Not too long ago, while looking up some wedding data, I read a published study on The Knot that literally had me shaking my head. It was talking about how often married couples go on dates. The findings weren't very impressive. I'll put it to you this way—while 11 percent went on dates once or more a week, 30 percent only did it once a month and 36 percent hardly ever had one. That really is kind of disturbing considering most of us have heard that the way we get someone is the way we should keep them. Plus, dating shouldn't be seen as merely a way to woo someone into being in a relationship; it should also be about wanting to spend real quality time with them. No matter how long two individuals have been together, that should never get old.
If you totally agree but the challenge is that your lifestyle (hard to find a babysitter), budget (need to save most of your coins) or current circumstances (like a roaring pandemic that is happening at the time that I am writing this) are what's preventing you and yours for being as romantic as you'd like, I've got a few ways where the two of you can still date each other from the comfort, convenience and safety of your own home.
1. Have a Spa Day (or Night)
Something that can be romantic and sexy while also being a way to de-stress is to create a spa-themed date. It can consist of things like giving each other massages with aphrodisiac essential oils (see "Blow Your Man's Mind By Giving Him This Tantalizing Massage" and "8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last") and doing some reflexology on one another, to taking a soothing bath together; one that consists of DIY bath soak recipes. Make sure that you take luxury to another level by warming up your towels in the dryer before using them, picking up some rose petals to put into your foot soak or bathwater, lighting some soy scented candles, opening up a bottle of wine, and turning off all of your electronics (except maybe a device for some background music).
2. Binge-Watch a Series from Your College Years
Call it blinded nostalgia if you want to, but some of my favorite television-watching years was the early 90s. A Different World. Living Single. Martin. In Living Color. Yeah, those were the days. If you were in college then, take a walk down memory lane by binge-watching some of those shows with your significant other. Whether you knew each other or not at the time, it can bring up all kinds of memories and fun stories. You can take it up a notch and eat some of the same foods that you did while you were hanging out in your campus's university center. (By the way, this suggestion applies to any television era; the early 90s is simply my personal favorite.)
3. Put a Twist to Sip & Paint
Pretty much every city has at least one place where you can go to take painting classes while you sip on a glass of wine (or some other alcoholic beverage that tickles your fancy). Put a twist on that by throwing a very private and personal sip & paint at your house. Sure, you can put up easel if you want to. But I have something a bit more erotic in mind.
How about making some of your own body paint (or you can purchase some edible body paint, in a variety of different colors, here), stripping down to your underwear (or less) and painting each other? It's something that is both sexually stimulating and really fun at the same time; especially if you bring that bottle of red wine (which is a big time aphrodisiac) into the equation. #bottomsup
4. Go on a “Travel-Themed” Date
There are a couple of different ways to have a travel-themed date night in your house. One way is to either order or prepare foods that represent another country. You know, maybe a pasta dish to represent Italy or a Greek salad to represent Greece. The cool thing about this idea is your date can be any time of the day. For instance, maybe you want to make some Rabanadas (which is basically Portuguese French Toast) for a breakfast or brunch date, or a couple of bowls of Vegetable Pad Thai (which represents Thailand) late at night. Selecting foods based on a particular place can be a great way to expand your palate while bonding if you plan on preparing the dishes together.
Another approach to a travel-themed date is to put on some soft music, light some soy scented candles and hop on Instagram or Pinterest to plan a dream vacation together. And just where would you get the money to pay for it? Check out "5 Reasons Why Every Married Couple Needs A Sex Jar". If you play your cards right, planning the date will be nothing more than a creative foreplay move (if you catch my drift).
5. Make a Disco Ball and Dance the Night Away
The more that you and your partner touch each other, the more oxytocin will surge throughout your systems to make you feel emotionally close and physically connected. So, why not have a night when you turn off most of the lights, put on your favorite music playlist and dance all night long? You can make it feel more like a "formal date" by actually dressing up and even hanging a homemade DIY disco ball from your ceiling. If the ball is something that you'd like to try, you can get some fairly easy step-by-step instructions here.
6. Design Your Own Drive-In (in Your Backyard)
Who said that you had to spend a mini mint on movie theater tickets? Buy some candy, pop some popcorn and watch your favorite flick from the comfort of your own backyard by setting up your own drive-in experience. For this idea, it all depends on how sophisticated you want it to be. You can purchase a projector and put together an entire set-up (click here, here, here or check out a great Dollar Tree video here for some tips on how to do that). Or, you can simply take your computer outdoors and watch a movie on that if you just want a change of scenery.
