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The New Year has been and gone and we're still in the depths of Winter with Spring a long way off. So now is the time to spend a little something on gifts and products that help you reset and renew, if even in the smallest way. Here is our pick of helpful little wonders, for face, body, and home.
FACE & SKIN
There are beauty products, and then there are beauty products! Ever had that feeling that your favorite creme or serum just isn't quite right for YOU? It's time you tried doing it yourself—and it's easier than you think. Bellus All Natural Labs is the ultimate plant-based addition to your beauty routine with its Make Your Own Serum Kit. Simply scan a QR code and enter the interactive experience of creating your own luxury serums guided by Kristina Cimo, the head of Bellus All Natural Labs. These craft customized serums consisting of nature's finest oils such as apricot kernel, rosehip, passionfruit, and jojoba resulting in a personalized set of ointments that will breathe new life into your skin during the harshest winter months and beyond. And when you see your glowing results, tag @bellus_labs! Bellus All Natural Labs is an award-winning, clean skincare and beauty company that brings its private label production into the palm of your hand.
One of the worst things about the pandemic is having to wear a mask (you must) but wearing glasses at the same time. Whether your glasses are sunnies, readers, or your regular specs, you will have found out by now that breathing through your mask fogs up your eyewear. Well here's a handy, pocket-sized solution: FogBlocker Eyeglass Anti-Fog Wet Wipes or choose the Anti-Fog Cloth for longlasting fog-free vision. This revolutionary plant-based cellulose wipes have been created by biotech scientists to safely coat your lenses for fog-free vision that lasts all day.
These little wipes reduces moisture buildup with the ultra-fine, natural microfiber cloth lasting for up to 500 uses that last all day. Can be safely used on all lens types, even coated, PPE plastic guards, and goggles.
BODY & MIND
Bluebird Botanicals is a supplier of varied and high quality CBD products that address most aspects of wellness. Bluebird Botanicals products are crafted by trained herbalists using organic Colorado hemp and premium botanicals. Founder & CEO Brandon Beatty says: "We made these products to help you feel your best every single day no matter what." Starting as a company that produced CBD oil, it has now grown into an entire line of foundational wellness products. These are great products for the time in which we live where building immunity and reducing stress might help keep you out of the path of serious illness. We tried the (delicious and potent!!) CBD Gummies, the Complete Concentrated CBD Oil (luxurious, great for ingestion and external use), and the Dynamic Immune CBD Soft Gels (these are great but do contain bovine gelatin and so are not for vegans). But there are so many products for various needs, including for your pets. All these products were effective in their own way—whether that was to calm, to heal, or to relax and restore. After a few weeks our skin and nervous system felt boosted.
HOME & HEARTH
There is no quicker way to bring a sense of luxury and harmony to your home than with a specially scented candle. Well, we have three top recommendations for you in terms of scent and aesthetic. For lovers of minimalist chic with fragrant aromas, RareLumiere candles emit the kind of scents that will have you imagining you've stepped into a European parfumerie. And indeed, each hand-poured creation is elegantly packaged with a corresponding handwritten note included in the box. My favorite scent was "Notting Hill." These elegant, slow-burn cotton-wick candles offer 55 hours of burn time for each candle.
Sea Witch Botanicals All-Natural Essentials Oil Candles are also richly-scented and hand-poured, but this brand is all-natural and scented exclusively with essential oils and plant-derived waxes. Their vegan candles contain no paraffin wax or fragrance oils. And the biggest difference to your usual candle: The wide wooden wicks give a beautiful glow, while the soy candle has a nice, even burn to the bottom. Our favorite scent was "Herbal Renewal" and it surely did renew us with its uplifting and relaxing scent of lavender.
Now who doesn't like a little something rustic, this time out of the wilds of Ohio? The Little Burlap Barn Vintage Mason Jar Candle will transform your humble home into a chic farmhouse with one little spark. Plus, their homey scents will conjure orchards, walks in the woods or a day of baking pies: think scents such as Cran-Apple Pumpkin, Crisp Candied Apple, Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll, and Autumn Breeze. These candles come poured into authentic vintage blue Ball jars with a vintage zinc screw-top lid (keep the lid for snuffing out the candle). Made with 100% soy wax, cotton/lead-free wick, the scent oil is phthalate-free.
