But that was before I discovered Naked Body & Bath in the Rice Village. They put the Zen back into shopping - and that's a good thing for tired, stressed out shoppers like me.
C'MON...TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF
If you visit Naked, be prepared to take your shoes off. I mean it. They have this whole foot soak thing going on that is heaven...and it's free. Bonus!!
I admit I was reluctant to try it at first, just because I felt a little bit weird relaxing on the job, but then I figured I might as well give it a go. Besides, how could I write about it if I didn't know what it felt like?
So I plopped myself in one of the comfy chairs and let the "Naked" associate fill up the brass tub with hot water.
Then I prepared myself for the most relaxing shopping experience of my life.
"Everything here is at least 95% natural - a lot of it is even more than 95%," said Janine Abmagr, one of the three co-owners of the store. "All of our handcrafted soaps, bath salts and scrubs come from natural ingredients."
This means that you're not going to find detergents or parabens in any of their stuff. Instead, the products are created to nourish your skin. They are also hypo-allergenic which makes them good for most people who happen to get rashes from everything.
HERE'S WHERE IT GETS FUN
Okay...so there I was resting in the foot bath, and letting my stress melt away as a fizzy bath ball moisturized my tired feet. And what was I thinking about? Was I thinking about my story deadline? Was I worried about how I was going to get everything done this week? Nope...all I was thinking about was what scents I would like.
You see, this is how it works. Everything starts fragrance-free and then you choose your own essential oils (or fragrance oils) to custom create your own bath products.
"You can choose one oil or you can mix a couple together. I've seen one customer mix up to seven in order to get the scent she was looking for," said Abmagr.
Once you pick your fragrance, the associate will add it to your product - whether it's a lotion, a bath salt or a scrub. It's fun to watch because she really does scoop everything into a mixing bowl and mix it up. But the customizing doesn't stop there.
"We have three types of lotions and three types of bath salts depending on your preference," said Abmagr. "Of course you can try them. That's our whole philosophy - try before you buy."
Hmmm...another decision? I think this calls for an additional soak in the footbath.
By the end of the 10 minute foot soak (I choose a vanilla/honey/coconut scent), I was able to cross my sister-in-laws and a couple girlfriends off my list.
I would love to tell you what I got them, but sometimes they actually read my blog and I don't want to give it away. But let's just say, they all will have soft, great smelling skin in 2009.
Oh...and one more thing. Because most of the store is unpackaged, the "Naked" associates gift wrap your purchases in cute little boxes and bows so you don't have to - and it's completely complimentary.
It's a small thing, but just like the footbath, a little pampering goes a long way.
GETTING NAKED OVER THE HOLIDAYS
If you want to get Naked this holiday season, visit them at:
2516 Times Blvd
PS: All this customizing isn't as expensive as you would think. My custom-made gift sets were around $25 each, but you can create your own for as little as $15.