Make Me Fancy.
November 9, 2013 12:50 PM   Subscribe

For a bunch of reasons (some good, some bad) I have the next two and half months totally free. I don't have to do a thing, I have no reason to make any more money and I've got oceans of time, a nest egg of savings, and a gym membership. Previous times like this I've focused on making my skill-set or apartment better/fancier, but now I want to focus on myself. No creative projects, no learning and growing, just pure, unabashed vanity. What can I do in two and half months to get all kinds of pretty? Ideally during the day.

Things I have already done:

Gotten a ridiculously expensive haircut and highlights.
Teeth-whitening and super-powerful toothbrush buying.
Clothing mostly all tailored.
Went to a dermatologist to get some medication to clear up red spots.
More frequent gym-going (although suggestions on exact things to do in the time span would be good.)

If it matters, male, late 20s, NYC. Local suggestions and services very appreciated. Trying to avoid what I usually do when these come up and just drink and watch TV for three weeks.
posted by The Whelk to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Pedicures. Make your feet pretty enough to eat off of.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:53 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I did this as a bored college student home on break in a town I had not grown up in and thus friendless for two+ weeks. Moisturize the crap out of my legs. I raided the cabinets for every hotel lotion, half-used Jergens, overly smelly Estee Lauder, everything and anything. I cut up squeeze tubes with scissors so I could get the last dribs and drabs. And then as I plowed my way through a stack of library books, I lotioned up my feet and calves like nobody's business. It was extra satisfying because it was winter and normally my lower half of my body resembles a dragon in molt.

Also I know nothing about this but just so your upper half doesn't feel neglected and under-emolliented, but could you go to Aveda or Origins or wherever smells good to get a skin care consultation? Winter in NYC is harsh, all that indoor heat and outdoor frigid air.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:03 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Go for walks all around the city. That's what I do with free time. You get to exercise and see beautiful and unexpected things at the same time.
posted by mlle valentine at 1:13 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Spa day, in addition to the pedicure. Facial, Pedicure as mentioned above, manicure, massage, body wrap, the whole deal.
Learn a new physical skill? Such as dancing or a martial art. Yes, it's learning and growing, but it's also good for your body.
Work with a clothing buyer to get yourself even fancier duds?
Light tanning, as long as its really short - I know it's not great for your skin but feels fantastic when the weather turns cold. You might even want to apply sunscreen beforehand.
Another Spa day, because, why not?
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:14 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

- Get a platza at the Russian baths
- Go to Spa Castle and get a scrub
- Drink a ton of fancy fresh juice
- Order a custom suit
- Yoga classes
- Get your eyebrows threaded
posted by thirdletter at 1:15 PM on November 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

Regular massages, once a week with this guy for the duration. You will know and love your body when he is done.
posted by headnsouth at 1:19 PM on November 9, 2013

Yes, the eyebrow threading and the spay day with body wrap!

Also, shopping. Get a fancy cashmere scarf, some really nice gloves, a letter opener, some nice stationary or paper. Cologne or bay rum.

Then go out to eat or get someone in to cater and serve a special meal. Might be nice to have a professional bartender in to teach you some old school cocktail making (and entertain your friends at the same time).
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:22 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

lots of hot baths with scented epsom salts - they will make your skin and particularly your feet wonderfully soft. listen to an audiobook and drink a glass of wine at the same time to really relax.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:38 PM on November 9, 2013

It's sort of lame but make sure to drink a lot of water. It's very good for your complexion.
posted by MadMadam at 1:44 PM on November 9, 2013

I was going to suggest a trip to Art Brown International for a fountain pen and lovely bottled ink, but I'm heartbroken to learn that they have closed. I have no personal experience with Fountain Pen Hospital at 10 Warren Street but have heard good things.
posted by usonian at 1:49 PM on November 9, 2013

Plastic surgery?
posted by rue72 at 2:24 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

More frequent gym-going (although suggestions on exact things to do in the time span would be good.)

After boxing 2-4 hours/week for a month, my body was on point. It's a great workout.
posted by girlmightlive at 2:27 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding an ultra-indulgent spa visit and skincare consultation. Eat really well and drink lots of water, if you're not already. You can give yourself home spa treatments, too, but at least one professional pampering is in order.

Get an old-school barbershop shave.

Are you happy with your hair products? If not, see if you can get your hands on some salon samples.

Really nice socks and undergarments are a treat. So is a good umbrella. Get some if you don't already have them.

If you don't already have a good idea how to care for leather goods, get a kit and learn.

Upgrade your sewing skills and/or take on a simple wardrobe change like putting nicer buttons on a shirt or jacket that needs an extra something.

