No Pants Blog

Bras Off to Breast Cancer Awareness

In honor of National No Bra Day, a day dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness and celebrating strong women, we are ditching our bras and reminding you to check on your girls by learning how to properly self-examine at home. We know we aren't the only ones with a 12 step...

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In honor of National No Bra Day, a day dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness and celebrating strong women, we are ditching our bras and reminding you to check on your girls by learning how to properly self-examine at home.

We know we aren't the only ones with a 12 step morning routine, so what's one more? We're adding in a regular self breast exam right after cleansing and moisturizing.

Don't know what you're doing? You're not the only one, we put together some tips + tricks from what we've learned and we also chatted with Melinda Williams RN, @thernceo, #bootaybabe and breast cancer survivor to fact check our how-to and answer some questions around self breast checks.


What age should I start self-examining at home?

You’re never too young to get started and if you haven’t yet, start now! It’s recommended that you start your breast exams at 21 years old. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with breast cancer, it is recommended that you begin clinical exams ten years prior to the age at which they were diagnosed. 


How often should I be doing it?

Monthly! You don't have to do it every day but at least do it once a month. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar for the same day every month so you don't forget! Make sure it's three days before or three days after your menstrual cycle.


What am I looking/feeling for?

Anything that you think shouldn't be there - abnormal lumps, painful areas with no explanation, discharge... don't just check your breasts! Be sure to check for lumps under your arms too. This is commonly missed in self-exams. Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, even our own sometimes, but only larger than normal discrepancies with unusual dimpling are ones to look out for.


How long does a self exam take and does it matter what time of day I do it?

Just a few minutes! There is no reason you can't fit it into your day once a month! It's best to do it first thing in the morning in front of a mirror or immediately after you shower (or in the shower). Do it while your coffee brews or while your face mask soaks in. You'll definitely be able to find somewhere to fit it in to your morning routine.


How to do a proper breast self-exam at home in 5 quick + easy steps:

  • Stand with your arms at your sides and examine your breasts in the mirror. Raise your arms and do the same. Again, you're looking for any dimpling, changes in size, visible lumps or abnormalities.
  • With the three middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast. Be sure to do the same with the other side! Feel anything unusual? Once you start doing these regularly, you'll notice what's supposed to be there and recognize if something new appears.
  • Gently squeeze each nipple looking for any discharge.
  • Stand or sit to examine and feel your underarms. This step is commonly missed but breast tissue is also in the underarm area!
  • Remember, no question or concern is 'stupid' or 'dumb'. You know your body best and if something seems unusual, consult a doctor to be checked out and at the least set your mind to ease.

Loving Yourself (Down To Your Undies)

We all want the same love for ourselves that we are so able to give to others. Why is it so freaking hard?! Well, let’s start by getting down to the basics, and stripping down to our undies. ;)  One of the most relatable things us babes can struggle with...

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We all want the same love for ourselves that we are so able to give to others. Why is it so freaking hard?! Well, let’s start by getting down to the basics, and stripping down to our undies. ;) 

One of the most relatable things us babes can struggle with (let me know if you’re with me) is not knowing how to give our bodies the love it deserves. Learning to love you is not a 10 step routine like your nightly skincare... it is truly a journey of learning, experiencing, expressing gratitude and accepting that it is OK to be you in YOUR body. It is more than ok to fully be you, in full form. Mind AND body; in your best outfit or your undies (AKA your best outfit).

 We as humans need to normalize our beautiful minds, emotions, physicality; starting with our bodies. We need to normalize those beautiful lines, bumps, and grooves, as they are a sign of a ‘lived in’ body. They’re called ‘beauty marks’ for a reason. Those stretch marks tell a story; your story in particular. We are all unique individuals because no two bodies are the same. Embrace that uniqueness! There is, and will be, only one of you on this beautiful earth. 

Moving right along to our emotions. That emotional roller coaster you went on last week? That’s also normal. We all experience emotions, we are all human. Those emotions you experience shape you into the strong as hell person that you are today! Don’t forget to let those emotions come and go. Let yourself feel them, and then when you are ready, let them go. They build our minds to become stronger (even the ones we think of as negative; ex. anger, sadness, stress). 

Our body and mind is what keeps us here. They nourish us when we nourish them. So let’s nourish the heck out of them! They deserve it so much. The mind is there for us to experience life with thoughts that come and go. Our mind holds our values, which includes the value of yourself. And girl, you are valuable! If we take care of our mind by nourishing it with positive thoughts, we will be gifted with positivity in return. Not only should we cherish our mind & body, but thank them for being our literal back bone since the beginning.   

Here’s a little daily exercise to try: 

  1. Find a cozy and peaceful spot in your home (in front of a mirror is best)
  2. Slip into your favorite BB matching set
  3. Grab your journal or anything to write on
  4. Make a list of things you love about you. And I’m talking about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Go into as much or as little detail as you possibly want. Learn to fall more in love with the things that you love about you. 
  5. Now make a list of things you want to love more; maybe something you haven’t even thought you could love about you. Work on loving those things more and more every single day, and nurturing those loving thoughts.

Like my beautiful friend Nina always says ‘you cannot hate yourself into a better place.’ And it’s true. You can only love yourself into a better place. Now that doesn’t mean there won’t be hard AF times along the journey, but don’t hate yourself for those hard times, because they in the end beautifully shape us into who we are.

You are YOU and no one can ever take that away; ever. Love THAT. Remember that loving you starts with every part of your beautiful being; your body, mind, & emotions. Start out small, slip on those undies and build that empire of loving thoughts! You got this!  

Swipe Right: Lessons Learned in Modern Dating

First of all, I’d like to preface this article by letting you know a little bit about me. I am 29 years old, single, with a career and a dog. I would’ve liked to say by the time I was reaching my 30’s, I would’ve been married, with two kids,...

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First of all, I’d like to preface this article by letting you know a little bit about me. I am 29 years old, single, with a career and a dog. I would’ve liked to say by the time I was reaching my 30’s, I would’ve been married, with two kids, and a white-picket fence. But, that’s not the way things worked out. Instead, I am nearing 30, my dog is my child, and I don’t even have a yard to put a fence around. To paint even more of a picture for you; I am not a perfect person whose got it all figured out. To be honest, I’m typing this in sweatpants (and my BB undies of course), I can’t remember the last time I brushed my hair, and I have a pimple patch on my chimple (aka a giant pimple on my chin) because the stress of a pandemic is a lot. The stress of trying to date in a pandemic, is a lot a lot.  

Anywho, over the past few years, I have tried dating in every which way. In the times we’re living in, it has become super hard to meet anyone organically. And in a pandemic, in which everyone is required to stay 6-feet apart, chances are no one will approach you at a bar (if the bar is even open). So, online dating it is! I have proudly been a member of every dating app. I’ve swiped left, I’ve swiped right, and I’ve shaken my phone to reverse my decisions in times of desperation. I’ve gone on blind dates. I’ve even auditioned for multiple (yes, you heard me correctly) dating shows, in order to find love. Through these experiences I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’d like to share my insight with you, in the hopes that at least one person reading this can relate!

I’m just going to come out and state the obvious; modern dating is HARD. I have been on so many dating sites and apps, my eyes are blurry and my thumb hurts. But I have put in the work for the greater good, and have brainstormed a list of my top 3 favorites:

  • HINGE I love this app. Along with the others, you swipe right or left (pending whether you are interested in the guy/gal or not. Hinge allows you to develop a pretty detailed profile regarding education, religion, career, hometown, current location etc. But it also allows you to give more insight regarding your personality. For example, you can write two truths and a lie. I find this so intriguing! So, 9 times out of 10, I will message a guy solely because I just NEED to know. For me, it provides great conversation starters, which is helpful when trying to meet  and fall in love with a complete stranger.
  • BUMBLE This one is a little different than most apps. You still swipe right or left to your liking, but the cool thing about this one is once a connection is made (you have both mutually swiped into the “like” zone), the GIRL has complete control as to whether the conversation continues. The girl has 24hrs to message the guy back before the connection is lost (ie: the match disappears into the abyss and the guy gets bitter). I think this is fun! The pressure may be too much for some people, but I think it also applies some motivation for women who may usually be too timid to start the conversation. If they are interested enough, they will have to speak up! Adds a little fire under your butt at least. 
  • MATCH this site is highly advertised, and I do like it! I can’t say that its my absolute favorite, but I do feel like you may get more serious contenders here. It is an app that you have to pay for, and when money is involved, people get a little more serious. But I did find that the pool of men was definitely on a smaller scale than the others. But worth a try for sure!

Things to keep in mind before the date..

  1. EAT! When you go on a first date, don’t forget to eat! If you’re anything like me, you will most likely order a drink (or 3) at dinner to calm the nerves. That is in addition to the pre-date glass of wine you had at home while getting ready. The last thing you want to do is get too drunk to even remember what the guy looked like. So, eating is crucial. For some reason, I tend to choose sushi as a first date meal because in my mind it seems less messy than a burger or spaghetti. But, I always regret it when I can barely use chopsticks and I try to fit a whole roll in my mouth at once. Not the cutest. But hey, do you girl. I don’t care what you eat, just make sure you do.

  2. WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT. Of course, you want to impress the guy (or gal) but most importantly, you want to be comfortable. If you feel good about how you look, you will increase your confidence, and your date won’t even notice your outfit because you will be glowing regardless. So, wear the dress, wear those heels, wear that lipstick you’ve been dying to try. Most importantly - make sure you’re wearing your fave BB set underneath it all and get on with your bad self. But trust me, your confidence will be more attractive than your outfit label, I promise.

  3. BE PRESENT. I don’t know about you, but I know I tend to overthink, literally EVERYTHING. I think about whether my hair has poofed from humidity, whether I have something in my teeth, am I talking too much, am I talking too little, am I asking enough questions, am I drinking too much, am I rambling (probably could answer that one for ya)…I could go on and on (#rambling). Sometimes, my thoughts are so loud, that I can’t even hear my date. I am so focused on what might happen next that I forget to live in the moment. I used to spend the entire first date being so nervous and consumed with my thoughts, that by the end of the date, my primary feeling was that of relief rather than excitement, and I still couldn’t even tell you the last name of the guy I was out with (but we really only need to know that for the instagram stalk, right?). Nonetheless, it is so important to be present on a date. Try not to worry so much about what might happen, and focus on what is happening. Listen to what your date is saying. Observe his actions (is he laughing at your jokes, is he checking his phone). All of these things are important. But it is so crucial to pay attention and really take it all in to gauge how you really feel about the person. PS - please put your phones away.

  4. BE HONEST. I cannot stress this enough. It is so important to be honest with your date, and yourself, about what you’re truly looking for. If you are looking to get married and have two kids tomorrow, tell your date that. Yes, that may be scary for most people to hear. But if it’s what you want, you have to be honest. If it scares the guy, then they aren’t right for you. Laying your intentions out on the table is important. If you are not looking for the same things, it will not work. I promise you that. I have been in many situations in which the guy wasn’t ready for something serious, and I thought maybe I could be the game-changer. But unfortunately, life is (*typically) not a Hallmark movie. This has been one of the toughest pills for me to swallow, but if a guy tells you he is not ready for a relationship right now, BELIEVE HIM. You are too amazing to waste your time hoping for someone to change.

Things to keep in mind after the date…

  1. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A “BAD TEXTER”.  Let me say it again for the people in the back. There is no such thing as a “bad texter”. It takes less than two seconds to respond to a text. If a guy wants to call (or text) you, he will. If he doesn’t, he won’t. It’s really as simple as it sounds. Don’t believe me? The next time you are out for dinner (whenever the world opens up again), I want you to take a look around. I guarantee that 95% of people in that restaurant will either be looking at their phone in hand, have their phone in their back pocket, or have their phone sitting directly next to them on the table. You honestly believe that the guy you are dating “didn’t see your text” for days? Trust me, I have come up with many scenarios and justifications as to why he hasn’t texted me back too, but let’s get serious. 

    Hey sis, are you sitting down? I’m about to drop some hard truth.
    1. His phone was not dead for days (everyone has a charger and no one will go that long without finding one)
    2. His phone was not broken are dropped in a toilet (most likely)
    3. He did not lose your number
    4. If he says he didn’t see your texts, and yet is posting on Instagram or Snapchat.. move the F%$# on. You deserve better.

  2. A DEALBREAKER IS CALLED A “DEALBREAKER” FOR A REASON. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of dating and the hope of what might be developing, that we lose sight of what we want or need. Even though the guy may look like Michael B Jordan (insert heart-eye emoji here), you need to make sure you are keeping sight of your standards. Now of course, I am not referring to physical attributes. I am a firm believer, that it is so important to date outside of your comfort zone when it comes to physical type. You may typically date men that are 6’2” and your soulmate may be 5’7”. However, it is important to always keep sight of your fundamental beliefs. If the guy tells you he never wants to have kids, and you do, then it most likely won’t work out. You can’t expect your partner to change their beliefs if you won’t either. These things have to go both ways. If it’s something your partner can be flexible with, then you must be open to being flexible too. If you or your partner won’t budge, then it’s a dealbreaker. 

  3. YOU SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO PROVE YOUR WORTH TO ANYONE. Unfortunately, I have found myself in this situation more times than I’d like to admit. I will be so into a guy that I feel like I need to make him understand how great I am. I will put in so much effort to show him that I am thoughtful enough, cool enough, funny enough, to be with him. Then I take a step back and realize, what the heck am I doing!? Why am I fighting for his attention? Why am I working so hard to show this guy that I am worth his time? We’re all guilty of this. Yet, we should never have to PROVE ourselves to anyone.  If the person you are dating does not know how great you are, using their own observations, then they are not even worth one more second of your time. What you really should be thinking about is if HE is good enough for YOU. If he ever makes you question yourself, then the answer is hard NO.

  4. DON’T FORGET TO MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a new relationship. It’s easy to get consumed in the hope and the endless possibilities you create in your mind. But what happens if it doesn’t work out? If you’re like me, you probably spend so many minutes of your day thinking about what might become of this new guy; maybe you can go to that new restaurant opening downtown, maybe you can binge watch your favorite show together, maybe you can cook dinner for him (haha who am I kidding, I don’t cook). Regardless, I spend so much time thinking about the future, that if/when things don’t work out, I feel lost. I feel like I completely lose sight of what made me happy before I met this guy. That being said, it is so important to stay grounded and find things to focus on other than the guy. So, watch that show, go to that restaurant if you want. You may want the guy, but you don’t need the guy.  If you like to read, keep reading! If you like to paint, keep painting! If you like to dance around your apt in your BB undies, keep dancing! Make sure you continue to find happiness within yourself while looking for someone to share it with. That may sound cliché, but it’s unbelievably true.

If you’ve stuck around long enough to get to the end of my rant, I want to say thank you for listening. Dating should be fun! If it becomes a chore, take a break. Trust the process. Trust the timing of your life. Everything will fall into place as it’s meant to. So, keep on swiping, give that guy a chance, put on those heels that have been collecting dust in your closet, or spend the night in with a facemask and a glass of wine. Whatever it is you chose, do what makes you happy.

Keeping It Sexy In Quarantine

Girl! What a whirlwind of a few months it’s been. Am I right? I feel like the world came to a literal halt due to COVID and everything that we knew kind of just disappeared. Since most of us have been in quarantine, to some level, over the last couple...

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Girl! What a whirlwind of a few months it’s been. Am I right? I feel like the world came to a literal halt due to COVID and everything that we knew kind of just disappeared. Since most of us have been in quarantine, to some level, over the last couple of months it can seem almost impossible to stay afloat in all of life’s pieces. UGH. One thing you cannot lose sight of is keeping the fire in your relationship. I get it- you’re surrounded by your partner literally 24/7, fighting over WFH space, laundry, hand sanitizer and random other shit that just seems to get in the way, but you love them through it. (I promise, you do!) You may be thinking, how TF do I keep it hot in the bedroom so that our sex life is killing it, right? It can seem hard to figure out, but it’s not impossible. 

 

Keep Things Spontaneous 

Just because you are stuck in the house together, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep it fun and spontaneous. Try these simple, but sexy tips to keep things interesting.

 

  •     Send sexy texts from the next room while your boo is on a Zoom call with his team from work. Yeah, they may see them check their phone, but they won’t know what those texts say. Say something like, “Meet me in the bedroom at 2PM.” Once they show up make sure you’re in your best BB set and ready for some fun. 

Think texts like:

  • “What’s the hottest thing I can do for you after this call?”
  • “Come check out my new BootayBag ASAP”
  • “Just wanted to text you to tell you that I am not wearing much of anything right now...thinking about you…”

  •     No zoom calls to interrupt? How about hopping in the shower with them after a nice workout together? No notice, full surprise and 100% steamy. Yes please. Find a perfect at-home workout on BB’s IGTV here

  •     Been there, done that? Cook dinner naked. I mean, why not? (unless you have kids or others in the house). And by naked, we mean nothing but your BB undies, babe. ;) Check out some of our favorite healthy recipes that won’t break the bank here. 

  •     Plan an impromptu date night in the house. Set the mood by dressing up in your hottest outfit, light candles and make (or order, no judgment) your partner their favorite dish. Put away the phones, turn off any distractions and indulge in some deep conversation. Once dinner is done, be the dessert they desire. Strip down to your even hotter outfit ;) What matching set are you wearing? 

  •     Get outside! Find new adventures to have together that you didn’t have time for before. Yes, there are a ton of businesses still closed, but there are plenty of outdoor locations that you can enjoy together. Take in a local hiking spot and picnic at the top of the mountain or end of your trail. Doing new things together can light a dim spark to a full fire again in no time.

Favorite adventures we’re taking:

  • Picnic in the park
  • Waterside stroll @ sunset 
  • Hike a nearby mountain to take in the sunrise
  • Plan a pool session together
  • Order out and have a “in car” date sharing food from your favorite local spot

 

Listen, we have been dealing with some really insane times. No one could have guessed this or planned for this or experienced it in their wildest dreams, right? It’s hard. It’s frustrating. It’s draining and annoying AF, but not impossible to get through. These trying times as a world can blossom into the most intimate as a couple if you handle things the right way. Communication and love will get you through any roadblocks you may be having. If you feel like you are struggling with intimacy issues right now, you’re not alone. Be open with your partner about it and try some of these fun, light-hearted ideas to get you back on track and satisfied. 

My Thighs Don't Lie

Picture this: You just got out of the shower, squeaky clean, feeling fresh as hell. Then you stop and look in the mirror. Suddenly, it no longer feels like you just hit the reset button. Your brain immediately goes to a blemish on your cheek, a soft roll on your...

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Picture this: You just got out of the shower, squeaky clean, feeling fresh as hell. Then you stop and look in the mirror. Suddenly, it no longer feels like you just hit the reset button. Your brain immediately goes to a blemish on your cheek, a soft roll on your belly, a saggy breast. You just took care of your body’s physical needs, but you’re no longer taking care of it. Now it’s the enemy. 

Ever been asked to share your favorite body part or feature? What did you say?

“My eyebrows” is my go-to, safe answer. Why? I’ve always had wide hips. I’ve never had a flat stomach. If my body and I were Facebook officially, our relationship status would be “It’s Complicated.” I’d call us frenemies. 

I want to like her, I really do. Sometimes she just really grinds my gears. And all of those “why” questions start to creep in…


“Why aren’t you thin like her?”

“Why can’t you have perky boobs like her?”

“Why don’t you have beautiful, full, flowing hair like her?”


I look myself up and down. I stop at my eyebrows. Yes, they have a beautiful natural arch. But I am more than my eyebrows. So I keep looking. And I stop at my thighs. My thighs. If I could go back to that high school health class, I’d whisper in my 14-year-old ear:

“Tell them about your thighs.”

I didn’t realize it until someone sent me a DM on Instagram commenting on how strong they thought my thighs looked. I paused. As a fitness instructor, I naturally have thick thighs. They’re more toned than my abs ever will be. My thighs hold the power. They are symbolic of my work, of how I can hop on a bike nine times a week and help move people to live healthier lives, lives where they are motivated to grow to be better versions of themselves. 

My thighs represent a journey, from hating my body completely to finding moments of acceptance, even of love. 

Take a second to think about what’s between your thighs while we’re at it. The source of human life is there. Your thighs protect the future of the world. How freaking cool is that?

But anyway, back to this conversation about our relationship with our bodies. In my opinion, scrolling is the enabler of destructive self-talk. Social media is a highlight reel. It’s not always real. We always want to live like someone else, succeed like someone else, look like someone else. Remember: It’s reel versus real.

But here’s what I’ve learned from my thighs: We all share this struggle. For as many people that I say I want to look like or even just steal certain features of, there’s the same number of people who are saying the same about me. I think it’s time to change that narrative. Throw jealousy and longing out the window. 

Instead, we need to step into our power.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: MY THIGHS HOLD THE POWER. So take a good, long look at yourself. Where in your body are you holding your power? Think about the journey that part of your body has been on; think about how it’s brought you to where you are right now, staring into the mirror. 

Be proud of its path. Be thankful for its growth.

Oh, and make sure you moisturize. Especially between the thighs. 


...and if moisturizing isn’t enough and you need a bit more of a push, here are some resources that will help you transform that negative self-talk into self-love.


READS:

  • A Life Full of Glitter by Anna O’Brien
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle
  • Unf*ck Your Brain by Faith G. Harper
  • Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas
  • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

IG ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW:

  • @lizwearswhat
  • @spinandtanic
  • @glitterandlazers
  • @shexshines
  • @sophie_lily
  • @cheyennegilstudios
  • @emmakbarrera

THINGS TO DO:

  • Write 3 “I am…” statements every day. 
  • Write an affirmation on your mirror each week.
  • Have a 30-second dance party! (Meredith and Christina were really onto something!)

Life A.Q. (After Quarantine)

What a crazy world we are living in right now. I seriously still can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that we are actually living through this time. We, as millennials, are living through something that I only thought I’d ever read about in history class (don’t be...

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What a crazy world we are living in right now. I seriously still can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that we are actually living through this time. We, as millennials, are living through something that I only thought I’d ever read about in history class (don’t be fooled, I never actually did that reading). Well, news flash, it’s happening here and now, right before our thought to be filtered view, and no I’m not just talking about the murder hornets (but seriously wtf were those?). 

Anyways, as we begin this ‘transitional’ period that much the nation is right now, there are so many precautions to take, questions to ask, and weird silence and motions when trying to figure out if you should get in the elevator with someone. 

From a recent poll we shared on our Instagram Stories, we learned that most of you babes don’t actually hate quarantine and are still staying at home (78% of you to be exact) even though your city/state has reopened. Those of you who are going out (and hopefully wearing a mask) are seeing family over friends and really only dining outdoors. For those leaving the house, major kudos. I just have one question.. What are you wearing?

