It's that time of year again. Time to break out your sandals, open-toed shoes and even those $2 flip-flops from Old Navy that are bad for your soles yet we all seem to get them anyway.
Since pedicures are a form of reflexology that exfoliates your feet, reduces the chances of infection, promotes circulation, relaxes your body and helps your feet to maintain its much-needed moisture, hopefully, you've been getting them all year long. But let's be real with each other—pedicures are also what keep our toes looking as cute as ever! That's why the summer season is usually when we choose to shell out a little more cash so that our feet can receive some extra special treatment.
Well, before heading out to your favorite salon to get your feet and toes ready for what this summer has to offer, take out a moment to read about what you should do to get your feet on the right foot and then the all-natural things that you can—and should—try and home so that everything from your ankles down look, feel and even smell amazing long after Labor Day has come and gone.
Do a Rosewater, Vegetable Glycerin and Milk SoakSoaking in nature's goodness
Sandals and open-toed heels are cool but walking around with most of your feet out is a way to expose them to a ton of sunlight and even bacteria. Something that can prevent sunburn and protect your feet from germs is to soak them in some rosewater (click here to learn how to make some from home). Vegetable glycerin makes it easier for you to slough off dead skin. Milk is the ultimate moisturizer.
Pamper your feet by filling a basin a little more than halfway with warm water. Then add two cups of rosewater, a half cup of vegetable glycerin and a cup of milk. Soak for 15 minutes and use a pumice stone to hit the "rough areas". Your feet will be unbelievably smooth after you're done.
Use a Black Tea Foot Soak to Avoid Feet Sweat
I've got some people in my life who have a pretty bad case of sweaty feet. Although cornstarch works pretty well during the colder seasons, who wants to look like they've been kicking up dust in their sandals during the summertime?
If sweaty feet are something that you struggle with, consider soaking them in some black tea. It might sound crazy, but the tannic acid in the tea will not only close up your feet's pores so that you'll sweat less, it also kills bacteria so that your feet won't smell as much too.
Also Put Your Feet in Baking Soda Once a Week
Baking soda is one of the most effective (and inexpensive) exfoliants there is! It removes tartar from teeth, lifts up dandruff flakes from your scalp and gets rid of the dry skin that's on your feet too. If you want to maintain the pH balance of your feet and toes while also removing calluses and soothing aching feet, pour 3-4 tablespoons and add 10 drops of lavender essential oil into a basin of warm water. Soak your feet for 20 minutes and I guarantee your feet will instantly feel soothed, pampered and summer ready!
Sleep with Shea Butter and Socks
I don't miss my monthly pedicure. But there is a place on my left heel that stays hard, no matter how much my nail tech tends to it. Something that has finally "tamed" that area is shea butter. Only, I don't rub a lot of shea butter on my feet during the daytime (that makes them all slippery 'n stuff). Instead, I put a generous amount of it on my feet and toes at night and then put a pair of socks on. It is the ultimate moisturizer that has my feet feeling and looking amazing by morning.
Apply Honey and Olive Oil Once a Week
Whether your heels are rough, your feet are sore or you simply want another way to keep your feet bacteria-free, honey's got your back. One-half cup of manuka honey, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and half of a freshly-squeezed lemon in a basin of water is a great DIY foot soak. But if baby soft feet are what you're after, mix one-third cup of organic honey with one-half cup of virgin olive oil. Rub your clean feet with the solution, let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse. Your feet will be date—and other stuff—night ready all night long!
Buff Your Toenails. Then Apply Some Cuticle Oil.
To tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time I only wore clear polish on my toenails (or fingernails, for that matter). That's how much I like colored nail polish! But I will say that whenever it's time to switch over to a new look, those white spots that sometimes show up, they get on my last nerve.
Can you relate and are looking for a remedy? Buff your toenails first. Apply some cuticle oil next. That should be all that you need to get your nails looking back to "normal" again.
Apply Orange Oil to Kill Fungus
If you're wondering if you've got a little bit of toenail fungus lurking around, some signs include nails that crumble at the corners, scaling underneath your toenail, yellow streaks on your toenails, distorted-looking toenails or toenails that are super thick (thicker than your "normal").
While it's always a good idea to see a doctor if you're not sure about a health matter, if money is tight at the moment and you want to use as few chemicals as possible to get the fungus under control, something that you might want to try doing is applying some orange oil. Scientific research reveals that the properties in orange essential oil is able to kill most strains of fungal and bacterial infections (peppermint and lemongrass oil can too but orange smells really good).
Eat Keratin-Rich Foods
Your nails are made up of the protein keratin. That's why it makes sense that, in order to keep them healthy from the inside out, you should eat foods that are rich in keratin. Some of those include blueberries, almonds, eggs, whey protein, fish, collards and kale and citrus fruit. These are the kinds of foods that will make sure that your nails will be strong, not brittle and will keep that nice pink glow.
Always Keep Them Polished
Even if your budget won't let you get professional pedicure every 3-4 weeks, most spas/salons will paint your toenails for you for a pretty nominal fee (if you're wondering, the current hottest nail polish colors for the summer are nude, neon, polka dot, rainbow and pastels). A fresh coat will make your feet look like brand new; especially if you follow through with all of the at-home suggestions you just read.
Remember, summer beauty is all in the details. So, don't you dare step out this summer season without taking good care of those feet of yours!
Get a Professional Pedicure
In order to get your feet off to a great start, I personally think it's a good idea to invest in a professional pedicure. That way, you can get your calluses removed, cuticles pushed back, toenails trimmed and nails professionally painted.
Just make sure that you shave your legs no less than two days before going (so that bacteria from the foot tubs don't get into your legs' pores), that the spa/salon you go to sanitizes the tub before you put your feet in it and that there are other options than those callus shavers (the things that look a lot like cheese graters). Believe it or not, in many states, those are now illegal because of the risk they run of cutting you. #themoreyouknow
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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History was made in more ways than one at the 66th Grammy Awards. One of the biggest highlights was Tyla accepting the first-ever award for African Music Performance for her hit song "Water." The melodic masterpiece, which took over our TikTok feeds back in August of 2023, has proved to be much more than a trend—last night earning a solidified spot in history.
The #TylaWaterChallenge was undoubtedly one the most popular dance trends sweeping social media in 2023, with dance icons like Ciara even joining in on the fun. The viral craze would later earn Tyla a performance spot at the coveted "New Years Rockin' Eve" in Times Square, with the new artist only releasing the song less than five months prior.
Tyla Makes History at the 66th Grammy AwardsPhoto by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The South African songstress was up against stiff competition, including Afrobeats superstars Burna Boy and Davido, for the history-making African Music Performance award. The honor marked the Grammy's first acknowledgment of African music and Afrobeats after 66 years of existence. To say the least, it was a moment the superstars and their predecessors had worked extremely hard for.
xoNecole spoke to Tyla after the historic win in the Grammys media room. "Afrobeats has already started booming all over the world, which I'm so happy about," she said. "It's about time." She continued, "I just feel like this is going to open so many more doors for us back home and introduce our music and our culture to so many more people, which we've been wanting." She concluded by thanking The Recording Academy for giving African music the platform.
Tyla's self-titled debut album is slated for release in March of 2024, and she's already earned her first Grammy to set the tone. To say Tyla's "future is so bright that we need sunglasses" would be an understatement.
Congratulations, Tyla! This is truly a moment Africa will never forget.
Tyla On Her History-Making Grammy Winyoutu.be
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Feature image by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Recording Academy