I'm not sure how many times we can brag on Ciara and Russell Wilson, but here's one more for you. The two traveled to Venice, Italy to celebrate their five-year anniversary and we can't help but to swoon over the pics.
It all started last week when a video of the two broke the internet while posing for photos in a hotel suite. Captioned:
"He said pack your bags, we're going to Italy."
The lovebirds rocked shades and matching Versace for the gawds and showed off their usual enviable love.
Russ followed Ciara with:
"5 years of Love as husband & wife, mom & dad, best friends, business partners and more. You leave me speechless. There are no words that could ever describe my love for you. Only Heaven knows. 5 years & Forever to go! Andiamo!"
The rest is in "OK, it's time for a baecation" history as they visited landmarks, ate in the best restaurants, and more.
And as they should, because Venice has become a popular celeb/tourism hotspot.
Luca Zanon/Awakening/GC Images
Actually, Italy has always been a popular celebrity romance destination, with couples such as Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom and John Legend and Chrissy Teigen recently trading in the fast life and heading to the land of pasta, architecture, and love with bae. And in 2018, Serena Williams famously told her husband she wanted pasta for dinner and he swooped her off to Venice for a few days as well. But now, with outside opening back up, Venice is becoming a hotspot for them hot spots, m'kay?!
So, if you and the boo are looking to Venice for your next baecation, here's what you should check out while there:
Luca Zanon/Awakening/GC Images
Italy is known for its endless food contribution to the world. But actually being in Italy, gives Olive Garden a run for its money. With freshly made pastas, and ingredients that will even make granny mad, visiting the various amounts of restaurants, or taking the time to take a cooking class is what baecation dreams are made of. And although pasta and pizza are staples, the reality, however, is that Italy is home to variety of cuisines and people often make the mistake of flocking to touristy eateries serving food that reflects their expectations (such as pasta and pizza) and not what the locals or veneziani really eat.
But Venice's unique lagoon location and proximity to the island gardens of Sant'Erasmo, means that their genuine cuisine consists of some truly flavorful and refined dishes relying heavily on fish and vegetables.
Spend a night out on the town and try local dishes such as the sarde in saor, risotto al nero di seppia, fritole, or the various, various amounts of wine. Bon appetit!
The Canals + Gondola Rides
The gondola is a traditional Venetian rowing boat, similar to a canoe, that's flat-bottomed and narrow in order to fit along with other gondolas into small canals in Venice. The gondola is operated by a gondolier with a rowing oar. In the past, it was used as a major mode of transportation in Venice. These days, however, the gondola ride is primarily a tourist attraction.There is no better way to see many amazing parts of Venice without this gondola ride. Venice historically has been connected by canals, so the only way to see many historical sights or just beautiful architecture is from the water.
Also, riding the gondola gives you a different angle from the water and you get a much better view of many structures. Plan to be serenaded by the gondoliers and see the best of what Venice has to offer.
(Rides are generally 40 minutes and during the day, costs 80 euros. If you want a longer ride, every 20 minutes will cost you $40 extra. After 7 p.m., the gondola rides are slightly more expensive, costing 100 euros for a 40-minute ride).
The Architecture Tours
If you don't appreciate architecture, then Venice may not be the place for you. Venice's architecture is unlike that of anywhere else in the world—owing, of course, to its natural context. Everything is built on stilts in the middle of a lagoon and it's so amazingly popular, that the Venice Biennale of Architecture exhibition, also known as Mostra di Architettura di Venezia (in Italian), is held every other year. Grab bae and explore the history of Venice through its buildings, squares and canals to see the works by Carlo Scarpa and Mario Botta (who shaped much of Venice).
Also, add the Rialto Neighborhood, St. Mark's Square, Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, and Campo Santa Maria Formosa to your to-do list as well.
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Featured image by Luca Zanon/Awakening/GC Images
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Charmin Michelle is a southern native and creative spirit who works as a content marketer and events manager in Chicago. She enjoys traveling, #SummertimeChi, and the journey of mastering womanhood. Connect with her on Instagram @charminmichelle.
