Women, We Did This

An illustration of an older woman in a kimono

I look into my tía’s eyes
Her eyes are red with anguish
For my sister who is in labor
I can’t even look into my mother’s eyes
I know I’ll see my sister’s screams there too
We agonize when the women we love are in pain
We agonize when we know the pain ourselves
It’s over, oh thank God, it’s over
A baby boy, skin bright red, is yelling
I look around the room and my heart swells with pride
To see it was all women side by side
The doctor, nurses, mothers, tías, sisters
We have always ushered in life
Since the beginning
We are innately empowered and gifted
We have not always been thus uplifted
Triumph gleaming out of every eye
We did this 

Something so strong I had witnessed
The intrinsic, unbreakable bond between women
That has also withstood the ages
We are tied and tethered, and when we work together
We are powerful beyond understanding
Beyond the words that can be expressed
Women, our power breaks through the pages
Like the rising sun that spreads across the canyons
Filling every cold, dark crevice with light
Strength that makes the world go ‘round
We did this 

A mother with a swollen belly
Torn between two countries
Forced to leave behind her little girls
Crosses the border to give birth to her son
She risks her life for her family
She sacrifices all for the children yet unseen
For a dream far out of reach from the between
Who can understand this?
This granddaughter can
She did it for me and she did it for us
Her legacy is her daughters having daughters
Who no longer have to risk their lives crossing waters
Her legacy is granddaughters traveling the world with ease
Granddaughters graduating with their Master’s Degrees
Abuela, you did this
We did this 

We honor the women who have done the crossing for us
We remember the women wiping tear-stained eyes in the dust
Whose hearts broke to leave their own mothers behind
Whose worn feet, hands and backs
Tell the story of love poured out under the scorching sun
In their memory, we find our strength to run
We are the seeds you birthed in grief
We grow and flourish beneath your radiance
Like the bougainvillea plant Mami loves so much
We, the next generation, emit the most joyful fragrance
We did this 

My sister refuses to get out of bed
All desire for living drained out of her young eyes
She scribbles swirls of darkness onto a white page
This is what’s happening inside of me she says
Sisters on a sunny day begging her to get out of bed and live
Women surround her; we have life to give
Pastors, therapists, mothers, sisters
Please tell us your pain
We love you; let us help you
Little sister, you choose to face your pain
We walk with you toward the light
We carefully tend to the tiny flame of life
Healing wraps her gentle arms around you
You find the courage and strength deep within
Now you are becoming a therapist to guide others
Through the healing labor of birthing wholeness
You did this
We did this 

Women, we succeed when we all thrive
There is nothing we cannot overcome
There is no one we cannot become
There is no seed we cannot nurture
There is no wound we cannot suture
Since time immemorial
Uplifted by our powerful history
We walk with our heads held high
Triumph gleaming in our eyes
As we look to each other and proclaim
We did this  

Image via Agata Rek, Darling Issue No. 22


Women in History Whose Names You May Not Have Learned in Grade School

A little girl's backpack

Abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone said, “I believe that the influence of woman will save the country before every other power.” In honor of Women’s History Month, here are five female activists who fought for equal rights and who are not often found in school history books. 

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was a poet, activist and abolitionist. She was raised by her abolitionist uncle in Baltimore, Maryland, a “slave state,” where she lived as a free Black woman. Harper authored “Forest Leaves,” her first collection of poetry, in 1846.

Harper was known for weaving writing and advocacy together. Harper’s “Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects” depicted the brutality of slavery and conveyed the deep suffering of Black people in works such as, “Eliza Harris,” “The Slave Auction” and “The Slave Mother.” Harper’s “The Two Offers,” was the first short story published by a Black woman in America. 

In her famous speech “We Are All Bound Up Together” at the 1866 National Women’s Rights Convention, Harper spoke of the “double burden of racism and sexism” Black women endured and advocated for the importance of intersectionality. In her speech she said, “We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul.” 

We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul.” — Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Born in Guangzhou, China, Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee immigrated with her family to New York City in 1905. Lee quickly became involved in the women’s suffrage movement. By 1912, she led 10,000 people in a suffragist parade atop a horse. 

The same year, Lee matriculated to Barnard College, where she penned many feminist essays, including “The Meaning of Woman Suffrage,” which argued women’s rights were central to a functioning democracy. She also spoke at the Women’s Political Union’s Suffrage Shop in support of equal opportunities for Chinese women. Though the 19th amendment was passed in 1917, the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented Chinese women from becoming citizens and from voting until 1943. 

Lee would go on to become the first Chinese woman to obtain a doctoral degree in the United States. She also earned a Master’s in Educational Administration and a PhD in Economics from Columbia University. She spent her life fighting for equity for the Chinese American community. 

Betty Friedan 

Often referred to as the “mother” of “second wave feminism, Betty Friedan graduated from Smith College. She later went on to become a journalist and then a freelance writer after marrying and having children. Friedan polled more than 200 Smith alumnae in 1957 to learn about their experiences as mothers and housewives, eventually identifying “the problem that has no name:” the unhappiness of housewives.

Friedan’s research determined that while culture told women they should find immeasurable happiness in housework, marriage and childcare, many women were actually deeply dissatisfied. In 1960, Friedan wrote “Women Are People Too!” for Good Housekeeping. In it, Friedan asked, “Who knows what women can be when they finally are free to become themselves?” This article was the precursor to “The Feminine Mystique,” released in 1963

Friedan founded several feminist organizations, including the National Organization of Women and NARAL Pro-Choice. Though Friedan undoubtedly advanced feminism, she was criticized for not being inclusive and intersectional enough. 

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the most impactful civil rights leaders in American history. In 1961, while in the hospital for a minor procedure, a white doctor gave Hamer a nonconsensual hysterectomy.  The very common “forced sterilization” of women of color—without their permission or knowledge—were termed “Mississippi appendectomies,” a clear indicator of the prevalence and violent extent of racist eugenics in America. 

Hamer subsequently became centrally involved in civil rights work. The following year, Hamer attempted to register to vote. Though she was allowed to take a highly unethical literary test, she did not pass. On the ride home with other organizers, police stopped the group and arrested the driver because the “bus was too yellow.” Her boss (a white plantation owner) fired and evicted her for attempting to register to vote. Following a lunch counter sit-in, police beat Hamer so violently that her eyes, limbs and organs were permanently damaged

Though President Lyndon Johnson tried to silence her, Hamer courageously testified about the brutality of racism at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Her speech aired to massive national audience. In her speech, Hamer asked, “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?” The fight for racial equality and equality became Fannie Lou’s lifelong mission.

In her famous speech [at the Democratic National Convention], Hamer asked, “Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Dolores Huerta 

Dolores Huerta experienced racial violence at an early age. In her 20s, Huerta became a labor activist registering voters and advocating for economic equity. She went on to found the Agricultural Workers Association where she continued to help push voter registration.

Huerta collaborated with César Chávez to form the National Farm Workers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers’ Union) to improve the wages and conditions for farm workers in the United States. Huerta originate the phrase “Sí se puede!” meaning “Yes, we can.” President Barack Obama later used the slogan as his presidential campaign slogan. 

Huerta worked tirelessly for the rights of farm workers leading boycotts, advocating for legislation on behalf of agricultural workers and lobbying for representation and women’s rights. In 2012, Huerta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

What women in history inspires you the most? What are some traits she possesses that you would like to embody?

Image via Chaunté Vaughn, Darling Issue 15


Darling Letters: Nada Se Desperdicia

A piece of art that says "Good Things Take Time" near a table with a lamp and flowers

Darling is working to translate some of our content into Spanish. If you have edits or feedback on this translation, our team would love your input! Email and include Spanish Translation in your subject line.

Translation via Jennifer Rodriguez

Desde que vivo en Los Ángeles, he tenido varios trabajos. Barista. Asistente Editorial. Profesional Independiente. Maestra de Escritura Creativa. Niñera. Asistente de Maestra. Coordinadora de Eventos. Manejadora de Redacción.

Recuerdo las historias que se esconden detrás de cada título. Las despertadas a las 3:30 a.m. para la cafetería. Visitando diferentes lugares como planificadora de eventos. Los juegos con un clase de tercer grado. De un vistazo superficial, mi currículum puede parecer sin un propósito. En muchas ocasiones, la trayectoria se sentía de esa manera, incluso cuando la estaba viviendo.

Vine a Los Ángeles con mi Jeep lleno hasta el tope para perseguir mi sueño de ser editora de revistas para mujeres. El camino ciertamente no ha sido lineal. Muchas veces, cuando estaba barriendo el piso de una cafetería, cambiando pañales o removiendo decoraciones, nada tenía sentido. Cuando se acumulaban las cartas de rechazo en mi correo electrónico, a menudo me sentía perdida y como un fracasado.

Muchas veces… nada tenía sentido.

Hoy, miro hacia atrás y sonrío sabiendo que cada trabajo “inesperado” en realidad no fue sin un propósito. Trabajar con niños me enseñó creatividad y sentido del humor. Trabajar como barista me enseñó cómo tratar a las personas y empatía. Mi tiempo como planificadora de eventos me enseñó organización y liderazgo. No cambiaría mi trayectoria profesional por nada.

A veces, cuando estamos en nuestra trayectoria y no parece como lo planeamos, puede ser fácil llamarla “mala.” Atrevámonos a llamar incluso a lo desconocido bueno. Cada experiencia se utiliza para la construcción de nuestro carácter.

Cada experiencia se utiliza para la construcción de nuestro carácter.

Incluso si nuestros caminos no son lineales o aparentemente perfectos, hay un propósito en cada paso del camino. Nada se desperdicia. 

Con amor,

Stephanie Taylor, Editora Gerente En Linea de Darling

¿Su trayectoria profesional se ha visto diferente de lo que esperaba? Sabiendo lo que sabe ahora, ¿qué consejo le daría a su yo más joven?

Imagen a través Tony Li Photography


12 At-Home Health Goals That Are Oh So Manageable

With so much uncertainty surrounding our daily routines, of course, the #1 thing on your mind is not going to be keeping up with a diet (we need comfort food!!) or sticking to your trainer’s workout plan (sorry, burpees. Netflix is calling). But treating your body well can help you feel your best (whatever “best” means right now), and is also one of the most important acts of self-care you can do.

Instead of daunting health goals that seem impossible RN (curse you, 10,000 steps a day!), why not focus on attainable goals that will not only feel manageable but will bring you major benefits? Drastic change doesn’t have to come from drastic goals. In fact, change comes from small steps that turn into small habits and add up to totally transform your lifestyle and health. Here are 12 super simple, easy, and feel-good health goals you can start today that are oh so manageable: 


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1. Eat leafy greens with at least 2 meals a day

You get it at this point: what can’t leafy greens do? Since leafy greens pack a whole lot of health benefits, one of the simplest ways to get healthier is to add greens like arugula, spinach, and kale to at least two meals a day. Try tossing as a side salad with dinner or adding to your smoothie in the AM. If you’re bored with the same old salad or smoothie, there are lots of tricks and tips to incorporate greens into the meals you love. For example, try replacing a wrap with a collard green or bib lettuce, or blend spinach and kale into sauces like pesto. Take a break from baking banana bread and instead get creative with ways to add leafy greens (how do I start that as the next stay-at-home trend!?). 


2. Meditate daily

There’s a reason that meditation is one of the most talked-about practices in the wellness world; some studies have shown meditation can actually change the brain, while other studies have shown that there might be evidence that meditation can impact physical symptoms like blood pressure. In other words: this sh*t is powerful.

Good news for us mere mortals: meditation isn’t just for yogis or health gurus. A simple, consistent meditation practice can benefit anyone, especially if you’re dealing with work stress, a big transition, or, I don’t know, are in the middle of an anxiety-inducing global crisis. Add meditation into your nighttime or morning routine with popular apps like Headspace, or try prompted journaling if you’re more visual.


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3. Turn off technology for one hour every day

We’re all addicted to technology as it is, but take away in-studio yoga classes, in-person meetings, and after-work drinks with friends, and we’re quite literally staring at a screen 24/7. Even exercising, work meetings, and socializing are now done over Zoom, not to mention the amount of time our eyes are glued to shows we just need to binge (curse you, Outer Banks!). Whether it’s to decompress after work or during the hour before bed, shut off all technology (yes, that means your iPhone!) to read a book, chat with your roommate, or do something creative (like drawing or scrapbooking).  


4. Meal prep veggies for the week 

Even if you’re not huge on meal prepping every meal for an entire week, make sure you prep your veggies to ensure you make healthy choices throughout the week. Schedule time on Sunday to chop veggies you eat raw (like carrots), and roast or steam veggies you prefer cooked (like sweet potatoes or eggplant). Also, think about how you can add more produce into your routine. Try washing and slicing lemons to keep in a glass container (to add to water throughout the week), or rationing greens and fruit for single smoothie servings so all you’ll have to do the morning of is blend with water or almond milk. You’ll never need to grab sugary cereal or skip breakfast for the sake of saving time. 


5. Go on at least one walk every day (or just get outside)

Spending more time at home could mean staying cooped up indoors 24/7, or it could mean taking advantage of the extra time to get outside. A simple health goal is to take at least one walk every day. Not only is getting your steps up good for your health (your Fitbit will be so proud!) but getting some fresh air and sunshine will boost your mood. If you’re feeling too lazy to go for a walk (or don’t have the time), do whatever you can to get some fresh air throughout the day: take your laptop out on the balcony or patio, make conference calls and phone meetings while walking around the block, or eat your lunch outside (just don’t forget SPF).


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6. Make one small change to your diet every day

Whether it’s drinking an extra glass of water, adding spinach to your omelet, or replacing your afternoon chips and salsa snack with carrots and guacamole, make one tiny change to your diet every day. Making one change a day will feel manageable and you might even find new routines or recipes you’ll like enough to turn into a habit. Healthy eating is just a series of habits that form a domino effect. Start small today and see how your lifestyle changes over time. 


7. Try an online workout you’ve never done

Sure, your favorite gym is indefinitely closed and your yoga studio is shut down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your fitness goals without the typical resources. In fact, this time at home can be a good time to push yourself out of your comfort zone by trying new workouts without having to pay for pricey classes.

If you’re a serial jogger, try a yoga flow on Youtube or a yoga-inspired app like Melissa Wood Health. If you’re a yogi through and through, try an online dance workout or tune into a HIIT session streamed on Instagram. Trying something new not only challenges your body (you can’t rely on muscle memory to push through), but it also might introduce you to a new workout you love and will want to include in your routine. Set a goal to try one new workout every week or two. 


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8. Drink more water

“Hydrate more” might be one of the most basic health goals, but that’s because it’s one of the biggest factors in improving your overall health. It also just so happens to be one of the most simple ways you can improve your health from the comfort of your own home. For some hydrating challenges, try replacing another beverage with water (like your daily Diet Coke or trading lemonade for lemon water), drink a glass of water while drinking other beverages (like sipping water while you sip an iced coffee in the morning or a glass of wine at night), or drink one extra glass of water than you did the day before to add up to optimal hydration. For an added challenge, add some super-ingredients to your water for bonus health benefits and delicious flavor. 


9. Perfect a work-free morning routine

OK, it’s (finally!) time to get in control of your morning and stop yourself from checking email, Slack, or missed calls, first thing when you wake up. Even a harmless scroll to see what you’ve missed while you were sleeping means you’re going from 0 to 100 right away (no wonder you’re stressed all the time!). Instead, ease into your day with an old-school alarm clock (so you’re not tempted to check your phone when you turn off the alarm). Spend the first 30 minutes of your day meditating, making breakfast, journaling, or trying any of these other morning routine hacks. You’ll not only feel much calmer throughout your entire day, but you’ll make better choices for your physical and mental health. 


10. Sleep 7-8 hours a night

Even if your diet fails and you get too lazy to exercise, prioritize sleep over everything (you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck). Getting enough sleep can affect your overall quality of life, so do whatever you can to get better sleep. If you have difficulty fitting more sleep into your schedule, start by going to bed five minutes earlier every night until you’ve gained an hour of sleep. If your problem is quality of sleep and you have difficulty falling (or staying) asleep, figure out why. Talk to your doctor about improving sleep quality, try adaptogens, or drink chamomile tea and reduce screen time before bed. 


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11. Move at least 20-30 minutes every day

“Exercise” doesn’t have to mean an hour-long HIIT workout or three-mile run. An online Pilates class is great on the days you have an hour to spare, but the truth is that many of us don’t have time (or energy) for a 60-minute workout every day of the week. If you try to challenge yourself to fit in an intense, long workout every day, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead, just commit to moving at least 20-30 minutes every day. If 30 minutes still seems tedious, move for 10 minutes at two different times every day, like at 10am and 3pm. Set an alarm on your phone and take a walk, go through a quick yoga flow, have a dance party, or do some stretches. 


12. Change your reasons behind your health goals

If you’re working out and changing your diet because you want to lose weight or because you’re “supposed to,” these changes will never be something you look forward to, and therefore, the goals won’t turn into habits that stick. Instead, exercise to reduce stress and anxiety,  improve self-esteem, reduce disease risk, or to be healthy enough to run around with your grandchildren when you’re older. Eat more veggies to give your body the nutrients it needs to feel its very best and help you live your most vivacious and energetic life. There are dozens of motivating reasons to set health goals, but looking a certain way is not one of them. 


What health goals are you working on while staying at home?


8 Things To Do on Your Lunch Break To Make Your Entire Day Better

Maybe you’ve perfected a morning routine and love your nighttime routine, but what about a lunch break routine? That’s right: your lunch break doesn’t have to be spent scarfing down a Lean Cuisine at the computer or bingeing 30 minutes of Real Housewives. And for those of you who skip a lunch break altogether: we need to talk. A break in your workday is not only necessary for your wellbeing, but it’s necessary for productivity, focus, mood, and energy throughout the entire day. If you eat for 15 or 30 minutes, you probably still have some leftover time to enjoy before you have to get back to Zoom meetings and work tasks. Since many of us are working from home right now, it’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of our lunchtime. Here are eight ways to hack your lunch break to transform your entire day:


1. Fit in a workout

Although it sounds counterintuitive, when you’re lacking something, give more to get more. When I feel a lack of energy, I know putting some energy into a workout will restore energy levels and make me feel refreshed for the rest of the workday. And if you’re feeling anxious, irritated, or stressed out? A workout is a perfect way to blow off some steam. I love obé fitness on my work break for many reasons: they offer a wide range of shorter videos so they’re easy to fit in (my favorite videos for a lunch break range from 10-28 minutes), suggested equipment (if any) is always optional, and they’re so much fun.

Use code TEG50 for 50% off your first month and a 7-day free trial! 



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2. Meal plan for the next day

If a stressful workday leaves you feeling out of control in your life, making plans and getting organized can help you feel in control again. However, don’t spend this time scheduling meetings or prepping your presentation (after all, it is supposed to be a work break). Instead, prepare something just for you, like planning out recipes for the next day that you’ll look forward to eating. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but you’ll feel a little more in control of your well-being. 


3. Get outside

If your job involves sitting at a desk all day and quarantine means staying indoors 24/7, take advantage of the extra time to get outside. Going on a walk will not only be good for your health (your Fitbit will be so proud!), but getting some fresh air and sunshine can improve your mood. Just being in the great outdoors for a quick lunch break can increase vitamin D levels, improve concentration, and boost well-being. If a walk doesn’t sound tempting, do whatever you can to get fresh air: open your windows, call your mom while getting some sunshine (don’t forget your SPF), or eat your lunch outside.


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4. Do something creative or take time to “play”

Take a life evaluation right now: when’s the last time you did anything just for fun? How do you spend your off-time that isn’t bingeing Netflix? If it’s difficult (or impossible) for you to think of an answer, your very stressful adult life has likely taken precedence over an important aspect of life: having fun. Take a break in your workday for an activity that has no other purpose other than just being fun. Turn on music and dance (more on that below), play a game you used to play as a kid, or do something creative like coloring, scrapbooking, or writing. Doing something mindless and silly will reset your energy levels for the rest of the day, and doing something creative will have a wide range of health benefits.


4. Pamper yourself

Maybe you reserve your self-care routine or bath time for the evening, but why not also fit in some pampering in between meetings and work tasks? Picture this: you close your laptop for a break after a frazzled, busy, and stressful morning. You run yourself a bath, do a face mask, or paint your nails. Maybe you even light a candle or diffuse some essential oils. You might even change from your work clothes (or sweatpants–no shame) to a luxurious robe, indulge in a good book, or take a hot shower to feel refreshed. How different would you feel for the rest of your afternoon? Pampering yourself doesn’t have to be reserved for spa days or nighttime routines. Even just 10-30 minutes of self-care is enough to recharge so you’ll be at your peak for the rest of the day.


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5. Make a to-do list based on life goals

Making a to-do list on your lunch break is not revolutionary, but this is no ordinary to-do list. Take some time to ask yourself where you want to be in 5-10 years, and then make a to-do list for the rest of the day, week, or month. For example, schedule in business growth strategy, an online class, or a workout class (if your goal is to be more active). To-do lists of even the simplest tasks should have a long-term perspective. Of course, you’ll always have to do the mundane house chores or tedious tasks, but try to figure out where you can outsource and prioritize what will get you closer to your goals (yes, that means a meal prep sesh or the brainstorm meeting you’ve been putting off).


