If you read enough of my content on this platform, you already know that 1) fall is my absolutely favorite season and 2) I'm all about a good pampering. Which brings me to this question — when is the last time that you pampered yourself? I don't mean what I generally consider to be maintenance moves like scheduling a mani/pedi appointment or even getting a massage; no, I mean, when's the last time you did something that falls into the category of indulgence? Pure, sheer and totally unapologetic self-indulgence.
If you're a bit stumped in finding the correct answer, perhaps these 12 "nudges" will inspire you to do something that will make you feel a little "self-spoiled" over the next couple of days. As a bonus, they're all fall-themed too. How dope is that?
1. Put Some Fall-Themed Flowers (or a Wreath) in Your Home Office and Bedroom
While some people get fresh flowers for their home for purely aesthetic reasons, the reality is there are a lot of health benefits that come with doing it too. Fresh flowers can help to get you into a better mood. Fresh flowers can inspire creativity. Fresh flowers can reduce stress. Fresh flowers can even help you to physically heal at a quicker pace and sleep more soundly. So, in the spirit of all things fall, why not get some blooms that are at their peak right now? Some of those include chrysanthemums, pansies, and anthers.
Or, if flowers aren't really your thing, how about hanging up a wreath? I've got a couple that is made out of nothing but twigs; yet, surprisingly, they feel very "autumn" and make my living room and bedroom feel extra cozy because they are on my walls. You can usually find them at a local arts and crafts store; especially around this time of the year.
2. Get a Humidifier That Comes with a Diffuser
Something that I've been saying, on loop, to anyone who will listen, is in this season of COVID that we're in, it's an absolute must that you bless your space with a humidifier. The main reason why is because viruses like COVID, colds, and the flu struggle in low humidity (however, if you check out "10 Really Good Reasons To Get Yourself A Humidifier This Fall," you'll see that it comes with some other benefits as well). Although the humidifier that I have doesn't have this particular feature, I have owned one that comes with a diffuser so that essential oils are able to "run" along with the mist that comes out. The result is whatever room a humidifier is in, it smells absolutely divine. If this piques your interest, oh so Spotless is a site that offers up some reviews on a few humidifiers that have diffusers. You can check them out here.
3. Create a Simmer Pot
Another way to make your home smell amazing is to create your own simmer pot. It's basically when you put a whole bunch of fruits, herbs, and spices together into a pot, then you let them simmer on your stove for a few hours. Something that I really like about this suggestion is you can combine certain ingredients in a way where you can sip them as a delightfully warm or cool drink once you're done. So, for two hours, a mixture of apples, oranges, and cinnamon sticks can appeal to your nose, and then you can drink it while watching a holiday film — wonderful. Tipnut offers up 15 simmer pot recipes. If you want to check them all out, you can do so by going here.
4. Add Some Fairy Lights
Personally, I'm someone who likes to sleep in pitch-black darkness. Still, whenever I go to someone's house and they have tiny fairy lights hanging up in their bedroom, I always think it looks really… "enchanted" is the word that first comes to mind. And since we're in "fall back" season, as far as time goes, a little more light (even if it's in your office or kids' room) certainly can't hurt. Just a thought.
5. Pick Up a Couple of Pairs of Moisturizing Socks
Switching gears a bit, how about giving your feet some extra tender loving care? Something that one of my goddaughters is a huge fan of is what she calls "lotion socks" although they are technically referred to as being moisturizing socks. Long story short, they are super comfy socks that have lotion "built into them" (although some, you've got to apply the lotion yourself). Not only does this help to make your feet feel unbelievably soothed and stress-free, but it can also keep your feet moisturized too. If you wanna cop a pair, Mom Junction reviewed over 10 of 'em. The ones with five toes for each sock certainly caught my attention. Check that list out here.
6. Make a Fall-Inspired Body Scrub
If you want to pamper your skin by unclogging its pores, removing dead skin, and brightening your complexion, exfoliation is the way to go. Making your own body scrub is one of the best ways to do it. In the spirit of autumn, how about making a scrub that smells like the fall season? A vanilla body scrub (recipe here) is good for you because vanilla is rich in the kind of antioxidants that fight aging and free radicals. A pumpkin body scrub (recipe here) is great because it's filled with Vitamin C and beta-carotene; both are able to stimulate the production of collagen. And finally, an apple scrub (recipe here) will do your body good because the properties in apples help to hydrate your skin, protect it from UV damage (which yes, also can happen in the fall and winter), reduce the appearance of dark circles underneath your eyes, tone your skin and even out your complexion.
