How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
We have all heard of love at first sight. But with technology taking the lead in how we interact with each other, "first sight" can mean an IG profile photo or a swipe on a dating app. Whatever your preference is with finding the one, when you get that gut feeling, everything else will fall in line. When it came to bringing together now-engaged couple, Jameila and Brooklyn, all it took was a FaceTime call. So should we say, love at first FaceTime for this modern day love story? I think it has a nice ring to it.
Even when sparks were flying between the couple, it wasn't until moving across the country was when Jameila and Brooklyn realized that their feelings for each other were real. Brooklyn mentions, "When I first saw Jameila, I remember telling a group of friends in a group chat, that in another life, I would marry Jameila and we would have four children. So when the opportunity presented itself when we both were single, I was already planning to make her my girl."
After three years of dating, Jameila and Brooklyn believe in following those gut feelings and setting intentions behind them when it comes to love. Paying attention to your partner's needs and working together to make sure you show your love in different ways is how their love story became a success after one unexpected phone call. In this installment of xoNecole's How We Met, the dancer and strategy director walk us through their beginning, their courtship, and their commitment to take on the world together.
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
How We Met
Brooklyn: We actually met each other via FaceTime in 2013 through one of our mutual friends. I was on FaceTime with my friend and I saw Jameila walking in the background. My initial thought when I saw her was, 'Oh my God, who is that?' There was just this natural radiance of beauty that attracted me to her when I first saw her. But nothing really happened until we finally met in person in 2016, when I was moving to Atlanta.
Jameila: My friend and I were on tour for The Color Purple for two years, so it happened multiple times where my friend would call him and they would be on FaceTime together. But in 2016, we met in person at his going away party in Chicago, before he moved to Atlanta. At the time, we were both in relationships. So we just stayed friends. Then, I moved to Atlanta a year later. I actually initiated us hanging out in Atlanta via Snapchat after I moved because I didn't know a lot of people out there. I didn't see us hanging out as a way to get intimate or anything though.
Jameila: So before I say this, we both disagree on what our first date was (laughs). For me, my first date with Brooklyn was when we went to this taco spot by his place. We started to really talk about each other's history and got to know each other better. We had already been hanging out before then, but I don't consider anything before that an actual date (laughs).
Brooklyn: In Atlanta, my apartment building was on top of this sushi restaurant. I remember her coming by and we decided to go have sushi. We were chilling and talking like good friends would do. But in the back of my head, I was already planning to make her my girl (laughs).
Jameila: Let me just say, Brooklyn is a very special man (laughs). He knew that I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and wasn't trying to jump back into another one so soon. But Brooklyn definitely was courting me and letting me know that he could be an option (laughs). He has done so many things for me even though we were not together. One thing he did for me was plan my 25th birthday party back in Chicago.
That following weekend, I had planned to visit this other guy I was talking to who lived in Missouri. Brooklyn even drove me to the airport to see the other guy, girl (laughs). When I was in Missouri, I honestly could not stop thinking about Brooklyn. The Missouri guy was actually a really great guy, so it wasn't even like that. But I just couldn't help myself with contacting Brooklyn. So that's when I knew. And literally when I got back, two days later Brooklyn and I got into a relationship.
Brooklyn: For me, the moment was a weekend I spent with her. For background, her mom stayed in Georgia, but far away from the city. With Jameila being a dancer, she would get out of dance class late sometimes. So because her mom didn't want her trying to rush home at 1 a.m., she started pushing for Jameila to spend the night at my place since I stayed in Midtown. So that one weekend with Jameila, I just noticed that being with her was different for me. I usually can be irritated with other people, but with Jameila I wasn't. I could spend hours and hours with her and it made me think, I could spend the rest of my life with this woman.
"I just noticed that being with her was different for me. I usually can be irritated with other people, but with Jameila I wasn't. I could spend hours and hours with her and it made me think, I could spend the rest of my life with this woman."
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
Jameila: My favorite thing about Brooklyn is his attentiveness. Brooklyn is able to notice everything. I remember he would rub my legs after dance class, or he knows I'm a foodie so he is always making sure I've eaten. He is just really good at making sure he supports me any way that he can and I really appreciate that.
Brooklyn: I would go with her heart. She is legitimately a good person and it makes me think about how much of an asshole I can be at times. That's what I need. Being a Virgo, I can be better at being logical than being emotional. So she brings me back home and reminds me that we are all humans and not robots.
Brooklyn: I started plotting when I was going to propose to her when we decided to move to Los Angeles. After everything we have been through, I told myself if I am moving this woman across the country, I better make it a point in making her my wife. I proposed in December 2019 and I was putting things in motion around September/October. On my 29th birthday, I bought the engagement ring and made the arrangements for the location later on.
I started working with our good friend Dallas to set everything up. We made it seem as though she was going to dance for a concept video. And then, I would pop up out of nowhere and propose. I wanted to surprise her in a way where it spoke to how much I loved her, but because she is a dancer, we could use this piece as a way to advertise her dancing skills too.
Jameila: So for me, the day already started off weird (laughs). Even when Dallas told me about the concept beforehand, I thought it was weird too (laughs). I didn't even think it would turn into my proposal. But that morning, Dallas told me I had to get my nails done. Again, weird (laughs). So after that, we drive up to this beautiful house and we were waiting on the videographer.
While we were waiting, Dallas tells me that we only had one take to shoot the video, so we had to get the dance down right. We do the take and after we finished dancing, everyone is just standing around smiling. I'm just looking around confused and then I see Brooklyn come down the stairs. It was beautiful.
"I wanted to surprise her in a way where it spoke to how much I loved her, but because she is a dancer, we could use this piece as a way to advertise her dancing skills too."
Jameila: I would say sacrifice [has been my biggest lesson]. When it comes to love, I didn't realize how much you may have to sacrifice or compromise in a relationship. There is a lot of give and take. I think we both are pretty aligned with most things, but there have been little things we sacrificed for one another.
Brooklyn: Mine is going to be communication. I wouldn't say we argue, but we have had our disagreements. It's important that when you are trying to meet the needs of your partner and vice versa, it could all go smoothly by just having a conversation. Even if you talk about how something made you upset in the moment or something that made you feel happy. Instead of creating a narrative of your own, which I am guilty of, communicating with one another solves so many things.
Jameila: Moving away from my family was hard for me. It took a toll on our relationship where I felt I needed more time with Brooklyn since I was missing spending time with my family. We had to have a couple conversations around what was on his plate with the new job and everything, while finding that balance with spending quality time together.
Brooklyn: I would say with the pandemic and still learning how to effectively communicate with each other, last year during the holiday season was one of the toughest. But now we try to be as honest as possible when we are stressed about certain things and try to find a solution instead of making a situation bigger than it actually is.
Jameila: My top love language is quality time and physical touch. Brooklyn and I decided to be celibate until the wedding. So we came up with this thing called date wars to increase that non-physical intimacy for each other. We basically compete with each other on who can create the better date (laughs). I think adding these 'wars' was huge for me because there is so much thought and effort that goes into it. Filling in those spaces where physical touch would be nice, with more engaging moments have been the best.
Brooklyn: One of my love languages is quality time too, but it definitely has been hard. While sex is great, I care more about that emotional connection. When we decided to be celibate, we became more and more best friends. Sex can cloud that sometimes and instead of releasing how we felt sexually, we are more intentional now with talking things through. I don't think our connection would have grown stronger like it has now, if we have continued to have sex.
"When we decided to be celibate, we became more and more best friends. Sex can cloud that sometimes and instead of releasing how we felt sexually, we are more intentional now with talking things through. I don't think our connection would have grown stronger like it has now, if we have continued to have sex."
Courtesy of Jameila Cartman
Brooklyn: If you plan on taking that step into marriage, make sure that that person is your forever person. There are going to be moments where people in society are going to make you feel like you are boxed into a situation that you are honestly not sure about. Fear can actually be a good thing leading into anticipation, but having doubts is a whole other thing. There is no set time frame when you will know if this person is the one for you, but be 100 percent sure you are ready before taking that step. Do not take anyone on that roller coaster, including yourself.
Jameila: Definitely go at your own pace. It is not up to society, or your parents, or your friends as far as what's best for you in your relationship. What works for you and your partner, do not question that. Be honest with the feelings both of you have towards each other in order to focus on each other better. Other people's opinions can really cloud your judgement on things.
For more of Jameila and Brooklyn, follow them on Instagram @j_dance and @the.blackgatsby. You can also follow their love story on their YouTube channel here.
Featured image courtesy of Jameila
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.
Even though I’m nowhere close to being old, I’m not incredibly young anymore, either. What this boils down to is, over the span of time that I’ve been on this planet, I have definitely seen some things that make it pretty hard to totally catch me off guard — especially when it comes to Black women and what we are fully capable of in the beauty department. Oh, but when I tell you I had to do a few triple-checks on this post right here? Y’ALL.
