More stories

  • in

    The Best At-Home Valentine’s Day Plans

    No matter if you’re newly dating, recently single, have been in an LTR relationship for a decade, or if the longest relationship you’ve ever had is with your work wife, Valentine’s Day is historically stressful. Pricey menus, overbooked restaurants, or the shame of being single? No, thank you. And don’t get me started on that awkward phase when you just started seeing each other and aren’t sure if you’re at the buying-presents level or if you should keep it casual (for reference, I started dating my boyfriend around Valentine’s Day years ago. He got me a nice bracelet, and I got him a joke golf ball holder that looked like a pile of poop).It’s true: Valentine’s Day can kind of suck. But not this year! We’ve dealt with a hellish 10+ months and a crazy increase in stress, so we all deserve a little extra love on February 14. No matter what your relationship status says on Facebook, here are the best at-home plans to make your Valentine’s Day stress-free, enjoyable, and special. Overpriced restaurant menus and depressing nights alone need not apply.

    Order a hosting box to upgrade your night in
    If you’re looking to make your night special but don’t have the time (or energy) to figure out how, why not order everything you need straight to your door? Pass the Salt elevates your night in by delivering a box based on your needs and your night. Complete with seasonal cocktail fixings, tablescape accents, conversation-starters to help you reconnect, a playlist to set the mood, and an on-theme movie night rec in case your date night turns into movie night (it always does, right?). The best part? Pass the Salt works with small artisan brands and family-run companies, so not only will your date night in be filled with unique accents and interesting pieces that no one else has, but you’ll feel good about what you buy. Your significant other will be so impressed! 

     
    Have a picnic
    Because what’s more worthy of a romantic holiday than a picnic? If it’s warm where you live, enjoy the weather by spreading a picnic blanket in the backyard or nearby park, and enjoy dinner (and a bottle of wine) sitting under the stars. And if you live by a beach, lake, or forest? Even better. If it’s too cold outside, DIY your own picnic by lying a blanket on the floor in the living room. Make it extra cozy with a lit fire or candles, and enjoy a romantic evening that will feel more special than your average night in. If you’re long-distance, mail your partner candles, order pizza on Postmates (for both of you), and send over a Zoom link so you can have the same experience together from miles away.
     
    Relive one of your favorite trips
    After almost a year of staying at home, Valentine’s Day might feel like just another milestone cooped up at home. The answer? Bring vacation to you. If you had a magnifique trip to France a couple of years ago, look through pictures, play French music, and cook some croque monsieurs. If you were planning on taking a beach trip this year that got canceled, make some piña coladas and put on a sundress. You can also recreate the trip you’ve always wanted to take together: make sushi if you’ve both been dreaming of visiting Japan, or set up a DIY poker table to transport yourselves to Las Vegas. And if you’re in different locations this year, reminiscing about experiences and reliving happy memories will make your Facetime date feel more special. 
     
    Recreate your favorite restaurant or hotel at home
    Do you miss fancy date nights out? Get takeout from your favorite date-night restaurant (bonus points for supporting local businesses), or mix it up by ordering a few different kinds of food for a buffet of all your favorites (eggplant parmesan and spicy tuna rolls? Yes, please!). Light candles and get out a nice table cloth to create a romantic atmosphere. Make it extra special by dressing up in nice clothes or even just spritzing on your nice perfume. You’ll feel like you’re at a fancy restaurant, but without the expensive prices and sometimes weird food (who likes escargot, like really?). Oh, and if you miss romantic sleepovers at hotels, change your sheets, hang up fancy robes in the closet, and leave all distractions outside of the bedroom. 

    Create your own spa experience
    Breakups are never easy, especially when the month of love comes along to remind you. The fix? Put all your energy and love into self-care with an at-home spa experience. First, set the atmosphere. Dim the lights, light candles, diffuse essential oils, turn on relaxing music, and put on a cozy robe. Stock up on all the luxurious products you love, whether it’s a CBD bath bomb or a high-quality hair mask, and get ready for a full day of pampering. Take a bath, indulge in dry brushing or exfoliating, give yourself a facial massage for relaxation and de-puffing, and finish off with a manicure or pedicure in your favorite color. End the night with a glass of champagne or a cup of tea.

    Have breakfast in bed
    Sure, breakfast in bed is typically for mornings, but why not make it a nighttime thing? Breakfast for dinner is always fun (scrambled eggs, anyone?), and eating it in bed (with a mimosa or two) will feel like you’re at a luxurious hotel or on vacation. Trust me, you’ll be thrilled you don’t have to go out for date night when you’re relaxing in pajamas, eating pancakes, and bingeing Sex and the City for five hours straight (without anyone telling you to change the channel). 

    Do all your favorite traditions for yourself
    If you love typically love Valentine’s Day, carry on with all the same traditions. But this year, dedicate the traditions to the most worthy relationship: the one you have with yourself. Buy yourself your favorite flowers, indulge in a fancy box of chocolates, or treat yo’ self to that splurge item you’ve been wanting. Write yourself a love letter, cook your favorite meal, and light some candles for some romantic NSFW time (thank god you don’t need two people to orgasm, am I right?). While it may sound cheesy and feel silly, spending the money, time, and energy on yourself that you would normally spend on someone else will remind you that self-love is truly the best kind.

    DIY a wine and paint night
    Wine and painting classes are all the rage these days, so why not recreate them from the comfort of your own home? Order some cheap canvases and paint supplies online, look up a Youtube video for step-by-step painting, and pour a couple of glasses of wine for your friends. You’ll have a lot of fun, get your creativity on, and maybe even come away with new portraits to hang up in your homes (or you’ll laugh at how bad they turned out, but either way, it will be a great time). 

    Host a tasting
    Since you can’t take a girl’s trip to Napa Valley this year, bring Napa Valley to you. Host a simple wine tasting by sampling a few local wines (#supportlocalbusinesses), or get more detailed with cheese or chocolate pairings. Don’t forget an Insta-worthy cheese board, which is always a crowd-pleaser. And if you want to step up your game, create cards for the titles or origins of each wine, the different notes in each sample, and what foods they pair well with (so bougie). If beer or whiskey is more your friend group’s style, sample a few different types for a DIY flight. Pair with pretzels and beer cheese or takeout from your favorite brewery. This is your important reminder that a box of chocolates pairs well with just about any alcohol. 

    Bring the sports bar to you
    If your group of friends is more the “screw Valentine’s Day” type, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun on February 14. Forget the fancy foods and elegant wine; opt for something a little more casual and enjoyable by turning your home into your favorite local sports bar (every friend group has one). Turn on a pre-recorded game, ESPN Sports Center, or any past-season highlights to set the scene. Grab some beers and make (or order) all of your favorite bar appetizers like wings, pizza, or onion rings. If the night breaks out into a game of good old-fashioned beer pong, we’d call you genius. Loungewear attire required. 

    Have a party for one
    Because you don’t need to have company over to have a dinner party, plan a special night in for just you. Hang up string lights, make some mini appetizers, pop the nice champagne, turn on jazz music, and dress up in your favorite dinner-party attire. Why should you dress up your home (and your OOTD) just for other people? After all, celebrating yourself is the best possible occasion to bring out the nice silverware. Oh, and if your idea of a “party” looks more like beer kegs and loud music, why not throw one at home for yourself? A beer keg might be excessive (no judgment, either way), but pour yourself a cold beer, turn on the playlist that makes you want to dance, and snack on your favorite party food. Rager for one, please!

    Movie marathon
    For a special night at home, don’t settle for the same Netflix show you watch every night (Bridgerton can wait until tomorrow). Switch it up by planning a special movie marathon. Watch as many movies as you can get through of your favorite franchise like Harry Potter or Star Wars, or pick a genre you love (’80s teen movies or historical dramas are both classic choices). Get all your favorite movie snacks, put your phone away, and snuggle up in your coziest sweats for a movie marathon. The best part about being solo with no one else to disturb you is that you can fantasize about Mr. Darcy, John Cusack, or Gal Gadot all night long (whatever tickles your fancy). 
     
    Create a self-love night
    Not to sound like a broken record, but the most worthy kind of love is self-love, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not. Spend February 14 getting to know yourself, wooing yourself, caring for yourself, and prioritizing yourself. Plan out a schedule in advance of all the things you want to do to practice self-love. For example, revisit a childhood hobby, make a playlist of all your favorite songs, create a vision board, make a list of what you love most about yourself, cook an indulgent meal you love, and watch your favorite movie. For some more reflective self-love, try journaling prompts dedicated to getting to know yourself better, or squeeze in as many activities as you can from our Self-Love Challenge. 

    What are your Valentine’s Day plans this year? More

  • in

    30 At-Home Workouts You Can Do on Your Lunch Break

    No matter how many times that I attempt to make a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy my food, my hanger always prevails as I continually find myself inhaling my meals. The one benefit to this fatal flaw of mine is that I have the *unique* ability to use my lunch break to accomplish more than just curbing my hunger with my favorite Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Bowl. Instead of sleepily scrolling TikTok as I digest, I use the remaining minutes of my lunch to move my body, even if it’s just for a few moments.For a long, long time, it was ingrained in my brain that my workouts “weren’t effective” unless I spent over an hour doing intense cardio or lifting heavy weights at a gym. After the past year of adapting to our new normal, I’ve found that keeping things short, simple, and consistent is more effective for me than pressuring myself to hit the gym multiple days a week for hours on end. More times than not, I don’t have the time, energy, or motivation to make my previous methods even the least bit successful.
    Incorporating movement into my WFH routine has been an absolute game-changer for me and helps me to get my mind right before I tackle the second half of my workday. Whether you find yourself with an extra 10, 20, or 30 minutes in your day, these quick, yet effective workouts are the perfect way to step away from the screen and get your blood pumping:

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    Use code TEG50 for 50 percent off your first month of Obé Fitness, in addition to the 7-day free trial.

