It's always nice to have friends in high places. Or if not high ones, at least places that have good beauty supply stores. With that in mind, please enjoy this postcard we received from writer Alexandra Bergeron:
I’m not entirely sure why, but I often find myself dreaming of Vermont. Everything seems so much simpler up there among the mountains and vast fields of nothingness. It’s one of the few places I can truly escape to, a solace of sorts. So any time I get the chance, I’m always willing and ready to run away to Vermont and spend my days wandering through the majestic forests and, of course, The Vermont Country Store.
Walking in, the scent of lavender talc and patchouli pillows engulfs you. It is a place unlike any other—filled to the brim with health and beauty tonics, which promise to cure anything that could ever threaten to ail you. Littered with soaps, salts, and salves, the old apothecary-esque space can be rather daunting. It’s easy to get lost in the midst of the handcrafted lotions and stacks of strange tinctures, so I wrote down a list of everything you might want to sample, should you ever find yourself in Rockingham, Vermont.
Tired Old Ass Soak Mineral Bath is made with rosemary and eucalyptus and tends to your aching muscles and nerves while rejuvenating your skin with a large dose of minerals. Its minty-but-warm scent clears out your lungs and makes everything around you dissipate into a fine steam.
Made with aloe and shea butter, Deep Steep's Brown Sugar-Vanilla Body Wash is a luxurious body wash that smells just as its name implies. Because skin is so absorbent, Deep Steep made it their mission to create a body wash with quality ingredients that wouldn’t be harsh on skin. This one is packed with vitamins E and B5 and leaves your skin feeling clean and hydrated.
Original Indian Earth Powder is packed in a small clay pot and can be used for just about anything. The multi-purpose, all-natural powder blends quickly into any skin type and does wonders for my barely there blonde brows.
Spa Relaxus makes incredible sheet masks for your hands, feet, and face. These pre-moistened, paraben-free clothes come in a variety of masks from their Bamboo Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil Facial to their Grapeseed Oil Toning Facial Mask and their Almond Oil Moisturizing Facial Mask. For hands and feet, I usually stick to the body-specific Olive Oil Nourishing Hand and Feet Masks as they've never let me down.
Badger Sleep Balm is full of essential oils that promote relaxation and nourish your skin. I’m a sucker for any type of balm or salve (Tiger Balm will always be my favorite), as they’re so easy to use and can be taken anywhere. Badger Sleep Balm is something I put on every night before bed in a desperate attempt to quiet my thoughts.
Of course The Vermont Country Store wouldn’t be complete without some locally crafted soaps and lotions, which happen to be exceptional. Elmore Mountain Farm's Vermont Goat’s Milk Soap is one of the best bar soaps I’ve ever used. It has a thick lather, which doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight, and it is made with hydrating olive, coconut, palm, and cocoa butter. Their Goat’s Milk Lotion is also incredible. It has a silky texture from the avocado, apricot, and almond oils used to make it.
For vitality (whatever that means), you can't leave without Strength of The Hills staples. Strength of The Hills Apple Cider Vinegar is made in Vermont and infused with ginseng, chickweed, skullcap, turmeric, and other natural herbs. It truly is an elixir and a nice change from plain old Apple Cider Vinegar. Their Oil of Oregano is often regarded as nature’s antibiotic and is said to relieve an array of ailments from coughing fits to nausea.
Tangee Lipstick, which has been used for over 70 years, goes on clear and changes color according to your skin tone. For my powder-white skin, Tangee turns a soft rose color and leaves my lips surprisingly soft for lipstick.
Grandpa’s Pine Tar Shampoo doesn’t have the most wonderful smell or texture, but if you have an itchy scalp or any sign of dandruff, this is what you need.
Last but far from least, I never, ever leave The Vermont Country Store without a Rhode Island Soapworks' Mint Eye Pillow. This hand-crafted pillow forms to your eyes and smells of freshly plucked mint. It has helped me through many bouts of car sickness, headaches, and sleepless nights.
Alexandra Bergeron is a freelance writer currently pursuing her MFA in creative non-fiction from Savannah College of Art and Design.