Spa Week Daily’s Top 11 Moments of 2011

Whoah, 2011, where have you gone!? It’s been quite the exciting year here at Spa Week. Our gift cards just launched in over 17,000 retail stores, the company is expanding quickly, our Facebookers and Tweethearts have doubled (and are better than ever – we love you!), and Spa Week Daily has taken on a real life of its own.

Kick back and let’s reminisce: After analyzing all the blog stats from 2011 along with social media impressions, we’ve compiled the most popular blog posts, memories, and moments of this incredible year. THANK YOU times a million to every single one of you who reads Spa Week Daily. You know – on those days it seem like we’re blogging into oblivion (fellow bloggers, you know what I’m talking about), it’s YOU, our wonderful readers, who keep us going. Thanks for the memories, the likes, the tweets, the comments, the suggestions and the LOVIN’ – we can’t wait to do it all over again in 2012!

11. YOU DITCHED SODA

Joy Bauer challenged Spa Week Daily readers to quit drinking soda for two weeks, and look how much healthier you are now! Yes, one of the major blog features we launched in 2011 were our Health Challenges hosted by industry experts – little lifestyle changes to try out for two weeks to make you feel your best. Out of all seven thus far, ditching soda remains #1 in terms of traffic and participation. Click through our growing Panel of Experts to your right, my left, to see each expert’s priceless life tips along with their challenge. Stay tuned for more fun in 2012!

10. FEATHERS IN YOUR HAIR

Did you fly away with the hottest hippie hair trend of 2011? Pheasant Feathers, those long, skinny pops of color that began infiltrating everyone’s hair last winter and spring, were featured right here on Spa Week Daily before they hit the bigtime. Stacey Gersten, who was later featured in the New York Times for her red-hot feather business out of her studio apartment, gave you the Pheasant Feathers How-To right here first. This beauty phenom was certainly not one for the birds!

9. THE NO POO MOVEMENT

Speaking of hippie hair trends… women from all walks of life joined together for the No Poo Movement in 2011, ditching their trusty, but often too harsh, shampoos in the name of healthier, smoother and more lustrous locks. The theory is: that annoying “grease” that builds up is actually good for your tresses, and if you can hold off from cleaning it for a bit, it’ll do you good. Some managed for two whole months, while others, like Michelle, experimented for just a week. See how she fared for 7 days with the help of hair tools, products and accessories, and YES it was totally worth it!

8. SPA WEEK JOINS FORCES WITH THE BIGGEST NAMES IN WELLNESS

First came our Get Fit For Summer sweeps with America’s toughest trainer, Jillian Michaels, then Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer co-hosted our Fast Track to Health giveaway. Then we gave away spiritual leader Deepak Chopra‘s brand new Leela video game along with an Xbox + Kinect. Now, we’ve partnered with nutrition expert and author Keri Glassman to give away a grandiose nutrition package and a lavish trip to… WAIT, you didn’t see it yet!? It’s time to change that.

7. THE HOT MOM SPA SQUAD GOT HOTTER

Although born in 2010, 2011 was really the year our Hot Mom Spa Squad caught fire. In an effort to encourage moms everywhere to trade in Pampers for pampering, our squad is filled with mommy blogging influencers, blogging about spa and spreading the wellness word.  We’ve got nearly 100 (VERY HOT) moms involved so far, and our squad is expanding all the time. We also hosted our first ever big Hot Mom Spa Night NYC. There were much-deserved massages, mini-facials and perfect eyebrow waxes for all, and check out the video… your kid did WHAT!?

6. AND YOU THOUGHT VAJAZZLING WAS DEAD…

“Vajazzle.” “Vajazzling pics.” “Vajazzling during sex.” “Vagazzle” spelled wrong, although it does admittedly make more sense that way. Although in 2011 we’ve hardly let out a peep about that infamous break-out beauty trend of yesteryear (landing #1 on our 2010 roundup), we still get a significant number of curious folks Googling their way to Spa Week Daily to get the lowdown on putting sparkly crystals on their lady parts. If our organic blog traffic is any indicator, vajazzling is not dead, my friends! (Even though vajazzling trendsetter Cindy Barshop’s reality TV career is.) On a more 2011-y note, the boys have hopped on the bandwagon too. Our Pejazzling photo shoot is where it’s at.

5. TWEETING YOUR LITTLE HEARTS OUT

In July we launched our first ever “Tweet-a-thon,” a fun, fast-paced product-a-day giveaway called #WinDailyWinItAll, where the grand prize winner literally won it ALL. The theme was “summer fun,” so graphic yoga mats, sunglasses and popchips all made the hot list. To close out the year, we twisted the tweet-a-thon and wrapped it in tinsel for the holidays – have you checked out #12DaysOfWellness yet? It’s gotten thousands of twitterbirds singing, come join in the fun!