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]
     

    [embedded content]
     

    [embedded content]
     

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    Use code TEG50 for 50 percent off your first month of Obé Fitness, in addition to the 7-day free trial.

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    Use code TEG50 for 50 percent off your first month of Obé Fitness, in addition to the 7-day free trial.

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content]

    [embedded content] More

  • in

    The Everygirl’s 28-Day Self-Love Challenge

    Ah, February: the month of red roses, limitless rom-coms, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Maybe you’re a hopeless romantic and look forward to February 14 all year, or maybe Valentine’s Day typically feels sad, lonely, or disappointing. But celebrating love wouldn’t be complete if the #1 priority wasn’t how you love yourself.No matter what your relationship status says on Facebook, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Yes, that might have been a cliché your mom told you growing up or what you read in The Care and Keeping Of You when you were 11 years old, but it’s also a powerful truth. How you feel about and talk to yourself determines the success of other relationships, and is a key component of physical health and mental health. How you love yourself literally impacts every aspect of your life, and therefore, learning to love yourself is the most important skill you could master. 
    Since February is the month of love, we’ve put together a challenge focusing on the most worthy kind of relationship: the one you have with yourself. For every day in February, you’ll be challenged to try journaling prompts and activities focusing on getting to know yourself, wooing yourself, caring for yourself, and prioritizing yourself. Follow the challenge, and you’ll have a whole new perspective on self-love by March 1. 
     

    1: Make a list of five things that always make you happy and put it on your mirror, desk, or fridge where you’ll see it often
    2: Buy yourself flowers
    3. Revisit a childhood hobby
    4. Go for a walk on your lunch break
    5. Make a playlist of all your favorite songs
    6. Unplug for three hours
    7: Journal prompt: Get to know yourself. Take some time to think about what you believe in, value, and like. Make a list of your strengths (particularly the ones that have gone unnoticed).

    Source: @lolaomonaija

    8: Say “no” if you want to say no
    9: Eat the rainbow by trying a variety of fruits and vegetables
    10: Splurge on the item you’ve been wanting
    11: Take yourself on a date or set the table with candles and a fancy table cloth
    13: Watch your favorite movie
    14: Journal prompt: look at a picture of yourself as a baby or young child. How would you talk differently to yourself if you were talking to her? What do you want to tell her?

    Source: @sassyredlipstick

    15. Identify your love language and then do one thing to show yourself love in that language
    16. Make a promise to yourself and then keep it (work out before work, make a smoothie for breakfast, take a real lunch break, cut off work at 5 p.m., etc.)
    17. Unfollow or mute every account that doesn’t make you feel inspired, encouraged, or good about yourself
    18. Sit in child’s pose for a minute whenever you’re stressed
    19. Dress up in your favorite outfit and put on your favorite lipstick
    20. Take some time to “play:” turn on music and dance or do something creative like coloring
    21: Journal prompt: write down past mistakes you’re still holding onto. Reflect on how you’ve changed since those past mistakes or embarrassing moments. Realize how even the worst moments have made you stronger, kinder, and better, and then forgive yourself. 

    Source: @kayla_seah

    22: Say “thank you” instead of “I’m sorry”
    23: Sneak leafy greens into sauces, dips, and dressings
    24: Write a list of the things you love most about yourself
    25: Start an inspirational book
    26: Treat yourself to a new vibrator or download an app like Coral (because sexual wellness is self-care)

    28: Journal prompt: How can you become more “you?” We love ourselves when our actions align with who we really are. Make a list of your qualities, likes, traits, strengths, and passions. Then, write down how you can become or more of each thing. Also, get rid of the activities or traits that don’t feel true to you, and fill up the empty space with more you-ness. Every work goal, wellness intention, and daily schedule should support becoming more of who you really are. More

  • in

    9 Sexy Must-Haves for a Cozy Night In with Your Significant Other

    For some couples (I call them the “unicorn couples”), staying at home together 24/7 with nothing to do means doing the nasty more than you did when you were first dating. But for most couples, staying at home means a lack of motivation, an abundance of takeout, and a disregard for basic hygiene. In other words, your sex drive (and overall intimacy in the relationship) has been on the lower side these days.But with chilly temperatures outside and a stay-at-home order still in effect, you’ve got nowhere to go. It’s the perfect time to reignite that spark with a little cozy night at home. Whether you’re newly dating or have been together for decades, consider this the comprehensive checklist of everything you need for the romantic night you deserve (BTW, the same rules apply if you’re indulging in a night of self-love too). Get in the mood, light a candle (more on that below), and have a romantic night in, thanks to these spark-igniting must-haves.

