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Single-Minded: So, What If You Like Dating But DON’T Desire Marriage?

"[Because I don't want a husband or kids], I'm a minority, within a minority, within a minority."—nappyheadedjojoba

Dating

I'm pretty sure that some of y'all are already hip to the woman who is known as nappyheadedjojoba. Me personally, I just started watching her videos a few months ago. She's quirky. She's super eloquent. Her humor is dry yet mad entertaining. In short, I dig her. So, when it came time to sit down and pen this particular piece, I smiled to myself because I already knew that she would serve as the ideal spokesperson, all thanks to a video that she posted last December entitled, "I Don't Want Kids. No, I'm Not Going to 'Change My Mind.'" She breaks her reasons down in seven minutes and one second, so it's worth your time to check it out in its entirety. But for those who simply want the gist, I transcribed some of her main points below:

"Simply because I'm still within my 'childbearing years', whenever I express that I'm not interested in having children, the response is typically like, 'Hmm, you'll probably change your mind' or "Hmm. Are you sure?' And, quite frankly, that response, in my opinion, is extremely dismissive and disrespectful. I'm not 15 years old, I'm not 20 years old; I think I would know by now if I were going to change my mind."
"Equally invasive is the fact that people constantly want to ask 'Why?' when I express that I don't want to have children. And, quite frankly, it isn't anyone's business. I don't owe anyone any explanation as to why I don't want kids. Nonetheless, the answer is pretty simple—I don't want kids because, I don't like them. I simply don't have that maternal urge to reproduce."
"As far as marriage goes, that also is not an aspirational thing for me; never has been. I never fantasized about some huge wedding, a giant white dress, even when I was a little girl…My aspirations in life have always been professional, aside from wanting a house with a yard so I can have a lot of dogs. And, it doesn't make me any less of a woman or any less feminine simply because my top priority isn't 'finding a husband' or starting a family."
Yeah, this part bears repeating: "It doesn't make me any less of a woman or any less feminine simply because my top priority isn't 'finding a husband' or starting a family."

Even as someone who counsels married couples, is a huge fan of that particular relationship dynamic and does want to get married someday, what she said still resonated all throughout my bones. As far as kids go, I made some decisions in my past that I regret; I regret, but I am at total peace about (trust me, my clock is screaming at this point but these days, let it). As far as a husband goes, if the right man comes along, I am all about a small wedding, a long honeymoon and foregoing a diamond ring for a new car or something (just sayin'). So yeah, clearly this means that nappyheadedjojoba and I are not exactly on the same page. But what I can celebrate is how intentional she is when it comes to how she feels about becoming a wife and/or a mom, along with how responsible she's being as it relates to her future, in general. To me, "planned parenting" isn't just about putting on a condom or popping a pill (y'all, I just read something a little crazy about the pill, by the way; you can check it out here).

It's about knowing what you want or don't want and then living your life according to those principles, preferences and personal standards.

If you listen to the video in its entirety, you'll peep that, aside from not wanting to be a mommy, nappyheadedjojoba doesn't really have marriage on her menu either. That doesn't mean she's not open to dating, however. And yeah, I totally get that too. Just because you may not desire to be someone's life partner (or to make that kind of relationship official by signing on the dotted line of a marriage contract), that doesn't mean you don't want—or shouldn't have—companionship.

So, if after reading all of this, you are trying to not exclaim "YES! FINALLY!" while you're at your desk or you're walking in the grocery store, I just wanted to say, "I support you in wanting what you want". I also wanted to share a few quick tips on how to make this point of personal resolve a lot less of a taxing issue for those who might be more like "Huh?" than "OK" about you being all about dating but totally turned off to marriage.

No, You Are Not a Walking Contradiction

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A guy by the name of Jefferson Bethke once said, "Dating with no intent to marry is like going to the grocery store with no money. You either leave unhappy or take something that isn't yours." I'm pretty sure some of y'all have heard of Tony Gaskins. He once said, "If marriage isn't the goal, why are you dating? That's like working a job and saying you don't want benefits or a retirement plan." I get where both of these men are coming from; they are speaking about dating with the intention to marry. But there is a couple that I had a brief chat with a few weeks ago who are both widows (around in their 50s). They've been dating for a few years now. When I asked them if marriage was the goal, both of them looked at me like I cussed them out. "Absolutely not," the woman said laughing. "We love each other, but we've 'been there, done that'. We just like each other's company."

Because I personally think that a lot of people confuse dating and courting (dating is about getting to know someone; courtship is what happens when the intention is to head towards marriage), they tend to be like, "If you don't want to get married, what's the point of dating?" But dang. Folks can't check out a movie, enjoy dinner or mutually decide to hang out without wanting to jump a broom?

Humans are made for companionship. Not everyone wants it to remain strictly on a platonic level. That doesn't mean they want to become spouses, though. If you like to date because you enjoy meeting new people and making connections, there is nothing wrong with that and there is nothing wrong with you.

But because it can be perceived by some as leaning on the side of being counter-cultural, let's move on to the next point.

