Something that I enjoy doing from time to time is treating married couples to a hotel night on me. As a marriage life coach, I am a huge fan of marital intimacy (which is a polite way of saying that I want husbands and wives to have sex, just as much as they possible can). Well, one time, when I extended the offer to a particular couple and I told them that a jacuzzi bathtub was included with the room, I'll never forget what the husband said. "Shellie, that's sweet of you but baths are nasty to me. Who wants to soak in their own filth? The only way that I'll do a bath with my wife is if we take a shower together first." Hilarious. But I get it.
You know, I've written a few articles, shouting out the beauty and benefits of bathing on here before (check out "Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?" and "Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year"). But if you happen to be a lot like the husband that I mentioned or you're simply too pressed for time to always have a long hot soak, I've got a few ways for you to make your showers feel just as pampering and tranquil as if you were taking a bubble bath. All you need to do is apply the following 10 tips and your shower will miraculously turn into your very own at-home spa.
1. Upgrade Your Showerhead
Before we get into anything else that can help you to feel super pampered while you're taking a shower, it's an absolute must that you reevaluate your showerhead; after all, this one upgrade can literally change your entire showering experience for you.
Your best bet is to look for a showerhead that sprays in a wide pattern and offers up a good amount of water pressure. Budget-wise, it's also smart to look for a low-flow showerhead because they can save you as much as 60 percent of the water that you would use without one.
If you really wanna take things up a notch, you can even get shower light showerhead; one that comes in a variety of colors (like this one right here). As far as what a great showerhead costs, you can expect to pay somewhere between $50-100. But when you stop to think about how many showers you take a year, that's pennies in comparison to all of the luxury that it will provide. If you want some help with selecting the best showerhead for you and your personal needs, Consumer Report has a guide right here.
2. Apply a Mask Before Showering
Something that a spa treatment does is rid your body of built-up toxins. Well, one way that you can do that at home is to apply a mask. It can be a mask for your face or even a mask for your armpits, which is where a lot of toxins tend to go unnoticed (check out "When's The Last Time You Detoxed Your Armpits?"). Some other reasons to consider applying a mask, once a week, is it can also refine your pores, firm your skin and even your skin tone. A bonus is, if you apply your mask and let it sit for about 15 minutes before hopping into the shower, you can easily rinse it off once you're in there, so there won't be any mess that's left behind. The Healthy is a site that offers 13 DIY facial mask recipes (that you can also use on the rest of your body). You can check them out here.
3. Buy a Spa Robe
I don't even know a lot of people who own a bathrobe anymore. If you don't, there really are some benefits that come with getting yourself one. On the practical tip, if you invest in a microfiber robe (which is the route I would suggest), they're absorbent (so you can walk right out of the shower and put it on), along with being mold, mildew and stain resistant. On the pampering tip, they also feel really soft and super fluffy. And, if you throw any kind of bathrobe into your dryer for 15 minutes before getting into the shower, your robe will have you feeling so warm 'n cozy that you'll never wanna get out of it.
4. Get a Suction Wine Glass Holder
Some of y'all would like to take a bottle of wine with you everywhere you go. Chile, I already know! If you're unapologetic about being in that number, did you know there is such a thing as suction wine glass holders? A company called Sip Caddy has 'em so that you can have a glass of wine (or a can of beer or anything else you like to drink) while showering or soaking in the tub. Just when you think they've thought of it all, chile.
5. Bring a Plant into Your Bathroom
If you've never had a plant in your bathroom before, I might be able to convince you to consider it. For starters, putting a plant in that room of your house is great because they are really good at absorbing excess humidity and bacteria. Plus, plants have a way of reducing stress levels and helping to put you into a good mood (which is great to know if you happen to wake up on the wrong side of the bed). And, if you get a shower plant specifically, they're so low-maintenance that you don't have to worry about giving them the kind of attention that other plants in your house may require.
Another cool thing is, greenery being around you while you're showering, creates an atmosphere that is oh so tropical and serene. It can literally make you feel like you're someplace else for those few minutes that you're washing up. (You can read up on a list of plants that are ideal for your shower here.)
6. Install a Bathroom Diffuser
Every time I've gone to a spa, something that I really liked was how good it smelled, in every room that I entered. If you want to experience a delightful scent to your own bathroom, how about installing a bathroom essential oil diffuser? It's pretty much a device that distributes essential oil evenly throughout a room. Not only can using an essential oil to disperse various oils pamper your sense of smell, but essential oils can also help to purify your bathroom space as well. Plus, a diffuser is a lot safer than using candles (that could catch fire or burn you). Therapeutic scents for your spa shower time include citrus, peppermint, lavender, sandalwood, neroli and vanilla.
7. Invest in a Shower Bomb
Another approach to achieving diffuser results without actually purchasing one is to get yourself a few shower bombs (some call them shower steamers, by the way). All you've got to do is place one down close to your drain (not too close or it will dissolve really fast). Once you turn the water on, you'll start to notice a dense fog along with a smell that is absolutely amazing. It all will seem as close as you can to being in a sauna without actually being in one. There are plenty of places where you can buy shower bombs (Lush has a cute and affordable collection). Or you can always customize your own. They're really not that hard to make at all. You can check out a few DIY videos here, here and here.
8. DIY Your Bath Wash
One of the reasons why I'm such a fan of homemade bath washes is because a lot of the popular commercial brands contain chemicals that can irritate your skin or throw off your skin's pH balance. This is especially the case when it comes to vaginal washes (check out "Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes" and "Are You Washing Your Vagina Correctly? You Sure?"). But really, if you want your skin to feel and smell divine, from head to toe, without worrying about what is in your body wash, you can always make your own. Hello Glow's got 11 recipes that are really easy to make and can keep your skin feeling really soft. You can cop 'em here.
9. Try Some Exfoliating Sponge Pads
Each of us sheds somewhere between 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells on a daily basis. Thanks (but no thanks) to dirt, sweat and humidity, sometimes those cells get stuck and can lead to breakouts and dull-looking skin. Something that can help to prevent this from being an issue is exfoliating your skin. Some other reasons why it's a good idea to exfoliate on a consistent basis is it helps to detoxify your pores, increase blood circulation and keep ingrown hairs at bay. While I'm personally a huge fan of DIY body scrubs, another convenient way to exfoliate your body as you're taking a shower is to get yourself some exfoliating sponge pads. They're pretty easy to find. Even most local Walmarts carry them.
10. Apply Some Scented Body Oil Before Getting Out of the Shower
A lot of you have probably heard of sealing the ends of your hair before. Basically, it's a process that consists of locking in your hair's moisture after washing it, so that your ends don't become dry and brittle. Well, if you want to lock in the moisture that you just received from taking a shower, it can never hurt to "seal your skin" too. All this consists of is applying a relatively light carrier oil like sweet almond oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil onto your skin, right after you do your final rinse and right before you dry off. Let the oil sit for a couple of minutes and then use your towel (Oprah offered up a list of some of her favorite ones this past July; the list is here) to pat yourself dry.
If you really want to bring a perfect end to our shower spa experience, add 5-7 drops of your favorite smelling essential oil to the carrier one. Oh, and if total relaxation is what you're after, lavender, jasmine, rose, lemon balm, and patchouli, will all have you feeling like you are walking on a cloud. You'll be smelling and feeling truly wonderful; like you just spent a mint on a spa day, when all you did was walk into your very own shower.
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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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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