    1. The right scent
    Candles not only set a romantic ambiance thanks to dim lighting and flickering fire (there’s a reason the sex scenes in every rom-com include candles), but sensuality is about awakening each of the senses, and that includes smell. While some scents might be arousing based on a personal memory (like rose from the perfume you wore on your wedding night or vanilla from a lotion you used on your first trip away together), other scents might act as aphrodisiacs. Look for candles with spicy notes like cinnamon and sandalwood, luxurious scents like vanilla and ylang-ylang, or relaxing scents like lavender and sage. 

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    2. Bath (or shower) essentials
    Getting “in the mood” is not just about the 10-30 minutes leading up to sex; it’s about building the anticipation throughout the entire day. Set yourself up for feeling your best by indulging in some self-care in the bath or shower. Try dry brushing, exfoliating with bath salts or body scrubs, and massaging in an oil. Oh, and don’t forget to check yourself out in the mirror (confidence is the #1 best sex hack!). Plus, a relaxing bath or steamy shower can be part of the romantic night if you want to bring your significant other with you. After all, sex is self-care. 

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    3. Luxurious beauty products
    Speaking of confidence, how much pleasure you feel is not determined by how you look to your partner, but it can be determined by how you feel about yourself (your partner is going to think you’re smokin’, no matter what). Invest in products that make you feel good, whether it’s a full face of makeup, a brightening facial treatment, a spritz of perfume, or a texture spray to DIY bedhead. After all, beauty is not about what we think we have to do to look good; it’s about indulging in ourselves (because we’re worth it) and remembering how attractive we are (from the inside out). Get your glow on with the beauty products that make you feel your very best.

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    4. Music to set the mood
    It’s no surprise that music dictates the mood. How else would we know to feel hopeful and excited if the rom-com didn’t include Why Can’t I by Liz Phair, and would we even burst into tears if My Heart Will Go On didn’t play at the end of Titanic? Would Jaws be so scary without the daunting theme song, or would the rose ceremonies on The Bachelorette feel as dramatic without the suspenseful soundtrack? Music tells us how to feel, and that goes for getting in the mood too. Make a playlist of the songs that make you feel confident, sexy, and romantic, or turn on our “Get Sexy” playlist, filled with all the songs 13-year-old you were scandalized by (in the best way). 

    5. Lube
    At The Everygirl, we are big advocates for the fact that everyone (yes, everyone) should at least try lube. Our editor, Beth, even went so far as to say, “Personal lubricant is not a choice in my book; it is a necessary tool for sexual pleasure and health. Lube is the best sex toy you could ever add to the bedroom.” If that’s not convincing enough, I don’t know what is. Pick a lube that will not only increase pleasure, but will be good for your vagina, thanks to non-toxic ingredients, nourishing formulas, and treatment-like benefits. 

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    6. Something pretty to wear
    Disclaimer: if you feel your very best in your birthday suit, you go, girl. Feel free to skip this point and go on with your bad self. However, if wearing some pretty lingerie or wrapping yourself in a silky robe gets you in the mood, you deserve to treat yourself to something indulgent and luxe. If full-on lingerie isn’t your thing, even a pair of new underwear or a pajama set that makes you feel sexy can completely revamp your sex life (yes, really). After all, remember that your pleasure directly correlates to your confidence, and if a lacy bra helps you feel like the badass you are, it’s well worth any price tag.

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    7. An activity
    You may not think you need another activity than the activity, but experimenting with conversation-starters like a couple’s journal or question cards could not only break you out of your routine but could also help you learn new things about your partner and even inspire you to try new things (yes, even if you’ve been together ~forever~). Especially if communication in the bedroom is not your strong suit or if you’re still figuring out what you like and don’t like, prompted questions can be a fun, relaxing way to open up communication. 

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    8. Vibrator or sex toy
    If you feel stuck in a sex rut or have trouble orgasming with your partner (AKA 75 percent of women), the answer might be incorporating a vibrator or sex toy. Experimenting and trying new things is always important, but it’s also a good idea to have a go-to vibrator or sex toy that you both enjoy using (and that you also enjoy using alone). If you haven’t found a favorite or are interested in exploring, we have many helpful guides on vibrators and sex toys for partners (hint: there are lots of options). Bottom line: talk it out together, explore some options, and figure out what you would both like. 

