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As we progress very, very slowly toward normal life, our day-to-day pandemic existence can still feel like a slog. Which makes this Valentine’s Day—traditionally a day to celebrate romantic love—an excellent opportunity to indulge in some treats. Bolster yourself with a few goodies to get you through the last dregs of winter.
When it comes to relaxing, few things rival the power of a warm bath. Associate editor J. Bryan Lowder recommended this pillow to make yourself extra snug in the tub: “The Bath Haven pillow is comfortable and well-designed, sticking handily to the tub and shower wall with suction cups.”
To make sure that half your body isn’t left exposed, Future Tense editor Torie Bosch suggested the Madam of Leisure drain cover. “As the name suggests, the small piece of silicone goes over the overflow drain to keep it from doing its dastardly job of skimming the water off the top of your bath.”
These Wander Beauty eye masks are a great way to simultaneously pamper yourself and decompress. Shannon Palus said: “These under-eye masks are refreshing and fancy in equal measure and are a great gift for the self-care enthusiast who has everything. Like so much of skin care, whether the serum does anything is sort of a mystery to me—but I don’t care because it feels soothing on my skin, especially after a day that involved crying and/or general stress.”
We could all benefit from shedding some of what we’ve been carrying around, even if it’s just dry skin. Enter the Baby Foot peel: “You put plastic booties filled with an exfoliating formula on your feet and keep them on for an hour. Then, about a week later, the dead skin on the bottom of your feet will begin to peel off,” wrote Karen Han. “Frankly, it’s kind of a gross process, but it’s oh-so-satisfying once it’s done. Your heels have never felt this soft.”
Scent can be a powerful mood enhancer, and perfume doesn’t need to be something you wear for other people. Production assistant Madeline Ducharme wrote of the Philosophy Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere scent, “I spritz myself every day, even if I’m working in slippers and sweats. It’s a warm, comforting scent that reminds me of being at home for the holidays, snuggled up by a fire. (The shower gel is also divine for long winter quarantine bubble baths!)”
If you’d like to smell good but also need to moisturize, try this Compagnie de Provence hand lotion. Commerce production associate Cleo Levin said of it, “I have never smelled an olive tree, and thus cannot judge its authenticity, but the incredible scent is both subtle and sophisticated. The blend of sweet almond, olive, and grape seed oil absorbs right into your hands leaving no trace of grease.”
If you prefer butters for moisturizing, this one can be used on both skin and hair. Jamilah Lemieux wrote, “This delightfully whipped blend of shea, mango, and cocoa butters is a special treat for thirsty skin, and it will make you smell as good as all the desserts we’ve been forced to make for ourselves this year. Plus, you’ll be supporting a great indie business.”
If you’ve found yourself enjoying candles during quarantine, you might try a wooden wick candle. News director Susan Matthews sang the praises of Yankee Candle’s WoodWick brand, stating, “Their most notable quality, as suggested by their name, is the wick: It is made of wood, and it crackles. It’s very soothing, like having a fire going (a very, very tiny fire).”
Wax and Wick also makes wooden wick candles, which are soy-based and come in an array of nature-based scents. “Unlike more traditional fragrance candles, which can be cloying and overpower a room, my Wax and Wick candle leaves pleasant, scattered whiffs of its scent throughout my space,” wrote Levin. “I’ve become addicted to burning mine—often lighting it as soon as I begin the workday. As I sit at my desk, the dancing flame creates a meditative atmosphere while I work.”
If you want to take your WFH comfort to new levels of coziness, Jamilah Lemieux suggested this wearable blanket: “It feels like being inside of a Glo Worm, a toy that I completely forgot existed until this very moment. It’s very soft.”
If you’d like some chocolate for Valentine’s Day but are tired of the same old box of Godiva truffles, chocolate lover Katie Holbrook said, “I am in love with Central Market dark chocolate sea salt caramels; they are salty but sweet, small but indulgent.”
Another way to bring some sweetness to your life is with quality honey. Podcast producer Jess Miller writes, “Growing up, honey was something generic that came in a bear-shaped plastic tube. But lately I’ve been indulging in local honey and bee products. Inspired by a friend with a small bee business, I’ve learned about the joys of small-batch honeys, which taste radically different depending on the plants in the area and the season in which they’re produced. They’ve definitely added an extra jolt of sunshine to mugs of tea, hot toddies, and other things getting me through the winter. Here in Maine, a good place to start is the Honey Exchange, which sells honey from local beekeepers, as well as candles, soaps, and more (they also ship!).”