I'm a sucker for any holiday that promotes giving and receiving gifts — even Valentine's Day, which some jaded types among us consider a fiendish mercantile plot to make consumers buy chocolate and flowers, send cheesy cards and overspend on romantic dinners out.
But one thing about this "holiday" — its passivity — has always bothered me. (The quote marks are to remind you it's not celebrated as a public holiday in any country.) So rather than waiting around for your swain to bestow his lovably off-target offerings, why shouldn't a woman in her 50s, 60s or 70s grant herself a few small indulgences? I'm talking about those extras that our budget-minded, sales-shopping, always-thinking-of-others-first psyches usually deny ourselves.
So here are four things your heart may desire — and four ways to soothe the heartache if they don't come true for you.
1. A getaway in Tahiti. If you're as unlikely to score this coup as I am, you can still get a fast tropical fix by blending a tinted bronze liquid with your daily moisturizer, serum or foundation. (Possibilities to consider include the Body Shop's Honey Bronze Drops of Sun, Dr. Hauschka's Translucent Bronzing Tint or Cover FX's Custom Enhancer Drops in Sunset or Sunlight.) Put a drop of bronze in the palm of one hand, add a generous dab of the other and blend the two together before applying the mixture to your face and neck.
Finally, smooth on a coconut-scented body cream — you might just believe you're on a South Pacific beach! (Among the many candidates here are OGX's Nourishing Coconut Milk Hibiscus Lotion and Jergens' Wet Skin Moisturizer With Refreshing Coconut Oil.)
2. A week of workouts at a pampering spa. Another year is about to come and go without my visiting the Canyon Ranch or Rancho La Puerta spas. No matter — I'll simply combine at-home yoga, speed-walking my dog and bouncing on my mini trampoline into a sort of 24/7 staycation. And for solace I'll reward myself with some crazy-print capri leggings and colorful sports bras, a few workout T-shirts or a hoodie from the likes of GapFit, Target or H&M.
If you're determined to do likewise, treat your sore muscles to a soak in a lavender-scented mineral salt bath. This is also a handy way to banish stress and flush out bloat. I'm partial to the combo of magnesium and aromatherapy you get in selections like Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution With Lavender or in Ahava's Dead Sea Essentials Lavender-Scented Bath Salts. It's the second-best way I know to end the day in bliss.
3. An eye lift to erase signs of fatigue. Skip the scalpel — always a smart financial move — and tap on some eye cream (yes, it's time to finally buy one) under a peachy concealer. Working from the inner corners to the outer ones, gently blend both in a wide, under-eye half-circle. This combo can plump up lines, hydrate the dry skin around your eyes and neutralize any dark circles. Then do your usual medium eye makeup, but swap out those rich, smoky neutrals in favor of a lighter, eye-brightening palette: Think peach, nude pink or rosy tints. In the past, I've gotten high-quality results at a low cost from the likes of Maybelline's Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, e.l.f.'s Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette, Rimmel's Magnif'Eyes Eye Shadow Palette 002 and Sonia Kashuk's Eye Palette in Bare Necessities.
4. A significant other. Swiping right is an option, sure — but why not boost your chances of meeting someone face-to-face by test-driving a new head-turning perfume? Any fragrance that's sweet or "edible" will lure them like red-velvet cupcakes, especially if it boasts gourmand notes of vanilla, caramel, honey or cocoa. My girlfriends and I have all sampled Angel by Mugler, Shalimar by Guerlain, Vanille Coco by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and Pure Vanilla by Lavanila. A compliment on any of these is a guaranteed conversation starter.
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love after 50, as well as AARP's new Beauty & Style special edition for tablets.