This is what I tell people who come to me for advice (all 2 of them). You need your own secret stash of things/rituals to help you put (and keep) your game face on (literally sometimes).
My not-so secret stash. Things that have helped me through the dead of winter, allowed me to keep my sanity, and kept my head above water these past few weeks of 2010.
1. Kiehls Mint Lip Balm and Deep Pore Cleansing Face Masque. Something about the cleansing ritual that helps me wash away negative vibes. The deep pore cleansing mask also entertains my 2-year old. I guarantee that kids will leave you alone the entire time you have the mask on. That's a guaranteed 15 minutes of quiet time. You might just be able to hear yourself think. Promise. I also love the mint lip balm! So relaxing, it's addictive.
2. Clean and Clear facial cleansers and scrubs. These are the best ones I've found, and the drugstore prices help me maintain my Kiehl's purchases (and Starbucks addiction). Trust me, I've tried the Cliniques and the Lancomes (not to drink), and these have worked best for me.
3. Opi and Sally Hansen nail color. Nothing like a good manicure/pedicure after a tiring week! Okay, I admit to being partial to the neutral colors, but there's nothing like a good sheer light pink or dark purple to spice it up a bit. I love the colors in the Colecion de Espana (Opi). Sephora carries a few shades created exclusively for them by Opi.
4. ELF Mineral Lipsticks. I find myself choosing these over the more expensive department store brands. In fact, I think I am on my third reorder of these items - Rustic Brown and Prime Plum (great neutral shades for everyday wear). These are mineral based, cost a fraction of other brands ($5 vs. $20), and work as good as the expensive lines.
5. philosophy fragrance. Uplifting and feminine is how I describe these. Unconditional love is my current favorite, and my constant is Amazing Grace. I also love the little life statements on each philosophy product. Food for the soul.
Frederic Fekkai Glossing Hair products. Okay, so you know that I have mood hair. Mood hair = high maintenance. This is the perfect set for color-treated fried hair. Makes me, er, my hair feeling nice and young. If you know what I mean.
Battered souls need pampering, and pampering is easy to do with the right tools. You need to stop and nourish your body and soul for the next round. Burnout is inevitable, unless you stop to take care of yourself.
Because you are worth it. Because you deserve it. Because people depend on you to be more than okay.
p.s. in case you are wondering, Lease did not receive valuable consideration in exchange for her opinions regarding any of the above products. She used her leftover fun money and a good portion of her kids' college funds to cover her purchases. She is, after all, a woman of substance (or other).