Be As Upfront As Possible, Right Out of the Gate

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A writer by the name of Donna Lynn Hope once said, "I don't make people comfortable; that's what couches are for." I like what she said because a lot of people are totally uncomfortable with someone's truth and boundaries. But you know what? If someone in your world is trying to impose how they choose to live their life on you, that says more about them than anything. So, don't be hesitant, apologetic or yes, uncomfortable about not wanting to get married. You not wanting to is a complete thought. Any more of an explanation that you provide is privileged information. And I'm telling you, life is teaching me more and more that when folks don't accept your initial statement on something, they are already showing signs of disrespecting your boundaries, whether they realize it or not.

That said, as far as your family members and friends go, if they are constantly bringing up marriage to you, be direct—"Y'all, I do not want to get married." When they start to look at you like you are crazy or like you are a stray puppy in need of a home, follow that up with, "It's by choice, not by circumstance." When the "but, but, buts" follow, it's OK to say, "You have your life and I have mine. This is how I choose to live mine." Then kindly direct them to "10 Words That'll Make You Totally Rethink The Word 'Single'". Hmph. Although there's no time to get into all of this today, I will say that some people can't fathom folks who choose to never marry because it was never modeled to them how dope that way of life can also be. Oh, and if any of these people are church-goin' ones, kindly remind them that two of the most influential people in the Bible were single—Christ and Paul. BAM!

As far as the dating world goes, something else that nappyheadedjojoba mentions is how, when she's dating online and sees that a man is looking for a future mother for his future children, she is quick to "swipe left". Good for her. You should do the same thing. And if you do make a connection with someone and it gets to first-date-status, feel free to bring up that marriage isn't something that you desire. And, as far as you can see, it's not up for negotiation. No sense in you and "him" getting all attached, only to realize that you both want totally different things.

Oh, and simply because I feel led to say this—make sure these guys out here don't assume that just because you don't want to be their wife that you want to be some casual play toy. There are a lot of possibilities in between "Nice to meet you" and "Will you marry me?" Standards don't only apply to women who are looking for a husband.

Some men think otherwise. If you feel like a guy that you just started seeing is one of them, school them as soon as possible.

Know What It Is That You Do Want. And Pursue That.

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There are a few people I know who don't want to get married but do like to date. Something that a couple of them admit that they need to work on is figuring out exactly what it is that they do want from their potentially-more-than-platonic relationships. You don't want to be a wife, but what do you desire? A casual dating companion? A boyfriend? Something somewhere in between that? Something a little more than both?

It's going to be hard for you to find someone who complements your lifestyle if you're not sure what kind of non-marital situation you prefer to be in. The sooner you know, the easier it will be to articulate that to your prospects.

And girl, don't worry—whatever it is, there are more than two handfuls of men (probably per county) who will have no problem with it. Because I'm sure that it is no newsflash that a lot of men don't want to get married either.

Dating with no desire for marriage, really only becomes problematic when the two people who are seeing each other desire something totally different. But again, even though I adore the concept and purpose of marriage, I don't think that individuals who don't want it should be "punished" by not being able to have more than just their homies to go out and spend time with. As long as two people are on the same page, it can still be a beautiful story.

To me, "cheers" to you for knowing what kind of relationship you want—and don't want; a lot of people can't say they are as clear as you are. And, don't feel you the least bit guilty for wanting something that doesn't result in walking down an aisle.

The way I see it, it's better to date without marriage in mind than to do something you don't want to do and end up in divorce court someday. Again, I counsel couples. Several people I work with realized on the backend that the reason why their marriage blew up is because they were better built for the single life. A lot of pain could've been spared if they knew about themselves what you already know—that marriage isn't for everyone, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Refuse to let anyone "single shame" you for not wanting what they expect of you (humans can be a real trip, can't they?). Be direct about your position. Shoot them the hyperlink to nappyheadedjojoba's video. And continue to go on about your life. Some people don't get the concept of "dating not to marry" because they've never seen it done and/or done well before. How about you be the one to show them?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Here Are The Dating Trends That You Need To Avoid At All Costs

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

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:

Voting Rights

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.

Student Debt

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.

Postal Banking

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.

Fair Housing

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.

Broadband Access

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.

Reparations

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.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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I can honestly say that I haven't used Cantu since I went natural back in 2016. It's not that I don't like the brand — let's be honest, Cantu is the holy grail brand that a lot of us probably started our natural hair journey with. It was and still is affordable, accessible, and effective haircare. I somewhat strayed away though because it's very easy to get caught up in trying different brands that some products honestly just get lost in the sea of haircare. Nevertheless, Cantu has dropped a few collections that I couldn't help but try. One of their most recent drops is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil line which works for all hair types but is made with 4C hair in mind.

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As the sun shines and the weather heats up, we're inching closer to a breakout summer like no other. With most of us excited to be outdoors with our loved ones, it's time to get into the looks we've been mentally preparing for the past year and a half sitting at home. While I've gotten accustomed to the basic black and heather grey combinations from the loungewear overload we experienced, those dark days are finally over and I'm ready to brighten up my summer wardrobe.

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