7. Invest in a Brown Matte Lip Color
When the temps are cold and the wind is blowing, you definitely want to make sure that your lips are well-moisturized. Do that by first exfoliating them (like with a DIY lip scrub), applying a "base" like shea butter (I sleep with shea butter on my lips at night), and then applying lip color. This season, a hue that is really big is a deep shade of brown (which looks absolutely amazing on us!). Make sure it's one that has a bit of a matte finish. Yeah, I know you're probably still wearing your mask (damn COVID!), but you've got to take it off at some point and your lips will look amazing once you do if they are covered in a beautiful brown color.
8. Get Accessories in Classic Fall Colors
Remember how I said in the intro that pampering is ALL ABOUT indulgence. I don't care if you've already got a good purse and some cute boots from last year — treat yourself to a few more accessories that are in signature fall colors including grey, brown, blue, orange, green, and red. One of my favorite things about accessories is they bring so much detail to an outfit. Plus, they're a great way to "switch up" a look if you don't have a lot of money to ball out on a new wardrobe this year.
9. Buy a Cable Knit Blanket
Personally, I'm of the belief that no matter how many blankets you already have, you really can't own enough of them — especially during the fall and winter seasons. So, if you don't already have a cable knit one, what are you waiting for? Something that's especially cool about this particular kind of blanket is it can keep you warm when you're cold yet it also has the ability to adapt to other temperatures which means that a cable knit blanket can pamper you all year-round…if you let it.
10. Use Hurricane Lanterns for Your Fall Soy-Scented Candles
Is there anything more romantic, seductive, or fall-invoking than a bedroom that is lit up with nothing but candles? Whether you're sleeping alone or with someone, to me, the answer is "no". Still, this ain't the movies, so you need to be careful lighting some up and then falling asleep. Something that can significantly decrease the risk of something catching on fire is putting your candles inside of a hurricane lantern or glass terrarium boxes. Just make sure that the candles are soy (they are cleaner and burn longer) and they have a fall scent to them. Some that fall into that category include apple, pomegranate, vanilla, pine, cinnamon, pumpkin, butterscotch, pecan, amber, and musk.
11. Bake (or Order) the Hell Outta Some Sweets
Although comfort food is pretty much bomb any season of the year, is there anything better than a hot bowl of soup or some soul food when it's freezing cold outside? While you probably don't want to go crazy out in these streets, why would you deny yourself the joy of a homemade baked good or even ordering some autumn-themed desserts right about now? Apple crisp (recipe here). Pumpkin spice cupcakes (recipe here). Pumpkin brownies (recipe here). Cranberry apple cobbler (recipe here). Vegan butternut squash pudding (recipe here). All sweet. All comforting. All autumn-themed.
12. Learn How to Make Mulled Wine and Herb Infusion
Pampering isn't truly pampering if you're not setting aside some time to sip on something that makes you feel good from head to toe, right? As we close this out, two drinks that have "fall" written all over them are mulled wine (which is red wine with spices added to it) and herb infusion (which is basically making tea except you are adding a lot more herbs and allowing them to steep for a much longer period of time). Since a lot of mulled wine recipes feature cinnamon (which is full of antioxidants) and/or nutmeg (which is a powerful detoxifier) and the herbs in teas can be super ideal for your immune system (check out "10 'Uncommon' Teas You Should Add To Your Stash (& Why)"), these two options are absolutely perfect for this time of the year.
A delicious mulled wine recipe is here and if you want to learn how to DIY an herb infusion, click here. How can all of these tips not make you feel pampered as you embrace even more of what fall has to offer, chile? Enjoy!
Featured image by Getty Images
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith went to social media to share their Thanksgiving holiday with followers. The pair were surrounded by family and friends Thursday, and both posted how grateful they were to be with the ones they loved. Yet this comes on the heels of Pinkett Smith’s whirlwind of negative opinions and critics forecasting her book would be a flop.
Despite the negative feedback she received, Worthy, Pinkett Smith’s memoir, still debuted at #3 on the New York Times’ Best Seller list on October 25. The greatest backlash she received was centered around her relationship with Smith and the fact that the two had been living separate lives since 2016.
The commentary about their marriage overshadowed the reality that this book is ultimately about her journey to self-worth and the path she’s had to take in order to get there.
