Dinner & A Movie Is So…“Meh.” Here Are Some Creative Takes On V-Day Dates.
Funny, because my editor here asked me the same thing. So, I’m taking all of this to be a sign from the universe that 2023 is the year when folks want to step a bit outside of the norm when it comes to celebrating the day when Cupid likes to make a special appearance.
Whether you’re in something new or something serious, you’re in the same town or miles apart, you’re sexually active or putting (physical) intimacy on ice for now — I hope I covered all of the bases below with these 13 date ideas so that this Valentine’s Day can be one of the best dates — and days — that you’ve ever had!
1. Play Your Own Version of a Dating Show on Zoom
Let’s start here. Have you ever noticed that when it comes to date ideas for Valentine’s Day, oftentimes they tend to be, well, a bit much if you’re in a dynamic where you and someone are just getting to know each other? You’re not close enough to do anything “deep” but it might be a little awkward to ignore Valentine’s Day altogether. If this is exactly where you are with someone, why not come up with your own dating show on Zoom?
For instance, it could be something like a guessing game where both of you come up with 10 or so questions about each other’s favorite things, pet peeves, and what makes you attracted to other people. If you both get a certain amount of answers right (the number is totally up to y’all), the prize can be a future fantasy date. If one of you does, the “loser” can agree to take the other out.
Listen, the rules are totally up to y’all. All I’m saying is this is a safe, fun, and creative way to learn more about each other, all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
2. Have a Sexless Sleepover
I already know that this one might seem “odd” but going along with the theme of easing into the process of taking things to another level, if you’ve already been out with someone a couple of times, you’re clear that you want to get to know each other better butyou’re not sure that you’re ready for sex just yet, ask them how they would feel about a sexless sleepover. You can each pick a favorite movie, order some of your favorite foods and just…hang out.
If it leads to sex, okay. However, most people would agree with me that sleeping with someone (just sleeping) can also be pretty intimate. Plus, it can help you to understand one another differently. If he’s down and acts like a complete gentleman the entire time (as he should), it can also help to develop a sense of trust that you might not have had prior to him being in your space (or you being in his) for a significant amount of time.
3. Enjoy a Winter or Indoor Picnic Together
Last month, CNN ran an article entitled, “Inflation is killing the first dinner date.” Honestly, I don’t have a problem with that because that whole “A man should spend hundreds of dollars on me on a first date” just oozes entitlement — and if you want a good man who ain’t a sucker, he already knows that. Besides, a picnic ranks higher in my book anyway because it typically requires more creativity and thoughtfulness in order to pull it off. Also, it can be easier to get some one-on-one time in too.
Since it’s still cold outside, why not have a winter picnic with grilled cheese, soups, and hot cocoa or, if it’s not a first date, an indoor picnic at one of your homes? You don’t need to make anything — you can order takeout and just focus on the ambiance — pitch a tent out of blankets, string some lights on it, and play some of your favorite music in the background. Laid-back romance can sometimes be the best kind.
4. Take a Day Trip to the Next City or Town
Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year, so this might be something that you can do either the weekend before or the weekend following it. Either way, turnaround day trips can be a lot of fun because you’re able to get off of the grid and get some much-needed quality time in.
For instance, I live in Nashville, so I’m roughly four hours away from Atlanta. Even if I didn’t feel like going that far, believe it or not, Chattanooga and Huntsville are on the come-up and they’re both somewhere around two hours away. The bonding during the drive and then randomly choosing a restaurant and maybe even spontaneously staying over at a hotel can bring the free-spiritedness out of you both — and that can be really sexy.
5. Come Up with Your Own “Pick a Card” or "Index Card" Challenge
At this point, who hasn’t seen at least 10 versions of the “Pick a Card” challenge that’s gone viral on various socials? Another idea is to have you and your partner each choose a version to surprise each other with.
The thing that I really like about this “game” is it doesn’t require a ton of money (if coins are tight right now); however, you do have to be proactive and also think about things that your partner would really enjoy doing whether they pick the left or right card. Anyway, just something else to think about if you want to do something that’s a little out of the norm this year.
6. Theme a Date Around Each Other’s Top Love Language
By now, who doesn’t know what the five love languages are? They’re words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. With that out of the way, even though it’s common for men to get women some flowers on V-Day, that doesn’t automatically or necessarily mean that it “scratched the itch” when it comes to making a woman feel truly seen and appreciated. And lawd, don’t even get me started on how many men get overlooked altogether (by the way, sex is not a present; both people benefit from the act. Do something tangible for him. He probably won’t see it coming and will profoundly appreciate your efforts).
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “15 Date Ideas Based On Your Love Language.” When you get a chance, check it out and also send it to the person you’re seeing. Suggest doing something along those lines this year. You might be surprised by what you both come up with — activities that will truly speak to the way that you like to feel appreciated and/or loved.
7. Create a Dating Pinterest Board (for the Year) Together
When it comes to character traits that I personally adore in a man, at the very top of the list is proactiveness. It speaks to him moving with intention when he makes plans ahead of time instead of being reactive because he knows that he dropped the ball.
Anyway, if you and your boo thang would prefer to be somewhat low-key this year, something that you could do is create a dating board on Pinterest. If you’re wondering how that works, it’s basically just like creating a vision board, only the focus is to plan out different things to do together every month until December rolls around. The cool thing about this option is it works if you’re sitting on the couch together or you’re in a long-distance relationship and you’re sharing a screen on Zoom.
8. Use Spotify Group Sessions Feature to Your Favor
Speaking of long-distance situations, if you and your partner are premium subscribers on Spotify, something else that you can do is have a music-listening party together online. Yep, you can either create a favorite music playlist separately or come up with one together and then share the music while you’re both in the same Spotify session.
Even though it won’t be the same thing as being together (I mean, nothing is), listening to the first song you danced to together, did “other stuff” together to, or hearing tunes that make the both of you think about the other person can be pretty romantic when you think about it. If you’ve never used this feature before, click here and here to learn how.
9. Engage in Online Video Game Stripping
Not too long ago, I was interviewing some men about the things that they like about going on dates and also the things that they kinda-sorta loathe. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that one of the things that they hate is being expected to damn near spend half of their rent money on one date; however, another thing that came up is they often end up doing things that only their partner truly enjoys.
Well, this idea most definitely has the fellas in mind. And before you knock video games, Google all of the benefits that come from playing them. They reduce stress. They stimulate creativity. They help with problem-solving skills. And that’s just for starters.
Anyway, if you and your man happen to be apart for Valentine’s Day, perhaps play a few rounds of online video game stripping. Play each other and whoever loses each round, they have to drop something. I can’t think of one guy who won’t jump for joy at the idea of doing this.
10. Cook Each Other’s Favorite Dish (Possibly Naked)
Something that can be a real form of quality time is cooking with your partner. The cool thing about this option is you can also do it whether you live in the same city or not. It can be a great way to get to know each other’s palates as you share some of your favorite recipes and approaches to food.
The twist here is, rather than making one of your own favorite dishes, you make your partner’s instead and vice versa (which also works well if you’re long-distance). If you want to make it sexy, do it in some lingerie or maybe — nothing on at all. #wink
11. Come Up with a Signature Cocktail. And Dessert.
When you think of a signature cocktail, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if wedding receptions are immediately what crosses your mind. But who said that you have to be married or that weddings are the only time when you and your boo thang can come up with a drink that represents the love that’s between the two of you?
If this idea is intriguing yet you have no idea where to begin, Vox has a cocktail test that you can take here and there are a few general instructions for how to make a signature cocktail here, here, and here.
While you’re at it, why not come up with a signature dessert as well? One approach that you can take for this is to discuss your three top favorite desserts each and then come up with a creative way to combine a few of ‘em. Could be a lot of fun!
12. Make a Sex Piñata
Now, when I say “make,” I’m not exactly being literal. LOL. I mean, if arts and crafts are totally your thing, my hat goes off to you. At the same time, there are places where you can purchase a piñata for a fairly decent price; some are even themed around Valentine’s Day like a red heart from Walmart (here) and this rose-colored one from Amazon (here).
Oh, and while you could just fill it with candy and call it a day, why not spice things up a bit and also add some travel-size bottles of lubrication, a couple of sex toys, some lace panties, and maybe even a handwritten note or two that are filled with sexual fantasies?
Each of you can put a blindfold on the other and whoever breaks the piñata first gets a sex-themed surprise — or reward, depending on how you look at it. #wink
13. Do a “Mind, Body and Spirit” Date (Well…Dates)
When you’re in a relationship with someone, your entire being is involved — mind, body, and spirit. So, let’s wrap this Valentine’s Day date ideas article up with the recommendation to break the date up into three segments. For the mind part, play a board game together, ask some never-before-asked questions, or vibe out together with some jazz and wine. For the body, do something exhilarating like ziplining, something relaxing like a yoga class, or schedule an intimate at-home couples massage. For the spirit, get into some orgasmic meditation, go shopping for some crystals, or commit to watching the sun set and rise the next morning together.
As you can see, there are tons of things to do outside of a restaurant or movie theater. Whether you go with one (or a couple) of these ideas or try something else, here’s to taking a more outside-of-the-box approach to Valentine’s Day this year.
Hey, you’re a unique couple, right? Let what you do exemplify that fact.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Three Influencers Show Off Their 2022 Holiday Hair Looks Using Their SheaMoisture Faves
This post is in partnership with SheaMoisture.