6. Do chores

If you don’t feel the need to relax on your lunch break, consider checking some items off your adulting to-do list. Whether it’s tidying up the kitchen, folding laundry, or running errands, getting some things accomplished will not only make your environment cleaner, better, and more relaxing, but you’ll feel accomplished, clear, and motivated for the rest of your day. The best part? Since you’ll already have the chores done by the time 5 p.m. rolls around, you’ll be able to spend the entire evening for yourself.



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7. Have a dance party

If we’re being honest, this silly hack has changed my life. It’s easy to take life seriously when we’re going from meeting to meeting, and sometimes all we need to get more energy and instantly boost our mood is to turn on a playlist and let our bodies move. While I love throwing myself a mini dance party while cooking or getting ready, nothing makes me more productive or focused throughout the rest of the day than taking a break to jam out to 1, 2 Step (if you know, you know). I also love the dance cardio classes from obé fitness, which teach you choreography while sneaking in some workout moves. You’ll be multitasking with a workout and an energy-boosting dance party. Trust me: you’ll forget all about that scary presentation coming up tomorrow. 


8. Do nothing but eat

And for those days where you can’t take a long break, or you feel too exhausted to do anything? Just eat. Close your laptop, put away your phone, and let yourself mindfully enjoy your meal. Turn mealtime into meditation by sitting somewhere quiet and focusing on every delicious bite. Since we typically eat on autopilot and multitask during meals (hello, Netflix binge), turning your lunch into a calm, sacred act will help you savor the experience, take your time to eat, and reconnect with your senses. Trust me: you’ll return to work calm, collected, at peace, and ready for whatever the afternoon will throw at you.


Don’t forget to use code TEG50 for 50% off your first month and a 7-day free trial! 



This post contains a sponsored inclusion of obé, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.



The Courage to Stay

A picture of a person standing by the waves

What does it look like to stay when things are hard?

I have come up against this question a lot in the last 365 days. With a pandemic that changed the way we live, how we communicate and where we are able to travel in one fell swoop, life has been difficult.

Difficult doesn’t seem to suffice. At times, it has been gut-wrenching.

Living in Los Angeles, this jarring heaviness has been impossible to escape. When people asked about visiting my beloved City of Angels in 2020, I discouraged it. The last 12 months have looked a lot like waving goodbye to another friend as they pack up and move away, watching owners board up their businesses for the last time, and walking deserted streets at sunset dodging another masked passerby.

L.A. has lost a lot of the freedom, spontaneity and joy that makes her L.A. It hasn’t been the same.

L.A. has lost a lot of the freedom, spontaneity and joy that makes her L.A.

This place has always been a hard city to make it in, but in this past year, that feeling of “hard” has only been amplified. There have been moments when I’ve wanted to quit too—pack my bags and leave SoCal in my dust. To be honest, I’ve wanted to quit a lot of things. It’s been a mood I’ve been in lately. Quit. Run away. Pack up and leave.

And then I was confronted with this notion: What does it look like to stay when things are hard?


This not only applies to a physical location, but also in relationships. What does it look like to stay in a friendship, at a job or in a romantic relationship when things are hard? Oftentimes, when things get hard, the easiest and most opportune choice seems to be to cut your losses and leave.

A common form of this in our culture today is “ghosting” or “deading” people in communication. We get angry or uncomfortable in conflict, and we simply stop responding. It’s easy. It’s safe. It requires the least amount of effort.

But what would it look like to stay in these moments? What would it look like to sit in uncomfortable places, to have hard conversations with people, to weather the storms of life and resolve to stay put until it passes? (This does not apply to abusive, toxic or manipulative relationships. You should never stay in a place or relationship where you are unsafe.)

What would it look like to sit in uncomfortable places, to have hard conversations with people, to weather the storms of life and resolve to stay put until it passes?

I want to be the type of person who knows how to weather the storm. I want to be a friend who shows up to the table when I’ve hurt a friend or when someone has hurt me to have the hard conversations necessary for reconciliation. I want to be the team player who, instead of putting her two weeks’ notice in at the first sign of trouble, pursues clarifying conversations and commits to continued open dialogue. I want to be the daughter and sister who is willing to dig her heels in and work through the really messy and sometimes painful parts of family.

What I have been finding lately is that the more I stay in these tough moments, the more I mature and grow. It is difficult. It is humbling. It is hard, but it is also worth it.

I want to be the woman who knows how to stay. The reward—growth in communication, in patience, in listening, in forgiveness, in perseverance—is worth the long and sometimes painful journey. As I continue to learn to stay in hard moments, I notice myself growing in gentleness and graciousness toward myself and others.

I want to be the woman who knows how to stay.

As I looked out at another Los Angeles sunset on my drive home today, soft hues of coral and amber painted the sky. I thought to myself, “OK, L.A. I’ll hold on a little longer. I’ll stay.”

Have you ever walked away from a relationship because you were afraid of conflict? What does it mean to show up and sit in uncomfortable places?

Image via Judith Pavón Sayrach


How To Increase Your Libido, According To Experts

If the last thing you want to do RN is turn on some Marvin Gaye and get it on, or “getting in the mood” looks more like getting enough energy to clean the house than getting sexually aroused, you’re not alone. According to a 2013 study, up to 43 percent of women experience low libido. If your sexual desire has gone MIA, don’t panic. While it is fairly common, it’s not something you should have to live with and there are lots of tricks, tips, and changes to improve it.