7. Enjoy a Sports Night Together
Even though there is apparently a scientific reason for why men like sports more than women do, there was a Gallup poll from a few years ago that said 51 percent of women consider themselves to be some pretty diehard sports fans too. If you are one of them, another date idea is to have a sports night at home. There's not much to this one. Simply order up some hot wings or pizza, crack open a couple of bottles of beer and watch a game or competition to your hearts' content.
8. Have a Video Games Competition
It's a huge misconception that it's only men who enjoy playing video games. In fact, one study revealed that as much as 46 percent of women consider themselves to be avid gamers. If you happen to fall into that demographic, have a video game competition with your man. If you'd prefer to take it back to old school retro stuff, articles like "The 6 Best Sites to Buy Retro Games Online" can help to point you in the right direction of finding vintage consoles and game cartridges. Just make sure that you come up with a really sexy prize for the winner in order to make this date all the more…stimulating.
9. Transform Your Bedroom into a Hotel Room
The married people in my world know that I advocate for them having as much sex as they possibly can. I try and put my money where my mouth is by sometimes putting couples up in hotel rooms or a bed and breakfast, free of charge. If money is a little tight right now and you can't afford to book a reservation, how about transforming your bedroom into a hotel room?
Purchase some new white 300-count (or more) sheets and then apply the triple-sheeting technique where you put a thin blanket in between your top sheet and your actual comforter for more of a layered and hotel-like feel. Buy a couple of terry cloth robes. Put together a toiletry basket with things like candles, massage oil and fruits in it. Get a three-way light bulb for your lamps. Invest in a blackout curtain (so that you can sleep in the following morning). Consider investing in a sound machine or hopping onto YouTube to listen to ASMR ocean waves or rain videos.
Little touches like these can easily make you feel less like you're in your same ole' bedroom and more like you're in a five-star suite.
10. Create Your Own Bed & Breakfast
If you decide to try the hotel room date, make the moment last even longer by waking up to some good old-fashioned morning sex, followed by a breakfast that both of you make together. If the two of you want to go a couple of more rounds after, make sure that your meal consists of aphrodisiac foods like blueberries, honey, avocados, dark chocolate and ginger. Like maybe a bowl of berries and whipped cream, some chocolate chip pancakes and/or an avocado omelet with some ginger tea. Oh, and don't forget to put it all on a tray and eat it in bed. It'll be the perfect way to end a date—or start an entirely new one, if you know what I mean.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
In xoNecole's series Dope Abodes, we tour the living spaces of millennial women, where they dwell, how they live, and the things they choose to adorn and share their spaces with.
Annisa LiMara has called this space her home for two years. Her Atlanta sanctuary, which she aimed to give the look and feel of something you'd see in the glossy pages of Architectural Digest, embodies her vision of "stunning, yet functional and cozy."
"My home is a reflection of my brand, The Creative Peach Studios, and I am the 'Creative Peach,'" Annisa explains. "It was so easy to reflect who I am and my personal story in my space. When you walk into my home, you know that it is Annisa’s home. I’m so proud of that. So grateful."
On the journey to becoming a homeowner, Annisa looks back on her experience as a "rough one," detailing that she officially started house hunting in March 2020. It had become so expensive to rent, and the 30-something lifestyle influencer decided she would rather invest the money she spent renting into owning a home. However, nine days into house hunting, her search was put on hold for a year. The following year, in 2021, the process of finding the right home and going under contract took a total of four months.
"The resell route didn’t work out, so my realtor suggested a new construction home, which turned out to be the better option," she tells xoNecole of her experience. "Although it requires more patience, it turned out to be a much easier process and a lot easier to maintain since it’s brand new."
As it turns out, the open floor plan three-bedroom two-and-half-bath would prove to be a blank canvas for Annisa to flex her creativity and design skills.
As a new construction, she watched the townhome get built from the ground up, and due to the "cookie-cutter" nature of new builds, Annisa knew immediately that she would change everything about it. The best part about it? All of her updates were cosmetic, so transformation could occur without having to do major renovations to achieve the look and feel she desired.
"The first things I updated were all the lighting, adding built-ins around my fireplace, and installing wallpaper in my bedroom, office, and dining room! I also had board and batten installed in the upstairs loft to make a statement and the kitchen island," Annisa details.
"Lastly, we painted the loft a soft blush pink, the kitchen island is a gorgeous terracotta, and added contrast with black on the doors, fireplace, and stairwell banisters."
In total, she spent $15K in renovations (plus the cost of furniture and decor). And although she says the second level of her home is a "work-in-progress," two years in, she considers the transformation nearly done.