What I think I look like at my first public outing post quarantine:

Reality:

Ok but… 1. These sweatpants are all that fit me right now and 2. The public is lucky that I am even wearing pants. I mean seriously… after 4 months where ‘getting ready for work’ meant wearing the same BB matching set and sweatshirt as the day before how can one be expected to wear such a thing as pants again? Let alone ones that aren’t a unisex fit with an elastic waistband. My jeans for sure have to have imagined me dead by now. 

As some of us maneuver how to safely leave quarantine and try and get back to a somewhat normal routine outside of the walls of their home, and others choose to stay in, snack every hour, and only talk to their dog... just remember that we are all figuring out how to live this ‘new normal’ together.

So what’s next? If only we had all the answers. We do, however, have some tips for how you can safely transition into the outside world after quarantine.

Tips for Life A.Q.:

  • Wear a mask. You can save lives and hide your RBF, win-win. We are loving these reusable (and fashionable) ones from Strut-This. Plus, you can buy one and donate one.
  • Wash your hands. I can’t believe it took a nationwide pandemic for people to actually have good hygiene. Don’t have 20 seconds? We know you’re busy. Grab this Squeaky Clean hand sanitizer from Megababe. It kills 99.9% of germs, close enough right? It’s also plant-based and free of all that crap you don’t want in your skincare products.
  • Be cautious, but not afraid. Don’t be afraid to live your life, just be smart! The Mayoclinic is sharing some pretty standard safety tips for how to ease back in to going out while still being cautious. 
  • Support small businesses. If you’re going to dine outside, don’t do it at Chili’s. If you don’t already know your local mom + pop dining establishments, use websites like Thrillist or OpenTable to discover small private dining in your area. 
  • Stay in touch. Even as you begin to see some friends + family in person, continue the snail mail and virtual happy hours you started in quarantine because why not? We’re loving these stationary sets from Rifle Paper Co. Want to make it even easier? There’s an app for that. Download Ink or TouchNote to your phone and send physical cards instantly from any smart device. 
  • Be kind. Remember that everyone is figuring this shit out as they go and literally no one knows wtf they’re doing. 
  •  

    And remember, you can still be ‘100% that bitch’ at home in sweatpants. ;)

     

    6 Tips for a Sweet + Sexy Solo Date Night

    We all know that self-care is a huge priority for women these days.  Even in quarantine, we’re running around being our badass selves, working from home, checking in on our friends + family, pumping out loaves of banana bread, attempting virtual workouts with wine bottle dumbbells, and somehow finding the...

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    We all know that self-care is a huge priority for women these days.  Even in quarantine, we’re running around being our badass selves, working from home, checking in on our friends + family, pumping out loaves of banana bread, attempting virtual workouts with wine bottle dumbbells, and somehow finding the energy at the end of the day to get through our 10-step skincare routine without passing out (OH MY GOD).  We’re BUSY, and that is certainly something to be proud of.  But just as much as we need to tick off those to-do items and daily goals, we also need time to slow down, listen to our bodies, and treat ourselves to a much-needed night off.  

    The next time you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or burnt out (which is totally normal), rather than booking an expensive massage or facial, try planning a cute date night for yourself!  Regardless of whether you’re in a long-term relationship or living your best single life, you deserve a special evening that is devoted entirely to you and your needs, planned by the person who knows you best.  You have full reign to go crazy with your self-inspired planning, but, if you need a few ideas to spark your imagination, check out my solo date night staples below, starting with something sweet, and ending with something sexy.  Get it, girl.

     

    Treat Yourself (Literally)

    What killer date doesn’t involve dinner and nomz?!  This is the perfect opportunity to grab that Eataly pizza-making kit you’ve had your eye on, or to finally test out Chrissy Teigen’s to-die-for, garlicky mac and cheese.  And guess what?  If it tastes like shit, the only guest you have to please is yourself; hopefully you can laugh it off and dig into that leftover banana bread.  As long as your tummy is 100% satisfied, mission accomplished (we’ll get to the other kind of satisfaction later).  As an added bonus, I always make sure I’m prepared with ALL THE SNACKS for a post-dinner treat.  Sometimes (don’t judge me), I’ll just eat straight-up brie cheese on a baguette because that makes me feel cool and French and sophisticated.  If you’re a sweet vs. savory gal, try some homemade chocolate-covered strawberries or pick up a box of macarons for an aesthetically pleasing dessert.  Oui, queen!


    Dress Up...Or Down 

    Just as you would for any other date, it’s time to pick an outfit that makes you feel like a freakin’ goddess.  Whether that’s a sexy Out N About Bralette underneath your new tie-dye lounge set, or your fave pair of BB boy shorts paired with a divine, little bathrobe, the goal is for you to feel undeniably amazing about the skin - and undies - you’re in.  Finish the look by adding your go-to lip gloss, a little natural mascara, and a few dewey highlighter drops so you can glow inside and out.  Then, snap a quick selfie or 8 (or a polaroid if you’re feeling extra...aren’t we all?) to document your perfect, love-yourself vibe.  This is your moment to look in the mirror and acknowledge, without a doubt in the world, that you are beautiful, sexy, and confident just the way you are.     


    Get Lit

    No, not like that (although we're not opposed...coming next).  Date nights are all about ambiance, so dim the lights, fire up all of your candles, and rearrange them in the bedroom or living room so it looks like your cramped, one-bedroom apartment is showing off just for you.  I tend to gravitate towards scents that can instantly transport me to a more romantic location (think salt and sage for a beachy vibe, or rose and santal for a sweet, garden picnic).  You can also light incense (my faves are African Jasmine or Sandalwood) to create a hazy oasis with smoke hanging in the air like an intimate lounge.  Remember, you’re setting the mood for you and no one else, so pick fragrances that make you feel a little somethin’-somethin’.  Last, but certainly not least, bring on the crystals.  I’m not very intense about mine (I don’t charge them in the moonlight like many of my fellow Venice neighbors do), but I do try to keep one crystal in each room to pump up my energy: try sparkly gold pyrite in the living room to remind you that you are GOLDEN, and sensual, pink quartz in the bedroom to keep in touch with your inner femininity (there are lots of quartz towers that are definitely phallic, if that’s your vibe).


    “Pour It Up, Pour It Up” - Rihanna

    Onto my favorite part of the evening: let’s get the juices flowing.  Nothing makes me feel more like an all-powerful queen than a big-ass glass of full-bodied Pinot, but I salute whatever your beverage of choice may be.  Maybe you’re a whiskey gal, and you keep a stunning, crystal whiskey decanter on your highly curated bar cart for special occasions.  It’s time to whip that baby out.  Maybe you said bye-bye to alcohol long ago, so you mix up a sexy little Lemon-Pineapple-Kiwi Sparkling Mocktail instead.  Whatever your taste buds are calling for, raise a glass, and make a cute toast to YOU: for taking the time to honor and celebrate yourself, for knowing your worth, and for always unapologetically putting yourself first.


    Have Some Steamy Content on Deck 

    Newsflash: women watch porn too, and that is not only normal as hell, but productive for your sex life overall (solo, or with a partner)!  There’s no better time to learn exactly what you like and what kinks you’re into than your solo date night, which just wouldn’t be complete without a little visual and/or audio stimulation, tbh (and before you ask, no, a Fifty Shades of Grey marathon doesn't count).  Admittedly, lots of porn can feel really intimidating if you’re new to the genre, and there are some intense videos that aren’t enjoyable for everyone (I’m definitely good without super aggressive BDSM).  But women are quickly getting some much-needed skin in the game and have created female-focused, safe spaces that offer more authentic content from regular people, as opposed to porn stars and production companies.  Try Make Love Not Porn, which sources real videos from real couples and individuals, or check out Lust Cinema, which highlights videos directed by women that portray intimacy, love, and lust in a respectful way.  However, if you’re like me and feel a little shier when it comes to porn, that’s ok too!  You can always track down a film or TV show with some sex scenes that will make you blush (think Outlander on Starz, Blue Valentine, or Black Swan), or try storytime with Dipsea, which exists to help sexually arouse women.  Either way, this is your time to pick your fantasy, get comfy with your bad self, and...


    Get Ready For the Big Finale

    It’s your special night, and after all of the little pleasures and treats you’ve lined up for yourself, it’s time for the Big O.  Whether you’re new to self-pleasure or you’ve been doing it since you realized you could create “tingles” down there when you were 11, there is no wrong way to love on yourself.  Some women prefer the au naturale method, while others are insanely attached to their vibrators.  Personally, I’m dying to try out this Full-Service Oral Sex Simulator, which, exactly as the name suggests, is supposed to feel like oral.  Regardless of your method, the truth is that you deserve pleasure often, and there is absolutely no shame in that.  Even if you do have a partner, it’s crucial that you continue serving up a little self-love so that you can better express exactly what you like.  There is nothing embarrassing about “flicking the bean” (as my high school friends call it); it’s a natural part of maintaining a healthy sex life, and the perfect way to end your epic night.  So relax, and let it all go; you earned it.


    Just like that, you have all the tips you need to plan the best. date night. ever.  We spend so much of our lives giving our time and energy to others, so really take advantage of this opportunity to be a little selfish and to give time and energy back to yourself!  Have fun, get creative, and remember: you are not only empowered, but entitled to meaningful self-love and self-care, beyond face masks and manicures.  Now get out there, grab hold of your inner Lizzo, and go love yo-self.

    Our Fave WOC To be Following Right Now

    As a brand that is built on the pure foundation that all bodies are equal of love and respect no matter what color or size, we feel strongly that we use our platform to educate, celebrate, and represent all women. We are sharing some of our favorite women of color...

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    As a brand that is built on the pure foundation that all bodies are equal of love and respect no matter what color or size, we feel strongly that we use our platform to educate, celebrate, and represent all women.


    We are sharing some of our favorite women of color founded brands, and other inspiring and powerful women of color you should be following on social.

    WOC Founded Brands:

    • @briogeo
    • @kncbeauty
    • @thehoneypotco
    • @golde
    • @klur.co
    • @ouithepeople
    • @thekoopnyc
    • @besamecosmetics
    • @mattebrand
    • @beautybakeriemakeup

    WOC You Should Be Following:

    • @ava
    • @lpeopleswagner
    • @therachelindsay
    • @jackieaina
    • @moemotivate
    • @indyamoore
    • @ijeomaoluo
    • @nikiaphoenix
    • @laylafsaad
    • @whembleysewell


    As we continue business onward, the representation, support, and change will not be left behind. We hope you’ll continue to share with us on social resources, education, brands, and voices to be seen and heard for us to share with our community and for us to continue to learn and grow as a brand.


    We are looking forward to growing our colorful community and diversifying our content even more. Our community is what makes this brand SO powerful and special. We hope that 2020 brings the change and growth we so very much need.

    Ten Tips For Curating A Nightly Ritual

    There is nothing better than winding down after a long day. Getting into bed is hands down my favorite part of any day. It is a treat and a half. For years, I put off going to bed because going to bed meant it was going to be tomorrow and...

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    There is nothing better than winding down after a long day. Getting into bed is hands down my favorite part of any day. It is a treat and a half. For years, I put off going to bed because going to bed meant it was going to be tomorrow and that made me anxious. I was fatigued, irritable and had cheap bags under my eyes. I consciously made the decision to curate a nightly ritual that has changed my life and I want to share it with you. Trial and error. Rest is required and thanking your body for working so goddamn hard is the magic potion for a grateful morning. You can’t have one without the other. Ying and Yang.

    As much as I would love to take a candle lit, aromatherapy bath every night, I ain’t got no time for that. If you do, that is fantastic and you should 1000% gift yourself that luxury for as long as you possibly can. Praise.