First of all, there’s no ideal level of sex drive for everyone. If you feel like you’re not as interested in sex as you should be, it’s probably worth taking action (because pleasure is not a welcomed bonus; it’s a human right). With the start of 2021 and a global pandemic still going on (yes, that alone was enough to kill your libido, but more on that below), I asked sex experts for all their best tips on improving libido and achieving a healthy, abundant sex life. Read on for 10 tips to increase your sex drive by 2022:


1. Eat the right foods 

You’ve probably heard about aphrodisiacs (there’s a reason we eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day), but how much does the food you eat really affect sex drive? “Foods like basil, bananas, figs, avocados, and garlic contain specific vitamins and minerals that increase blood flow to the genitals, which can naturally boost libido levels,” said Dainis Graveris, a Certified Sex Educator and Relationship Expert at SexualAlpha.

And as for that heart-shaped box of chocolates? According to Graveris, chocolate releases serotonin and other chemicals that increase libido. One study even found that chocolate promotes the release of phenylethylamine and serotonin in the body, which can have an aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effect. *Immediately orders dark chocolate in bulk.* Graveris also suggested that eating an overall healthy diet (meaning lots of clean protein and plant-based fiber) can promote heart health and good circulation, which can thereby increase libido levels. Bottom line: it can’t hurt to experiment with how you feel after eating foods thought to have aphrodisiac effects, but an overall nutritious diet helps keep your libido healthy.


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2. Try kegel exercises

So you probably have a workout routine for your glutes and biceps, but if you have a vagina, it deserves a workout routine too. The vagina is made of highly elastic tissue, supported by a series of muscles in the pelvic floor. Strengthening this area not only can improve your genital health but can improve your sex life. “Women may benefit from doing kegels regularly to improve pelvic muscle strength and regain libido,” said Dr. Alexandra Bausic M.D., a board-certified gynecologist and part of the team at Let’s Talk Sex.

To try a kegel exercise, squeeze your pelvic muscles for five seconds, followed by five seconds of relaxation. With daily practice, you can hold for up 10-15 seconds (depending on what feels good for you) and experiment with what you like and are comfortable with. Dr. Bausic also recommended trying kegel balls and eggs that can improve strength and provide sexual enhancement just by wearing them. Bottom line: your vagina needs some extra TLC (even outside of the bedroom).


3. Get to know yourself better

In 2021, women are sexually freer than ever, but even if we feel like it’s OK to do what we want, we’re not always sure what we want. Not enough girls are encouraged to explore their sexuality, and not enough women are asked about their desires. Improving a dull sex drive is often as simple as learning what would turn you on. “Too many people don’t know what arouses them,” said Marla Renee Stewart, MA, sexologist, author, and educator for Lovers. “When you figure out what you like, you can make sure that you engage with things that arouse you. That also means that you won’t be wasting your time on things or people who don’t make you excited.” Start getting to know yourself by making a list of your turn-ons and explore fantasies. Most importantly, get to know your body on your own, so you’ll know what you like with or without a partner. 


4. Manage stress levels

Unfortunately, that overbooked calendar or loaded to-do list could be major buzzkills in your sex life. Even that important meeting next week or, IDK, a global pandemic could be decreasing the amount you want to get it on. “The fewer things you have to worry about, the more your mind will be available to tap into your arousal and desires,” Stewart said. “Do your best to be aware of what makes you the most stressed out and problem-solve from there. You can’t eliminate everything, but the less stress you have to deal with, the better.”

While it feels like stress is unavoidable in this day and age, Graveris suggested meditation or taking online classes like yoga or Tai Chi to relax the mind, as well as making time for hobbies that are fun for you. Getting those 7-9 hours of quality sleep can simultaneously ease stress and improve your sex drive. While knowing that stress affects your sex drive can make you more stressed, the key takeaway is to give yourself grace if your sex drive isn’t high during stressful times (like a pandemic) and prioritize stress relief as much as possible. 


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5. Identify and treat any pain

While many factors happen in the mind, sex isn’t all mental. Sometimes, women experience libido issues because of pain or discomfort in the pelvic region (and pain during sex is all too common to not be talked about or addressed). “I see many women that come to me reporting libido issues,” said Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist, author, and owner of Femina Physical Therapy in Los Angeles. “One of the most common reasons is pain or discomfort in the pelvic region, which could be due to endometriosis, vaginismus, vulvodynia, clitorodynia, or several other diagnoses that result in chronic pelvic pain or painful intercourse. Low back or hip pain could also impact the desire to engage in intimacy. Pain inhibits pleasure in most people.” 

If you experience any kind of pain or discomfort during sex (which as many as 75 percent of women do), talk to your doctor about possible causes and a treatment plan and never stay quiet about what you’re feeling. If you consistently experience pain (or are worried about feeling pain again from a one-time experience), of course you’re not going to be in the mood. Sex should be pleasurable, period. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) put up with any pain or discomfort. “If you don’t address the pain and dysfunction that is present, you won’t be in the mindset to experience pleasure,” Jeffcoat said.


6. Focus on overall health 

Sex is not just something you do in relationships (thank God); it’s a key piece of your body’s health and overall wellness. A healthy libido can be a sign of a healthy body, and taking care of your health will help your sex drive stay healthy as well. “Exercising and generally taking care of your body increases your stamina, improves your body image, and lifts your mood, ultimately improving your libido,” said Rachel Sommer, PhD, a clinical sexologist, and co-founder of My Sex Toy Guide.

