Nothing says, "I wanna spend a little bit of quality time with my man" quite like a well-planned out date does. And personally, I agree with someone I was talking to recently who said that the traditional dinner and a movie can get kinda old, pretty fast, mostly because it's so predictable and typically lacks creativity.
So, in honor of doing something that's a little outside of the box, when's the last time that you and yours went on a picnic? And to add a bit of a twist to it — an indoor one. If it's been a minute or you never have and you'd like a few tips on how to make one happen without a hitch, I've got 15 tips that can help your first — or 10th — indoor picnic be one of your best dates ever!
1. Buy a Picnic Basket
Let's start off with the obvious. Whether you're outdoors or inside, there is absolutely no way that you can have an authentic picnic without a picnic basket. If you're wondering if you've got to break the bank in order to cop one, you don't. Places like Target and Walmart typically sell them for around $25 and, the cool thing is, once you've got one, you won't need another for several years to come.
2. Pitch a Tent
Once you've got your basket in tow, it's time to create a bit of ambiance. Since you're going to probably be in your living room, den or basement, something you might want to consider doing is pitching a tent. For a basic one, all you need is a sheet, some clothespins and maybe a few twinkle lights. Then you can put some throw pillows and blankets on the inside of it. Once you're done making your tent, you'll probably be surprised by how cozy you'll feel underneath it. Anyway, if you want to give it a shot, Our Mini Family is a blog that can walk you through the steps. You can check out their instructions here.
3. Or Bring in a Tree
I've shared before that one of my favorite décor additions in my home are two big faux trees (kinda sorta like the one in this picture). I have one in my living room and one in my bedroom. I dunno what it is about 'em; they just seem to make my space feel "warmer".
If you've got one as well, something that can make you feel almost like you are outside is to position your tree in such a way where it is the centerpiece of your indoor picnic. If you want, you and your partner can use paper clips to attach notes for you and your partner to read before or after your meal. It really is a very sweet touch.
4. Play Nature Sounds
While playing some of your favorite music in the background is always a great way to set a romantic mood, more and more, I am coming to like the sound of nature sometimes. I fall asleep to ASMR rain sounds. Sometimes, I like to hear waves crashing instead. Again, I am never (ever) gonna knock a good R&B playlist. Still, why not try the sounds of wind blowing or waterfalls with birds chirping, just to see if you like it? YouTube has free ASMR videos that will literally play for hours (just go to the site and put the sound that you are looking for in the search field).
5. Sprinkle Some Flower Petals
Whether you go with a tent, a tree or nothing but a blanket on the floor, definitely get yourself some fresh (preferably rose) flower petals. They absolutely scream romance. They also add a nice aroma to the space and they're an easy way to make your picnic something really pretty to look at. A lot of grocery stores sell petals in boxes (so do florists) or you can always buy a half-dozen stems and pull the petals off yourself.
6. Go with Natural Lighting, Candles or Lanterns
OK. One more thing about the ambiance. When you want to cultivate a romantic mood, lighting really is everything. If you're planning to have your picnic during the daytime, open up your window treatments and let some natural light shine through. If it's going to be during the evening or nighttime hours, light some scented soy tealight candles, go to a local arts and crafts store to get some cheap lanterns or change the color of your overhead lighting or lamps to bulbs that are a red, green, blue or purple hue. Soft lighting is really sexy and will definitely help to set the mood.
7. Wear. Less.
One of the best things about having a picnic indoors instead of outside is you can wear whatever the heck you want because you are in the comfort, convenience and privacy of your own home. So, pull out some lingerie in your partner's favorite color, wear nothing but a cute frilly apron or — wear nothing at all.
After all, nothing says, "This ain't your family reunion kind of picnic" like having barely anything on. Right?
8. Enjoy Your Meal...in Stages
Speaking of providing things with a bit of a twist — as we get into some cool food ideas for your romantic picnic, why not serve things in stages? By that I mean, with appetizers could come some compliments. With cocktails could come a little bit of dancing or kissing. After dessert…well, comes dessert. Because it's just gonna be you and your boo, build up the anticipation of every part of the meal by incorporating some much-needed — and I'm sure, appreciated — affection. It will make the picnic that much more special.