    Relax:

    1. Cut off the alcohol and sugar at 7pm. Do you have a hard time sleeping through the night? Wake up at 3am regularly? It is likely your liver is waking you up. Your liver could be waking you up for a couple reasons. Emotionally, the liver represents anger, frustration and resentment. Physically, sugar shoots up your insulin levels, which makes your liver work harder to eliminate the excess amount of chemicals sugar produces.
    2. Mindful consumption. Think about when you feel the most at ease, the most calm. I could care less if that means reading, watching true crime, meditating or knitting a sweater. Do this for 5, 10 or 15 minutes before you physically get into bed.
    3. Cannabidoil (CBD), sleep vitamins, hot tea and essential oils. Do your research. We have unlimited access to information. Research shows that CBD is useful in easing the symptoms of a number of conditions, including; anxiety, depression, chronic pain, inflammation and sleep. Swap out that glass of wine for a CBD sleep cocktail. HOT TIP. Drink it from a wine glass for placebo effect. CBD cocktail recipe: 1 cup tart cherry juice (natural melatonin), 1 cup white grape juice, 1/2 dropper valerian root tincture (used historically to promote sleep), and your preferred dose of CBD. For a healthy sleep cycle, try Olly Sleep Vitamins. They are infused with Melatonin, L-Theanine and Blackberry Botanicals. Delicious. If you prefer tea, Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Herbal Tea is a dream. Finally, essential oils. There are countless options on the market. Make sure you are reading your labels. Grove Collaborative is 100% organic and naturally fragrant. Order yourself some of the Calming Lavender and give yourself a gentle foot massage. Thank me later.

    Sometimes, you have to redefine things. For me, that means the bedroom is for the two S’s and that is all there is to it. Sleep and sex. This keeps the bedroom a dedicated, sacred place.

    Boundaries:

    1. Tuck your phone in for a good nights sleep. Cute, right? Discipline is healthy. I heard about this hack and adopted it immediately. Visualize your phone as something you want to nurture and protect. Just as you’d tuck your children, your pet or your spouse or yourself into bed, do the same for your phone. Put it away for the night and let it rest.
    2. Invest in an alarm clock. Not only does this avoid picking up your phone after tucking it in because you forget to set your alarm, but it also alleviates the anxiety of grabbing your phone first thing in the morning to shut off your alarm. Win, win.

    Finally. Let’s get to the fun stuff. We are superheroes. We deserve the best of the best. If you are going to indulge, this is the place. Join me on down the road less traveled.

    Products:

    1. You need a silk a pillow case, you just do. Benefits? A cleaner sleep surface, less drying, friction and irritation on skin and hair. Not to mention because silk is more gentle on the skin, if you are acne prone, this can be a face-changer. Did I mention wrinkle prevention?
    2. Light is the silent sleep killer. LUNYA has a naturally moisturizing, silk, washable sleep mask that (get this) doubles as a headband for your nightly face regiment. Don’t let neighbor Nurse Nancy’s beaming headlights shine through your window at 2am abruptly waking you. We appreciate all that you do Nancy. I just can't helo myself.
    3. Your entire body deserves the benefits of silk. LUNYA also has the most comfortable sleepwear on the market. It is luxurious and you will feel like a goddess.
    4. Open another tab on your nifty computer and go to Amazon.com. Type in Marpac Dohm Basic White Noise Sound Machine. Click add to cart. Complete purchase. White noise creates a masking effect, blocking out those sudden changes that frustrate light sleepers, or people trying to fall asleep.
    5. Ever heard of Acupressure? It helps stimulate circulation and relieves stress. I feel more relaxed just typing it. You can’t go wrong with the ProSource Acupressure Mat Pillow Set. It is only $20 and comes in 7 different colors.

    Goodnight.

    Staying In 101

    In the spirit of staying in, staying safe, and being smart during this worldwide pandemic, we wanted to share some things we’re doing to keep busy safely indoors (mostly on the sofa).  There are plenty of shows on Netflix for endless bingeing and plenty of influencers on Instagram for effortless...

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    In the spirit of staying in, staying safe, and being smart during this worldwide pandemic, we wanted to share some things we’re doing to keep busy safely indoors (mostly on the sofa). 

    There are plenty of shows on Netflix for endless bingeing and plenty of influencers on Instagram for effortless scrolling, but even we got bored with that. We’ve also run out of banana bread ingredients and instant coffee for our caffeinated, creamy delight that’s currently trending. With no more cabinets and drawers to organize and reorganize on repeat, we are sitting down and drawing up a list of other time fillers and mood boosters. 

    What we’re listening to (Playlists): Staying home in silence is basically a crime. 

    • WFH Babe Spotify Playlist - We put this playlist together for all of our babes working from home right now. It’s a compilation of some of BB’s favorite office tunes - songs you can have on in the background while still getting work done, guaranteed to keep you motivated all day long. 
    • YEAH Girl Spotify Playlist - This one is for those 30 minutes of your day that you are dedicating to motion. Whether that’s a virtual at-home workout, TikTok choreography practice, or a living room dance party… get up and move your bootay to these beats. 

    What we’re listening to (Podcasts): True crime isn’t going to solve itself. 

    For the wanna-be detective:

    For the motivation seeker:

    What we’re reading: Obviously we’ve joined 12 virtual book clubs because why not. 

    What we’re writing: The 411 on quarantine diary entries. 

    • Snail Mail - Handwritten cards to your family + friends double as an activity for you and an unexpected pick-me-up for them :) 
    • Weekend To-Do Lists - Hold yourself accountable to getting things done around the house on your off days. Reward yourself with streaming hours for every item checked off! 
    • Post-Quarantine Activity Listicle - Sunday brunches. Weekday HH’s. GNO’s. Travel. Things to look forward to! 

    What facemasks we’re using: In between Zoom calls self-care. 

    What DIY projects we’re doing: Research shows that Pinterest is seeing an all time high in page views. 

    • Tie Dye - Put your art skills to the test with these two inexpensive products: Hanes Sweatshirt + RIT Dye. We’re living for the white/sand combo. You can also grab a colored shirt and use bleach for a reverse dye affect! Both equally effective and trendy. 
    • All-Purpose Cleaner - Since cleaning supplies are hard to find these days, we’re making our own that is just as effective and not nearly as toxic! Pro tip: add your fave essential oil(s) to scent! 
    • Paint + Sip @ Home (Party of 1) - We’re no Picasso BUT this just gives us an activity to pair with the bottle of wine we’ve been drinking every night. 

    This is also a great time to rediscover a passion that maybe has been pushed aside because we don’t have the time for it. Well, there’s no time like all of this time we currently have at home to bring back that old hobby. Point being here: find something to occupy your time that makes you feel good. 

    We hope you find this helpful and useful while trying new things and keeping busy during this uncertain time. Be sure to tag us on social if you’re trying any of the above and also share with us things you’re doing that we may have not tried yet! 

    Stay safe + be well! xx 

    Spring Cleaning (more than just your wardrobe)

    It's that time of year... yes, the time where I color coordinate 1/3 of my closet and spray everything in the house with Febreeze and call it 'Spring Cleaning'. That's how it's done, right? Ok, maybe not... but who came up with 'Spring Cleaning' anyways? Why isn't there a 'Fall'...

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    It's that time of year... yes, the time where I color coordinate 1/3 of my closet and spray everything in the house with Febreeze and call it 'Spring Cleaning'. That's how it's done, right? Ok, maybe not... but who came up with 'Spring Cleaning' anyways? Why isn't there a 'Fall' or 'Winter Cleaning'? Even though I'm unsure who created such an event or why they did it, I feel succumbed to participate every year. That being said, this year I decided to approach it with a wider view.

     
    This year I am 'Spring Cleaning' these 5 areas of my life:

     

    • Wardrobe
    • Social Media
    • Inner Circle
    • Diet
    • Mind
      Starting with my wardrobe, of course, it could use a little tidying up, and I'm not just talking about the clean clothes I like to leave in the dryer until I need to do another load... (I mean seriously, what's the need to move them from the dryer to the floor of my closet?).

      Looking at my collection of tops, why am I still holding on to the ones I know I will never wear? I've put together a section in my closet of items I haven't worn in the past 2 months that I am convincing myself I just 'forgot I had'. Now that they are in a very visible spot, those (if not all) that I do not pull out to wear in the next month will be voted off the island and forced to leave, immediately. In other words, donated to my friends or women in need. Buh-bye.

      Things I am holding on to (most likely forever due to my attachment issues), are pieces I consider 'key' as they can be dressed up or down, transitioned to day or night... versatile AF.

      These items include:

      • Plain white + black tees
      • Graphic tees
      • Neutral knits
      • Satin tanks
      • Solid or striped bodysuits (various sleeve lengths)
       
      Moving right along to what is probably needing the most cleaning... my social media accounts. I don't need Apple's new 'Screen Time' feature to remind me how much I am scrolling... I am WELL aware. It's like when Netflix asks if you're still watching... what's the point? I think we can all agree that now is a time we are scrolling the most across all feeds and channels and the content we are seeing is of an extremely large variety. I have decided that all I really want to see on social (especially at a time like this) is kindness, positivity, encouragement, and something that will give me a good laugh. What I also realized (which I'm unsure why it took me so long) is that I have control over this. See something you don't like? Unfollow. Next time you log on in search of some good 'morning skincare routine' or 'spring outfit inspo' content, check out your 'following' list and trim it back the necessary amount.
       
      It ok to unfollow people in real life too. When you think about your inner circle, the phrase 'quality over quantity' should be applied. Just a few years ago it was all about quantity, am I right? The more friends you had, the higher the chances of always having someone to do something with. I never thought I'd get to a point where I could comfortably say that I wish I didn't have plans sometimes. As you get older you begin to realize, 1. less is more, and 2. you don't have time for shitty friendships. If your inner circle runs deep and they are all real friendships and relationships that you value, power to ya! Keep it that way. But if your inner circle is large just to be large, maybe it's time to reconsider.
       
      I don't know about you, but Spring seems like the perfect time to work on that 'summer bod' with the change of seasons just around the corner. I'd like to think I have somewhat healthy habits already but there's always room for improvement. Here are just a few simple things I am trying to make a habit of this season when it comes to my diet:
      • Drink more water (easier said than done). Striving to have a full glass right when I wake up and wither every meal/snack throughout the day!

      • Add greens. Whenever given the option to add greens, take it! This could be an extra side with dinner, thrown into your morning omelet, or even added to a midday smoothie! You can never have too many greens.
      • Eat something every 2-3 hours. I don't know about you but I have what seems like the worlds slowest metabolism. Eating something (even small) every few hours keeps that baby in motion. Pro tip: Set reminders on your phone!
      • No late-night snacking. Really trying to cut off any and all food after 7 PM. I think I have a solve for this... asleep by 8?
        
      Clearly, I saved the best for last. The most important piece on my 'Spring Cleaning' checklist is my mind. 'Tis the season of eunoia. Eu-what? Eunoia is a greek word that means 'a pure and well-balanced mind'. Something I think we could all use more of right now! There are so many things overwhelming our minds right now. Here are a few things I am practicing to clean + clear my mind:
      • Fresh air. Not a runner and don't have a bike? The outdoors are for walkers too. Try and take at least 2, 30 minute walks each day (weather permitting). You don't even have to walk! Find an isolated bench to sit on and listen to your favorite podcast or playlist, or if you choose to, opt-in to listening to your surroundings and your mind.

