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A Week In Scranton, PA, On $15.25 Per Hour

Welcome toMoney Diaries , where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a fabric engineer assistant working in manufacturing who makes $15.25 per hour and spends some of her money this week on a Yeti mug handle.

Occupation: Fabric Engineer Assistant
Industry: Manufacturing
Age: 25
Location: Scranton, PA
Income: $15.25/hour (In addition to my job, I also pick up occasional shifts at my family's restaurant.)
Paycheck Amount (4x/month): $450

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live with my parents.)
Student Loans: $650
Car Payment: $217
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm still on my mom's plan.)
Dental Insurance: $7.12
Phone: $0 (I'm still on the family plan.)
Car Payment: $217
Car Insurance: $155
Netflix & Spotify: $0 (My dad pays for these accounts.)
YMCA Membership: $0 (I'm on the family plan that my dad pays for.)
Other Gym Membership: $10
401(k): $97.24
Savings: I try to put $50-$100 away from every paycheck, but sometimes this doesn't happen, depending on what's going on each month.

Day One

6:40 a.m. — Wake up, pack my gym bag and some snacks for work, get ready, and then leave the house by 7:30 to get to work at 8. The morning is always chaotic at my house. There are five of us living in close quarters, and we all have to be out of the house before 8. I also really love to sleep, so my getting-ready routine is really minimal.

8:15 a.m. — Arrive at work a little late. It's super windy here today, so I took the long way to work just to be safe. I eat my breakfast of a homemade vegan protein muffin and some organic blueberries — yum!

12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I take a quick break from my desk and run out for a smoothie. My parents' restaurant is five minutes up the road from where I work, so I get lunch from there a couple times a week — because hey, who doesn't love free food?

4 p.m. — Time to leave work, and I head right to the grocery store. I really enjoy cooking. My boyfriend is vegan, so we eat most of our meals in. It's rare to come across good vegan food in Scranton. My boyfriend and I split our cooking duties in half — I cook Monday-Wednesday and he cooks Thursday-Sunday. Since his switch to veganism, I haven't cut out meat and dairy completely, but now I only eat it on occasion. (Sometimes I really just need some pizza in my life.) The three recipes I choose for this week are pad see ew, vegan Swedish meatballs with gravy, and falafel burgers. $55.83

5 p.m. — I head to my boyfriend's sister's house to work out. She just bought a new Bowflex and workout app, so obviously I'm reaping the benefits. She has a whole home gym, and working out is always easier when you have someone to motivate you! Plus, she only lives about five minutes away.

7 p.m. — I get home and immediately fire up dinner. My dad and sister usually get home late, so I always make sure to cook extra for them! My mom and little bro aren't so much on board with the vegan trend. I sometimes get them to try our dishes, but it's not very easy. I make the pad see ew tonight. It's pretty good, but I probably won't keep it in my recipe arsenal.

10 p.m. — I'm showered and in bed. My boyfriend and I tune in for the pilot episode of The Enemy Within. We just finished Dexter on Netflix and are obsessed with Jennifer Carpenter, who also stars in this new show. My boyfriend and I are intrigued at the end, and agree we'll watch again next week. After the show, it's lights out!

Daily Total: $55.83

Day Two

6:40 a.m. — Same routine as yesterday!

8 a.m. — Get to work on time today. Have another muffin and some blueberries for breakfast.

12 p.m. — Starving. I eat veggie dumplings and caramelized onion hummus with blue corn chips for lunch, which I bought yesterday at the grocery store.

4 p.m. — Get out of work and head to the YMCA for a Zumba class! Classes are included in the membership, which I love. I pay $10 a month for another gym membership that is right up the road from where I work. I'm considering canceling it, though, to save some extra cash.

5:30 p.m. — Head home after working out and get started on dinner. Tonight is the Swedish meatball recipe, which I found on Facebook. Update: It sucks! All the meatballs fall apart and cook into the sauce. I should have read the comments on the recipe and cooked the meatballs separately. It's edible but disappointing...I swear I'm a good cook, usually!

7 p.m. — Work on finishing a shirt I'm making for a customer at my parents' restaurant. I upgraded a plain white shirt with a pocket for my sister by sewing a felt doughnut with sprinkles I made on it, and a customer loved it and wanted her own! I love making things and enjoy the extra cash it sometimes puts in my wallet!

11 p.m. — Finish up the shirt and get ready for bed. Then I scroll on Instagram, where I see some really cute earrings. They're inexpensive, so I decide to get them. Sweet dreams! $10.96

Daily Total: $10.96

Day Three

8 a.m. — At work on time. I have another muffin for breakfast. I recently got new protein powder and made a big batch of muffins with it. They taste delicious and keep me full in the morning.

12:30 p.m. — I was so busy at work all morning that I forgot about lunch! I text my sister and order a salad from my parents' place for lunch to pick up. The free parking spaces are all filled at the restaurant, and I have to feed the meter, even though I'll be in and out. The parking-meter attendants in Scranton are vicious, and I'm not about to get a $25 ticket! $1

4 p.m. — Run home and mix up the falafel burgers for dinner before working out. I make a triple batch so I can give some to my boyfriend's family.

5:30 p.m. — Back again at my boyfriend's sister's to work out. My boyfriend's mom joins us this time. We jog outside and then do the weight portion of the workout. I give everyone some falafel burgers to have for dinner.

8 p.m. — Get home just in time to eat and to watch Riverdale. (Yes, I watch Riverdale at age 25, and no, I'm not ashamed.) My sister cooked up the burgers while I was working out. She rules!

10 p.m. — Shower and get ready for bed!

Daily Total: $1

Day Four

6:40 a.m. — Wake up, get dressed, and head to work.

8 a.m. — Arrive at work on time, eat my usual breakfast, and don't take a break until a little before lunch.

11:30 a.m. — Run out to pick up lunch. My favorite soup place is close to work, located in the mall. My gym is also in the mall, so I stop in to cancel my membership. I missed the cancelation window for this month, so I have my gym membership until April – womp, womp. Then I head to the soup stand in the food court. I get vegetable soup, one of my favorites. They also have some salads and sides in containers in a small cooler, so I grab pimento cheese dip to take to my aunt's house for dinner tonight. I grab kombucha to have with my lunch, too. $17.23

11:45 a.m. — Heading back to my car with my lunch, I remember I have a Starbucks gift card — score! I run in and order a tall Passion Tea Lemonade. I also pick up a cake pop for my little cousin. She loves them and will be at my aunt's tonight!

12 p.m. — Back at the office, I scarf down my lunch and get back to work.

4 p.m. — All done at work, I head to the YMCA for Zumba at 5:30. I sit in my car and read for an hour to pass the time. My current book is The Girls, and it's pretty good so far.

5:30 p.m. — Zumba time! It's a new teacher subbing, and she was awesome!

7 p.m. — Arrive at my aunt's. I help my aunt prepare taco salads and then play with my little cousin. We have a dance party and then play the Wizard of Oz. She picks me to be Glinda and my sister to be the Wicked Witch of the West.

9 p.m. — Get home, shower, and hop into bed — entertaining a four-year-old is hard work. Thank God tomorrow is Friday!!!!!

Daily Total: $17.23

Day Five

6:40 a.m. — It's Friday!!!!!! I do my usual morning routine and leave the house.

8 a.m. — I get to work and finish the last of the muffins, thankfully! They were great, but I was kind of getting sick of them, TBH.

11:30 a.m. — I run out to grab lunch at the restaurant. I get a lentil burger on a salad instead of a bun…so good. To counterbalance my healthy lunch, my sister packs me a hot fudge cheesecake square, too. It's all about the balance!

4 p.m. — I clock out of work and change for my exercise class. It doesn't start until 5:30, so I get there early and hang out in the parking lot. Tonight I'm taking a class called Pound, where you basically jump around and dance the whole time while pounding plastic drumsticks on the ground. It sounds silly, but it's so fun and a great workout!

5:30 p.m. — Time to pound away! Today is my last day for the pass I bought. The intro rate was $30 for a month of unlimited classes. Now I'll have to pay per class or buy a pass. I decide to hold off until the next time that I come, though, to save for right now.

6:30 p.m. — My mom and sister text me to meet them for dinner at our favorite pizza place. I usually eat at my boyfriend's on Fridays, but I decide to switch it up a bit, plus my mom is treating! I get a slice of chicken, bacon, and honey-mustard pizza and a slice of Sicilian. Sooo good.

7 p.m. — After dinner, I head to my boyfriend's house. He lives with his parents still, too, and is watching his niece tonight. We hang out, bake, talk about his niece's upcoming trip to Disney (she tells me I can come with!), and play video games.

11:30 p.m. — I want to head to the gym in the morning, so I head home and get ready for bed. Goodnight, people!

Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8 a.m. — It feels good to sleep in a little bit. I wake up, get dressed, brush my teeth, and pack a bag of work clothes, since I'm working a shift at the restaurant. The YMCA is about 10 minutes from work, and I want to get a 45-minute workout in before I have to be at work at 10.

9 a.m. — I hop right on the elliptical for 30 minutes and then finish off my workout by running a mile on the treadmill.

10 a.m. — I get to work and make a smoothie for my breakfast. I can't eat before working out or I'll get sick.

3 p.m. — The day goes by pretty fast. I only make $50 in tips, which is around half of what I usually make. I remember we're celebrating my boyfriend's dad's birthday tonight, but I didn't get him anything. I got him a Yeti coffee mug for Christmas, but he hasn't been able to use it because the mug is hard for him to hold without the handle, so I go on the website of our local sporting-goods store and order a handle to be picked up today in-store. $10.99

4 p.m. — My sister and I head to the sporting-goods store and I pick up the handle…so easy! Next, we go to the grocery store. We usually do our shopping on Sundays, but we're supposed to have a snowstorm tomorrow, and we decide to go today while we have time. We figure out our meals and split the cost. $70

6 p.m. — I get home and shower to get ready for the birthday celebration. I then run to the local plaza by my house, where I get a card at the dollar store and then a gift card and lottery ticket at the grocery store. I run to fill up my gas tank, too, before the storm. $45.53

7 p.m. — I make it to my boyfriend's house. We eat, have birthday cake, then play games and watch Hairspray! I fall asleep from running around all day.

12 a.m. — I drive myself home and get ready for bed.

Daily Total: $126.52

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Wake up, brush my teeth, and get ready for spin class. It's a running tradition in my household. Every Sunday, my dad, sister, and I go to spin class at the Y and then go out to eat. I love starting off my morning right.

9 a.m. — Get to the Y early to get a bike because they fill up fast!

9:20 a.m. — Time to sweat it out and get the blood pumping.

10:30 a.m. — Class is over and we head to a new restaurant for breakfast. We wait 20 minutes for a table, but the prime rib poutine is worth the wait. Dad picks up the bill because he's the best!

11 a.m. — We get home before the snow is supposed to start. I hang out with my cat for about an hour. Today she is getting her nails clipped. We wait for the groomer to come.

12 p.m. — The groomer is in and out in five minutes. It's so convenient — she comes right to the house. I give her $20, which covers the service and tip. $20

1:30 p.m. — I bought stuff at the store to make fresh pressed juice and homemade almond milk. I do both and then make some avocado chocolate mousse. Snow days call for lots of treats!

5 p.m. — By the time I'm done with everything, it's dinner time. My sister made turkey chili. I watch Abducted in Plain Sight while I'm eating, and have my mind blown.

7 p.m. — I hang out at my house for the rest of the night, watching TV and chatting with my family.

10 p.m. — I get ready and hop into bed. I like to go to sleep earlier on Sundays so I'm well-rested for the work week. Mondays suck enough already when you're not tired!

Daily Total: $20

Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here:

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After Monthslong Search, Body Found In Scioto River Identified As Amber Evans

A body identified as 28-year-old activist Amber Evans was recovered from the Scioto River in Ohio on Saturday, according to Columbus, OH, police.

Evans, who worked as a director at the Juvenile Justice Coalition and did activism work with the People's Justice Project and March for Our Lives, was reported missing in late January after she and her boyfriend had an alleged dispute. She sent a text to her mother, Tonya Fischer, that read, "I love you and I'm sorry."

Fischer found her daughter's car at a spot where Evans would often go to clear her head. Police initially searched the area where her car was found, but found no trace of her. The extreme cold in the Midwest has complicated the search. But eventually, members from the Columbus Police Special Victims Bureau worked with the Columbus Police dive team to recover her body from the water.

"While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we understand this brings closure for the family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them," Columbus Police wrote on Twitter.

*UPDATE 3/24/19: The body recovered yesterday, Saturday, 3/23/19 has been positively identified as 28yo Amber Evans. The family has been notified.
While this is not the outcome we hoped for, we understand this brings closure for the family. Our thoughts & prayers go out to them.

— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) March 24, 2019

Evans' father Brian Peters posted a tribute to his daughter on Facebook. "This week was filled with a roller coaster of emotions," he wrote. "I pray that she knew how much I loved her! If there's a God and a heaven I know my grandmother is holding her once again." He launched a page called Amber's Impact, on which he asked for privacy for the family as the investigation is ongoing.

"Your prayers are welcomed and appreciated, but please let us mourn and let my baby rest!" Peters wrote.

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"This rethinking of disposability has an anti-capitalist appeal, as does thinking of oneself as someone who is not only, always, a consumer in search of the next purchase." visible mending] is a privilege to have the resources needed not only to mend something but also to take the time to make it beautiful. It is also a privilege to feel comfortable wearing clothes that are visibly worn, however beautiful the repair. We need to be careful not to romanticize the history of mending, a craft that has grown out of necessity. Miho Takeuchi, a traditional sashiko instructor and designer born in Japan and based in the United States, tells me via email that sashiko, which developed in poor communities in Japan’s Edo period, 'was born from the necessity of mending and patching garments, beddings and household items. In ancient days, clothing and bedding were made from homespun fabrics woven from native fibrous plants such as wisteria and hemp and necessity demanded that this clothing be recycled for as long as possible.' It was only later, she tells me, that the technique evolved to include the elaborate surface-level designs and intricate patterns popular with visible menders today."
From "Instead of hiding rips and tears, the visible mending movement turns them into art/Born from the Japanese art of sashiko, visible mending enables crafters to eschew fast fashion and make mistakes beautiful" (Vox). Some photographs of the handiwork at the link.

[Author: (Ann Althouse)]

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:48:58 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Aesthetics Capitalism Fashion Japan Seen And Unseen
Giorgio Armani Code Absolu Femme   At the beginning of 2019, Giorgio Armani presented the men's edition of Armani Code Absolu with the Canadian actor and producer Ryan Reynolds as the advertising face (read the article). The selection of Reynolds as the Ambassador of the newest masculine perfume proved to be excellent and met with the audience's approval. The men's version was launched a month and a half before the wome...
Read full article: Giorgio Armani Code Absolu Femme from Fragrantica Perfumes and Colognes Magazine.

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New scented ink turns body art into ‘visual fragrance’ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:03:51 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Tired of losing employees to competitors? Culture is key

Tired of losing employees to competitors? Culture is key

High turnover rates should be a warning sign to companies. Not only do they decrease performance and morale, they can be very costly. To improve retention, businesses need to build a culture that is worth sticking around for.

Image Source: Pexels

Culture is key to Retention

Many managers believe that employees abandon ship solely because of compensation issues. But retention goes much deeper than a paycheck.

47% of employees actively looking for new positions say that company culture is the main reason . The environment, expectations, peers, and mindset all impact an individual’s decision to quit.

In fact, one McKinsey study followed a firm that elected to only use nonfinancial measures to retain their top talent (including praise, promotion and leadership opportunities). A year later, none of these employees had left.

Culture-building is more effective than cash-throwing. As you seek to reduce the number of poached employees, consider these 8 ways to improve company culture and increase retention, simultaneously.

1. Start with Hiring

From day zero, HR departments and managers should evaluate candidates with culture in mind. In the initial interview, it can be easy to tell if a potential employee is a good fit.

As part of the interview process, share your culture with candidates. Discuss personality traits, work habits and mindsets that are typical to your employees and valued at your company. Invite potential candidates to ask questions about your business culture and answer their questions honestly.

Even if someone has the right skill set, they might not mesh with your existing culture. You and the candidate should be able to determine this during the interview process. It’s better to lose someone in the hiring process than to have them quit later on.

2. Empower Learning

Organizations without a strong learning culture are twice as likely to lose staff before three years time. Invest in proper training and continuing education for every employee in order to improve retention.

Employees want to be challenged, stretched, stimulated. They want to feel that they are succeeding in their positions, going above and beyond. Employees will not fail at their work if they have been trained how to excel.

Instill a dedication to personal development in your team by offering classes and skill enhancements. Provide career and growth opportunities that go beyond their assigned tasks. Being surrounded by a learning culture is empowering.

These education processes can be costly and daunting at times. However, it is more cost-effective to invest in current employees than to repeatedly hire and train new ones. It’s easy to wonder, what if we invest in employees and they leave? It’s better to ask, what if we don’t and they stay?

If you want quality, loyal employees, empower their learning.

3. Focus on Communication

Employees will stay if they feel that their voice is being heard. Regularly request feedback from your team and listen to the evaluations you receive.

Two-way communication is critical. Employees need to know that HR departments and managers will address every communication—and take action. Even if you are a good listener, doing nothing about employee issues will make them feel that they haven’t been taken seriously.

Set up clear processes for team member feedback. Consider establishing a monthly survey to gauge how individuals are feeling and to identify points of concern. Hold quarterly one-on-ones or reviews—not just to assess employees, but to listen to their grievances and to praise them for a job well done.

Communication best practices reaffirm to employees that their contributions have an impact. Employees value companies who listen to and remember what they say. Active listening takes time, but it’s worth it to build a strong company culture.

4. Promote Job Control

Establishing a culture of autonomy and job control will empower employees and inspire them to stay.

Let employees own their work. Don’t force them to follow a prescribed process unless it’s absolutely necessary. Give team members some leeway in how they accomplish their tasks. If the job is getting done, don’t micromanage. Creating a culture of accountability empowers employees to find joy in their responsibilities.

Additionally, offer some flexibility in work and schedules. No one likes busy work and we all dread monotony. Find a way to rotate jobs, teams and projects in a way that reignites passion and promotes productivity.

If you can, allow employees to work remotely when needed. This kind of independence instills a powerful trust in your team.

5. Reinforce Value

In order to build a culture that retains employees, you need to show some appreciation. We all have a deep desire to add value to the world and to find success. Regularly let employees know that they are making a difference and that you appreciate their efforts.

While monetary rewards are great, there are simpler ways to motivate employees. A thank you note or a quick email shows appreciation. Company-wide recognition like project spotlights or employee-of-the-month awards can also be meaningful. Find out what motivates team members personally and recognize their accomplishments.

It’s also important to ensure that employees know how their work contributes to your business’ goals. Individuals want to know why their work is relevant, to know that they matter in the big picture of your company. Unless you connect the dots for them, team members may not see their importance.

6. Build Team Relationships

Gallup polls have repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a friend at work and improved performance. For example, women with work friends are twice as likely to be engaged compared to women who say otherwise.

Strong team relationships are critical to company culture and retention. Not only do employees need to work well professionally, they need get along personally.

Provide opportunities for employees to get to know each other in a more informal setting. Sponsor office lunches and team building activities. Include independent contractors in office chats and jokes. HR departments and managers should take the lead in making friends. Create a safety net at work where connection and friendships are celebrated not shunned. The way team members treat each other says a lot about your business.

While some bosses may struggle with this mentality, it’s important to cite the old adage: people leave managers, not companies. Managers don’t need to buddy up with employees, but they should strive to avoid uncomfortable relationships if they want to keep their top performers.

7. Craft your Environment

Design can have a real effect on company culture. Employees spend one third of their day at work, so make an effort to craft a positive environment where they want to stay.


Things like lots of natural lighting and good ventilation can make a big difference. Aesthetics and design can help make an office feel comfortable, inviting, even inspiring. Encourage employees to personalize their own workstations with decorations. You could even offer a small stipend to individuals to allow them to purchase their own decor items.


Every nook and cranny should reflect your values. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks. Create a space reserved for relaxing, laughing, having fun. In some office spaces, stress is tangible. Reduce this stress by creating an environment that promotes productivity, but also well-being.

8. Transparency and Respect Above All

More than anything, if you want to build a company culture that increases retention, you must be transparent and respectful. The modern worker can sniff out a phony from a mile away and if your culture is not authentic, you will push people out.

Your culture should match your industry and the vision of your founders. Embody your values in every step of the customer and employee process. Earn loyalty through your trust in others and commitment to company goals.

There also needs to be transparency and honesty about your organization’s financial stability. If employees feel that their livelihood is at stake, they will flee. Make decisions and inform staff in a way that instills confidence in management, not fear. Always demonstrate integrity so that employees know they can trust you.

If you want employees to stick around, you need to build a culture that means something. You can throw money at people all you want, but if you don’t walk the walk, you’ll never inspire teams and build greatness.

Author Bio:

Jaren Nichols is Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks , free accounting software for small businesses. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Read original post at Effortless HR Software

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:00:35 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Management
The new Vans x Bowie collection: Can you identify the album cover that inspired each design? Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:00:08 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Fashion Father's Day Gifts Gifts For Geeks Gifts For Men Gifts For Teens + Tweens Gifts For Women Men's Shoes Music Pop Culture Women's Shoes The Effortless Way To Make Your Ikea Furniture Stand Out

Whether you're furnishing a dorm room or buying for a permanent residence, you can't go wrong with Ikea. It's affordable, stylish, and tends to go with everything. (Plus, they have some surprising finds there.) But just as showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else kind of sucks, walking into the homes of friends and relatives only to see the exact Billy bookcase and Malm bed that are sitting in your own apartment can make you feel less-than-original.

It may sound like a first world problem (and, fine, it totally is), but apparently, we're far from the only people have who struggled with it. A whole industry that specializes in customizing Ikea pieces has sprung up over the past few years, meaning you can easily cover your stand-alone closets or reupholster that hand-me-down couch.

Ever the Ikea obsessives, we wanted to find out the best ways to personalize our pieces — and who better to ask than the people doing just that every day? Read on for their tips.


Bemz specializes in slipcovers for Ikea sofas and chairs, as well as furniture legs meant to give pieces a sophisticated, bespoke look on the cheap. "We’re all about updating a room through simple means and prolonging the life of IKEA furniture. With a new cover and a set of legs you can completely transform the look of your sofa or armchair," says brand collaborations and social media manager Christina Nydahl. "When it comes to furniture legs, dare to play with proportions — low-slung or raised, the height will totally change the look and feel of the sofa."

Bemz Skrapan, Square Wooden Furniture Leg 18cm/7", $10, available at Bemz

Pretty Pegs

As the name implies, Pretty Pegs specializes in stylish furniture legs, knobs, and front layers for Ikea furniture. The aesthetic is fun and trendy — in a way that seems bound to make a $500 couch look like its cost at least double. "My #1 tip is to add little details that creates a wholeness with the rest of the room. For example, if you have some brass details in your room, why not add a set of brass knobs to your storage furniture," says founder Jana Cagin. "And #2 is to use paint and paint it in the same color as the walls."

Pretty Pegs 115, $69, available at Pretty Pegs

Norse Interiors

When it comes to Ikea customizations, Norse has it all: panels for cabinets, dressers, nightstands, and media consoles, as well as drawer pulls and furniture legs.
"You don’t need to replace all these parts to make it your own," explains CEO and founder Lotta Lundaas. "Change the knobs or legs for a quick budget customization. For an intermediate makeover, focus on the features that have the most surface area in the room, like the doors. Finally, don't be afraid to reimagine the furniture’s purpose. Most IKEA systems are super modular, and a low sideboard could easily serve as both storage and seating in a foyer — perfect for small spaces!"

Norse Brass Pull Ingrid, $9, available at Norse


The aptly named O'verlays specializes in panels that can cover closet doors, dressers, and even table corners. "We believe it all comes down to your own unique style. By adding a fresh coat of paint, O'verlays, new hardware and/or legs, you can be sure you'll have a one-of-a-kind piece that doesn't look mass-produced or boring," says owner Cheryle Rhuda.

If you're thinking of investing in a stand-alone wardrobe for a closet-less apartment (and according to interior design experts, you should be), an overlay is an easy way to make it feel like more of an accessory than an obligation.

O'Verlays Chip Interior Door O’verlays Kit for Flat Surface Doors, $139.99, available at O'Verlays


A favorite of interior design professionals, Reform specializes in kitchen customizations like drawers and covers for cabinets. "You should always aim to get your furniture to be an important part of your surroundings. This is done by choosing carefully the color and functionality you want," says Michael Andersen, who co-founded the company alongside Jeppe Christensen. "I would suggest choosing nice colors and design to really make your kitchen cool." Design options and pricing scales are available on Reform's website.

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Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
Whole Foods' Huge Beauty Sale Kicks Off This Wednesday — Here's What You Need

Whole Foods has changed over the past couple of years — and for the better. After being purchased by Amazon in 2017, the natural-centric grocery store formerly known as Whole Paycheck has become much more wallet-friendly, with additional deals for Amazon Prime members.

Now, the market is proving its once-bougie reputation to be even more outdated with its upcoming Beauty Week event, a store-wide sale slated to run from Wednesday, March 27, to Tuesday, April 2. The deals are major: Prices on the store's entire stash of makeup, facial care, hair care, nail polish, perfume, and makeup brushes will be slashed by 25% during that time, plus an additional 10% off for Prime members. That means discounts on brands that rarely go on sale, like Dr. Hauschka, and those we can’t live without (Weleda all day, every day).

As if that weren't enough, there’s another perk in the works: Limited-edition handmade ikat Queen Alaffia makeup bags stuffed with about $100 in goodies are up for grabs for a mere twenty spot, while supplies last. Whole Paycheck? More like mere milk money. See nine ways to save, ahead.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

If you're trying to clean up your post-shower styling routine, Renpure's thickening leave-in spray is a great place to start. Formulated with biotin and collagen, plus an energizing blend of bergamot, apple, and jasmine, you'll get clean, fresh texture, without any residual stickiness.

Renpure Biotin + Collagen Thickening Leave-in-Spray, $7, available at Whole Foods Market.

If you get your hands on one of the limited-edition Whole Foods Beauty Bags, you'll be walking away with a fresh (albeit travel-sized) bottle of Thayers cucumber and witch hazel toner. And if you miss the boat on the beauty bags, you can still get any one of Thayers' skin-care products — like the classic hydrating toner, face mist, lip balm, or bar soap — on sale during Whole Foods Beauty Week.

