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
- Best Self-Care Gifts, Gift Ideas 2020 - xoNecole: Women's Interest ... ›
- How To Create A Pamper Routine Your Self-Care Saturdays Will ... ›
- Quarantine Life: How To Pamper Yourself (For Singles) - xoNecole ... ›
- I've Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul ... ›
- How To Create A Pamper Routine Your Self-Care Saturdays Will Thank You For - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Self-Care Ideas For Fall, Autumn - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
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. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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 Kanobi Pollard/xoNecole
If you followed Beyoncé’s career, then you know how hair has played an important role in her journey. Her mom, Ms. Tina Knowles, owned a hair salon when the multi-Grammy award-winning artist was growing up, and she has shared on several occasions how it impacted her life. We’ve also witnessed her many hair transformations throughout her career, from braids to her signature long, straight honey blonde tresses. However, it was her pixie cut in 2013 that had everyone talking.
Beyoncé and Tina launched Cécred (pronounced sacred), a hair care line that includes a clarifying shampoo and scalp scrub, a hydrating shampoo, a nourishing hair oil, and much more. The mother-daughter duo opened up about their latest business venture together to Essence in its March/April issue, and the “Alien Superstar” revisited her haircut and how it reflected a life change.
“It did. That’s right. I love how we associate a certain hairstyle with moments in our lives, like that short-hair moment. I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn’t have a particular style in mind,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through. So much of my identity as a performer has been connected to flowing hair. Cutting my hair off was me rebelling against being this woman that society thinks I’m supposed to be.”
Beyonc\u00e9 to ESSENCE Magazine on her 2013 pixie cut:\n\n"I remember the day I decided to just cut all my hair off. I didn\u2019t have a particular style in mind. It wasn\u2019t an aesthetic choice, but it was a very big emotional transformation and metamorphosis that I was going through."\ud83d\ude2d\ud83e\udd79— (@)
She continued, “I was a new mother, and something about the liberation of becoming a mother made me want to just shed all of that. It was a physical representation of me shedding the expectations put upon me. I just wanted it off.
Neal Farinah, my hairstylist and friend, was freaking out because it was really long, really thick and really healthy. I just got the scissors and chopped it off. It was very intentional. And it was what I needed to do. And after that, I became super brave. It was the first step to many more audacious decisions I made in my life and my career that have led to who I am now.”
Throughout the interview, Beyoncé shared how her new hair line is her “legacy” and how she wants to use her line to highlight the versatility of textured hair.
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.
Feature image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy