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. ;)
Jada Pinkett Smith is speaking her piece on the status of her marriage with longtime love Will Smith. On the heels of releasing her highly anticipated memoir, Worthy, Jada is gracing the cover of PEOPLE and sharing the truth about her mental health struggles throughout the years, the infamous Oscars slap, and her marriage.
According to the 52-year-old author, though she seemed to "have it all" in life - the riches, the fame, the love, the family, there was a part of her that couldn't escape her past traumas and depression that plagued her early on in her career. "While I was really living the dream, I hit a huge wall — a massive amount of depression. I think that I looked at having outside sources to supplement for the voids that I was feeling inside," she told PEOPLE.
By the time she turned 40, she had encountered her breaking point and spiraled so deeply that she saw no way out for herself aside from death. She went on to say that she heard voices in her head telling her to end her life and that told her of her unworthiness, pulling her deeper into her depression. "I started looking for places, cliffs where I could have an accident because I didn't want my kids to think that their mother had committed suicide.”
Jada credited friends of her son Jaden for putting her on to ayahuasca, a powerful and traditional plant-based brew used for shamanic and healing rituals known for its psychoactive properties. She said partaking in ayahuasca changed her profoundly and "the suicidal thoughts completely went away."
"Ayahuasca helped me, it gave me a new intimate relationship with myself that I had never had before," she told the outlet about her first time taking the psychedelic. Keep reading for more key takeaways from Jada's PEOPLE exclusive.
Jada Pinkett Smith on the status of her marriage to Will Smith:
In what might have been a shocking revelation to most, Jada revealed to the world that she and Will have actually been separated for the past six years, going on seven years. She explained the status of their 26-year marriage to PEOPLE:
“We’re still figuring it out. We’ve been doing some really heavy-duty work together. We just got deep love for each other and we are going to figure out what that looks like for us.”
Jada on how her relationship with Will Smith caused her to abandon her mental health:
As her star in Hollywood was rising thanks to starring roles in projects like A Different World, Jason's Lyric, and Set It Off, Jada revealed that she was taking Prozac and being treated for depression and suicidal ideation. Meeting Will would cause her to develop a false sense of not needing to take care of her mental health.
"Once I met Will, I completely abandoned my mental health. I was so intoxicated by him and our dynamic. I really felt like I'm cured," she said to PEOPLE. "He became the drug."
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images
Jada Pinkett Smith on the self-acceptance her kids have taught her:
“They love every part of me. The level of love, unconditional love that they have for me and their dad. And it's one thing to want to be the person that gives that unconditional love. And then there's, to be the recipient of that.”
For the full cover story and photos, head over to PEOPLE here.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Amy Sussman/WireImage
I’ll tell y’all what — when it comes to dealing with matters of the heart, if there’s one word that, if you happened to poll 20 people at a time, they would probably not agree on its definition, it would have to be the word “soulmate.”
As for me personally, because I tend to be pretty word-literal and I know that soul means “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body” and “the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect” while mate means “to marry or join in marriage” and also “a fellow member or joint occupant of a specified thing” — I tend to see soulmates as individuals who are connected to our spirits in very profound ways so that our quality of life is enhanced on a truly remarkable level. I also believe that not all soulmates are romantic partners.
I must say, though, that another definition I adore is the Jewish one for soulmate; it’s bashert and it means “destiny” — yep “destiny” in the sense of two people who were predestined to be together. Yeah, that might sound like fairy tales and butterflies on the surface yet if you do a deep dive into Jewish culture and where the word is actually coming from, while it does talk about a soul that is cut into a male and female half and then joined back together, it also speaks of the purpose of a marital soulmate being someone who challenges you to become your truest and highest spiritual self.
Gee, does that sound like someone who makes you happy all of the time? Hmph. Sounds more like soulmates are about being in a mature relationship that will get you to grow in a way that no other relationship on this planet can…or will. Sounds to me like being married to your soulmate is where the big kids play.
That’s just two definitions, though, and, as you’re about to see, there are a myriad of others. For me, it was fun to tackle this article because you’re going to hear how 12 different men define “soulmate” for themselves. My hope is that it will encourage you to give some deep(er) thought into how you see the word for yourself — in hopes that it will encourage you to approach your own relationships from an even bigger (and more spirit-filled) perspective.
*Per usual for me, with these types of articles, middle names have been used, so that people can speak freely*
1. Kayin. 30. Married for 18 Months.
“Now, this is an interesting question that I don’t think I’ve ever been asked before — which is surprising because my wife has seen every rom-com in the world. Do I think that I’m married to my soulmate? In a practical sense, yes, because she is the woman who I intentionally decided to commit the rest of my life to, have children with, and hopefully prepare for heaven with. In the way that a lot of people see the word, I think my first love was my soulmate because I never experienced love on any kind of life-changing level until her. Who breaks you open and reveals yourself to you, that is what a soulmate is to me.”
2. Garren. 36. In a Serious Relationship.
“Asking men what a soulmate is — now ain’t this a trip? I think that guys only fall in love once or twice in their lifetime, and both of those women are their soulmate. In spite of what a lot of women think, men take love seriously; that’s why we don’t do it very often. But if you’re a woman who can get us to go all in with you, you’ve got a piece of us that we mostly keep hidden, and if that doesn’t make you a soulmate, nothin’ does.”
