Real Simple readers reveal how they indulge their hedonistic sides.
Buying designer shoes.
Staten Island, New York
Easy. Facebook Scrabble. In lieu of any other activity.
Elmo and chocolate. Elmo goes on for my kiddos, and I sneak away with the chocolate.
Watching Gilmore Girls all day.
Columbia, South Carolina
The Real Housewives of New York. Do women actually act like that?
I make sure that anything that goes against my skin is as soft and supple as possible. This has led me to some amazing fabrics and materials, like my favorite bamboo sheet set. These sheets are softer than silk, never pill, and are eco-friendly, expensive, and spectacular.
Los Angeles, California
Skipping work, leaving the kids in day care, and watching a girly movie in the middle of the afternoon…with a bowl of ice cream.
Barrington, Rhode Island
Hot chocolate in the summertime.
Brooklyn, New York
I have a toddler, a house to clean, deadlines to meet, and grass to cut, so my time is limited. But when I have time and I can do anything I want, I take a mile hike on the Appalachian Trail with my best friend to a secret pond, where we spend the afternoon swimming; eating lunch; talking about kids, life, marriage, and work; picking blueberries; and listening to the buzz of insects and the croaking bullfrogs. It is always a blissful time for me. I let myself do it just twice each summer (while my husband entertains our daughter). I take the day off. It always feels like I’m playing hooky.
Checking celebrity gossip online at work throughout the day.
Letting myself daydream. It especially feels like a guilty pleasure if I have a lot of things on my to-do list. One minute I’m folding laundry, and the next I’m staring out the window, no more chores, lost in the moment.
Montclair, New Jersey
Lifetime movies on Sunday mornings.
Mahwah, New Jersey
Coming home from work and sneaking into the house so the kids don’t see me and then having a masseuse slip in for an hour massage while my babysitter watches the kids. They don’t even know I’m home until the massage is over!
Scarsdale, New York
Letting someone think that what I’m wearing is expensive when I got it for mere pennies at a yard sale.
Buying that third, fourth, or maybe even fifth pair of red shoes. You know, the ones you really don’t need.
Jane McCollum Brady
Spending afternoons at the local bookstore with a chai latte, a scone, and a stack of magazines that I love to read but don’t subscribe to.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Vodka―with tonic and lime!
Salt. I have a savory tooth. Most women I know tend to go through a half gallon of ice cream or some other sweet treat during breakups or on bad days; I go through a half pound of smoked brisket.
Babysitting my friends’ kids for free. They think I am doing them a huge favor, but it’s actually for my own personal enjoyment. It gives me an excuse to do things like pet baby goats, play dress-up, and dance in the middle of the mall.
Greensboro, North Carolina
I have three: developing crushes on professional athletes, those rubbery “cutlets” you can stick inside your bra to fill out a dress, and caller ID, which allows me to ignore 80 percent of the phone calls I receive.
My unsophisticated taste in alcohol. Give me a fuzzy-navel wine cooler or a bottle of Arbor Mist Peach Chardonnay and I’m a happy camper.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Lately, watching the news makes me so sad and angry that I find myself escaping to the wonderful world of Indian cinema. Bollywood films, with all their singing, dancing, romance, and beautiful people, are long, lush, and magical beyond belief.
My guiltiest pleasure is lingering in bed. My dog needs to go out and there are a hundred things to do, but I ignore them all. For the next 5, 10, sometimes even 20, minutes, all I do is bask in the warmth of my sheets and watch the sun shining through the blinds. The dog and the rest of it can surely wait.
Anything my husband whispers in my ear.
Cheese. All kinds. Any kind. All the time. Cheese.
Despina Georgiadis Betza
Bloomfield, New Jersey
Using profanity. I dislike myself afterward, but it sure feels right when, for example, I discover that I left my car lights on all day while I was at work.
Hiring a housekeeper and taking cabs more frequently―even in this economy.
Astoria, New York
Dark chocolate, chorizo, dirty martinis, and killer high heels.
New York, New York
Watching awesomely bad action movies. I love the car chases, the stunts, and the ridiculous dialogue. Bring on the buttery movie-theater popcorn!
My hidden candy-bar stash. Bad for teeth (guilt). Bad for inner thighs (guilt). Bad for honest relationship with husband (guilt). But…well worth it!
Dreaming about winning the lotto. I like to think about how I would financially reward those who have treated me well and punish those who have treated me poorly.
Maspeth, New York
Hormel Vienna sausages. I buy organic and local fresh foods for my family. I read labels carefully to avoid hydrogenated oils and hidden sugar and all kinds of chemicals. But on a car trip I occasionally give in to the temptation of canned Vienna sausages from the gas-station quickie mart. And, no, I don’t read the label.
Cold Spring, New York
Sneaking in a purchase for myself when I go to Target for “groceries and diapers.”
Smithtown, New York
Reality TV on Bravo. I don’t actually feel much guilt when I watch, say, any episode of the Real Housewives series. But I do feel a twinge when I rewatch that same episode on the weekend. More shame than guilt, come to think of it.
Reading an entire book, from start to finish, in one day!
Lewis Center, Ohio
A jar of Nutella and a soup spoon. I am sure it will be the death of me, but after a busy day with my two little boys, who cares?
Rancho Cucamonga, California
My guiltiest pleasure is shopping for clothes online, filling up the basket with $400 or so worth of stuff, and then closing the Web page without buying a thing.
Charleston, South Carolina
I am a vegetarian, but about once a year I sit in my car, all by myself, and eat a big piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I don’t tell a soul because I am so embarrassed by this. But it tastes so good and reminds me of the wonderful and comforting time I spent at my grandmother’s house as a child.
Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
All My Children. The soap, not my actual offspring. I love getting involved with all the characters, twists, and turns. It gives me a break from an overwhelming day. My second-guiltiest pleasure? Guessing what will happen next on All My Children while chatting on the phone with my mom.
San Antonio, Texas
Lying on an exercise mat at the gym, ostensibly to do sit-ups, but then remaining prone and reading a gossip magazine instead.
Doing nothing. My job was eliminated in January and I was devastated, but I decided to approach things realistically. Our family immediately cut back on almost everything, from paying a cleaner to making coffee runs. I’m excited about my next career opportunity, but in between part-time work, job hunting, and driving my kids around, I’m in full-scale “nothingness mode” and I’m loving it.
Penfield, New York
Playing video games. It just brings out the kid in me, and that hardly ever happens.
Purposely missing the only flight home in order to stay “just one more night” at an upscale resort.
The first cup of coffee out of the pot! Somehow, it always seems to be the richest, warmest cup. My husband is a good sport on those days when he winds up getting that second cup.
Glenn Allen, Virginia
Consuming the entire “Gotta Have It” size at Stone Cold Creamery. What could possibly be more enticing than downing more ice cream than can be reasonably safe?
Salt Lake City, Utah
Facebook. As much as I hate it, I can’t help but check it five times a day. What do I do when I’m bored? I check Facebook. What do I do when I should be working? I check Facebook. Some people are addicted to cigarettes, some to shopping, but me, I’m addicted to Facebook.
Lenoir City, Tennessee
A new Coach handbag. There is absolutely nothing better than the latest designer purse to brighten one’s day, week, or month. The guilt comes because I buy a new one every three months or so.… I’m a very loyal customer.
Union, New Jersey
Eating a juicy cheeseburger while watching The Biggest Loser every Tuesday night. Is that twisted?
Brooklyn, New York