A couple's wedding day is arguably one of the most important days of their lives which is why it can also be an extremely stressful time. There's so much to decide on: wedding party, guestlist, bridal party, colors, venue, food, etc. And then, there is the wedding dress. The dress sets the tone for the big day and all eyes will be on the bride as she makes her entrance. So many factors play a part in choosing the perfect wedding dress: budget, personal style, wedding theme, and timelines, so it's no wonder it can all seem overwhelming.
Add a pandemic to the mix and you might be ready to just march down the aisle in some sweatpants. But, before you do, I spoke to some amazing women who have been where you are and they are giving me the lowdown on why they chose the dresses they chose and how they knew it was the one. Whether you had to postpone your wedding until next year, change the venue, or downsize, we hope that these brides provide some inspiration for your upcoming special day.
Courtesy of Charmaine
"Everything leading me to this dress felt like it was destined to be. I left a disappointing wedding dress appointment, and as I walked to get a bite to eat, I saw a store window that was merchandised with so many elements that screamed ME! A gold mannequin (I am a gold fanatic), peacock feathers (my wedding colors), and of course, the dress...MY dress. I instantly said, 'Now that's what I wish I could wear.' It was far from white and anything typical, so it hadn't crossed my mind that I could wear something so unique.
"I went in the store, tried it on, it fit perfectly, and I just knew in that moment that I was going to wear what felt the most authentic to me. Coincidentally, my bridesmaid dresses had already been chosen at that time, and they just happened to be green, so it really felt like that dress was made for me."
Courtesy of Charmaine
"I got married in 2012, and I was on my dress hunt while living in Toronto, Canada, so the selection was quite limited at the time. This was during the blurry instagram food pics era, so I definitely didn't have many inspiration photos saved. This is to say, I didn't have a major vision as I honestly doubted the options available. I figured that accessorizing my look would be the best bet for a unique colourful moment, and I am just happy I was able to find my dream dress by a fun twist of fate after a failed dress appointment."
Courtesy of Charmaine
"My dress was created by TOME from the Tome Dress Salon in Toronto, Canada. It was really special to wear a dress while working with the actual designer, because I am a creative person with DIY tendencies. The moment I tried the dress and it fit and I teared up, I looked at Tome and said, 'Can I wear this to get married?' And he said, 'You can do whatever you like!' We laughed and I honestly felt empowered, because I knew he was 100% correct. I then said, 'Now let's make it bridal!' So we worked together to make it more of a mermaid silhouette with tulle peeking out, and added a feathered headpiece. I have Caribbean roots and my wedding was a destination wedding in Barbados, so it just felt perfectly on theme as well."
For more of Charmaine, follow her on Instagram @charmsie.
Courtesy of Courtney Brand Agbetola
"There was no overwhelming feeling of it being the one when I put it on, if I'm being completely honest. My first go-round with dress try-ons, I found a Berta gown that I was so certain was the one and I had my heart set on it. I wanted to buy it on the spot, but knew that my now-husband wouldn't be too happy if I spent $14,000 on the first dress I tried on. He encouraged me to go to at least one more bridal shop to try on dresses just so that I'd be sure. A designer I was following on Instagram was having a trunk show at this small neighborhood bridal shop close to me called Parvani Vida that had been there since I was a little girl, so I asked my sister if she wanted to go with me to look. I ended up finding both of my dresses that day and neither one of them were a part of the trunk show that I went there for.
"When I tried on that dress, I loved that it was bright white and showed just enough back and chest, but it was the train that made me say 'yes'. The dress was simple, but the six-foot train was extravagant and all I could imagine was it trailing behind me down the aisle in all of its lace and beaded glory. It was the quiet wow that I really wanted."
Courtesy of Courtney Brand Agbetola
"I was really wanting to choose something classic, that I'd be proud to look back on in five, ten or fifteen years and still be happy with my choice. I also wanted a dress that was reflective of who I am as a woman. This particular dress felt like it embodied me. A little daring, but simple. A little sexy, but timeless and sophisticated with just enough detail. Gorgeous enough to make a statement without being too loud. I also had to consider what kind of bride my husband wanted to see walking down the aisle. I didn't want to look like a princess, but I did want to look like an angelic version of myself as I walked towards him. This dress hit all of those points.
"I could have gone on and on with dresses, but I chose that one and had to be done with it, because unless you're designing a dress from the ground up, it's so easy to feel like your dress is missing something. Both of my dresses were Enzoani wedding gowns. Prior to getting engaged I'd never really imagined myself in a wedding dress, so I can't say that I envisioned myself any particular way. I did know that I didn't want a strapless gown, or a ball gown. I knew I wanted something form-fitting with no overwhelming ruching or any fabric that was noisy. Looking back, I looked exactly how I wanted to look on my wedding day and wouldn't have changed a thing about my dress, hair, makeup or even jewelry. It all truly worked out perfectly."
For more of Courtney, follow her on Instagram @greeneyesgoldsoul.
Courtesy of Courtney Bryant
"The day I found my dress, the location we visited was the 3rd or 4th place we had been to. I still hadn't found anything I absolutely loved, so by the time we arrived to this particular location I was excited but pretty certain I would have to get my dress made. When my bridal stylist Leandra McCall pulled the dress, I was reluctant to try it because it didn't look anything like I envisioned but she convinced me. It was the 2nd to last dress I tried on and every single dress that I tried that day and prior to had to be shimmied and jumped into but my dress, it slipped on with so much ease. It fit like a glove and it actually took my breath away. I didn't want to be the cliche and cry but as I looked in the mirror I felt the tears well up. And I was shocked because I really almost didn't try it on.
I fell in love with it the moment I slipped it on. I felt classy, sexy and comfortable in it and the drama and glam was exactly what I wanted. It complimented me in all the right places and I felt like I could dance in it all night."
Courtesy of Courtney Bryant
"Also, this one dress could be 'customized' into three different dresses. My skirt and sleeves detached so I walked down the aisle with my skirt and long sleeves. For dinner, I wore off the shoulder sleeves and the skirt. And for dancing, I removed the skirt before changing into my second dress."
Courtesy of Courtney Bryant
"I purchased the dress at Bridal Reflections on 5th Ave and it was created by Galia Lahav. We customized the both sets of sleeves, the train on skirt, the sheer panels on the back and the beaded design in the front to really customize it to my liking. Fun fact: I was so nervous to really love the dress that I had to visit it three times before committing to it."
For more of Courtney, follow her on Instagram @curlsandcouture.
Courtesy of JaLisa E. Jefferson
"With my husband and I knowing and planning that whenever we got engaged, we'd want to get married right away, I ordered a dress on ASOS the day after he proposed. If you are a frequent online shopper like myself, you know they don't play about their two-day shipping. Long story short, it came Monday evening and did not fit. My manager then reached out to Grace Loves Lace right away hoping we could pull something off. They were clearly sent by God. They opened the store on a 'closed' day and had someone come in on their off day, all to move mountains and get me in this amazing dress and veil—the morning of the wedding! In 20 minutes, I tried on this dress and was out the door! I am so grateful for them, their incredible service and for accommodating me on such short notice.
"In a sense, I kind of feel like this dress chose me. Like I previously stated, this dress was truly a saving grace moment. Upon visiting Grace Loves Lace and trying on my wedding dress, I knew this was the one. It fit like a glove and was exactly what I envisioned it to be!"
Courtesy of JaLisa E. Jefferson
"Although I initially had a totally different vision for my wedding dress, I quickly realized this was what I needed and didn't even know it until it sort of just happened. My initial disaster of a wedding dress quickly turned into the most beautiful gown I'd ever seen."
For more of JaLisa, follow her on Instagram @jalisaevaughn.
Dress Details: Bridal Boutique: Adorn Bridal located in Nashville, TN.
Designer: Rita Vinieris Rivini
Courtesy of Kristen Desiree
"Before finding the perfect dress for me, my family and I had been shopping around all day long at different boutiques before stopping at our very last appointment for the evening. None of the dresses I had tried on up until this point had given me the 'WOW' factor just yet. I must admit I was beginning to get discouraged a little bit. As soon as we arrived at the last boutique, I immediately said to myself, 'I'm going to find my dress here.' I began trying on different ones and as I tried on 'my dress', I could just feel it. Keep in mind there were no mirrors in the fitting room. The stylist helping me started to say, 'Oh my goodness, Kristen' as she was helping me put it on. My heart started racing because I was so anxious to see.
"As I walked out, the looks on my mother's and sisters' faces were in awe, just speechless. Their mouths hit the floor and my sister said, 'You look absolutely breathtaking.' I walked over to the mirror, completely shaking, and the second I saw myself, emotions of joy and happiness took over. I had never felt more beautiful before in my life and that's when I said this is 'The One'."
Courtesy of Kristen Desiree
"Honestly, my dress is a slight departure from what I envisioned simply because I always saw myself walking down the aisle in a long-sleeve lace detailed dress with a dramatic train! I was set on having sleeves and had specifically said from the beginning, I did not want it to be tube top. But, little did I know, a sleeveless gown was meant for me."
Courtesy of Kristen Desiree
"I chose this dress because not only did it stun all of the most important women in my life, but I didn't have not one negative thought about this dress. I knew I wanted to feel extremely confident and beautiful walking down the aisle to my best friend, soulmate, confidant, and soon-to-be husband. This dress solidified that for me. There are a million beautiful dresses in the world, but when you find that one that instantly fills your heart and the room with emotion and love, you have to say 'yes' to the dress!"
For more of Kristen, follow her on Instagram @curlyhairedchik.
Featured image courtesy of Charmaine
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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy