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A dining table prepared at a luxury hotel in Damascus, Syria

9 Ways to Spend The Holidays With Your Significant Other

 

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From the fresh smell of pine trees taking over and lights shining bright, Christmas time is vast approaching. Getting into the holiday spirit, make this year a fun filled holiday season you won't forget with your loved one. Check out a few of our holiday do's for the Christmas season.

Apollo Holiday Specials

Christmas in NYC with your loved one? The legendary Apollo is hosting a series of programs for the Holiday season with special guest, 106 and park co-host, Bow Wow. They will be celebrating the legacy of Duke Ellington which features Savion Glover, actor Keither David as narrator and Jazz vocalist, Lizz Wright; Amateur Night Finals, in which the winner will walk away with $10,000.

An evening for your enjoyment, the Apollo will also have their 7th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration: Regeneration Night ; Coca- Cola Winter Wonderland, a free event offering a variety of holiday-themed activities and performances under the iconic Apollo marquee and Ballet Hispanico presenting the world premiere of Dia de los Muertos on the Apollo stage.  Events take place from Dec 7- 27th. Head to apollotheater.org for more info!

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Christmas Shows and Cabarets

With tons of Xmas spectaculars, and musicals kick starting,  you’re never too old to experience the grandiose performances from the Nutcracker, The Radio City Music Spectacular, A Christmas Carol, and an extravaganza musical from The Rockettes along with  some dazzling small production cabaret shows.

 

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Winter Experience at Rockefeller Center

Ice skating at Rockefeller Center is the quintessential New York City winter experience. It’s the perfect place for you and a loved one to engage an evening on the rink, holding hands, and spending quality time.

Like anything else around this time, ice skating at Rockefeller Center  tends to be the most expensive and busiest during peak holiday periods, so plan on getting there early morning and weekdays before 4 p.m. You'll have a better chance at getting a more private and quieter experience.

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Poconos Get-A-way

If you and your partner are looking for a mini vacate nearby, the Poconos is the ideal getaway trip, even if it’s for a day or two. Enjoy hitting the slopes learning to ski, snowboarding and choosing over a wide variety of other resort activities. There are packages for beginners and quick training sessions to better prepare you.

For overnight stay, you will swoon over their oversized suites with a champagne glass whirlpool bath-for-2, In Suite pools, saunas and more. Enjoy nightly entertainment featuring headliner musicians and comedians at the popular Poconos Mountains Night Clubs.

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Classic Holiday Screenings

Bring in some holiday cheer by attending a special screening of holiday classics. If you're in the NYC area, stop by MoMa on December 23rd for the bicentenary celebration of Charles Dickens, “Dickens on Film.” It is dedicated to the author’s greatest Christmas creation, Ebenezer Scrooge. They will also be screening the classic film, A Christmas Carol.

The Nighthawk Cinema, is hosting a midnight series throughout the month of popular holiday screenings. What's better than hot bourbon cider, while enjoying an evening of great films and conversation? The in-theater alcohol service invites tantalizing and extremely reckless drinking-game fun.

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Downtown Festivities

The mall is in a state of anarchy by now, but if you’re in the D.C. area, the ninth annual Downtown Holiday Market has your last-minute gift needs covered, with more than 180 crafters, boutique shops and artisans along F Street between Seventh and Ninth streets NW. Shop daily until Dec. 23 from noon to 8 p.m.

Spending the holidays in New York? Take a walk down through Bryant Park for a unique holiday shopping experience. There are a million things to do whether you want to venture off to the ice skating rink or partake karaoke sessions in a 7 foot freezer while testing out a Columbia Omni- Heat jacket. The point is - while you shop you’re experience a high dose of fun and cutesy activities to get involved with.

And to top it all off, there is always hot chocolate to be found to keep you and your  sweetie warm.

alvin ailey dancerAlvin Ailey 

The Ailey Agency Returns! Take a night out on the town, and make your first stop watching the Ailey dancers resurge live performances in theater. Joining current favorites from recent seasons and Ailey classics like Pas De Duke, The River and Revelations, they will premiere an exhilarating dance of Wayne McGregor’s sensory feast Chroma, Bill T. Jones D-Man in The Waters (Part 1), Ronald K. Brown’s powerful Four Corners and Aszure Barton’s, LIFT.

This season will also include Ohad Naharin’s audience-grabbing Minus 16, a jazzy number from Kyle Abraham and the spirit-lifting joy of Revelations.

If you’re enrolled as a super fan you can save 20% on two or more performances, plus save for large groups and students. Head to alvinailey.org for tickets!

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Enjoy an intimate holiday dinner

Want to eat, drink and be merry? Take advantage of all of the holiday specials at your favorite restaurants. Groupon and restaurant.com are updating amazing deals for local eateries just for the two of you. Italian for the night? Zagat has the review for top food-centric destinations in your area.

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 Christmas Crafting Workshops

Get artsy and enroll for fun ornament making classes. Grab a bottle of wine and find a local pottery store to paint and glaze your ornaments. Make designing your Christmas tree an extra special occasion, while showing him your creative side!

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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