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10 Solo Date Ideas in the Name of Self-Care Posted on 2 Jul 00:00

Have you ever taken yourself on a date? I don’t mean just catching a matinee alone every once in a while—but intentionally hanging out with y-o-u, just for the thrill of it. Loving your own company is a crucial part of self-care, no matter whether you’re single or paired up. Why? Dating yourself not only helps you develop the self-confidence that’s so important to bring to a relationship with someone else; it’s also super fun to be your own dream date!

But there’s a big difference between getting out there and actually enjoying the solitude–and getting out there and feeling weird about being alone. The key is to quickly push past any awkwardness and learn to soak up your solo time. Skip the whole “table for one” cheesiness and instead challenge yourself to try an experience that’ll keep you busy doing things—and will totally make your solo mission way more exciting.

Fill in your calendar with these solo date ideas, ASAP.

  1. Find a plant workshop: Green thumbs don’t grow on trees. Scope out a plant care event at a flower shop near you or find an online offering, where you can learn all about propagation techniques, terrarium building, and succulent care, then test your knowledge by picking up a few new plant friends to bring home.
  2. Go to a gallery opening: You’ll get to scope out a new exhibition with a glass of wine in hand, plus gain a different perspective or learn about a new artistic technique. Bonus points if there’s an artist talk or curator talk planned, but either way, use this chance to figure out what kind of art speaks to you. 
  3. Sign up for a cooking class: Maybe you’re already packing chef-level knife skills or maybe you can barely boil water, but there’s always something new to learn in the kitchen—and you’ll be surrounded by like-minded foodies. Find a cooking school or restaurant near you that offers in-person classes, then sign up for something that’s a little outside your comfort zone—giving you a chance to really get your hands dirty (who knew kneading bread dough could be so therapeutic?!).
  4. Go to a poetry reading: Local bookshops are great places to scout out interesting events—chat up an author, listen to a reading and fall in love with the next great novel.
  5. Try horseback riding: Hop in the saddle and hit the trail: There’s something incredibly soothing about a rhythmic trot into the woods. Whether you’re a novice rider or a seasoned pro, a little QT in the great outdoors with one of these majestic creatures will be good for the soul. Scope out trail rides in your area or plan a bigger trip through equitours.com, which offers U.S. and international horseback riding trips for all skill levels. (Galloping down the beach in Morocco? The stuff of dreams.)
  6. Take a new fitness class:  Boxing or SUP yoga, anyone? If you’re up for a challenge, jump on a new fitness trend that’s bound to bring major benefits. After all, the best workouts are the ones where you have the most fun but still break a sweat. Who knows, you might just spark a new regular routine!
  7. Set off on a mini road trip: You know that museum out in the country you’ve been meaning to check out? That cute winery with the perfect selfie spots? Dating yourself means you can just get up and go. Pick a Saturday, queue up a podcast, and hit the road.
  8. Go vintage shopping: Spend hours wandering around thrift shops and antique stores in search of the perfect crocheted crop top or mid-century modern end table. You’ll uncover some weird finds and come home with a cool collection of things that feel decidedly you.
  9. Take a hike: There’s a reason forest bathing is a thing: Research shows that time spent in the woods can work wonders for anxiety and stress levels. Lace up your hiking boots, bring some water (and a charged phone, JIC), and hit the trail for some meditative moments among the trees.
  10. Get room service: Book a cute boutique hotel in your neighborhood and set up your own luxe night in, complete with room service and a cozy robe. Snuggle up with a good book, a great cheeseburger and a classic movie, then lights out for some sweet dreams in a super fluffy bed. Bliss!
What’re your favorite ideas for dating yourself? Tell us we would love to hear from you!

 

 


"Strawberry Legs" Are Exactly What They Sound Like, and I Found a Solution Posted on 25 Jun 00:00

Do you ever notice dark spots on your legs after you shave? Turns out they're small, open holes in your legs that can hold oil, dirt, or bacteria after shaving. Don't worry though — they're totally normal and easy to prevent. These open holes can lead to "strawberry legs," or legs with dark spots on them. 