Okay, did you peep the text? 60. Umm...60?! Y’ALL. I know we say that “Black don’t crack” ‘n all, however, this is taking things to an entirely different level. And even though I’ve been on-10 about my skin, even before this woman had me damn near mesmerized, I won’t lie — she further confirmed to me why it’s so important to be hypervigilant and super proactive when it comes to consistent and effective skincare. And as of this year, for me, that includes implementing at-home chemical peels.
If you’ve never considered getting a chemical peel before, let alone giving your own self one, stay tuned. I’m gonna touch on all of the things you’re (probably) curious about in order to put your mind at ease so that your skin can be at least half as amazing as this woman’s skin is (lawd!).
What Is a Chemical Peel?
Okay, so let’s start at the beginning. A chemical peel is a process that consists of applying certain acids to your face that will help to remove certain layers of your skin (depending on what kind of acids you use and what concentration you apply) in order to remove dead skin cells, seriously clear out your pores, get rid of hyperpigmentation (over time), soften the appearance of acne marks/scars, fine lines and wrinkles and give your skin a fresh, youthful and glowing look.
For the most part, chemical peels are broken down into three different types:
Light (lunchtime) peel: This peel removes the very top layers of your skin, can be done from the comfort and convenience of your own home, oftentimes consists of very little (if any) skin shedding, and requires no downtime. It’s also relatively painless.
Medium peel: Here, both the upper and middle layers of your skin are removed. People with age spots, acne scarring, severe hyperpigmentation, and somewhat prominent wrinkles may opt for this one. It takes around a week for your skin to fully recover; there is some shedding, and yes, some downtime is required. This kicks the discomfort up a couple of notches (because the acid is stronger).
Deep peel: If you’ve got the kind of acne marks that leave pits or indentations in your skin, there are a good amount of wrinkles and crow’s feet hanging around, or you want a really drastic change in how your skin looks and feels, this is the type of peel that can make that happen for you. Now, this one is where the big kids play. In fact, some professionals will prep your skin for up to eight weeks before even applying this type of peel. The shedding is so extreme that it just might freak you out, and you’re absolutely gonna need to settle in for some downtime. In fact, you may be given some pain medication to handle this one.
As far as the kind of acids that are used in chemical peels, one of the following (or a combination of them) is customary:
- Glycolic acid
- Trichloroacetic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Lactic acid
If you were to do these at home, you can buy them at different concentration levels. For instance, the company that I have quickly become a fan of is Perfect Image. They’ve got peels and peel pads in different chemical forms and concentration levels from 10-50 percent so that you can ease into what works best for you and possibly “build up resistance” (to the chemical levels over time).
If there’s a part of you, that’s skeptical because of your complexion (because there are some people who are haters of brown and Black skin using chemical peels) — that’s part of the reason why I enclosed all of the videos in this article; it’s to provide you with proof that yes, we can use chemical peels, just like everyone else. The main thing to keep in mind is that if you’re going to get a professional chemical peel, you should go to a dermatologist or esthetician who actually specializes in melanated skin.
You should also watch videos like the one here via Destiny Lashae Makeup's YouTube channel. It’s an almost 24-minute video that walks you all the way through a deep chemical peeling process so that you know just about all that you would be getting yourself into with that type of peel.
This brings me to my next point about chemical peels.
Why You Should Let a Professional Do a Certain Kind of Them
This brings me to my next point about chemical peels.
If you watched the video that I just mentioned or even the one featured in that section, you can tell that deep (and sometimes even medium) chemical peels ain’t nothin’ to play with on your own. For starters, the process consists of more than just slapping some acid on your face and going about your merry way. A professional has to study your skin to see what chemicals would work best for you; there are other products that need to complement the peel and the downtime…yeah, the downtime.
Plus, you need self-control times a billion to let the peel fully do its process because, if you pick at the peel prematurely, that can be counterproductive as hell in the sense that it could lead to infection, hyperpigmentation, or even permanent scarring.
And if you’re wondering what a professional chemical peel would run you…yeah, that part. Let’s just say that it’s not the cheapest thing on the planet. The average (because some are much lower and some go into the thousands) is somewhere around five hundred bucks for a really thorough deep peel. The good news about that is oftentimes, you only have to go once for one of those. And that price tag is certainly not the only option. My waxer is also an aesthetician, and her chemical peels are around $150 per session.
If all of this is still too deep for your pockets (trust me, I totally get it), another option is to do what I do: my own chemical peels at home.
