Some of the best things in life are worth the wait

In a little over a week I will mark my ninth anniversary of living in Canada. My husband and I rolled into Ottawa in a rented minivan packed full of my stuff on Friday, November 24th, 2000. The last leg of our trip coming up from Harrisburg, PA was scenic and gorgeous. We passed by the incomparable sight of lake effect snow on mountainsides and through forests for most of our hours traveling through upstate New York. By the time we got to Ottawa, the sun had set for the day and we were driving through rush hour to get to Matt's – now our – apartment through one of the first snowfalls of the year. It was one of those really nice snowstorms where the snow is just heavy enough that it falls gracefully from the sky and gives you a warm happy feeling, even if you’re trudging through it to move all of your most treasured possessions into your new home. It was a nice welcome to Ottawa for me.

As I was preparing for my move to Canada, I remember walking into one of my favorite stores in the fall of 2000 to buy some things for myself, as well as a few goodbye gifts for various friends and family. While there, I mentioned to the associate that I was going to be moving to Canada and asked if they had a Web site – or even better, stores in Canada. (Do you remember the days when you had to ask if a business had a Web site? Can you believe there was actually a time it wasn’t just a given?) If I remember correctly, they did have a site, though it wasn’t set up for e-commerce, so did me no good for ordering. She handed me a catalogue and said I could order from it, but they didn’t deliver in Canada. No stores, no e-commerce, no delivery - triple fail.

That store was Bath and Body Works. I’ve used their stuff since they opened in my hometown, Tallahassee, FL, going on about 20 years now. Victoria’s Secret offers similar products and is even owned by the same company, but their bath products never appealed to me the way Bath and Body’s does. I was aware of The Body Shop’s presence, but I pretty much never went there until I discovered their lip balm. Even after moving to Canada, I couldn’t get into the products on offer at The Body Shop. So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I spent copious amounts every trip to Florida to stock up until the next trip – or I ordered off of Ebay. I was able to keep a steady supply of Bath and Body Works products in my bathroom cupboard for the past nearly nine years – without having a store within Canada’s borders for most of that time.

Then things started changing. A couple of years ago, I heard about a store opening in Toronto. And then a year ago, an even juicier rumor that a store was opening in Ottawa started circulating. I was ecstatic. I could see the light at the end of my Bath and Body Works starved tunnel! Without any substantiation, I took the rumor for fact and tucked it away in my memory banks to keep my eyes and ears open for any hint that my favorite store was indeed going to make a home for itself in Ottawa.

Two weeks ago, Bath and Body Works opened its first Ottawa store. As fate would have it, they chose to open in the mall that is CLOSEST TO ME!!! I was fortunate to hear about the opening from one of my local Ottawa Twitter friends who tweeted that she’d been to the grand opening. I wanted to run right out and see this momentous occasion for myself. However, I held back. I still had product in my cupboard and I’ve been using Bath and Body’s stuff for 20 years – I was happy to wait and let others experience the joy of my favorite bath shop. Besides, I figured that if I waited until the crowds died down, then I could more easily savor the experience of browsing through the store.

The first weekend, I waited because of the crowds. The second weekend, I was just too sick to bother. This past weekend, I was just well enough that I couldn’t wait anymore – and I needed to go pick something else up for Brandon anyway, so why not stop at my favorite bath store? It was the sensible thing to do.

Sometimes, when you build up the anticipation to a significant event, you end up feeling that it's anticlimactic. Other times, it is everything you hoped for. That’s how it was for me. I don’t know why I love my bath stuff, but I do. It’s a vice of mine. I love relaxing in a bubble bath that smells pretty while I read a book. I love putting lotion on after a shower and knowing that it’s going to hydrate my dry skin AND make me smell clean and nice. No doubt that there are scents that overdo it and I try to avoid those, but I always feel I’m pampering myself when I use my bath stuff – and I can pamper myself really easily and quickly everyday this way. I’ve never been a mani/pedi girl. If I go to get my hair cut four times a year it’s a lot. But I absolutely love some good bath stuff. It’s quick, easy and a whole lot cheaper than going to the spa!

I waited nearly 9 years to have the convenience of buying Bath and Body Works locally in Ottawa. It was worth the wait, but I’m SO happy the wait is over! I hope everyone else in Ottawa will love them as much as I do – though that’s probably a bit much to expect. :)

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Quest for the Best: Bath Stuff

That’s a sophisticated label, eh? “Bath Stuff”. My definition of bath stuff includes shower gels/body washes, bubble baths, lotions and body sprays. I have a definitive favorite place to buy these things, but first I’ll talk about some that I can buy pretty much anywhere.

Calgon – Yes! Take me away! When my husband and I bought our house, we had a ridiculous-sized tub put in. Yes, even with my 6'4" husband, the baby and a cat, I could still climb in there with them. I’m not a huge fan of taking baths, but I have to admit it’s kinda nice to have a nice long, hot soak in our ginormous tub. When I was out looking for bubble bath at one point, I stumbled on bottles of Calgon and I couldn’t believe it was still around! There were two scents available, both are quite nice. One is a flowery, orchid smell and the other is a little fruity. I like their bubble bath because it doesn’t dry my skin out, leave a soapy residue or make me itch. And it smells pretty. :)

Dove – This is another one that I came across without really looking for it. Dove has apparently been expanding their line of body washes for a while. I have used two scents that I enjoy. One is the lemongrass scent in the yellow bottle and the other is mint in the blue bottle. The mint is my favorite of the two. My only real beef with these is that (at least in the stores where I’ve bought it) there is no lotion to accompany the body wash. Bummer.

Aveeno – I just found a new line of body washes by Aveeno yesterday. I decided to try out the Lemongrass, Rosamary and Mint – and so far, I LOVE it! Good price, good product. Again, my skin didn’t get dried out from it and the scent is pleasant without being overwhelming. Like the Dove, I didn’t see any accompanying lotion, but maybe it just wasn’t stocked at that store. Or hopefully it’s in the works.

Bath and Body Works - I’m a little picky about bath stuff. You see, about 20 years ago, Bath and Body Works opened up in my hometown, Tallahassee, Florida. Like 75% of its shoppers during that time, I became addicted to Sun-Ripened Raspberry and stocked my bathroom with the shower gel, lotion and body spray. Everyday I left the house smelling like one giant Sun-Ripened Raspberry. Not that you’d know, since half the other girls in school were wearing the same thing.

When it comes to Bath & Body Works (B&BW), I’m a bit fanatical. When I was about to move to Canada nine years ago, I actually went to the store to find out if they had stores in Canada at all or whether they had a Web site and would ship to Canada. The answer to all those questions was a big, fat NO. I nearly had to go on anti-depressants until I came up with ways to get my fix. For years, I have resorted to buying B&BW products on eBay and stocking up copious amounts on my trips to Florida. For a little while, I actually tried to switch to using The Body Shop’s products, but it didn’t last long. I’m just not a TBS fan, except for their lip balm.

Alas, my perseverance has paid off. My favorite store to buy bath stuff finally came to Canada last year. They’ve been in Toronto for a while now and, if the rumors are true, they are coming to Ottawa soon, too! I’ve been patient for nine years waiting for this. If there is any justice in this world at all, my patience will soon pay off!

Just for the record, no one is giving me anything to talk about these products, though a gift bag with some nice discontinued B&BW Garden Mint products wouldn't go amiss. (Totally kidding!) These are my personal random thoughts and I’m not associated in any way with the companies mentioned in this post. I just like sharing good things with other people when I find them.

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