. All you have to do is leave comments. Do you have your own website, beauty products and or business you would like to promote? You can do so right here. Leave comments where appropriate and leave your URL address for your website or blog under your name if you'd like.

Light One Candle!

I believe in a holostic approach to beauty. It's hard to look good, when you are not feeling so great. Have you ever gone for a massage? What are some of the things you noticed when you walked in the massage room? Besides the fact that it's dark, there are always candles burning. You might notice the aroma of lavender, chammomile or sandlewood. These are the scents that calm the nerves and alleviate anxiety. Aromatheraphy has been around for ages, but there's reason why it is so popular...because it really works. You can create or change a mood right in your own home by lighting one candle. Here are a few tips: Buy candles that are only made with essential oils and are made either from soy or beeswax. These burn longer with little or no soot and the essential oils permeate the air every time you light your candle. Some other scents that create a mood are ginger for mental alertness and bergamot for creating a happy feeling.

When to go to the Dermatologist

Everyone who is reading this blog should see a dermatologist probably once every year or so to get a skin cancer check. Always check your own skin for anything that might look different, such as the shape and size of a mole. Uneven edges and anything that looks like it is growing (larger than a pencil eraser is the rule of thumb), should be looked at immediately. What about for aging skin though? If you feel you need to go that route, get a recommendation from someone you know, if possible. Try to find a dermatologist who specializes in aging skin. There are so many around right now. You can set up an appointment for a consultation and find out what things you can do to help turn back the clock a few years, or maintain your youthful skin. It won't be cheap, but if you feel you need to do this, then go ahead. In the meantime, I will bring you more information about anti-aging products that are cutting edge. One of my favorites right now is Wei East Chestnut products. Wei combines cutting edge technology in the delivery system of her products with Eastern philosophies women have been relying on for centuries. Chestnut extract is a natural firming component that she adds to her firming products and they have been touted in fashion magazines all over the world. If you are interested in learning more about how to get these products, visit

Another Great Site!

Check out You can get almost anything from this website and if you spend $25 or more, you get free shipping. Make sure you go to the clearance page to see if any of your favorite products are on sale. I would suggest adding yourself to any e-mail list that you can if you are looking for specific products. For instance, MAC has their own website and you can sign up for e-mails and snail mail catalogs. Same thing goes for Chanel. If you crave top-shelf products and want the latest and best, then let your favorite cosmetic companies bring the deals to you so you don't have to spend your precious time hunting down your must-have products.

Lip Service

Your lips need tender-loving care, especially during the winter months. There have been lots of products out on the market in the last few years that are geared toward exfoliating the lip and mouth area. Don't waste your dollars on these products. All you need is a soft toothbrush and some vaseline. Dip your soft toothbrush in a little vaseline and gently massage your lips with the toothbrush. This will gently exfoliate your dry, chapped lips and leave them smooth and baby-soft. Apply your favorite lip balm and re-apply often throught he winter months to keep your lips from becoming dried out and parched looking. My favorite lip balms come from Clinique, however, you can go straight to your favorite drugstore and buy Burt's Beeswax lip products as well. For nighttime protection, try Chapstick's Overnight Lip Balm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Comments Anyone?

I know you're out there, I hear you breathing! So, leave me comments about your favorite products and, if you have your own products to boast about, leave your web address in your comment. I would love to check it out myself. Also, do you have any questions about anything? All you have to do is ask. If I can't answer it, I'll find someone who can!

One More Great Site!

I forgot to mention this is my last post, but check out at They always have great offers on how to get free gifts, deep discounts on your favorite items and free shipping on any order over $49. Who couldn't spen that in a heartbeat? Enjoy!

Freebies and Steals!

Take advantage of freebies and samples of products as much as possible. This is a great way to try new products for little or no money to see if it's right for you. If you shop at CVS, you will find that many of their skin care lines offer trial sizes for around $1.00 on very fine skin care items. This way you can see what works for you. I've tried cleansers, vitamin C creams and eye products this way. Also, check out
You can sign up free for their bi-monthly newsletter and receive up-to-date information on very exclusive products. Also, check out the add for Hydroderm. They have a great deal whereby you will receive a 30 day supply of their products (cream and serum) for free of charge. All you have to do is pay their shipping and handling (around $3.95).
Finally, do you have a flea market near you? You may shop there for socks and underwear, but don't pass by their cosmetic vendors. I've gotten great deals on very exclusive products by Clinique, Bobbi Brown and MAC for deep discounts. These are not second-hand items. They are brand new (although some colors may be discontinued through the manufacturer) and sealed. If you don't mind buying your favorite perfume, out of the box, you can catch a great deal for something you might pay 50% more for in the store. If I find anymore great deals, I'll be sure to pass the savings on to you!

Quick Tips!

Here are some quick and easy tips for the winter months. Your skin, hair and nails will continue to need moisture, and even more so once we turn the heat up in our homes to get the chill out of our bones. You may not want to venture out for a pedicure over the winter, but your feet will still need some TLC. The same will go for your hands. One great product is Salley Hansen's 18 Hour Protective Handcreme. First of all, it's a great value for the money and a little of this rich cream goes a long way! No need to buy a separate foot cream as this can be used on both hands and feet. Also, don't invest in another product for exfoliating. Just add two packets or teaspoons of table sugar to your cream and massage into hands and feet thoroughly. The sugar will gently, but effectively effoliate. Rinse hands and feet with a gentle soap and end with the very same moisturizer. You'll see the difference right away! If you want to deep condition your hair, look no further than your kitchen. Use a couple of teaspoons of olive oil once a week on dry hair before washing. Comb through and wrap head in a towel for 20 minutes. You really don't need to heat up the oil for the treatment to be effective. Wash and condition as usual and you will see the luster that is restored from this treatment. Brunettes really benefit from the olive oil, while blondes can use Safflower Oil instead to see highlights restored. For more great beauty tips, don't forget to come back every day and also visit!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Prime Time

After you've cleansed, exfoliated and appropriately moisturized around your eyes, face and neck, what do you do next? Will you apply your favorite make-up? What about a make-up primer? What is it and why should you use it? I first discovered primers a few years back. This is a product that you apply BEFORE you apply your foundation, eye shadow, blush and finishing touches. It is usually a clear substance made up of botanical elements in a silicon base that glides on over your face to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, your primer will help to set your make-up for the day giving it much less chance to melt away. This is especially good in the hot summer months.
Primers do not come cheaply, but thankfully, a little goes a long way so a full-size bottle can last quite a few months. My favorite primer is Smashbox Photo Finish. It sells for $36 at Sephora or you can purchase in at QVC or If you go to, and type in primer, you will see four pages of various brands pop up. Paula Dorf is a very poplular brand as well as Estee Lauder's primer. The best buy at Sephora though is it's very own brand selling for $12.00. This particular primer will also has a slight rosey glow which is not only great for under your foundation to make it pop just a little, but is great all by itself if you are in a rush to get out the door, but don't want to go out bare faced. It's truly a bargain!

Serums or Moisturizers???

The difference between a serum and a moisturizer is simple. It's the delivery system. A serum makes it much easier for it's ingredients to penetrate the skin's surface (immediate actually) since it is usually a clear or translucent almost watery substance to begin with. It would be advised to use a serum first and then a moisurizer over it. Although a serum will penetrate the outer layers of the skin more effectively, it won't serve to adequately moisturize your skin enough for make-up application, so only use it in addition to your moisturizer and make sure your daytime moisturizer has an SPF of at least 15. One of the best serums money can buy is the Seven Signs of Aging by Oil of Olay which you can get at your drugstore for around $20.00. Just a few drops will do the trick. You can use morning and night, or, just at night if you like under your nighttime moisturizer.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Now What????

Are you wondering what to do now that your skin is nice and clean and exfoliated? You're not alone! There are so many products on the market that claim to do miracles for erasing wrinkles and firming skin that you could go crazy running from store to store, spending hundreds of dollars.
There's no need to do that! Most people need to understand that most if not all products will not erase wrinkles or firm skin entirely. You need a plastic surgeon for that with a good dose of Botox. If you're not willing to go that route, then just keep reading here. There are three areas of concern that need constant care 1) Eye area, 2) neck area 3) the rest of the face (cheeks, nose, chin, forehead). Let's start the number three first.
You don't have to spend a ton of money to get results. You can start at the drugstore and get what you need there for less money than you think.
My favorite products right now are made by Oil Of Olay. They have several lines, but my favorite is the Regenerist Line. Bottom line, these products contain the very same ingredients found in another skin care product that is selling for well over $100. You will easily spend under $50 to get all the products in this line which will take care of all your needs. They have a wonderful serum which I would definitely invest in, a day cream with SPF protection (an absolute must if you want to stop your skin from aging too fast) and a night cream. Look for a try-me kit they make with all three products, which generally sells for under $20. Use these products as directed and I promise you will not be disappointed with the results. I will be mentioning other products in the coming weeks, but this is a very good place to start. As for the eyes and the neck, just remember that there are no oil glands in these areas. As a result, you need a special cream. Here's a good trick, get an eye cream or serum (serums can penetrate a bit deeper than a cream) and use the very same product on your neck. Treating these areas is an absolute must as these are two of the three areas that will show your age first (the third being your hands). Use your products under your make-up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. Consistency is the key!