 

Improper shaving can lead to ingrown hairs.  It can also cause what looks like dark dots on the skin that are often referred to as strawberry legs or dark pores. Sometimes mistaken as dirt, these dark dots resemble the spots on the skin of strawberries (hence the informal description) and are more noticeable on some people than others.

So, Why Do They Appear Dark or Black?

The dark spots or pores are actually open comedones, a dark semisolid plug of oxidized debris. These open comedones can have excess oil, dirt, or bacteria trapped inside. The blockage of sebum, debris, or bacteria mixes with air and melanin, and the reaction causes the opening to appear dark or black. 

It's All in Your Shaving

First: exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Regular exfoliation helps keep these dark pores at bay, and so do proper shaving methods, shaving tools, and a good skin care regimen. It's recommended to exfoliate your legs on a regular basis with a body scrub that polishes away dead skin cells. One of my favorite body scrubs is the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Polish because it gently scrubs away dead skin and leaves your skin feeling soft. 

Since the appearance of dark pores might be because of your shaving technique, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are properly shaving your legs to avoid getting strawberry legs.

Perfecting Your Technique

Preventing strawberry legs actually starts a day or two before you shave. To help exfoliate, vigorously brush legs with a soft dry brush with circular motions prior to your bath or shower. Then, soak skin in warm water for 5-10 minutes before you shave to open skin pores and hair follicles, draw out impurities, and loosen dead skin cells trapped inside the pores.

When You're Actually Shaving

  • Shave during or after a warm shower when pores are larger
  • Use a good razor—one that will not require you to use a lot of pressure as you shave and that provides a closer shave without causing the hair to snap back and cause ingrown hairs. I would recommend Billie razors or the Oui Shave razors.
  • Make sure that your razor blades are sharp. Dull blades drag against the skin and increase the chance of the hair curling back into the skin causing razor bumps or ingrown hairs.
  • Apply an aloe-based or moisturizing shaving cream or gel, following the direction of your hair growth. Next, gently shave in direction of hair growth. Avoid passing over the same area too many times, which will irritate the skin. Also be careful not to stretch your skin tight while shaving.
  • After shaving, splash with cold water to close your pores and hair follicles.
  • Pat your skin dry. Rubbing can irritate your skin. Apply a fragrance-free cream or moisturizer or a lotion made for aftershave to reduce irritation. Some people prefer using a post-shave oil, too, like the Fur Ingrown Concentrate. Let the moisturizer absorb into the skin.

If the problem persists, you can try these additional steps to get rid of dark pores on the legs, or switch to a different hair removal method, like waxing or even laser hair removal. 


Pamper The Skin You Are In With Sasha Baby Butters!!! Posted on 18 Jun 00:00

Hi Guys, 

I'm so excited to introduce founder and CEO of Sasha Baby Butters, Dr. Lori M Paylor as our guest blogger this week. I have used Sasha Baby Butters for a year now and OMG her body butters truly pampers your skin. It goes on nicely and its not greasy, like so many other brands. Her signature scent "Sasha Baby" Baby Powder is my absolutely fav!

Without further ado ladies, Dr. Lori M Paylor....

Hello Queens,

First let me introduce myself.  I am Dr. Lori M Paylor, founder and CEO of Sasha Baby Butters, LLC. I started this business in 2015 after formulating an organic whipped body butter for myself and infant daughter Sasha. I was a nursing mother at the time and wanted to only use chemical free and natural products on our dry and sensitive skin.  Only by the grace of God and his many blessings was Sasha Baby Butters born, and I'm excited to see where He will continue to take it.  
Our organic whipped butters are made with 100% organic shea butter, natural oils, essential oils and fragrant oil. Available in 16 scents, we have something for everyone and all skin types.  Our ingredients are of high quality and guaranteed to meet your needs.  We also make body oils, bath salts and soaks and offer a complete beard care line for healthy beard care.
Many people have asked "are your body butters and oils just for dry skin?"  
Our answer
..... absolutely not. Of course relief of dry skin is one of its major uses but our products are very versatile.  Our butters and oils can be used in nail care to help prevent cry and cracked cuticles.  Just place a few drops on the cuticles and massage until well absorbed. Want to reduce wrinkles? Use our unscented butter as a part of your nighttime facial regime.  For natural hair and twist out styles our butters provide all the essential oils and moisture you need for a healthy protected style.  
Here at Sasha Baby Butters we are more than just body butters.  We are a family that takes pride in creating healthy products that are not only good for you but make you feel good as well. 
With butter Love,
Dr. Lori Paylor

