Something that I used to start my weekend off with (that I need to get back to doing) was picking up some fresh flowers to either put in my living room or bedroom. They're not just pretty and uber feminine; flowers in your home can relieve stress, improve your mood and (get this) even improve your memory over time. In fact, the only downside that I can see is how quickly they die after getting them.
That's where this article comes in. If, like me, you adore having flowers bloom in your space yet you can't financially justify getting a new batch every couple of days, here are some fresh floral hacks that can at least double the amount of time your flowers have (probably) been lasting at your place.
1. Make Your Own Flower Food
Did you know that if you take proper care of your flowers, they can last for as long as 12-14 days? One way to up your chances of this happening is to "feed them". They need some (white) sugar to stay in full bloom, citric acid to reduce the chances of your petals wilting and, if you want to keep bacteria at bay, bleach can make that happen.
Two of the best "foods" that I've seen consist of a half-crushed aspirin in a cup of water or two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice combined with a tablespoon of sugar, a half-teaspoon of bleach and a quart of water. Adding either of these should give your flowers at least an extra week of longevity than just water alone.
2. Play Around with Water Temperatures a Bit
So, what if you bought some flowers and most of the buds are tightly closed? No problem. Cut the stems at a slanted 45-degree angle and then put them into a glass of warm water. After a couple of minutes, transfer the flowers to a container of cold water and leave them there for 20 minutes or so. It'll blow your mind, how quickly your flowers open up (kinda like what happens to our energy levels whenever we take a cold shower).
3. Don’t Always Use a Vase
Something that can totally change the appearance of your floral arrangement is to put them in something other than a vase. Teacups, Mason jars, planters, dessert dishes, tea kettles, cookie jars and pitchers are all things that can give your floral presentation a bit of a unique touch.
4. Stack Your Vases When You Do
As far as pretty presentations go, have you ever put a smaller clear vase inside of a larger one? If they're around ½" apart and you add some water and thinly sliced lemons along the side of them, the lemons will look like they are suspended in water. It's a very easy way to create a beautiful centerpiece.
5. Add Some Fruits, Veggies and/or Berries
Speaking of creative centerpieces, a big mistake that a lot of people make is they simply put flowers into a vase and that's it. Adding a couple of limes and tangerines, carrots or blueberries and blackberries (if not all of these things) to a clear container can instantly make your flowers aesthetically pleasing, even if you've only got a few stems of carnations or roses on hand.
6. Get Your Flowers a Little "Drunk"
If you like vodka, hook your flowers up with 7-10 drops of it (along with a teaspoon of white sugar). For whatever the reason, when flowers are starting to wilt, they wake right on up with they've got some vodka running through their stems. It's a cool way to get another day or so outta your flowers if you do it.
7. Put Your Wilted Petals on Ice
Ice cubes are dope on a couple of levels. Not only can they help to revive wilted petals, they're also a great way to conserve water. Meaning, if you notice that your flower vase could use a little more water after a couple of days, simply drop an ice cube or two into it. It'll wake your flowers up and keep your water bill down at the same time.
8. Drop a Penny in Your Flowers’ Water
If you want your flowers to last longer, you're actually supposed to change the water no less than every three days. If you just read that and was like "yeah right" because of your hectic schedule, a cool hack is to drop a penny into your vase. The reason why this is so effective is because the acid in the penny will help to keep harmful bacteria and fungus away.
One of my favorite flower hacks ever!
9. Try Some Hairspray
Got some hairspray in a cabinet somewhere? Believe it or not, something that will help your flowers to remain their vibrant hues is to spray a little bit of hairspray onto their petals. Just make sure to hold the canister far enough away that the force of the spray doesn't damage the petals in the process. Do this every couple of days for the best results.
10. Avoid the Holiday Season (When It Comes to Florists)
Personally, I can't tell you the last time I hit up a professional florist for a floral arrangement. I will definitely just cop some flowers at a grocery store. However, if going to the florist is totally your thing, it's important to keep in mind that going there around a holiday (like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, etc.) is pretty much the worst time because the prices are typically hiked all the way up. Your best bet is gonna be going right after a particular holiday is over because that's when businesses have too much stock that they are trying to get rid of. Because of that, flowers and floral arrangements are oftentimes sold at a 50-60 percent discount. You'll have the flowers you want without breaking the bank in the process. Enjoy!
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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. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Can you believe that we’re literally just a few weeks away from 2024? I know I can’t. Hell, I still remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and even what I was wearing when we all rang in 2000 — and now, look at us. *le sigh*
Anyway, the reason why I decided to pen this particular piece is because I’ve got some women in my world who like to be up on the latest beauty (and fashion) trends, long before others are — and so, I penned this with them (and the women who are just like them) in mind.
If that is indeed you, please take out a sec to check out some of the things that will be pretty damn popular when it comes to make-up, hair, and even nails next year. All are relatively affordable (except for maybe one), all are easy to implement into the beauty routine that you currently have, and as a Black woman, all are ones that you can step out in and totally dominate with.
Are you ready to check out 12 beauty trends for 2024 that you can show the world as soon as today?
Beauty Forecast: 12 Beauty Trends Set to Dominate 2024
1. Side Parts
Although I’m a “middle/center part” gal myself, and a trend isn’t really gonna change that (LOL), if you are a huge fan of side parts, those are gonna be all the rage next year whether you choose to wear your hair up (which could create a side fringe) or down.
Something that’s cool about this particular look is, if you’re someone who happens to have fine hair and you want to create some volume, a side part can create that for you. Or, if you’re in the process of trying to grow out your hair and one side is longer than the other (which is completely normal, by the way), instead of constantly cutting the longer side (in order to make everything “even”), a side part can give the illusion that your hair is a bit asymmetrical…on purpose.
2. Colorful Eyeliners
Whether you want to make your eyes the focal point of a particular make-up look or you want to add something that can seamlessly take you from day to night — eyeliner has you covered. In 2024, rather than going with a traditional neutral color, seek out ones that are as bold and bright as possible. You can use a bold blue on your waterline to give your eyes more depth (if your eyes are a dark brown, it can make them stand out more, too) or a neon color to make a “winged eye” that could be fun when you’re going out with your girls. This trend is basically a reminder to have fun with your make-up next year. Life is short…why not?
Delmaine Donson/Getty Images
3. Mushroom Extract
Something that was building in popularity last year that will get even bigger next year is mushroom extract being added to skincare products. Apparently, the properties in mushrooms can do everything from deeply hydrate and soothe irritated skin to brighten up dark spots where hyperpigmentation may be an issue. Since mushrooms are rich in zinc (which is great at treating acne and eczema), selenium (which helps your body to produce antioxidants) and several forms of vitamin B (which reduces aging signs) — it would make sense that this vegetable would get its moment in the beauty world spotlight.
A word of caution, though: if, like me, you have a fungal sensitivity, do remember that mushroom is a fungus, so…to be on the safe side, this might be a trend that you’ll have to take a pass on.
4. Three-in-One Products
It wasn’t too long ago that CNN published an article on some of its editors’ favorite “multiuse” products. That’s because something else that you’ll be seeing more of is people opting for beauty-based items that they can use for more than just one thing: eyeshadow that can be used as a blush and maybe even a lip color base or foundation that also works as a concealer and finishing powder as well. If one of your plans is to ring in the new year with at least one less junk drawer, you can always get more space in by purchasing three-in-one beauty products. It’s an ultimate hack on a few different levels.
5. “Random” Rhinestones
The feature image for this article? The reason why I chose it is because it’s something else that is gonna be big in beauty over the next several months. Sure, rhinestones are pretty common on the nails (and sometimes even on eyelids); however, you’re gonna see them being randomly placed on hair, the face, the arms…chile, everywhere. So, if you’ve already decided that next year is the year that you really want to make a statement, add some rhinestones to some of your looks. Hell, invest in some Swarovski crystals while you’re at it; they definitely provide a solid “bling” effect!