For Black women, there’s one compliment that will boost our confidence like none other: “Come through hair!” You know the vibe! Walking into a room with folks acknowledging that your hair is laid for the gawds, and the effort that it took to get it there, is a top five feeling. And with the holiday season just weeks away, you’ll be hearing that quite often. Between Thanksgiving gatherings with the family, Friendsgiving, company parties, and Christmas get-togethers, the opportunities to let your hair show up and show out aren’t too far away.
Apart from the holiday stuntin’, the end-of-year slow down is also the perfect opportunity to reevaluate the year your hair has had. Whether you kept it cute with protective braids, went big with blowouts, or let loose with textured twist-outs, this is the perfect time to give your hair the gift of TLC - tender lovin’ curls. Like the weather, our hair goes through seasons and has different needs depending on what we’ve put it through. Perhaps the transition into fall/winter has left your curls a bit parched and in need of some serious hydration. Or maybe your strands could use some restorative conditioning after taking it down from a convenient protective style. No matter what category you fall into, SheaMoisture has hundreds of ways that you can clean, treat and refresh your hair for a healthy shine that will bring you into the new year right. Bring your curls back to life with the nourishing and fragrant Coconut & Hibiscus line. Boosted with natural ingredients such as coconut oil, neem oil, carrot oil, and shea butter, this line is the antidote to reviving thirsty, dehydrated hair. Even better - with SheaMoisture’s custom quiz, you can get a hair analysis that will lead you to the right products for your hair needs. Say hello to sleek edges, and moisturized, stronger strands.
In need of a little hair-spiration? We got you covered! xoNecole and SheaMoisture have teamed up with three natural hair influencers to debut their holiday hair looks. Meet Ambrosia Malbrough, Jasmin Moses, and Daye Covington - beauty bawses who’ve created some incredible holiday looks that are stylish and easy to achieve. They also gave us the scoop on the SheaMoisture products they’re loving right now, as well as their 2023 hair goals.
Read on for more:
Daye Covington Kicks Her Twist Out Up A Notch With A Voluminous Updo
“I wanted to create a style that was super cute but also easy to pull together, so I went with a puff and tendril combo! It's a style that can be done on freshly washed curls or one that can be done on old hair. [It’s perfect for] when we're short for time but want to add a little razzle-dazzle to our hair before a special occasion. It's very versatile!”
“My favorite Shea Moisture product hand's down is the Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie! That is definitely a #TeamNaturalHair staple. Coconut is one of the ingredients that my hair favors. I also find that medium/light creams absorb best in my hair, so it's no surprise that I get amazing definition and moisture when I use the Curl Enhancing Smoothie. I love it for twist-outs, braid-outs, and rod set styles. Any product that can give me versatility when it comes to styling plus added moisture, that's what a staple is for me!”
“I would love to dye my hair back to blue! It was my favorite hair color, but unfortunately, my 9-5 now prohibits unnatural hair colors. I'm pushing it with this dark plum color, but I look forward to the day where I can transition into a new stage of life and go back to blue. In the meantime, I'm focusing on length retention. I've been doing well for 2022 and have had no major cuts so I'm hoping to stay consistent with my routine in 2023.”
Follow Daye on Instagram @dayelasoul
Ambrosia Malbrough Made Magic With Poppin’ And Defined Finger Coils
“[Finger coils] is a style that I don’t do often, it takes much more time than my usual wash and go. But that extra time put in makes it extra special and so worth it. The results are beautiful. It’s a style that offers many days of wear, too!”
“[Earlier this year] I did my 4th big chop. This time around hit different as a mom of two. I don’t always have the extra time on my hands to put into my hair, so the short ‘do has been convenient. I’ve realized that not all wash days are created equal even if I use the same products. However, my 4c coils are loving the products I'm using now”
“Since I’ve been having my hair dyed, I’m looking forward to trying Shea Moisture’s new Mongongo and Jojoba Oils High Porosity Moisture Replenish Hair Masque. I am currently growing my hair out and plan on having fun with more highlights and a new shape - possibly a shag cut in 2023!”
Follow Ambrosia on Instagram at @brosiaaa
Jasmin Moses Shows The Secrets To Her Jaw-Dropping Curly Ponytail
“I love doing a sleek ponytail with my baby hairs laid to a T! It helps so my hair isn't in the way when I am cooking and running errands, but it's still snatched to provoke anyone in the room to stop me to say 'girllll your hair is laid!'. I like to add a little razzle dazzle by adding my cute, naturally curly ponytail extensions. It elevates the look perfectly for the holidays.”