3. Osher. 42. Engaged.
“I think your soulmate is a decision: you choose who you want to ‘mate’ your soul with. It might not sound romantic, but that’s how I see it. For men, that’s big because we’re not just out here wanting to give our soul to someone else. The soul is huge. But if we decide, on our own, to share our life with someone, for the rest of our life, we take you very seriously. A soulmate, to me, is a wife.”
4. Everson. 25. Single.
“I’ve only had two men in my life even use the word “soulmate.” One is my grandfather, and he said that his first love, not my grandmother, was his soulmate after my grandmother died. The other is this guy I work with. He sends his wife flowers once a week, and she sends his favorite cookies to work often and whenever he’s ordering them or eating her cookies, he says that he can’t wait to get home to see his soulmate. I’ve never asked the men what they mean; I just always assumed that the woman who impacts your life like no one else is your soulmate.”
5. Warren. 34. Married for Five Years.
“My soulmate isn’t my wife. People can think however they want to about that. My soulmate prepared me for my wife. Before I got married, there’s no way I would’ve even considered jumping a broom, but when I was around 26, I met a woman who wasn’t like anyone I had ever met. She influenced the way I thought about spirituality, Blackness, travel, sex, manhood — she impacted me in every way. For about eight months, she was a big part of my world, and then…she wasn’t. A few months later, I met my wife. ‘She’ came along to get me where I am now. No one will get me to think something different.”
6. Noah. 40. Dating.
“I think a soulmate is someone you don’t have to settle to have. What I mean is, you don’t have to give up your spiritual growth for your sexual needs or your emotional needs for someone who would be a great mother. Too many people I know, who are married, act like they ended up with a fraction of what they wanted and that it had to be that way. Soulmates are a complete package; that’s why they’re so hard to find. I know two men who are with their soulmate, and one has been with her for almost 20 years. They’re the happiest men I know.”
7. Robert. 40. Single.
“My best [female] friend is my soulmate. I’ve known this for years. She challenges me. She’s who I trust more than anyone else. She helps me to see things through a woman’s lens in a way that I wouldn’t any other way. I can’t tell you how many times folks have asked us why we’re not married. The sexual attraction just isn’t there, and we’re both okay with that. I’ve never thought that you had to marry your soulmate; I just think they are meant to be in your life forever. We’re a package deal, so if I do get married, my wife will have to deal with that. And before you ask, my friend feels the same way about her future husband. We’ll see.”
8. John. 31. Engaged.
“I’ve had two soulmates: one is my fiancée, and the other is a woman who I had a deep sexual relationship with. My fiancée is my soulmate because I’m at a stage in my life when I want to become a higher version of myself, and I think she will help me get there. The other woman…before her, I only saw sex as ‘sex,’ but she made it a more spiritual experience. I felt very vulnerable, and I wouldn’t have seen sex as an intimate act without her. Women who change your life are soulmates.”
9. Rorke. 28. Dating.
“If I’m gonna be real, my soulmate terrified me — that’s how I know that she was one. She knew me in a way that no other person ever has. She could read by body language, she knew what I was thinking a lot of the time, and she would cut to the chase when it came to a lot of my bulls-it, only she did it in a way that didn’t feel like she was attacking me more like she could see right through me. And the sex? You know that scene in ‘Boomerang’ when Eddie curled up in his bedspread after Robin left? That was me. Men know when they’ve met their match. Sometimes, we’re just not ready for her. My soulmate and I are friends, but only loosely now. She needs to be my wife or nothing else, and I’m just not ready for that.”
10. Wade. 31. Married for Three Years.
“Based on what you said you think a soulmate is, I don’t get how anyone sees something romantic about it. Seems to me that a soulmate is a lot of work — because if you want to do what’s best for your spirit, that kind of work isn’t easy. I asked my wife what she thinks a soulmate is, and she said it’s someone who you trust and desire above all else. I think it’s someone who you want to be a part of every aspect of your life — and you don’t come across that kind of person but once or twice in a lifetime.
"Whoever sees the depth of you, even the ugly parts, and you want them to stay, and they want to be there, through every season, that’s a soulmate. You won’t meet them often.”
11. Mavuto. 27. Single.
“I don’t believe in soulmates like there is only one person for you in the world — there are too many people out here for that. I think that different soulmates bring you to different portals in life. One soulmate can help you to live ‘this’ kind of life, and another soulmate can help you to live ‘that’ kind of life. Soulmates are all about thinking about the kind of life you want to live and then selecting who can help you make it happen.”
12. Cian. 51. Married for 19 Years.
“There are friend-mates. There are sex-mates. There are purpose-mates. Then there are soulmates. When you’re ready to take your soul seriously, life will bring you someone who will elevate you in a way that makes you unrecognizable to yourself. My wife is that for me. She’s not the other kinds of mates that I mentioned in the sense of the tightest connection I’ve had with another human in those ways. She knows this. I’m not that for her, either. When you get to where your soul matters most to you, that other stuff matters, but it pales in comparison. Living my life with the one who is invested in my soul? She’s invaluable. Wouldn’t trade her for the world.”
I’m tellin’ y’all — don’t be out here thinking that social media “hot takes” are all that there is when it comes to learning about men (social media? Not even close). When you get a chance, sit down with some of the guys in your world. Ask them what they think a soulmate is. Their answers just might surprise you…challenge you too.
Just like the word “soulmate” is literally designed to do.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images