If you don't have a favorite cologne or have had a favorite for a long time, consider finding one/updating (personally, I'd go to CB I Hate Perfume in Brooklyn). It's a little thing, but feeling fancy is a big part of looking fancy, and you've got a lot of the major bases covered already.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:28 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Build or hone your wardrobe! Make a "My Style" board on Pinterest, and from the fashion category, pin only those pics of outfits or clothing you wholly love. You'll notice elements and styles that show up a bunch, and you can use that to fill out or modify your current wardrobe.
posted by moira at 2:58 PM on November 9, 2013

How about some ridiculously expensive and indulgent diet like all-organic fruit smoothies?
posted by bq at 3:09 PM on November 9, 2013

Instead of spa days, this would be a good time to try microdermabrasion/chemical peels/cold laser or other more intensive skin rejuvenation therapies that require a bit of recovery downtime.

Use a sheet mask (SK II or Shiseido, or My Beauty Diary which are cheap and work just as well; be sure to refrigerate them) every day, and an exfoliating mud mask once a week.

Build your fragrance wardrobe/upgrade your home fragrances at Aedes de Venustas on Christopher Street. Or the Barneys beauty department.

Manicures and pedicures once a week.

Eat breakfast and fresh fruit every day with good silverware and china, drink good coffee/tea.

And while not directly related to personal vanity, pre-fixe lunches at restaurants like Del Posto, Babbo, Le Bernadin, Jean Georges, Gramercy Tavern etc. counts as pampering, in my opinion. :)

Change your clothes in the evening/dress for dinner!
posted by peripathetic at 3:32 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

See what acupuncture is all about.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:10 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bikram yoga, you will feel disgusting and like you are going to die during it, and then AMAZING afterwards. Get the 30 day for 30$ intro pass, an excellent deal at Bikram NYC.

There was also an article in the UK's Daily Mail (yes, an excellent source of science and all factual-based news, I know) about how drinking 3L of water a day makes you look 10 years younger. If I had the time where I could go to the restroom every 15 minutes, then I would try that too.
posted by bquarters at 6:06 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you have a lot of money, I would also get a stylist or personal shopper times. You could have your own montage scene a la Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
posted by bquarters at 6:07 PM on November 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, if I had that kind of time and wanted to feel pretty inside and out, I would invest in a juicer and some organic produce along with locally slaughtered breakfast meats and eggs, and up my breakfast game. Possibly as a treat for dragging my butt to the gym every morning.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:26 PM on November 9, 2013

Dance classes. All day, every day.
posted by tel3path at 6:30 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go back to your dermatologist / medical spa and get a microdermabrasion with glycolic peel. Get one per month. You will look Fabulous.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:53 PM on November 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yoga or pilates every day for a long-lasting change to your posture, which can make your body look very different in a good way.

Dance for giving you exercise and a smile on your face. Specifically something like salsa that will be highly social as well as energetic. You can look as good as you like, but if you move like a dancer it takes your look to a whole new level.
posted by kadia_a at 1:15 AM on November 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do Hal Higdon's 10K novice training program. It takes eight weeks. I prefer running outdoors unless it's colder than mid-30s.

When I did Higdon's intermediate 5K program, I was in amazing shape. I am not a natural runner, so I focused primarily on mapping my runs and building running playlists. It was worth it.
posted by purpleclover at 7:58 AM on November 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

Nthing dance lessons, of all types. They will make you feel great, perhaps move differently, they are great exercise, and partners of your preferred gender will throw themselves at your feet when you reveal you know how to dance. Consider lessons that are explicitly exercise, like Zumba, but salsa, swing (especially jitterbug and lindy hop), and ballroom generally will all provide benefits. What the heck, try out ballet. Or maybe line dancing/hustle. We have line-dancing lessons at my workplace every Friday at lunchtime, and besides the exercise, they give me, a person who's never felt good at learning dance steps, a huge body-related self-confidence boost.

Actually, as a more general comment, that would be my suggestion: Once you've got the superficial stuff well in hand -- which plenty of folks have provided great suggestions on already, and realistically will not take 2.5 months -- do stuff that makes you feel like you conquered a challenge or made yourself more intriguing. You'll exude the kind of confidence that attracts people to you and makes you like yourself, and that's a kind of beauty you can't slather on (or rub off).

Speaking of slathering, though: Invest in a great shaving kit. I don't know what that should include, being of the female persuasion, but get a shave at a high-end barbershop and have them recommend techniques, accoutrements and products to use at home. Don't forget the gorgeous-smelling aftershave, either.
posted by Smells of Detroit at 12:29 PM on November 10, 2013

You already go to a gym - how about hiring a personal trainer, 3 times a week, to kick it up a notch or few? 2.5 months is enough time to get into the best shape yet.
posted by seawallrunner at 5:57 PM on November 10, 2013

I would work out a lot and eat really well. By "well" I mean healthily (veggies, whole grains, lean protein) and from scratch rather than decadently.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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