Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fight stress by pampering yourself

I have big plans today. With my shower.

Oh, shame on you, it's not like that.

Like 79 percent of American women (according to the National Sleep Foundation), I've been feeling stressed out.

So I decided to do something that only 0.1 percent of American women (according to my generous estimates but no real stats whatsoever) actually does: take care of myself.

I used to gauge my mental stability by my fingernails. Back when "Desperate Housewives" wasn't quite as bad as a Telemundo daytime soap, I religiously set aside one hour every Sunday to manicure and gasp at Gabrielle Solis. If my nails were chipped, that meant I hadn't taken Me
Time that week. My polish served as a sort of cooking timer on my self-care.

Today, my nails aren't chipped; I haven't painted them in about six months. My self-care timer went off so long ago that I've burned myself to the core.

Hence today. I'm working a half day, with Friday afternoon dedicated to making me feel pretty.
I was inspired by a chat with Bobbie Thomas. Yes, The Bobbie Thomas, of E!'s "Fashion Police" and the style editor of the "Today" show. Yes, I am name-dropping to give my naked-fingernailed self fashion cred.

Bobbie (we're on a first-name basis, although she doesn't know it yet) was in Colorado this month sharing beauty tips as part of the Gillette Venus Spa Breeze Tour.

Shaving has always been a sore spot for me, literally. So I asked Bobbie to teach me the tricks my mommy should have. Bobbie recommends a razor for women, with grips so it doesn't slip, a multi-blade head that pivots to the contours of your legs, and a built-in shave gel bar. Wouldn't you know it? Venus makes such a razor.

Having a decent razor is one simple way to treat yourself, especially when a mud wrap at the spa isn't in your Neo-Depression Era budget.

Here are some other ways to make your own spa at home -- with or without Wisteria Lane.

Schedule it in. Literally block out a regular time on your schedule.

Indulge all of your senses. Put drops of lavendar oil on your robe, shower wrap, sheets and pillow. Dim the lights.

Cool down. Make your own "spa water." Add a chopped cucumber, one sliced orange, lime or lemon and ice cubes to a pitcher of water. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour before drinking.

Wrap it up. Throw your towel in the dryer with a dryer sheet so it's toasty when you get out of the shower.

Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone and computer. Play relaxing music. Dance to said music.

Stock up, especially if your beauty products consist of one bar of Ivory soap and a moldy loofah.

My latest obsession is the Dermaquest Skin Therapy Hydrating Gel Mask, $59.50 at, with ingredients like honey, willow bark, tiger grass, kombucha and green tea and lavendar flower water. This mask leaves your face feeling fresh, without the crusty stiffness of other heavy masks.

My BFF Bobbie loves the Matte Nail Polish by Knock Out, $22, No-shine nails look edgy and totally unique. Plus, you only need one coat. Who needs hour-long awful comedy-dramas?

Photo by Flickr user Jenn and Tony Bot.