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...Read More
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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...Read More
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.
- Little Fires Everywhere
- When Life Gives You Lululemons
- Where The Crawdads Sing
- The Glass Hotel
- City of Girls
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.
- The Ordinary Peeling Solution - The $7 holy grail.
- Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stemcell Mask - This one goes on clear so you can mask + Zoom without anyone knowing ;)
- Farmacy Coconut Sheet Mask - Pro tip: keep them in the refrigerator!
- Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Mask - We’ve all got baggage let’s be real.
- Patchology Hydrating Lip Gels - For buttery soft lips finish with Summer Friday’s new Lip Butter Balm!
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'...Read More
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.
- Social Media
- Inner Circle
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
Solid or striped bodysuits (various sleeve lengths)
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?
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...Read More
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...Read More
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:
- Do you have to see a gyno?
- Some primary care physicians perform pap tests, but typically they are done by a gynecologist.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- Each doctor varies, but around 1 week is average.
- 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 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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...Read More
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
How I Built This with Guy Raz
Help Me Be Me
Perfectionism Project with Sam Laura Brown
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...Read More
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.
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...Read More
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!
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...Read More
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...Read More
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.
What am I doing when I feel my absolute favorite self?
How am I adding value to those around me?
What are my greatest strengths?
What is my mission statement?
How will I measure my life?
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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....Read More
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?
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...Read More
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....Read More
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.
- Sunflower Oil. This is a great alternative to the expensive Olive Oil.
- Jar of minced Garlic.
- 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.
2. Healthy Ramen.
3. No Guilt Pasta.
4. Taco Casserole.