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate

I can't stress it enough! Women over 40 usually complain that they feel like their pores are getting bigger and bigger everyday. This is not true!
Pores cannot be opened and closed like windows (at least that's what Joan Rivers says, and she ought to know!). The reason why they look so large is because you are not exfoliating. So how do you safely do this at home you might ask? Lucky for you, you have me to point you in the right direction. If you don't want to spend over $20 for a cleanser (remember I recommended Serious Skin Care's Glycolic Cleanser), then you have to look no further than your drug store. Neutrogena makes at least two cleansers that contain salicylic acid. One is a facial foaming cleansers made for those with acne, but you don't have to have acne to use it. I wouldn't use it to remove make-up, but you can use it several times a week in the morning, and you will slowly start to see in a difference in the clarity of your skin. If you want immediate gratification, several skin care companies including Neutrogena, Oil of Olay and Dove have introduced exfoliating kits for at-home skin micro-dermabrasion. These kits range in price between $20 and $30. These are multi-step programs (two to three steps depending on the product line) and should only be used no more than twice a week in the beginning. I would suggest reading the directions carefully before using any such kit, but I've done this at home with excellent results myself. Keep reading this blog for more great tips on how to have the very best skin ever!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ebay Link This is a link for my ebay store, also called "Susan's Spa". Here you will find some great bargains on products I personally use. I will always try to bring you the best, most up-to-date advice on beauty, weight loss and exercise!

More Skincare tips!!!

While I'm on the subject of skincare and I just discussed cleansing (which should always be step one for you), remember that you must remove your make-up at night before bedtime (the sooner, the better). Whatever cleanser or make-up remover you use, don't forget to do this. Sleeping in your makeup will only serve to assist in prematurely aging your skin. If you don't cleanse properly, you don't exfoliate and that leads to aging skin. On the other hand, don't over cleanse either. If you have thoroughly cleansed before bedtime, then you probably won't need to cleanse the same way in the morning. Doing so on a regular basis can lead to drying out the skin, which can lead to other problems. Instead of cleansing in the morning, try just using plain water to rinse with before you begin your moisturizing regimen. Again, any comments, suggestions or questions are more than welcome here.

Where Do I Even Begin?????

Did you ever watch Oprah when she does her makeover shows? Do you ever think to yourself, "How the heck do I get on her show to get that kind of treatment???". It is highly unlikely that you could get that chance, but that doesn't mean you can't do you very own makeover right in your own home. Each day I post, I will pick a topic to discuss and all comments, suggestions about products are always welcome. The very first topic for me would be skin care. Why? A great artist must start with a blank canvas before creating a beautiful work of art. This is how you must view your face as a blank canvas. All the make-up in the world will not cover up any imperfections that might be easily corrected with the proper skin care. Aging skin might show uneven skin tone, coloring, enlarged pores, some break out, fine lines and, of course, wrinkles. The very first item that every woman needs is an effective cleanser. My very favorite of all is Serious Skin Care's Glycolic Cleanser. This not only effectively removes make-up and any other dirt from the environment, but it also acts to gently exfoliate skin, over time, because of the alpha hydroxy component in the cleanser. It will leave your skin feeling clean and over time you may begin to see, most noteably, the change in the appearance of your enlarged pores. This is one of my all-time favorites and it can be purchased through Home Shopping Network or at any Ulta Store & Salon.

Welcome to Susan's Spa. Why did I create this blog? I have been in and out of the beauty industry for many years and I just want to share some of the secrets I have learned with you. Doesn't everyone want to look and feel their best....but, without spending thousands of dollars? Plastic surgery has become the fastest growing industry over the past few years. Doctors who specialize in plastic surgery are making it so easy for both women and men to get the face and body they have always dreamed about. Not everyone wants to go that route, myself included. I have done lots of research on my own as well as my very own product testing in order to find products that work well, for the least amount of money.

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