How to Staycation Properly


Today, the temperature outside will reach a high of 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Tonight, that will drop to 2 degrees (but actually -9 with wind chill). There’s been dirty snow and black ice crusted on the ground for over a month and has been running a headline that reads “2,200 miles of wintry mess coming!” Welcome to the new winter normal.

With these conditions, one cannot be blamed for craving a little tropical escape. Problem is, one also is responsible for paying rent and going to work every now and again. It can all get very disheartening.

So one subzero Saturday probably not unlike the cold weekend we're about to have, I decided to brighten things up on my own, with a little at-home spa day. I got the radiator going full blast, which admittedly made the room feel more like San Francisco in the spring than St. Barth’s in July, but it was good enough. I put on some music (the Bob Marley station on Pandora really kills it) and lit my precious Frédéric Malle Jurassic Flower candle to set the mood.

No matter what happened, this was always going to be a tropical affair. As a kid, I drank virgin piña coladas pretty much any time my family went out to dinner—even at Italian restaurants. In high school, I developed an addiction to Kai Eau de Parfum, which I wore daily despite the fact that its ultra-strong scent was definitely contributing to my regular migraines. I even had one of those disgusting pineapple air fresheners in my car at one point. The professionals call it “olfactory conditioning.” I call it good vibes. Whatever the attraction is, tropical scents like coconut, mango, or jasmine bring me right back to summer days spent lazing on the beach and the singular sensation of sea-salt-covered hair and skin.

But back to the very frigid present: I started my staycation in the shower. I'm usually a four-minute shower girl, but when on vacation, it's important to indulge. I added the Creme de Coco Tropical-Riche Masque to my usual routine of Bumble and bumble’s Creme de Coco Shampoo and Conditioner, which on its own takes seven minutes to settle in for coconutty-soft results. While I was hanging out in there, I used Red Flower’s Isla Das Rocas Revitalizing Sea Salt Scrub to slough off dead skin—the next best thing to a effortless exfoliation in the sand. This delicious scrub smells of blood orange, grapefruit, and lime—ingredients that had me thinking about delicious cocktail recipes for the rest of the day.

After finishing up in the shower, I toweled off and rubbed on The Organic Pharmacy’s Enzyme Peel Mask with Vitamin C and Papaya. I could have probably gone for a more dramatic-looking mud or clay mask (as this one goes on clear), but I couldn’t resist the smell here—like candy without all the supposed adverse effects of processed sugar. Leaving that on for 10 minutes, I then slathered up in Alba Botanica's Hawaiian Body Cream in Deep Moisturizing Kukui Nut, again picking something with an indulgent scent.

Proper masking demands a quick mist post-facto, which is when I picked up my new addiction: May Lindstrom’s The Jasmine Garden Botanical Mist. I'm not alone in loving this—and at the moment, it's the closest I'm going to come to feeling the dew of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It also happens to be excellent for freshening skin and reducing redness and inflammation (two major symptoms of winter air). I finished with a few drops of Drunk Elephant's Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil for good measure. Hello, almost sun-kissed glow. Nice to see you again.

The next step, I'll admit, went a bit awry. I tried a DIY pedicure with Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Cut the Mullet and found out that I’m not particularly skilled in the nail-painting department. But let’s be honest—nobody is going to see my toes anytime soon, so I let my slightly imperfect work remain. (I also don’t own nail polish remover as I discovered, and I was not about to Saran Wrap my feet, throw on Uggs, and go outside in search of some.)

At this point, I was running late for a friend's dinner party. Feeling refreshed—but not yet tan—I hopped out of my bathrobe, and rubbed on a coat of Nars Body Glow, a shimmery substance made with Monoi de Tahiti oil (smells like coconuts and fresh flowers). Then I blended a quick layer of KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr Tinted Day Cream over my face as my only makeup for the night. It’s an amazing clay-colored tinted moisturizer that gives your face that just-back-from-vacation color, without the sun damage (plus, if you were really on vacation, would you even want to be wearing makeup at all?). I quickly spritzed my still-damp hair with the Original & Mineral Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray, gave it a tousle, and I was out the door. Several friends (and a few strangers) stopped to ask me if I had just been away on a trip. I just smiled, thanked them, and ordered another mojito. Mission accomplished.

—Victoria Lewis

Photographed by Tom Newton.