I treat myself to a professional pedicure almost every six weeks. It’s the least I can do for my beaten-up feet, particularly my cracked heels. Because I live in Florida, my feet are subjected to all sorts of daily torture; including going barefoot and wearing flip flops. The pedicure is part of my Cycle of Beauty, the name I give to the ongoing efforts I make to look my best and includes, but is not limited to, haircuts, hair coloring, eyebrow and bikini waxing, exfoliating and anti-aging regimens.

Each time I get a pedicure, the unfortunate soul who is working hard on making my feet beautiful pulls out the razor blade and asks if I want them to use it. I mournfully nod my head yes, apologize for their struggles and smile at the immediate gratification of my short-term heel solution. But this solution only treats the symptoms not the problem. Nothing will change the fact that I abuse my feet.

Then last month we had a 10 day cold snap. And it was the best thing that ever happened to my feet. During that week and a half, it was so cold that I wore socks almost all the time, even around the house and in bed (not the most romantic thing but then again neither are cracked dry heels that get stuck on the sheets). And I slathered my heels with Aquaphor Ointment before I put the socks on. Lots and lots of it. After just a few days, my feet were smoother and my heels were less cracked which motivated me to take my foot care one step farther and use a foot file in the shower. And it worked. No more cracks!

It’s been a few weeks since our cold snap and my feet are still looking good. Though I don’t know how long it will last. It’s time consuming to keep up with my Cycle of Beauty. I don’t want to be a grey, hairy woman with ugly looking feet, dry skin and wrinkles but, sometimes, something’s got to give.

So tell me, when you’re pressed for time, what’s the first thing to go from your Cycle of Beauty?

Jen Cullen is a 40-something pseudo housewife, divorced and re-married with 2 kids, one stepdaughter and no pets. She writes Life’s Dewlaps: Musings From An Underused Brain  where she unburdens herself of the many thoughts in her head. It’s not as ominous as it sounds but she likes to explore random topics ranging from using at-home hair color and playing baseball with her son to taking Milk Thistle to prevent hangovers and using arousal gel.