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How About You Treat Yourself To A Luxurious Fall-Themed Bath?

Treat yourself to tub that has autumn ALL over it.


I make it no secret that fall is, without question, my absolute favorite time of the year. It's so much, in fact, that even when it comes to my writing assignments, I try to find ways to express how much I adore this particular season. As far as this platform goes, a couple of years ago, I wrote "Here's How To Have Some Really Great Fall-Themed Sex". Last year, it was "10 Fall-Themed Comfort Meals That Are Actually Good For You". This year? This year, it's all about how to enjoy pampering yourself in the tub while giving it its own fall theme too.

While this might sound crazy on the onset, if you just bear with me a bit, you might be surprised by how so many things about autumn can easily fit into your bathroom, so that you can end up experiencing one of the best and most luxurious ways to celebrate fall yet. And just what will you need? The following 10 things should work. Where's your shopping list at? You're gonna want to jot these down. Trust me.

1. Autumn-Colored Leaves

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One of the most beautiful things about the autumn season is the brilliant color of the leaves. Who said that you only had to enjoy them outdoors, though? While you may have never considered it before, something that you can do is bring some of your favorite leaves in, wash them off (gently with diluted soap, then dry them with an air compressor) and put them along the side of your bathtub. Shoot, if you "seal them" with some glycerin or wax, you can even toss a couple of 'em into your water (without damaging them), if you'd like. Click here for steps on how to follow through on some leaf preserving processes.

2. Marigold Petals

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If there's a part of you that's like, "Shellie, I hear you but leaves in the tub sounds like a bit much," I mean, folks put rose petals in their water all of the time, right? Gotta rinse all living bad boys off, if we're gonna be real about it. Speaking of rose petals, while those are wonderful when it comes to providing a indulgent effect and DIY'ing your own rosewater (which is great because rosewater deeply hydrates, conditions and has lots of antioxidant properties in it), if you want to stick with the fall theme, my vote is marigold petals instead.

First, they are in season this time of year. Second, marigolds are the kind of flowers that can help to ease skin inflammation, reduce blemishes, help to heal acne, slow down the aging process and deeply moisturize your skin too. Who knew?

3. Fall-Scented Soy Candles

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I don't know about y'all but there's no way that I can really zone out and chill if there is bright overhead lighting happening in my bathroom. That's why I'm all for lighting some scented soy candles (soy because they last longer and burn cleaner). In the spirit of fall, some signature scents include clove, pine, fig, pomegranate, vanilla, sandalwood, butterscotch, apple, pumpkin and cinnamon (for starters, anyway). Dim lighting that smells amazing? It definitely sets the tone for a wonderful pampering experience.

4. Herbal Tea Bags

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Nothing says hot cocoa, warm apple cider and mugs with herbal tea in them quite like this time of year does. When it comes to the tea part, there are all kinds of reasons why you should never hesitate to either put some loose leaf tea or some tea bags into your bathtub. Herbal tea baths are able to do things like detoxify your skin; balance your skin's pH balance; repair UV damage; fight off free radicals; gently remove dead skin cells while promoting the rejuvenation of new ones; provide anti-aging properties and speed up the healing process of any minor skin abrasions or cuts that you may have.

As far as tea bags go, your best bet would be to steep 3-5 bags in a big pot of boiling water. Allow the pot to cool for about 30 minutes and then pour the water into your bath before getting into it. If you do this, at least every other time that you bathe, you will notice a big difference when it comes to the quality of your skin within a couple of weeks or so.

5. DIY Lavender and Vanilla Body Wash

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At this point, I can't even tell y'all how many times I've given lavender a shout-out when it comes to self-care content; that speaks to just how unbelievably beneficial it is. There are properties in it that speed up the healing of breakouts; soothe dry skin and even eczema-related flare-ups; lighten skin discoloration; reduce inflammation; smooth out fine lines and wrinkles while helping to repair scar tissue too. That's why you can never go wrong with using a body wash that has some lavender essential oil (or flower petals) in it.

