December is a month that's always super crazy to me when it comes to how I process time. The reason why is because, no matter what has transpired in the months leading up to it, once the final month of the calendar year pops up, I'm always caught off guard. Something tells me that a lot of you can totally relate—especially since we're literally just days away from Christmas Day.
Whether you're the consummate last-minute shopper or you're struggling a bit to figure out what to do this year because money is tighter than it's been in a while, I've got a few ideas on gifts that you can make for the special man in your life that are sweet, thoughtful and that you can put together for under $20 (before tax and wrapping paper). Hopefully, this will give you one less thing to stress out about before Christmas comes.
1. Date Calendar
I believe I've shared in an article on this platform before that, to this day, one of my favorite DIY gift ideas comes from a husband, who, on one of his wife's birthdays, he gave her an annual calendar. It wasn't just any ole' calendar, though. He actually went through every single month and pre-planned dates for them to go on. He also included a handwritten letter about how, no matter what life would bring their way, she would always be his top priority. How thoughtful, romantic and—one of my personal favorite words—proactive was that?
You could do the same thing by picking up a calendar and pre-planning some dates. For the record, it doesn't always have to be something that's over the time; you can have some dates right from the comfort and convenience of your own home (check out "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)"). Shoot, you could really put a smile on your man's face and throw in a few sex datestoo.If you really wanna DIY it, you can make your own Instagram calendar (check that out here), create your dates in the form of a journal calendar (some easy instructions for that are located right here) or, you can even make a pencil holder type of calendar for his desk (tips on how to do that are here).
2. Personalized Candle
Two things I've come to learn that a lot of men like are flowers and candles. So yeah, if you and your partner happen to be apart this Christmas and you know that he enjoys a fresh bouquet from time to time, having one delivered could definitely put a smile on his face. Or, if he enjoys coming home, turning on some music, opening up a bottle of wine and lighting a few candles, a sentimental approach would be to carve your initials (you know, like how kids used to do on trees back in the day) or a short 'n sweet message onto one. All you need to do this is a linoleum cutter, a metallic pen and some tape. Oh, and a (tall) candle, of course. If you want to take a stab at this, you can get some step-by-step instructions here.
3. Beard Oil & Aftershave
There is something that is oh so sexy about a man who rocks a well-manicured beard. But something that a lot of us—and by "us", I mean women—don't really think about is a great beard goes well beyond a shape-up. Self-care products like beard oil are necessary too. So, why not make your man some to put into his Christmas stocking?
All you need is a carrier oil and essential oil, along with the right kind of storage bottle and you're good to go. If you'd like a CliffsNotes read on which oils are able to accomplish what (as far as facial hair is concerned), Wise Beards has a cool article entitled, "7 Do It Yourself Beard Oil Recipes—The Ultimate DIY Guide". If you'd like to accompany the beard oil with some homemade aftershave, I found some great recipes for that here, here, and here. (Arts and crafts stores typically sell bottles to package items like this in, by the way.)
4. Customized Gift Basket
Sometimes, when funds are low and I want to do something thoughtful for an individual in my life, I'll go to an arts and crafts store to pick up a basket, some cellophane, some tissue paper and a bow and then fill the basket up with random stuff. Maybe some homemade muffins or cookies. Some homemade spices or infused sugar blends. I've even been known to make body washes and lotions too. It really depends on what kind of theme that I want the gift basket to be.
Well, another cool DIY Christmas idea is to make a gift basket for your partner. It can have a food theme, an office theme, a car theme, a sports theme, a self-care theme, a sex theme—it's totally up to you. For instance, on the self-care tip, you can put in some travel-size toiletries, a beard brush, some shaving razors, some DIY massage oil and a new nail kit.
5. Wallet Cards
Who hasn't heard of a love (or sex) coupon book? A masculine twist to those is to make wallet cards instead. It's the exact same thing, only you print your "free for one massage" or "free for your favorite kind of movie night" on a card that fits conveniently into his wallet, so that he can carry his coupons wherever he goes. Click here to print off some that are already designed with messages on them. Also, if you want to laminate the cards so that they'll last longer, t here's a YouTube video that can show you how to do it without an actual laminating machine here.
6. Sex Box
There's a young Black couple on YouTube that I check out from time to time (mostly because I remember when the guy was a playboy online and now he's all in love 'n stuff; it's cute). Their channel is called Cey & Jai. Anyway, Jai recently got Cey a PS5 for his birthday and ever since, pretty much not one video goes by, where she doesn't slay something slick about wishing that she never got it…because he is always on it.
If you can totally relate, I recently saw a "fix" for that—a DIY sex box. What you do is create controller pieces and add duel-adhesive foam stickers to them so that they end up having a 3D effect. Then you write sexy messages on the back; you know, things that will make your man want to put the game down and play with you for a while. If this has piqued your interest, you can get the deets on how to make your own sex box here.
7. Throw Blanket
Who doesn't like to cuddle up with their boo under a comfy blanket during this time of the year? Well, even if you're not a master knitter or crocheter, you can still make one for your partner. How? By doing something that is known as finger knitting. Basically, you get yourself some Bernat Alize Blanket EZ Yarn, download some instructions (some are here) and you're all set.
The long-short of it is this works because, since there are already loops in the yarn, you can use your fingers to connect the loops rather than applying an actual needle (how cool is that?). Just select your man's favorite colors and then, once you're done, put his favorite scent (on you) on it. It'll easily become one of his favorite presents of all time.
8. Lipstick Art
Here's an idea that is super easy while being both cute and sexy too. If you want a subtle way for your boo to think of you while sitting in his office, why not give him some lipstick art? All you're literally doing is choosing different shades of lipstick, kissing a piece of blank paper and then framing the final result once you're done. Then you can put a personal message either in the corner or on the back of the frame. You can get an idea of what the final result would look like by going here.
9. Personalized Coasters and Cup Sleeve
What if you want to get something for your significant other that is more on the practical side of things? How about some customized coasters and a couple of personalized cup sleeves for his favorite drinks—hot and cold? A site called Thinking Closet can walk you through a whopping 30 different DIY coaster ideas (check it out here). Some felt and Velcro can help you to make the cutest cup sleeves (DIY instructions are here).
10. DIY Bedroom Board Game
I write way too much about sex on this platform to not end this DIY Christmas gift idea piece with some kind of gift that will get the fires burning in your bedroom. If you and your man enjoy unplugging and doing something as simple as playing a board game sometimes, The Dating Divas offers up some helpful tips on how to make your own (right here). Just make sure that you've got a mistletoe, a Santa hat and a prize for the winner close by. It's sure to be a naughty with a side of nice night once he opens this up. Merry Christmas, y'all!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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