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    9. Luxurious bedding
    Sex is better on vacation, right? Sure, maybe it’s thanks to the stress-free attitude, exciting new experiences, and the lack of kids/long to-do lists/daily chores you would normally have at home, but I also wouldn’t discount hotel bedding. Whether crisp pillows and clean sheets are turn-ons to you or not, upgrading your bedding can switch up your environment, and just a small change can make sex feel new. Some couples even switch out their bedding just for special occasions (a cozy night in counts as special), but you can also try a few simple upgrades like satin pillowcases, a linen duvet cover, or fur throw pillows.

    Turn on your JavaScript to view content

    What are your essentials for a romantic night in? More

  • in

    8 Indoor Hobbies to Get You Through the Winter

    The likelihood of me leaving the house for anything other than essentials (like work and obtaining groceries) decreases exponentially with the temperature outside. Below freezing? Yeah, probably staying indoors. 10 degrees with a wind chill? Screw the groceries, see you next April.For the days (or, let’s face it, months) when the weather is less-than-ideal, it’s easy for our productivity—and general satisfaction with life—to come to a screeching halt as we hole up with blankets, junk food, and a long, long Netflix queue.
    Don’t get me wrong: I love a good Netflix queue. But it’s difficult enough for busy people to maintain affirming, fulfilling hobbies as it is. Add a snowstorm into the mix, and suddenly an entire season is reduced to a placeholder (especially after the holidays end) for all the stuff we’ll probably start up again once the world thaws.
    If you don’t want to spend all winter feeling frozen in time, here’s a list of fun, fulfilling hobbies you can start within the comfort (and warmth!) of your own home.

    1. Experiment in the kitchen

    When it comes to cooking, there are two kinds of people: Those who cook to live and those who live to cook. Try venturing into the second category by trying new dishes, recipes, and methods. Experiment with new cuisines or flavor profiles and get creative.

    Where to start

    If cooking anything beyond the basics feels totally out of your wheelhouse, try investing in a good cookbook first. As new recipes and new flavor combinations work for you, you’ll need to use cookbooks less and less to whip up something great.

    2. Stay balanced with yoga

    Even if you’re more of a HIIT or treadmill kind of girl, think of yoga as an exercise for stress relief, rather than just physical. Certain yoga poses can help anxiety or lessen the effects of sitting at a desk all day. Try adding a yoga practice into your daily routine to deepen your breath, stay connected to your body, and make it to summer with as little stress as possible. 

    Where to start

    If setting time aside for yoga seems difficult to fit into your schedule, incorporate some flows and poses into your daily routine. For example, try an energizing flow first thing in the morning to wake you up, a wind-down flow before bed, or sit in Child’s Pose whenever you start feeling stressed. 

    3. Learn a new language

    Why not spend all winter learning a new language, then try out your newfound skills on your spring or summer vacation? This hobby will keep your mind stimulated and, if you keep it up, give your resume a major boost.

    Where to start

    Download a language app (like DuoLingo) to your phone. Pick a language and start learning! It really is that simple.

    4. Sharpen your writing skills.

    While natural ability will always play a part in most talents, writing is first and foremost a learned skill. If you’ve ever wished you were a better writer, you’re in luck, because you totally can be. You just need practice.

    Where to start

    If you feel like you have a lot of learning to do, check out writing courses on Skillshare. If your goal is to get creative juices flowing, then write for the sake of writing. Make a plan for how often you want to write, then find a list of writing prompts you like (here’s one) and get started! You can complete the prompt with as little or as much written word as you want. If you want something more interactive, sign up for Daily Page. Every day you’ll receive a new prompt, and you have until the end of the day to complete it. Once finished, you have the choice to share your writing publicly or keep it private.

    5. Unwind with knitting

    Knitting makes the perfect hobby for a number of reasons. For one, once you’ve got the basics down, you can do it while also doing other things (like watching TV or listening to a great podcast or audiobook). This hobby actually makes a night in with Netflix productive, because you’ll end up with sweaters and scarves and hats at the end. Win-win in our book.

    Where to start

    You’ll need a pair of knitting needles, yarn, a crochet hook for picking up dropped stitches, and a yarn needle for joining pieces of knitting together. Then, you’ll want to pick a pattern to start. If you’re a total beginner, take a look at these classes to help you get started.

    6. Reconnect with your inner kid.

    Remember when you were young and a night playing board games or doing puzzles was considered a night well spent? We sure do. As adults, why can’t spending time with friends and family (with some good old-fashioned entertainment) be a hobby? You’ll bond with loved ones, stimulate the brain, and pass the time with some lighthearted (or ultra-competitive, if you’re into that) fun.

    Where to start

    First, pick your board games (duh). Then, on a night you’d otherwise spend curled up watching TV, opt to play the games with your significant other, roommates, or friends. If you’re feeling extra fancy, make board game nights (complete with wine and cheese) a weekly gathering among your group of friends. If puzzles are more your jam, here’s a list of the best selling puzzles on Amazon. If you don’t have kids or pets that will make a mess of it, leave your puzzle out on the coffee table to revisit throughout the day.

