I'm an island girl at heart.
I was born, raised, and still live in the beautiful islands of The Bahamas so I know for a fact that when I see bridal parties, girl squads, and women in general living their best lives on an island getaway and hashtagging their pics with #travelgoals, they're telling no lies!
I was invited on an all-girls trip to Barbados last year and I was super excited to soak in the sun on an island I'd never visited before! As a travel writer, this trip proved to be like none I'd ever experienced.
The trip was the brainchild of Black Girls Travel Too (BGTT) owner Danny Rivers-Mitchell whose company encourages, promotes, and supports Black women traveling the world and occupying spaces "they" say we can't or shouldn't be in. For the first time ever, 10 influential Black queens descended on an island at once to soak up some sun and prove that we too have an audience, reach and influence. In fact, when combined our followers total more than one million!
The ladies & Writer Ianthia Smith showing the impact of their reachPhoto by Will Edmond
How's that for influence?
After an early morning meet up in the JFK Airport in New York, friendships, bonds, and connections were immediately formed, and as we boarded our five-hour flight to paradise, it was crystal clear that this would be a girls trip I wouldn't soon forget.
Like most island destinations, the minute you hop off the plane, you're immediately hugged by sweet island breezes and intoxicated by the salt left lingering the air by the ocean's waves. Barbados is no different. It didn't help that we were in Rihanna's home country either, so our inner "bad gals" were all activated as we brought the bikinis, the melanin, and the sass!
Check out these 5 times me and my newest gal pals got our entire lives in Barbados!
Private Cooking Class on the Beach
Writer Ianthia Smith cooking with Barbados celeb chef Craig Greenidge
Photo by Will Edmond
Our first day out, we headed to the beach for a cooking demo with one of Barbados' celebrity chefs, Craig Greenidge. The entire atmosphere at Pirate's Cove was so tranquil and serene. Hammocks swayed in the midday sun as tropical drinks and cups of rum punch flowed endlessly. The sea glistened as the powder white sand seemingly evaporated between my toes. We were like little kids on the beach; dipping our toes in the water, running amuck and trying hard to pay attention to the chef as he walked us through cooking our meal of cassava chips, fish cakes, and curry chicken salad.
We helped to whip up a traditional Bajan meal and washed it back with more rum punch, of course. The food was delicious, but the relaxing mood and quiet of the beach satisfied our appetites more. We walked along the sandy shoreline for what seemed like hours, bonding, connecting, and capturing fire images of each other.
The results of the girls' private cooking lesson on the beach
Photo c/o Ianthia Smith
Nikki Beach was LIT!
Writer Ianthia Smith keeping things mellow in yellow on Nikki Beach
Photo by Will Edmond
No girls trip to Barbados is complete without a visit to Nikki Beach. I was not ready for the insane amount of fun and frolic that was awaiting my arrival at this posh, luxurious destination. The minute we arrived, it was clear that Nikki Beach was made with a queen in mind. Day beds and lounges stretched the length of the pool on one side, while the beach gave endless views on the other. Our section was ready and waiting for us when we arrived and we quickly traded whatever we were wearing for bikinis and one pieces. The vibe at Nikki Beach was lit for the entire time we were there. Freshly made mojitos were delivered to us with all the pomp and pageantry we deserved; our delicious spread was served on the cutest little boat complete with sparklers, music and...abs!
The beautiful ladies & Writer Ianthia Smith stylin' and profilin'
Photo by Will Edmond
A Catamaran Cruise for the Queens
The ladies enjoying sunbathing on their luxurious cruise
Photo by Will Edmond
We left land for a bit to head out on the water for a day of sailing and sun bathing...and scoping out Rihanna's mansion! On the high seas, we coined the phrase, "Riri, are you home?!" because we annoyingly shouted it for 20 minutes straight, hoping our favorite bad gal would hear us, and possibly come out on the balcony. We had a successful day of doing absolutely nothing as we lathered our melanin in the warm Bajan sun. Our catamaran cruise took us on a magical tour of the island, passing by mansions and five-star developments on the way. At one point, we stopped to snorkel and swim with the turtles and hop on jet skis, where some of us were far more adventurous than others. It was one of the most relaxing parts of the trip and...Rihanna never came outside lol.
Visiting Rihanna’s Childhood Home
Writer Ianthia Smith posted up on Rihanna Drive
Photo c/o Ianthia Smith
So, this time we got a little closer to Rihanna, but she still wasn't home! Either way, we got our entire lives visiting the home she grew up in. The tiny, but colorful house sits on a quaint corner named Rihanna Drive, in honor of our girl! There's this huge plaque sitting at the corner of the entrance, paying homage to the music and beauty mogul. A tiny red and white bar also welcomes you in. This building is definitely everything Rihanna, with paintings splashed on the ground featuring some of her song titles. We spent so much time at Riri's homestead taking a million photos on her front porch and chatting it up with the neighbors and Ms. Marj, the cutest little old lady who claims to be Rihanna's godmother. Here is where we got to see just how much the people of Barbados love and cherish Rihanna, just like we do!
The Safari Ride with Breathtaking Views
Writer Ianthia Smith looking out into the beauty of the ocean
Photo c/o Ianthia Smith
On our last full day on the island, we hopped on two separate trucks for a Bajan safari ride at dusk. We got a late start and raced to beat the setting sun. But before the light escaped us, we were able to take in some of the most enchanting views of Barbados. We trucked through these close knit communities passing by mountains, beaches, and the most beautiful smiles, and warmest waves on the way. I had no clue Barbados had as many breathtaking views as it does. Bathsheba, to me, though, was the most beautiful. With large boulders sitting far out in the middle of the ocean and some casually resting on the roadside, the views here were dramatic, but so calming. On the way back, our tour guide Glein let us connect to his Bluetooth for an hour-long Rihanna jam out session. We sang our lungs out to so many of her songs as the winds flung our hair to the skies and the nighttime cool kissed us goodbye...until next time.
This was my first trip to another Caribbean country and I can admit that I've certainly been missing out. But being in Barbados, I enjoyed this strange familiarity and quickly remembered that even if you take the girl off the island and put her on another one, she'll always be at home.
It's all about peace and love on this gorgeous Barbados adventure
Photo by Will Edmond
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Featured image by Will Edmond. Originally published January 15, 2019.
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Ianthia is a freelance Bahamian writer, journalist, TV host and producer and travel and lifestyle blogger with works and features in Essence, Forbes Travel Guide and Sheen Magazine. A TV anchor turned full-time blogger, Ianthia quickly became one of The Bahamas' top influencers; even being awarded the honor at the 2017 Bahamas 40 Under 40 awards. Ianthia's MiniSkirts and Microphones website (www.ianthia-smith.com) is a travel and lifestyle blog for busy millennial women looking for advice and inspiration on how to transition from 9 to 5 to fulltime girl boss while being a woman in the age of social media.
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.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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Featured image by blackCAT/Getty Images