6. Balletcore Nails
If you adore the look of super feminine nails, then this trend has your first, middle, and last name all over it.
If you’re wondering what the heck balletcore nails are, they’re nails that are designed in such a way where they look very similar to a ballet slipper — the shape of the shoe and color. The dope thing about this trend is, as far as the hue of pink and length of nails, you can totally customize it to your liking.
Anyway, I think we’re gonna see a whole lot of this in 2024 — so why not stroll into the holiday season with a set of ‘em?
7. Hair Ribbons
Speaking of ballet, when it comes to the signature hairstyle (the bun), it’s pretty common to see hair ribbons that are wrapped around them, right? Well, when it comes to hair accessories, ribbons are about to be EVERYWHERE, y’all. Ribbons interwoven through braids. Ribbons tied around ponytails. Ribbons used as headbands. So, if you’ve got a daughter and you like to dress her tresses up with ribbons, looks like she’ll be sharing them with you in 2024. Have fun!
8. Biodegradable Beauty Products
The mere fact that, in America, 350 metric tons of plastic is wasted on an annual basis — that should be reason enough for us to want to be more intentional about supporting the sustainable side of the beauty industry. A specific way to do that is to purchase beauty products that are biodegradable. From what I’ve (briefly) read and researched on the topic, because this is still a relatively new trend in the cosmetics world, some companies are abusing “biodegradable” in the way that a lot of food companies misuse the word “organic.”
Still, if you want to get more into doing what’s best for the environment as far as your own beauty products are concerned, looking for ones that are vegan (a cool list is here, here, and here) is a great place to start.
9. Embellished Chrome Nail Designs
Although I personally don’t wear it a lot (when it comes to make-up), I do like the look of chrome. It has a way of being modern and yet timeless at the same time. Plus, it’s very sleek and works well with the various skin tones of our ethnicity quite well. And even though chrome-polished nails have been around for several years now (as far as popularity goes), the next few seasons are going to showcase chrome nails that have designs on them or an upgraded French manicure where the tips are chrome (you can see an example of what I’m talking about here). I could see this look getting you a lot of compliments for Christmas. Just something to keep in mind as your holiday party invites get ready to roll in.
10. Genetic-Based Beauty Items
Are you wondering what the heck “genetic-based beauty items” are? I feel you. If the first thing that comes to your mind is genetic testing that, people get to find out more about their DNA, apply that to the cosmetics world, and there ya go.
Bottom line, as futuristic as it might sound, the beauty industry is now getting into genetic testing so that people can discover what works best when it comes to their own personal pigmentation, how their skin ages, and what their specific hair needs may be.
11. The Look of Minimalism
Sometimes, I’ll just sit on YouTube and look at different hair and make-up tutorials — just for fun. And when it comes to mastering the “no make-up, make-up” look, Sincerely Zee (here), Dimma Umeh (here), Tea Renee (here), Naakie Nartey (here), and Fatima Bah (here) all did a pretty impressive job (with the look and showing you how to create it for yourself.) Yeah, one of my favorite things about the whole minimalism trend is it’s such a standout reminder that less really can be more, in the most visually beautiful ways.
12. The Color Red
I’m a fan of color psychology. So much, in fact, that I wrote an article on it for the platform back in the day: “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life.” Well, when it comes to the color red, whether it’s on your nails, lips (Black women look STUNNING with red lipstick on), even eyes — it’s the shade that’s gonna be hard to beat next year. I ain’t got one problem with it either since red represents things like love, passion, sexiness, desire, and strength.
In fact, I can’t think of a better way to walk — or strut — into the new year than with that kind of energy, can you? So, whatever you do, remind yourself to pick up a few red cosmetics. You’ll be the belle of the ball for the holidays, for 2024, and when it comes to life, in general, if/when you do. Now get to beauty shopping, sis!
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