Although I already know that some of y'all are gonna make a traditional Thanksgiving happen, come hell or highwater, pandemic or not, if you're someone who, whether it's due to social distancing preferences, your finances being on the fritz or both, would prefer to be way more low-key this year, a twist that you can put on Thanksgiving festivities, is to stay home with your boo and make a romantic day and night out of it.
It's pretty easy to pull off and doesn't have to cost you much money at all. In fact, you might just check out my 10 tips and then come to the conclusion that you should've been observing Thanksgiving, exactly in this fashion, all along.
1. Prepare the Meal Two Days Before
Out of all of the romantic tips that I offer in this article, this might be the best one. Thanks (yet no thanks) to how romantic movies typically present things, sometimes we fail to forget that romance can—and should—have a level of practicality to it.
That said, I don't know anyone who would be in the mood to be all lovey-dovey-mushy after spending all day long in the kitchen. That's why my first recommendation would be to prepare your Thanksgiving meal a couple of days before the holiday itself. That way, all you'll have to do on Thursday is heat up the food and set the table. Now how awesome is that?
2. Get Up Late and Have Breakfast in Bed
Another reason why I highly recommend preparing your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time is so you won't have to get up early on Thanksgiving Day. It takes roughly 13 minutes per pound for a turkey alone to bake, so if you wait until Thursday to cook, you are gonna have to get up early, just to prep your bird alone. But if your food is already basically ready, you and yours can sleep in, watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and have something that I recently happened upon that is a definite decadent palate game-changer! What do y'all know about Apple Pie Stuffed French Toast (recipe is here)? You know what they say—the smoother your day begins, the easier your day will go. Some extra zzz's, a late breakfast and perhaps even some morning sex can truly make this Thanksgiving one of the best yet!
3. Go All Out on the Table Décor
When it comes to having a romantic Thanksgiving dinner, if there's one area where I think you should definitely go all out, it's when it comes to how you decorate your table. Use a linen or lace tablecloth. Pull out your finest plates and wine glasses. How about a couple of linen napkins and a centerpiece for the table (even if it's just some roses in a fishbowl)? Basically, set your table to look like a five-star restaurant. Ambiance is key when you want to be as romantic as possible.
Speaking of ideas for your table, one I saw, that I thought was simply beautiful, featured some champagne flutes that were turned upside down and had a flower (without the stem) underneath the glass. Then, the base of each glass had a tealight candle on the top of it. Easy, inexpensive and very romantic too.
4. Use Nothing but Scented Soy Candles for Your Lighting
Did you know that there's a science behind why a lot of us find candlelight to be so wonderful? It's because the flame of the candle is able to reduce stress and put us into a meditative state. Plus, it's sexy as all get out. So, when you're out making your runs, stop by a local arts and crafts store (avoid Hobby Lobby if you can; they are big time Trump supporters) and get yourself a couple of packets of soy (soy lasts longer and burns cleaner) scented tea lights or even some taper candles (they're the long ones)—or both. Then, once everything is out on the table, light the candles and turn out all of the overhead lighting. Good luck making it through dinner without moving all of the dishes out of the way and getting on the table yourself with that kind of setup.
As far as scents that will totally put you in the romantic mood—rose, vanilla, sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, cinnamon and pumpkin are all great libido-boosting suggestions.
5. Play Some Romantic Music in the Background
Earlier this year, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "Before You Pull Out Your Playlist, This Is How Music Affects Your Sex Life". One of the things I mentioned is the fact that music has the ability to affect us in the same way that food and sex does. Well, since I'm hoping that you'll get plenty of food and coitus before Thanksgiving Day is over, find a music playlist that can serve as the soundtrack for what you have in mind. You can never go wrong with 90s R&B (like…ever) yet whatever you decide, just make sure that it's super soft, sexy and sensual.
6. Dress Way Up or WAY DOWN
I've been teasing my godchildren's mother because, sometimes when I'm doing a Google Hangout call with my babies, I notice that the youngest one (who is just about a year-and-a-half) oftentimes looks like she's dressed for church. Whenever I ask her mom what the heck is going on, she usually says something along the lines of, "Girl, this pandemic has kept her from being able to wear all of these clothes. She's gonna wear them somewhere."
