If there’s one thing that I’m gonna do, it’s look up some stats. And when it comes to New Year’s Eve and how folks choose to celebrate it, I recently read that around 92 percent of Americans celebrate it, 70 percent at least make plans to stay up well past midnight, 54 percent drink (alcohol) and surprisingly, only 1 in 5 people actually go out to someplace like a bar or club. The reason why I’m sharing all of this (especially that last part) is if there’s a part of you that’s on the fence about staying at home and ringing in the new year by yourself because you secretly wonder if that’s wack or not…it’s not.
Aside from the fact that COVID is still lurking around, there is something about making the decision to stay in to pause, ponder, reflect as you welcome in a new season solo that is surprisingly…refreshing. Just make sure that you take things up a notch from sitting in some ratty old sleepwear, ordering a pizza and watching the rom-com that you’ve already seen a billion times before. Nah, if you’re gonna do New Year’s Eve right, try incorporating at least a handful of these 15 recommendations below.
1. Buy a Blank 2022 Calendar
I’ve shared before that something a husband I know did that I thought was super romantic was he gifted his wife with a calendar that already had dates planned, for the entire year, throughout it (ain’t nothin’ like a man who loves with proactiveness and intention, y’all!). I’ve actually adapted that and “remixed” it a bit. Something that I try and do is plan out things for me to do, for/with myself, on a calendar.
For you, it could be a class that you want to take, a road trip that you want to go on, a concert that you want to see — the list is endless. The point here is to not go into a new year with a “ho-hum” attitude; instead, approach it with excitement about all of the things that you want to do with yourself…for yourself. Things that are already scheduled out on your own 2022 calendar.
2. Get Some Comfy PJs
I’m assuming that a big part of the reason why you are opting to stay in this New Year’s Eve is because you want to take the low-key approach. So, why not get as comfortable as possible? At the same time, a new year should bring new things, so treat yourself to a pair of new pajamas or a really cute onesie. Just because you’re gonna be home, that doesn’t mean that you have to be looking a hot ass mess or that you shouldn’t want to embrace the evening as being special and significant — in your own special way.
3. Update Your Bedding
Personally, I think one of the best things about being home on New Year’s Eve when you’re single (with no kids) is you can go to bed as early as you want and then turn around and sleep in for as long as you want the following day. For me, my bed is already like Six Flags the remix; the only thing that makes it even better is when I change my bedding or when I get some new sheets.
No time like the present to ring in the new year with some flannel ones that will keep you extra toasty or bedding in a color that represents the energy that you want to vibe on for the next several months (check out “Understanding Color Psychology Will Sharpen Your Lens On Life”). What are you waiting for?
4. Partake in Some Patchouli Aromatherapy
I don’t know too many people who don’t strive to be centered and grounded individuals. Well, guess what essential oil actually taps into those very things? Yep, patchouli. It’s also great at soothing dry skin, relieving headaches, decreasing depression and anxiety, reducing cold-related symptoms, and relaxing you. So, whether you decide to mix it with a carrier oil and apply it to your body, sprinkle some on those new sheets that you’re about to buy, or put it into an infuser, the sweetly musky scent of this particular oil can help your health and well-being on a myriad of levels.
5. Write Yourself a “Year in Review” Letter. For the Future.
When you get a chance, also check out “Every Woman Should Write A Love Letter To Themselves”. Something that I think all of us should do, married or not, at least once in our lifetime, is handwrite a love letter — yes, to our own selves. The main reason why is because a lot of us keep feeling slighted by others not giving us the love that we think we deserve when we’re actually being pretty hypocritical for not doing it our damn selves.
Well, along these same lines, a year in review is something that I came up with once upon a time. It’s basically like writing a letter of intent when it comes to how you want the upcoming year to go. In other words, write the letter with the plan of reading it on New Year’s Eve 2022. In it, share all of the great things that you’ve accomplished and how you’ve learned to treat yourself better. This is helpful because one, it will hold you accountable throughout the year when it comes to what you wrote, and two, it can be a lot of fun to see the differences that 12 months can make as it relates to who the person of 2021 was when she wrote it vs. who the person of 2022 is who is actually reading it. Just make sure to put it somewhere you’ll remember to get it from when the time comes.
6. Design a Memories Jar
Along these same lines, go to someplace like Walmart, Target, or a local arts and crafts store and get yourself a mason jar along with some colored construction paper. Then cut the paper into thin strips for the purpose of writing different favorite moments and memories in 2022 that you can put into the jar. The cool thing about this kind of project is it can remind you to get excited about what’s to come. Plus, you can put the pieces into a balloon, come next NYE, pop it at midnight, and read about how great your year actually was!
7. Burn, Baby, BURN
Listen, something that I am all about, a billion times over, is a burning ceremony. Several years ago, someone and I held one in the parking lot of their apartment complex and it was absolutely bomb. We wrote down mistakes that we wanted to stop feeling bad about, relationships we wanted to let go of, habits that we wanted to break, and people we needed to forgive and/or release, then we set them on fire and let the pieces of paper turn into ashes.
While it’s merely a symbolic gesture, there’s something about watching those things go up in flames that is super freeing. (If it’s too cold to go outside to do this, you can always burn the pieces in your kitchen sink.)
8. Watch Teleparty with a Couple of Friends
If you want to spend most of your time alone but you know that you’ve got a couple of other friends who are celebrating NYE by themselves as well, it could be fun to take out a couple of hours to watch a movie with them virtually. One way to do that is to download the Teleparty app (go here). It makes it so much easier for everyone to watch the same programs and movies on Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, and HBO from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
9. Order Yourself a “2022” Gift
Yes, you need to be financially responsible. At the same time, you also need to celebrate yourself. So, with the extra coins that you saved by opting out of turning up this NYE, hop on one of your favorite sites and order something online. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Just make sure that, whatever it is, if there is an option to get it as a gift with a note attached, make sure to say “Happy 2022” with your name on it. It’s a token that will remind you to remain in the spirit of appreciating and honoring yourself all year long.
10. Have Your Favorite Meal Delivered to You
You’re probably gonna be hard-pressed to find a ton of eating options after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Still, who wants to cook (or do any clean-up from cooking) on that night? That said, this is just a gentle nudge to make sure to order something on 12/30 and warm it up the next day or to order food for NYE early in the day so that you can have it before the world shuts down. Me? I’m good for some lamb chops and nothing makes me happier than having them delivered to me from one of my favorite restaurants and then eating them at home while binging A Different World for the billionth time — New Year’s Eve or not.
11. Eat Something Green
Personally, I’m a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) observer which means that “my” new year has long come and gone. For those who are all about 12/31, though, a tradition from that culture that you can easily apply to your own is to eat foods that are green. The intent is, since green symbolizes things like fertility, prosperity, health, harmony, nature, growth, and wealth, why not “take in” that kind of energy via foods that are that very hue?
The lead pic is fried zucchini (recipe here). Some other green foods that fit the criteria include dark leafy greens, avocados, asparagus, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, Granny Smith apples, and Thompson seedless grapes (frozen grapes that come with a fruit dip are absolutely delicious!).
12. Consider a Going on a Virtual Tour (or to a Virtual Party)
Technology is a trip, ain’t it? If you’re not in the mood to watch a movie or listen to some music, something else that you can do is take a virtual tour. These days, there are sites that will help you to gain access to famous museums, zoos, and aquariums, international spots — you name it. As far as virtual NYE parties go, Time Out featured an article last year with some. Perhaps check back there the week of 12/31 to see if they’ve updated their list.
13. Soak in the Tub
Soaking in the tub can do everything from soothing aching muscles and reducing anxiety to balancing your hormones and improving your quality of sleep. And if ever there was a night that had “tub soak” written all over it, it’s New Year’s Eve. In fact, it’s one night when you can stay in there for literally as long as you want. Although National Bathtub Party Day happened at the top of this month, if you check out “Make 'National Bathtub Party Day' Your Favorite Day Of The Year”, you can get some tips on how to enjoy yourself so much that you might not even notice (or care) when the clock actually strikes midnight.
14. Toast Yourself
Lawd. How many times have I recommended toasting yourself within the copy for this site? That’s because it’s something that I do on a regular basis as a way to remind myself that I am truly worth celebrating! Listen, there are going to be champagne flutes clanking all over this planet at the stroke of midnight. Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the fun.
Whether it’s champagne or you decide to go a little off-script and have something like a chocolate martini; Boulevardier, Cider Sidecar; Vanilla Plum Shrub; Champagne Shirley Temple; New Year’s Sparkler; or something else that’s equally as festive, definitely make yourself a drink and verbally declare what needs to be affirmed about yourself. After surviving a year like 2021…chile, you’ve most definitely earned it.