The 12 Best Citrus Perfumes to Try This Summer Posted on 11 Jun 00:00

Fresh and floral fragrances might get all the attention, come summertime, but I am particularly enamored with perfumes that have notes of citrus. They bring a clean feeling to all other scent profiles—from delicate florals to peppery spices, and even earthy musks. No matter what scent you normally prefer, I am making a case that everyone could use some sparkling citrus notes of lemon, grapefruit, and orange in their fragrance wardrobe.

Keep reading to see the fresh citrus perfumes you need this summer!
Be instantly transported to the shores of the Amalfi Coast by spritzing on this fresh scent. Notes of brown sugar, peonies, and water jasmine temper bright Primofiore lemon.
This gelato-inspired fragrance is just as delicious as the summertime treat—it’s crisp, clean, and a little bit indulgent, thanks to top notes of mandarin, grapefruit, and clementine paired with a musky base note.
Chanel No. 5 might be the fashion house’s most famous fragrance, but I love this light, fresh scent for summer. It reimagines the scent of classic, floral magnolia by adding in notes of citrus and Neroli.
Vetiver is an earthy, citrusy scent commonly used in unisex fragrances. Here, the intensity is tempered by the spiciness of pink pepper and the freshness of grapefruit.
This sparkling perfume was inspired by the Champagne region of France—so it’s no surprise that it manages to be both playful and sophisticated. Citrus-y top notes of Neroli, bitter orange and grapefruit are balanced by earthy bergamot, dark almond, and white sandalwood.
I love anything that reminds me of sipping cocktails on the beach, and this caipirinha-inspired perfume is just the thing to take me to my happy place. The lemon and orange pair exceptionally well with the jasmine and white lilac.
Jo Malone’s signature unisex scent starts off with zesty, tropical lime and mandarin. The addition of basil and white thyme is unexpected but invigorating.
The crispness of grapefruit and woodiness of musk keep the floral tones of this bubbly iteration of  Marc Jacobs' original Daisy fragrance from being too cloying—perfect for a summertime pick-me-up.
Infused with the tangy essence of bergamot and Amalfi lemon, floral notes of jasmine and rose, and a base of wood and musk, this citrus perfume strikes the perfect balance of fruity, floral, and earthy scents.
Just like the name says, this fresh and summery perfume will lift your spirits after a brutal winter season. Mandarin orange and pink grapefruit blend with crisp floral notes for an airy, feminine fragrance.
Like Burberry’s iconic trench coat, this citrus scent goes with everything. Sparkling nectarine and green sap are layered over floral notes for a fragrance that’s fun, modern and youthful.
One of the first successful unisex fragrances, CK One awakens the senses with notes of papaya, pineapple, lemon, and florals, over a base accord of green tea. A refreshing, clean scent that’s light enough to wear to breakfast but invigorating enough to give you a burst of energy when you need it.

Have You Heard of UOMA Beauty Products? Posted on 4 Jun 00:00

The rise in beauty brands’ extensive shade ranges has shown that inclusive product launches aren’t a trend, but crucially important for validating a person's identity. While there's still room to improve shade and undertone selection, more companies are taking matters into their own hands to help POC feel represented. Take UOMA Beauty, which launched at Ulta, as an example. UOMA is a newly released brand offering makeup to include people of color in a way that brings African culture to the forefront.

Chuter says UOMA as an "Afropolitan" makeup brand, which she explains is the culture that connects people with Afro roots. "The first thing to understand about the ‘Afro’ is that Africa is the most racially diverse continent on the planet. You go all the way to South Africa where you have people of every color who are Caucasian, in Egypt you have beautiful Arabs, go into West Africa you’ll find brown people, and go to South Sudan, you’ll find people who are of the deep dark shades."

