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15 Ways To Make EVERY WEEKEND An (Affordable) Oasis

Here's how to make your space a haven of tranquility.

Home Improvement

Listen, I don't know about y'all but if there is one thing that the past several months has taught me, it's to embrace the space that is all mine that I have total control of—my house. While I have always been pretty domesticated in the sense of wanting my place to feel as warm and inviting as possible, lately, I've been intentionally investing in the rooms of my home so that they evoke intense feelings of peace, tranquility and calm. Basically, every time I walk into my front door, I want to be able to exhale whether I go into my living room, kitchen, bedroom or even my bathroom.

A part of the reason why this is so important to me is because I have worked from home for years now. Yet whether or not that is your personal testimony, I want to take out some time to encourage you to do all that you can to make your weekend hours at your own house feel as much as an oasis as possible. After all, an oasis is the perfect word for what most of us need right through here, don't you think?

Oasis: something serving as a refuge, relief, or pleasant change from what is usual, annoying, difficult, etc.

If this is exactly what you want, but you need a little help finding some inspiration, I've got 15 tips to help to get your started. Ready?

1. Invest in Some Greenery

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There are a few awesome reasons to have plants in various rooms of your home. They're proven to be able to help to improve your mood, make you more creative and decrease your stress levels. Growing up, there were quite a few plants in my house, but I must admit that I like my place being on the darker side, so I don't have any around at present. What I do have is a huge faux tree in one of my rooms and I adore it to no end. So, whether it's the real deal (which can also decrease indoor humidity and noise levels) or something that's just for show (click here for some of the best fake greenery around), add some plants to your place. It will definitely—and immediately—create an oasis effect.

2. Make Your Own Scented Candles

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Personally, I don't know anyone who isn't close to being totally in love with candles; especially if they're scented. If you happen to be one of them but you've never contemplated the benefits that come from lighting a few of 'em up, candles provide a calming effect. Based on the scent that you choose, they can also appeal your sense of smell and put you into a better mood. Plus, candles are a wonderful complement if you're someone who likes to meditate, pray or journal. And, if your oasis is going to consist of a partner being in your space, candles are mad romantic too.

Thing is, candles aren't always or necessarily the cheapest things on the planet. So, if your budget is super tight, something that you might want to do is make some of your own. It might sound like quite the feat at first, but they're actually easier to make than you might think. You can get a thorough walk-through by checking out this article right here.

3. Get Some Big Throw Pillows

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Other than the pillows that you've got on your bed, how many other ones do you own? Something that I dig about big throw pillows is they immediately make a room look warmer and more appealing. Plus, there's nothing more comfortable than putting a couple of them on the floor and laying on them while listening to some music or watching a movie. As a bonus, many throw pillows are pretty inexpensive. You can find them everywhere, from Target and Walmart to Big Lots and Bed Bath & Beyond (Apartment Therapy did a feature on where to get some higher end ones; you can check it out here).

4. Switch Up Your Wall Art

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I'm not sure what makes us think that just because we've hung up a particular picture that we can't ever switch it out with something else. By rotating your wall art—based on your particular mood or even season of the year—not only is it a simple way to avoid getting bored with your décor but it can totally shift the energy of any given room in your house. If you want some one-of-a-kind pieces, I've found some really unique and affordable prints on Etsy. Just go to the site and put whatever your favorite kind of art is in the search field.

5. Use Natural Light As Much As Possible

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There are a few reasons to make the most of natural light. On the financial tip, it's cheaper than relying on your overhead lights and lamps. Also, natural lighting keeps seasonal depression at bay, helps you to get more Vitamin D into your system and can improve your quality of sleep as well.

If you're someone who is hesitant to open your window treatments up because you're worried that someone can peep in to see what you're up to, there is something called mirror window film that you can apply to your windows. It's cool because it makes it possible for you to look out of your windows while preventing others from being able to look inside of 'em. Just know that this is designed to work during the day not at night (as far as looking outside from indoors). Anyway, you can find rolls of the film at a pretty reasonable price at your local home improvement stores.

6. Add More Neutral Hues

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If you speak with interior decorators, many of them will say that nothing welcomes the feeling of calm and tranquility quite like neutral colors do. For the record, the four basic hues of neutral are white (which represents purity and cleanliness), black (which represents sophistication and affluence), grey (which represents maturity and reliability) and brown (which represents authenticity and warmth); however, "near neutrals" (which are lighter or darker versions of the four) are great too. Speaking of colors that are wonderful for creating an oasis-like feeling, pale pastels can also provide a feeling of serenity.

7. Cop Some Seasonal Blankets

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I think one of the best things that I ever did to pamper myself was purchase several throw blankets. At this point, I believe I've got around 10 of 'em. I just like stringing some along my loveseat and ottomans, so that I can curl up in one at any given moment while I'm chillin' in pretty much any room of my house. Just make sure to get the ones that match the season you're in. Cotton and fleece are most ideal for spring and summer while wool, cable knit and cashmere are more ideal for the fall and wintertime.

8. Take a Milk Bath

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The reason why I wrote the article, "Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?" around this time last year is because, the reality is, not all baths are created equal. The reason why I also wrote, "Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year" (which rolls around at the top of every December, by the way) is because, soaking in your tub is one of the most cost-effective yet also luxuriant ways to pamper yourself. If you opt for taking a milk bath from time to time, depending on the kind of milk that you choose, it can perform mini miracles for your overall health and well-being.

Coconut milk and buttermilk contain lauric acid which supports the skin and the production of collagen. Oat milk soothes dry skin and eczema-related symptoms. Goat milk helps to gently remove dead skin cells. Plus, all of these milks will moisturize your skin in a way that is simply incomparable. Just pour two cups of your preferred milk under warm running water. Then add 1/3 cup of your favorite carrier oil (like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or avocado oil) and a few drops of your preferred essential oil to provide an aromatherapy effect. I promise that you will struggle with getting out of your bathtub once you set the stage with all of this holistic healing stuff.

9. Create Your Own Massage Oil

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In a perfect world, we'd all have a man who lived to give us massages on demand. But if that's not your personal testimony (mine either, chile), that doesn't mean that you have to deprive yourself. Self-given scalp massages are divine. So is rubbing your feet while you're watching your favorite show on Netflix, Hulu, UMC or a free streaming site Tubi. Just make sure you pamper your scalp or skin with an oil. Warming up something like olive, avocado or Jamaican black castor oil is good for your scalp. As far as your skin is concerned, why not make a divinely scented one? I actually happened upon a site that lists a whopping 22 different DIY massage oil recipes. You can check it out here.

10. Play Some ASMR or Soothing Music

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The reason why there are articles on this platform like, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life" is because, there's no way around the fact that music is powerful—and powerfully influential.

From a scientific standpoint, music is proven to do everything from slow down your breathing and heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety to relieve muscle tension and trigger the production of serotonin so that you're calmer and are able to sleep more soundly.

As far as ASMR goes, while it's only been close to a couple of years now, it has gotten to the point where I never turn in for the night without some rain or ocean waves playing in the background. There is an article I once read that said that ASMR actually has the ability to produce "brain orgasms" from a physiological standpoint. So, if you wish you could be at a beach house, trapped indoors on a rainy day or could hike through a tropical rainforest, hopping on over to YouTube and putting in your favorite nature sounds can be almost just like being there.

11. Sign Up for a Wine Subscription

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If there is one thing that gets y'all super hype on this platform, it's wine! I ain't mad about it either because wine is an alcoholic drink that has a significant amount of health benefits; especially if it's red wine. Red wine is scientifically proven to contain antioxidants known as polyphenols that will help to keep your heart healthy, the plant compound resveratrol that helps to lower your blood pressure and improve your cognitive functions, and other properties that assist in lowering depression-related symptoms. Wine also has nutrients that support you having stronger immunity and glowing skin. You can always run up to your closest liquor or even grocery store to get your favorite bottle. Or, if you're like me and you prefer to be indoors as much as possible on the weekends, another option is to join a wine club or subscription box service. You can find over 20 of the best ones by going here.

12. Order Some Takeout

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Eating out isn't always the cheapest thing; especially if you're ordering food to be delivered. I'll give you that. But if you want to support local eateries in your area and enjoy a good meal without having to prepare it, that is always an option that you can take advantage of. If you're a bit leery because of the pandemic, check out, "10 Safety Practices For Ordering Takeout (During A Pandemic)". If you'd prefer to help out a Black-owned restaurant specifically, Eat Okra is a new app that features those in your local area.

13. Or, Eat Some Calm and Comforting Foods

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Really. What's the point in cultivating the perfect ambiance if you're gonna be a nervous wreck either way? Sometimes, in the effort to find a little peace and tranquility, we mess up by chowing down on foods that ultimately cause us to climb the walls (umm, like sugar). Certain foods that promote a sense of harmony are featured in the article on our site, "8 Foods That Will Keep You Cool, Calm & Totally Relaxed". Some other foods that didn't make the list, that are both calming and comforting, include homemade soup, sautéed spinach, avocado toast, grilled salmon and turkey melts.

14. Put Your Phone on Vibrate

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Tell me something. If you were on vacation right now, at your favorite spot, would you have your phone with you, 24/7? Unless you're a parent and your kids aren't with you, if your answer is "yes", please check out "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down.". We've got voicemails on our phone for a reason; one of them is so that we can have moments when we're not constantly checking social media notifications or even chatting back and forth with other people. If you want to create a sense of calm and serenity on your weekends, put your phone on a charger in another room. Whatever is awaiting you on it…it can wait. It really can.

15. Sleep In

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While recently checking out a pretty extensive sleep survey, I noticed that two-thirds of Americans claim to not sleep well during the week. That's a lot of people. If you're one of them, why not use the weekend to get some extra rest in? For the record, there really is no such thing as "catching up on your sleep", but being able to have a couple of days when you don't have to be a slave to your alarm clock—that can be super refreshing and a perfect way to recharge for Monday. So, definitely make it a point to either go to bed earlier or to stay in bed a little longer on the weekends. Get some new bedding. Sprinkle some lavender essential oil on your sheets (lavender oil is a natural de-stressor). Drink a little tart cherry juice (the melatonin in it will have you out like a light!). Sleep is a very simple way to get the peace that you've been looking for while you're in the oasis atmosphere that you created for yourself. Make sure that you get some this weekend, aight?

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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