In these germ-filled times it's so important to keep your home clean and wipe down all surfaces that comes in contact with the outside world. We were delighted to discover an effective and environmentally-friendly product that has multiple uses around the home, and is as easy to keep clean as it is to be used for cleaning! Pure Sky makes products perfect for fighting germs and grime. Their green cleaning methods make cleaning easy, quick, and stress-free. What a relief to not be tearing through reams of paper towels or cluttering up the kitchen sink with multiple cloths and sponges. This is our favorite product and we're not surprised it's a bestseller: Pure Sky Magic Deep Clean Cleaning Cloth. Works like magic! Simply add water and instantly remove 99 percent of bacteria on your floors and home and car surfaces. It’s designed of patented state-of-the-art composite ultra microfibers, consisting of multifilament yarns that are made of more than 1,000 strands per yarn. It can be used wet or dry, plus it conveniently attaches to the Pure Sky mop pole with clip wings. For more information, visit https://persik.com.
With podcasts on nearly every topic imaginable recently, you'll know that there's something out there for you. They're such a great way to relax and learn something or to have something on in the background as you do chores. As you'd imagine, there are plenty of podcasts out there that explore LGBTQ+ themes or are created by LGBTQ+ creators. Here are some of the best LGBTQ+ podcasts that you need to check out right now.
Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
Photo courtesy of Apple Podcasts
This podcast, hosted by Queer Eye superstar Jonathan Van Ness, is all about wanting to know more about the world around you. Every episode they sit down with an expert to talk about their field, so they can learn more about it.
Recent episodes have covered things like the Milky Way, Latin culture, how viruses spread, and so much more. It's a fascinating listen, one that you'll be sure to get a lot out of even if you knew nothing going into an episode. It's a lot of fun too, and you'll be sure to laugh as you learn.
Making Gay History Podcasts
Photo courtesy of Apple Podcasts
The problem with a lot of recorded history is that the stories of many LGBTQ people have been buried over the years. “If you want to know more about the history of your culture, then this is the podcast that you want to be listening to” says Anna Peters, an LGBTQ writer at Elite Assignment Help and Revieweal. “You'll find out a lot about the people who lead the way for LGBTQ people today.”
Host Eric Marcus, who also wrote the book Making Gay History, dives into the history of the people who made history but aren't given the recognition they deserve. That includes people like Jean O'Leary, Vito Russo, and Del Martin to name a few.
Girl That's Scary
Photo courtesy of Girl That's Scary Podcast
If you're looking for a podcast that gives you everything that's new in horror with an LGBTQ+ twist, then this is going to be the podcast for you. As a bonus, it's a black run podcast too. Hosts Jazzmin and Kathleen, aka Jazz The 40oz Connoisseur and Kat Daddy, spend each episode riffing on and laughing about the horror that they love.
The podcast has become popular as it has such a fun vibe. It's clear that the hosts are having a great time, and many feel that it's a great show to listen to just when you want some friendly voices in your ears.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Podcast
This podcast uses an interview format to talk to people from the LGBTQ community, whether that's big names or just everyday people, living their lives. Co-hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low make every episode fun and interesting, creating a light-hearted vibe that's easy to listen to.
“You'll want to make sure that you tune in, as they speak to people that aren't usually put in the spotlight,” says blogger James Farmer, from Essay Services and Custom Writing Services. “That lets you hear stories that you may never have heard before.” In recent episodes, you'll hear about the lives of black trans people, the gay and lesbian island kingdom in Australia, and much more besides.
Buffering the Vampire Slayer
Photo courtesy of Apple Podcasts
Who doesn't love a good recap podcast? This podcast takes queer favorite Buffy The Vampire Slayer as its inspiration, watching one episode of the show and dissecting it in every podcast episode. The hosts also aren't afraid to get into deeper themes like queerness, gender, the patriarchy, and more.
As well as the episodes, the hosts have even created their very own fan songs about the show, too. These are all on Spotify, so you can go listen to them if that interests you.
Lovett or Leave It Podcast
Photo courtesy of Apple Podcasts
This show is hosted by Jon Lovett, an openly gay MC who takes you through the weekly news cycle and makes it less stressful and even funny to listen to. He's joined by a rotating cast of guests each week, all who contribute to the antics going on.
These are just a few of the best LGBTQ podcasts out there right now. Take a listen to learn and laugh with the hosts, and maybe find your new favorite show.
As Thailand continues to relax its Covid-era entry requirements and affordable luxury remains as prevalent as ever, Southeast Asia’s LGBT-friendliest nation couldn’t be more appealing for a romantic wellness getaway in 2022. The Land of Smiles, whose economy depends heavily on tourism, consistently devised creative pandemic solutions that have protected its population throughout the global crisis while still allowing travelers safe entry to the natural bounty and rich culture that has long made it a bucket-list destination, better positioning the country to welcome back a steady influx of guests anxious to escape the most emotionally draining two years of their lives. Whether your ideal Thai-tinerary is set on the Andaman Sea to the west, the Gulf of Thailand to the east, or in the central capital of Bangkok, here is where to stay to find romance or wellness on a restorative vacation this year.
COMO Private Villa
Photo courtesy of COMO Point Yamu
The dazzle of Phuket’s picturesque coastline and neighboring islands is undeniable, and a stay at one of COMO Point Yamu’s private hillside villas overlooking Phang Nga Bay offers exclusive respite between days spent at each. From indulgent baths for two in your spa bathroom’s soaking tub to champagne sips at sunset in your private infinity pool overlooking the bay, you could easily sequester yourselves in serene seclusion at the property but do at least step out to explore a couples treatment at COMO Shambala spa. For the ultimate romance on the water, splurge on a private yacht charter from Blue Voyage Thailand to explore some of the region’s best beaches and islands while your personal crew prepares drinks and bites throughout the journey. If you have an important question to ask your special someone on this vacation, the stunning sunsets at sea provide an ideal backdrop!
Partially under development on the island’s interior, the sprawling Tri Vananda wellness community primarily offers luxurious private homes on its 230+ acres of mature nature (only 15% will be developed and no vehicles are allowed—it’s strictly golf carts here), but it’s already offering wellness retreats that allow you to take advantage of its integrative wellness programs, wetland nature reserve, all-organic farm, and world-class restaurant, Jamba, which serves artful plates of zero-waste recipes from Iron Chef Thailand winner Rick Dingen. Here, you’ll find a lush paradise within Phuket rarely discovered by the flocks of tourists who spend their days entirely on the sands and sea around the island’s famed coastline, and you may find new sides of yourselves, too.
Soneva Kiri private villa
Photo courtesy of Soneva Kiri
Just off Thailand’s eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, the tiny island of Koh Kood is home to dozens of accommodations, but the unrivaled luxury of Soneva Kiri brings superior romance that won’t be topped elsewhere. Book the property’s charter jet to arrive at the tiny outdoor airport on Koh Mai Si before a quick boat ride to the resort’s welcome pier for maximum exclusivity. From here, check in to a personal beachfront villa that not only contains your own stretch of sand on a quiet bay, but comes equipped with private outdoor living space that includes covered dining and kitchenette; a full-service outdoor spa bathroom including two outdoor showers, a whirlpool tub, and massage chaise; and sprawling decks with soft and hard seating along a swimming pool larger than many homes (consider booking a floating meal here for a truly special experience). While you’ll never feel crowded by the property’s other guests, you can escape them entirely with a meal in Soneva Kiri’s signature treepod. Hoisted to the canopy in an oversize bamboo nest enveloping your table, your meal here is delivered by acrobatic servers on a zipline as you gaze out from the treetops across the water, equally inspiring by day or night.
Relax and rejuvenate at RAKxa
Photo courtesy of RAKxa Wellness and Medical Retreat
Bangkok may be better known for bustling activity and raucous nightlife than for wellness and tranquility, but Bang Krachao, just 30 minutes from the city center is an artificial river island oasis known locally as the “green lung of Bangkok,” and here you’ll find a wellness facility unlike any other. The brand new RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat experience is an ultra-personal journey that begins with comprehensive health assessments including medical consultations, wellness consultations, and a fitness assessment. From here, an individualized program ranging from interdisciplinary spa treatments to medical wellness regimens like cryotherapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is scheduled around your mindful meals and relaxation among the gardens, by the pool, or in your villa retreat.
Villas are designed for total tranquility by day with open spaces, neutral tones, and private gardens complete with grounding trails, and the villa’s smart system monitors not just temperature, but humidity, carbon dioxide level, and air quality for an ideal interior. The discrete kitchenette is stocked with a daily regimen of teas and juice boosters to regulate body and mind throughout the day, and blackout curtains surround the plush bedroom for uninterrupted sleep (even the smart system’s screen comes with its own blackout hood for bedtime). Programs here can include as little as one night, but 5- and 7-night itineraries are more effective whether you have targeted goals or just want to completely reset and recharge together.
