A few years ago, I picked up violin lessons at Bantam Studios(Hey Pete!) Every week I would drive, park under the BQE and a very peculiar place would catch my eye. I would see people going in and no one ever coming out. I didn't realize at the time that this indication was a good sign. At first glance, Body By Brooklyn looks like a hipster restaurant but what's inside is more fulfilling than food(is that even possible?!) Recently, I've had the pleasure of experiencing Body By Brooklyn in its entirety and I want to give two women the opportunity to do the same.
2018 is all about self-love and self-care and my past giveaways were more product oriented, I wanted to do something a little more personal and provide an experience that many of my readers may not be able to provide for themselves. Indulge with me and have a spa day at Body by Brooklyn, here's what I'm giving away:
All Day Pass for the wet lounge to be used Mon - Friday
Access to the Russian & Swedish Sauna
Turkish Aroma Steam Room
Thermal Hot Tub
Cold Plunge Pool
Complimentary glass of champagne
Complimentary scrub pack for the Sauna
Entering is easy, all you have to do is comment which date you'll be available to go. 1 comment = 1 entry
To make things interesting follow @bodybybrooklyn on Instagram and hashtag their latest photo with #rahnaygiveaway for an additional entry
Tweet this blog post for an additional entry
Good Luck! Winners will be chosen at random and announced Weds February 7, 2018.
*This is a sponsored post!
As a woman coming of age, I’ve always known how important my feminine health was. Since I was a young girl, I’ve had many issues and complications that lead to me being a little more wary in regards to not only my feminine health but leading a healthy sexual lifestyle as well. I was diagnosed with a cyst at a young age and later, following childbirth HPV. I made sure to get tested on a monthly basis whether or not I was switching sexual partners and I also kept up with my yearly PAP smears. Although HPV can resolve on it’s own, if left untreated it can lead to cervical cancer and other issues like infertility. Yes, condoms and protective measures are important but more important than that are yearly pap smears(twice a year if you’ve had HPV) and constant check ups are the only sure way to stay safe.
Chlamydia is one of the leading causes of HPV infections and cervical cancer. Currently, in the UK notablyEast Yorkshire and Humber, Chlamydia is on the rise. Because of it’s sneaky nature and non symptomatic effects, Chlamydia is allowed fester and causes tons of harm to the reproductive organs including the possibility of infertility. More than 70% of women who have been diagnosed with Chlamydia never experienced any symptoms in comparison to 30% of men diagnosed who have never experienced symptoms. It takes 3 to 6 weeks for Chlamydia to be symptomatic if the symptoms even appear at all.
Just to be clear, there doesn’t need to be penetration for you to contract Chlamydia. As long as there are sexual fluids present, it is possible to spread the infection. Activities that could unknowingly spread Chlamydia include but are not limited to anal sex, oral sex, vaginal penetration, sharing dildos and toys without proper sterilization, and reusing condoms.
If you have come into contact with someone who has Chlamydia or believe they have contracted it, do not wait. You can get Chlamydia testing for free at the clinic. Some people, understandably so are a little more hesitant and too embarrassed to go to a public place for STD testing and diagnosis so, The Independent Pharmacy allows you to test in the comfort of your own home and acquire the proper Chlamydia treatment online. You can swab a sample and send it back them, just like the free clinic takes a sample from you and get the results within a shorter time frame, only 3 working days. Following that, if it’s determined that you do in fact have Chlamydia, you can also purchase the necessary medication right from the website and have shipped to your front door.
The testing lab that the Independent Pharmacy uses is a well known and trusted lab in the UK and meets all governmental code and requirements.
*This is a sponsored post!
One of the biggest issues we had when creating a safe space for Sai was the material we would use for him. Inside was easy, as Target and Toys R Us have those washable mats that are pretty durable. Outside, on the other hand was no walk in the park. The elements are always against. In New York, and I'm sure in the UK, streets are repaved yearly after treacherous winters wreak havoc on our concrete. It's even evident at our parks that most materials don't hold up despite not having the same wear and tear as concrete. This is a problem that Soft Surfaces has a solution for. If you're creating a safe space for your kid in the UK, Soft Surfaces provides unmatched knowledge, a high level of quality and a guarantee of safety to keep kids safe. Soft Surfaces specializes in Wet Pour which is commonly utilized under play equipment but can also be used in backyards and areas without play equipment. The material is sponge like and soft meaning running, jumping, playing and even falling gives as little injury as possible. The best part about Wet Pour is that it can be 100% customizable with artwork and colors to create a playful, friendly environment for children of all ages. As per budget, the size of the Wet Pour and area determined the cost but in the United Kingdom Soft Surfaces LTD works with you to find something that fits your budget.
This post has affiliate links! Feel free to click and shop.
1. Rock a bodysuit
After out mid sections expand and attempt to rubber band back to normal, we still try to hold on to our former selves. Our past lives of Forever21 camis and tight H&M tees are over. Bodysuits give coverage to your front and your back without the plumbers crack or chicho cleavage.
2. Not every jean needs to be skin tight
In the 2000s it was all about the skinny low rise. While we gasped at our moms rocking their mom jeans, we can do it too with a little more pizazz. Mom jeans are flattering to the tummy area without being too tight and still provides the assmazing view of the backside you want. Plus with the options of shoes to wear the jeans become much greater. My favorite pair of jeans came from Banana Republic.
3. Show your arms/ shoulders
You can be sexy without showing cleavage. I was so ecstatic to see off the shoulder tops make a come back. Those things were my favorite. You can grab some cute, inexpensive, off the shoulder shirts from my favorite site SheIn or from Rainbows if you are close to one. Some of them are similar to styles you may have seen at Zara for a fraction of the price.
4. Get fitted professionally for a bra
One of my biggest post partum challenges was the guess work of my bra size. I was doing the math adding and subtracting 32s, 34s, dividing cups until I figured something that I thought worked for me. A bad bra can ruin a great outfit. There's no need for your bra to be so tight that your skin seeps underneath in a cry for help. Back fat shouldn't be accentuated unless of course that's your thing. No one has the same size boobs all their life and like a pap smear you should be getting fitted yearly. AdoreMe.com is actually doing FREE fittings this month so check them out.
5. Go from body con to skater
As a smaller lady, my go to outfit was a crop top, body con skirt and Tory Burch flats. Now that I have a little more meat on me, I wear body con skirts occasionally but I really love A-line and skater skirts. They're so feminine and stylish. You can add elements like a leather jacket or studs to create a cute, contrasting look.
6. Do not get rid of your crop tops
Yes, I know the majority of us don't want to show our stomach and that's fine. But, do not get rid of your crop tops. Crop tops are not only great layering pieces but are excellent to pair with high waisted linen pants and a- line skirts.
I know you probably read the title in awe. Probably cursing me out as you read this calling me all sorts of names, maybe stanky leg, stinky butt or whatever else is clever. But the truth is it's not that bad. There is life outside of deodorant(for the most of us anyway).
Ever since I was a young girl, wearing deodorant was sort of a rite of passage in which you cross into adulthood. I still remember the name of my very first deodorant; Team Spirit. Through my journey of life, I've seen many family members go through ailments, people die for drinking and smoking and on the extreme end, people dying for absolutely no reason at all. I gave up meat last year and it was a very long time before I had a steak again. Now, I may eat meat every other month if the mood hits me. After reading articles about pus and the mistreatment of cows, I decided that maybe milk wasn't the best thing. We switched to almond milk. I gave up cheese altogether.
Giving up certain foods has caused me to be the butt of many jokes, and sometimes being called a fool. Rightfully so. While I was giving up these things I was putting into my body, not once did I pay attention to the things I was putting on my body. Such as laundry detergents, facial washes, perfumes and deodorant.
If you thought looking at an ingredient list for a bag of chips would make you crazy, just try looking at the ingredients on a can of hair spray. The majority of them you would probably have to Google and when you see their other uses, you'd probably be shocked as hell to know that you're spraying that in the air or any where close to your face. This was my shock when I looked at the ingredients of my beloved Secret deodorant.
Thinking back to when I was a young girl, I would find lumps underneath my arms after extended uses of deodorant. My grandma told me I just needed to change the deodorant but I never asked why or what it was. There is no solid evidence and it's only suggested that swollen lymph nodes can be attributed to life altering diseases such as breast cancer and lymphoma. Why was smelling good possibly worth the cost of my life?