      • Meditate. I never really got into meditating because my patience does not allow for such a thing. However, I found a work around. I've been reading a daily meditation every morning with my coffee and it's really been a great addition to my daily routine. Check out my favorite here.
      • Move. It is so important for you to move your body at least once a day in a way that you don't in your usual routine. If you choose to exercise (indoor or outdoor) go for it! You go glen coco! If you choose to blast a feel-good playlist (check out ours here) and dance like nobody's watching in your living room, I applaud you. If you choose to spend hours learning choreography for the hottest new TikTok, I won't judge you. Because this is me. Everyone's doing it, ok?
      • Practice your passion. You may have many passions, and I sure do hope that for you. But what is one of your passions that you can practice every day? For example, I am passionate about art. I try to dedicate time a few days a week to practice this. Whether it be an hour to draw in my sketchbook after work, a new portrait to paint over the weekend. Find your passion, and practice it wholeheartedly.

       

      Career Profile: Lauren Steinberg

      Lauren Steinberg embodies everything her brand, Queen V, truly is. She is literally the Queen of the V, bringing empowering and playful products to the feminine care space. It’s about time feminine care is made to be not so embarrassing. Why was it ever? I don’t think any of us...

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      Lauren Steinberg embodies everything her brand, Queen V, truly is. She is literally the Queen of the V, bringing empowering and playful products to the feminine care space.

      It’s about time feminine care is made to be not so embarrassing. Why was it ever? I don’t think any of us can explain it, but we can all say we, or someone we know, has been embarrassed at one point in time checking out with nothing more than a box of tampons at Target.

      Through their fun and flirty products, QueenV is making feminine care anything BUT embarrassing, maybe we’d go as far to even say ‘cool’. Lauren not only created a top-selling product, but started a much-needed movement in the feminine care space. How did she do it? Why did she do it? We have SO many questions.

      What inspired you to create the first millennial-focused feminine wellness brand?

      As I grew older I began to develop infections “down there,” what I refer to as my Queen V. It was scary and painful and also really embarrassing. I didn’t know why I was getting these infections. I went to my gynecologist and I did a ton of research and learned just how complex a vagina is. I learned about pH levels and studied and researched the ingredients that are in most feminine wellness products and discovered why I was getting these infections. I also spoke to my friends about the problems I was having and realized that I wasn’t alone.

      3 in every 4 women will get a yeast infection at least once in their life and 25% of infections that women get are UTIs. This was astounding to me. I began looking for products that had better for me ingredients, products that were easy to use, affordable and effective and I couldn't find anything that fit my needs. I was determined to change this not only because I realized that women shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their vaginas but also because I know that when I feel good inside, I feel like I can take on the world. And I knew that if I wasn’t feeling good on the inside, other women probably weren’t as well. I wanted to change that. I became frustrated and decided to take matters into my own hands. This is when Queen V really began.

      Our products are made for women by women and take a really unique approach to vaginal health. We have created an easy to follow three-step process that helps women maintain, heal and enjoy their v. Maintaining your v is all about keeping your vagina clean and healthy by using products that are pH-balanced. Healing your v addresses infections and problems that can arise like yeast infections and UTI’s. Enjoying your v aims to help women love and embrace their vaginas.  Each of our 11 products fit into one of these color-coded categories. Maintain products are blue, heal products are green and enjoy products are pink.

      In addition to creating better-for-you products, Queen V aims to empower women to take control of what they are putting into and on their bodies. It is so important to take the time to read what ingredients are in a product and to understand the why behind them. Through our social media channels, we make it a priority to make learning about your body as fun and engaging as possible. Queen V has cultivated a community of empowered women and we aim to destigmatize the word vagina. Because all of our products are available at Walmart and are price comparable with every other product on the shelf, every woman has access to these products. Our products have loud and bright packaging because they are not meant to hide on a shelf, but rather to stand out! Women should not be embarrassed to buy vaginal products. Queen V really is a high-end brand at an affordable price!

       

      Let’s go back to the beginning. How did it all happen? How has the company evolved over time?

      Getting a retailer to believe in your brand and really understand and see the vision for your brand’s voice is critically important. Walmart taking a chance on me and giving Queen V a brand statement with 11 products has made the company what it is today. Andy Dunn who is the former CEO of Bonobos (which was acquired by Walmart) saw the deck for Queen V and knew it needed to be at Walmart. He introduced me to the buyers there and I told my story and they listened. We are now sold pretty much everywhere in mass market (Target, CVS, Rite Aid) and we just launched internationally in South Korea and in Australia with Sephora!

       

      If you started Queen V today, would you do anything different?

      My journey with Queen V has been so crazy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not knowing has been a really fun part of running a business. I wish I had taken a few business classes in college but other than that I am actually really happy that I was able to experience everything and react to it in a way unique to me. There have been a lot of failures, but I learn from each and every one of them.

       

      What were some of your biggest challenges in the early stages of the company? Compared to today?

      Being a 26-year-old female in an industry typically dominated by men has been and still is a challenge. Whenever I pitch this brand, getting male retailers and male investors to understand the need for these products can be difficult. Talking about my vagina and vaginal infections was a bit embarrassing at first, but I now encourage women to be empowered to speak about their vaginas. At one point, I was even told that I was “just a girl.” Instead of letting this comment get to me, I have owned it. It’s true! I really am just a girl who became frustrated with vaginal products on the market and did something about it.

       

      How did you build your team? What were some key qualities you were looking for when hiring?

      I looked for a qualified team of smart individuals who are experts in their own field who were passionate about women's health. Team work really does make the dream work. I surround myself with people who have different strengths than myself and learn from them. From operations and logistics, to social media and product development, I am always leaning on those around me. I am lucky because my team is made up of all millennial women so I have a focus group right in front of me! I use this to my advantage.

       

      Do you ever find yourself suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’?

      Self-doubt is totally normal but I never let it stop me from doing anything or from taking risks. The topic of vaginas and vaginal health has historically been a very taboo subject and I am using my platform to talk openly and freely about “private parts.” What I have learned is that in order to run a successful business I need to be unapologetically myself and use my voice for those who may be afraid to use their own voices. Queen V is changing the conversation around health and wellness. Females feel empowered now more than ever and this allows us to harness that power and be heard. The availability of feminine hygiene products 10 years ago was 1-2 options if you were lucky. Today, women have options and that is so important.

       

      How has your position in the company changed from then to now? What does your typical day look like?

      When I launched Queen V I had a really small team and I did basically everything. I was a huge micromanager and liked to be involved in everything from operations to sourcing to logistics to content creation. Now that we have grown larger, I manage a team of eight incredible women. My duties vary but mostly include product development, press, strategy, retailer relations and continuing to be the heart and soul of Queen V. I usually get into the office at 9am, tackle my inbox, meet with the team, film content, having some more meetings and then go home!

      We're talkin' Sexual Health + Wellness

      Women’s sexual health impacts every part of a woman’s life. It has a direct effect on our overall health and wellness, and directly contributes to self-love and confidence. It aids in shaping how we view and enjoy intimacy, affecting our relationships and families. How ‘sexual health’ is defined varies as...

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      Women’s sexual health impacts every part of a woman’s life. It has a direct effect on our overall health and wellness, and directly contributes to self-love and confidence. It aids in shaping how we view and enjoy intimacy, affecting our relationships and families. How ‘sexual health’ is defined varies as each culture, sub-culture, and individual has different standards. We believe it to be: to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives as it is crucial to our physical, emotional, and mental health.

      Women should never feel ashamed of their sexuality, and you should always have somewhere to turn when you have questions. Today, we’re sitting down with Keelyn Cazzolla, a Sexual Health and Wellness Educator who is answering our questions and giving us a positive perspective on sexual health.

      *Keelyn is a sexual health educator, NOT a doctor. Please always consult your doctor with any concerns you may have.

       

       

      What foods are good for sexual health? 

      Having a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet is extremely beneficial for all aspects of your health. Foods that improve functions such as circulation, hormone balance, energy, hydration, boost endorphins and serotonin are great to incorporate into your diet for sexual health benefits. A few examples of these foods include avocados, watermelon, almonds, dark chocolate, eggs, and peaches. More importantly, you should avoid (or reduce) foods that may be detrimental to your sexual health, or overall health in general. These foods include anything processed, cheese, high amounts of sugar, canned soups/meals, microwave popcorn, low grade meats, soy, spicy foods, and foods high in trans fat. Alcohol (especially beer), soda (especially diet), and marijuana have also been linked to being detrimental to sexual health and sexual performance as well. 

      • Myth: Pineapples can make your vulva smell and taste sweeter. Yes and no. Your diet does impact your smell and taste, but not just from pineapples alone. Basically, you are what you eat though! If you eat a lot of sweet fruits or foods with high sugar content, your bodily fluids may smell and taste a bit sweeter. This isn’t instant though, this is done through a consistent diet. If you are eating more pungent or bitter foods such as broccoli, garlic, coffee, alcohol, etc, then you are more likely to be on the bitter side. Don’t let this scare you away from bitter foods though!



      What are some top initiatives you can take to increase your sex drive? 

      There are many things that can influence your sex drive, such as your diet, mental health, and physical health. Targeting these areas would be your best bet at increasing your sex drive. The top initiatives I would suggest are to make scheduled sex dates with yourself AND with your partner, as well as to increase sensuality without expectations, and make sure you are providing your body with proper nutrients (without restricting yourself!!). Some partnered ideas could be back rubs, intimate massages, tickling, hugging, synchronized breathing, or even just holding each other while naked. Sexting is another great way to engage in foreplay with your partner before a sex date. It also helps to communicate what you like and what turns you both on. If these don’t help or you are looking for more alternatives, consult with a sexual health professional or sex therapist! It’s their job to help you navigate through it!

      • Myth: Engaging in sexual activities must always end with an orgasm. Nope! You and/or your partner are not required to have an orgasm. In fact, it can help your sex life by taking that goal oriented thinking out of the equation. Focus solely on the pleasure your body feels with your partner or by yourself!

       

      What are some lubricant substitutes? What lubricants are NOT safe? 

      Let's start with what is not safe to use. First thing I need to mention is that spit is NOT a lubricant or lubricant substitute. It can transmit infections and STD’s into your vagina, just as unprotected oral sex can and it is not slippery enough to be an effective lubricant. Other noteworthy and unsafe lubricant substitutes are baby oil, refined oils, shortening, petroleum jelly, lotion, and pure essential oils.

      For lubricants in general, I always recommend a good quality water-based lubricant. Pure Romance, Good Clean Love, and uberlube are a few of my go-to sources when helping to figure out what lubricant would be best. When using lubricants, it's always good to keep in mind NOT to use a silicone toy with a silicone based lubricant! Silicone breaks down silicone, which will not be a fun experience! As for substitutes, I have found mixed opinions on what to advise, I’ve done some research on coconut oil and aloe vera, but have yet to find hard evidence to advocate on their behalf.

      • Myth: You don’t need a lubricant because you produce enough naturally. Even if you think you produce enough lubrication to be Niagara Falls, you should make sure you have a good quality lubricant! Lubricants help prevent vaginal micro tears and friction burns! If your partner has a penis, they are extremely porous and will absorb your natural lubrication and contribute to these burns and tears. You may not feel them when they occur, but trust me when I say “get a good lube” and use it!



      Is vaginal discharge normal? 

      Absolutely! Vaginas are self cleaning (how cool) so discharge is expelled during this process. Discharge varies in color, consistency, and odor depending on where you are at in your menstrual cycle. Even if your discharge looks slightly different from week to week or even month to month, it doesn't always mean you have an STI or infection. Keeping an eye on what is normal for your body is important for indicating when you should consult a doctor if something has changed. There are a number of reasons your discharge could change, such as antibiotics, STI’s, birth control pills, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), douching, scented soaps, bubble baths, yeast infections, and so much more. If you are ever worried about your discharge or experience itching or discomfort, please consult your OB/GYN, they are here to help! 

      • Myth: Douching is a healthy way to clean the vagina. Vaginas are self cleaning!! Please do not douche. Ever. You should only be cleaning your vulva (gently) with an unscented, mild cleanser (preferable ph balanced if possible). Avoid anything scented near your vulva or in your vagina. Fragrances are a harmful irritant and can cause infections. Also worth noting: douching does not prevent STI’s or pregnancy. In fact, it can actually make it easier for you to become pregnant as it pushes the semen further up towards the cervix.



      Are hormone replacements bad for women? 

      If you are considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), please consult your doctor first so you can discuss the benefits and risks. For a majority of women, the benefits are considered worth it as the benefits outweigh the risks and improve quality of life. Follow up with your doctor annually if you chose to do HRT. If you are looking for an alternative to HRT, discuss that with them as well and come prepared with a list of questions and symptoms you are concerned about. When it comes to your health, it's best to be prepared and pay attention to what your body needs and is trying to tell you!

      • Myth: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of cancer. This myth is based on one study from years ago, but has been debunked many times since then and have even found flaws in that research. While it may increase the risk of certain cancers, the risk is minimal and only applies to a tiny portion of the population.



      What are the necessary feminine-care checkups in addition to your annual exam? Always make sure you are doing your own self exams of your breasts and your vulva. It's important to know how they both look and feel to make it easier to report any changes to your doctor. For self breast exams, look at your breasts in the mirror to check for any visual changes such as shape and/or swelling. Also use the pads of your three middle fingers to feel your breast and apply different levels of pressure. There are three ways to do this: circular, vertical, and wedge. Remember to check your underarms and upper chest as well. For a self vulva exam, use a handheld mirror to make sure you can see your genitals clearly. Check your pubic area, clitoris, labia majora (outer lips), labia minora (inner lips), and perineum (area located between vagina and anus). Check for anything abnormal, such as growths, bumps, rashes, lesions, white bumps, red bumps, pimple like growths, etc. Report anything abnormal to your doctor, even if it seems small! Vulvar cancer is one of the most unknown, but easily treatable if detected early!

       

       

      Commonly asked Q’s about Pap tests:

    • At what age should you get your first Pap test?
    • The recommended age to start getting a pap smear is 21 OR when you have been sexually active for about 3 years. Whichever comes first.
    • How often should you get a Pap test?
    • You should repeat your pap smears every 1-3 years, or every 6 months if your pap comes back abnormal. 
          • Do you have to see a gyno?
            • Some primary care physicians perform pap tests, but typically they are done by a gynecologist. 
      • How do you prep for the test?
            • Avoid sex, douching, spermicidal foam/creams, and any vaginal medicines for at least 2 days before the test. Body hair is completely natural and normal, no need to worry about that before your appointment. Also, avoid scheduling during your menstrual period! Call your doctor before going to your appointment if you end up having your period the day of your exam. Sometimes menstruation can obscure the results of the exam.
      • What should I expect during the test? What should I expect after?
            • The test only takes a few minutes. You will lie on your back on the exam table, then your doctor will gently insert the speculum so they can observe the cervix. Your doctor will take samples of your cervix with a soft brush and a flat spatula. Afterwards, you are free to go about your day!
      • Does it hurt?
            • Everyone is different, but you may feel pressure and discomfort in the pelvic area during the test. Good news is that it's super quick!
      • How long does it take to get results?
            • Each doctor varies, but around 1 week is average.
      • What if I get abnormal results?
          • Don’t stress if you have abnormal cells from a pap smear! Your doctor will have you schedule a colposcopy to examine the tissues of the cervix, vagina, and vulva and to also obtain a biopsy of the areas that appear abnormal. This tissue will be sent out for analysis and diagnosis!

         

         

        What are some of the top myths about women’s sexual health?

      • A pap smear is also an STD test.
            • A pap smear tests for cervical cancer and changes in the cells within the cervix, it does not test for STI’s or STD’s specifically. Talk to your doctor if you wish to have an STI/STD screening. 
      • It’s “dirty” or “bad” to get an STI/STD test.
            • There is absolutely nothing wrong or bad about getting tested! In fact, it's totally normal. Even if your test comes back positive for something, it does not mean you are “gross” or “dirty” or “unworthy” AT ALL. There are still a lot of stigma and myths that revolve around STIs/STDs. It is much better to know if you are positive for something than to unknowingly spread it or to leave it untreated and begin to impact your health. Discuss a treatment or management plan with your doctor. Leaving it untreated can sometimes lead to issues such as infertility or cancer. If having a positive STI diagnosis is causing distress in your life, please consult a therapist, specifically a sex therapist if you can. They are trained in helping you learn to cope and life a healthy, normal life even with a positive diagnosis. You are not alone and it does not mean you are unworthy of love or a normal sex life! 
      • Women orgasm through vaginal penetration alone.
            • 70% of women need clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm. Roughly about 30% of women are able to reach an orgasm through vaginal penetration alone. 
      • You can’t get pregnant during your period.
            • While it is more unlikely during this part of your cycle to become pregnant, that does not mean you are unable to. Sperm can live up to 72 hours in your reproductive tract.
      • The “morning after” pill causes an abortion.
            • This is not the same as the pill that causes an abortion. Actually, if you were to take Plan B while you are already pregnant, it won't make a difference. Plan B pills work similar to birth control pills, but have a higher hormone content. There is no limit on how often you consume the morning after pill, just as long as you follow the directions, you’re good to go!
      • Vaginas are tight or loose depending on the amount of sex a woman has had.
          • The vagina is a muscle and works similar to an elastic band, meaning it has the ability to expand and contract. When you become aroused, your vagina begins to soften and expand in order to make penetration easier. If not, the walls of the vagina will stay contracted and make penetration more difficult. It does not matter who (or what - think vibrators and dildos) you have sex with, or how often. Penetration will not cause your vagina to stretch permanently, but childbirth or age, however, can cause changes.

         

        Our Fave Motivational Books + Podcasts

        Whether you are initiating your never ending journey into personal growth or simply lacking motivation, the resources are endless. Overwhelming in fact. For those of you who are just starting out, I want to help guide you down the path that leads to results. This journey is an exciting one...

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        Whether you are initiating your never ending journey into personal growth or simply lacking motivation, the resources are endless. Overwhelming in fact. For those of you who are just starting out, I want to help guide you down the path that leads to results. This journey is an exciting one and needs to be approached tactfully to be most beneficial. My first visit down the Self-Help aisle of Barnes and Noble ended with my arms full of what quickly turned into Shelf-Help books that collected dust. I had too many options at my fingertips and it felt like a larger task at hand than I had prepared myself for. Before you embark on this mission, ask yourself this important question, “Why?” And before you head down that aisle, I strongly suggest you swing by the stationary section and pick yourself up a journal. Tracking your journey, the good, the bad and the ugly is vital. 

        Let’s get to the good-good.

         

        Top 2 foundational books:

        • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
        • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

        Top 2 dive deeper books:

        • What To Say When You Talk To Yourself by Dr. Shad Helmstetter
        • The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

        Top 2 books for the career focused:

        • Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
        • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

        Top 2 relationship books:

        • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
        • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

        Top 2 self-help books for the curious who cringe at self-help:

        • You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
        • Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

         

        And for the non-readers - me. No fear, these are all available on Audible. I am not a reader by nature. I have to re-read sentences, paragraphs, pages and even chapters a couple of times to actually retain the information provided. This brings me to Podcasts. There are so many outstanding, value packed Podcasts out there that have become rituals in my world. 7/7 days a week, I turn on a Podcast while I get ready for the day to help set the tone. Even on my worst, least functioning days, they help.

        Top 10 Motivational Podcasts in no particular order:

        • The Tim Ferriss Podcast
        • The Skinny Confidential Him and Her Podcast
        • Happier with Gretchen Rubin
        • The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
        • Work Party with Jaclyn Johnson
        • Earn Your Happy with Lori Harder
        • LadyGang
        • How I Built This with Guy Raz
        • Help Me Be Me
        • Perfectionism Project with Sam Laura Brown

         

        And finally, be patient, and kind to yourself on this journey. We are complex beings who need to be loved. Love yourself good and hard.

         

        Career Profile: Jaclyn Johnson

        Create + Cultivate is exactly as it sounds. A female-focused organization for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. With it’s online platform of social groups and digital mentors, and it’s offline conferences, summits, and pop-ups, Create + Cultivate is taking the ‘women in biz’ industry...

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        Create + Cultivate is exactly as it sounds. A female-focused organization for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. With it’s online platform of social groups and digital mentors, and it’s offline conferences, summits, and pop-ups, Create + Cultivate is taking the ‘women in biz’ industry by storm.

        We have loved getting to know Jaclyn Johnson - CEO of Create + Cultivate, Author of WorkParty, AND host of WorkParty Podcast - but we are still wondering… “How does she do it all?”. We’re sitting down with this self-made woman to hopefully get some answers…

         

         

        If you could go back to the beginning, would you do anything differently? And if so, what?

        Get it in writing! When I was starting off, I was so excited and I’d say “sounds great!” to everything that came my way. Trust me, you have to be able to go back and reference a contract and its terms. Really think about the long-run and what’s going to happen. It’s important to be smart and have those terms upfront. Make sure you’re protecting yourself.

         

        How do you deal with the ebb and flow throughout the evolution of the brand?

        There are always growing pains when scaling a business, but we have an amazing C&C community. Knowing that we’re providing them with the resources they need has been the biggest reward.

         

        You are doing SO much and killing the entrepreneurial game. How do you stay inspired to keep going?

        I think everyone has different definitions of what self-care is. I think, for me, self-care is very personal, in the sense that only you know what you need to be your best self. Whether that’s exercise, whether that’s eating healthy, whether that’s napping for 15 minutes, or binge-watching Netflix on a Saturday, all day… it’s what you need to be your best self; mentally, physically, and emotionally.

         

        Have you always been aware of the need for self-care in your business plan? Was there ever a point you fell into workaholic tendencies and lost that? If so, how did you bring it back?

        This is definitely something that I’ve worked on and have become more aware of over time. I definitely fall into workaholic tendencies and find myself having less and less time as my business grows, so for me, my form of self-care, oftentimes is sleeping eight hours. That’s a luxury for me. I always suggest putting your phone away at the end of the day, not having it in your bag. Or even something as simple as treating yourself to ice cream. Self-care, in my opinion, is a question of, “What makes you feel good?”

         

        You are so lucky to surround yourself around other power-house women that are absolutely killing it! Do you ever find yourself comparing or suffering from ‘imposter syndrome’?

        I talk about imposter syndrome in WorkParty and we’ve discussed it on our podcast. No one prepares you for imposter syndrome in business school, but the fear of personal failure is very real. I experienced it earlier in my career. The best way to deal with it is to remind yourself why you’re here and that you deserve to be here.

         

        What are some of the key takeaways from influential women you’ve talked to on the WorkParty podcast?

        Every modern working woman has her own strength in business, whether it be negotiating, or honing a pitch, or creating a killer tagline.

         

        What does a typical day in the life of Jaclyn Johnson look like today and how has it evolved from where you started?

        I get up early and like to be in the office before everyone else so I have some time to myself. Every day is different depending on what we’re currently working on, but I always make a to-do list. I'm a list maker and typically write my list once a day, crossing off items, and moving items over to the next day. After work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and disconnecting when I can. Entrepreneurship isn’t a 9-to-5 job, so I am usually answering emails at night, but I really love what I do so it’s worth it.

         

        We're 4!

        Holy shit. BootayBag is FOUR. Can you believe it? We can hardly. And DUH, we wouldn’t have made it to FOUR without you loyal AF babes! I started BootayBag on my apartment floor 4 years ago because SOMETHING had to be done. I just could no longer bring myself to...

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        Holy shit. BootayBag is FOUR. Can you believe it? We can hardly. And DUH, we wouldn’t have made it to FOUR without you loyal AF babes!

        I started BootayBag on my apartment floor 4 years ago because SOMETHING had to be done. I just could no longer bring myself to wait in line at another VS Semi Annual Sale. The unorganized sale bins, the over-bearing sales clerks, the ‘Angels’ everywhere you look, and the much over-used scent of Love Spell body spray. LIKE WHY was this the best option for underwear shopping? It wasn’t long until I realized many of you shared my same feelings. The amount of stress that went into shopping for something so intimate, yet an essential piece to a woman’s every day.

        So I figured, ‘Someone’s gotta do something about this’, little did I know it would be me. You know when you have that thought, ‘OMG, someone HAS to invent ‘x’ to solve for ‘y’’. It was exactly that thought. It was a real issue that needed solving, and I was the inventory. Plot twist: I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Even bigger plot twist: I still don’t. HOWEVER, I’ve learned a shit ton. So here it is:

          

        1. Underwear should be affordable. Why did I have to wait for the VS Semi Annual Sale to get affordable cute + sexy undies? Real talk: I was not about to be checking out at Target with a pre-packaged 4 pack of semi-cotton Hanes…

        2. Comfort can be cute. Secrets revealed: When I got into buying wholesale underwear (before BB had our own label), my options were camel-toe-lace, or cotton. I couldn’t understand why those two styles couldn’t be one (minus the unwanted camel toe). When I started designing our label, I had one focus in mind: mixing comfort + cute.
          
        3. You need more than basic black thongs in your underwear drawer. Listen, us basic babes need basic undies. BUTT* we also need those ‘feel good’ pairs.
          
        4. ALL WOMEN are Angels. You can be any shape, size, color, you name it - you’re an ‘Angel’. Marketing campaigns used to only feature 2 women: 00 and plus size. Wait, what? What about the in between? Did you know our social feeds are primarily made up of user generated content? Yep, it’s real. It’s you. It’s me. It’s authentic.
          
        5. Underwear is the most requested, LEAST donated item in women’s shelters. We were blown away by the demand for women’s underwear in shelters. Women need undies, and we’re doing our part to help with that in more ways than one (and encourage you to do the same!).
          
        6. STOP listening to the noise. Ok, this last one has nothing to do with undies, but just a reminder that there is a lot of noise and BS in this world, especially on social media. Everyday I remind myself to stay true to the brand, our mission, our community, and bust out the best product + service for our babes, sans noise.  

          I am SO beyond proud of this brand, our small but mighty all-female team, and of our expansive women-run community that continues to amaze me with the support and love you ladies give. Yes, we read ALL the comments on social. Yes, we hear you. Even better - we’re listening. We are coming together and creating some really cool shit… so with that — Cheers to 4, to a new decade, and to all you lovely ladies rocking your BB undies. Thank you for allowing us at BB HQ to do what we love every damn day.

          No Pants Blog

            PUMP THE BREAKS. You’re probably wondering… “Wait whaaaat? BootayBag has a blog? Since when?” Well, Since 2020 ;) Welcome to the No Pants Blog, babe! That’s right, you heard it here first… pants are optional. Here’s the 411: We’re real women with real-life shit going on every damn day. We...

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          PUMP THE BREAKS.

          You’re probably wondering… “Wait whaaaat? BootayBag has a blog? Since when?”
          Well, Since 2020 ;)

          Welcome to the No Pants Blog, babe! That’s right, you heard it here first… pants are optional.

          Here’s the 411: We’re real women with real-life shit going on every damn day. We are one-in-the-same, and we’re here to let you know you are not alone. We’re opening up the conversation to share that it’s all relatable. You’ve been there, we’ve been there. This blog is for you - a mix of light-hearted content, and a deep-dive into the real shit no one talks about.


          So with that,
          we ask that you please ask the hard questions and submit topics of interest. Let’s try our best to get through this thing called life together. Please keep in mind we are by no means experts here, (pretty damn far from it) but we want to share and celebrate the good, and laugh at the ugly, together. Why go through life in the dark? We’re here to shine the light.


          Here’s how it works: 
          We want to hear from you! All of our content is going to be based off of submissions from our community. To start, we are going to be opening this up on our Instagram Stories, so keep your eyes peeled for your opportunity to chime in on the conversation! We mean it when we say, ask us anything. There is no limit on the discussion we can have together as women! We can’t wait to get to know ourselves, our community, and you, the best that we can through collaboration and conversation.  

          PS - Are you a writer? Educator? Entrepreneur? Or just a boss babe?? We are looking to bring on some collaborators and guest authors so keep your eyes peeled for a submission form coming soon! 

          Finding Your Why

          I genuinely used to cringe when someone would ask me, "What is your purpose?" or "What are you passionate about?" Like, how TF do I figure that one out? Nothing like a loaded question from a total stranger sitting next to me on a long flight. I am passionate about...

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          Finding Your Why

          I genuinely used to cringe when someone would ask me, "What is your purpose?" or "What are you passionate about?" Like, how TF do I figure that one out? Nothing like a loaded question from a total stranger sitting next to me on a long flight. I am passionate about pizza. Does that mean I am supposed to tr(eat) pizza as my purpose? Now I am officially freaking out.

          I was quite literally searching for my purpose in all of the wrong places and felt incredibly lost until the day that question was reframed for me and now I ask everyone, "What is your why?"
           
          Look, I know this can sound like an overwhelming task, but I am here to help you.
          Pull out your sleek notebook, a cute pen and let's. get. to. work.

          Ask yourself these five questions:
           
          1. What am I doing when I feel my absolute favorite self?
          2. How am I adding value to those around me?
          3. What are my greatest strengths?
          4. What is my mission statement?
          5. How will I measure my life?

           
          Now, bathe in all your "why" glory. Sure, maybe right now all you see are words or doodles, but your answer is a unique combination of all the things on that beautiful piece of paper. Do not overthink it, do not try to piece it all together right this second IF what you are looking at is not completely igniting you. Our why is not surface level, it isn't a specific amount of money or a job or a partner or a status. In my experience, your why is number 90% number 5. How will you measure your life? You decide what you stand for and you live in alignment with it. Pay attention to how you feel, yes - feel, when you are going through the motions of your day to day. What moments are you looking forward to and why? Dive in with no judgement, no restrictions. Tuck any expectations about what you thought you'd be or who you'd be in a box that is contained by a chastity belt of sorts. Give yourself permission to explore what makes you feel the most YOU. Your why is slapping you right in the face. In a loving, sassy, pay attention to me kind of way.
           
          If you are still sitting with a blank face backed by a confused brain, end your list by writing down the answer to this question. What is your greatest weakness? Sit with that one for a moment. Once you wrap your beautiful head around it, think of how you can turn that weakness into your greatest strength. We wildly bizarre, curious, tough human beings often shove baby in the corner if you know what I mean. Let your freak flag fly and even if it is just for tonight, entertain the idea that you can be successful, fulfilled, fruitful and genuinely happy embracing the parts of you that feel foreign, tucked away and shamed.
           
          Stop Googling "What career path best suits my personality?" and start taking action.

          Morning Routine

          It is Sunday at 8pm and I am preparing for a kick ass week. I just finished up a face mask and turn on my humidifier. I crawl into bed with my planner and map out my week. FEELIN’ GOOD.

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          It is Sunday at 8pm and I am preparing for a kick ass week.

          I just finished up a face mask and turn on my humidifier. I crawl into bed with my planner and map out my week. FEELIN’ GOOD. I grab my phone, set the alarm for 6am and go HAM on the label because, when I see that in the morning, I will 1000% jolt out of bed with a pep in my step. Right?  

          "Beep! Beep! Beep!” I look at my phone and hit snooze to calm the abrupt sound and I remember what I did the night before. The label reads, “Good morning, gorgeous! Today is a shiny, new day! Don't you dare think about hitting snooze. You are capable and beautiful and smart, plus you promised you wouldn't hit snooze, so, you can't. The day is waiting for you! Let's seize it!”

          Truth is, I am not a morning person by nature. There. I said it. But, I do believe that through trial and error, there is a successful way for each of us to start our day. What works for a pal or badass influencer you admire, may not work for you and that is completely ok. I have done my research on morning routines and have tried nearly everything I have read and listened to. Through that, I found what works for me and I feel it is important to share.

          Morning routine tips:
          1. Really. Do not hit snooze. In the moment, it can feel incredible to imagine even 7 minutes more of beauty rest. However, the reality is, you will be more tired and more inclined to hit snooze for a second time. Monitor your habits. If you set your alarm for 5:45am, but hit snooze everyday until 6am, do yourself a favor and set your alarm for 6. You will genuinely gift yourself 15 extra minutes of your best sleep.

          2. Make your bed. This small action may feel impossible as you are still waking up, but it is indeed small movement which allows the blood to start flowing. Making your bed is an immediate accomplishment and will leave you feeling less enticed to lay back down if you are dragging.

          3. Natural Light and water. Let your entire body wake up at it’s own pace, yes, this includes your eyes. Make your way to the kitchen and begin opening curtains along the way. Let the natural light flow in and pour yourself a tall glass of water. We dehydrate over night and treating your parched, hard working vessel with H20 is the greatest gift you can give yourself. I promise myself I will finish my glass of water before I consume any coffee or tea.

          4. Fresh air. While I finish my water, I step outside into my backyard for a quick, light stretch and a few deep breaths of morning air. You can accomplish this tiny task in all seasons by simply opening a window momentarily. Breathing in fresh air replenishes the body and cleans out the lungs.

          5. Gratitudes. I could write and write and write on how gratitudes have set the tone for my day. Like attracts like, it is science. It is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the days to-do list, so do yourself this honor and acknowledge your gratitudes first. There are no rules about what you can be grateful be for, just mean it.

          That is it. That is my morning routine. It takes me 10 minutes.

          Listen up, I encourage you to try different things and see what works for you. If you don’t like the way it feels, don’t do it. I learned that less is more for me. I absolutely have a skin care routine, I drink my caffeine, I walk my dog, but adding every single thing I do in the morning to a list was overwhelming for me. I enjoy doing those extra things, but if I don’t get around to them in the morning, I don’t feel guilty for it. Figure out what works for you and commit.

          Other tips:

          Alarm clock vs. phone. Having an alarm clock wake you up gives you the opportunity to enjoy your morning routine (you time!) before you see your screen filled with notifications and distractions. Not to mention it is nostalgic. If you are using your phone, try putting it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode before you go to sleep and do not switch your device back on until after you have accomplished your morning routine. You deserve that.
           
          Sleep tracker. What happens to your mood and energy levels if you get more or less than the “recommended” 8 hours of sleep? Some people function better on 6 hours of sleep while others function better on 9 hours of sleep. We are all different. Knowing this about yourself could change your life.

           

          Mindful Drinking

          We've all been there. No judgement zone.   A casual happy hour marg turns into a 2 AM Grub Hub McDonalds delivery. SO. MUCH. FUN. Until you wake up. Tired AF, there is this fuzzy film feeling inside your mouth even though you are 50% confident you brushed your teeth....

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          We've all been there. No judgement zone.
           
