The first part of the month invites us to be more intentional about our self-care practices. With Mercury transiting through the sensitive sign of Cancer, we are encouraged to sweeten up our dialogue with self and others. With Chiron going Retrograde on the 15th, some deep healing is under way related to how we define our identity. Once the Sun shifts into Leo, it's time to show the world what you're made of. The exchange between Venus and Mars this month reminds us to not take everything so seriously--especially matters of love and romance (at least for the time being). Check out how your zodiac sign is affected in the month ahead!
The month begins with a sweet New Moon on the 9th inviting you to plant the seeds for a new home, renovations, or a new addition to the family. When Mercury transitions into this part of your chart, be mindful of some minor inconveniences and challenges that push you to redefine what home and security means to you. On the 15th, Chiron begins its retrograde through your sign, giving you a chance to put into practice the lessons you've been learning in establishing more independence in your life.
The Sun shifts into Leo on the 22nd encouraging you to reconnect with your inner child, creativity, and pleasure.
The Full Moon on the 23rd could illuminate some misalignments within your tribe, which could result in you choosing to go separate ways. Once Mercury enters Leo, you're confidently expressing your truth regardless of whose feathers you ruffle. July wraps up with Venus meeting up with Mars on the 29th which could place you, or someone you work with, under some scrutiny. Get your inner critic in check so it's not wreaking havoc in your life and others.
Laci Jordan for xoNecole
Life gets sweeter with the New Moon in Cancer on the 9th helping you take on a more gentle approach with communicating to yourself and others. When Mercury enters into this part of your chart, you're reminded that "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything." That also goes for the thoughts that you have about yourself and your worthiness to be nurtured. During Chiron Retrograde, you're invited into the depths of your subconscious to clear up old hurts and disappointments that trigger a sense of rejection or alienation within you.
On the 22nd, the Sun enters Leo which could kick up a little tension amongst family or in the home. Choose to lead with love, not your ego.
The Full Moon on the 23rd has you feeling pulled in various directions. Even through the discomfort, a sudden breakthrough can occur, shifting you in a more solution-oriented direction. When Mercury enters Leo, signing a lease or contract for a new home or investment property is supported. By the end of the month, Venus meets up with Mars in Virgo encouraging you to lighten up and let your inner child live.
The month kicks off with a New Moon on the 9th inviting you to set some intentions for your financial security. Seek out ways to align with money-making opportunities that support your personal values and fulfill you emotionally. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, contracts and negotiations are up for discussion. On the 15th, Chiron begins its retrograde, giving you a chance to put into practice the lessons you've learned about self-reliance. Your social network or friends could be triggering your need for space so kindly communicate your need to just do your own thing for a while.
The Sun shifts into vibrant Leo on the 22nd, making you the talk of the town. Don't be afraid to shine that brilliant light of yours no matter who it blinds.
The Full Moon on the 23rd has you in the spotlight sharing your gems of wisdom and experience with those that look up to you. Travel restrictions may also be released around this time. When Mercury enters Leo, your social media following and engagement can increase. The month wraps up with Venus teaming up with Mars in Virgo on the 29th. You're encouraged to be less critical and judgemental to experience the love that is available to you through the tribe you were born into.
July begins with a sweet New Moon in your sign inviting you to make a wish and blow out the metaphorical (or literal) birthday candles for what you'd like to manifest in the year ahead. On the 11th, Mercury enters this same part of your chart, making life a little busier. Stay on top of your emails, text messages, and phone calls during this transit. You never know who may be trying to connect with you. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you're on a mission to reclaim the power that is your authenticity.
The Sun shifts into Leo on the 22nd, bringing your focus to your values, self-esteem, and money.
The Full Moon on the 23rd helps you resolve a debt, but on a deeper level, this can be a powerful time of releasing old stories about you being too "weird". Dare to be different, boo! When Mercury enters Leo, don't be afraid to brag on yourself to get the most out of an opportunity. On the 29th, Venus meets up with Mars in Virgo which could have your inner critic going crazy. You're not faking this process of becoming the truest version of yourself. You're simply remembering who you've always been.
The first part of the month is a bit more quiet for you with the New Moon on the 9th. Rest and retreat into the sacred space of your bedroom. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, your dreams are more active than usual. Keep a journal to record the insights and decode the messages. On the 15th, Chiron begins its retrograde, inviting you to reestablish trust in your Higher Self, not anyone that you've deemed as some all-knowing guru.
The wisdom you seek is within yourself. On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into your sign which has you ready to celebrate your beautiful life and another year around the Sun.
The Full Moon on the 23rd could result in a severance of ties within a relationship (romantic or professional) if you don't think the connection is growing in the right direction. When Mercury enters your sign on the 27th, everyone wants to catch up, grab drinks, go to brunch, etc. You'll need a calendar to keep up with your busy socialite schedule. The month ends with Venus meeting up with Mars in Virgo which can help you in the art of financial negotiations.
The month begins with the New Moon inviting you to expand your social network. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, you're wanting to nurture the connections that mean the most to you. If your inner circle is just you, it's time to put yourself out there to connect with a tribe that wants to pour their love into you. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you're diving deep into a traumatic experience that stifled your independence and authenticity, making this an opportune time to address codependent patterns of relating and connecting to others.
The Sun shifts into Leo on the 22nd, inviting you to rest and prepare for your birthday season. The Full Moon on the 23rd empowers you to overcome a bad habit that's been affecting your physical and/or mental health.