"Afropolitan is like this merge, this celebration of everything that’s ‘Afro’ all the way from the bottom of Africa to America to Haiti to Jamaica to Cuba to even the UK," Chuter says. "UOMA’s place is where you’ll find a lot of ‘Afro’ origins."

To ensure her brand was inclusive of all those Afro identities, the total lineup of products includes 51 shades of its hydrating Say What?! foundation, 17 shades of “Stay Woke” concealer 16 colorful hues of the Badass Icon matte lipstick, eight shades of Boss Gloss, the "Blackety Black" water resistant Afro.Dis.iac liquid eyeliner, five shades of its Double Take highlighter and contour stick, and three Black Magic eyeshadow palettes with 10 shades in each.

I can't wait to try this cosmetic collection. UOMA Beauty is available at UOMABeatuy.com and Ulta.com I love that Chuter celebrates African culture and authentic inclusive products into the hands of beauty lovers in all shades and undertones. Simply Beautiful


Take Your Bath To The Next Level With Tips From Luxury Spas Posted on 28 May 00:00

There's just something about kicking up your feet in the tub that immediately signals release and reprieve. Mindful bathing is a huge part of my self-care routine.

According to Simon Marxer, the director of spas at Arizona-based Miraval Resort, it's not hard to recreate a spa-inspired bathing experience in your own bathroom. It all starts with your state of mind. "The most important element of a relaxing, restorative bath is setting the intention to let go of all else and committing to care for yourself."

Stephanie Ludwig, M.Div., M.A., Ph.D., the director of spiritual wellness over at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, adds that once your intention is there, you should set aside a good amount of time to fully commit to your wind-down routine. "A relaxing, restorative bath requires a commitment of at least 30 minutes so that you can slow down and become still, engage all of your senses in the experience of bathing, and revel in the quiet pleasure of caring for your whole being in such a deliciously simple way." Here is a routine she recommends to achieve this stillness:

A mindful bathing ritual for relaxation.

First, turn your bathing area into a personalized sacred space that feels tranquil to you. Remove any clutter from the area (like laundry or children’s toys), dim or turn off the lights, and light candles with a scent you enjoy. Add essential oils, aromatic dried flowers or herbs, or salts to the water that feel comfortably deep and warm to you. (My favorite combination is Epsom salt with dried lavender and rosemary. I rub the herbs in my hands to release their oils and then gently toss into the water.)

Lay out a robe or plush towel in your favorite color. Soothing music, especially nature sounds like flowing water or birds chirping, can be a lovely addition, although silence is a rare luxury I encourage people to indulge while bathing.

Once immersed in the tub, close your eyes; focus your attention on breathing gently in and out through your nose to activate the relaxation response. Settle into the rhythm of breathing, allowing the stresses and strains of the day to release into the water with each exhale. Invite each sense to awaken. This is the time in my own bathing ritual when I speak aloud a prayer of gratitude for sacred water—the water I drink, cook with, bathe and swim in, the water I am dependent upon for survival. This restores a sense of spiritual connection to an element I can easily take for granted when it flows clearly, cleanly, and abundantly from my faucet whenever I want it.

Slowly apply a body oil from your feet upward, pausing at each part of your body to express appreciation and gratitude for how well that part of your body is functioning. When you are ready to emerge from the bath, give yourself ample time to pat dry slowly, dress slowly, and move slowly into whatever activity follows.

Easy ways to make your bath even more indulgent.

To transform your bath routine into a spa-worthy experience, Marxer says to keep accessible luxuries like a favorite snack, a glass of cool lemon or cucumber water, or a chilled towel sprayed with essential oils within reach. You can place these on your face and neck during your time in the water. His top aromatic picks include chamomile, sandalwood, and lavender for relaxation, and ginger, black pepper, rosemary, and chamomile for stress relief. If you're looking for a more energizing bath, he points to patchouli, rosemary, grapefruit, and juniper berry. And before you hop in the water, his pro tip is to gather some fluffy towels, slippers, and a robe that can greet you when you get out of the water to keep the relaxation going a little longer.