The Pros of Doing Chemical Peels at Home
Due to the fact that I am a reformed product junkie, I actually don’t mind experimenting a bit with my skin and hair. So, as I was seeing at-home chemical peels pop up in my YouTube algorithm a while back, I took that as a clear sign that I needed to give one a try. I’ll be honest, I probably should’ve gone with something that was 10 percent concentrate first, yet, for the cost, I decided that I would give 30 percent a shot.
I first went with the lactic acid peel, mostly because I already knew that it was an alpha hydroxy acid that is effective at removing dead skin cells (my skin can get pretty dull if I’m not careful) and lightening dark spots. Lately, though, I’ve been playing around with a pineapple pumpkin enzyme peel because the brand that I use combines lactic and glycolic acid (it’s great at treating acne, acne scars, and getting rid of dark patches along with removing dead skin cells too); plus, pineapple is loaded with vitamin C and can help to brighten your complexion while pumpkin contains vitamin E and is an awesome skin hydrator.
Anyway, since using both these peels, here are the “pros” that I have noticed:
- Not a ton of skin-prepping is required (although you need to thoroughly read and follow the instructions of whatever product you decide to use).
- The peels are easy to apply.
- The stinging (at 30 percent, not 10) is quite manageable (although you do feel it).
- Cool water can typically “deactivate” the peel (although adding baking soda to the water is super effective).
- My skin immediately looks and feels smoother and “tighter.”
- I only get period pimples for the most part, and those have decreased, significantly so.
- Any unevenness is fading.
- Other skin products glide on so much easier.
- My pores appear smaller.
- I can use the peel 2-3 times a week (be careful to build up to that level of tolerance).
- My skin glows (also almost immediately after use) like it’s radiant.
- My skin does not shed (although there can be minimal amounts based on higher concentrations).
- I have virtually no sebum plugs (at least that I can feel or see).
Yeah, I ain’t got no lies to tell you — as far as skincare moves are concerned, applying LIGHT at-home chemical peels has been one of the best decisions that I have EVER made.
No exaggeration; especially when it comes to the price (the bottles that I get are designed to last me for around 20 peels at less than 30 dollars a bottle).
Now, that doesn’t mean that the path to all of what I just mentioned has always been smooth…
The Cons of Doing Chemical Peels at Home
Right now, as we speak, I’ve got a burn scar on the left side of my mouth that is still healing (as far as hyperpigmentation goes). How the heck did it get there? Because I didn’t follow parts of the advice that I’m giving you. Because a part of what affects the impact and effectiveness of a chemical peel is not just the concentration of the acid but how long you leave it on your skin — when I first tried the enzyme one, I thought I was big and bad, and so I left it on, at 30 percent, for five minutes…the first attempt. I caused a minor skin burn. Then, when it started to come off, I thought it was a skin peel and not a burn, and that resulted in a scar. SMDH.
All of this was totally my fault. Still, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t give you a heads up on a few things on the potential “cons” side of chemical peels:
- Even if you read the instructions, there is some trial and error involved.
- Because you’re winging it on your own, you might discover the hard way which kinds of acids actually work in your favor and which ones…don’t.
- Sometimes, it can be hard to know the difference between the kind of stinging that’s working for you (“eating up” the dead skin cells) vs. working against you (actually burning your skin).
- If you’re not careful, you could end up with some post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from mild scabs or burns that can take quite a bit of time to heal.
- The results are not nearly as drastic as medium and deep chemical peels (although how many layers you apply and how long you leave a light peel on will determine things like dryness and peeling).
- There can be some temporary itchiness following applying the peel for a couple of days that will lead to mild scarring if you scratch.
- You need to apply the peels consistently for the best results (one-and-done is futile).
Aside from those seven points, you also may go through a bit of skin purging, which isn’t a whole lot of fun. Since chemical peels are basically detoxing your skin, it’s not uncommon for your face (or wherever you’re applying the peel) to first look magnificent and then, after a couple of weeks, to have some breakouts due to the toxins and bacteria that are rising to the surface. Indeed, it does take a bit of patience to get through that process (especially if you keep starting and stopping the peels), yet I’m a living testament to the fact that it will pass, and the skin that you get on the backside will make it all well worth the time, effort and energy.
Hopefully, I explained chemical peels enough to where, if you are considering a professional one or going the DIY route, you know what you’re getting yourself into. Like I already said, I am a fan and wish I had known about them sooner. Few things have blessed my skin more, y’all. And I totally mean that.
Now, let me go apply my peel for the day. Yay! It’s time.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by yacobcuk/Getty Images