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While quarantining has certainly slowed things down, it’s also severely spiked my stress levels. Seems slightly oxymoronic, but when you consider the emotional stress that a global pandemic can put on a person, it starts to make a lot of sense. Throw the impossibility of any sort of work-life balance into the mix and I’m left with increased anxiety and very little “me time.”
This “new normal” isn’t going away anytime soon, and I’ve decided something’s got to give: I can’t live like this forever, and neither can you. So I set out on a mission to craft the most relaxing spa night of all time. Because we all deserve a whole lot of TLC right about now, and sometimes a face mask, essential oils, and a fresh set of nails are just what you need.
Set The Scene With Vitruvi
First thing’s first—we have to set ourselves up for success. Just as a bubble bath with harsh lighting is flat-out blasphemy, a spa night just doesn’t feel like a spa night without eucalyptus and lavender. Period.
I’ve always been a fan of essential oils and diffusers, but they’re notoriously hard on the eyes and always stick out like a sore thumb on my bedside table. I knew I was asking for a lot—something long-lasting, functional, and design-forward—so I was pretty surprised to find Vitruvi and to learn that they checked all of my boxes.
Famous for their gorgeous stone diffusers that double as statuesque art pieces, Vitruvi is also known for their non-toxic, all-natural, and 100% pure essential oils. I opted for their natural Terracota color, and picked out a few scents to try, including Sleep, Pacific, and Dusk (all of which contain lavender and eucalyptus, obviously). I’m pretty picky when it comes to scents, so I was definitely nervous to try Vitruvi’s combinations, as I usually prefer to do the concocting and mixing myself. Flash forward to multiple bottles and one bruised ego later, and my nose is very pleased—the combinations are way better than mine could ever be and evoke the very feelings they were meant to. For spa night, I’m going to opt for Dusk, since the sun is just starting to set.
A Little Mental Stimulation With Ordinary Habit
Quick confession to make before we carry on: I’m a big gamer. I love puzzles, riddles, charades—all of it. I’m a Gemini, so a lot of this has to do with competitiveness and an incessant need to prove myself, but I also chalk it up to a love of mental stimulation. My boyfriend and I have gotten into the habit of whipping out a puzzle every time our Sopranos binge-watching gets out of control (in a last-ditch effort to save our brains from complete and utter mush).
To me, spa night isn’t just about pampering my body. It's about resting and resetting my mind, too. In the same way that a crossword puzzle is the perfect complement to a peaceful morning coffee, a puzzle feels like a great prelude to a relaxing bubble bath. My favorite puzzles are all from Ordinary Habit, a new brand on a mission to help folks access habitual moments of calm and connectedness.
The puzzles feature beautiful artwork from a handful of independent illustrators, and the brand highlights these artists with bios on their website. Drawstring cloth bags and artwork postcards are included with every puzzle box, and we love that each and every puzzle piece is made with recycled materials.
To get the juices flowing, I brought out Ecstatic Motion by Priscilla Weidlein, because that raccoon just screams peak relaxation.
A Golde Face Mask A Day Keeps The Dermatologist Away
For my 21st birthday, the universe gifted me with shots of tequila and incredibly persistent hormonal acne. As someone who had clear skin and no braces in high school, it was karmically inevitable that I’d develop adult acne, but still. It’s been an upward battle that I’ve mostly gotten under control (shoutout to Spironolactone), but I still have to be very careful about what I put on my skin. I tend to opt for natural skincare products with as few ingredients as possible, so I’m naturally a big Golde fan.
When Golde launched in 2017 with a mission to bring “good vibes to the wellness industry,” it was love at first sight. With a host of products all powered by superfoods, including Pure Matcha and a Turmeric Latte Blend, the brand took the world of wellness by storm, landing features in Vogue, Fortune and Goop.
My skin has been looking a little dull, so I went with their Papaya Bright Face Mask. Made with clean ingredients and superfoods, the mask literally smelled like the smoothie I had for breakfast. I let it sit for 15 minutes while I took my highly-anticipated spa night bath.
