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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
What would you do if you just got laid off from your corporate job and you had a serendipitous encounter with someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime? Tamara Taylor was faced with that decision in 2013 after she was let go from her sales profit and operations coach job in the restaurant industry and met a then-up-and-coming stylist, Law Roach, on a flight to L.A. She and Roach struck up a conversation, and he shared how he was looking for someone to run his business and was impressed by her skills. While she took his business card, she was unsure if it would lead to anything. But, boy, was she wrong. Two weeks later, after packing up her home to move back to her hometown of Chicago, she called Roach; he asked if they could meet the following day, and the rest is herstory.
Taylor founded Mastermind MGMT, an agency that represents some of Hollywood’s best “image architects” like Roach, Kellon Deryck, and Kollin Carter, who are responsible for creating unforgettable style and beauty moments for celebrities like Zendaya, Megan Thee Stallion, Taraji P. Henson, and more. Taylor and her company possess an array of functions, but her biggest role is to be her client’s advocate. We hear endless stories about how creatives aren’t paid or underpaid in the entertainment industry, but Taylor ensures that her clients get their piece of the pie. The entrepreneur opened up about her company and her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, in an exclusive interview with xoNecole.
“I always say that I'm an artist advocate first, deal closer second. So my primary focus is to just make sure that the artist is getting everything that they deserve, whether it's compensation or, you know, certain accommodations, but just making sure that they have everything that they need to be able to show up and provide the best service that they're hired for,” she explained.
“So you know, in the beginning, it was hard because I didn't have any experience, and the artists who I was working with at the time–we were learning together, meaning neither of us had assisted anyone. We didn't have mentors in our specific fields. So every deal was like a new learning experience for us from the styling side and also from the business side, and so it took, you know, doing some research, using some very creative tactics, to find out information in the industry and just starting to request accommodations that I knew other artists were granted, who maybe didn't look like my artists.”
Photo courtesy of Tamara Taylor
Ten years later, there’s still not many people who are doing what Taylor is doing. However, things have gotten easier thanks to the research and connections she made in the beginning. During Mastermind MGMT’s ten-year anniversary celebration, she announced her non-profit, Mastermind Matters, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on helping young entrepreneurs through a 12-week program. The program is divided into “two routes.” The first route is for aspiring creative artists who want to start a business from their talent and all the things they need to learn about business, such as taxes, life insurance, etc. The second route is for practicing creative artists who are already in the industry but need resources such as how to plan for retirement or how to sustain themselves if they can’t work for a short amount of time, i.e., the pandemic.
“I just feel that I'm able to have a business and be successful because of their art as well. And so there are things that I know, I tried to teach it to them but understanding that I can only do so much because I'm not a subject matter expert in those fields,” she said. “So I at least want to be able to provide the resources, and then if they make their grown decision not to do it, then that's on them. But you know, I could be guilt-free and taking advantage of the resources that I'm also providing to them.”
Taylor continues to be an innovator in her industry by always pushing the boundaries of creativity and thinking one step ahead of everyone else. The Chicago-bred businesswoman is moving into the tech space thanks to a new invention created with her clients in mind, and she is looking forward to bigger collaborations in the future. Follow Mastermind MGMT on Instagram @mastermind_mgmt for more information.
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Feature image courtesy of Tamara Taylor