9. Serve Romance-Themed Appetizers
Now for the actual foods. While most of us know what an appetizer is, were you aware of the fact that the literal definition of the word is it's a small portion of food or drink that makes you want to have even more? Since the theme of this particular picnic is romance, when it comes to the appetizers that you serve, try and think of what will make you and your partner feel like you want to be more in each other's space. Little shrimp cocktails. Smoked salmon bites. Baked asparagus. Skewered ravioli. Fig and goat cheese bruschetta. Vietnamese chicken and vegetable spring rolls. Wafflized mozzarella sticks with salsa. The idea here is to come up with an appetizer idea that is delicious, not super difficult to make, and will be easy for the two of you to feed one another — because there is something about letting your partner feed you (as you do the same to him) that is low-key sexy as hell.
10. Make Some Fondue
Speaking of sexy, is there anything better than some chocolate fondue? It's great for dipping fruit, cookies, angel food cake (or any cake, really), marshmallows, graham crackers, licorice, bacon (ever had beef bacon? Whew, chile!) — pretty much anything that you enjoy dipping chocolate into. And since you're considering breaking everything up into stages, if neck kissing or finger sucking is on "the menu", fondue is a great way to implement it. (If you don't happen to have a fondue pot, you can learn how to make chocolate fondue without one by going here.)
11. Have Strawberries on Deck
Speaking of fruits to put into your homemade chocolate fondue, did you know that back in the days of Ancient Rome, strawberries were considered to be the symbol of Venus, the Goddess of Love, due to their shape and color? That's a big part of the reason why they are also on the list of foods that are an aphrodisiac.
Chocolate-covered strawberries. Strawberries, whipped cream and orange liqueur. Arugula salad with strawberries in it. Strawberries, pomegranates and dried rose petals. Strawberry-ginger lemonade floats. These are just a few creative ways to incorporate strawberries into your indoor picnic meal.
12. Create a Cocktail
Speaking of lemonade, something that I'm all about, for pretty much any occasion, is a signature cocktail. It's fun. It's unique. And when you're coming up with one that only has you and yours in mind, it can be uber romantic too. If you're totally down yet you're just not sure where to start (because I won't lie, mixing the wrong stuff together could land you in your bathroom rather than your bedroom), a blog called Life by Olivia has a quiz that could help to point you into the right direction. Check it out here (also, putting "how to create a signature cocktail" in the search field of your favorite search engine can help you out as well).
13. Order the Main Meal
OK. I definitely don't want you being in the kitchen all day and night. Matter of fact, please keep in mind that all that I've said so far, you can "remix it" however you wish.
Yet if you do decide to follow through with everything, my two cents would be to order the main meal. Heck, why not? There have been appetizers, fondue, strawberries and a one-of-a-kind drink — so, order a pizza, some Chinese or even favorite dishes from two different restaurants and have it delivered. It's not uncommon at all for folks to pick up traditional picnic foods from places like a local deli because, when it comes to a picnic, it's more about the atmosphere and presentation than anything else.
14. Enjoy an Aphrodisiac-Themed Dessert
C'mon. What's a romantic meal without a dessert that has an aphrodisiac theme to it? Anything with chocolate in it would qualify. So would watermelon gelato, cinnamon rolls, sweet potato pudding, champagne cake (that's gluten-free), mango vanilla slice, apple pomegranate cobbler and banana cream pie. What all of these have in common is they are delicious desserts that have foods that are considered to be aphrodisiacs in them. They are a great way to transition from dining to…what may be next.
15. Pull Out Some Throw Pillows/Blankets. Then Nap Together.
Whether I'm having a picnic outdoors or inside, there is something about a full stomach and the right blanket that makes me feel cozy enough to want to go to sleep. You're indoors. You're with your boo thang. Why not put your head on some of those pillows, get up underneath a blanket and cuddle until you fall asleep? I can't think of a more wonderful way to end a romantic picnic — and possibly gear up for something else…once the two of you wake up (if you know what I mean). #wink
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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.
2023 has become the year of celebrity breakups with headlines breaking left and right about celebs filing for divorce or ending high-profile relationships. The latest couple to announce their dissolution? British actress Jodie Turner-Smith. TMZ reported that Jodie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Dawson Creek alum Joshua Jackson.
As far as her reason for calling it quits, Jodie cited "irreconcilable differences," according to TMZ, and has requested joint custody of the couple's daughter, Juno Rose Diana Jackson. Late last year there were rumblings of there being "trouble in paradise" for the couple after the media realized they were no longer following each other on Instagram.