Steward agreed, explaining that general healthy habits (even if they seem unrelated) can help with your sex life. “I highly suggest daily habits that will make you feel good about yourself,” Steward said. “Meditation, hydration, exercise, sunlight, and daily learning are just a few things that help people to have more productive lives and feel good about themselves.” Keeping up with habits that make you feel good leads to more confidence in yourself, and, as Stewart said, the more confidence you have in yourself, “the more access you have to your own pleasure.”


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7. If you’re in a relationship, work on intimacy outside of the bedroom

While sex is totally separate from love, if you’re feeling a lackluster sex drive with your significant other, making some changes outside of the bedroom could boost intimacy in the bedroom. “Talk about your problems to prevent resentment build-up and feel in a better mood for sex,” Graveris said. “If there are issues in the relationship or within yourself that you need to work out, don’t hesitate to talk to a professional therapist.”

Emotional intimacy is directly related to physical intimacy, so make sure you feel connected, safe, and happy in your relationship. After all, you need a partner who you trust and makes you feel heard if you’re going to try new things and explore your sexuality together. Prioritize quality time like regular date nights, practice open communication, and make an effort to reignite the spark if you’re in an LTR. If you’re still having trouble getting in the mood with your partner, consider seeking out a relationship or sex therapist. 


8. Prioritize self-care

If you haven’t gotten the point already with all this self-care talk, caring for yourself is crucial for every part of wellness, including your libido. “The psychological factor is very important: women have to be in balance with their sleep, needs, and thoughts to have a healthy sex drive,” said Dr. Bausic. “Take time to rest, have a nighttime routine, take a bath, light some candles, or do yoga and meditate–anything that relaxes you and gets you in the mood.” Think of your sex drive like an iPhone (is that the weirdest sex analogy ever?): it needs to recharge to avoid shutting off. If your sex drive feels non-existent, you might not be doing enough to recharge yourself. Prioritize the indulgent practices that connect your mind with your body and stimulates the senses; you’ll feel heightened awareness that can translate into a heightened libido.


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9. Try something new

No surprise here: routine is a great thing when it comes to your calendar or how you spend your mornings, but not when it comes to your sex life. Excitement and spontaneity are key pieces of sexuality, which means some creativity and effort are required to keep your sex drive strong. Now, don’t panic: this doesn’t mean you have to upgrade your trusty vibrator for some new toy or forego scheduled sex to be more spontaneous if you don’t want to (anyone in an LTR knows what I’m talking about). The fix could be as easy as small, simple changes to make sex feel new again.

“One of the best ways to improve your libido is to try something new,” said Diana Wiley, PhD, a licensed marriage & family therapist and board-certified sex therapist. “Introducing novelty into the bedroom can help spice things up.” Yes, this could mean getting wild and checking off every item on our sex bucket list, or it could mean getting it on when you get home from work instead of at bedtime or moving your vibrator from the bedside table to a warm, relaxing bath. “Everyone’s different, so if there’s something that could get you excited, why not try it?” Sommer said.


10. Talk to your doctor

Improving sex drive is always a popular topic, and we typically focus on how mental tweaks or aphrodisiac foods can make a huge difference. But since sex drive is a key factor of general health and wellness, a low sex drive can be a sign that something’s going on in the body instead of a matter of mindset. “Don’t hesitate to seek your doctor’s help, especially if you’ve tried all measures to increase your libido and nothing works,” Graveris said. Everything from medications to medical conditions to hormonal changes can affect libido, so don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your sex drive (oh, and if your doctor doesn’t prioritize your sex drive or take concerns seriously, it’s time to find a new doctor). Most importantly, you deserve pleasure and a healthy sex drive is your right. No matter the root cause, if you’re not satisfied with your sex drive and can’t figure out why, seek out someone who can.



What It’s Like to Have Conflicting Thoughts About Your Own Race

This post was originally published on June 23, 2020.

I tend to have a lot of conflicting thoughts about being Asian. I think thats how my personal identity has always been. Conflicting.

Not Asian enough.” Not American enough.”

(I’ve had to learn to completely throw out the word enough” because I now know that I lack nothing. I am wonderfully made.)

Dont get me wrong. Ive had an absolutely incredible life. I am eternally grateful for the two pairs of hands and hearts that brought me here from China and have loved me unconditionally since I was born. My adoption was symbolic in a way. Apart from China being my birth country, Ive never felt deep connections with my Chinese heritage. The truth is, I’m not sure I was meant to or that I ever wanted to.

I am conflicted.

Apart from China being my birth country, Ive never felt deep connections with my Chinese heritage.

Its hard speaking with my friends and family who are predominantly white as they’ll never understand my experience. Yet, I dont feel like I need to talk about it because other people struggle much more. I understand I haven’t experienced discrimination like other minorities, but I’ve had more than my white counterparts.

Yet, in time, Ive learned that pain has no hierarchy, nor does fear or discrimination. As I unsubscribe from the comparison game, the fact I have experienced racism alone is when I will use the term enough.”

Ive learned that pain has no hierarchy, nor does fear or discrimination.

Discrimination for me as an Asian American is on a pendulum with two opposing sides. On one hand, I’m made fun of for squinty” eyes. While on the other, I am complimented for my stereotypical and often yearned-for hairless skin. On one hand, I am called smart and intelligent because I’m Asian. On the other hand, I am called a math nerd because I’m Asian.

I am conflicted.

In my experience with friends of color, some are racially ambiguous. Others are deeply connected and proud of their ethnicity. Their ethnic pride both inspires me and makes me jealous because, truthfully, I dont connect with the Asian community. This reality often leaves me feeling guilty. Add being adopted to the equation, which puts a whole different lens on being a person of color. It’s left me stuck somewhere in the middle.