Honestly, it's not but here's my journey of my one month without deodorant.
Weather is mild 50's to low 60's. Raining occasionally and dark.
All is well. Shower daily, smell decent, did not shave all is well with the world.
One day in upper 80's. Mostly 60-70 degrees. No rain in sight and sunny as hell.
Going strong, smelled a little musty one day towards the end of the day. Kept underarms to self. Enjoyed life. Gives up cheese.
Decent days, low 60's no rain. Sun with clouds.
The stench hit the motherfucking fan. Increased activity, and nervousness. Changed soap from almond and patchouli to citrus. Smelled like onions from the hot dog cart. Feeling wild self conscious. Tried to mask it with perfume. Failed immensely. Body changed smells through different emotions. First time I've ever noticed it. Smell subsides when emotions subsides, or maybe my nose grew accustom to it. LMFAO. That's terrible. Shirts smell terrible at the end of the day.
Gloomy and cold. Low 50s - mid 60's. Went on vacation for two days, hot, muggy and 87 degrees.
Switches back to patchouli and almond soaps. Decided not to bathe for 2 days. Smells perfectly fine. Drinks more water. Controls sweat through controlling nervousness smell subsides when emotions subsides. Shirts do not smell after being taken off.
What I can say is that I smell different at certain stages of the day and certain emotions trigger different responses which I have never noticed in my whole life. I have been some accustomed to smelling like Dove and Secret that I never took the time to smell me. It was also really cool to figure out that citrus oils did not blend well with my body's natural chemistry which was shocking because I was using that soap before I decided to give it up. Dr. Bronners soap has become my go to body wash and I can't wait to explore with fragrances.
Obviously, I am not the first person to do this!
Check out these other articles on going aluminum free!
Having a new addition to the family is wondrous, beautiful event. It can also cause a lot of stress on the parents and sometimes can severely strain the relationship. Dealing with a new body or PPD as a new mom is one thing but once that is over, how do you find time to balance your new lives as parents while not losing who you are and keeping up with your love life?
There is no easy solution for any of these problems nor is it a one size fix all solution but know that you're not alone. A study conducted back in 2014 says that men usually lose 1/3 of their testosterone and show a decrease in sex drive when actively being around an infant for more than 3 hours a day. Having a spouse that's less aggresive than usual and a poop tired mommy could spell disaster for an otherwise flourishing sex life.
A decrease in sex doesn't always have to end in a split or infidelity. Realizing what's going on in your relationship and keeping the lines of communication open is crucial to saving it. Talking about sex expectations or needs in a non confrontational and unthreatening way can actually be an eye opener for both parties and lead to an increase of sex in the bedroom or at least the attempt.
In my own experience, I have found that it was a lot easier to engage in getting my cheeks busted when Sai was not in the room with us. Some parents love to co-sleep, I however enjoy sex with my man without a crying baby in between us so, I sleep trained Sai at the tender age of 6 weeks. Now that he is almost 2, I can give Corey head in the morning without worrying about my son staring me in the face or asking me what I'm doing to daddy. If co-sleeping is absolutely something your and your significant other can not give up, morning sex in the shower or in the living room while the kids are still sleep may be something that will work better for you. Or the classic, take your ass down for a nap time.
Here are some tips that helped us rekindle our spark:
1. Being open and honest about both of our weight changes after the baby
Both of us had very different bodies after Sai, he lost a ton of weight and I seemed to take the weight that he lost and then some. He thought my extra weight was unattractive and I was too busy dealing with stress of going back to work amongst other shit to worry about jogging around anyone's track. We finally had a real conversation about the changes our body had gone through and both of us ended up meeting half way. I increased my yoga, ran once a week and took up tennis and he let me feed him without doing 1,000 push ups every day.
2. Being vocal about what turned me(us) off & meeting half way
After having a baby, your hormones are all over the place and anything will send you into a whirlwind of emotion (anger included), I found myself rolling my eyes, sucking my teeth or just being nasty for no apparent reason. If something upset me, I would express it and leave it right there. I constantly told him I would eventually get over it, which I did so there was no need to drag it.