Annisa defines her decor style as "organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho," and with thoughtfully placed touches like plants, warm tones, and organic textures, her perspective can be felt throughout. "I found my point of view as a designer in my work and as I worked on my home, so it all came together organically based on what I was naturally drawn to."
"The organic modern meets midcentury modern with a touch of boho' is definitely my signature style. You’ll always see greenery, warm tones, brass, and rattan or wicker in just about every room. My color story is based on my brand [The Creative Peach Studios] colors: blush pink, ivory, olive and sage green, terracotta, and nudes," she adds.
It was her brand colors that would be the jumping-off point for her approach to decorating and styling her space. That, and a picture she had of what would become her sofa from Albany Park. She recalled her decor decisions, "It was their olive Park Sectional Sofa, and I knew instantly I wanted it, and it aligned with my brand colors naturally, so it was a no-brainer."
By drawing inspiration from Pinterest, favorite design brands like CB2, Arhaus, and Souk Bohemian, and through her work, Annisa allowed herself to be guided by her signature style as well as her instincts when making decor and color choices for her own home. "Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason; it just feels right."
Some of the aspects of her home that she regards as her favorites include her bedroom and its little nook where her bed is positioned, the open upstairs loft, and the open concept because "it really allows you to see all of the details I put into the design all at once." Another of her favorite finds is a purchase she copped from the thrift store years ago.
"I have this little brown and gold chair that I picked up for $6 at a thrift store in Jersey six years ago. I couldn’t afford much in my little studio, but the chair was beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen."
In addition to accent walls featuring blush pink and terracotta tones throughout the space, her gallery wall is another element that immediately draws the eye of any guest who enters. Annisa recalled a fond memory of a fine art piece she purchased from a Black woman artist when she first moved to Atlanta that she now prominently features in her living room. "It was a Black villager from her travels in Africa, and I fell in love with it because it felt like an ancestor I never met. I later found out that she was the sister of one of my very first design clients two years later," she shares. "Talk about a full-circle moment!"
Cultivating a space takes time and patience, and that is a sentiment Annisa echoes when advising people who are looking to infuse more of themselves into their own dope abodes through design. "It is not a race, and you’ll spend more money if you rush into designing without really being intentional about the vision for your space," Annisa concludes. "You just need creativity and patience to do it! And most of all, make sure you feel like it’s an oasis for you!"
For more of Annisa, follow her on Instagram @annisalimara.
Tour Interior Designer Annisa LiMara's Modern Meets Midcentury ATL Home | Dope Abodes
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Holly Robinson-Peete, Taylor Rooks, And More Honored Over Super Bowl Weekend For Their Work In Sports
Usher wasn't the only one getting his flowers during Super Bowl LVIII weekend. Boldyn Networks honored a number of dynamic women with its exclusive Women Raise the Game event held at the luxurious Four Seasons Las Vegas. According to the press release, the event is a "celebration of empowerment and recognition of extraordinary women who play pivotal roles behind the scenes in sports."
WRTG honorees included Holly Robinson-Peete (actress, philanthropist, and wife of retired NFL Player Rodney Peete, Philanthropist of the Year), Sammy Schuster (mother of NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl champion Juju Smith-Schuster, Visionary of the Year), Zaileen Janmohamed (president and CEO of the Bay Area Host Committee, Woman of the Year), Laura Warner (mother of 49ers Fred Warner and Buccaneers Troy Warner, Cultural Trailblazer of the Year), Taylor Rooks (dynamic and versatile sports Journalist, Journalist of the Year), and Ana Martinez (mother of LA Chargers Michael Davis, Cultural Impact Honoree).
Women Raise the Game honorees
"This event is a tribute to the women whose tireless efforts have often gone unnoticed, yet they are the pillars of success within the NFL—shaping players' careers, steering organizations, and driving impactful initiatives for the betterment of communities. Moreover, this event is not just about celebration; it's also a platform to drive meaningful change. Proceeds from the event will go towards supporting charitable causes dedicated to empowering women and fostering inclusivity within the sports industry,” said Tish Galindo, the visionary behind this initiative.
Some highlights of the special event included heartfelt speeches from Rodney Peete, who gushed over his wife Holly, calling her the "glue that kept my life and our family together.” And Juju Smith-Schuster for praising his mother for the sacrifices she made for him and his six sibilings. "My mother isn’t a normal woman she is a force of nature… for raising seven kids and helping me become the man that I am today," he said.
Grammy award-winning producer, rapper and DJ Jermaine Dupri kept the vibes going and gave an incredible performance for attendees. Other notable guests included Grammy producer Hit-boy, tech entrepreneur & diversity advocate Marilyn Booker, and Actively Black CEO Lanny Smith.
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