Thayers Cucumber Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, $9.00, available at Whole Foods Market.

On days when we don't feed our bodies enough veggies, serums like this one — loaded with skin-nourishing kale, spirulina, chlorella, and broccoli-seed oil — make us feel like we're at least doing something right.

Acure Brightening Glowing Serum, 13.00, available at Whole Foods Market.

It looks like a lip balm and has an ingredients list like a skin-care product (hello, adaptogenic maitake mushroom powder), but this stick actually delivers the glow-y payoff of a highlighter — all for the price of an oat-milk turmeric latte.

Cocokind Mai-Light Rosé Highlighter, $12.00, available at Whole Foods Market.

Sketched out by dyes, silicone, phthalates, sulfates, and talc just as much as you are by skin damage from UV rays? Give your complexion worry-free warmth with this award-winning bronzer.

W3ll People Bio Baked Bronzer Powder, $24.99, available at Whole Foods Market.

This mascara's packaging is unbearably cute, but what's inside packs a lot of substance, too — including a vegan brush and formula made with coconut oil and vitamin B to help nourish lashes.

Pacifica Beauty Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara, $14.00, available at Whole Foods Market.

Pacifica Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara Supernova, $14, available at Amazon

What's better than unwinding with a warm bath? Unwinding with a warm bath spiked with this salt block, made with Brazilian purple clay, lavender essential oil, and chamomile flowers. The scent isn't the only thing that will make you rest easy: Each purchase from the brand helps fund clean-water initiatives and small-scale soap shops in developing countries.

Pacha Soap Co. Sleep Salt Block, $6.00, available at Whole Foods Market.

Four powerful components — vitamin C, probiotics, rooibos, and hyaluronic acid — join forces in this affordable night cream to help fade dark spots, address fine lines, and hydrate, all while you sleep.

Derma E Vitamin C Intense Night Cream, $22.50, available at Whole Foods Market.

Fans love this gentle cleanser for its ability to leave skin feeling super soft and deeply clean with no dehydrating effect.

Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk, $14.99, available at Whole Foods Market.

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I’m A Porn Star — & My Breast Implants Earned Me $250,000

I Got Undereye Filler For My Dark Circles — & I've Never Looked Back

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 10:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
StriVectin Anti-Wrinkle Skin Reset Visit to read the rest of this article. ]]> Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:44:47 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Skin Care StriVectin Bare Minerals Gen Nude Radiant Lipstick and Statement Luxe Shine Lipstick $10 Each Today Only! Ulta Sale

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Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:20:51 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Steals and Deals
Rant & Rave: Some people like rain, not sun
Readers rave about Bill Walton, rant about sun praise]]>
Mon, 25 Mar 2019 09:00:51 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Life Lifestyle
Jenny Lewis Wrote Her Album, On The Line, While Dealing With A Major Trauma

There’s a problematic narrative that keeps springing up in music, where critics take credit away from the woman at the center of a project and shift it to her male collaborators. It’s annoying and unfair — and women have been stamping it out. Jenny Lewis, who has been a working musician and songwriter for 20 years, is well past the point of staying quiet about it.

This shift in perspective is, Jenny Lewis recognizes, something in the zeitgeist. Women are giving themselves more credit, asserting themselves as artists, and staffing their teams with more women. Though she thinks of herself as a pure artist, Lewis says she has put in the work to understand the business, the gear, and the studio out of necessity. And she isn’t giving away the credit she’s owed on her fourth solo album, On the Line. “This record is mine. It doesn't belong to anyone else.”

She tips her cap to the men she invited to work on the album, which is a formidable list: Beck, Benmont Tench of the Heartbreakers, Don Was, Jim Keltner, Jason Faulkner, and even a Beatle — Ringo Starr — who stopped in to join a session on drums. But, Lewis says, “Throughout my career, I feel like, gosh, I've been waiting on men to help me finish my music, and I don't want to do that anymore.”

“Honestly, I’ve been taken advantage of,” Lewis says, taking care to note that she’s also had plenty of positive collaborations. “People have stolen my words without me knowing and use them and their songs. And then sort of like gaslit me — I don’t like to use that word, gaslight — [or said], ‘Oh, I thought you’d be happy that I used your words’ or called it a romantic gesture. I’m like, no motherfucker!”

Too much of the chatter around this album and Lewis’s previous album, The Voyager, focused on one male collaborator in particular: the now-disgraced Ryan Adams, who produced and played on songs from both. She declines to discuss her reaction to learning about the allegations against Adams, saying she’s said all she wants to say about him for the time being. Previously, Lewis tweeted that she was “deeply troubled” by the alleged behavior and that she “stands in solidarity” with the women who spoke out against him. Before that, focus was frequently on her fraught relationship with Rilo Kiley bandmate/collaborator and ex-boyfriend, Blake Sennett. “Collaboration is very tenuous,” she says with a weary chuckle, “especially if you're also in a romantic relationship.”

What she does say makes it clear we can all stop fretting about these men. “It was very important for me to assert myself as a fully formed artist, a writer, a producer, and a fair person,” Lewis explains. “So yeah, I have a production credit on this record. It was important for me to make that known: I produced this fucking record. I worked my ass off on it for years.”

Lewis started by writing “Red Bull and Hennessey,” the album’s first single, and not long after stopped work to deal with her mother Linda contracting liver cancer from untreated hepatitis C. The two were estranged for some 20 years following a complex relationship in which she became the family breadwinner as a child actor. Her mother passed in 2017. Lewis charted the intense experience in the song “Little White Dove.” She worked on the song in the hospital, day after day. At first, she wondered if it was appropriate to write, but ultimately decided that she needed the outlet to cope with a lifetime of feelings about their relationship and the forgiveness she wanted to offer.

“As a woman, from like a feminist perspective, and as a daughter [it’s about] being able to reconcile the past, show up, be present, forgive, and repair these relationships with other women,” Lewis says. She took the song to Beck, who she explains brought a groove that is “so Beck” to her bleak lyrics. “That's back to the collaborator thing, where the story is mine, but to be able to work with someone who alters the vibe and supports it with like this groove, what a cool way to tell a story like that.”

For Lewis, the heart of the record is the dark and mournful “Dogwood,” a track about families and falling out of love, or perhaps just losing your manners along the way. “You cannot choose your family, oh / there's nothing we can do but screw and booze and amphetamines, oh,” Lewis sings in the opening verse. Lewis cried at the piano while writing it, not an uncommon occurrence for her. “It was recorded soon after I completed it, which is always the most raw time for a song, where it's like a little baby in the universe,” Lewis says.

Writing the album helped Lewis reconcile her past. And, she found a path into repairing relationships with other women, — not just moms, but musical peers, too.

"I think we feel sometimes like there's only one job for a woman in any given situation, so we vie for it." Lewis says. "We're like, 'Well, if there's one indie folk lady that's doing well, then there's no place for me.' And that's not true."