What if you don't have a bath?

"You can carry out much of the ritual I have described, with the exception of immersion, in a shower or in a bathroom with a sink," says Ludwig. "It is taking the time, creating your sacred space, restoring peace through the breath, engaging the senses, expressing gratitude for water and your functioning body that provide the self-nurturance that you long for."

Simon adds that a warm shower can be just as pampering, especially if you go with a luscious scrub or exfoliator. For an aromatic element, place a bundle of eucalyptus over your shower head and breathe in the steam deeply.


These 6 Gentle, Mood-Boosting Bubble Baths Won't Mess With Your Vagina's pH Posted on 21 May 00:00

There's nothing I enjoy more than getting into a nice warm bath after a long day. Stress seems to melt away, and I can enjoy at least a few minutes of uninterrupted bliss with my favorite book (and hey, maybe even a cocktail) before I have to get back to reality. And what better way to up the relaxation factor even further than with some bubbles?

But not just any bubbles, it turns out. "Traditional bubble bath, like soap, is an alkaline substance, with a pH around 9.5, while normal skin has an acidic pH, around 5," says Lauren E. Adams, M.D., a dermatologist with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates who's board-certified in lifestyle medicine. "Elevation of the skin's pH can lead to disruption of the microbiome, dry skin, eczema, inflammation, and even fine lines and wrinkles."

Plus, if you're prone to yeast infections, or if you're a woman in general, many bubble baths can be particularly problematic. "The vagina also normally has an acidic pH, around 4, and disruption of this balance with alkaline soaps, bubble baths, or douching can lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and urinary tract infections." None of which sound relaxing.

"Looking for 'pH balanced' products is a good idea for bubble baths and all cleansers," says Adams. Also consider products with ingredients that can help hydrate and soothe the skin, such as oatmeal and skin-friendly oils, she adds. Additionally, bubble bath products scented with natural essential oils can up the therapeutic factor (promoting relaxation, soothing muscles, boosting mood) while helping you avoid harsh artificial fragrances, which might actually mess with your hormones.  

Happily, several companies are now creating bubble baths with gentle, natural ingredients that keep your skin (and vagina) top of mind. Here, we've rounded up six of the best natural bubble baths that will leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and certainly not itchy.

(Pro tip: Whenever you take a bath, don't stay in the tub much longer than 15 to 30 minutes, otherwise you'll dry out your skin.)

Queen V Pop the Bubbly Bubble Bath

Every single product from Queen V was created to support a healthy, balanced vagina or alleviate female-specific conditions like menstrual cramps. And we're all about it. Their Pop the Bubbly Bubble Bath is pH-balanced, hydrates and soothes skin with green tea and chamomile, and is naturally scented with mango extract and essential oils. 

Buy online at Queen V

Alaffia Everyday Shea Fair Trade Shea Butter Bubble Bath

If you're sensitive to all fragrance (even natural fragrances from essential oils), this unscented bubble bath is your best bet. And even if you're not, you can add a couple of drops of your own  essential oils to create a custom aromatherapy blend. Made with unrefined shea butter, this bubble bath will leave your skin feeling soft and supple, not stripped of moisture.

Buy online at Alaffia

EO Serenity Bubble Bath, Eucalyptus Arnica

Sore muscles? Low energy? We've got the pH-balanced bubble bath for you. Invigorating eucalyptus and arnica put the pep back in your step while soothing sore muscles after a tough workout or long day on your feet. Plus, EO's signature herbal blend of aloe, calendula, chamomile, and white tea botanicals supports healthy skin. Want something more relaxing? EO also makes a  French Lavender scent.

Buy online at EO Products

Origins Ginger Float Cream Bubble Bath

For anyone who's wondered what it's like to immerse your entire body in a chai latte, this is probably the closest you'll get. A potent combination of warming ginger, clove, cardamom, and citrus tantalizes the senses as it relaxes your muscles and boosts mood. This foamy, not overly bubbly bath is free of all synthetic fragrances.