4. A 9/11 NOD TO FREEDOM

This year we held hands and held our heads high as the ten-year anniversary of the saddest day in recent American history came and went. We were thrilled to be able to feature an exclusive look behind the rebuilding of Ground Zero, from the point of view of one of the construction workers on the job. Check out Stephanie’s exclusive interview and close-up photos from One World Trade Center, proudly one of our post trafficked posts of the year.

3. HERE COMES THE BRIDE, THERE SHE GOES VIRAL

Whether you’re getting married soon or not, our Wedding Wednesday column has proven to be fun for all. We’ve posted a handful of wedding diddies this year that got quite the resounding I DO. Take a walk back down the aisle with the top wedding posts of 2011: The most epic wedding video ever (Dirty Bit!), that phat throwback 90s wedding music video invitation (saved $1000, yeah don’t be jealous!), 12 adventurous cake concepts, and how to be super creative about announcing your engagement on Facebook.

2. EATING FOR BEAUTY

Amazing, healthy skin is something we all strive for, and understandably one of the main reasons many of you visit Spa Week Daily in the first place. Well, one of THE most popular blog posts of 2011 was Michelle’s triumphant skincare diet experiment: Dr. Perricone’s 3-day “Eat for Beauty” Skincare Diet. In 3 days this strict diet made her skin glow like no other, and made us all believe that salmon, eggs, greens, olive oil and a handful of other specific natural foods could trump any serum or scrub in your beauty cabinet. In fact, Dr. Perricone made this diet his Spa Week Daily Health Challenge. If you haven’t yet, try it for your next big event!

1. ALL YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW: WHEN IS SPA WEEK!?

In the ranks of our most trafficked posts, it makes us smile that the Official Announcement of the Spa Week 2011 Dates came out in the top of the top! Those $50 spa treatments are the core of our company, indeed. Between social sharers and Googlers, it’s a fact: Everybody wants to know when Spa Week is. So, what are the Spring and Fall dates for 2012, you ask? You’ll just have to wait for the official blog post to come in the New Year! Blog traffic aside, we can’t wait to spread word about Spa Week’s flagship event; to pamper North America once again in $50 relaxation, beauty, health and wellness.

Here’s to another great year – see you in 2012!

SHINE ON! No Poo Movement – One-Week Recap

Joining the No-Poo Movement (read that to catch up) was one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever done for my hair, second only to getting highlights instead of using Sun-In spray at the age of 14 (thanks mom). It seems like everyone ditched their shampoo right after I did—Learnvest featured the hot hair trend 2 weeks ago, About.com caught on yesterday, and just today Refinery 29, too, said sayanara to the sudsy scalp ritual.

I can truly say: I GET IT. I seriously think my hair grew a whole inch in that one week. And it has developed a new brand of shimmering shine. The main takeaway: hair is simply not meant to be washed that often.

During my experiment I went for one week without shampoo in the name of a stronger, healthier, more luscious head of hair. (The true test is 6 weeks, but I’m not that crazy.) Since it’s Earth Day tomorrow I’ll mention that yes, it is also part of an environmental movement to reduce plastic bottle waste, but let’s be real: we all just want that sexy, Pro-V waterfall of hair.

I did not use dry shampoo nor vinegar, as recommended by some No Pooers to get you through the movement. My #1 survival ally was the Remington TStudio Pearl curling wand—I must dedicate a full blog post to this magical piece of machinery that I got in the Luxury Spot bachelorette party gift bags (thank you!!). It is hands down the best hair curling device I’ve ever used, and apparently works whether or not you are the wash-your-hair type.

NO-POO TIMELINE:

DAY 1, SATURDAY: I had a TV news segment on Saturday morning (for my Beatles gig), so I was conveniently kicking off the week with a really styled ‘do. I banana-curled my hair with the Remington and used lots of hair spray, locking in the look for as long as possible. I suggest kicking off your no-poo week similarly, so you don’t have to worry about anything for a few days. (I also suggest getting those neon colored Pheasant Feathers!)

DAY 2, SUNDAY: Hair still looked good, with a little Remington touch-up. Here’s an action shot:

DAY 3, MONDAY: Still looked pretty good – I forgot to get a picture! But use your imagination: it looked somewhere between the pic above and the pic below.

DAY 4, TUESDAY: This is when the problems started. I became a scalp-scratcher, deep in thought of course, thinking about how awkward it is when your head itches, because people like assuming you have lice. My head also developed a slight stench that invaded my personal space. It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but by later in the day I definitely had it back in a bun. And I definitely did not go out that evening.

DAY 5, WEDNESDAY: (Morning). I went to the gym that morning so there was no way I could continue on without at least running it under hot water, which is not against the rules, so I did. I really thought that this would get the itchiness and greasiness to go away, but it didn’t. Shampoo, validated. I pulled it back in a bun, because that’s meant to be sleek and shiny anyway, right?

(Evening) Remy came into play again here. Usually when I take my hair out of an all-day bun like this, it has fabulous volume. This night was different from all other nights because 1, I was at an early Passover seder, and 2, because my hair looked like it was washed in car grease, and almost did not descend from the bun once removed. However, my strands took to the iron better than usual—as though they were made of malleable wire. A little grease helps curls hold right; a lot of grease makes them total slaves. That’s why whenever you go for an up-do, it’s best if your hair is at least one day unwashed. Here I am, measuring up quite well on the curl-o-meter to my sister and cousin whose curls are au naturale.

DAY 6, THURSDAY: The curls from the night before were still in high gear, except very weighed down. The roots were flat and shiny and desheveled, so I tied a turban around it to mask the grease. Hair accessories go a long way.

Day 7, FRIDAY: I ran it under hot water again Friday morning, and this time I decided to blow-dry and straighten. Hair, glued to head.

Day 8, SATURDAY, right before the shower: You want a piece of me.

WASHED: Ooooh how sweet it was to be clean again! The doves circled my bathroom as I scrubbed my scalp in Sally Hershberger ecstasy. Here I am the night after washing for the first time. Not sure if you can tell from the picture, but it looked quite vibrant and healthy.

THE BEST PART! NEXT WEEK: Taking notes from poo-less boot camp, that next week I only shampoo’d once on Wednesday (for the Spa Week Media Party), and not again until Saturday night! Since then, my hair has stopped getting greasy as fast as usual. I now make a point to wash as rarely as possible. If I can go that extra day, I’ll throw a hat on and make it happen. I also use less shampoo when I DO use it. With the help of Bruce and my hair’s newfound strength and shine, it looked better than ever for the media party! At least I think so.

CONCLUSION: It was so worth it! I encourage you to join the No Poo movement at the level it suits you. Banish shampoo for ONE WEEK to kick off your new, healthy-hair way of life, because then it won’t seem as bad when you go 3 and 4 days on the regular. Comment below and let me know if you have tried it, or plan on trying it for yourself!

Spa Week Daily Challenge: The No Poo Movement

Can you imagine not shampooing your hair for over a month? As someone who washes every day, I can tell you my immediate answer would be a blaring NO WAY! But consider this: would you do it if the light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of a thicker, smoother, more lustrous and healthier head of hair? Jessica Simpson, Robert Pattinson, Prince Harry and many hair gurus including renowned hairstylist Guido Palau (whose father never washes his hair) are making waves in a growing movement called: The No Poo Movement.

Why? See, your body naturally produces oil to condition your hair and keep it healthy, which is why your hair gets greasy after a while. Using shampoo daily gets rid of the grease, but it shampoo strips the hair of sebum and nutrients needed to give us that healthy head of hair, and upsets the natural balance and causing you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.

Also, some No Poo testers have taken on the challenge as a fight for the environment. With little incentive to recycle in America, billions of plastic shampoo bottles pile up as mountains of waste.

The No Poo Movement has picked up momentum slowly over the past couple of years, starting with this Glamour blog post about a recent NPR story, but it caught my attention the other day when I read about 50-year old W Magazine writer Christa D’Souza, who survived six weeks without shampoo. Dedicated to finishing the unbearable, in an effort to cover up what she describes as the ‘itchiness, greasiness, and matte halo of frizz’  she resorted to adopting two huge Pippi Longstocking-style braids as her everyday hairstyle. Through Bikram Yoga and world-traveling her experiment carried on—read her post for the full account and the various conclusions that washed up in the end.

In true Spa Week Daily fashion, what sort of blogger would I be if I didn’t try this myself? I’m not thrilled about it whatsoever, but Candace has guilted me, saying I would be a cheater to blog this and NOT do it. So fine. Makeup Free Mondays did “change my life”, and after live-streaming everything from Vajazzling to Botox and lip plumping, this should be a breeze, right? I’m going to join the No Poo movement for one week, starting Monday. If things go well, I’ll hold out a little longer. Maybe 6 weeks, but don’t get your hopes up.

Who’s with me? I dare you! Comment below if you want to join me… it’ll be fun! I think.

READ THE ONE WEEK RECAP HERE!