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Release Stress & Restore Harmony In Your Body With Shaking Meditation
When we reflect on our own path as women in light of the women who came before us, it’s easy to see that the loads we’ve carried haven’t always been the lightest. From everyday stresses to generational trauma with roots that are difficult to trace, one must ask where all that weight goes if we never release it.
The body holds the score for all the anxieties, worries, and unease that we’ve endured over time. Family and society often tell us to quiet our emotions, maintain a brave face, and keep our emotions bottled up within. But as we know, anything with too much pressure will eventually burst.
And while we are steadily discovering self-care methods like meditation to shed this emotional baggage, it may take a little more than sitting still in the quiet of our mind to let go of our deep-rooted tension. Fortunately, mindful movement could be an unexpected way for you to let go of worry and anxiety while building emotional resiliency, and such is the case with shaking meditation.
What Is Shaking Meditation?
Shaking meditation is a form of tension and trauma-releasing exercises or TRE that “assists the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension, and trauma.” This series of exercises of muscular shaking and vibrating activates a natural reflex mechanism that releases muscular tension, thus calming down the nervous system and encouraging your body to return back to a state of balance.
“Shaking meditation can be powerful because it moves your body — and in Eastern medicine, we say that moves your chi,” says Jenelle Kim, DACM, L.Ac, a ninth-generation doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and author of Myung Sung: The Korean Art of Living Meditation.
According to Dr. Kim, understanding chi helps us understand our bodies and how we're feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), chi is known to represent your life force; it is the energy that flows through you and everything, and in many cultures, plays an essential role in our health.
“We have chi that moves in our blood and throughout our entire body; connecting our organ systems, muscles, and joints,” she tells xoNecole. “It allows everything to function and to be nourished. We know blood travels throughout our body through our circulatory system, but chi also travels through our body — much in the same way — through the meridian system. If you picture chi as vital energy, it moves the blood.”
It’s important for our body’s chi to stay in flow. When we go about our daily life with stress, trauma, or even mental injuries, our energy becomes stagnant. But various movement practices like Qigong or shaking meditation encourage your chi to circulate through your body which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which “is in charge of telling our brain and body to calm down, relax, ultimately, let go,” Dr. Kim says.
As Black women, there are times in life when it feels like we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, with few spaces to go when we need to lighten the load. But as Dr. Kim explains, because women are “naturally yin beings,” we take on more because we can handle more. “According to the energies of nature that have been passed down for thousands of years, women are more complex. And what that almost always means is that we can think a lot more.” And while that speaks to the resiliency of our being, it can have a negative effect on our bodies when we store more than we release.
“If we don't have ways of releasing this, it will ultimately affect our lives physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then it passes on to our children, and that's where we get generational trauma,” she says.
Although shaking meditation may be a new and unfamiliar practice, it’s one that could prove to be beneficial to those who have experienced trauma on an individual and communal level. The movements are simple to follow and accessible, and in a matter of minutes, you’ll feel more calm and relaxed, while relieving any anxiety, frustration, and tension inside of you.
So if you’re ready to restore harmony within your body, here are the steps to perform shaking meditation on your own.
How To Incorporate Shaking Meditation Into Your Daily Routine:
Step 1: “Stand with your feet hip-width apart. You can do this while sitting or standing — depending on your comfort level. Make sure all of your joints are soft, so nothing's locked.
Step 2: “Begin raising onto your tiptoes and falling back onto your heels. Not so hard to where you're shocking your spine, but enough to just kind of wake up your body. Repeat three to five times, dropping down onto your heels.”
Step 3: “Next, start with your hands first and shake them. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Shake them and go up to your arms, to your elbows, and then up to your shoulders. Now your whole arms should be moving.”
Step 4: “Then you can start your legs, repeating the same shaking movement. You then move your feet moving, go up through your core, and then shake everything out through your head.”
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