Dude! That's totally me! Seriously!
DISCLAIMER: Please note that all products reviewed here have been funded by The Head Nurse/Cranky Fitness Girly Product Review Fund (ie, my paycheck). I have received no compensation or consideration from any maker of any of these products, though I wouldn't turn down samples of any of 'em, especially anything from Dogfish Head. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post, unless you count my shoving the cats off the keyboard as "harm". Do not use while bathing, driving, or operating heavy machinery. Side effects may include diarrhea, hypotension, hallucinations, and a craving for brownies. Tax, title, and license not included. Available to qualified buyers only. Offer ends December 25, 2011.
Even though I, too, wear Sensible Shoes, I am prone to fits of Girly. In fact, there are days when I'm downright feminine. Those days most often happen after I've had a muscle-tearing, horrid workout with Attila and have worked up the nastiest, funkiest, most toxic sweat you can possibly imagine.
My Girly Gene is expressed in things that get you clean, things that keep your skin healthy (especially during the winter--winters here are DRY), and things that make life a little bit easier for those of us who occasionally wear heels.
Therefore, in the tradition of Head Nurse, I present the Sun's Over The Yardarm Somewhere Edition of Foofy Girly Post-Workout Product Reviews!
First task when you're filthy and sweaty is getting clean. During the summer, I like Dr. Bronner's Peppermint or Lavender soap. Yes, it's drying. Yes, it's very concentrated. (Dilute! Dilute! OK!) Yes, the labels are complex enough that I used to read them as found poetry at Jim's Poetry Night at the diner. However, the Doctor will get you clean when nothing else will.
But in winter, what to do? You're horrid, you stink, you're oily and sweaty and not fit for human company, and yet if you use real soap, you'll end up cracked and dry and depressed. For those times, I recommend Bliss's Super Slough Scrub. It's 'spensive as all git-out, but it really, really works. It takes bumps away, moisturizes like a demon, and smells sort of like your dad's old Barbasol shave cream (ie, not flowery or girly, just clean). Plus, a little goes a long way, so even if you spend thirty-two clams on the stuff, you're getting an excellent return on your money. My bottle has lasted more than a month of daily to twice-daily use already.
How 'bout once you get out of the shower? If you're me, your skin is still dry and itchy. That's where Boots Amazon Forest Body Butter comes in. It's very, very rich. It moisturizes all day, and it smells like a cookie! Hooray for Team Cookie! I like to smear it all over any skin that'll be exposed before I go out in the cold to, say, do yardwork or galumph with Max, my half GSD/half Flying Flapdoodle buddy.
Your feet need a little extra attention during the winter months, too, since they're closed up in boots and running shoes and galoshes all the time. Mama don't play when it comes to her feet: because I'm a nurse, my feet are the foundation of my being able to work. For that reason, I have a trifecta of Foot Stuff that I swear by.
First are Birkenstock insoles. Again, spendy as a (redacted), but what price foot happiness? These things have kept me from having recurrances of plantar fasciitis and sesamoiditis, which is worth sixty smackers to me. It's not until you're lying in bed, sucking down narcotics and bourbon with equal abandon, that you really know what pain is. These insoles--and have them properly fitted by a professional, please--will cure what ails you. I move 'em from my work shoes to my workout shoes to my big clunky heels and wear them daily. (Well, except that they're currently in Abilene and I'm feeling their loss, but that's another story.)
Second is the fantastic Coconut Foot Creme put out by Burt's Bees. It's got lanolin, various oils, and glycerin in it, and it doesn't smell too much like peppermint. Instead, it's a pleasant summery smell, and it goes on warm and comforting. As with most Burt's products, a little goes a HUGE way, so don't get too excited with the application. If you do, you'll end up putting it on your elbows, knees, antique wood furniture, lips, eyelids, wood floors, dog, and boy- or girlfriend. Best of all, you can (and I say this from experience) slap this stuff on, put on your workout socks and shoes, and head out to run with no goopy after-effects.
Finally, and I know this sounds nuts but it's not, I love my Yoga Toes. I have foot problems in addition to those mentioned--I've got bunions, and cracked heels, and generally bad drag-queen feet--but Yoga Toes make my feet not hurt. I cannot express how important this is. The bunion on my right foot seems to be getting better, even, since I've been using these dudes. I put 'em on when I get home from work and walk around in my slippers with 'em in place (it feels weird at first, yes) and presto change-o, no foot pain in the morning! Considering that I used to miss either work or workouts because of foot pain, this is huge. Again, kinda spendy, but my set's lasted two or three years without incident.
Last but not least comes the Nurse Jo Threesome to relieve general aches and pains.
For chapped lips, there is nothing better than Carmex. The original and still the best, it'll protect your lips from thirty-mile-an-hour wind gusts, sun (if you get the stuff with SPF in it) and dry air, or soothe them afterwards. If you spend any time at all outdoors in the colder months, a buck or so isn't too much to invest in your overall feeling of happiness.
Icy Hot is one of those things that I never miss until I need it. Unlike Tiger Balm, which can get a little intense, Icy Hot can be applied over large amounts of skin to relieve muscle aches or strains. It can also go on very, very cold wet awful miserable feet to help warm them up. Again, it's three bucks at your local drugstore. Just be sure you take out your contacts and attend to any *ahem* personal hygiene issues before you smear the stuff around. Your hands will hold on to the menthol component of this stuff for a long, long time.
And, to finish this SOTYS session, my go-to relief for all aches and pains, mental, emotional, or physical, sustained at any time or anywhere: Dogfish Head's Burton Baton pale ale. A creamy, oak-finished pale ale with notes of vanilla in addition to the dry hoppiness that's a PA requisite, this 10% ABV booze is not for the uninitiated. It's a sip-and-savor, one-and-done beer that's equally good fresh or cellared (though, once you taste it, it's a sure bet you won't leave any to be kept for later). Be warned: at 10% alcohol per twelve-ounce bottle (wine is 12.5-13%) this stuff will, as the kids say, freak you up if you have more than a glass. However, if you have hamstring or rhomboid pain that just won't go away, eight ounces of this after a hot bath and before bed might just be what the doctor ordered.
That's all for this edition of Product Reviews. Turn in next time for things that go beep, things that go whee, and things that go bzzzzz!