Those rumors were more than laid to rest when Jodie and Joshua went to the 2023 Oscars together earlier this year, and even more recently, when they celebrated her birthday together last month during the September unveiling of the Lotus Emeya.
Jodie Turner-Smith celebrates her birthday with husband Joshua Jackson at the unveiling of the new fully-electric Lotus Emeya on September 07, 2023 in New York City.
Brian Ach/Getty Images for Lotus
Despite seeming particularly happy and in love, perhaps the writing was already written on the wall even then. In the past, Jodie has been very celebratory publicly about her love for her estranged husband, even boldly recounting their love story for the books in a 2021 interview with Seth Meyers.
When Jodie and Joshua met, it was while at his birthday party in 2018. Their relationship was hot and heavy from the start, with Jodie openly noting that they began as a "one-night stand." During her 2021 interview with Seth Meyers, she jokingly referred to their love story as a "three-year one-night stand." She shared:
"First of all, I saw him before he saw me and when I saw him, I was like, 'I want that.' And then when he saw me, I just pretended like I didn't see him. He had to yell across the room to me, and I was wearing this T-shirt from a movie called Sorry to Bother You and [actress] Tessa Thompson plays a character called Detroit, and she has this T-shirt that says, 'The Future Is Female Ejaculation.'
"And so, he shouts across the room, 'Detroit!' He comes over and… does this really cute, charming thing that he does and just all night -- he just basically followed me around the party."
The couple were together from that moment forth, and even made things "Instagram official" less than two weeks later while on a dinner date. Joshua would later clarify to Insider that the night they met in 2018 was not a 'one-night stand' or a 'three-year one-night stand' like his then-wife joked but instead, it was "technically a three-night stand."
"It was sealed with a kiss that night and then we didn't leave each other's sides for, well, three years now," Joshua continued at the time.
In a July 2021 interview with Jimmy Fallon, Joshua dropped more details about the why behind getting married. He revealed that he didn't know he wanted to get married to Jodie until "the moment she asked me."
"She asked me on New Year's Eve. We were in Nicaragua. It was very beautiful, incredibly romantic, we were walking down the beach and she asked me to marry her."
He added, "I did not know [she would propose], but she was quite adamant and she was right. This is the best choice I ever made."
Joshua Jackson Reveals Jodie Turner-Smith Proposed To Him
Jodie received quite a bit of flack for proposing to Joshua because it goes against tradition and what society sees as acceptable for a woman to do to a man, and proposing isn't one of them. No matter how much time has passed, the viewpoints around who should do the proposing and who should be proposed to are still very traditional.
After being on the receiving end of such backlash, Joshua would later clarify to the media in a separate interview that it wasn't just Jodie's proposal to him that sealed the deal of them getting married, he proposed to her too. She might have initiated it, but Joshua followed through.
"I accidentally threw my wife under the bus because that story was told quickly and it didn't give the full context and holy Jesus, the internet is racist and misogynist," he explained to Refinery29 that same year. "We were in Nicaragua on a beautiful moonlit night, it could not possibly have been more romantic."
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
He continued, "And yes, my wife did propose to me and yes, I did say yes, but what I didn't say in that interview was there was a caveat, which is that I'm still old school enough that I said, 'This is a yes, but you have to give me the opportunity [to do it too].'"
"She has a biological father and a stepdad, who's the man who raised her. [I said], 'You have to give me the opportunity to ask both of those men for your hand in marriage.' And then, 'I would like the opportunity to re-propose to you and do it the old-fashioned way down on bended knee.' So, that's actually how the story ended up."
Joshua and Jodie would eventually marry in December 2019. Shortly thereafter, Jodie gave birth to the couple's first child, Janie, in 2020.
In a recent interview with Elle UK, Jodie shared the ways becoming a mother to Juno helped to heal her of her wounds from colorism she experienced in the past. "It's interesting because I had a lot of resistance to becoming a mother and, throughout my life, I always said if I were to have children, I wanted to have Black, Black babies so that I could affirm them as children with the love that I felt I needed to have been affirmed with by the outside world," Jodie shared with the outlet.
She continued, "Then I fell in love with my husband and we talked about having kids. I did have this mini pause, where I was like, 'She's going to be walking through the world not only having an experience that I did not have, but looking like people that, in a way, I'd always felt a little bit tormented by.' Now that I've got this little, tiny, light-skinned boss, I feel like it’s the universe teaching me lessons. I've been given a daughter who looks this way to heal my own conversations around colorism."
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