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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Featured image by Getty Images
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. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports