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Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.
But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.
To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.
Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.
What is Systemic Racism?
A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.
Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution
In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.
To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:
The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.
These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.
We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.
Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.
In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.
The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.
Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.
Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.
To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.
Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits
The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.
To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.
We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.
The Long View
For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.
Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.
In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.
Featured image by Shutterstock
Naomi Osaka has recently released her self-titled Netflix docuseries, and giving us a rare glimpse into the 23-year-old tennis player's personal life. She shows off her relationship with rapper Cordae, and we also see her close bond with her older sister, Mari Osaka. Like Naomi, Mari is an experienced tennis player. The 25-year-old made her professional debut in 2014, then retired in early 2021.
While the two have shared the tennis court from time to time, including in a doubles match at the Pan Pacific Open in Japan in 2017, they are a close duo off the court as well. The sisters have shared some adorable snaps together on their Instagram accounts over the years, making them a Serena and Venus-like sisterhood that we can't help but to love.
With captions like, 'sister, sister" or, when speaking of Mari, lovingly referring to her as "the only person who can match my crazy, possibly exceed," their relationship has us swooning.
Additionally, Mari opens up about their bond in "Voices of a Champion," a featurette narrated by the older sister over throwback home videos and pictures of the two.
"We dreamed of being champions. Defying labels, courting excellence, each choosing victory over the other. Our parents organized our dreams and trained us to fulfill them. Their excellence reflecting in our character, in our discipline."
She continues, as footage of her playing against Naomi on the tennis court years ago.
"Play became serious and we learned as I schooled you. Me: accustomed to winning; you: saying you'd beat me tomorrow. The day you caught up to me something clicked in you, and that piece of your destiny became real. Each win builds a platform that we'll use to make impact, finding purpose on and off the court and opening ourselves up and cheering each other on. Parallel paths. Becoming the champions we need. We dreamed of being champions, Mari and Naomi."
Mari's love letter to Naomi comes three months after she announced her retirement from professional tennis in March, which she admits she didn't particularly love. She captioned a photo in a since-deleted Instagram post:
"I am retired from playing tennis. It was a journey which I didn't enjoy ultimately but I'm grateful for all the memories and support I've gained and received over the years from the sport. I'm moving on now so you can look forward to new fun projects upcoming in the future."
Happy birthday to my sister! 😩❤️🙌🎂🎉🎊🎁 https://t.co/UbpPHEMXmF— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ)1522775405.0
The siblings last competed against one another in March 2019 at the Miami Open.
That same month, the currently most powerful tennis star told The New York Times about growing up playing against Mari.
"Up until I was 15 she was 6-0-ing me, ridiculous. I don't know what happened, maybe finally something clicked in my head, but for sure she was beating me. In the win-loss record, she's up by like a million or something."
Where have we heard this story before?
Naomi Osaka is streaming on Netflix now.
Watch "Voices of a Champion," narrated by Mari below:
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
I started dreaming about moving abroad when I was about 21 years old. I remember returning from a two-week study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland having my eyes and mind wide open to the possibility of living overseas. This new travel passion was intensified after graduating from college in 2016, and going on a group trip to Italy. I was intoxicated by my love for Italy. It's hands down my favorite place. However, my post-grad life was one twist and turn after the next. I'm sure you can relate.
The pressure to find a "real job," start my career, launch a business, date, make new friends, move to a new city, and so on. I felt this immense internal pressure to be settled and have my life nice and neat. Honestly, It was anything but. Any time I talked about travelling, I was usually met with questions such as: "What are running from?" Or projections such as "That's so expensive," "Sounds dangerous," or even "You probably haven't found someone cause you travel too much." Ouch, that last one hurt the most.
All of these comments made me hesitant and afraid towards taking the leap. The opinions of others seeped into my mind causing me to think that maybe I didn't have what it takes, and that I would end up broke and homeless in the middle of some remote region. However, there are some dreams I just can't shake. Obviously, the pandemic halted my travel plans, but if we're being honest, I was afraid of the nomadic lifestlye long before 2020.
After being laid off twice, and paying off my student loans, I felt peace and alignment to make this dream a reality. Now that I'm abroad, I'm thankful I did it in God's perfect timing for my life.
If you're ready to move abroad or simply head in the direction of travelling more, here are the steps I took. Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it, the time will pass anyway. So with that mindset, here are 5 things you can do to prepare for your move abroad.
My plans to move abroad got delayed on multiple occasions. But delayed does not mean denied. Looking back, each move set me up for something better. It's easy to want to chase our passions, and keep up with whatever is trending on social media. Yes, travel is one of my passions, but so is being financially stable. For a season, I focused on my financial life. I took side jobs to help me pay off debt, and developed discipline. You don't have to accomplish everything in one day. There is time. No rush, just diligent steps in the right direction. In the end, we'll all get to where we're supposed to be.