3. Mandatory date nights
Date nights are so important to relationships. They force you to get off your couch, out of your house and experience something new. Leave your phones in your bag/pocket or put them on the table face down. Get to enjoy each other, talk about new goals and what's going on in your separate lives. They don't have to be the same each week because having those habits can be problematic when other events arise. It also technically doesn't have to be a date "night" because as parents, we know how difficult it is to find reliable baby sitters. Maybe, it's meeting up for a beer once a week before picking up the baby or scheduling lunch if you work in the same vicinity. Once yo get married or have a baby, there's no reason to stop doing the stuff that made you fall in love with each other in the first place.
4. Scheduling sex before dinner
If you're feeding him, you should also be feeding him if you get what I mean. If you let your kids watch TV, schedule a quickie session right before dinner while the munchkins are watching their favorite show.
5. Introduce something new
Sometimes, as parents, we forget about sex until it's brought up. There's a Babeland right downtown on Flatbush, stop in and pick up a vibrator. You can buy an inexpensive new piece of lingerie at Rainbow and actually wear it one night randomly after you shower or on a date night. If you're not a lingerie girl, buying cute new PJ's works too. My favorite thing to do is to take a picture while I'm in the bathroom and send it while he's still sitting at the table. These are really easy things to do.
6. Foreplay never ends
Look at your conversation with your spouse, if you have to scroll more than once to find a sexy picture or a loving comment and the last text was two days ago about putting chicken to dethaw, re-think your strategy. Single people are masters at being spicy and sending those "I'm thinking about you texts" with the pictures attached so don't let them beat you!
I can't tell you how many statuses on Facebook I see of "What shows should I watch on Netflix" and people comment the same old boring shows that should have binged watched years ago like Orange is The New Black, Jessica Jones or our old time favorite that's being renewed for a new season(hallelujah), House of Cards. The original series that Netflix has been pushing out lately have been nothing short of amazing. I love to watch shows from other countries because they are way more gory than US shows. To see my Netflix and Chill part 1 series click here. Part two gets a little crazy so strap on your seat belts!
1. The Get Down
Hip Hop roots, DJ battles and the life of teenagers all wrapped in one.
A land by the name of the offshore, causes a group of people to go through "the process" to win a place in the promise land and out of poverty. Think the Hunger Games in a show form.
A long lost brother comes into this guy's life and absolutely ruins it. Turns the whole shit upside down. Oh, and then he enlists his brother to help him clean up crimes for the mob.
4. Black Mirror
This was on my last list but it's gotten even better since the new season dropped. It's basically a mini series, inside of smaller mini series in each episode but it's some sick off the wall shit. And it's soooo good.
Orange Is the New Black is cute but these women get down and dirty. Raw and uncut.
You know, I actually fell asleep on this show multiple times but Corey binge watched at 4 am so it must be delicious.
Aboriginal creatures that live in the future and try to blend in with society.
What happens when you thought you killed someone and you really didn't? A shit storm. This show is incredible but please don't watch it in the English version because the voices are horrible.
9. Cutthroat Kitchen
I'm in love with this show. It's Masterchef on crack and the host is so cynical you can literally watch all 4 seasons in one sitting.
A documentary about the for profit, modern day slavery that happens in the prison system in the United States.
One show that every one else loved but I couldn't get jiggy with:
Slowest story of the year award:
The Killing, omg I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep at 2 o'clock in the afternoon attempting to watch this show.
While I was pregnant, I used yoga to alleviate my back pain and for mental clarity through meditation. I've been doing yoga for a few years and since starting, my yoga practice has elevated from using rain forest and white noise sound tracks to full out Trey Songz, Partynextdoor and Bryson Tiller playlists. I had no idea what I was doing had a name and is recognized as #trapyoga where black girls are uniting their love for yoga and trap soul.
Although I am still a newbie, Yoga has been more than just a tool for my back pain, it has become a key element in my every day life especially after becoming incontinent from losing the muscles in my pelvic floor following my emergency c-section. Yoga allows for flexibility and also increases your libido through increased blood flow so it's also good for women who have lost their sexual appetite due to pregnancy.
Even though the majority of yoga you will see on this post is done in workout clothes, personally, I do it naked or in lingerie. Yoga is beautiful and can be sexy and should be treated as such. For those who are apprehensive about yoga, I recommend trying it in a mirror in whatever you feel comfortable in.
