Illume Balsam & Cedar Ceramic Candle – Product Review

Ok I’ve been completely obsessed with Illume products ever since my visit to the Red Door Spa. At the Red Door Spa I came across Illume products for the first time and wrote about my love for them HERE.

Recently Illume was having a holiday contest on their Facebook page. Of course I had to participate. Needless to say I won and received a Balsam & Cedar Ceramic Candle. The scent is amazing. It smells like the holidays but at the same time has a really clean scent to it. It’s not overly piney like many pine/holiday scents tend to be. It’s clean, fresh and holidayish and I adore it. Plus I can totally reuse the ceramic jar it came in once this scent runs out. Perfect!


Make sure you like Illume on Facebook and check out their website


*Disclaimer – I was not required to write this post. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Annual Holiday Photo Shoot with sydneyalbert

find the perfect photo for your holiday card?

no time to get the family together
for a holiday photo?

out of ideas for a gift for
that special person or loved one
your life?


join SydneyAlbert SalonSpa sunday, november 6th for the 2nd
annual  holiday photo shoot

what does this mean for you? 

  • have hair and/or make up done professionally by sydneyalbert stylists and make up artists.
  • Paramour Memories will be on site  to do your very own professional photo shoot.
  • have any family members join in at no additional charge!

your photo package includes: 

  • 5 to 10 Images
  • complete enhancement and retouching of your favorite shot
  • all images are yours to print, email or send to anyone (no extra costs)
  • images are given on CD for unlimited duplication or for sending
  • online secure viewing of all photos for anyone you choose, unlimited downloading

the cost for this
holiday photo package is only $75*

reserve your appointments today

*hair and make up charges are in addition to photo package

$25 deposit
required at time of booking to reserve space

Celebrate You at Sydney Albert Salon Spa

How do you prepare for the holidays? Many cook, some run around doing last minute shopping for the kids, while others indulge in “me time”.

I’ve been going to Sydney Albert Salon Spa since they opened in 2004 and have previously written about my love for them. (Read previous article here.)

Since it was the holidays, Sydney Albert was kind enough to provide me with a makeup session/lesson, since that is one of the few treatments I had yet to have there. The salon manager Dan assured me that Michele was the best in town for a new look. Hey New Year, New You, right?

My family celebrates the 7 fishes on Christmas Eve, so what better than to get my makeup done and show it off to family and friends.

When I arrived, the staff greeted me with a warm welcome as always, took my coat and offered me a beverage. A woman who was dressed so cute for the holidays walked up from the back, I complimented her outfit, turns out it was Michele Sondej my makeup artist. I knew I was in good hands the second I laid eyes on her.

The makeup area at Sydney Albert is right when you first enter the salon. I’ve always admired their beautiful selection but had no idea that the line is Michele’s very own, Etre Joli, a mineral based makeup.

I brought along the products and brushes that I use at home so I would know what best to use when doing it myself. Among these items, was a bronzer that had definitely expired, but for whatever reason I hadn’t thrown out. Michele mentioned that it was too peachy for my skin tone and not the right bronzer for me. I said “let’s toss it”. She was a bit surprised. I don’t need a color that’s wrong for me, not to mention I should have thrown it out. Makeup does expire. Michele applied a face primer to my face, as well as an eye primer. Two separate primers ladies. The Etre Joli face primer has silicone and SPF in it, while the eye primer does not. I wanted to go with a smoky eye, tis the season. Michele used a quad eye shadow and applied a black to my lid, followed by light greys and white and blend blend blend. Blending is the secret to the perfect smoky eye. Michele used a really cool contraption to separate my lashes from my eyelids to prevent mascara from ending up on my lids. We’ve all been there! She used an adobe colored blush, along with bronzer and finished off with a pinkish lip color and silver lip gloss. Silver lip-gloss is the color of the season. Perfect for the holidays and an added festive look.

Once my look was complete, Michele looked through my makeup I brought with me, to show me what colors I should use based on her products. How great is that?

I was thrilled with my new look. Of course, I couldn’t leave without purchasing an Etre Jolie bronzer.

Celebrating the holidays is wonderful, but when was the last time you celebrated you?

Sydney Albert Salon Spa is the best salon in Mercer County, but you don’t have to take my word on it. Here’s what other people are saying:

“I start relaxing the minute I walk through the door at Sydney Albert! The staff is very friendly and their services are wonderful.” – Alice Seneres
“Tami is my go to girl at Sydney Albert. She always listens to me in terms of what I want and understands my fear of being too radical with my hair. Before meeting Tami I had never colored my hair or tried highlights and now she is the only person I will trust with this process — she brings out the best in my hair. If you need an up-do for a special occasion you can never go wrong with booking yourself an appointment with Fred. He has put my hair up on 3 occasions and it always looks fab.” – Janie Hermann

Sydney Albert Salon Spa is located in The Shops at Windsor Green, 3495 Route 1 South, Princeton, NJ 08540. To schedule an appointment call (609) 228-0300.

Relax & Unwind at Sydney Albert Salon Spa

Nestled in The Shoppes at Windsor Green in Princeton, NJ right off Route 1 South is Sydney Albert Salon Spa. I’ve been going there since it’s inception which was once known to local’s as Bernard’s Day Spa, but later changed their name to Sydney Albert Salon Spa.

When you walk into Sydney Albert you are greeted by someone at their concierge desk. Everyone there is super friendly and their customer service is unlike any other. The manager Dan is always around to answer any questions, and help you out in any way he can. I swear the man never sleeps, he is always there. Besides Dan, you can always see Lori, who is the owner, running around and lending a hand wherever she can.

Ok, so I’m writing this after my visit to the spa this afternoon. Let me say that I have had a number of services at Sydney Albert over the years. But I have to tell you about the massages with Monica. After I learned that one of my fave massage therapists left after being at Sydney Albert for so many years, I thought my world had ended. JK but seriously, I didn’t know what to do. Dan recommended Monica. I was a bit nervous, as I had never been to her before. I went to her after Dan’s recommendation and have never turned back. Besides the fact that Monica is super nice, she gives the BEST massages I have ever had. I tend to have a lot of knots in my upper back near my shoulder blades and she works them all out. Often times she will stretch me out, while massaging me at the same time. She is truly AMAZING! If you are looking for the best massage you could possibly have, look no further, Monica at Sydney Albert is your girl.

Prior to my massage with Monica I met up with Joan for a mani/pedi combo. I figured it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and I was already going to be there for a massage so why not. Let me preface this by saying, I typically go to my local nail place in a mini mall around the corner from my house. It’s not the cleanest place and when they give me pedicures it either tickles uncontrollably or they rub to hard that they hurt my feet with the scrubby thing.  I thought this was normal, tickle then torment. But after today’s pedi with Joan, I quickly learned a great pedicure can occur without the tickle and torment. Joan used what looked like almost a larger nail file to scrub and soften my feet and it neither tickled nor tormented me. In fact I barely noticed it was happening. And my feet turned out almost as smooth as a baby’s tushie. After my pedi we headed over to the mani station and I warned Joan about a hangnail I had bitten but a little bit was still there. I thought ok this was gonna hurt. WHenever I have a hangnail at my local joint, they pull it and I bleed. Joan got it, I barely felt it and there was no bloodshed. All the years I’ve been coming to Sydney Albert for massages and the occasional bikini wax, I had no idea I should have been getting my mani/pedi combos there. I missed out on pain-free beautiful mani/pedis. At least I finally figured it out. Local joint, no more. Since it’s Valentine’s Day weekend I opted for my fave red “I’m Not Really a Waitress”. Not only is it my fave, but a fave among many fashion mags and rated the #1 polish color from Allure magazine a number of years in a row.

Looking for a facial or bikini wax? Gina or Manana are your go-to girls. They even have a service called “The Sphinx” (think Brazilian but more). Sydney Albert Salon Spa also offers great cut and colors, makeup services and more. They always have packages and specials, just call them and get the deets or check out their website at or  Become a Fan of them on Facebook at!/pages/sydneyalbert-salonspa/193415485328?v=wall&ref=ts.

Koi Spa Salon – A spa with childcare? It doesn't get much better than that!

Where do I even begin? This facility is tremendous!

Koi Spa
I met with Gina Polevoy the President of Koi Spa & Can Do Fitness at the Princeton Forrestal Village location. I entered through Koi Spa, which has a beautiful reception area, product shelves and a display of my favorite sandals in the world. I couldn’t get over the fact they sell OKA b.’s there. I’ve only ever seen them in Aruba and the airport in St. Paul, MN. I told the receptionist I was there to meet with Gina. Gina came out and introduced me to both of the girls at the front desk. She is a very hands on owner and knows all of her employees names, even with a few locations. First I was shown the styling area. This section had areas to do hair and some manicure and pedicure stations. She then brought me to the special Koi Spa Salon Suite, where private spa and salon celebrations are available for groups. This area was a smaller version of the styling area where groups can gather for a bachelorette party, girls night, bridal shower, teen party, corporate rewards, mommies to be or prepare for their wedding. They are able to arrange food and drinks for you and your friends. Adjacent to this room is a conference center. This can be used for a wedding party to get ready, have snacks, etc. while they are preparing for the big day. The salon offers a private room for styling where they often do wigs for women who are cancer survivors, bashful men and more. Recently a Muslim woman came in to have her hair styled in this private area. What a great idea!  They even have a Mystic Tan booth. Of course they offer plenty of Spa Salon packages for parties or individuals.

It doesn’t stop there; in fact it doesn’t even come close. We then moved on to the spa area. I was able to see the massage and facial rooms. But there were two rooms that stood out to me. The Bamboo Room is a room for couples to go and have side-by-side massages and also has a two-person Jacuzzi tub. I told her my husband and I will definitely have to test that out. Another room has a capsule tub, which can be used for various scrubs, hydrotherapy or as a Vichy shower. Picture a tanning bed with a tub in it, but the top closes. Each room was more beautiful than the next. There is a special serene and tranquil waiting area for those clients using the spa. It is a dimly lit lounge with a large table in the middle offering a variety of teas, other beverages and even fortune cookies. Spa meals may be added to any service. You can sit there, relax and gaze at the wall, which is a very large koi fish tank. It is absolutely beautiful. You also see the tank when you are walking around the spa area because it is built into the wall. The ceilings in the spa area have a special barrier that hangs down so that the heating/cooling vents don’t blow all over the clients and the lights set the mood just right.

Get a massage with Susan Lee, a facial with Christine, or get your hair styled by Kelly or Marissa, or any of their other fabulous staff members.

All spa and salon clients are encouraged to unwind in their Turkish steam room or Cedar sauna. For those clients with services exceeding $100, they are also invited to make use of the Can Do Fitness Club.

As we walked the facility Gina was kind enough to introduce me to every staff member we passed. Everyone there is so friendly and you can tell that each and every one of them is passionate about their job. How many people can say that?

Take a look at their website to view their extensive list of services. They even have a Men’s Services section.

Book an appointment at Koi Spa, mention Princeton Scoop, present this article and you will receive 10% off services Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some great October Specials at Koi Spa:
Book the Deluxe Exotic Body Polish and get a complimentary Mystic Tan
Book the Salt of the Earth Detox Wrap and receive 20% off
Book a Keratin Treatment and receive a free bottle of shampoo and conditioner

The spa and salon are beautiful. I can’t wait to check out the Bamboo Room with my husband.

Koi Spa and Can Do Fitness Club also give back to the community by supporting the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Special Olympics of NJ and many others.

Childcare is available during most spa hours. Call for details when booking your appointment.

The Koi Spa is located in Princeton Forrestal Village and they also have a location in Edgewater, NJ. Visit or call (609) 720-0099 for more information.