Man. Wouldn't it be great if you could take off an entire day to do nothing but get a facial, then a mani/pedi, then a massage and then perhaps indulge yourself with some shopping, followed by eating at your favorite high-end restaurant? Between (most of our) finances not being exactly where we want them to be and this damn pandemic (and folks not wearing a mask…whew), it seems like it will be FOR-E-VER before we're able to pamper ourselves in the ways that we truly desire. That's the bad news.
Ready for some good news? There are actually quite a few things that you can do to make yourself feel extra special, from the comfort and safety of your own home, that won't cost you much money at all. You just need a little creativity and a few items that you probably already own and you're all set. So, are you ready to love on yourself without breaking the bank or catching other people's germs? Awesome.
1. Take a Half Day. Then Read and Rest.
Sometime last year, I read a study that said almost 770 million vacation days went unused back in 2017. Listen, your employer is all about you being in the office as much as possible, so that they can reap the benefits of what you have to offer. So, if you're waiting for someone to approach you and say, "You seem worn out. How about using one of your vacation days?", you can probably hang that up. On the flip side of that, if you've got vacation days, USE THEM. You can even do something as simple as take a half day, once every season, to do nothing other than go home, catch up on a book and take a nap. Sometimes, just getting off of the roller coaster known as life for a few hours can be just what you need to recharge and feel more energized and positive again.
2. Write a “How to Love Me” Bucket List
There is absolutely no downside to having high self-esteem. While some people think that too much is a form of arrogance, actually cocky folks have a low sense of self-worth; they are merely overcompensating in areas where they feel that they lack. OK, but that's another article for another time. The reality is, the more you know your value, the better equipped you will be to make wise choices and solidify your destiny. A couple of ways to boost your self-esteem is by checking out the articles, "Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves" and "Why 'Vaginal Mapping' Needs To Be Part Of Your Healing Journey". Another is to make a self-love bucket list.
What is that? It's basically a list of different ways that you plan on expressing love—to you and to you only. It can be saving up money to go on a trip. It can be scheduling a reflexology appointment before the year is out. It can be indulging yourself by getting that new pair of shoes that you've been eyeing.
The key is to have no less than 20 different self-love items on your list and to be intentional about checking everything off before the turn of a new year. Then, once you've completed the first list, put some other never-been-done-before items on a new one. It costs absolutely nothing to put the list together. Besides, just making time for yourself in this way, can make you feel more confident in who you are as a woman.
3. Customize Your Own Nail Polish
I don't know what it is about doing my toes while watching a movie that I find to be so relaxing; but it is. If it's been a minute since you've been out to get a mani/pedi or you simply want to switch out the hue on your hands that you currently have, something that could be fun is to make your own nail polish. Believe it or not, all you need is some clear polish and eyeshadow. You can get some step-by-step instructions on how to easily make it all happen here.
4. Make Your Own Hot Water Bottle
Chances are, there was some point in your childhood when your mom sent you to bed with a hot water bottle. And when you reflect back on it, didn't it almost immediately make you feel so much better? Quiet as it may be kept, a hot water bottle can relieve all kinds of health issues including neck and back pain, menstrual cramps and muscle discomfort, plus it can also help to relieve digestive issues, stress and anxiety symptoms and, it can help you to have a better night's sleep too.
If you don't already have a hot water bottle in your home, no worries. All you need is a rubber bottle and a flannel cover to wrap it up in. Fill the bottle with boiling water, wrap it up in the flannel, test the heat on the inside of your arm and, if it's not too hot, place it anywhere you're feeling uncomfortable or in between your feet to help you to fall asleep faster at night. It's one of the best hacks I know, and it costs absolutely nothing to do.
5. Have a Wine and Cheese at Home
I don't know what it is about wine and cheese that makes so many of us feel bougie AF but it does. I'm pretty sure that you've got some wine and probably even some mozzarella cheese in your house, right? If you pair them together, you can have your own wine and cheese party without spending anything to do it. On the other hand, if you want to come across as an expert in this lane, Wine Mag has a pairing guide that makes it really easy to figure out which wine goes with what cheese—specifically. Check the online guide out here.
6. DIY a Bottle of Champagne
Y'all, I'm all about folks toasting others as well as themselves. It's a very simple yet effective way to both acknowledge and celebrate what someone has done or what you appreciate about them. That said, when's the last time that you toasted yourself? Upping the ante, when's the last time that you toasted yourself with some champagne? If you're totally down but you don't have the coins, all you need is some wine, sugar and champagne yeast and you're good to go. As far as how to go about making it, it's a little extensive but nothing super stressful, once you grasp the overall concept. Some pretty thorough instructions are right here.
7. Soak in a Cocoa Bath
I'm about at the point where I'm gonna start recommending dark chocolate for everything on the planet because there is little that this food—one that is loaded with antioxidants—can't do, including giving you one of the most pampering baths that you've ever had.
Yep, if you add some cocoa (along with Epsom salt, baking soda, powdered milk and a favorite essential oil) into your running bathwater, you'll be able to detox and soothe your skin, lower your stress levels, increase blood circulation and reduce bodily inflammation.
If all of that sounds really good to you, there are some wonderful recipes that you can try out here.
8. Treat Your Feet to a Foot Mask
Did you know that each foot has somewhere around 7,000 nerve endings in it? Another fun fact is feet perspire somewhere around six ounces a day. That's why it's a really good idea to consider pampering yourself by treating your feet with a mask, at least twice a month. Not only can it help to detox your feet, but a foot mask is also great at increasing blood circulation to them, sloughing off dead skin, eliminating foot odor and helping to make your feet super soft and smooth. To get the best benefits, start off by using a pumice stone to exfoliate the skin on the back of your feet. Then your feet will be ready for the mask; one that should remain on your feet for 10-15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing them off in warm water. If you'd like to give a recipe a shot, there are a few easy to make ones right here.
9. UNPLUG. ENTIRELY.
Here are some signs that a lot of us are more addicted to our devices than we probably would care to admit. Many of us check our smartphone at least 150 times a day (geeze). Tons of us watch six days' worth of television each month. Hell, almost 90 percent of us can't even watch TV without staring at our cell phone or laptop at the same time. Our brains really don't need to be constantly going. Our eyes either (check out "8 Solid Reasons To Put. Your Phone. Down."). That's why, it can most definitely be a sign of self-love to take off a day—or shoot, even an entire weekend—to unplug from any device that will prevent you from resting and hearing your own thoughts. By the way, if you just read that and was like, "Shellie, I'm with you except when it comes to this, you are the main one who needs to do it." (Check out "Social Media: How To Take Back Control Of What You're Consuming" and "What I Learned From My Two-Month Social Media Fast".)
10. Sleep on Rose Petals
Believe it or not, there are some really easy and cost-effective ways to upgrade your house, even when you're on a really tight budget (check out "10 Home Décor Hacks To Make You Love Being At Home"). But if you want to do something that is super quick and can still make you feel extremely luxuriant, throw some fresh rose petals all over your bed before turning in at night. The petals are super soft and the scent of rose helps to reduce anxiety, menstrual discomfort, headaches/migraines and even menopause-related symptoms.
Who said a man has to be in the bed with you when there are petals everywhere? When it comes to pampering and self-love, see that as merely a bonus. #wink
Featured image by Shutterstock
Originally published on December 20, 2020
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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Featured image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images