Love Yours' co-founder Mia Banks is what happens when purpose and pain blossom into passion. The southern girl was born in Dallas, TX and raised in a small town near Little Rock, AR and much like many of us, Mia had planned out her whole life. With dreams of taking over the soundwaves, she studied Speech Communication at Missouri Western State University and further at Howard University, leading to her first paid position in radio as a board operator for WPGC 95.5.
One thing she never planned was being diagnosed with uterine fibroids.
According to the National Institute of Health, between 80 and 90 percent of African-American women will develop fibroids by age 50. The medical community describes uterine fibroids as noncancerous growths of the uterus. They can range in number and size from a single growth to multiple growths, and from very small to large. For Mia, she didn't realize anything was wrong with her periods intially despite feeling like they were a "whole production." She'd be so fatigued during the day that she'd have to spend her 30-minute lunch break taking a nap. She wore super-sized pads during the day and large overnight pads at night, with the extra protection of sleeping with a towel underneath her out of fear she'd ruin her sheets while she slept.
One day, at the start of her daily 50-minute work commute, she bled so badly it soaked through her pad, underwear, and dress pants. That's when she knew something wasn't right.
During an annual women's wellness visit, her OB/GYN felt a mass – leaving her to think she was pregnant because her uterus had expanded to the size of a 25-week pregnancy. After countless appointments, specialized ultrasounds, self-research and communicating with other women who suffered from the same diagnosis, she decided to have surgery in 2015 to have eight fibroids removed. Having experienced a diagnosis that affected her self-esteem, Mia knew she needed to create something that would uplift women when they are at their most vulnerable. Through her experience, Love Yours was born.
Co-created with her business partner Lydia Page, Love Yours is a subscription box that creates a quarterly experience reminding women everywhere to love themselves wholly, inclusive of their body, journey, mind and spirit. Each box contains a self-care ritual, packed with all things wellness, beauty, and skincare products specifically curated to help women love themselves more.
We had a chance to talk with Mia about living an authentic life, diligently pursuing her passions, and being persistent in fulfilling her purpose all while looking good and having fun.
What inspired you to create Love Yours?
I was inspired to create Love Yours with my business bestie Lydia Page because we both were at a crux of life. I was ready to dig deeper to pursue my dream of starting my own business that catered to women interested in beauty, "bossin' up" and blossoming at this thing called life. After a couple of meetings, Lydia came up with the name "Love Yours" to remind women everywhere to love all that they are no matter where there are in life.
How has having fibroids affected your life in both your personal life and in business?
Having fibroids has affected my life in a variety of ways but thank God it doesn't affect me as negatively as it once did being four years post-op from my myomectomy. Within my personal life, full disclosure: it hindered my sex life. I did not enjoy sex whatsoever. I literally used to question myself and ask what was wrong with me? I even asked my boyfriend. Like, it was a real self-esteem blow. I couldn't lie on my stomach to sleep and when I lied on my back, I felt a tugging sensation. And I could never get a flat stomach, even though I was working out 3-4 times a week then.
Image courtesy of Mia Banks
"I did not enjoy sex whatsoever. I literally used to question myself and ask what was wrong with me? I even asked my boyfriend."
What advice do you have for women suffering from fibroids?
Do your own research and make the best decision for you! Get a second and even third opinion if you feel the need. Also, do not allow any doctor to make you believe that a hysterectomy is the only solution, especially if you desire to have children. Google is your friend. I researched and researched. I discovered that women have so many more options today. I even joined an online support group. I researched and tried holistic options as well. Ultimately, I did what was best for me and my well-being, and that is what I'd encourage women who are suffering today.
Also, talk to your moms, grandmothers, sisters, [and] friends because your support group is usually a lot closer than we think, as most Black women suffer in silence. I learned a lot about other women in my immediate family who experienced issues with fibroids as well. Know that no procedure is a 100% cure because sadly, in most cases, the fibroids may return. Unfortunately, a few fibroids have returned for me, but they are significantly smaller in size and number. Hence, I'm now focusing on eating better and really focusing on more natural, holistic options this time around because I at least want to take home a baby or two the next time I'm cut open.
What does Love Yours mean to you? And what do you hope for women to gain from the box?
Love Yours means loving all of you – unapologetically. Love your past, present and future because all of those experiences make up who you are and what you contribute to the world. Love Yours is about girls and women being confident to be their authentic selves, courageous to pursue their dreams and clear about who they are as a female. Love Yours also embodies collaboration and support amongst women; we need each other to survive and thrive. I hope that women everywhere no longer feel guilty for putting themselves first. Self-care is self-love, and we can't adequately take care of our families and other responsibilities, if we don't first take care of ourselves.
Image courtesy of Mia Banks
"Love Yours means loving all of you – unapologetically. Love your past, present and future because all of those experiences make up who you are and what you contribute to the world."
How do you balance your career and self-care?
This is an evolving process. I've learned to #lovemyselfmore by giving myself grace. Sometimes it's as simple as indulging in a sweet treat and reminding myself that it's okay to "eat the cake." Other times it has to be very intentional, like scheduling a full-body massage two times a month or setting time aside on my calendar for meditation and prayer. Honestly, that is what works best for me with my demanding work schedule, I must put it on my calendar and treat self-care like any other task. It is my responsibility to take care of me.
Can you share a time you felt lost and how you made it through?
There was a time while living in Washington, DC that I was unemployed and felt completely lost and didn't know up from down. Full transparency, I was slightly depressed as a small town Southern girl living in the big city, no longer in graduate school, no longer calling home for a loan and really having to figure things out on my own. That period really forced me to level up and show up for myself. Thank God for my genuine relationships and my commitment to maintaining those relationships mutually.
Eventually, as with almost every "down moment" of life, I made it back into the light. One day, I simply spoke up and asked a friend of mine if he knew of anyone who was hiring for part-time work, and he connected me with a private school on Capitol Hill that was looking for after-school care coordinators. I applied and received that job, and it turned out to be just the boost I needed to get myself back going. Not to mention I had a great confidant and roommate who was both supportive and reminded me of my talents. I connected with a church family that was literally a Godsend and reminded me that it will all work out for my good. Life will always give us exactly what we need when we need it, we just have to pay attention and go with the flow when circumstances are out of our control.
Image courtesy of Mia Banks
"Life will always give us exactly what we need when we need it, we just have to pay attention and go with the flow when circumstances are out of our control."
If you had to choose three words to describe your life, what would they be and why?
Covered – I truly cannot answer this question without giving all glory, thanks and honor to God. I have numerous times from childhood to now when I can remember when I was down to my last – I even had a car accident where I could've lost my life -- but God saved me. I'm covered by God's grace, and that means I must share that grace with others through my daily actions, personal and professional brand. That's why I'm so sincere about Love Yours uplifting women.
Hustlher – I've always had to work hard for everything. I've never been given anything. Since I was 18, I've worked two jobs. I currently work three jobs – radio personality, HR professional and freelance makeup artist. I learned the importance of hard work and never making excuses from my mother.
Ambitious – I've always been taught to dream big and do everything I can to make my dreams a reality. I'm very ambitious. From grade school to now. I have high goals that I will achieve as long as I remain committed, true to me and secure in my abilities. That last part is an ongoing fight. I will win.
Keep up with Mia's journey on social media!
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
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.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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