Social media comments about her book tour ranged from, “Me counting all the times Jada woke up and chose to embarrass Will Smith,” to podcasts like The Joe Budden Podcast saying, “Take me out the group chat,” which was a sentiment shared by many celebrities and fans alike. Yet, a point made by comedian KevOnStage proved that even though people say they don’t want to know about the Smiths, they’re secretly interested and want to know more.
Since the Smiths were wed in 1997, people have been fascinated with their marriage, and rumors about their marital arrangement have always been a topic of conversation. People continue to speculate that the pair is gay and swingers, and even new allegations have come out that Smith and Duane Martin shared an intimate relationship at one point.
However, despite their consistent united front throughout their marriage in recent years, Pinkett Smith has borne the brunt of backlash in the couple’s relationship, from her entanglement with August Alsina to Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards to the recent truths she’s shared about the couple’s marriage in her memoir.
Individuals are consistently running to the internet to support Smith and villainize Pinkett Smith, from podcast guests saying things such as “She doesn’t like Will, she likes the lifestyle” to deeming her “mean” or "manipulative" because of her facial expressions and demeanor.
Likewise, when you have hosts of daytime talk shows such as Ana Navarro saying, “I think she’s having a relationship with her bank account,” insinuating Pinkett Smith only shared stories about Smith to increase her book sales, it begs the question of where was this same energy when Smith released his memoir?
In Will, Smith discusses both of his marriages and how, in relationships, because of his upbringing, he needed constant validation and praise from his partners to feel secure. He also shared the reality that Pinkett Smith never wanted to be married, just as she never wanted the huge estate they share in California, but he wanted to give it to her despite her feelings about it.
Smith admitted to creating this family empire that only further boosted his ego and what he wanted his legacy to be instead of actually asking his family what they wanted or needed. People praised him for his vulnerability and said his book was an inspiration.
So how is it that one book about a person’s family, upbringing, and journey to self is praised, and another is villainized? The glaring thought that comes to me is, does likability often trump accountability?
People love Smith and his “good guy” persona; he’s always been an attractive, charismatic man that people can relate to, so even when he speaks about the way he mismanaged his marriage and family, it’s seen as growth. On the contrary, because Pinkett Smith doesn’t constantly fawn over him and shares how miserable she was in their marriage, she’s the villain.
People still blame her for not stopping Smith from smacking Rock at the Oscars and share their sentiments about how she embarrassed Smith with her entanglement with Alsina. Though this is a celebrity couple we’ve all followed for years, the question must be asked, how much accountability must Black women be subjected to in relationship to their partners' actions?
Why is it that the media is more interested in the marriage between Smith and Pinkett Smith than her childhood, or the fact her memoir consists of writing prompts, meditations, and methods for other women to find their sense of worth?
Could it be that the larger society doesn’t value Black women having the tools to find their own sense of worth? Or is it that Black women are expected to accept whatever is given to them regardless of how they feel or what they want?
The exclusive interview with Eboni K. Williams (@ebonikwilliams) and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant about if she would date a bus driver seems to have a lot of people talking. You can watch her response tonight on #theGrio. Catch the full interview, here: https://t.co/ctxE0zKFWj pic.twitter.com/BhIO52T2fg— theGrio.com (@theGrio) May 2, 2023
When Eboni K. Williams shared that she wasn’t interested in dating a bus driver, the internet blew up with individuals saying that Black women need to be less selective with their dating prospects. The commentary around this conversation shed much light on the reality that this demographic is expected and invited to settle in love if they actually want a life partner.
Black women aren’t often given the space to find their joy, fulfillment, or even self-worth because of the responsibility they’re forced to acquire in order to support their families and communities. Yet, “high value” Black men speak vehemently about Black women’s masculinity and inability to submit. We’re often inundated with podcast guests sharing that they’re not impressed by our success and are uninterested in our aspirations.
Black women, from a young age, are taught to place their community first and cater to the men around them regardless of what they do or how they behave.
We see this when young girls are told to put on pants when male relatives come around, we experience it when domestic violence survivors are encouraged not to press charges against their perpetrators, and we even see it when Black women face backlash for dating outside of their race.
The way Pinkett Smith has been treated since sharing the truth about her life and journey of discovering her self-worth is another example of how the world isn’t receptive to Black women being their most authentic selves.
It’s another example we can hold up to illustrate how Black women are expected to be magical but not human.
Even with this article, I’m sure there will be many who want to argue why Pinkett Smith was wrong in her narrative, but at the end of the day, it was her story to tell, and no one has more authority to share her lived experience than her.
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