15. Stay Off of Social Media and Your Phone
If a part of the reason why you’re staying home is to enjoy some peace and quiet, what sense does it make to be online all night looking at other people partying, kissing their boo, and getting engaged, only to get your emotions all stirred up? Sometimes, we send ourselves through stress (or triggers) that can easily be avoided by unplugging from mediums of communication with other people. Shoot, even when it comes to the phone if you know that your mom is going to call you to talk about how sad she thinks it is that you are going to be alone for NYE or a friend is going to do nothing but want you to be their impromptu therapist for the evening — it really is OK to let folks know beforehand that for NYE and New Year’s Day, you are going to go totally off of the grid, that you are fine and that things will resume on 12/2.
It’s OK to really want to devote NYE totally to yourself — as a way to release the past and prepare, in your own way, for the present. Happy (Almost) New Year, sis!
Featured image on Getty Images
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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. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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In January, it was announced that feminine-care brand The Honey Pot was acquired by Compass Diversified for $380 million. Black women expressed outrage with commentary on why Black founders “sell out” and stressed their concerns about The Honey Pot changing their ingredients, similar to their outrage when their products went from being listed as "Black-owned" to "Black-founded" in 2022.
As a founder myself, I understand the importance of scaling your business. Scaling leads to opportunity and expansion for your brand, something that The Honey Pot is doing to change the landscape of vaginal wellness for all women.
Years before the acquisition, I was a supporter of the brand. When I first learned of their products in 2017, I was eager to try them as a Black woman searching for Black-owned feminine products. At the time, I just embarked on a wellness journey, and that meant not just physical and emotional wellness, but vaginal wellness also. The dangers of the toxic chemicals often found in feminine care products weren’t discussed when I was growing up.
Now, we live in a world with organic pads, tampons, feminine wash, and even plant-based feminine care. Women are now realizing how sacred our menstruation time is and that the products that we use can either help or hurt us during that time of the month.
My vaginal wellness journey was rooted in a quest for healing. After a relationship where I experienced infidelity, I had issues with my pH levels for over a year. I’d never felt so disconnected from my body and ashamed that I didn’t know why; I was determined to figure out a way to heal from the inside out. After learning that the founder started The Honey Pot after suffering from bacterial vaginosis for eight months, I was intrigued. On the back of the feminine wash, she shared how her ancestors came to her in a dream and gifted her with a vision to heal herself and now others, including me.
My first two purchases from the brand were their organic pantyliners (a product many women who already supported the brand recommended) with mint and sensitive feminine wash. If I’m being honest, I didn’t like the liners; with already having a sensitive vagina, the mint didn’t feel as soothing as I thought it would, but I was sold on the sensitive feminine wash. Almost immediately, I saw a change in my pH balance and sensitivity, and from there, I was hooked.
From there, I started discussing the importance of plant-based care with my mother and my family members. My approach to the idea of vaginal wellness started gentle, and then I started asking and not telling, removing the products that we’d all used previously out of the homes of my mother, godsister, and close friends, and when they’d call and ask me, “What happened to my other products?” I’d remind them of the importance of giving our vaginas the care they deserve. Eventually, they caught on and became supporters themselves, and now when I visit my mother, she has The Honey Pot products in her bathroom that I’ve never even tried myself.
Recently, I was running low on my feminine products, and as I placed an order to have what I needed to be delivered, to my surprise, I discovered The Honey Pot had expanded their product line quite a bit and now had not only intimacy products but also additional feminine washes and supplements that I now use daily.
Check out some of the newest additions to their product line below:
Does your pH feel off? Reduce odor and help maintain a healthy vaginal pH range with this 7-Day Boric Acid & Herbs Suppositories from The Honey Pot.
If you feel an itch, consider The Honey Pot Relief Ritual, which includes Anti-Itch Soothing Wipes that provide immediate, soothing relief using plant-derived ingredients and medicinal compounds without compromising your vaginal ecosystem, while their Soothing Wash and Soothing Lavender Vulva creams are ultra-mild solutions for vulvar itching and discomfort.
Swap out your daily probiotic with this probiotic with urinary support formulated with 4-Lacto strains and 10 billion CFUs per capsule that support good bacteria, along with cranberry and pomegranate for optimal urinary tract support.
Goodbye cranberry juice, hello supplements. With its science-backed, clinically-tested ingredients, bad bacteria will be kept at bay. And the fact that you can pair this daily staple with The Honey Pot wipes and washes? Your urinary tract will thank you later.
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