Save. Save. Save.
I know Instagram has conveyed that folks hastily quit their "corporate jobs to move abroad," and that's a cool story, but it's not mine. Take your time to save and create a strategy to move abroad. Identify what type of travel experience you want, and be open. Build out at least six months of an emergency savings, start a travel savings account, create a budget and stick to it. Tokyo will be just as amazing in 2022 or 2025. But do you know what's not fun? Not being able to afford basic life expenses. Save, sis.
Study. Study. Study.
Reading articles like this is a great start. I've taken free courses, read books, followed my favorite travel accounts, consumed blog post after blog post, and all the resources about moving abroad I could find. We are in the information age, so anything you want to find or know is literally at your fingertips.
Your Friends Ain’t Coming. Take Action Anyway.
Your life is yours, and that's it. This is your dream and vision, no one else's. Having a travel buddy, bae, or whatever else is great, but don't let that be the only thing holding you back. Now is a perfect time to live the life of your dreams. A meme was trending on Instagram recently, it said: "Your purpose ain't a conference call." The people who are supposed to be on the journey with you will come, but you have to take the first step. It's absolutely scary. I'm still processing the fact that I sold all my stuff to move abroad, but I did it.
Find Your Travel Crew.
Now, once abroad, there are plenty of resources to find like-minded people. Facebook groups and hashtags are great places to start. If you want to ease back into travelling, then finding a group trip through companies like Dipaways and Wind Collective are great places to start. Work up the confidence to talk to locals or book group tours. We're all looking for connection and friends out here, so remember you are not alone in your desires for community.
To follow along with my journey, check out my Digital Nomad Vlog #1: Saying Goodbye, Surfing, and Natural Hair below!In this video, I show y’all goodbyes from friends and family, an empty house/co-living tour, a morning surf trip, and what’s the heck I’m doing with my hair,...
Featured image by Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Staples.
As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.
Well, here's where Staples comes in. Sis, this is not just the spot to drop in and grab a few replacement cartridges for your printer or a pack of paper when you're in a jam. With August being National Black Business Month, you'll definitely want to check out the slew of resources and perks Staples offers.
Staples' professionals can literally serve as the team behind your team. Their tailor-made services and selection of products offered in-store will help you adapt to any issues life might throw at you, and they literally have everything you need to bring your small business dreams to life!
Here are 5 must-haves that Staples provides for your business that you just won't be able to live without. These small business solutions ensure you'll remain a leader and can always be where the money resides:
1. Connections with communities.
Business owners are as strong as their tribes, and Staples can help you connect with the people where you work and live via their Community Business Directory. It provides access to Staples' extensive customer base and the potential to be featured in store and via community emails (which, by the way, reach an average of 15,000 readers). Listings in the directory are also linked from Staples Connect, so you'll get the exposure you need as a small business owner. You can register your business for free at StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business/Register.
They also offer a Local Chamber Program where, as a member, you'll have access to their resources and exclusive savings of 20% off your in-store print and marketing services, as well as 10% off your in-store purchases of regularly priced items. For information on enrolling, contact your local chamber leadership.
2. Valuable tips and advice just for entrepreneurs.
The Staples' Resource Center offers content on how-tos including marketing strategy, taxes, and finances, entrepreneurship advice, and more. It's a hub that benefits entrepreneurs by giving them the insider knowledge for continuing to work at their best and the tools needed to do so.
Find out everything from how to optimize your online shop (to make the experience better for customers to stay on the site and buy more) to profiles on successful businesses to inspire your own glow up. Visit StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business for the jewels!
3. A one-stop shop for office and tech necessities.
Beyond the impressive array of top quality office supplies, technology, and equipment offered at competitive prices―from paper, ink, and toner, to computers, printers, and electronics, to ergonomic furniture, facilities maintenance, and health and safety supplies. You can't beat deals on everyday staples, like shipping boxes, premium shipping supplies
(key word: premium), and 50-pack, 3-ply face masks. And the deals on top tech, especially for those constant video calls, online correspondences, and web meetings, are indeed not-to-miss, with hot items like the iPostal digital mailbox services, the Logi H800 wireless headset, and the Logi C922 Pro webcam.
4. Shipping made more than easy.
With everything gone mobile or virtual, you can't miss out on the best ways to transport items. With Staples, you can pack, mail and ship all in one place―even rush orders. UPS® shipping services are available early and late, 7 days a week. You can even complete your direct mail projects, from design to targeting to delivery.