I am conflicted.

I remember one time a friend who was born in China and raised there until she was 16 told me she could tell right off the bat I was Asian American. But wasnt I? She went on to clarify that I had been “westernized,” meaning my look fit in with American culture. Here, my clothes and makeup would be considered normal. I was proud of my style, for fitting in. Yet, as a native Chinese woman, which I also am, I have a sense of shame for straying away.

I am conflicted.

The best advice Ive received about the struggle of identity as a person of color adopted into this country was this: Theres no right answer. You can think one thing in the morning and one thing at night. You are entirely enough just as you are, every single piece of you uniquely and perfectly as it should be. You have your whole life to learn and search. Take the journey one step at a time. 

You are entirely enough just as you are.

For the first time in my life, this year I started to acknowledge and even celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I will continue to work on my own shame, but today, in our world there is a fear and stigma associated with the Asian community that must be addressed. We must stand in solidarity and speak out against hostile behavior and inappropriate jokes related to COVID-19. Supporting Asian-owned businesses—and minorities at large—does not apply for one month. It applies for eternity.

I’m striving to lift the Asian community how I can, even when it feels uncomfortable and conflicting at times to do so. Sometimes, I have a lot to say. Then, other times, I dont, but I realize if you want the world to change, you have to use your voice and be willing to speak up.

Theres a lot of fear going on in the world right now. As fear builds, it gives way to shame, mostly about ourselves, but our shame must be named and replaced with vulnerability and honesty. I am so proud of being 100 percent Chinese, and I sit deeply in gratitude for who I am (including how I look).

One day when I have kids, I want them to be proud of who they are too. For them to do so, I have to start with myself. I’m learning to hold both of my identities, being Asian and American, in my hands at once with gratitude. That is true harmony.

Have you ever felt shame related to your culture or ethnicity? How can we better engage in conversations on race in America?

Image via Gabby Hall 


The Skincare Product That Is Always Worth the Splurge

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

A few years ago, when I realized that being an adult was more than drinks with friends after work and shopping trips, I started to put myself on a monthly budget. It covered all of the basics: rent, food, and an emergency fund, but I quickly realized that I needed to add in a section for skincare. It is fluid, and some months I will spend more than I budgeted for—the biannual Sephora Sale is basically my Super Bowl and all bets are off—but it helps me make sure that I am investing in products wisely. 

My general rule is that if it is a product that I will most likely end up washing down the sink, like a cleanser, I don’t want to spend too much on it. Contrarily, the product I’m always willing to splurge on is a serum. The biggest reason I put my money into serums lies in the fact that serums tend to stay on the skin the longest. As they are formulated to deliver a high concentration of active ingredients directly into your skin, I can justify spending a little bit more on a product that will efficiently treat everything from dehydration to hyperpigmentation. These are some of my favorite serums that are worth the cost:


Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

This serum is, hands down, my cold-weather secret weapon. It is a lightweight gel that is formulated with plant-based glycerin and shiso leaf extract to help hydrate, plump, and smooth the skin. The results are almost immediate, and I especially love how healthy my skin looks whenever I use it, even after being outside on a cold, windy day.

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Sunday Riley

C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil

Typically, oils are used as a last step, but this Sunday Riley one was actually designed to be applied under a moisturizer. Vitamin C is one of those ingredients that almost all of us need for healthy, glowing skin, but finding a formulation that is stable and is the right strength for your skin can be a bit of a challenge. I generally recommend the Sunday Riley oil for first-time Vitamin C users, as it is gentle enough to not cause irritation, absorbs instantly, and leaves the skin hydrated.

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Brightening & Clearing Gel

I fully blame TikTok for introducing me to this serum. Like a lot of people, I have been trying to figure out how to get rid of maskne, and this serum has been one of the few products that helps reduce the appearance of the scars. Formulated with niacinamide and exfoliating acids, this serum is still gentle enough to be used daily without compromising on its efficacy—two things that I love in a product.

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Dr. Jart+

Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum

Sometimes, I go a little overboard with the acids and end up damaging my skin barrier. When that happens, I go back to basics and reach for this serum as it is one of the few products that does not make my face feel like I lit it on fire. It is packed with tiger grass, herbs, and plant extracts, as well as Centella Rx to help soothe and repair sensitive skin, which is just what I need when my skin is not at its best.

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Shop our editors’ other favorite serums:


Glow Maker Serum

Our top skincare find of 2020, this vitamin C offers results without a huge price tag. Read our Beauty Content Manager’s full review.

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Hyper Skin

Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum

Our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Ojus, swears by this vitamin C serum for finally helping her fade dark spots left from acne.

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Sunday Riley

Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

Loved by various members of our staff, Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is the perfect all-in-one treatment that’s exfoliating without being too drying.

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Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

For a hydrating hyaluronic acid treatment that doesn’t totally break the bank, our Fashion Content Manager says this has helped her skin stay moisturized, even through the dry winter.

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Paula’s Choice

Clinical Niacinamide 20% Treatment

Niacinamide is the do-it-all ingredient for reducing the appearance of pores, hydrating, desensitizing, reducing redness, and lightening up dark spots. This 20 percent concentrated formula is easy to use and effective, even after only a short time.

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Glow Recipe

Plum Plump™ Hyaluronic Acid Serum

This new-ish launch has quickly made its way into our Beauty Content Manager’s routine after receiving a sample from Sephora. If you want plump, luscious skin that doesn’t even need highlighter, try this.

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