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I’m A Porn Star — & My Breast Implants Earned Me $250,000

After 11 years in the adult film industry, 29-year-old Lindsey Leigh is at the peak of her career, with a successful cam business and growing fanbase. A few years ago, Leigh decided to get breast and butt implants as an investment for her job, and immediately saw her following skyrocket. She tells us, in her own words, how she feels about her surgeries now. The following story was told to Rachel Lubitz and edited for length and clarity.

I’ve wanted bigger boobs since high school, but I didn’t want to start getting surgeries too young, so I just used push-up bras in the meantime. I was 26, and had been in the porn industry for eight years, when I felt like I could say, OK, I grew into my body. I lost my baby fat. My hormones are where they’re supposed to be, and now it's time to get this done.

I thought that I would make more money if I was curvier, and I was correct. The first year after I got my boobs done, I earned what I had made in my first eight years. The boob job alone has earned me more than $200,000 through camming, films, and appearances, and the surgery was $8,000.

But when it came to butt surgery, that's where I had to really think, Is this necessary? Am I going to want all these things in my 40s? But I just thought, The look that I’m going for is not happening by doing squats. It’s not happening with diet. I have to do this. I threw it down as more of a fiscal decision than a moral one.

I threw it down as more of a fiscal decision than a moral one.

I didn’t tell anybody that I was getting it done, because I didn’t want anyone’s opinion on it other than my own. I felt like I had to get it for my job and income, but also for me. I got it on my birthday in September 2017. I asked them to put the implant in the muscle, so my whole glute muscle on both sides was just cut right through the middle, the implant went in, and then it was stitched right up. After the surgery, it feels like your tailbone is being pulled in two different directions. You can’t stretch, you can’t touch your toes, you can’t really walk. I wasn’t ready for that.

Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Leigh

The thing I most regret about that surgery is that I got addicted to painkillers for about two or three months. I suffer from mental illness and take anti-depressants, so the combination of the drugs really threw me for a loop. I didn’t want to go out. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even sit on a barstool if I wanted to. It was so lonely; it was just me and my cats at home. I had a mental breakdown and had to go back to the hospital for two days so they could evaluate me. I recommend anyone looking to do this to talk to your doctor and actually tell them what medications you’re on, which is something I didn’t do.

Even after that experience, I love my butt now. I could not be happier. It has reaped very awesome financial benefits. I made $50,000 more last year than the year before. I immediately got more followers. My video clips were doubling and tripling in sales from all new people. I started getting more offers to work on different websites and attend different events. It completely changed the game. It went from me working with my camera in my little dinky house to me being a household name in porn almost overnight.

It went from me working with my camera in my little dinky house to me being a household name in porn almost overnight.

It sounds very vain, but in any other industry, if they said you have to be certified in X, Y, and Z, that would take your time and money, too. It’s an investment, and that’s all I really see it as. I had a look in my brain that I was going for, and now I am that look. My confidence is through the roof. I feel like an utter man-eater — and I love it.

If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.

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I Got Undereye Filler For My Dark Circles — & I've Never Looked Back

I Spent $30,000 On Facial Feminization Surgery & Finally Feel Like Me

This $1.3M Perfume Is The New World’s Most Expensive & Its Perks Are Wild

Mon, 25 Mar 2019 08:30:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
I Got Undereye Filler For My Dark Circles — & I've Never Looked Back

Danielle Gray is a 37-year-old style and beauty writer in New York City who decided to get tear trough filler to treat her dark undereye circles. The following story was told to Aimee Simeon and edited for length and clarity.

I’ve had undereye circles for pretty much my entire life. I didn’t start to notice the dark hollows until I got older, but my baby photos prove that I’ve had them since birth. I’m 37 now, and while my undereye circles have never crippled my self-esteem, they have been hard to ignore given my line of work.

As a beauty and style blogger, part of my job requires me to constantly be in rooms with people who have great skin — including dermatologists. I’ve gone through bottles of the best eye creams and serums, but they only do so much. In social settings, I’d find myself throwing around the same question to pros: “What could I do to correct these hollow dark circles?” Nine times out of ten, they would recommend filler.

I didn’t truly entertain the possibility of correcting my eyes with injectables until I met dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. Before meeting Dr. Henry, I hadn’t come across too many Black women with undereye filler. But here I was in front of a gorgeous Black woman who had it done herself, and who also happens to be a medical professional. I was ready to drop everything and get into her office immediately, and because I work in beauty, she offered to do the fillers free for the first time.

Filler taught me about the importance of patience and making informed, empowered decisions.

I thought that I would only need one vial of filler to correct my hollows, but once I was in the chair at Dr. Henry’s office, she recommended one vial of Juvederm Ultra per eye. She started by applying numbing cream under my eyes and on the tops of my cheeks. The injections felt like a quick pinch in some areas, and were more painful where my skin was more concave. I had a mild reaction to the cream, and developed a small rash and slight puffiness where it was applied, which I was told is completely normal. My face was slightly swollen for the first few days after my procedure, but my skin instantly looked lifted.

Danielle Gray after undereye filler Photo courtesy: Danielle Gray

Almost three weeks after the procedure, I started to get a better feel for how my face looked free of dark circles. They were virtually gone, but I was still slightly puffy around my nose and eye area. I consulted with Dr. Henry, who told me about an enzyme that can be injected to break down some of the filler. I decided to do it, and the puffiness significantly subsided right away. I was on my way to smooth undereyes.

There was scarring around the injection site for almost two weeks. It sounds scary considering that Black women are prone to discoloration, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. I was able to cover any spots with makeup before they naturally faded away. Once I was healed completely, I was in love. My dark hollows were gone and I was thrilled with the way I looked with and without makeup. My family couldn’t put their finger on what was different about my appearance, but I received a lot of “you look refreshed” comments — which was a plus coming from my family, who usually tells it like it is.

Filler taught me about the importance of patience and making informed, empowered decisions. “Black don’t crack” is a notion that many of us live by, but I’ve never really subscribed to. Black may crack if you’re not taking care of it. Over the years, I’ve learned that you can use a little something to preserve your skin — whether it’s sunscreen, a chemical peel, or, in my case, undereye filler. The key, in my opinion, is to make informed decisions about the choices you are making for you. Do your research and, ultimately, do what makes you happy.

If I went broke and couldn’t pay for filler, I’d learn to be content with my dark circles. But I’m coming up on my one year filler anniversary, and I would 100% do it all over again. I feel like a better version of myself — and who wouldn’t want that?

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Fab Finds: Bottoms, Tee and Other Fun Stuff Here are some items that have been winners on clients and friends. Some casual, some dressy, some extended sizes, some trends, some classics, and lots of interesting colours and patterns. You’ll probably get a good discount on the items from the Gap. 

1. Gap Rib Mix Woven Joggers

These caught my eye because they’re WOVEN, and not knitted like most jogger styles. They’re like wearing draped cotton pants in a jogger style. Super soft, comfortable, and excellent structure on the cuffs, The fabric is lovely, and the fit works on most body types. Dress them up or down. Excellent on a hot Summer’s day. Runs TTS and is available in petite, regular and long up to size XXL.

2. Gap High-Rise Wide-Leg Crop Chinos

These are a great way to try trendy bottoms on a budget. They’re wide and dramatic, so you have to be okay with that. They’re also quite long, but easy to hem. They run TTS but need waist alteration if you run narrow on the waist. Soft and lovely fabric. Comfortable. Can fit a curvier and straighter body type. Room on the thighs and the pocket linings don’t grin through.

3. Ann Taylor Striped Boat Neck Luxe Tee

This classic striped boat neck tee deserves a mention because of the clever neckline. The insets on the collar cross over at the shoulders to provide bra strap coverage. The detailing also makes the tee look more polished. Substantial fabric and a tailored fit. A lovely essential.

4. Scotch & Soda Fun

Dutch brand Scotch & Soda catch my interest because their items are interesting and unique, but without the designer price. Lots of pattern, pattern mixing, eccentric colour combinations, clever design details, and a knack for making dressy items look relaxed. GORGEOUS fabrics, luxurious textures against the body, good fits, and quality items. My closet welcomes more Scotch & Soda.

I’ve seen the items in the collection in person and fitted them on people. Unfortunately the stock photos do not do them justice because of how the items are styled. That said, feel free to ask questions about the items in the comments section. The silky bombers are fully reversible. The pants will fit a curvier and straighter body type. The wide leg gingham crops are the bomb, and fit beautifully. The knitted polo followed me home, and the blush workwear cotton jacket will probably earn a place in my closet too.

5. DL1961 Coco Curvy Straight Jeans

These jeans are brilliant on a curvier body type, and FULL LENGTH. They will fit a straight body type if you size down. Great fabric, and a very even wash.

They work well cuffed or rolled at the hem. Mid-rise and very streamlining. I have many happy clients in this style, and my tall clients in particular are ecstatic about the length.

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Mon, 25 Mar 2019 08:20:52 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Fab Find
This Is What Gloria Steinem Was Doing At Your Age

Gloria Steinem has had several long and venerable careers, working as an activist for women’s rights, a journalist, and an author. With her 85th birthday upon us, we are honoring her by looking back at some of the milestone moments in her life for inspiration and the encouragement to continue to grow, evolve, and advocate ourselves. To look at Steinem’s life is to learn that it’s never too late to learn about something or pursue something new.

Her Early Years

Steinem’s childhood was far from traditional. She was born in Toledo, OH on March 25, 1934, but spent much of her time trekking across the country because her father was a traveling salesman. Because of this, Steinem didn’t spend a full year in school until she was 11, when her parents divorced and she moved back to Ohio with her mother. She spent many of her teen years caring for her mother, who struggled with mental illness.

When Steinem was 18, she attended Smith College, a women’s liberal arts college in Massachusetts, where she studied government. At the time, it was uncommon for women to pursue a degree in this field.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images.

Her Career As A Journalist

After graduating from college in 1956 at age 22, Steinem went to India to participate in the Chester Bowles Fellowship with Independent Research Service, an organization under the National Student Association (NSA) that was later found to have ties to the CIA. During that time, she participated in non-violent protests against government policy. Steinem worked with Independent Research Service for two years until moving to New York City to pursue an all-too-familiar career: freelance writing.

At the age of 26, she began working for Help! magazine, an American satirical publication, as well as contributing to other outlets. Her early bylines were in lifestyle sections that were largely referred to as “the women’s pages,” because major publications informally banned women from writing about serious topics such as politics. “When I suggested political stories to The New York Times Sunday Magazine, my editor just said something like, ‘I don’t think of you that way,’” Steinem once recalled. It didn’t stop her from continually pushing for harder-hitting assignments.

A few years later she published one of her most well-known stories, “I Was A Playboy Bunny,” in Show magazine. She went undercover as a waitress in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club and witnessed the sexism women working there face. The recognition she gained from this story helped cement her place as a feminist journalist.

Photo: Tina Fineberg/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

Her Career In Activism

It was in her 30s that Steinem’s reputation as a journalist and feminist really took off. In 1968, at 34, she became a founding editor and political columnist for New York magazine and got progressively more involved in the feminist movement as a public figure. Her activism shaped the scope of her work as a journalist and she began writing extensively on issues such as abortion, gender equality in the workplace, and child abuse. Her writing about abortion came from a place of experience — at 22, Steinem got an abortion in London when it was still illegal. Her 2015 memoir is dedicated to the doctor who did the procedure. “It took us a while to figure out,” Steinem told the Guardian in 2015, “but patriarchy — or whatever you want to call it, the systems that say there’s masculine and feminine and other bullshit — is about controlling reproduction. Every economics course ought to start not with production but with reproduction.” One of her most notable works during this time was an essay about what women want from feminism and the way they protest, titled “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.”

In 1971, at the age of 37, she founded her second publication, Ms. magazine. It was the first magazine to be founded and run entirely by women.

When she was 36, Steinem testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the policy council of the Democratic committee. In 1971, she co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, an organization which works to increase the number of women working in politics. A few years later in 1973, at 39, Steinem founded the Ms. Foundation for Women to advance power and equity for all.

Photo: Patsy Lynch/REX/Shutterstock.

Her Career As An Author

Her first collection of essays, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, was published in 1983 when Steinem was 49 and beginning her career as a published author. She has since published nine books. Her most recent, a memoir of her life titled My Life on the Road, was published in 2015 at the age of 81.

At 52, Steinem was diagnosed with breast cancer; she was diagnosed early and was able to beat it with treatment. She reflected on her experience in an interview with New York magazine in April 1998. “After 20 years, I couldn’t do it anymore. I’d been through five stages of burnout; I got breast cancer; the universe was telling me to slow down,” said Steinem.

For much of her life, Steinem remained unmarried, dismissing it as an institution that destroys relationships. However, at the age of 66, she married David Bale, an entrepreneur, animal rights activist, and father of the actor Christian Bale. It came as a surprise to many. Over the years Steinem has described marriage as feeling like “a restriction, not an enlargement” and that she “couldn’t imagine getting married.” After marrying Bale, she told People, “Being married is like having somebody permanently in your corner. It feels limitless, not limited.” They were married for three years until his death from brain lymphoma.

What She’s Doing Now

Now, Steinem is known around the world for her contributions to the pursuit of equality and women’s rights. She sits on the board of numerous causes and organizations. In 2013, when Steinem was 79, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At 83, she became an advisor for the Time’s Up Movement. Her career has grown and evolved over decades of advocating for causes she cared about and finding new ways to tell her own story and the stories of others.

