While mantras and the dedication to more self-care and health practices are a beautiful way to press reset year-round, a lot of us forget how important it is to nurture our most sacred space. And by that I mean, our homes. While the outside world comes with stresses and responsibilities and chaos, your home very much embodies the eye of the storm. There you find peace, tranquility, and solace. And because it does, you shouldn't be afraid to elevate the way you think about it and how you make it work for you. Dare to do something different as you set your intentions for the rest of the year. Turn your home into a place that takes care of you.
Give these 10 feng shui tidbits a try and ignite a positive and nourishing energy shift in your life for 2022.
1.Keep Your Entryway Clutter-Free, Well-Lit, and Laced With an Inviting Aroma
Everyone who enters your home will take on the attitude and energy that greets them when the front door opens. Your entryway should inspire guests to bring only the happiest, healthiest parts of themselves into your home. We all have baggage, but bright paint and a fragrant scent will encourage your grumpiest neighbor to leave their negativity at the curb. Clutter-free means no trash, no stacks of mail, no piles of shoes, no shovels, and no raggedy coat racks in the doorway.
Make sure your home's entrance is saying, "Girl! Come on in here, so we can relax and have fun" as opposed to, "Ugh! What took you so long? I'm drowning in here!"
2.Designate a Place for Guest To Leave Their Shoes
For centuries, ancient Chinese feng shui pioneers have followed this rule: do not wear shoes in the house. Shoes carry gum, mucus, feces, and much more from the street into your home. Allowing people to walk around your home in their shoes is the equivalent of walking through Times Square barefoot. Secondly, letting shoes be worn in your home energetically represents people carrying their problems into your residence. As you can imagine, other people's issues to settle into your space can seriously interfere with your home's peace and positivity.
Do yourself a favor and always have the guests leave their shoes and their troubles at the door.
Tip: Keep a small basket of ankle socks on hand to offer those girlfriends whose toes haven't seen a pedicure in a while.
3.Protect Your Kitchen
The kitchen nourishes the family both literally and energetically. Anything that sustains you is worth protecting. It is best if you cannot see into the kitchen from the front door. Do something to cover your kitchen doorway. Energetically, visible access to the kitchen from the front door gives way to problems with nourishment-related health problems.
Tip: Use all four fires on your stovetop when cooking. Most people (especially singles) tend to use the same jet repeatedly. In feng shui, putting all stovetop jets into action energetically balances your body's health.
4.Shut the Bathroom Door (and Put the Toilet Seat Down)
Bathrooms are physically and energetically set up to "get rid of" what we no longer need or want. We all use the bathroom to wash away dirt and release other bodily things we are too ladylike to mention here. But did you know that bathrooms will energetically wash away your finances as well? Keeping your toilet seat up and the bathroom door open is the energetic equivalent of saying, "Here, take my money, I don't need it." So next time bae heads to the bathroom, tell them to put the lid down because your bank account depends on it.
5. Be Sure the Living Room Doesn’t Feel Like a Museum
Living rooms should be set up for conversation. It is the room where "living" (being with loved ones, communicating, enjoying good company) is supposed to take place. Seating should be set up fairly close together, clutter-free, cozy and inviting. Furniture set far apart or lined up along the walls does not encourage "living" or togetherness. It's okay for the living room to look like the cover of ArchitecturalDigest, as long as it doesn't feel like the Smithsonian.
6.The Bedroom: Sleep, Sex and Solitude
There are lots of fun, feng shui facts about the bedroom, so take note. Bedrooms are the lungs of the home where deep breathing (relaxation) should take place. Bedrooms are best when placed at the back of the home, where the energy is more yin. Every bed should have a headboard because, when we rest at night, energy from the universe enters our bodies through the tops of our heads. Too much cosmic intake can be overstimulating and disrupt your sleep. And lastly, do not store items underneath the bed. Doing so symbolizes underhanded, sneaky, or backstabbing behavior from others.
7.It’s Electric! (And Unhealthy.)
Electrical currents are harmful to our human bodies. In modern times, it is hard to avoid. Nevertheless, there are things we can do to decrease our electrical exposure. What your grandmama said about not sitting so close to the TV is correct but the most vital place to reduce your contact with electrical currents is in your bedrooms. Free your bedroom of all electrical items like TVs, radios, and electrical alarm clocks.
If full-on monastery mode is not your cup of tea, then at least unplug the electronics before you sleep. Just plug everything into a power strip and turn the strip off at night. For those who sleep with their cellphones, try and break that habit by sleeping with all electronics a minimum of four feet away from the foot of the bed. And, yes…that includes your cellphone as it charges overnight.
When shopping for a table, keep this in mind. The most uncomfortable tables are those with a glass tabletop. Fear of breaking or cracking the table is a visitor's worst nightmare. People can't help but feel tension when they have to place something on a glass table. The stress is distracting and takes away from good conversation and fun activities. So, when you're redecorating, swap the glass out for wood, leather, or some other less fragile tabletop.
9.Big Windows and High Ceilings
When choosing a new home or apartment, be sure the top of the window frame is higher than the tallest resident or frequent overnight guest. Short window frames give college baller bae -- that uneasy, trapped feeling. We don't want that energy creeping into our relationship.
10. Place a Protector Near the Entryway
Every queen needs protection. Feng shui suggests using a talisman at or near your home's entrance as a tool of security and an attractor of good vibes. Different cultures have different talisman items. The Chinese culture likes the Bagua or fu dogs, while a home of African descent may choose an Ankh or the Eye of Ra. The choice is yours.
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Featured image by JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images
Originally published on October 24, 2019
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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.