Perfect The At-Home Mani With Olive + June
It’s been 9 months since I’ve gotten my nails done, and that probably would have been the case regardless of quarantine. I’ve always found it hard to justify the price of a good nail salon session, but on the rare occasion that I do get my nails done, I truly feel like a million bucks. I’ve tried countless times to recreate this feeling at home, but it always ends in disaster.
I recently was served an Instagram ad for Olive + June’s Poppy, their nail polish bottle handle that promises to make “painting your own nails easier, faster, and better than ever.” A little nervous it was all too good to be true, I added their Starter Set (which includes The Poppy, a sheer glossy polish, and their Top Coat) to cart and hoped for the best.
The Poppy is incredibly innovative—you just pop it on top of your favorite nail polish, and it gives you a much better grip and control over your strokes. It improved my manicure by probably 110%. I was definitely still glad that the Starter Set came with a neutral, sheer polish since a 110% improvement still leaves me at about a B+, but all in all, a major improvement.
After my face mask and bath, I dried myself off and gave myself my best mani and pedi yet. I did it while sitting on my closed toilet seat with a towel turban, so it was a little less glamorous than a nail salon, but a whole lot quicker and cheaper, too.
Some Me-Time With Dame
So I’m going to step away from the personal storytelling on this one and keep it a bit more product-focused, seeing as my mom loves reading all of my TQE reviews (hi Mom). But here’s what I will say: when I said me-time, I meant me-time.
The pleasure gap is a very real thing that I was never able to put into words until I met Dame. A sexual wellness brand on a mission to reduce stigma around sex and increase pleasure (especially amongst and for vulva-havers), they were speaking my language. They have a range of sexual wellness products, from vibrators to lube to couple's kits and pillows. A refreshing addition to the sex toy industry, Dame uses medical-grade silicone and lots of user research to create the best products on the market. Plus, they have a three-year warranty for some peace of mind.
Dame’s innovation is powered by Dame Labs, their inclusive focus group of sorts that anyone can apply to be a part of. A human-centered approach to sex toys is surprisingly uncommon, so it’s great to know that what you’re buying and has been tried, tested, and approved by other folks just like you.
Before I climbed into bed, let’s just say that my Fin, a water-resistant and three-charge finger vibrator that was one of Dame’s very first products, was fully charged and ready to go.
Say Bye To Bedhead With Crown Affair
Like my skin, my hair is a fickle creature. It’s incredibly thick, which means hairdressers love it and I, well, don’t. The thing with thick hair is—when it looks good, it looks AMAZING, but for the most part it doesn’t. Usually, it resembles Mia Thermopolis before she became the Princess of Genovia.
Thick, frizzy hair is definitely fixable, but it usually entails a whole bunch of steps, serums, and shampoo-less shampoos. While I love a good morning ritual, I’m a strong believer of a “less is more” approach and hate the feeling of caked-on product in my hair. Plus, most products that I found to be effective were far from clean—filled with PEGs and sulfates, it didn’t feel like I was treating my hair well at all. I heard about Crown Affair from a friend who is as much of a sucker for branding as I am. The brand’s aesthetic definitely called me in, but it was the countless reviews from Vogue, Allure, and The Zoe Report that got me to add to cart. I went for The Comb No. 002 and The Scrunchie No. 001 (my absolute favorite). Plus I was lucky enough to snag a sample of The Oil, their de-frizzing and shine-adding oil made with tsubaki and meadowfoam seed oils. The Oil was super lightweight and tamed my hair without making it feel sticky or crunchy, while The Comb allowed me to get rid of some tangles without blowing my hair up. I’m officially in a very serious affair with Crown Affair.
To wrap up spa night, I tucked my Fin back into my underwear drawer and got started on my bedtime routine, which always includes a thorough brush-through using The Comb No. 002.
Alright folks, this has been a lot more computer time than a spa night should really entail, so I’m logging off. But in all seriousness, 2020 has been one hell of a year, and you definitely deserve at least one perfectly curated spa night, so I hope you’ll take me up on it. Here’s to some much-needed R&R. 🥂Night!