Please let me share with you my excitement of being featured in the February issue of Allure Magazine Korea.  I was contacted a few months ago and interviewed with the questions below.  

Please join me in being a big fan of Allure Magazine Korea! 


1. Why did you decide to be a beauty blogger? When did you first start a blog?

I started blogging 4 years ago. First I started on Twitter @SpaTravelGal and then the next step was to start my blog There was always a little voice in my head thinking about spas, travel and skincare and that voice needed a place to call home. I find it fun to share and connect with others when sharing knowledge about spa travel and other experiences.
Allure_Korea_page12. What are the pros and cons of being a beauty editor?

To honestly share your findings, there is a fine line between being polite but honest about the products and services reviewed.
3. What is the feature and strength of your blog differentiating others?

The spirit of a spa gal that also likes to travel to discover new experiences whether that be in a spa or elsewhere.

“Spa Travel Gal Ava believes that spa, travel and skin care experiences are not a luxury, but essential to a healthy body and mind.”
4. What information does your blog give? Which part are you making an effort mostly? 

Experiences that you may not have been exposed to and I think you should discover for yourself. I love to share content that you may have not discovered for yourself from a random google search or trip to the drug store.
5. Which of the beauty products recently you have used do you recommend? And why?

a. Blamtastic Lip Balm is my new go everywhere with me product. It features no animal testing, no petroleum and no parabens.  On top of that it makes your lips feel lush along with protecting them with SPF 15.  It also contains one of my favorite things – Beeswax along with many other safe and wholesome ingredients.

Allure_Korea_page3b. On my face today is Kate Somerville Age Arrest Anti-Aging Cream for sensitive skin.  Even if you don’t think you need products for sensitive skin, do not write them off.  They will work well for everyone.  This cream dispenses uniquely in the perfect portion and allows one to beat the dry heat flakes.

c. Another cream a favorite daily use products for me is REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream also for any sensitive skin needs. I have become obsessed with this entire line after discovering it in London at the St. Pancras Hotel and the Jumeirah Carlton Towers.

d. Hair Manicures by Root Vanish by Kazumi is perfect to for root touch ups and to maximize your hair color budget. I have found it great to put on while hair is still wet for a comb through or for touchups with a Q-tip after blow out.

e. This year’s best new breakout defense is SkinPhd Breakout Control Gel.  The gel stops blemished overnight for adults and teens without producing extreme drying or flaking.

f. Another great skincare find is Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.  There are not many exfoliators that one can use daily with out harsh reactions.  This one uses a unique rice-based enzyme powder which activates with water.  It leaves your skin feeling glassy and smooth after the enzymes remove all the old cells.  It is a great skin brightener.

g. The easiest thing a gal can do in the world of makeup is pop a little color onto her lips.  Pop Beauty Plump Pour Liquid Lipstick Stain has made that so easy and fun with their high shine colors. This lip color combines the hight shine of a lacquered gloss with the long wear of a stain for long lasting color.

Allure_Korea_page4h. Younique Moodstuck 3D Fiber Lashes have replaced ever wearing false eyelashes for me, which usually feel like huge hairy tarantulas on my face when I use them.. Younique has developed fibers that act and feel like your regular lashes.  It does take a few steps, but they are much easier than gluing those spiders to your face.  I have found they work well when applying them with your regular mascara or without.  They are an easy way to feel glam every day!
6. Usually how many do you use new beauty products a month? Where do you purchase the products usually? Offline or online store?

Through shopping, generous PR reps or as travel souvenirs, I sample at least a dozen new products a month.  When I travel I always check out the hotel’s spa boutique, where the products are of higher quality and commonly personally tested by the spa’s manager.  With the space usually limited only the best makes it onto the shelves of a spa boutique. Some of my fave spa boutiques are at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation where you can create your own custom bath salts and The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Spa where OKA b. flats and sandals are a great find.

On my radar for 2014 is something very unique to the Spa at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which offers a “Scrubologist,” who specializes in mixing up the perfect, personalized scrub mixture for each client. Pick and choose from salts, exfoliants, herbs, oils and scents and get just what your body needs. These are my kind of souvenirs!
7. Which beauty brand are you interested in recently? Why? Which product especially are you interested in?

REN Skincare which I fell madly in love with at the  St. Pancras and Jumeirah hotels in London. When  a hotel has items of this quality in their rooms you know they really care about their guests whole heartedly. The quality of extracts in the REN products make them the most results oriented natural products I have found anywhere. Also they can be picked up in travel sizes so you can try them out before making a commitment.

This year I also look forward in discovering Sisley Paris, while visiting Germany’s newest destination spa – the exclusive Villa Stephanie at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden.

8. If summarize the 2014 Spring/Summer beauty trend?

Fashion Week in London reminds me every year that not everyone embraces super straight hair.  Hair will be more bouncy and flowing without harsh edges. Makeup will be pure and natural whether talking about the ingredients or the “look”.

9. Who do you think the best beauty icon and why? (Doesn’t matter whether alive or not)

I think we need to turn back time to when the gals did not have all the tricks and products we have today to pick a true beauty icon.  I would pick Ava Gardner. She has been described as the most beautiful thing ever seen by many men in her day.  She was breathtaking. All of the most powerful men of her era searched her out to meet. I do have two things in common with this beauty icon – we are both named Ava and originally from North Carolina.
10. Which beauty spot do you want to recommend for Korean readers? (ex. Cosmetic store, department store, flagship store..Etc) 

We all have to shop where it is convenient to us.  Again I say do your research with an app like Pretty in My Pocket.  Then you can venture out more knowledgable and have an easier time shopping. I tend to do my shopping when I travel.  I always love to visit places where locals really do their shopping like Boots Pharmacy in London. Today we can get some of the same famous products at Target.  A few years ago, I would have never imagined that a line of this quality would be readily available at a local discount store.