    7. Start a new workout plan

    I know, I know. You just rolled your eyes at the suggestion that a workout plan could actually be considered a “hobby.” But workouts don’t have to be forced, painful, or boring. In fact, your workout plan in 2021 should look like finding a workout that feels like a hobby, whether it’s a relaxing yoga flow after a long day or an energizing dance class that reminds you of a GNO (remember clubs?). 

    Where to start

    Obé Fitness offers every possible class you could think of to stream live or on-demand at home, and the live classes turn your living room into a trendy studio or a boutique gym, thanks to fun music, live-streamed classes, and upbeat instructors. Obé Fitness offers classes for everything from cardio, to sculpt, to yoga, and have several 10-day programs custom-made by your favorites (like The Yoga Deep Dive or, ahem, The Everygirl Program, just to name a few). 
    Use promo code “TEG50” to get 50% off your first month of Obé Fitness.

    8. Start an indoor herb garden

    That’s right: gardening doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity reserved for summertime. Keeping a few different herbs indoors not only adds a refreshing feel to your home (and makes for pretty decor!), but it also means more flavorful, healthy meals for a fraction of the price of store-bought herbs. The best part? It’s so easy to start and keep up an indoor herb garden, you don’t even need a green thumb to do it. 

    Where to start

    First, decide which herbs would be best to grow and where you’ll keep them. Parsley, cilantro, or basil, are good herbs to start with indoors because they require less sunlight and give obvious signs if they need more or  less water (AKA they’re pretty foolproof). If you get a lot of sunlight through your apartment and are lucky enough to get year-round sunshine, put plants right by the window to get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. And if you really want to get legit or aren’t sure if you’ll get enough sunlight from the slit they call a window in your studio apartment (guilty), try an indoor Smart Garden.  More

  • in

    I’m Focusing on Skincare Right Now—This is My Current Favorite Product

    Having all of this time on my hands has encouraged me to delve into new hobbies. I started bullet journaling—complete with fancy pens and highlighters. I started doing my own manicures. I took a leadership class on Skillshare. And I’ve gotten neck-deep in skincare.Now, listen: I know I say the same “I’m lazy about skincare” line in every story like this, and it’s true. But I’ve always enjoyed it, nonetheless. I like knowing about what can make our skin tick, from what products and ingredients to use for different skin concerns to what’s trending in dermatologist offices, Sephora, and more. I might be more of a makeup girl, but any and all beauty products give me the buzz of excitement most people can only dream of. All of this to say, my skincare habits have definitely changed within the last few months, not only to keep up with stress acne, but as self-care in the morning and at the end of a long day.
    While making my dream skincare routine (which yes, I did put in my previously-stated bullet journal) a few months ago, I wanted to add a higher-potency vitamin C product to my morning routine. I had been using one from Dr. Loretta to ease into it, but I was ready to try something that would tackle my hyperpigmentation and dullness with a little more vigor. Maelove’s hero product, The Glow Maker Serum, stood out to me immediately.

    If you’ve lusted after some of the most popular vitamin C serums (Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and Ole Henrikson Truth Serum, for example), they all have a few things in common: a high vitamin C content with the addition of vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. Oh, and they’re all expensive AF. Maelove’s formula? It has all of those buzzy ingredients with a price tag under $30. 

    I’ve been using it pretty much daily (laziness doesn’t just go away overnight, people) for two months now, and I see all the hype and more. There’s a reason this product goes in and out of stock constantly: it works. 
    Vitamin C, E, and Ferulic Acid are a common pair in skincare—but why? In a 2005 study from Duke University Medical Center, ferulic acid paired with 15 percent L-ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C) and 1 percent alpha-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E) “improved chemical stability and doubled photoprotection.” Other studies, such as one from Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology in 2007, suggest that vitamin C and E are “synergistic,” meaning they work best when put together. Basically, all of this science-jargon to say: there’s weight in using these ingredients together, and the Maelove serum combines it all right there for you. 
    My skin has broken out on and off since I started using it (thanks, Retin-A!), but my scars are fading much faster than usual. My skin also feels smoother and just overall clearer—I might have a few active zits, but my face has clarity and looks brighter. My morning skincare routine is pretty bare-bones, but I still feel like my skin is prepped and ready for makeup or to just look good on its own. 
    After cleansing in the morning, I pat Glow Maker on my skin with my fingertips. It has a really thin, liquid consistency that goes on easily. It does make my face quite tacky, but once I apply moisturizer, that goes away. I immediately wash my hands because the vitamin C stains your palms almost like a self-tanner would. Then, I go over it with a moisturizer and sunscreen, and I’m good for the day!
    As far as the scent, I don’t notice it and find it to be very mild on the spectrum of horrible-smelling vitamin C serums.