2020 has caused us all to become more interested in sweatpants and tees than probably ever before. So, why not use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to dress to the nines? I mean going way past dressy casual; look like you're going to a ball—you in a formal dress with your man in his finest suit 'n all. Or, go to the total other extreme and wear barely nothing at all. A married male friend of mine once said to me that he prefers lingerie outside of sex. "When a woman only puts lingerie on right before sex, it feels like she's saying that's the only time we want to see her that way. When it's time to get it in, I want my wife to be naked. Lingerie just to lounge in is what's sexy AF to me." Enjoying dinner in a black lace teddy by candlelight with some Joe playing in the background? C'mon, y'all.
7. Serve Aphrodisiac Appetizers
Some foods are considered to be aphrodisiacs because they balance out our hormones and/or increase blood circulation to our nether regions and/or they help to keep us in a good mood. While turkey itself is actually a food that can turn you and yours on (due to the zinc that's in it and zinc increases our sex drive), whether you decide to go all out on the menu or you end up ordering some takeout Chinese or a pizza, consider enjoying some appetizers that have an aphrodisiac twist to 'em. The Roasted Root is a site that actually features a whopping 60 recipes that all feature aphrodisiac ingredients. You can check them out here.
8. Offer Up “Why I’m So Thankful for You” Toasts
As a 'words of affirmation' (and physical touch) person myself, I wasn't shocked in the least when I read that, according to science, receiving affirmations and affirming others are important because they motivate us, encourage us, and help us to overcome any negativity that may try and bring us down. Between politics and this pandemic, if anything tried to push us to our absolute breaking point, it was 2020, and if there was ever a time when you may have been more critical towards your partner, this year may have been it. Still, after all is said and done, with only a few more weeks before a new year, you're still together and that is something to truly celebrate.
One way to do that is for you both to think about the things that you are truly grateful for; not "in general" but when it comes to your partner specifically. What do you appreciate when it comes to their approach to the relationship? What do you adore about their personality? What are you attracted to on the physical and sexual tip? What have they done to make you a better person? Why do you still choose them, again and again? After sharing the answers to these kinds of questions, toast one another. Your relationship has withstood a season that other couples did not. BE. GRATEFUL.
9. Have a Romantic Movie Night
I know it's pretty traditional to watch football on Thanksgiving. Eh, I'm not sure how romantic that move is, though. An alternative can be to watch a romantic movie together instead; something that you both wanna watch (because, even as a woman, some of these Hallmark movies and rom-coms can be a bit…much). It could be a film that you both watched together on your first date, something that brings back feels of nostalgia for you both (Love Jones never gets old for me), or something that you've never seen before so that the two of you can create some new memories together. It's a great way to wind down, enjoy some pomegranate (which is an aphrodisiac) vodka, and cuddle up together.
10. Take Dessert into the Bedroom
I'm pretty sure there's a peach cobbler, red velvet cake or chocolate brownies somewhere in that kitchen, right? Put it all on a tray and take it into your bedroom, along with some spicy hot chocolate and a few of those candles that were on your table. Whether you eat your dessert off of the plate or each other, it's the perfect way to end a Thanksgiving Day that was full of romance—and then some.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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A wise woman once said, “Every year, the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future. This is known as Fashion Week…” This season, New York Fashion Week took on a different shape as it transitioned to its new Chelsea campus in the towering Starett Lehigh Building.
Designer Nia ThomasCourtesy
More importantly, a number of Black designers like House of Aama and Sergio Hudson took center stage, unveiling their fall/winter collections to a global audience. These talented individuals showcased a range of innovative and inspiring designs, celebrating Black culture and creativity. From bold prints and vibrant colors to intricate details and thoughtful silhouettes, their pieces reflected a unique blend of artistry and empowerment.
Silver & Riley Lola Banjo
Emerging designers also made their mark on and off the runways, showcasing their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. With a focus on sustainability and ethical fashion, these designers offered a glimpse into the future of Black design. From mommy-daughter duo Maui x Lolita challenging the concept of the modern woman to the bevy of Black designers on display at the Black in Fashion Council showrooms, it was a joy to see us taking up space.
Twins and designer duo BruceGlen
Feature image courtesy