“It took me from my freshman year of college to now, almost seven whole years, to know what works for my hair. I love protective styles like wigs and braids because my hair thrives when I don't mess with it. When I leave my hair alone, it grows the best, so I love taking off my wig when I get home, oiling my scalp and putting my bonnet on for bed! When I do wear my natural hair out, what helps me maintain the health of my hair is to get in a rhythm with my hair. [I do] my wash days on Sunday, wear it in a wash n’ go all week, and repeat the next Sunday.”
“My 2023 hair goal is to get back to my 2021 hair length! Recently, a hairstyle damaged my hair causing me to lose 4 inches in length, which was not fun. So I’m working on getting [my hair] back to its original health and keep growing from there! I am also looking forward to trying the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie as a one-product wash n’ go! I hear such great things about it and I think it will give me hold while also keeping my hair lightweight and voluminous. I’m also excited about the Coconut & Hibiscus Defining Styling Gel and Edge Gel.”
Follow Jasmin on Instagram @slimreshae
Signs You Might Be A Little Bi-Curious & What To Do About It
I like big butts, and I can not lie! When Sir Mix-A lot made that song, he made it just for me. As a self-identifying heterosexual woman over the years, I have often wondered if my love for phat asses was normal. Maybe my infatuation with phat asses stems from the fact that I was not blessed to be able to become a card-carrying member of the big-ass brigade. My ass is flat. It doesn’t jiggle or bounce. It’s just there. So because of my lack thereof, I've learned to appreciate others. It’s something about the way a phat ass moves in a dress or how the cheeks dance around in a circle when twerking that makes me want to caress it. I often joke with my friends that I turn “gay” every time a phat ass walks past.
Surely I am not the only person who has wondered whether they were no longer "straight" because of their attraction to someone of the same gender. Sexuality is not black-and-white. It’s very fluid. While some of us are lucky enough to have it all figured out. Most of us, however, have had questions and had to do some introspection to understand romantic and sexual feelings towards more than one sex. Does my love for big juicy booties make me bi-curious, or am I just appreciative of the Lord’s work? To answer this question, we first need to understand what bi-curiosity is.
An individual who is bi-curious is someone who is curious about different genders but does not categorize themselves as bisexual. You may find this if you've only known you were sexually attracted to one gender in the past. You may then discover that your sexual orientation is questioned when you find yourself sexually attracted to someone of the same gender. People are highly complex creatures, which is why it’s not uncommon for people to have moments of doubt about their sexuality.
So is being bi-curious and bisexual one and the same? No. Being bi-curious has nothing to do with sexual or gender identity. It’s defined more as a period of exploring – a sort of experimental stage, if you will, whereas bisexual people are those who no longer doubt their attraction to more than one gender.
If you’re wondering if you’re bi-curious, there are several signs to look out for that could indicate this is the case. Here are some clues on if your attraction to that person means you are really bi-curious!
You kissed someone of the same gender and liked it.
In the words of the singer, Katy Perry, “I kissed a girl, and I liked it!” Kissing someone of the same gender and enjoying it could be a sign that you are bi-curious, especially if you didn’t want the kiss to stop and the kiss kinda turned you on.
You wonder what sex would be like with someone of the same gender.
People are often curious about various types of sexual activities, including sex with people of the same gender. But if you find yourself fantasizing or even watching porn that features same-gendered sex acts or same-sex relationships, you might be a little bi-curious.
You like seeing the same gender naked.
Appreciating the beauty of a naked body is one thing, but if you find your eyes lingering at body parts with thoughts of performing a sexual act or two, then that could be a telltale sign you might be bi-curious.
You’re physically attracted to the same gender.
Are you drawn to people of the same gender? Are you wanting to be around them all the time? Do you find yourself getting butterflies around them? Do you daydream about them? These can also be signs of attraction and could mean you are bi-curious.
Now that we’ve discussed some potential signs of bi-curiosity, let’s talk about what steps can be taken once those feelings have been acknowledged and explored further. First off, it’s important to remember that whatever path feels right for you is the right one—so don’t feel pressured into any particular decision or lifestyle just because it seems like the “right thing to do.”
That being said, there are still plenty of resources available online (and offline) for those looking to explore their sexuality further—including support groups specifically designed for LGBTQ+ individuals looking for guidance and advice from others who understand their situation firsthand.
Additionally, many cities offer bisexual meetups where people can connect in person—which can be invaluable when navigating any changes in sexual orientation or identity. Finally, talking about these issues with trusted friends or family members can also help provide needed perspective and clarity—and make sure there is someone who has your back through any changes that come up along the way.
Exploring one's sexuality is an incredibly personal journey—but it doesn't have to be done alone! If you think that you might be bi-curious or bisexual, take some time to reflect on your feelings and consider reaching out for additional support from friends or other resources like support groups or meetups in order to gain more insight into what path makes sense for your particular situation.
Remember, no matter what decisions you make regarding your sexuality moving forward, know that it's okay—you're allowed to explore without judgment or pressure.
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