Buy online at Origins

The Honest Company Sweet Almond Bubble Bath

This pH-balanced bubble bath is free of synthetic fragrances and packs an extra-moisturizing punch thanks to jojoba and sweet almond oil, both of which contain skin-nourishing  vitamin E. Aloe and chamomile help further calm and hydrate skin. Bonus: This one's tear-free and good enough for babies.

Buy online at Honest


3 Skin-Saving Supplements That Complete Your Daily Routine Posted on 14 May 00:00



5 Simple Tips on How To Exude Confidence Posted on 7 May 00:00

Confidence begins with being comfortable with yourself. It is rooted in self-love, self-assurance, and intention behind every action. Confidence is expressed through how we present ourselves and what we put forth. The right clothing and the right mentality will not only provide you with physical comfort but also make you feel great in your own skin, helping you own your personal style, and improve your own self-esteem. Here are some of my favorite tips that will put a little “pop” in your step!

Tip #1: Put In Some Effort

If you look put together, you will feel put together. It’s that simple. Instead of rolling out of bed in your sweatpants and moving on with your day, wear actual clothing that make you feel beautiful and empowered. Even a tiny bit of effort, like throwing on a dress or a coordinated set, will not only make you look like you gorgeous but will also motivate you to be productive.

Tip #2: Spoil Yourself

Knowing your self-worth is so important and add tax to it! You want to be spoiled? That's fine! So, who better to spoil you than…well, you. Wake up early and make yourself a real breakfast instead of running out the door with an untoasted Poptart. Or, buy yourself a new outfit for a special event. Get your nails done. Go do things that you love, by yourself. A lot of times we will look for external factors to make us happy. But you don’t always need others to make you feel special when you can do that for yourself.

Tip #3: Disconnect

How many times a day do you sit scrolling through your Instagram feed, sifting through pictures of picture perfect models? If you are me, a lot. But, living on social media will leave you constantly comparing yourself to people who are paid to look that good. So, turn off that phone, STOP TORTURING YOURSELF, and show yourself some self-love. Give yourself permission to be beautiful, to feel beautiful, to act beautiful, and to radiate your natural beauty to the world. To do so it will be somewhat vulnerable, and it may be a little scared to allowing that to happen. But remember to really be able to recognize and appreciate beauty outside of yourself, you must first learn to see and appreciate it inside of yourself.

Tip #4: Accomplish Something

Sitting at home, scarfing down (not-actually-healthy) “healthy” snacks, and watching hours of mindless TV is not quite the epitome of productivity. Set a goal, simple or complicated, and accomplish it. There is no better feeling than getting something done because then your day and your time spent has a purpose.

Tip #5: Show Off What You Love

Maybe you love your arms, or your waist, or your booty. So, wear clothing that shows those things off! Be confident in the things that you love about yourself because that self-love is contagious. Whatever your shape and size, love your body for the gift it is. Body confidence comes from embracing who you are, it's perfectly imperfect flaws and all. 

As my grandmother used to say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so don’t hide it! Show yourself and shine Girl!


Show These Sweet Lips A little Love Girl With Sara Happ's Clay Lip Mask! Posted on 30 Apr 00:00

You treat your body and face to facials, massages, and masks galore, but what about your lips? Your pout works hard for you, so why not treat your lips to a spa-like facial with Sara Happ's new clay lip mask?

If you haven't tried a lip mask, don't be intimidated — they are exactly like face masks that give your skin or lips an extra boost of exfoliation. Happ's clay lip mask is a lip treatment that uses a clay sourced from the Himalayas.

It's a treatment that will make your lips immediately feel baby-smooth while also helping reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time. Not only does the clay lip mask help purify and balance your skin, it also will moisturize your lips to make them feel softer and firmer on contact.

All you have to do in order to use the lip mask is slather on about a dollap onto your lips, leave on for two to 20 minutes, and use a warm washcloth to remove and reveal your new silky smooth lips.

Not only does Happ offer the clay lip mask, her lip line also includes other lip scrubs and luxe lip balms that you can apply after you use the mask or the scrub in order to lock in your lips' new softness.

I promise you, you and your lips won't regret this (and neither will the person who's on the receiving end of your kisses!)

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