The face of tennis is changing, and it’s about time. Over the years, if you were asked to name any Black tennis player, two would come to mind: Serena and Venus Williams — and rightfully so. But as new tennis sensations like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka rise to fame for their athleticism and tenacity, it’s clear that there’s a new era of tennis taking shape to bring forth a fresh take on representation and reclamation on the courts.
For that reason alone, there’s no better time than now for Black Girl Tennis Club co-founders Virginia Thornton and Kimberly Selden to lead the charge of making tennis more accessible to Black women and girls so the next Serena and Coco can emerge.
What began as your everyday lunch chat between friends to discuss their mutual dream of owning a boutique hotel turned into a proposition to start a tennis club together. With Virginia being a tennis player since adolescence and Kimberly entering the sport as a hobby in her adult life, the two jumped at the idea of making a space where Black women could discover a new hobby and not feel like the “only one” on the tennis court.
“The club kind of started for selfish reasons, but not in a bad way,” Virginia tells xoNecole. “We realized that there was actually a need for this.”
Kimberly adds, “Now we're literally disrupting a whole industry. We didn't plan it, but it felt divine; like we were called to do this. Black Girls Tennis Club has been a catalyst for personal growth in all areas of life, and we would have never anticipated that.”
Since establishing the Black Girl Tennis Club in 2022, the two have made it their mission to cultivate a space for “Joy Equity and Radical Wellness.” Their platform serves as a means to inform, inspire, motivate, and reshape the narrative around Black women and girls in the tennis world while highlighting the transformative power of sports and play for liberation.
With approximately 78% of tennis players being white and only 6.8% being Black, and the average cost of a private tennis lesson being $60 per hour, racial and economic disparities within the sport are vast. To help close this gap, the two founders have banded together to develop free tennis instruction clinics for girls aged 8-18 and local tennis events that bring adult offerings through programs like the Self Love Tennis Club and Cardio Tennis Classes to HBCU campuses in Virginia.
Both Virginia and Kimberly understand the power of their mission and believe that they were brought on each other’s path to execute it together. “It’s the power of alignment,” Kimberly says. “I think when you're doing the right thing and you're obedient, and answer the call, that’s when things start to happen, and the universe conspires to make them happen.”
We caught up with the founders to discuss their mission, the importance of representation, and how they plan to disrupt the tennis industry one court at a time.
xoNecole: Could you talk a little more about your CARE pillars with change, access, representation and exposure?
Kimberly Selden: As we started to do the work, we saw that there were so many equity issues. Although we knew from our own personal experiences that there are barriers to tennis being an expensive sport, we just acknowledged it as the culture of tennis. Because it's predominantly white, that transfers over to the fashion, the dynamics on the court, the attitudes, and the mindset. And so we knew this required a culture shift for us to ever really feel comfortable.
We were exposing kids to tennis, and then after the clinics, they're like, "Okay, now what?" It's still expensive, and they still may or may not have had access to it if they're not with us. We don't want to just pop in like, "Hey, here's a clinic, bye!" So, the culture change is just a reflection of what our existence looks like. Access is about being able to access the sport through courts, programs, or a coach. Representation is that we can't believe it until we see it.
Granted, there are a lot of pro Black women tennis players taking off, and we love that. But we think about media representation as well [as] representation within the USCA, in the boardrooms, and the people that are making the rules around the game.
xoN: Why do you all think it’s important for Black women and girls to reclaim their space on the tennis court?
Virginia Thornton: It's rare, at least in my world, where you're in a space and see nothing but women who look like you. But it makes me feel great when I can be my authentic self, especially on a tennis court. Just shedding all the weight of pretending to be anything else. You feel at home when you're around nothing but Black women. Even small things like seeing a young Black girl being okay with how God made them is amazing.
KS: [In] the Atlanta clinics we did, everyone was crying. It's just clear how desperately we need it. Connection is the key to a long life. So many of us — especially from the pandemic and working from home — are isolated. With every clinic, it's just fun to be there, and it just fills you up. I think people need hobbies. I think a lot of people, especially people in big cities, feel that way and were confronted with that during the pandemic.
xoN: How did sports play a role in helping you two find your voice and confidence both on and off the court?
VT: I think what people don't realize is that tennis is such a mental sport. You could be a 4.0 player and have a bad mental day, and you will play like you've never picked up a racquet before. So, the mental piece is super important. For me, it's like ‘you against you,’ even though you are playing somebody.
If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court. I had an issue on the court where I have a habit of saying, "Sorry," — I think a lot of Black women do, honestly. Then I realized that they wouldn't say sorry or they’d use my kindness as weakness. I've learned a lesson in that because everything translates on and off the court.
"If you're able to work through those mental pieces with yourself on the court, that will translate off the court."
KS: It's easy for me to do things that I'm good at, but it's not easy for me to do things that I'm not good at. Tennis is still challenging for me, but it pushes me. It’s a reality check for me; I know when things are aligned, and when they're not. It feels like a big metaphor for me because it's pushing me to do something that's uncomfortable and makes me work for myself more.
xoN: What do you hope the long-term impact of Black Girl Tennis Club will be?
VS: We want to have a space for people who might be workaholics or might be going through depression. It's always great to have a hobby, whether that's knitting, sewing, or what have you. For me and Kimberly, it’s about creating hobbies for Black women and girls but also knowing that it’s okay to not be amazing at it. You don't have to be amazing at tennis; you could hit around the court, and that's okay.
The next Serena or Venus might come from Black Girls Tennis Club.
Featured image by LumiNola/Getty Images