Press play, y'all. We're getting a little artsy today.
In its current state, visual art has infiltrated our community through everyday influences, music, and ultimately, the overall essence of the culture. A huge component of this is largely credited to the social media generation--where creativity runs rampant and is often highly encouraged, celebrated, and performed. And although art has always been deeply-rooted in black history, it hasn't always been as embraced in the black community as it is now.
But thanks to high-profile entertainers, such as Jay Z's frequent fine art mentions and exhibits like Andre 3000's incomparable Art Basel collaboration, black creativity is finally spotlighting what we have known for generations: we are art.
"Sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa
The modern day version with better features
Yellow Basquiatin my kitchen corner
Go 'head, lean on that shit Blue, you own it."
Come on thru, Jay.
Someone who has certainly cultivated the importance of highlighting artists is Dionna Collins, owner and lead operator of ComfiArt, an artistic ecommerce and community revolution that brings personalized artwork to everyday wear and home decor, by creating exclusive pieces and curated events in collaboration with Atlanta artists. Think of them as an artistry resource network.
Courtesy of Dionna Collins
Showing off her high-energy and welcoming personality, Dionna flashes a nonstop smile. She exudes a fun regalness that rests at the intersection of 'focused'' and 'tireless.' I take immediate note of her enthusiasm as I review her collaboration pieces. Her keen eye for the skilled and unique design is both impressive and satisfying.
As she talks about her day-to-day and we begin to discuss her business model, it's clear that Dionna is the true definition of a boss. "ComfiArt is comprised of three different components: ecommerce, events and business-to-business," she explains. "Being that my main focus is on art, we at ComfiArt like to collaborate with artists to ensure that people are able to afford beautiful artwork in the small pieces that we offer online. Our motto is comfort through art."
Courtesy of Dionna Collins
"Our motto is comfort through art."
Through those collaborations, Dionna is able to offer one-of-a-kind collector prints and event opportunities without the lofty price tag. "Our goal is to make sure that if you aren't able to afford a $5,000 and upward original piece, you can afford original artwork with us."
And ComfiArt is certainly taking a new approach to how they back independent artists. "To me, art is life. Everything you see around you is art. Most people don't think as literal about it and some people think that creators and artists do not need to be paid for their [work]. As part of ComfiArt, I really want to focus on a community of artists and not have consumers have an excuse to say that they cannot afford it."
Totally intrigued, and beginning to review my own personal art collection in my head, I continue to immerse myself in her world. I research further into her arsenal of collaborations and previous works. After a few hours, I can't help but to reference to myself the timeless quote from literary boss, Sonia Sanchez: "The black artist is dangerous. Black art controls the 'Negro's' reality, negates negative influences, and creates positive images."
And the deeper I indulged, the more I admired the safespace Dionna has created for creatives. My curiosity gets the best of me as I ask about her background in relation to ComfiArt.
"I'm originally from Boston, where I lived close to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I've always loved art and around seven years old is when my mom started putting me in art classes. [Since then] I've always been in the creative space so my journey was more about finding my purpose and learning how to make a living from it," she says.
And as a degreed graphic designer and marketer herself, Dionna has managed to expand her brand from what it was (a website to purchase artist-based home decor) to what it has evolved into: the artistic community it is today.
"In 2016 is when I figured that out and created ComfiArt. I had another company prior to it, but didn't like dealing with the freelance aspect. Me having a Six Sigma Greenbelt--which focuses on processes in a corporation--and knowing how to do web design, graphic design, and internet marketing led me to create my own company. That's where my transition began."
And whether you know ComfiArt from their online pieces, or ongoing discussion series "Design and Muses," Dionna is making her own colorful noise in the industry.
One paintbrush and digital photoshop stroke at a time.
Courtesy of Dionna Collins
So, how does Dionna visualize her brand relevance to culture? Simple. Think of loud, bold, and in-your-face uniqueness.
"The late 90's to early 2000's, that whole era would have been a dope moment for ComfiArt." she imagines. "I remember Missy and her crazy style, TLC and a bunch of other dope artists around that time. What ComfiArt stands for is what that culture was like during that time."
And despite Atlanta being one of the most saturated centralized meccas of black originality, Dionna has managed to find and understand her niche through involvement with platforms such as Essence Fest, AT&T, UP TV, and more. Her passion for her vision surrounds her like an illuminating light. I take a moment to celebrate her as we discuss the process of how artists can work with her.
"Our focus is really out-of-the-box when it comes to the artists we select to be a part of our community, and when it comes to the approach we take in how we strive to appeal to the masses. When I started as a pillow company, I learned that I wouldn't be able to live off of being a home decor business alone, so I had to rebrand to help grow my income and expand my audience." She continues by describing her audience as art enthusiasts, event coordinators, people that love unique items, creatives, home decorators and people who like to stand out from the crowd.
"When I started as a pillow company, I learned that I wouldn't be able to live off of being a home decor business alone, so I had to rebrand to help grow my income and expand my audience."
I reminisce on how far she's come and we take a quick moment to discuss her favorite artists in Atlanta (Miya Bailey, Dr. Fahamu Pecou, Zarinah Dennis and Marryam Moma), her hobbies, and her overall inspiration (her beautiful daughter, Madison).
As for the ultimate vision for ComfiArt? She lights up again.
"Our main purpose is to help artists find alternative ways to build financial wealth and merge the gap between brands and artists.I want to be the company that brands call to find artists, while simultaneously being the brand that artists can come to to find contracted work and expand their experiential realm."
Yass, sis. Picasso, baby.
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