Steam, Flying Piggies, and Bold Teacups: How to Pamper Yourself at Home with Bargain Goodies

So, I’ve spent a ton of money going to the spa. I typically go for scalp and foot reflexology. My “girl” is currently out on maternity leave, so while I’m having my own personal pity party, I’m happy for her and hope she and her little girl are doing well. I also like to get a eucalyptus steam treatment afterward, which everybody, really, should have, to purge all the not-so-nice stuff that gets into our skin and makes us look haggard, tired, and aged. I generally have good skin, but my acne flares up when I become hormonal.

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My yoga instructor likes to rub oil onto the “Third Eye” Chakra after class.

For those of you who suffer long-term with acne, try antibiotics. I used to have such ugly, painful acne, that I would cry and stay home much of the time. It wasn’t until an aesthetician at my spa told me that my problem was bacterial that I asked my doctor for Doxycycline and my face cleared up. It’s like magic! In any case, steam is also essential for good skin.

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Steaming cleanses the skin, aids in circulation, and promotes a healthy glow.

Lately, I’ve been figuring out ways to recreate a spa at home, especially since I’d like to save some money. By the time you tip the nice ladies at the spa/salon (I’ve begun trimming my own hair as well), you’re likely spending a pretty penny (pun intended). I recently splurged and got my first pedicure, and the experience wasn’t the most pleasant. I felt like I was being interrogated by the girl who was scrubbing away at my feet. Am I married? What does my boyfriend do? Do I like my job? Is there a cordial and tactful way of telling a well-meaning spa attendant to stop being so intrusive and simply do their job? Awkward. I’m not a chatty Cathy who shares my business with anyone who will listen. I keep to myself and let others be, in return.

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My feet looked and felt amazing, but it just wasn’t worth the incessant questioning, amidst my tight grasp on my beloved Nook.

I’m also a huge fan of shopping, especially at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, where you can get some really killer deals. I’ll admit that shopping gives me a nice, natural high, especially when I feel like I’m getting a bargain. I’m an adjunct professor, so I need bargains!

I’m so crazy for this Bucky 40 Blinks Ultralight Eye Mask ($4.99), that I bought two in some adorable prints. I’ve never really used a sleep mask before, but this unique bra-like design helps to dispel any light and contours to the curves of your face. I also notice that I’ve been having some very intense, vivid dreams since I began using a sleep mask, so I wonder if there’s a correlation.  In conjunction with the pain meds I’ve been prescribed for dental work, I’ve been getting some excellent sleep lately.

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There are so many pretty patterns, I kinda want all of them.

I also bought this ice pack from Home Essentials with a very cute flying piggy print. I’ve seen a number of equally precious designs, such as little monsters, owls, or whales. I have impeccable timing, since I recently underwent a very painful and lengthy root canal. Narcotics aside, my tooth has been throbbing, and eating has become a sort of chore. Needless to say, this ice bag has been an invaluable and very comforting tool in healing myself and getting some quality sleep. I rest it on my jaw and use my Eeyore plush to keep it in place as I drift off. Yes, I make it work!

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This has been a lifesaver; I typically wake up around 3am and refill it before wandering back to bed.

I bought this Batiste Dry Shampoo ($5.99), which smells amazing. I prefer to let my hair go for a few days without shampooing, which is what we should all be doing, since shampoo robs hair of natural oils and typically infuses our hair with chemicals and other icky stuff. I have abnormally oily roots, which become unmanageable after only two or three days, and dry shampoo is a lifesaver, especially when I just feel lazy. I’ve also recently made the decision to stop using so much heat on my hair. I use an airbrush (like a hairdryer but inside of a big round bristle brush with a cord to plug in), and I feel like I’ve spent way too much time styling my hair with it–although my hair is awesome and bouncy when I’m done. In any case, you should try to keep some dry shampoo in your bag or office for when the maintenance becomes too much of a hassle.

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The scent is “sassy & daring.” Meow.

The discovery I’ve made in this experiment has been a sweetly tragic revelation: I have my mother’s wavy brown tresses. As soon as she saw my new ‘do, she showed me her stash of “Curly Pudding” and other pro-curl products that I’m welcome to use at any time. I have a few wonderful snapshots in my head of my mother’s voluminous hair all done up as she wears her flight attendant uniform (she worked for TWA until she became pregnant with my older brother).

I’m definitely a Fekkai fan! Very pricey in stores like Target or CVS, but not so at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. It’s funny, their hair care products sort of look like forgotten rejects that have been hidden away for some time and are only now slapped with a random price tag. Lucky us! Fekkai Summer Hair Beach Waves has me all excited for the beach getaway I’m planning for me and my beau. This also smells pretty incredible–a sweet citrus meets light floral. According to several sources, this product is rare? Another reason to dig through stuff at these bargain spots and find some nice treasures to test out.

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I’m all about “surf-sexy” hair this summer.

Dream Silk Comfort Cream from Earth Therapeutics is made with valerian and lavender–the bottle even says “Liquid Pajamas.” This is also made with tea and is an awesome precursor to a nice nap, paired with a hot mug of chamomile tea. This soothing lotion is a nice substitute for the overpriced aromatherapy line found at Bath & Body Works. My faves are the Sleep (Lavender Vanilla) and Stress (Eucalyptus Spearmint) scents, but they’re NEVER on sale, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve also grown tired of being bombarded by some of the sales associates at BBW. Last time I wandered in, I left after one lady greeted me and asked me how I am three different times.

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This stuff definitely has a calming effect, and only $3.99!

This Desert Essence Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream for normal skin has some really great ingredients, such as jojoba and vitamin E. You can even keep this in the fridge for an added cooling, soothing effect when applying. I’ve had chronic dark circles under my eyes for as long as I can remember. My mother used to say, “Aww you have circles under your eyes, you need a nap,” and I remember thinking No, this is just my face. Anyway, I still like to do what I can to diminish the tired look they give me.

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I haven’t been using this long enough to speak to its effectiveness, but it doesn’t smell the greatest.

I’m not a high-maintenance girl–more like a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl who knows how to be kind to herself. I know a lot of women don’t take time for themselves, especially mothers. I’m used to writing about more intellectual or theoretical material–film, literature, and women’s issues, so it’s nice to take the opportunity to write about health and beauty just for the sake of reviewing products and sharing my experiences with readers. If you don’t have the time or money for a visit to a day spa, pamper yourself at home with some bargain goodies like these. Don’t underestimate the power of music and lighting. Light some candles and play some relaxing music (I use the “Yoga” station on Pandora), exfoliate your skin and get some steam going, then use a scented body oil on hydrated skin (I like patchouli oil from Plantlife) before drifting off to sleep.

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Find this cute tea cup set at Dutch by Design.

Sweet dreams.

-J

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