And since vanilla is a signature fall scent, why not add some of it to your body wash too? After all, vanilla is also rich in antioxidants and contains antibacterial properties. Plus, it's got a pretty good reputation for helping to reverse signs of aging while promoting healthy radiant skin, thanks to all of the B-vitamins that it's packed with. And lawd, just imagine the way your skin will smell. Whew. Anyway, if you want to make some of your own lavender and vanilla body wash, I've got an easy recipe for you right here. Or, if you'd prefer to go with a sugar scrub, there's a recipe here.

6. DIY Hot Cocoa Bath Bombs

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Personally, I plan on having at least a cup of hot cocoa, once a week, until February. That's how much I dig warm drinks — and dark chocolate — during this time of the year. In the spirit of this as well, did you know that cocoa is actually really good for your skin? The properties in it can help to detoxify, soften and even increase your skin's elasticity. So, why not toss a DIY bath comb into your water? Not sure anything will smell much better than that, if you do. (A recipe for how to make your own is located here.)

7. Homemade Frankincense and Myrrh After-Shower Body Oil

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Do you make it a practice to "seal your skin"? All it consists of is getting out of the bath and making sure that you put some sort of oil onto your skin before drying your body off with a towel. If you do this every time, it can help to lock in moisture, so that your skin is soft and moisturized for much longer than if you used lotion. Personally, my favorite oil for sealing is sweet almond oil. It moisturizes well without feeling too thick or greasy. As far as skin benefits go, it helps to even out uneven skin tone, reduce the appearance of scars and deeply moisturizes.

And since frankincense and myrrh are two essential oils that are big around this time of the year, why not add a few drops of each to your after-shower body oil base? Frankincense is a strong astringent that can heal acne, tighten skin and help to rejuvenate skin cells. Myrrh has properties that kill harmful bacteria, reduce swelling, help to heal minor skin wounds, block damaging sun rays and it's even more powerful than Vitamin E when it comes to fighting off free radicals. All three of these oils will soften and heal your skin at the same time.

8. Homemade Pumpkin Body Butter

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If there's one thing that you're definitely going to see plenty of this fall, it's pumpkins. Whether you plan on carving one out or not, treat your skin by picking up a small one (or at least purchasing some pumpkin spice essential oil). Skin-wise, pumpkin is really good because it's loaded with Vitamin C and beta-carotene (which slows down aging and fights free radicals); B-vitamins and zinc (to balance hormone levels and treat acne); Vitamin A (which helps to heal acne scars); fatty acids and Vitamin E (to give your skin a beautiful glow). And believe you me, once you get the hang of making your own body butter, you'll wonder what the heck took you so long! A recipe that contains actual canned pumpkin is here. A recipe with pumpkin seed oil in it is located right here. Or, if you just want the scent of pumpkin, there's a great recipe here.

9. A Fall Mocktail

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If you're someone who likes to sip on a lil' sumthin' while you're soaking your stresses away, how about a fall-themed mocktail? I personally picked up some Welch's Sangria Sparkling Juice Cocktail and it brought me a lot of joy. And since there are so many classic fall mocktail recipes — like Mexican Chocolate Mocktini, Cranberry Pine Mocktail, Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine, Green Chinotto, The Spiced Pear and so many others — why not treat yourself to more than just a glass of red wine? Up the ante a bit with a signature autumn drink to go along with this whole theme that we've got going on.

10. Cinnamon-Scented Towels

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This last tip is one of my absolute favorites! The only thing better than getting out of the bath and wrapping up in a comfy towel is if it's super warm because you threw it into your dryer for a few minutes. It's even more divine if you sprinkle some cinnamon essential oil onto your towels before putting them in your dryer for 10 minutes or so. Cinnamon is another great fall-themed scent that will have you taking in sweet and spicy scents that can make cozying up in your bathroom or bed something that you absolutely can't wait to do. Now see how awesome fall can be…even in your bathtub? Told you so. #wink

For more inspiration, self-care, and healing tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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