The second out of the four Mercury retrogrades happening this year is occurring this month, and this Mercury retrograde is a reality check. Mercury was formerly in the earth sign Taurus and will be in retrograde from April 21 until May 14. To get down to the basics of what this particular Mercury retrograde is going to feel like, we examine Taurus. Taurus is a sign dedicated to groundedness, patience, and love, and enjoys all of the earthly pleasures this life has to offer. Taurus is also aligned with finances, and financial drama is more likely during this time. This Mercury retrograde is a big learning opportunity when it comes to defining where your true values and priorities are and how you could be getting in the way of not only accomplishing your goals but enjoying yourself too.
Over the next few weeks, the universe is asking you, how willing are you to remain patient for your seeds to bloom? If you knew what you wanted was going to come true for you, how would you act or move in the meantime? Would you enjoy your life more and find more gratitude, confidence, and stability today? This Mercury retrograde transit is overall a great time for some extra TLC, rest, open-mindedness, and flexibility. Mercury will be forming a conjunction with Uranus during this transit, and you can expect the unexpected. Things are shaking up during this Mercury retrograde, and once Mercury goes direct, a lot of people will find themselves on new ground and more aligned and assured with their path.
Mercury retrograde will be in your financial zone, and this is the time to put a little more precaution when it comes to finances, spending, and investments. You could be spending more than planned during this time or experiencing some unexpected financial revelations. Mercury retrograde will be showing you new avenues of wealth but also the importance of honoring your values and that you are worthy of all you want in life. Do things that make you feel confident and that align with your self-esteem, and know that the stability you are seeking right now will come from within first and foremost. You are finding new ground during this Mercury retrograde.
This Mercury retrograde is occurring in your sign during your season, and you are going to be feeling this one the most, Taurus. This Mercury retrograde overall for you is about personal growth, clarity, and re-discovering who you are. You are going through a journey of the soul during this transit and will be learning more about yourself, your needs, and your goals in the process. You could be feeling a little misunderstood at times during this retrograde, and you will be getting an opportunity to get your message clear and find your voice and way of expression that feels good for you. It’s about honoring this growth and development you have been going through and seeing yourself in a new, more favorable, and accepting light.
Your ruling planet goes retrograde, and this time for you is all about getting closure. The past may be coming up more than usual for you right now, and you are getting the opportunity to heal, accept, and let go once and for all. This Mercury retrograde for you overall is a time of unpacking. Since Mercury will be moving through your 12th house, things get deep, and your emotional world will be feeling a little more enhanced. This Mercury retrograde will be a catalyst for change for you, and you are getting more time away for yourself and your mental health.
Acknowledge what is coming up for you, but don’t let it control you.
Over the next few weeks, you will be diving deeper into your dreams and aspirations, sense of community, friendships, and happiness. Friendships are going through a growth spurt, and you are getting clarity on who your people are and who you want to surround yourself with. There may be some more conflicts with others on the horizon, but overall this transit is about defining what friendship means to you, getting re-inspired, and trusting your gut instincts. Divine intervention is coming into play, and you are getting the opportunity to see more clearly the path you are headed on, who you are headed there with, and if that’s what truly inspires and fulfills you.
Your career, public life, reputation, and professional world are being influenced by Mercury retrograde during this time, and you will be taking a look at your current goals and where you are headed with them. There could be some more bumps in the road than expected when it comes to career goals but know that this is all temporary. Life tends to feel a little more public or out in the open when Mercury is in retrograde in your 10th house, and you may be thinking more about the way you are being perceived. Know that this time for you is overall about getting a better understanding of how you want to show up and what the next steps for you are within your career or public life.
This Mercury retrograde is an awakening for you, Virgo. Your ruling planet is Mercury, so whatever it is doing in the sky is especially influential for you. During this particular Mercury retrograde, your 9th house of travel, adventure, education, and spirituality are in the spotlight, and you are overall finding your way. You could feel like the path you have planned for yourself isn’t playing out exactly how you expected, and you are learning the importance of being flexible and finding your strength and sense of purpose within. You could be feeling tested to have more faith and to believe more in yourself and what you are trying to pursue, and it’s all about gaining direction for you right now. Expect help from unexpected places, and open your mind, Virgo.
Intimacy, transformation, commitment, and shared finances are being highlighted for you during this Mercury retrograde. You are moving through a journey of seeing where your time and energy have been spent and how you are feeling about the return you are seeing in your life for the work you are putting in. Imbalances within a romantic relationship, platonic or business, will become more apparent to you right now, and you are gaining the necessary clarity to make some important changes. You are moving through a transformative time in your life, and you will feel a deep sense of renewal, freedom, and rebirth once Mercury goes direct on May 14.
With Taurus being your sister sign, this Mercury retrograde is happening exactly opposite of you, in your 7th house of love and partnership. You are taking a look at the relationship you have with yourself and how your partnerships and relationships with others are flowing for you right now. It’s all about finding the balance between the giving and receiving in your life and about allowing love to grow. You don’t have to do life alone, and although you could be feeling more distant from love or the people close to you right now, you are addressing where you’ve been holding yourself back and how to experience more love, connection, and harmony.
Let the past go, define where you want to go now.
Your work life, routine, health, and daily schedule are being addressed during this time, and you are creating some new structure here. This Mercury retrograde is about looking at your current daily plan and routine and looking for ways to improve here or develop a new system that is more effective for you. The vibes in the office could be feeling a little tense for the time being, but you are overall getting the opportunity to retrace your steps, re-do any errors, and break the ice with colleagues. This is a good time to learn a new skill, develop your skills, and work passionately on something that inspires you.
Listen to your heart, and learn more about it, Capricorn. Mercury retrograde will be pushing you to be more open, to ask for what you need emotionally, and to feel more confident taking up space and expressing yourself. You are reviewing where the happiness is in your life and if you’ve been prioritizing this enough for yourself. Any limitations you have been feeling creatively and romantically come up at this time to be reviewed, healed, and understood better. Once Mercury goes direct on May 14, you will have a better understanding of what makes you happy, making it easier to be in those spaces.
This Mercury retrograde is a journey of the heart for you.
Mercury retrograde will be bringing attention to the home. You are taking a look at your foundations, where you are feeling supported and stable in your life, and where you want to continue to grow your roots and build. Your emotional well-being is the priority, and your safe spaces are where to be to get through this time. Some misunderstandings with family or close loved ones are more likely now, and you are getting a clear view of how you’ve been feeling within when it comes to the past, family, and your environment. Your stability in life and how you feel grounded in it all are in focus right now, and overall this is a good time for you to declutter, finish that home project, and bring peace into the home.
Communication is everything right now, Pisces. Extra patience is needed when it comes to communicating with others, and be sure to think things through and watch out for impulsivity. The more grace you can give yourself and others right now, the better. Journal your thoughts, meditate, and heal the mind. Mercury retrograde will be showing you how powerful your words are and what kind of mark you want to leave on people and the world when connecting. It is about overcoming previous communication challenges and seeing what has been blocking you from feeling heard. This Mercury retrograde transit is requiring more patience than most, and travels, contracts, texts, and emails should all be looked over a few times right now.
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Tayler Barakat is a Mystic who has studied Astrology for over a decade. She does intuitive astrology and tarot readings for people all over the world, and her work focuses on healing and empowering individuals. Follow her on Instagram @taylerbarakat_ and check out her website www.listentothevirgo.com.
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.
We waved farewell to summer last week, along with all its highlights. Now we warmly embrace music that encourages us to feel, calm down, and think back on the last enjoyable months and their aftermath. Some of the aftereffects of our summertime delights, like "Lil Boo Thang" and "Guarantee," will make us feel content and that our time was well spent. Other repercussions, like "I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again" and "No SZNs," are more severe and will leave us contemplating some ill-placed steps while we spiral into deep despair.
Whichever side you find yourself on during this change of seasons, or if you're between, consider adding some of these new singles to your playlist to help mourn what's left of this summertime weather. While also welcoming the possibilities that only autumn's beautiful breeze can create.
1.Doechii - "Pacer"
Oh, Doechii, how we have waited for you at every door and corner for what seems like an eternity; yet we are so grateful that you have finally arrived. Doechii has released another single to further demonstrate her versatility after releasing one of the summer's most popular songs. With "Pacer," Doechii, who stunned us with her vocal range on "What It Is," goes back to her rapping roots. The TDE phenomenon starts the song out completely unhinged. With a blood-curdling scream, similar to fellow TDE artist Jay Rock, Doechii gathers her clique to prepare for battle, as though she had just returned from a fierce altercation.
However, instead of amassing casualties upon those who doubted her, Doechii plans to render them inept under the weight of her accomplishments and accolades. She acknowledges that she has arrived at her success later than she had hoped, but says she is on "God's time," and that while reaching her level of achievement later than others, she has done it regardless and with enough assurance to intend to remain for a while.
2."No Statements" - ScarLip
No matter what rap music you play these days, there is always a critic waiting to proclaim that rap and hip-hop are dying. Although part of what they say is true, they haven't yet detected the faint pulse that keeps the business alive. If the naysayers would quiet down long enough to hear that fading pulse, it would be the sound of female rappers smashing through locked doors in an attempt to reclaim its strong and steady beat. One of those rappers, besides Doechii, is ScarLip.
ScarLip, who is 22 years old, fresh off the success of her 2022 "Glizzy Gobbler," has dropped her newest single "No Statements." The rapper says in "No Statements" that she is not in the business of snitching, making statements, or leaving a paper trail of her wrongdoings, but rather needs to be fully aware of the circumstances so she may proceed with her decisions. It would be difficult to not hear people humming this song for weeks to come, because of the catchy chorus and straightforward lyricism. Maybe after this, critics can follow her lead and refrain from making detrimental statements.
3."How Were We To Know" - Emeli Sandé
How were we to know? We ponder this question after a relationship has ended and everything has been put out on the floor to be either picked up and rebuilt or swept away and abandoned. How were we to tell if the connection would burn to the ground or vanish into thin air? How could we have known that the person we intended to spend forever with would be gone the next day? How were we to recognize all the signs when they were arranged randomly and incomprehensibly? In this query, we pardon ourselves for not being omniscient. We accept responsibility for failing to recognize the apparent facts that were put in front of us.
Emelie Sandé asks the same questions in her most recent song, "How Were We To Know." She ponders how she might have known that the relationship was doomed. But as the song goes on, it becomes obvious that she, just like the rest of us, could have easily figured it out if we had communicated better, assigned blame less frequently, and set aside our egos.
4."Angel" - Halle (Acoustic Performance)
At the beginning of August, Halle Bailey released "Angel," her debut single as a solo performer. In less than a few hours, the piano-driven ballad that explored what it is like to be a Black woman growing up in this tiresome, neglectful environment captured millions of listeners and became an anthem for all sun-kissed girls. With beautiful lyricism that acknowledges the weight unfairly burdened upon Black women, Halle reminds audiences that they are in fact angelic, despite the demons that appear out of the woodwork to tell us otherwise.
When one falls, they fall "onto clouds" and find a way to make their way through the limitless struggles bestowed by simply existing. After all, as I said before, black women are the only things to ever grow without nourishment. As if the song couldn't be lovelier than the original rendition, Halle debuted an acoustic version of the smash a couple of weeks ago to demonstrate just how genuinely heavenly she is.
5."No SZNS" - Jean Dawson and SZA
Every day is like the day before. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, and everything beautiful and dismal that can happen occurs in between. The seasons bring a certain ambiance that allows for differentiation between the past and the present, but only if you're in a place where it matters, and the changing of seasons can be felt. If not, then every day is every day. In "NO SZNS," by Jean Dawson and SZA, this simple fact is mentioned repeatedly in the chorus; but the reality of every day being the same creates an unshakeable melancholy that can only be felt through their lilting vocals and sometimes abrupt instrumentals.
They appear to be pleading for some other truth, because they find it difficult to accept that each day will be the same as the last, and that, despite the passing of time and the changing of the seasons, we are doomed to repeat the at times idyllic, terrifying cycle.
6."Black Dress" - 070 Shake
It's unfortunate that not as many people tune in to 070 Shake as frequently as they ought to. Despite becoming popular with her song "SCAR" on Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift, many people are still unaware of how good she is as an artist. The unclassifiable New Jersey musician, whose music is tough to define, has released "Black Dress," in preparation for her second album, You Can't Kill Me. The brand-new 070 Shake track "Black Dress" is a sensation with a haunting feel.
The song has strong, churning guitars, hazy synthesizers, and trap 808s that help to create an eerie and encapsulating, daunting melody. Shake plays the sole survivor of an aircraft accident in the popular song's music video, which was shot by Noah Lee. She is originally stranded in a tree with her parachute before descending to the burning wreckage below. When she finally touches the ground, she performs a song deserving of the fame she will one day enjoy.
7."You" - Lola Brooke ft. Bryson Tiller
What's that I hear around the way? Oh, another female rapper here to save the day? With the help of Bryson Tiller, Lola Brooke's newest song, "You," aims to kick off this cuffing season in the 90s. The rapper, who is relatively new to the hip-hop scene and who recently released the single "Don't Play With It," samples Foxxy Brown's popular song "Get Me Home" on this nearly three-minute tune.
In time for the fall, Brooke and Tiller's powerful voices and sensuous vocals have created the ideal song to dance to while searching for love. In her lyrics, the 29-year-old displays both her Brooklyn heritage and the characteristics ideal in a potential suitor. By the end of the song, it is clear that Brooke plans to move through this cuffing season with intention and refuses to settle for anything less than what she deserves.
8."Guarantee" - Black Eyed Peas
No matter how far into the future we are, you can always depend on the Black Eyed Peas to come from a more vibrant, lively, and distant time period than our own. The trio speaks about having what other people need in their newest song, "Guarantee," off of their 2022 album ELEVATION. In this single, they assert that they can elevate all that is freely provided to them, leading to greater love, knowledge, and total pleasure.
Promising endless satisfaction, they show what is guaranteed if only given the opportunity. With a fun summer mix and poppy, futuristic beat, "Guarantee" is one of the dance songs the endless heat has to give.
9."Lil Boo Thang" - Paul Russell
It is almost ridiculous how often this song has been played throughout the summer, to not have made it in time to be a summer hit. But with only the first 30 seconds available to audiences via TikTok, it had no other choice but to be a glimmer of what it could have been. Nevertheless, now that Paul Russell's "Lil Boo Thang" has been made available, it includes a much lengthier version of the endearing summer song about liking someone enough to be open and honest about one's intentions.
In this short song, he sings of all the potential and affection he can bring to the relationship if only given the chance. Concluding with a nice homage to The Emotions' "Best of My Love," "Lil Boo Thang" might be able to reclaim the love it was unable to receive in the summer this fall.
10."I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again." - Montell Fish
If Kevin Abstract, Leon Bridges, and Moses Sumney had a baby, I'd imagine it'd be this Montell Fish single. In "I Just Wanna Feel Your Love Again." Fish laments the end of his relationship and the unrestricted love that came with its demise in this song. Without her affection, the need and want to be with her consumes his weekends and moments, but he is always left pleading and alone.
To make matters worse, he is compelled to navigate the world knowing how wonderful it is to experience everlasting love and realizing that he is unlikely to come close to doing so again. As he sings over a guitar and echoing backing vocals, the song has a loneliness that cannot be placed into words. Ultimately, his longing to once again experience his love's devotion feels almost unearthly and forever out of reach.
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