Scour Luvvie Ajayi's Twitter feed on any given day and you'll be sure to laugh, suck your teeth, get your life, or maybe all of the above. The founder of popular pop-culture blog, Awesomely Luvvie, has made it her mission to engage or enrage you, and by no means does the self-proclaimed “troublemaker" have plans to slow down any time soon.
Photo Credit: Luvvie Ajayi
Today's comedian isn't just found in your local comedy club or creating six-second Vine videos, they're penning laugh-worthy posts that are both insightful and unapologetic, and in a digital age where everyone's struggling to find their place and to keep up with the ever-changing pace of technology, some of them are even getting paid to be themselves.
Bloggers like Luvvie have managed to create a space uniquely their own by staying true to who they are even when it may mean sacrificing paychecks from big brands, but as the culture critic and digital strategist unashamedly confessed during a #MentorMonday session with matchmaker and tech startup founder, Paul C. Brunson, “I may have talked myself out of rooms, but I believe that those rooms don't matter. The ones that matter are the ones I'm already in and the ones that see me and say, 'She should be in this room.'"
Not only is she in the rooms, but the Nigerian-born techie who also runs Awesomely Techie, is walking red carpets, doing interviews with Oprah, giving TED Talks speeches, and releasing straight-like-that-no-chaser books like, I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual, that cemented it's place on best sellers lists. This week, it was announced Shonda Rhimes acquired the rights to Luvvie's book and it will be turned into a Shondaland cable comedy series.
Let Luvvie tell it, she's a 13-year overnight success. In other words, she started from the bottom and now she's here.
Photo Credit: Luvvie Ajayi
Just twenty-one years ago, a nine-year-old Luvvie left her nine-bedroom home in Nigeria and settled in Chicago. Though she now proudly boasts of her Nigerian roots and culture, as the new girl, she struggled to fit in, and by sophomore year, had ditched her accent in order to adapt to her new environment. “You grow up and realize what makes you different is what makes you stand out in the best way," Luvvie says.
By college, she found that her voice was not one to be diminished. During her freshman year, with the encouragement of friends, she launched a blog dishing on college life and roommates, but after graduating in 2006 with her degree in psychology and stepping into the real world, felt that it was time for a fresh start. So she shut down her old college-girl chronicles and launched Awesomely Luvvie with a humorous spin on pop-culture, politics, and anything else that piqued her interest. Though she had a passion for writing, she never imagined that her hobby would turn into paychecks. “I really didn't approach it as a career because I was not buying into the hype that this was something that I could do as a career."
"What makes you different is what makes you stand out in the best way."
Nonetheless, her fanbase grew as friends and family shared her hilarious posts where she unapologetically spoke her mind on things that others were afraid to voice. Within three years, she had grown a steady following, snagged a Black Weblog Award, and started getting brand-love for being Luvvie, adding ambassador to her bio when GAP reached out to partner with her to rock their new jeans line.
Photo Credit: Luvvie Ajayi
She also started monetizing her blog using website ads. Yet still, the idea of blogging full-time didn't hit her until a year later when she was laid off from her job as marketing coordinator for the Community Media Workshop. “I didn't know many people who were making a comfortable living as writers. It was more exception than the rule, so somebody like me who's logical and needs to have a clear path, it didn't make sense to me. I was still thinking I would go find a full-time job and get a traditional 9 to 5, but it was like the universe was trying to grab my face like pay attention, this is what you're doing."
"The universe was trying to grab my face like pay attention, this is what you're doing."
Instead of going back to working for another company, she took her knowledge of helping non-profits with social media and marketing and became her own boss as a consultant while continuing her tongue-in-cheek approach to writing. The views kept pouring in, and more brands came calling.
“They started seeing that my blog was very different than any other blog out there," Luvvie says. “A lot of bloggers have niche like fashion, style, gossip, but I was the person who was basically intersecting all of these niches and more. My audience loved everything pop culture, they loved everything race, they talked about politics, so my place is where anybody can be who they want to be. I have an incredibly engaged audience so I think brands started paying attention like she's kind of in a lane of her own and it's made me stand out."
Luvvie believes that unlike today's bloggers who often want to throw in the towel before building a real buzz, not stressing over traffic numbers and writing without expectation allowed her to focus on what mattered most—understanding her audience.
“The bad thing about bloggers now is that they're seeing all of the success from blogging and they're like, okay I'm going to replicate that. A lot of us who started eight or nine years ago, we started literally for the love of writing, and we also didn't give ourselves the pressure of success. So, for us, when we started, I just wanted to write, I didn't come out the gate like, I need 100,000 people reading my blog, I just wanted to write, so there was no measure of failure to me in that way."
Photo Credit: Luvvie Ajayi
Her wakeup call came when bigger brands started knocking at her door and notable outlets began recognizing her as one of the best voices in the blogosphere. Even The Academy Awards couldn't turn a blind eye to Luvvie's influence, and in 2012 invited her, along with blogging peer Afrobella, to be the first brown bloggers to do red-carpet coverage for the Oscars. More recently, she sat down to do an interview with Oprah, describing the experience in a recent blog post as “living in the realm of my dreams."
“If it's your purpose, sometimes doors will open for you that you might not have realized were there. And that's the best thing when finally your gift is being affirmed. For me, when I finally committed to doing this as my purpose, really good things started happening."
Photo Credit: Luvvie Ajayi
Being the voice of the people also means keeping it real, even when it's uncomfortable. Last year, she chastised bloggers for not using their influence and their platforms to address racial injustices occurring in the black community in fear of losing out on ad dollars. It's also something she weighs in on in her upcoming release, I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual—a handbook of sorts on how to “act right" in the digital age.
Besides giving back through books and through her HIV/AIDS awareness non-profit, The Red Pump Project, Luvvie also shares advice to wannabe bloggers: “Don't let self-doubt cripple you and render you unable to do work", and stay true to who you are—always.
“If it's your purpose sometimes doors will open for you that you might not have realized were there."
“There's always going to be two blogs that are very similar or writing about the same thing. But what makes people successful is their voice. People need to go back to what's authentic to them. It's really important for people to pay attention to themselves and speak like you speak, write like you write, and stop looking at the person next to you and seeing what they're doing because you're not running your own race because you're too distracted looking at somebody else's race and seeing just how you can be them. Just run yours. Run as fast as you can and the best way you can, as opposed to paying attention to the next person on the right."
And Luvvie is one who certainly puts her money where her mouth is.
Check out I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual here.
Images courtesy of Luvvie Ajayi
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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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy