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It looks like spring has finally come to New England. Having been trapped indoors last weekend by the virtual monsoon that descended upon the northeast, the waters have now receded and today was a beautiful day. So I ventured out to the 'burbs to take advantage of stores that I can't find in the city, like Wal-Mart and Target. At Wal-Mart I discovered a little gem of a product from J.R. Watkins: the Shea Butter Lemon Cream. J.R. Watkins began as a family-owned and operated apothecary in the tradition of Kiehl's and C.O. Bigelow. Founded in Minnesota in 1868, the company had several national and international branches of the store throughout the late-19th-to-mid-20th century. Today, the brand can be found in major drugstore and retail chains such as Wal-Mart, Target, Duane Reade, Ulta, and drugstore.com. J.R. Watkins's products are a budget-conscious alternative to Kiehl's or Bigelow's if you're searching for genuine, honest-to-goodness old-tymie apothecary products.

The J. R. Watkins Shea Butter Lemon Cream is 4.6 ounces of creamy goodness that looks like frosting and smells like birthday cake, the yellow kind with lemon filling. Its moisturizing properties are derived from a combination of shea and cocoa butters, plus a blend of five oils – macadamia nut, avocado, apricot kernel, jojoba and coconut. It's a great multi-purpose treatment – perfect for dry hands, feet, elbows, and cuticles. I bought it to use on my hands throughout the day after frequent hand-washings and when my hands get chapped after doing the dishes, to avoid wasting my precious Perlier Risarium Black Rice Hand Cream which, being more expensive, I only use once in the morning and at night before bed. J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream absorbs quickly and doesn't leave hands greasy, just soft and velvety. And it's incredibly cheap – $4.30 at Wal-Mart, although it retails for $7.99 on the J.R. Watkins website.

The J. R. Watkins Shea Butter cream comes in four other fragrances in addition to the Lemon Cream: Aloe and Green Tea, Lavender, Mango, and Vanilla.

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