You’ll need to head back into the city in order to depart and, if Bangkok’s popular dinner cruises aren’t your style, opt for a swanky dinner aboard Sirimahannop, the permanently docked three-masted ship serving elegant meals with the charm of yesteryear and the culinary prowess of today. The chic experience is a perfect re-entry to the busy city that still offers enough privacy for a romantic farewell dinner in Thailand.
Club Skirts presents The Dinah — the annual music festival and pool party weekend and the largest lesbian event worldwide — is taking over Palm Springs from September 21st through the 25th.
Now celebrating its 31st year, the star-studded weekend will kick off a five-day party known to draw in upwards of 15,000 women from around the world.
This year, for the first time ever, the event will take place in Palm Springs’ most iconic hotel, The Margaritaville — formerly The Riviera — famous in the ’60s for its role as celebrity central, drawing the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sonny and Cher.
Photo courtesy of The Dinah
“I think it is definitely a rite of passage and a bucket list item,” said Mariah Hanson, ”and it’s a beacon in a way. I think that what we create there is so magical and so inspiring that you hear about it and you want to be a part of it because it’s life-changing.”
Hanson explained that the magic is intentional. She said along with her staff, they set to produce an event that is diverse, welcoming, and life-changing.
“We create a world for five days where people are united by the common theme of just acceptance and diversity and living in a world you want to live in,” Hanson said.
Hanson said she is proud to offer what she says is one of the “most diverse, inclusive, celebratory events.” She said The Dinah recognizes that our community is very diverse, and she wants everyone to feel welcome.
The festival includes various performances by nationally-renowned recording artists, massive pool parties with world-famous DJs and go-go dancers, red carpet events with celebrity guests and musicians, and meet-and-greets with lesbian celebrities.
The Dinah pool party
Photo courtesy of The Dinah
While in previous years, the Dinah events centered mostly on pool parties, the Dinah of the past decade has flawlessly amped up the pool parties, while also simultaneously becoming an enormous music festival, drawing in huge superstar artists over recent years, such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Chaka Khan, Meghan Trainor, Iggy Azalea, Eve, Salt ‘N Pepa and more, many of them while they were just on the cusp of hitting the big-time.
Hanson explained that she has a formula, a set of ever-changing criteria, that she uses to book acts. She has a knack for finding artists to perform at the Dinah who is on the cusp of enormous stardom.
“My favorite example is Lizzo, who headlined the Sunday afternoon pool party in 2017,” said Hanson. “Nobody really knew who she was, and she’s a major star now. No one will ever see her in that small of a venue.”
Hanson has another incredible all-female entertainment line-up again this year.
“I’m excited to offer the lineup we have. I think it’s powerful. It’s almost all queer except Taylor Dane, but she’s welcome because she’s so cool!” said Hanson.
Taylor Dane, 80s pop icon, is taking over the stage at Friday night’s Black & White Ball and is bringing her full band for a special Dinah performance. The GRAMMY-nominated powerhouse’s groundbreaking debut single "Tell It to My Heart" turned her into an overnight star in 1987. She followed the smash hit with 17 Top 20 singles including “Love Will Lead You Back.” Co-headlining Friday night is a breakout hip-hop artist, Haviah Mighty, who is poised to follow the footsteps of Lady Gaga, Bebe Rexha, Iggy Azalea, and Lizzo. She is the first Black woman to win the Polaris Music Prize.
On Saturday night’s Hollywood Party, Fletcher, one of the most electrifying queer artists to burst onto the scene, takes center stage. The GLAAD-nominated artist has a slew of hit singles including “Undrunk”, “Bitter”, “girls girls girls”, and “Cherry.” Her new single “Her Body is Bible” is out now and her debut album is being released this month.
“You don’t want to miss any of these acts,” Hanson said.
Club Skirts The Dinah pool party
Photo courtesy of The Dinah
All of the weekend’s pool parties, night parties, and concerts will take place at the Margaritaville. The opening and closing parties will both be held at AsiaSF, a new hotspot to both kick-start and close the weekend.
Hanson said she is excited for the Dinah this year and hopes it will, as always, be an amazing experience for all who attend.
Hanson said her message for attendees, other than to pace themselves, is always the same.
“Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Don’t be afraid to reach out and share your stories and listen to other people's stories because there’s people from all over the world coming.”
Hanson negotiated some great rates with the host hotel, Margaritaville, and it currently has a waiting list. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get the Dinah discount and to add your name to the waiting list.
For more information and for tickets, please visit The Dinah.