We suspect that you're a meticulous planner, especially at this time of year, when making a list and checking it twice is de rigueur. But despite your great attention to detail, you're probably forgetting something crucial: you.
If self-care doesn't come naturally, you need to practice it. Put your feet up and submit to a pedicure every once in a while. Lie back in a frothy bath. Remember to buy that tuberose-scented body lotion—and use it.
A multisensory bath experience by Diptyque. The scented candles, $40, now have hair-and-body washes, $32, to match (in the newest scent, Oyédo, and two favorites, Figuier and Baies): everything you need to create your own oasis.
Custom lipstick, two tubes for $50. A lip color made to your own finicky specifications is an affordable extravagance you'll thank yourself for every day. Three Custom Color Specialists (www.threecustom.com) can take your order by mail (just send them something to match—or a shade that's close—and the company will send you samples until they get the match right) and will keep your formula on file so you can have a lipstick whipped up whenever you like.
Lotus Flower sachets from L'Artisan Parfumeur, $70 for a set of four. Tuck these rose and black currant-scented pillows, each adorned with a single handmade lotus flower blossom, into your suitcase and hotel drawers so they smell like home, or even better.
A luscious cashmere robe to wrap up in after a warm shower. The price can run as high as a used car's (especially for pashmina versions), but a soft, thick, cashmere version from Victoria's Secret, $175, is luxurious enough to satisfy the most particular homebodies. Curl up in one of these with a fat book and you'll never want to leave the couch.
A weekend of indulgence at the exclusive Ocean Club resort in Paradise Island. This hushed, heavenly Bahamian retreat (a favorite of Oprah's) just completed multimillion-dollar renovations, and the new spa is scheduled to open this month. The spa villas will include private gardens with open-air jacuzzis, outdoor waterfall showers that could spoil you for life, and such amenities as beachfront massages. Imagine the sound of waves, the scent of essential oils, the sensation of every ounce of stress evaporating as you relax under the tall palms...
A spa-style showerhead: Whether it's an install-it-yourself (with a few twists of the wrist) AquaFall from Waterpik, $40, or the ultrachic, plumber-required Waterworks Industrial showerhead, $330, an upgrade from a skimpy spray will bring a more auspicious start to every day of your—or someone else's—life.
Aesop's Tea Tree Leaf Exfoliant, $55: a mix-it-yourself scrub that you can add to your facial cleanser and adjust to your ideal consistency.
A Mango Sugar Glo at Canyon Ranch in Massachusetts's Berkshires or Tucson, Arizona, $120. This 50 minutes of exfoliating fruit massage and head-to-toe moisturizing has become the most requested treatment since its introduction at the resorts last year. If you can't get there, order the "glow to go" home spa kit, $45, stocked with Mango Sugar scrub, Mango Sugar bath & body oil, Mango Sugar body lotion and mango-scented candles (call 800-726-8040 to order products).
A lathering with fluffy Acqua di Parma cologne bath powder, $64, in the bath or for a quick handwashing.
Before you dry off completely from a long bath, dab a little Conquete peppermint-infused massage oil, $21, on your pressure points.
A compact you want to whip out of your purse: Calvin Klein's translucent powder in a minimalist square silver compact, $26.
Laura Mercier Honey Bath in Crème Brûlée, $40. Use the accompanying wooden honey dipper to drop a dollop of this creamy gelée into running water and let the fragrance fill the room. Lock the door, slip into the bath, and don't come out for a good, long time.
A shampoo or conditioner as fragrant as a tropical vacation—Phytologie Phytorhum, $18, or Philip B. White Truffle moisturizing shampoo, $45, and Garren New York Light Volumizing conditioner, $22. Enjoy the lush lather, intensive moisturizing ingredients and intoxicating aromas.
Tinted powder that makes your skin look all lit up. T. LeClerc's tin of translucent Banane Dorée powder, $45, is one of those makeup artists' secrets that the rest of the world hasn't discovered. The ultrasheer particles make any complexion look luminous—no sleep required.
Potpourri you can't get at Bed Bath & Beyond...like the elegant and richly aromatic amber crystals from Côté Bastide, $40.
A quickie lunchtime manicure. Now that the $15-and-under nail salon has become a fixture in just about every city and town, there's no excuse not to go out and get yourself treated.
Or, an over-the-top pedicure...like Rosy Toes at Bliss Spa in New York City's Soho, $65. After a vigorous buffing, your newly smooth feet are settled on warm stones and soaked in a milky rosewater concoction with rose petals; then your lower legs are massaged. Almost every day spa has its own version of unimaginable foot pampering.
A fragrance wardrobe from Jo Malone. The British perfumer is taking her signature scent public. Jo Malone 154, the exquisite blend of grapefruit, herbs and musk worn by the perfume mistress herself for years, is now available as a cologne, $45, body cream, $75, and shower gel, $35.
Triple-milled, oversize bath soap—for the creamy, blanket-like lather and the sensory thrill of running a giant bar over your skin. Two of the very best: Yves Saint Laurent Nu, $25 (a black soap that produces frothy white suds), and Baudelaire Provence Santé honeysuckle body bar, $15 (which is so beautiful, you almost hate to get it wet).
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