On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo which has your dream life active. Also be mindful of repressed anger that wants to be expressed and processed. When Jupiter goes retrograde on the 28th, you're invited to do some soul-searching in regards to relationship patterns that you want to resolve and even some new ones that you want to establish. The month wraps up with Venus and Mars meeting up in your sign which makes you super sexy and magnetic. Do what you will with your magic.
The month kicks off with a New Moon opening up opportunities for you that will help you climb up the ladder of success. When Mercury shifts into this part of your chart, you'll catch more flies with honey. Use your skillful art of negotiation to assure that any career moves are a win-win for everyone involved. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you're invited on a journey of reclaiming your independence. Healing childhood attachment wounds and addressing codependent relationship patterns is encouraged during this transit.
On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Leo inviting you to connect with your tribe. Don't play it small and don't take it personally if you ruffle some feathers through your assertiveness.
The romantic Full Moon is a good time for a date night or girls' night out. Good vibes and conversation is all you need. On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo, reminding you to speak life into your dreams. Hold a positive vision in your mind to ensure epic results. At the end of the month, Venus meets up with Mars in Virgo. Keep your love matters discreet during this time. You can pop out with your boo in August.
Your desire to expand beyond your comfort zone is at a high with the New Moon on the 9th. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, you'll be making arrangements to travel abroad. Opportunities to teach, guide, and nurture others can present themselves to you. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you're invited to journey inwards to address the psychological causes underlying any health concerns--especially recurring issues you've experienced since childhood.
On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into feisty Leo giving you the oomph you need to trailblaze your way to the top of the career ladder. The Full Moon liberates you from the expectations of your family.
Breakthroughs in generational healing are likely. A relocation may also be on the horizon as you re-establish what home means to you. On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo which has you feeling more assertive than usual. If you talk like a boss and act like a boss then you must be a boss. If all else fails, fake it til you make it. By the end of the month, Venus meets up with Mars in Virgo helping you overcome any friction so you can harmonize with your friends.
The first part of the month invites you to do some soul-searching. The New Moon supports you in exploring different healing modalities that can help you break through intimacy blockages developed in childhood. When Mercury shifts into this part of your chart, chatting with a therapist, tarot reader, or energy worker can guide you through some difficult emotions. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you'll be diving even deeper into the inner child wounds and the lack of support you received in helping you clearly define your identity separate from your parents and family.
The Sun shifts into Leo on the 22nd which has you ready for another passport stamp.
Where to next, thrill-seeker? The Full Moon is a supportive time for launching any new digital projects, products, or services. Who knows? You may just become the next overnight social media sensation. On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo encouraging you to share your wisdom and experience with others. Remember, "each one teach one". The month wraps up with Venus linking up with Mars in Virgo bringing the pressure in career matters but if there's anyone that thrives off of a challenge, it's you. Boss up, boo!
Relationship matters get a little more sensitive on the New Moon, inviting you to reconnect with your tender side. When Mercury enters this part of your chart on the 11th, contracts and negotiations are up for discussion. This is also a good time to re(establish) boundaries within your one-on-one connections. When Chiron goes retrograde, you're invited to examine your early childhood foundations. Were you given a chance to develop a healthy sense of autonomy or do you still find yourself constantly seeking advice from outside sources? 'Tis the season of learning to trust yourself.
On the 22nd, the Sun shifts into Leo, encouraging you to dive deeper into your psyche to explore blockages in your confidence and self-expression.
The Full Moon provides you with insight on how to break out of a financial rut. Rediscovering your hidden gifts and talents can be just what you need to get on top of money matters. On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo reminding you are more than what you're capable of giving to others. Being yourself is more than enough. By the end of the month, Venus meets up with Mars which could have you attracting people in your life that need guidance. Maybe it's time to offer some consulting services next time someone asks to pick your brain for free.
The beginning of the month kicks off with a New Moon inviting you to establish some new habits that will better support your emotional well-being. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, you may lack a little direction but just lean into the flow, trusting that you'll get back into your routine. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, reconciling your self-dialogue so that it actually honors your individuality (instead of suppressing it) is recommended.
The Sun shifts into Leo on the 22nd, bringing your attention to partnerships, contracts, and boundaries. Make adjustments as needed and aim for a win-win scenario for both parties involved.
The Full Moon in your sign is the grand reveal for the upgraded version of yourself minus all of the baggage. On the 27th, Mercury enters Leo which has you feeling more assertive than usual. Remember, it's not what you say. It's how you say it. The month wraps up with Venus and Mars meeting up in Virgo to get your finances and debt under control.
The beginning of the month invites you to reconnect with your inner child and creativity. When Mercury enters this part of your chart, it's time to express yourself. You're an artist at heart and this may be a time in which you can create one of your greatest masterpieces. When Chiron goes retrograde on the 15th, you're invited into some deep soul retrieval work that will have you facing some traumatic experiences that negatively impacted your self-esteem. Your struggle was not in vain and the strength you gained from it will be able to inspire others to love on themselves that much harder.
On the 22nd, the Sun enters Leo which has you motivated to get yourself back into shape. As they say, "Health is wealth."
The Full Moon marks a time of cycles completing--particularly related to your feeling of belonging within a social group. Let go of that dead weight and allow yourself the gift of an authentic, supportive, and nurturing community. On the 27th, Mercury shifts into Leo helping you tackle the tasks on your to-do list that have been piling up the past couple of months. The month wraps up with Venus and Mars creating a little tension in your relationships but you've got the ability to weather these temporary energies.
Featured image by Laci Jordan for xoNecole
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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