    How it looks on the skin with a little moisturizer—this product has hyaluronic acid as well, so it really plumps the skin and makes it look VERY glowy (hence, Glow Maker). 

    It’s rare for me to like every single thing about a product (I’m a little critical, what can I say), but I really have no complaints about this serum. I’ve been pining after the Skinceuticals since my dermatologist recommended it, but the $166 price tag just isn’t in my budget. This Maelove serum has a really similar ingredient list for a mere quarter of the price. With over 6,300 reviews (most of them five stars!), many say it works as well if not better than the one over five times the price. With free shipping and returns, I mean, you really can’t go wrong.  More

  • in

    10 Ways to Up Your Dating Game in 2021

    Dating is always tough to navigate: what do you text back, who pays the check, and why is it so hard to meet normal people!? But dating during lockdown is a whole new set of difficulties: the old rules of dating no longer apply, our go-to date spots are closed, and we totally forgot how to do our makeup (nope, just me?). But lockdown or not, you deserve a fulfilling life, fun ways to meet new people, and to actually enjoy dating (because no one should have Charlotte’s dating exhaustion). 

    We all say it every year, but 2021 can truly be the year you reach all of your goals (#newyearnewme, right?). No matter what’s going on in the world, this year can be a golden opportunity if you’re looking for love (or, you know, just looking to go on dates that don’t suck). Here are 10 ways to not only date in 2021, but to totally up your dating game, achieve a fulfilling love life, and find a happy relationship (no matter how serious you’re looking for). Read on for romantic success by 2022:

    1. Appreciate how dating is different now
    Maybe you’re getting Zoom-date fatigue, or maybe you’ve kept your dating life on hold since the stay-at-home order hit. However, a global pandemic and social distancing restrictions don’t have to harm your love life. In fact, they could even be beneficial. For example, dating during a pandemic means focusing on an emotional connection first, since the physical connection and new-relationship excitement isn’t possible. You can get to know who someone is without spending time and energy doing the actual dating. Slower connections are a new kind of intimacy (plus it’s more foreplay, you know?), unsexy topics like who pays the bill is off the table (literally), and staying at home is an opportunity to get to know each other with fewer distractions. In other words, 2021 brings a lot of potential for your love life–not in spite of the pandemic, but because of it. 

    2. Keep all options open
    Many of us have this idea that we need a movie-worthy meet-cute when finding a soulmate. But closing yourself off to any meeting that isn’t locking eyes across a crowded bar or running into a long-forgotten high school sweetheart from back home (Hallmark Channel style) limits your chances. And during a lockdown? Your chances are next to nothing. Despite what Hollywood has us believe, we can meet worthwhile people anywhere. You could meet your ideal partner over a Zoom meeting, at an online singles event, in an elevator, at the park walking your dog, or yes, on a dating app. The more options you keep open, the higher your chances of meeting people that you’ll enjoy being around. Instead of a “meet-cute,” try to find the dating apps or methods that feel right for you, and be open to any possibility.

    Source: @ashbegash

    3. Be ready for “the talk”
    No, not the “seeing other people” talk, or even the STD talk (although I urge you to have those conversations as well). I’m talking about the global pandemic talk. It may be awkward, but being on the same page about COVID safety and social distancing practices is crucial to make dating safe and enjoyable. Make sure you’re connecting with people who are taking the same safety precautions that you are and be open and honest about what you’re comfortable with. If an in-person date is on the table, let them know exactly how you’re staying safe, and what you expect from them to feel safe being together.
    As weird as the conversation might feel, one of the good things about dating in a pandemic is that you have to be more intentional and selective about who you spend your time with. Having an open and honest dialogue not only keeps you safe and worry-free, but lays the foundation for a trustworthy relationship. 

    4. Forget prerequisites
    Many of us have extensive prerequisite checklists before even considering going on a first date. Maybe you want someone who is exactly like you, whether it’s interests, religion, or background. Maybe you’re not looking twice at people who have a certain dating history, are over a certain age, or own a cat (because you’re way more of a dog person). 
    While shared values are crucial and compatibility is often determined by similarities, try getting to know someone before making assumptions based on your prerequisites. The only “prerequisites” you need are your non-negotiable values, like kindness, integrity, and humor. Otherwise, base opinions on how you feel, not off of a checklist. Pay attention to the person in front of you, and try not to project a narrative or assign meaning to traits before you even know the person. Ask questions, and genuinely care about why someone is the way they are before determining whether or not they are for you.

    Source: @missenocha

    5. Cut it off with the “maybes,” already!
    Do you have an ex that has been hanging around for years, or a f*ckboy that’s been messing with your head? What about those people you text when you’re feeling lonely or bored, or who you think you might be interested in someday (keyword: might)? I call these people the “maybes:” the exes, previous dates, and “it’s complicated” relationships that didn’t work out the first time around, but you keep their number in your phone “just in case,” or are hoping something will change.
    There’s a lot of reasons we stick around with people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe we’re lonely, or maybe we’re seeking external approval. But no matter the reason the wrong person is in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Now, if you have a friend with benefits (you don’t have feelings for) or love flirty-texting that hot coworker, you do you, girl. But those people you go to out of loneliness, comfortability, or insecurity? They’re just holding you back. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself, and don’t settle. Bonus tip: unfollow on social media. Just do it!

    7. Visualize your best self
    Dating highlights our biggest insecurities: we overanalyze what we say over text or Tinder, try on 15 different outfits (even if the date is just on Zoom), and maybe even expect the worst and prepare to be ghosted or for the date to go bad. Sound familiar? To cure pre-date anxieties, try visualizing the best version of yourself. Are you confident, comfortable, or friendly? How would the most confident you act on this date? What would you wear? Would you even care about what you wear? Remind yourself that you are the catch that your date is trying to impress, not the other way around. Even if you don’t feel confident or calm, the simple act of visualizing your best self can help you relax, and enjoy the date instead of getting in your head.

    Source: @missalexlarosa

    6. Remember that “no” is not a dirty word
    In fact, it’s one of the most important words in your dating vocabulary. Especially as women, we’re taught to be likable and easy-going on dates, and we focus more on how to be liked than whether or not we actually like them (but more on that below). You know what we should vow to end in 2021? Going on dates we’re not excited about, texting back people we don’t like, or not vocalizing what we want and need in our relationships to protect other people’s egos. Overall, let’s work on saying “no” when we want to say no. Compromise and empathy are crucial in relationships, but so is respect for each other’s wants and needs. Communicating what you don’t want should be just as easy as what you do. If it’s not, this person doesn’t respect you or care about you as much as they say they do. Thank you, next.

    7. Use alone time to your advantage
    While 2020 was a lonely year for many of us, being alone has allowed us to turn inward, explore our truest desires, and get to know ourselves better. When we know ourselves and what we want, our dating lives become more fulfilling, successful, and fun. Think about it: we’ve grown a lot, started new hobbies or hustles, and got to know our likes and dislikes in 2020. Even an abundance of alone time can be invested to understand what we want out of a partner. Plus, scary times make people crave connection, and hitting pause on all normalcy helps you let go of the habits, traits, or dating rules that are no longer serving you. Not only have you been subconsciously preparing yourself for a more successful dating life, but any potential partners have too.

    8. Ditch outdated rules
    Let me go on a quick tangent about a few outdated dating rules that we really should ditch, like, yesterday. To start, my least favorite of all dating rules are “don’t kiss on the first date” and the “three-date rule.” Let’s just throw out any rules that imply that what you want to do with your body, and when you want to do it, is not up to you. Make your own rules based on comfortability and what you’re feeling. 
    Next up: playing hard to get or waiting for the other person to make the first move. Besides outdated gender roles, these “rules” come from the idea that whoever cares less in the relationship is the one who has the most power. But should love be about power? It’s OK to care; we’re supposed to care about each other. So what does it matter if you “come on too strong” or “care more?” Be true to your feelings and what you want. Oh, and making the first move can save us a lot of time wondering if they like us back. It’s 2021: we’re starting side hustles, prioritizing our health, and smashing glass ceilings. Ain’t nobody got time to wait around for a phone call. 

    Source: @cmcoving

    9. Focus on finding out what you want
    Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Some people will like you and some people won’t. Whether or not someone wants to pursue a relationship or a second date with you has nothing to do with how likable you are, but has to do with compatibility. And I think we can all agree there are many people we wouldn’t mind being incompatible with. Prioritize what you want in a partner by making a list of non-negotiable qualities or values you want, and stop yourself from getting caught up in what a relationship or person could be. Instead, ask yourself if you genuinely enjoy each person you’re talking to, and whether or not they deserve you. 

    10. Know that dating is supposed to be enjoyable (and stop if it isn’t)
    Repeat after me: dating should be fun. It should not feel forced, boring, painful, or sad. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re either putting too much pressure on each date, feeling self-conscious about dating, or focusing on the wrong things. Remember that dating is not intended to have only one outcome. Every experience–whether it’s a Zoom date, Tinder conversation, or a few months of dating–brings you closer to clarity.
    The purpose of going on dates, talking to new people, and opening yourself up to meet someone new is not to feed your ego, affirm insecurities, or to find a soulmate ASAP. The purpose is to collect information that will bring you closer to a happy, fulfilling life, and to have a good time along the way. Bottom line: it should be fun meeting new people, whether or not a second date follows (yes, really!). If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life.
     
    How are you updating your dating game this year? More