5. Marketing, marketing, marketing!
You can also bring your signage concepts to life―from sidewalk signs, window, wall and floor decals, to indoor and outdoor banners, to paper, adhesive, and foam board posters. Staples has experts who can help you create consistent, professional-quality marketing materials for your brand. Custom outdoor banners are offered at competitive prices, and you can get double-sided A-frame sidewalk signs as well.
And let's not forget those extra details and special touches that allow your business to stand out and put you at top-of-mind for customers, partners, or prospective clients, like business cards, flyers, brochures, postcards, menus, advertising labels, presentations, manuals, and letterheads. Going custom is always a good look, and Staples has in-store professionals to help you with this!
Staples' general managers are standing by to help you with your business's unique needs, so tap in! Let this be the year you rebound, refresh, and rejoice in the growth you and your business deserve.
To find a store and access more resources for your small business, visit StaplesConnect.com/Small-Business, today!
Featured image by Getty Images
If you are a frequent reader of my articles, then you know that I am front-of-the-class here for the culture. Using all of my platforms to be vocal about Black women and all things Blackity, Black, Black, Black is how I get down, and frankly, if you aren't here for me bragging on my people, then we probably won't have much in common. The wave has been snowballing too, because so many feel the same way I do, which is something we've had to consciously build up as a community.
The internet is filled with pages showing love to melanin, comments are up and stuck in celebrating our likeness, and we stick together, m'kay?! Just ask TikTok.
But now? Now it's time we take it a step further and level up on what it means to be balanced.
And with that, in walks Clarke Peoples, Amber Janae, and Skylar Marshai. When scouring the internet, I came across these three influencers, who are all on a mission to normalize luxury in Black women's lives. Each woman spoke with POPSUGAR about what it means to indulge in wealth and wellness, which Skylar has coined as 'unapologetic audacity.'
Unapologetic audacity. Love to see it. Write it down, use it in a sentence.
Ultimately, here's what else they had to say:
Clarke Peoples | @clarkepeoples
After going viral on TikTok earlier this year when she posted a day-in-the-life video showcasing her high-rise apartment in New York City (and casually mentioning a date with a millionaire), Clarke amassed over 3.6M views and garnered so much attention, mostly due to the fact that people were labeling her as a "prostitute" and a "sugar baby."
The 20-year-old Columbia student explained:
"I love to see Black women living in luxury [but] people were actually going and responding to other comments asking, `What does she do for a living? Oh she's a prostitute.' I was totally appalled."
Since then, two other videos have racked up millions of views—one where she explains how she makes her living and one recapping a date with a wealthy doctor.
"I see so many videos online of women of other races living lifestyles like this and it's not necessarily the norm, but it's something that when we see it, we don't think twice about it. [Seeing] other Black women who didn't have the best childhoods growing up be able to make it and do it for themselves, I think it's so inspiring."
Skylar Marshai | @skylarmarshai
Skylar Marshai is goals all around and truly lives up to the building a life she romanticizes. The storytelling travel influencer has gained such a luxe lifestyle following, that her social media is littered with comments and post engagement. When asked how she has gotten to this point, she says:
"I think a lot of it is 50 percent manifestation. I spent a lot of time speaking these things into existence and [visualizing] the things I wanted in my life. It's almost like what we were owed. [...] It's beyond the flights. It's beyond the monetary things. It's this idea of abundance and leisure, which Black people are not allowed. We've not been given that before. We've had to make it."
Her parents taught her the audacity of living out loud.
"None of this feels new. None of this feels foreign, especially being a Black woman: it's something that we should normalize more. Stepping into wealth. Stepping in Black love, and it should be easy, like, damn, I don't want to struggle all the time."
Her advice? Fall in love with your life as it is now and the rest will fall into place.
"It's looking at what you might define as luxury and assuming that you can have it. A great first step? Romanticize your morning routine. Romanticize a day in your life. Finding luxury in smaller moments and then integrating it into your life in that way and so you can create luxury for yourself. So often or for the longest time, luxury has been out of touch for us [and] now it's within reach."
Amber Janae | @ajscribes
For Amber Janae, her lifestyle is one that she has always known. The author and lifestyle blogger opens up:
"I come from a lineage of women who are very strong, very independent. I've always grown up around women who, regardless of being married or in long term relationships, they always have their own. They're always able to provide for themselves, live well, but also look really amazing while doing so [...] just quality everything."
In turn, Amber sees luxury as a form of peace.
"Ultimately, I'm living in luxury when I know that everything around me brings me a sense of calm. [...] so the idea that luxury—Black women in luxury or just Black women experiencing luxury in itself—is only tied to material things, completely takes away from living a life of luxury because you continue to feed into the things or pour into the things that live outside of you."
Her advice? Find out what you classify as 'luxury,' and do that. A LOT.
"Just be one with whatever your definition is of being a Black woman and living in luxury. Learn what excites you. Learn what brings you peace. Learn what calms your spirit and continue to strive for those things. Stand on that."
Unapologetic audacity for the win!
Read the full article here.
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by Getty Images
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Whether still dealing with the aftershocks of the pandemic, not being able to get enough time off or money being a little on the tight side is what's preventing you from going on a romantic vacation this summer, who's to say that you can't do a sexy staycation instead? If the mere thought of that feels like a poor man's — or woman's — consolation prize, I promise you that it absolutely does not have to. Opting to stay at home while possibly throwing in a couple of day trip adventures (which is a classic definition of a staycation, by the way) can be loads of fun, super romantic and also really cost effective without feeling mad cheap.
All you need is an open mind, this article and a willingness to put a plan into place as soon as possible. Ready to get started?
1. Tell Everyone You’re Going to Be Away
When it comes to putting a staycation together, one of the biggest mistakes that people make is not announcing that they are going to be away for a little while. Listen, even if you're gonna do nothing other than camp out at your home for a week, it's important that family, friends and co-workers don't treat you like you're just a phone call or stop by away.
A staycation is still a form of a vacation, so make sure you let everyone know that you won't be available (unless it's an absolute emergency) once you've got some dates in place.
2. Order Breakfast in Bed
OK. Personally, I like to cook. I also think that cooking dates can be kind of sexy. Here's the thing, though. When you're on a staycation, it's important to deviate from your usual routine, as much as possible, even when it comes to how you get down in your house. A huge benefit that comes with being on vacation is sleeping in, right? So, when it comes to the most important meal of the day, avoid the urge to cook or settle for nothing more than a bowl of cereal. I'm pretty sure you've got some great breakfast/brunch restaurants in your area. Support local businesses and treat yourself by ordering breakfast to be delivered to your house, at least a couple of times, instead.
3. Dine at a New Romantic Restaurant
Not too long ago, someone asked me in an interview if going out for dinner can get old for a couple. My answer was, "No. Not if the restaurant requires dressing up and you're not constantly going to the same one." Unfortunately, when it comes to eating out, a lot of us seem to only treat it as a functional outing rather than an uber romantic experience. Avoid being that kind of statistic by finding an upscale restaurant and dressing to the nines. Good food, good ambiance and good company can never be boring; especially when you're on a staycation.
4. See If ‘Let’s Roam’ Works in Your City
When I take staycations, I promise you that I can never leave the house and be just fine. For those of you who end up feeling a little stir crazy after a day or two, be a tourist in your city — only with a romantic twist. In 300 different cities to-date, there is an app called Let's Roam. The cool thing about it is, for under fifty bucks (for both of you), you can go on a scavenger hunt throughout your city. It could be a unique way to create some new memories. If you're interested in learning more, go here.
5. Upgrade Your First Date
Whether your first date was super extravagant or it consisted of meeting at a coffee shop, there are few things more romantic than revisiting the moment when you and yours officially made a "formal" connection. Thing is, for many of us, as great as the experience may have been, we secretly wish that some tweaks could've been made to make things that much better. During your summer staycation, seize the opportunity by redoing your first date…by upgrading it a bit. If you wish the date had been earlier and longer, make that happen this time. If you would've preferred a quieter restaurant or one with a different cuisine, find a place that fits the bill and go there. If the connection was awesome but the location/venue could've used some work, change the place and wear the same outfit. You get the drift. Upgrading a first date while reminiscing about the actual first date is a form of mental foreplay like no other.
6. Redo Your First Night Together
Speaking of foreplay, chile…while we're in the spirit of redoing things, how about replaying your first night together too? The key here is to not make either one of you feel self-conscious by critiquing what could've been done differently or better. It's more about first discussing all of the amazing memories you recall from your first experience with each other and using that as a way to mentally go back to that time, in order to enjoy each other all over again.
The mind is the biggest sex organ we've got. You'd be amazed how merely discussing the first time you were one with each other in that way can take sexual pleasure to a whole 'nother level.
7. Take a Day Trip
Remember how I said that a staycation doesn't mean that you've got to stay cooped up in your house or even in your city the entire time? Going on a day trip can be romantic too because the time in the car can give you the opportunity to catch up in a way that you may not have been able to in a while. Plus, there's nothing like finding some romantically random bed and breakfast in some quaint little town. If you'd like some help finding one within a 150-300 mile radius to you, bnbfinder and BBOnline can be of some great assistance.
8. Make a Different Cocktail (or Mocktail) Every Day
Whether you and your boo decide to stay in bed all day or you stroll the mall, take in a movie and dine outdoors, very few things are more relaxing and delightful than a cocktail or, if you don't consume alcohol, a mocktail (which is basically a virgin cocktail). In the spirit of keeping things sexy, check out "8 Summer-Themed Alcoholic Drinks That Can Boost Your Libido". For some mocktail ideas, go to your favorite search engine and put "mocktail recipes" in the search field.
9. Play Some ‘Monogamy’ or ‘Fog of Love’
Do you and yours like to play games (the good kind) when you're able to spend some quality time together? If so, two that you may really like are the sex-driven conversational board game Monogamy (you can get it here) and Lovehoney Oh! Sexploration Vouchers 52 Weeks of Adventures (you can get it here); it consists of a deck of romantic and raunchy cards to pull from. If you put on some sexy music, pull out a bottle of wine and make sure that you don't have much on, you'll be sure to have a super entertaining evening.
10. Then Go for a Round of ‘Truth or Drink’
While you've got that bottle out, something else that you might want to do is play a round or two of Truth or Drink. Now, I'll be the first to say that super sensitive or even potentially insecure couples should probably steer clear of this one (especially as the drinks get to flowing). But if your relationship is based on a solid friendship and you both are very open with each other anyway, this game can be a lot of fun because there's no telling what you'll find out about your partner.
As the title of it goes, it's pretty self-explanatory. Each of you gets to ask a question and the other person gets to choose whether they want to answer or take a sip (or shot). If you want to raise up the ante a bit, throw in some sexy dares too. If you'd like some help coming up with some questions, Scary Mommy's site has 145 to inspire you. Check them out here.
11. Enjoy a Night of ‘Movie Strip’
What the heck is Movie Strip? It's another thing that one of my blasts from the past and I used to do.
We'd each pick a favorite movie, watch it and then quiz each other on the details in the film. For every time we got an answer wrong, we'd have to take off a piece of clothing. I'm pretty sure it goes without saying that whoever ends up naked first loses.
Well, sorta. #wink
12. Try to Literally Have Sex All Night
Anyone who knows me knows that very few things make me happier than listening to 90s R&B for hours on end. However, if there's one thing that really does tickle me about a lot of R&B music is the lies, lies…LIES it tells about people when it talks about having sex all night long. C'mon now. Who has the time, the energy or the natural lubrication required to make that happen? Chile, please. Still, when you're on a sexy staycation, it can be enjoyable to see how close to that goal you can actually reach. Shoot, to serve as extra motivation, some sort of prize can be offered to the partner who doesn't "tap out" first. It could be doing a household chore for a week that one of you hates, running errands that one of you likes to avoid — something that makes winning really worthwhile, even after your staycation is over.
13. Have an Orgasm Competition
Speaking of being up all night long…back when I was sexually active (le sigh), one of my partners and I used to literally compete to see who could give each other the most orgasms in one sex session (well, one night but you know what I mean). It was actually a strategic kind of "game" because while it can be pretty easy to get the first one off, it requires a bit more finessing, technique and intentionality to enter into the multiple orgasms lane. Nothing beats trying though. Wheeeeeeeew-whee.
14. Stay Naked Most of the Time
Whenever I'm in a counseling session and the topic of improving a married couple's sex life comes up, it never fails that women want more foreplay while men want visual stimuli to go up a few notches. For some, that means they wish that their partner would play dress up in more lingerie. However, what I tend to hear even more than that is men wish that their lady would be naked way more often than right before it's time to "get it in". Surely y'all are not shocked by that. Still, there's no time like this article to encourage you to disrobe more than usual. I mean, you're on a staycation and you want to make it as HOT as possible so — why the heck not?
Being naked is not only alluring and appealing as hell, it's a great way to keep your body temperature stabilized, decrease your stress levels, make you feel more comfortable with your body image, give your vagina the time and space it needs to "air out" a bit and, it definitely is an entry way to more intimacy.
I live alone, work from home and even I can't tell you how many days you can find me in nothing but a blanket for most of the day. There is something very freeing about nudity. There's also something erotic about it when you're that way with your partner. Even if it's just for a couple of days, take it off, TAKE IT ALL OFF, while you're on your staycation.
15. Pitch a Tent
If you've got a private backyard, there really is something sweet about pitching a tent, bringing a few snacks outside, along with blanks and pillows and cuddling up while looking up at the stars until you both fall asleep. It's a super relaxing and very sentimental way to culminate what will hopefully be one of your best vacations ever — a super hot staycation.
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