Harrod’s which carries Daniel Sandler  and Pla Beauty at Buckhead and also you can say Walmart which is starting to carry Blantastic level of quality products

11. What is your own standard and know how evaluating cosmetics?

I need to find the right reason and day to use a product especially when sampling one for review. If the review is forces it is just not honest or valuable.  Don’t just place it on your wrist and snap a photo op.  Really use the product and travel with it for real life experiences.  Also all products are not for everyone, so a beauty blogger needs to use it themselves and not just rely on others.
12. Who is your favorite beauty specialist such as make-up artist, beauty blogger, celebrity and so on and why?


My favorite makeup artist that everyone needs to be watching is Daniel Sandler from the UK.  Last year Daniel Sandler Cosmetics celebrated its 10th year Anniversary of their counter service offering at the iconic beauty location Urban Retreat, Harrods. Daniel Sandler Cosmetics counters can also be found at BeautyMart in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge and Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar Liverpool, and from Autumn 2013 at the prestigious Peak Health club at The Jumeirah Carlton Tower. 

Each year Daniel’s high profile client list doubles, Throughout his career he has beautified A-list celebrities including: Twiggy, Mylene Klass, Naomi Campbell, Rachel Weisz, Kristen Scott Thomas, Kate Moss and Binky Felstead of Made In Chelsea.

Daniel is helping women all over the world (including myself) look and feel ‘a younger and sexier version of themselves’


Daniel says   “There is a lot of unfair pressure on women of all ages to look as good as a celebrity or cover girl and this upsets me. What I believe is that a woman can only be happy and look her most beautiful if she makes the best of herself with makeup shades and formulas that make her look her best for her age”. Daniel adds “In this way, she will look fantastic whenever she wants.”


So exciting is that now we can find his products here in the US with Urban Outfitters www.urbanoutfitters.comI use Daniel Sandler Velvet Waterproof Eyeliner daily! I don’t know what I would do without it!
13. Where is the hottest beauty spot recently? (ex. Make-up and hair, skin care, perfume, aromatic candle, make-up shop, hair shop, spa, etc.)

A spa of course.  Spa boutiques usually put much more thought into what products they carry and the quality of them. Think of any small independent boutique as a gold mind of beauty products. Woo Skincare in Atlanta and Nashville are hidden gems in a sea of beauty!
14. What are three best and worst products you have used?

Mascara that gets all over you and flakes. Lipstick that leaves your skin feeling dry and bland. Hair products that make your hair look greasy!
15. As a beauty expert, if you pick only one base cosmetic, which one should you recommend?

I would pick one from a makeup line who’s motto is “Makeup with a Purpose”. For a flawless finish I always use (Plā) Beauty’s Mineral Liquid Powder Foundation SPF 15.

Stephanie Bass who created (Plā) Beauty, who was inspired by the infinite power of makeup, (Plā) Beauty makes a lasting impression … not only on your face, but in the life of a child. Her story begins with a passion for makeup and a desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Like so many women, she has always loved to play with makeup; she calls it ‘my time.’ She says that putting on a little lip gloss and mascara is like going to my happy place; it gives one confidence, centers them, and always helps one face the day with a smile. After the loss of a child, Bella she had a hard time finding a reason to get up each day. Since she has been blessed with another daughter Ava, who inspires her to always live in the moment.
16. In busy morning, if you pick only one make-up item, which one should you recommend?

Concealer is a gals best friend after diamonds of course and of course my COSTA Sunglasses to protect my eyes and the delicate skin around them!
17. Which items are you carrying in pouch these days?

Blamtastic and COSTA Sunglasses
18. Which sites are you usually visiting to get information about new cosmetic, trend, make-up, hair and know-how? (ex. blogs, websites and so on)

I’m always checking Pretty in my Pocket (PRIMP) daily, a mobile beauty shopping app where I’m crowned as an expert blogger or as they call a POWER PRIMPTER. PRIMP instantly gives you access to beauty reviews, looks, and product alternatives – all from a scan of a product barcode. PRIMP features all the latest beauty news and trends right on the app which is great for busy beauty lovers on-the-go. I also share my favorite new cosmetic products, trends, and tips with the PRIMP community on my PRIMP profile!
19. Have you heard about Korean cosmetic or Korean beauty market? Do you have interesting brands or questions about Korean beauty?

I hear that Korea is responsible for the invention of BB Creams so I think I should give the entire country a standing O (ovation)!

I love how the Korean beauty market is always striving for something innovative like the newest packaging or even the gradient lip. The Korean market is not afraid to go the opposite way of the rest of the world. Why follow a trend when you can start one seems to be the mantra of both Korea and my own daughter.

20. Among magazines, books or movies about beauty, which one do you recommend? And why?

Allure Magazine has always delivered for me when I was looking for new products to try myself.  I have always found the content valuable and informative.
21. As sns is vitalizing, beauty blogger become more active through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube and so on. Are you good at dealing with these changes? Do you already have another channel or interesting one besides existing beauty blog?

Riding the wave and getting on to the next before it tops it’s crest seems to be a skill of mine. I have always been an early adopter of technology, etc.  Sometimes this has a few pains, but they usually pay off.  For example I have been on Twitter over 4 years and it has been very beneficial in my growth as a brand and freelance writer.

One should never just be riding the the same wave as everyone else.  Always be looking out to the horizon for what is coming next.  My teenage daughter is always  good for letting me know the next big thing before everyone else!

You can find me many places on social media and as a freelance writer for many magazines like LA Travel Magazine, Upscale Living Magazine and Elevate Magazine. I also write online for CBS News and many other media outlets in addition to my blog Spa Travel Gal.

Find me here:

Spa Travel Gal