          A casual happy hour marg turns into a 2 AM Grub Hub McDonalds delivery. SO. MUCH. FUN. Until you wake up. Tired AF, there is this fuzzy film feeling inside your mouth even though you are 50% confident you brushed your teeth. You feel, just gross. After you grab your phone and text your marg mate 10 skull emojis, you grab your ice roller because you are an adult and you have to show up for the day. While showering and contemplating if you should just throw up, you drop the famous line, "I'm never drinking again."
           
          Press rewind. When practicing mindful drinking, you can indeed meet for that marg, remember the evening in its entirety and wake up feeling refreshed. Now doesn't that sounds like, so much better? I know, easier said than done. #guilty. God bless those souls that live by the one and done motto. Kudos.
           
          Unless you are living under a rock, you've probably heard sobriety is trending. Sobercurious is a thang. Is alcohol becoming the new cigarette? Stay with me. When I was utilizing my fake ID (approximately age 17) human beings were allowed to smoke cigarettes in restaurants and bars. You may recall being asked if you'd like to sit in the non smoking section. The marketing of health risks associated with smoking were on the rise, but cigarette companies were paying unfathomable amounts of money to continue running television, print and face to face marketing. Obviously we all know they didn't win that fight.

          When is the last time you have seen any marketing promoting cigarettes? Long, long, long, long time ago. Alcohol companies do the same exact thing. Google any commercial promoting alcohol. Looks like the best damn time of your life. You look so hot, the drink is so refreshing and instagram worthy, obviously the hottest guy around wants, you guessed it, you. Glorious.

          Trust me, I love a spicy marg and can easily enjoy a bottle of wine to myself, again, no judgement. Point is. Predictions are being made that soon we will see marketing exploring the health risks of alcohol. Being the go-to party friend might not be "cool" for much longer.

          Listen, this read isn't intended for someone who has a real dependency on alcohol. The only way to drink alcohol with a dependency is to NOT. I am just going to jump up on my soapbox real quick to say (ahem) WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT THIS. If you are feeling like you may have a dependency on alcohol, do not be ashamed. You are not alone. It is okay to ask for help. Your people will love and support you on your road to recovery.

          Questions to ask yourself:
            • Am I honest when asked how many drinks I have per week? Yes, this includes when your doctor asks.
            • Do I hide my drinking from the people closest to me?
            • Do I wake up groggy or hungover multiple times a week? ...Every week?

          Please note. I am not an expert, not trying to be. Only sharing what I have researched, read and learned from being my brothers number one fan during his journey through rehab.
          Mindful drinking is all about (drumroll) being mindful. This is about reprogramming your patterns to live a more bountiful life.

          How many times have you woke up worried about what you may have said the night before? How many times have you said yes to that third martini because everyone else did? How many times have you opened a bottle of wine at home with the intention of having a glass and accidentally downed the entire thing? Me too. Me too.

          Let's get to it.

          Mindful drinking step one. You need to have a plan. When asked what you'd like to drink, it is easy to word vomit your "go to" or the classic line "I'll have whatever she's having". Your plan consists of a.) you're non alcoholic drink of choice. I personally love a good ginger beer. b.) your reason. People are nosey, curious, interested, whatever word you want to use for all up in your business and they could ask, why aren't you drinking? Honesty is the best policy, but if you have an inkling that the person asking you is going to give you a hard time or poke fun, have a plan of how you will respond. This is your body and your decision. Anyone who teases you about making healthy life decisions is projecting and you should probably reevaluate if there is a real friendship there.

          Mindful drinking step two. Sober experiences. Go to a dinner, a concert or a birthday and do not drink. If you have step one thought out, you are setting step two up for success. Having something in your hand to casually sip during the countless opportunities for awkward, silent yet extremely loud moments throughout an evening out just feels safe. Once you encounter this experience a couple of times, you will feel much less dependent on that glass and much more in control of the situation. Promise.

          Mindful drinking step three. Although Dry January and Sober September are excellent times to kick off your mindful drinking journey, try to relate a diet to our current conversation. When you are on a diet, do you notice that for the first (eh) 30 days you think about food more than you ever have before? We call this one (drumroll please) a lifestyle adjustment. Call it what it is, the law of attraction. When you are focusing on the idea of never being able to drink again, you very well may taste that sweet sip of Sauv Blanc as it touches the lips of someone three tables away. We are not complicated. We are just extremely capable of desiring what we cannot have.

          Let me elaborate. When I am on my death bed begging for my final meal, I will be demanding a bottle, maybe two (just in case) of red wine before I ask for my medium rare steak. I will enjoy champagne on fine occasions, I will consciously sip a tasty marg, I will drink a cider at Octoberfest. I will also wake up with a hangover many times over the course of the rest of my life. If I choose to. Mindful drinking is about a choice. This is not about quitting for life, unless that is the healthiest move for you, power on. This is about taking back the control back, setting new rules and redefining what part alcohol plays in your life.

          Everything you are most fearful of missing out on, you will gain in other facets of your mindful life. Give it a go. What do you have to lose other than a hangover?

          Home Decor On A Budget

          Whether you want to turn your Dorm Room into the most Instagramable spot on Campus (AYE!) or you just spent all of your life savings on the cutest house that you now cannot afford to decorate. I’ve got you. Here are my top 5 tips to flip a room right...

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          Whether you want to turn your Dorm Room into the most Instagramable spot on Campus (AYE!) or you just spent all of your life savings on the cutest house that you now cannot afford to decorate. I’ve got you. Here are my top 5 tips to flip a room right side up, honey.

          1.Fixtures. Now, I gotta be honest, I don’t know the Dorm rules on this. I know the saying “ask for forgiveness” is a real thing, but in this case, I do suggest asking first. Losing your deposit or all hope of your parents ever co-signing for you ever again is not worth a light fixture. In most cases, if you keep the original fixture, offer to replace it on your own and reinstall the old fixture upon moving out, you should have no issues. If the rules say NO, go thrifting for a floor lamp and utilize the fixture there instead! Fixtures can completely transform a room without breaking the bank. Visit Amazon or Wayfair for some of the grandest deals around.

          2. Wall Art. Did you know it doesn’t have to cost a fortune? Etsy printables are where it’s at. Search digital printing and have yourself a hay day. Best part, most shops give you options. You can either have the design printed and sent to your door or order the art digitally and send it in yourself for printing. I have price comp’d this. if you have the time and have a tighter budget, I suggest getting the high resolution image printed yourself to save you a few bucks. Use those saved bucks and put them toward a bold frame.

          3. Make it cozy. Little touches such as throw pillows, blankets and candles are inexpensive purchases that can make your space feel like home. Throw pillows can run you $50 a pop. My suggestion is to grab some old pillows and order covers that fit your style from Amazon. Best place to find quality blankets and candles without breaking the bank is TJ MAXX or Marshalls. Hot tip. Whenever I would call my mom in College or when I first moved out of state and told her I was homesick, she would send me candles that reminded me of home. Give it a try.

          4. Organization and Storage. This is most important for small spaces. There are easy, inexpensive ways to keep your space clutter free. Do you have unused space under your bed? Empty drawers? Overhead closet space? Every inch can be maximized. Clothing racks are a trendy way to showcase your favorite items. End cap the rack with hats, use the bottom to store shoes and even hang jewelry.

          5. The Stand Out. Before starting in on any new space, I want you to ask yourself this question. How do I want people to feel when they are in my home? Be mindful about every little thing you buy. What is the purpose? Does it fit the intention you’ve created for your space?

          Five Healthy Recipes That Won't Break The Bank

          We know how it goes. Conscious eating can be intimidating, especially if you are working with a budget. Comparing the cost of a Tostinos Frozen Pizza to 1 pound of Organic Chicken just pisses me off. I remember the first time I bit the bullet and went for the Chicken....

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          We know how it goes. Conscious eating can be intimidating, especially if you are working with a budget. Comparing the cost of a Tostinos Frozen Pizza to 1 pound of Organic Chicken just pisses me off. I remember the first time I bit the bullet and went for the Chicken. I had no idea how to cook it and instead of calling Mom, I just went for it. No lie, it looked decent. I spent my meal budget on the Chicken, so I had Cheetos for a side. I bit into the chicken and it was so overcooked that it disintegrated in my mouth. End of the story is that I had Cheetos for dinner and it took me until Pinterest became a thing to try cooking Chicken again.

          Your body is a vessel. Let’s look at some easy, healthy, affordable recipes that’ll leave you looking forward to leftovers.

           

          Before we dive into recipes, let’s talk about some kitchen staples that you may want to consider purchasing next time you are grocery shopping.

          1. Sunflower Oil. This is a great alternative to the expensive Olive Oil.
          2. Jar of minced Garlic.
          3. Salt and Pepper.

           

          Again, Chicken is a tough place to start. A couple of these recipes call for chicken, but I selected these specific recipes because a good ol’ rotisserie chicken will do the trick.

           

          1. Italian Sausage Scrambler.

          Ingredients:

          1 lb italian sausage
          1 large yellow onion
          1 bag of mini peppers
          1 spoonful of minced garlic (chefs discretion)
          6 oz can of tomato paste
          salt and pepper to taste

          Directions:

          Heat sunflower oil over medium heat in large skillet. Dice peppers and onion and add to skillet. Once sauted, add Italian sausage and garlic. Once sausage is browned, drain access oil. On low heat, add tomato paste and stir until evenly mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste, let simmer for 5 minutes and serve!

           

          2. Healthy Ramen.

          Ingredients:

          1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
          2 noodled zucchinis
          6 cups chicken broth
          2 eggs
          1 cup green onion
          1 spoonful garlic
          1 jalapeno thinly sliced
          1 cup cilantro
          1 cup carrots
          salt, pepper, sugar and sriracha can be added for additional flavor

          Directions:

          Chop all veggies as desired. In a medium saucepan, add chicken broth, zucchini noodles, chopped vegetables and bring to a bowl. Let bowl on high heat for 10 minutes. Add chicken and let simmer. In a small skillet, scramble 2 eggs. When serving, add eggs on top of the dish.

           

          3. No Guilt Pasta.

          Ingredients:

          1 box gluten free or veggie noodles
          1 tbsp sunflower oil
          1 cup baby spinach
          8 oz can diced tomato
          1 cup parmesan or mozzarella cheese
          for additional taste: salt and pepper,
          red chili pepper flakes and garlic

          Directions:

          Bowl noodles in the appropriate size saucepan. Once cooked, drain and pour back into saucepan. Keep on low heat. Add garlic, spinach, tomatoes, salt and pepper, red chili pepper flakes and stir until blended. Once spinach is cooked, add cheese and watch it melt deliciously.

           

          4. Taco Casserole.

          Ingredients:

          1 lb ground beef
          6 corn tortillas
          1 cup Mexican blend cheese
          1 cup chopped green onion
          1 cup chopped green pepper
          1 cup cilantro
          8 oz can corn
          8 oz can of black beans
          1 pre-made packet of low sodium taco seasoning

          Directions:

          Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and prep baking dish with a light drizzle of sunflower oil. Chop green onion and green peppers to desired size and In a medium skillet, begin to sauté for 10 minutes. Add ground beef to skillet with a tablespoon of water to finely break up meat. Once cooked, drain and return to skillet. On low heat, drain canned corn and black beans. Add corn, black beans and desired taco seasoning to skillet and mix thoroughly. We are ready to build to casserole! Lay 3 corn tortillas at the base of your baking dish. Scoop a portion of your taco concoction and layer evenly on base layer of tortillas. Top your first layer off with a handful of cheese. Repeat with your last 3 corn tortillas and pour the remaining skillet ingredients on top - don’t forget the cheese! Gently toss your casserole in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Once browned, remove from the oven and let your casserole cool. Top with cilantro and enjoy!

           

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