*KEY NOTES = click the link to be directed to each yogi's instagram
Who doesn't love a good arch? This cow pose in conjunction with the cat pose strengthens your kegel muscles for stronger contraction action and great orgasms.
Excellent for stretching thigh muscles and relieving tension in the hips. No tensing up! Also extremely easy to do for beginners.
Gets the blood rushing! Do I really have to spell this one out for you?
Calms the mind and cures muscle tension plus your ass is up in the air.
This pose is targeted to the vaginal area, focusing on the cervix. Once you release this pose, blood rushes through the cervix area prepping your coochie for some activity.
Wide legged Straddle
This was the first difficult pose I learned how to master. There are many variations of this pose including an aerial one which is easier for beginners. This pose is great for libido, increasing blood flow in the pelvic area. And, any sexual partner will appreciate a solid split.
Since becoming a Pescatarian(someone who only eats fish and veggies), I have been very conscious of what I allow inside my body as well as on top of it. I've been battling blackheads and spots since the birth of my LO, and my ultimate goal is to have beautiful glowing skin without a shit load of highlighter.
I’ve changed my skin routine several times, learning as I go. Differentiating oily vs dry, how the seasons affect our skin, how our dietary intake plays a role and that a large majority of us have combination skin (me included). It can be overwhelming when walking into a Sephora or Rite Aid and seeing tons of products and not knowing which ones to pick. Through my research(trial and error), I have learned that salicylic acid, Vitamin e and Argan Stem cells are my best friends. My ultimate goal was to find a regimen that cleans, tightens and moisturizes BUT also keeps me glowing.
Like every other aspect of my life, I love mixing high and low brands. I wear Louis Vuitton with Danice, David Yurman with Forever21 and it’s not a surprise that my skin care routine is no different. I purchased a Rite Aid brand pore facial scrub and I exfoliate twice daily. I use Lush and Avon masks once a week and I’ve been rocking with Charlotte Lacroix every day.
Usually at night, I remove any makeup but since I did the #nomakeupchallenge I had none to remove. I rinse my face with hot water. Then, I used the Rite Aid scrub that has two percent salicylic acid. After the scrub, twice a week, I use a lush clay mask or my Avon Clay mask(which also has salicylic acid in it) to penetrate pores and pull out and gunk that accumulated during the week. I rinse with cold water to close my pores. Following these steps, my skin is soft but way too dry. To bring it back to life, I apply Charlotte Lacroix firming face serum. Two pumps is more than sufficient for my whole face. I pat the product all over until it has been absorbed. I sleep with it over night and in the morning I wake up with skin smoother than a baby’s bum. I use the scrub again and moisturize with the day cream and go about my day.
After my face dries, I use Charlotte Lacroix serum for moisturizing at night and the day cream during the day. Unless it’s like 1,000 degrees outside then I also use the face serum during the day, sparingly though. The day cream reminds me of being a little girl, as when I was younger, my grandmother made me use Pond’s cold cream in the morning before school and told me to take care of my skin now so I can look like her when I get to her age. However, that Pond’s cold cream is absolutely unbearable in NY summer heat.
Charlotte Lacroix’s products visibly rejuvenates the collagen in my skin. The night serum is light and slightly fragranced. The use of the facial scrub with salicylic acid in conjunction with the the Charlotte Lacroix moisturizes have drastically reduced the size of my pores and the amount of blackheads over time. I’ve been abusing the under eye cream which was a tad bit harsh at first. It turned my skin red initially but it’s wonderful for a little pick me up after a night of no sleep. Yes, that still happens occasionally even with a two year old.
I’ve been receiving tons of compliments even from my love Corey who, one night touched my face and asked me if I was wearing make up. For once, I was enthused to tell him that it was just my face. Charlotte Lacroix’s products have been the topping on my cake for my skin routine.
I'll be posting photos on my twitter with my mask after using Charlotte Lacroix and my new regimen. The mask shows any large pores you may have. Below is a picture of my first time wearing makeup, I still have some large pores but a large majority of them have gotten visibly smaller in 15 days. My complexion looks cohesive and my skin super smooth. (SN: I'm not wearing any highlighter!) This is without changing my diet. I’m excited to see how far Charlotte Lacroix’s products can take me with water intake and diet change. I will post a review update in another 2 months.
Before you leave, let me know your night routine, your favorite products and what works for you!