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I Spent $30,000 On Facial Feminization Surgery & Finally Feel Like Me

Beyond her day job as a hostess at Sur, Vanderpump Rules reality star Billie Lee has a loyal following of more than 140,000 on Instagram, where she has been remarkably honest about what it's like to be transgender. Ten years after her facial feminization surgery (FFS), Lee reflects on what she went through to become the woman she is today. The following story was told to Rachel Lubitz and edited for length and clarity.

I was always really feminine as a child, but then I had to go through puberty as a boy, and the power of testosterone affected me in such a negative way. I saw myself grow more masculine, and it sent me into a depression. My nose extended out pretty far. My eyelids were pretty low. I had a bit of an Adam's apple. All I could focus on were the masculine features, and that was really hard.

When I first decided to transition and do hormones, I was 19 or 20 years old. There’s this pressure to fit into society; if people can’t put you in a box of male or female, there’s a lot of rejection. I could not get a job. I had to prostitute. I had to steal to eat. When people can tell that you are transgender, you're more likely to be attacked, bullied, and discriminated against.

But still, my doctor said, "You don't want to get anything done on your face or body for a few years. You want the hormones to take effect." But it got to a point, after four years on estrogen, where I was like, I want this so bad. So, I looked up surgeons. I prayed for it. It was something I knew I had to have to feel like me. I wanted to wake up without wearing makeup and look like the person I saw on the inside.

I wanted to wake up without wearing makeup and look like the person I saw on the inside.

About 10 years ago, I decided to go to plastic surgeon Ashkan Ghavami, MD, because I loved his work and how natural it was. For my facial feminization, I had a nose job, a lip lift, a brow lift, and my Adam's apple shaved down, and he took fat from my stomach and put it into my cheekbones. It was a five-hour surgery. It wasn't scary, because I knew it was something I had to do.

The thing about facial feminization, though, is that it is very expensive. Most of the time, it’s not covered by health insurance. My nose job alone was $10,000, so I think it was around $30,000 for everything at the time. I had some money, but my friend, who was really successful on a TV show and knew this was important to me, wrote me a large check.

The healing process was hard. It’s hard to breathe after a nose job, and I was very claustrophobic. I got FFS right after my sex reassignment surgery, which involved not walking for days. I figured if I was chilling and resting, I needed to just do it all at once.

Facial feminization surgery isn’t talked about as much as sex reassignment surgery. Everyone wants to know what’s between your legs. Like, Oh, did you have the surgery? Do you have a vagina? People don’t understand how valuable and important facial feminization is. A lot of trans women decide to get facial feminization done way before their sex reassignment surgery, or choose not to get sexual reassignment surgery at all, and I think that’s really beautiful and brave. Ultimately, this is our own human experience. We should be able to do what we want to do.

Lee on a recent episode of Vanderpump Rules Photo: Courtesy of Bravo.

After facial feminization, the red carpet was rolled out for me. I remember going into my first job interview for a serving position afterward, and seeing how people acted around me. They weren't asking questions about what I was. People would look at me and think, Oh, this is a girl, and now I can hire her because I know who she is, and what she is. I felt like I could have whatever I wanted.

Shortly after the surgery, I was out having fun with friends, and walked past a bathroom mirror and I saw myself and I was like, Oh my god, that’s me! There’s this comfortable feeling of home, and also a feeling of shock. Now, I finally feel like it's me in the mirror. Even now, I still have these really powerful moments where I catch my reflection in a store window and it fills me with so much gratitude.

My piece of advice to someone interested in this is to be patient — it takes a long time. Even me, I was like, OK, I can go away for the summer and come back a beautiful butterfly. That’s not the case at all. It takes a lot of money. You have to be patient with yourself. I just kept writing in my journal and boosting myself up to keep my confidence high. As a transgender person, society will tell you that you’re ugly and you’re not worthy enough, especially if we haven’t had surgery. It's important to know we are all beautiful just the way we are.

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IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation Review press sample, affiliate links

My love for IT Cosmetics runs deep and it all started with the brands foundation products. When they launch something new foundation wise not only do I get excited to try it, I hold it to high standards.

When I saw that IT Cosmetics was launching an entirely new foundation called Confidence in a Foundation, yes, I was excited to try it, but I was a bit held back.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation Review

You see, I am so smitten with the original CC+ Cream and Confidence in a Compact and I rarely stray from those products except for special occasions. Let me explain my reservations.

First, I don’t wear a full-on foundation product everyday. I simply don’t have the need for full-on glam makeup everyday and most foundations don’t have a ton of skincare benefits built into them like CC+ Cream does. Second, I read that Confidence in a Foundation was said to have a matte finish and with my dry skin and fine lines, I need to be careful.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation Review IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation

Well, both of those statements couldn’t be further form the truth once I learned more about Confidence in a Foundation and gave the foundation a try. Not only is the foundation infused with skincare, what they are calling a velvet matte finish is more of a natural finish and silky in my opinion.

Read Also: IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream Matte Review

As far as the skincare infused into the skincare, the major players are ceramides, peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid plus squalane. All of this works seamlessly together to give skin pretty full coverage with a lot of pigmentation.

It is a breathable foundation that feels silky and almost velvety as it glides onto skin. It actually feels hydrating and never looked or felt matte on me.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation Review IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation Review

I didn’t need much foundation at all to achieve full coverage and the coverage lasted all day long. I don’t think that it particularly accented fine lines or wrinkles, but it didn’t blur them like CC+ Cream or Confidence in a Compact do.

I tested Confidence in a Foundation alone, with a few different primers, setting spray and without and no matter which way I used it, I had an all-day finish. I never had to powder, which was a nice benefit.

I applied it with this sponge and the recommended Heavenly Skin Skin-Hugging Foundation Brush #707. At this point, I would say my favorite way to apply is with the brush and then blend out a bit with the sponge. It is so full coverage and I don’t regularly wear such a full coverage product, as I mentioned, so the sponge helps to sheer it out a bit.

Heavenly Skin Skin-Hugging Foundation Brush #707 Heavenly Skin Skin-Hugging Foundation Brush #707

There are 48 shades to choose from, in 4 color color families and IT did a great job at breaking down the shades into Cool, Neutral and Warm shades. With that said, I still haven’t found my perfect shade and have been mixing. I have been self-tanning and matching my neck with a paler face is always a challenge for me, so it is more of my issue. I need help from a professional which I plan to get at ULTA. I do want to find my shade and keep it in my collection because it’s a nice one. I find it quite similar to Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, but with a bit more coverage and less of a luminous finish if that makes sense.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Foundation is widely available now for $32. You can buy it at or through most beauty retailers like ULTA, QVC and Sephora.

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