Monday, October 13, 2008

the cure for the common cold...but not really

I'd intended to do some fierce blogging this weekend, but sadly I spent most of my time passed out on the couch in my crazy cat lady robe with the DVD menu of Emma playing over and over. I usually get sick once a year, and my current bronchial disaster is admirably continuing that tradition. Although I might break down and go to the doctor for this particular illness (over the past two and a half weeks my cough has grown from the honk of a trumpet swan to the call of a velociraptor), I'm a firm believer that it's a waste of time, money, and energy to go to the doctor for coughs and colds. Usually, the bug just needs to work its way out of your system. So instead of worrying about a cure, focus on making yourself comfortable so that your immune system can do its thing.

Kiss My Face Cold & Flu Shower Gel & Foaming Bath: As it says on the label, this product is not a cure, but it is a comfort when you're feeling under the weather. This vegan shower gel fills your hot shower with foaming aromatics such as eucalyptus and fennel. The addition of aloe vera and olive oil prevent it from stripping the skin of moisture, a must during dry winter months. The scent is all at once soothing and invigorating It's like taking a refreshing dip into a pot of Vicks VapoRub, but without the icky grease factor. Try pouring this into a hot bath, then lay back and cover your eyes with a cool washcloth for a total Calgon Take Me Away experience. I originally purchased this for a quick wake up call in the morning and to help me cool down in the summer. But now that I'm in full-on sick mode, it's one of my get well musts. From this moment on, this will be the first product I reach for when I detect the slightest trace of a sniffle.

Neti Pot: For years, my friend Elen attempted to get me to try a Neti Pot. But I didn't cave, not even when it was featured on Oprah. But once I read an article in the NYTimes raving about this miraculous little device, I buckled and decided to give it a try. The Neti Pot is a small ceramic pot used to pour warm salt water through one nostril, so that it trickles through the sinus passages and out the other side. Yes, it's as freaky as it sounds. Initially I was worried that pouring water through my sinus cavity would be similar to getting water in my nose at the pool. But the addition of salt makes the solution similar to your natural tears. So there's no stinging, no sputtering. Neti Pots can provide immediate relief to congestion and runny noses, and over time it can minimize the effects of seasonal allergies and sensitivity to dust. Besides, there's something satisfying about performing a Stupid Human Trick in your bathroom.

Yankee Candle Company Fresh Cut Roses Candle: Last year I walked into my friends Kate and Katherine's apartment immediately noticed how lovely it smelled. They had this giant candle lit in their kitchen, and the fresh floral scent had spread to all of the rooms. Usually, I'm a bit of a candle snob. L'Occitane. Tocca. Laura Mercier. Diptyque. But this big fat candle from a store in the mall smelled just as sophisticated. This isn't a heavy cloying flowery fragrance. It's a realistic blend of heirloom roses that immediately transports you into the garden of a wealthy estate in a Jane Austen novel. It's light and relaxing, perfect for when you're feeling particularly sickly and unattractive. Plus, the 22 oz. jar can burn for up to 150 hours. When I'm sick and feverish, lying in bed in my cat lady robe, I just light this candle and pretend that I'm Kate Winslet in all of her forehead glistening glory in Sense and Sensibility. Though I'll probably leave the bleeding bowl in the past where it belongs.

Fables: When I'm feeling gross and sleepy, I don't want to read something new. I don't want to read anything that requires me to slod through 100+ pages of opaque verbose prose before I can become invested in the narrative. I want something fun, undemanding and entertaining. And having pictures doesn't hurt. My friend Christian introduced me to the Fables comic books not long ago, and I still can't believe I went as long as I did without reading them. The story intertwines familiar characters from the most well-known fairy tales and folk stories, depositing them into a small exile community in the middle of New York City. The plots are clever, the dialogue is snappy, and the illustrations are beautifully drawn. Not to mention that this award-winning series is heavy with political allegory. Fables certainly isn't simple, but it is immediately engaging. Perfect for sick days spent sprawled on the couch or tucked into bed.

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