If Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart can publish lists of their favorite things then so can I. I may not have a celebrity budget, but I’ve found a few things over the years that make me consistently feel good. Unlike Oprah and Martha’s lists, you won’t find anything outrageously expensive on mine. No Manolo Blahnik stilettos, no trips to Madagascar for the holidays. But here are a dozen things that I feel are worth spending money on time and time again.
Does a Body Good
1. Crest Premium White Strips
For we middle aged babes, there are very few quick fixes and this is one of them. Wear these teeth whitening strips for a week and you will have noticeably whiter teeth. Nothing is more youthful than a dazzling smile. I use them now once a week to touch-up. $34.99 at Drug Stores.
2. Neutrogena Build-A-Tan Sunless Tanning Lotion
Forget the hassle of spray tanning booths. This lotion is quicker, easier and cheaper and results in with a much more natural look. Essential for the long Chicago winters. Who wants to look like you’ve crawled out from under a rock? $9.49 at Drug Stores
3. Body Shop Body Butter
Even Victoria Beckham agrees that this rich cocoa butter based cream is the best body moisturizer around. It comes in a wide array of yummy “flavors.” My favorite is the Mango. $20 at Body Shop.
4. Tweezerman Slanted Tweezers
If, like me, you suffer from what my Aunt Mary calls “wild hairs” listen up. These tweezers are absolutely the best on the market. They can grasp any hair on your face, no matter how stubborn or slippery. $20 at Ulta.
5. Gap Long & Lean Jeans
I’m only 5’3”, so I can’t tell you how much I adore the Gap for offering their jeans in three different lengths. This Long & Lean style delivers what the name promises - and the jeans are so comfy. $58 at the Gap.
6. DSW Shoe Store
Thousands of pairs of shoes in your size! No waiting to try them on! Discounted prices! New stock every week! What more could a woman wish for? Prices range from $19 for flip-flops to over $100 for designer brands.
7. Chipotle Mexican Grill
I’m addicted to Chipotle. The food is fresh, colorful and delicious. To keep calories under control, skip the tortilla by ordering a Burrito Bowl and go easy on the sour cream and cheese. You’ll be back. A hearty entrée and drink cost under $8.
8. Bertolli Frozen Meals
Too busy to cook? You’ve got to try these. Due to Bertolli’s innovative freezing technique, you can serve a restaurant quality Italian meal, full of veggies, in less than 10 minutes. Buy two bags to serve a family of four. Regularly $7.99 at Jewel (but I stock up when they’re on sale).
9. Veuve Clicquot Rose Champagne
If you want to get the party started, nothing does it like a bottle of bubbly. And if you’re popping a cork, you might as well make it something good. This beautiful pink champagne is a splurge, but that’s what makes it special. About $65 at wineries and liquor stores. Too rich for your blood? Try an Italian Prosecco like Zonin, for only $12.
10. Chicago Botanical Garden
While simply gorgeous in the warmer months, it is an uplifting place to visit any time of year. With endless gardens, walkways and water views, you can’t help but feel joyful. A guilty pleasure of mine is checking out all the wedding parties that come for photographs on late Saturday afternoons in the summer. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. Free admission, parking $15.
11. Metra Rail
Why fight traffic? Metra makes a trip into Chicago a pure pleasure. It’s fast, on time, provides great people watching and a spectacular view of the city. And if you want to indulge in a little champagne on the train (see #9 above) it’s safe and legal. One-way fares are comparable to a gallon of gas.
12. KT Tunstall
Cool music from a cool chick who doesn’t sell herself short to sell her albums. For a boost, check out her new album, Drastic Fantastic, at kttunstall.com. She’ll be playing at the Vic in Chicago on May 16th. Tickets $40.
These are some of the things I love, now how about you? What are some tried and true products and places that make you feel good about life? We are all in need of a pick-me-up from time to time, so pass on the knowledge, sister!